DPJ’s Bike Chic series by Nathan Simpson. You may see him around town scouting locals who not only ride their bikes but look dapper doing it.
Name: Brian Kern
Occupation: Student/Research analyst
His Neighborhood: Garfield
Where Spotted: Jobot Coffee
What do you like about Downtown? The people. There are a lot of artistic people and people trying to do something different.
Where do you like to explore? I stick mostly to the 5th Street and Roosevelt area, but I love riding around Downtown when no one is out so I don’t have to worry about cars.
Why did you go car free? There is a lot of unnecessary stress in car ownership. I have spent less than $100 total in bike maintenance since I sold my car 9 months ago.
What is your typical biking ensemble? I don’t have anything I regularly wear for biking. It’s just whatever I am wearing that day. I do own cycling shoes but I rarely wear them.
Watch: Seiko diver’s
Hat: Portman Pacific wool 8 panel
Jeans: Unbranded Denim from Buffalo Exchange
Jacket: Levi slim fit trucker jacket from the Levi Outlet
His biking essentials:
Late 80s Bottecchia
Lots of water
Thorn proof tires
When it comes to gift-giving, artists have never been like other people. It’s a hit to your pride to shop at Macy’s for a sweater when you could (should) be at home, crafting up that perfect one-of-a-kind gesture.
If you have an artist friend, it is likely you will be given something unique. This can have something to do with several factors: (1) occasional bouts of “poorness;” (2) an overactive sense of “do-it-yourself-ness;” and (3) the simple fact that artists have a lot of crap they’ve made that is currently taking up space in their house/studio/shed/rented storage space/parent’s house.
The following is a handy guide to artist gift-buying, and yes, receiving.
The Giving Artist
Here are a few things you might find cleverly gift-wrapped, “just for you:”
A Piece of Old Art. An obvious choice. For those who aren’t artists, it might (literally) shock you to find out how many things an artist has made in her lifetime: sets of prints; small drawings: little crafted wooden boxes (this also applies to architects): glass or metal lamps from that time she went through that phase where she made lamps; or a framed (failed) photograph of a generic thing that will look good above your kitchen sink. If you have an artist friend and haven’t yet received something like this, just wait.
Handcrafted Utilitarian Object. I have, in the past, crocheted cup cozies and screen printed placemats. You may receive a lopsided ceramic bowl or a t-shirt imprinted with their “symbol.” This category could also include self-made objects like bookends, napkin rings, ashtrays, wind chimes, tote bags, clocks and anything made of felt. TIP: Remember to always have these objects out and put to good use next time your artist friend comes over.
Some honorary mentions include:
- Homemade food (When there are no more old artworks to give and your artist friend has run out of craft-making ideas, it’s always fun for her to pretend she’s a chef.)
- A plant
- A gift card to FilmBar
- A Phoenix Art Museum membership
- A Heard Museum membership
- A Desert Botanical Gardens membership
- A donation made in your name to Oxfam
- Booze (Case in point: I almost bought a bottle of Japanese whiskey because the packaging was so nice)
For the Artist who has…Not a Lot
Similarly, a little creative thinking can go a long way when buying for an artist friend. Here are a few gift ideas that will bring a bit of joy:
Booze. Not crappy booze but good booze: the kind that might cost more than $10 a bottle. I have never met an artist who doesn’t like to have a drink every now and then. Given the attention most artists give to subtlety and detail, they can be wowed with a gin that’s bubbled, not boiled; whiskey made in 1 gallon batches at a time; or just a well-designed bottle with a wax stamp and an interesting font. This tasteful booze will assist during the next period your artist friend is doubting her self worth and wondering why she labors over this stuff to begin with.
Health Insurance. An idea for those with extra cash. Most artists are self-employed or work part-time which means having to foot the bill for their own insurance. More often, it means going without while hoping the table saw doesn’t ricochet a piece of wood back into your head. While an artist may be morally conflicted by the generous gift of a cashmere sweater, she would greatly appreciate subsidized healthcare and affordable birth control.
Some runner-up options could include:
- A gift certificate for a massage
- A book on some obscure subject they once mentioned
- A gift card to a grocery store (Handy during those “poorness” bouts.)
- Scrap wood
- Decorative paper
- A gift card to their favorite (local) coffee shop
- A blank notebook
- A moss garden
Artist to artist
Artists giving gifts to each other is almost a perfect storm. Maybe one artist doesn’t believe in the rampant commercialism of the holidays so refuses to take part in giving something of monetary value. She will choose, instead, to enact an action on your behalf, carefully documenting it via video, an online slideshow or a series of drawings.
While the other artist may be covertly (not creepily) drafting impromptu sketches of her friend for the past week, which will be given in a well-decorated, sealed envelope.
Remember that shopping for or receiving gifts from an artist will always be slightly more interesting than the Chili’s gift card you might get from your boss or the Christmas socks you might get from your mother. Artists are maybe (likely?) working out some end-of-year issues with those projects that never quite got off the ground but which could be perfect if wrapped with a festive bow. I have resisted sewing, constructing or drawing anything for anyone this year but I have been eyeing up some mason jars and the possibility of canning my own food.
Bottom line: whether you’re an artist of a friend of one, it’s best to be prepared for anything.
It’s Friday afternoon and half of your office has joked about cutting out early and having a beer. You daydream about it but you stay at your desk. Our unwritten rules about when we drink are ingrained. We’re supposed to cram it into a happy hour, often Thursday or Friday. The drinks are big, the food is small. That’s our workplace culture–the larger culture.
Welcome to Beer Culture.
The Phoenix Brewers Invitational (PBI) in Phoenix Heritage Square is a new event for Arizona and it is billed as, “an opportunity to provide the Arizona craft beer scene and the City of Phoenix with a signature event to help generate awareness of our developing craft beer culture.” Craft beer culture says that it’s OK for your local community to be involved in beer and beer events and this extends to our city leaders.
In most parts of the country, it wasn’t politically acceptable for politicians to be seen with a glass of beer. President Obama is credited with changing that thinking with his beer summits. He’s been photographed raising a pint of Guinness. He’s bought a round of Buds at the Iowa state fair. He’s had his chefs brew beer in the White House kitchen and famously shared them on the campaign trail.
The Mayors of beer culture-centric cities have always embraced beer. In San Diego, Mayor Jerry Sanders openly courts breweries to locate in San Diego County. Former Denver Mayor and now Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper once owned a brewery and is heavily involved in the Great American Beer Fest. Portland’s Mayors have traditionally opened the 25 year old Oregon Brewers Festival (OBF) by tapping the first cask following a downtown parade. On Friday, December 7 at Noon, Phoenix Mayor is slated to open the Phoenix Brewers Invitational with a toast.
Did you miss that? Noon. Friday.
Famously, Postino Winecafe has a bumper sticker that reads, “Drinking Wine at Lunch is not a Crime.” That is true of wine culture and it is also true for those that enjoy good beer. If you’re not able to make the leap from work culture to beer culture you can still check out the fest with your worker-bee cred intact. The PIB is free to enter. You can check it out during your lunch hour and see what is being offered without paying. The PIB will have Food Trucks on hand and there is craft root beer.
If you want to partake, there will be over 60 breweries each offering a single beer. Over 25 styles will be represented. You need to purchase a commemorative mug and drink tickets. The glass will cost you $10. Tickets are $1 each for a 3 oz sample. The mug and the tickets can be used when you return after work on Friday, or Noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday.
Another tenet of beer culture is that beer should be enjoyed with food. Often at a festival, you’re enjoying great food with a tiny beer. The PIB will let you trade in four tokens for a full 12 oz serving. You can wash down the fare from Aji Mobile Food, Ole Dixie Southern Food, Torched Goodness, Emerson Fry Bread, Luncha Libre and Epic Hot Dogs with a hearty pour! Beer was meant to be enjoyed by the glass.
The Invitational is patterned after Portland’s Oregon Brewer’s Festival and it is one of the reasons that the city is referred to as Beervana. We expect that type of an event from such a beer city. Will Phoenix rise to the challenge? Will your Downtown Beer be a Friday afternoon one?
If you go:
Location: Phoenix Heritage Square, 115 N. Sixth St., Phoenix, AZ 85004
Dates: Friday & Saturday, Dec 7 & 8
Times: Noon to 10PM
Cost: Admission into the festival grounds is free, In order to consume beer, purchase of a 2012 souvenir mug is required & costs $ 10.00. Beer is purchased with wooden tokens. Tokens cost $ 1.00 per. Patrons pay four tokens for a full 12 oz. mug of beer or one token for a 3-oz. taste.
Friday, December 7th:
Headliner – Bird City,
Support – Versions of You, Cartoon Lion, We are Searchers, Inept Hero, Cosmic Goat, Libertine Social, Johnny Lee
Saturday, December 8th:
Headliner – 80 Proof,
Support – Black Bottom Lighters
Proceeds of the event benefit The Beer for Brains Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises money for the Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.
Sometimes our egos can get too big and need to be lanced, like a boil. I’ve found that the fastest way to make my ego shrivel up is to look at just how old certain artistic giants were when they made their marks on the world.
Orson Welles directed, co-wrote and starred in “Citizen Kane” when he was just 25. Arthur Rimbaud stopped writing poetry at 19, after producing brilliant poem after poem in his teens. And animator Don Hertzfeldt won the 2010 San Francisco International Film Festival’s “Persistence of Vision” Lifetime Achievement Award when he was just 33 years old.
That’s a lifetime achievement award at 33. Don’t be alarmed if you’re feeling a strange tingling sensation, ladies & gentlemen: that’s just your egos diminishing. I know mine is.
If you’re wondering just how good a filmmaker has to be to win such acclaim at such a young age, you’ll have a chance to see Hertzfeldt’s award-winning work for yourself when No Festival Required screens Hertzfeld’s animated trilogy “It’s Such A Beautiful Day” this Saturday at the Phoenix Center for the Arts.
No Festival Required’s Steve Weiss wanted to bring Hertzfeldt’s animations to the Valley after seeing some of Hertzfeldt’s work in one of the touring “The Animation Show” festivals (that Hertzfeldt put together with “Beavis & Butthead/Office Space” creator Mike Judge). Weiss told me that he’s been trying to do a Hertzfelt program for the last 8 years, and that Saturday’s screening of “It’s Such A Beautiful Day” (which includes a bonus short film by Hertzfeldt) is the first time that this work will be screened in Phoenix.
And it may also be the last: the prolific film-maker self-distributes his work and is very meticulous about their presentation (bootlegs of his work are all over the Internet, much to Hertzfeldt’s chagrin, who laments their poor film quality). He’s also known for his stance on licensing: Hertzfeldt refuses to do commercials (which hasn’t stopped many advertisers from biting his style, the worst offenders being Pop Tarts).
His style of animation is deceptively simple, using pen and paper stick figures (photographed on a Richardson 35mm animation camera stand, one of the last of its kind) and imbuing them with tremendous pathos and soul. He is so good at doing so much with so little that it’s going to be hard to think of stick figures and NOT think of him, much in the same way one can associate sunflowers with Van Gogh and Sweden with ABBA. It’s like his stick figures are the Platonic ideal that all stick figures throughout human history have been aspiring to be… and always falling a little bit short.
I’ve seen the first film in the “It’s Such A Beautiful Day” trilogy, “Everything Will Be OK.” If the other two films (“I Am So Proud Of You” and “It’s Such A Beautiful Day”) are as good as “Everything,” then this screening is a NOT-TO-BE-MISSED cinema event.
“Everything Will Be OK” is funny, disconcerting, strange and beautiful. It’s the kind of film that can make a person feel like they’re tripping on drugs, or wish they weren’t. Watching it I could understand why a man in his 30′s deserved to win a lifetime achievement award; and if he continues to produce this kind of work in the future, I hope he wins dozens more of them. I just don’t want to hear about those awards: the last thing my poor ego needs is another lancing.
“It’s Such A Beautiful Day” screens Saturday, November 24, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $7 at the door and are also available online.
I love when people decide to do weird things. Up high on that list is Bauhaus artist Oskar Schlemmer’s creation, The Triadic Ballet: a freaky dream of geometric costume changes, set design and calculated movements. It makes me happy and scared at the same time. This probably stems from my fascination with the Mummenschanz when they appeared on an episode of The Muppet Show when I was a kid. My expectations for weirdness and the unexpected started early.
In Phoenix, performance is often defined as the performing arts such as the ballet, the symphony or the theater at the Herberger or, more generally, theater. Current and former artists here like Angela Ellsworth, Erin Sotak and Kjel Alkire have challenged and expanded on this concept with works that sometimes involve voluntary audience participation, dance or role-playing. The former Future Arts Research (regardless of your feelings about them) brought several performance-based artists to town, including Franco Mondini-Ruiz, Anna Deaveare-Smith and even Joanna Berzowska, who’s adaptable costumes almost perform themselves.
However, any moment in our lives could be a performance. The potential for this performance becomes even greater when you include the element of intention. It becomes more widely received when that performance takes place outside of any stage or the confines of the expected. Within the realm of performance art, I see it as an opportunity to see what is possible within the self or in the social contracts we invisibly hold with each other. Have you ever had the odd moment when you witness someone behaving in public in a way where you wonder if it is intentional or accidental? Artists can and have used this moment of the unexpected to their advantage to re-frame the spaces we exist in.
It has been my experience in Phoenix that you can get away with a lot before someone of authority realizes what’s going on. This freedom opens up the possibility for our artists to expand their practice, step out into the urban environment and conduct impromptu works that bring the concept and aesthetic directly to the public. If Francis Alys can push an ice block around Mexico City until it completely melts, we can enact comparatively relevant works about the Phoenix urban core in our urban core. Think of all the vacant spaces that can be enacted temporarily with a performance.
Previous bursts of experimental performance that expanded our concept of what performing meant (Russian Constructivists, Bauhaus, Dada, Fluxus) emerged after tumultuous periods of war, financial disarray and social unrest. When you have nothing else—no materials or studios, you still have your body. Our housing market has collapsed, unemployment is high and Phoenix is notorious as a gathering ground for those leaving other places for a new beginning. I couldn’t think of a more ripe environment to harness a desire for something innovative, challenging and, of course, weird.