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.
Want to go where the locals go? Read DPJ’s new E&D Beat and visit some favorite Eats & Drinks destinations.
(New) Local Fave: Federal Pizza
District: North Central
Owner: Lauren and Wyatt Bailey and Craig and Kris DeMarco
Opened: October 2012
The Concept: Being the newest member and neighbor to the Postino Central and Windsor family, Federal Pizza has a reputation to stand up to. Locals are used to good, local food at affordable prices in unpretentious spaces. The building is a 1970’s First Federal Savings & Loan Bank (hence the name) and the owners were firm on keeping as much original history in the concept as possible. The brass piping, wood beams, and color scheme is true to turn of the century design. The space is eye catching with bright colors against neutral finishes with something interesting in every nook to look at. Bold chandeliers, a colorful mural, and 60’s inspired salt shakers are some notables.
The playlist hosts bands like Ratatat, Beck, and Run D.M.C. then jumps to an 80’s hairband for a toe tapping, eclectic mix. The menu font looks strikingly similar to that found on paper money and the bar stools, chairs, and light fixtures are a modern twist on 60’s and 70’s swag.
The original bank vault was kept above ground with an intricate security system under the building to keep robbers from pinching the cash. During renovation, the owners were sensitive to working around this in order to preserve as much of the building as possible. After the big purchase, they let the building sit until the concept birthed itself.
“Nearby Aiello’s closed and the owners wanted that neighborhood pizza place everyone could go to while challenging themselves to separate from their other concepts,” explains James Anderson, bartender with the company for two years.
FUN FACT: Owner Lauren Bailey had the genius idea of using Postino wine crates to create a beautiful, functioning ceiling that adds a piece of their own history to the restaurant.
Have a Seat: Big, comfy corner booths and tables face the breathtaking open kitchen. A long bar sits many and a small area just before the patio will envelope you in psychedelic pattern coming from the wall adorned mural. Sit at the counter and watch the action around the pizza oven, and get your mouth watering.
The Patio: A true urbanite can appreciate a street side patio, especially as the Phoenix weather cools down. Easy on the eyes during the day and metropolitan-romantic at night, this patio is a retreat for mingling and people watching while breaking bread. The staff keeps it clean and comfortable. For the chillier weather there are plenty of heaters. The City recently added a bike lane on Central Avenue to reduce traffic and street noise, and they’re also working on adding a light at the intersection of Colter and Central.
The Eats: Federal Pizza presents traditional pizza joint offerings with some specialties that will have your taste buds singing. The corn coins are a fun appetizer that are seasoned to perfection with fennel, herbs, melted pecorino and dusted with paprika. The pizzas are exciting with interesting combinations like Brussels sprouts, crispy pancetta, manchego and a zing of lemon zest. The crust has a perfect crisp but is soft and doughy on the inside. Ask anyone who works there what to order and a unanimous “porchetta sandwich” is the response. A duo of pork loin and belly are accompanied by caramelized onions that are sweet against the peppery arugula. With so many lip smacking options, Federal will have you locked in as regular before you know it.
The Drinks: An impressive beer selection of foreign, domestics, and locals are available in a variety of sizes. Chubs (32 oz) and growlers (64 oz) are available for a steal and they take it further by offering half off any other beer and wine to go. There is something special on their wine list: house made wine coolers. An old school novelty made new with high end cava and infused, natural flavors like strawberry rhubarb and blackberry rosemary.
What They Say: A proud father-in-law, Dennis Bailey, couldn’t be more excited for the new concept. He was eager to show off every detail of the space. An employee of the company, John Nemeth says, “It’s about good people having a place to go with good food and interaction. Everything in here involves you so you gain an experience rather than just giving an order and eating. We wanted this place to be welcoming, exciting, and something different. It’s part of why I love working at this location.”
Report: Overall a praiseworthy move by Bailey and DeMarco. The food is outstanding and affordable; service is knowledgeable and professional; the environment is stimulating while relaxing. The neighborhood was begging for the perfect pizza place, and now they’ve got it.
Meet Nathan Simpson, new DPJ contributor, and now designator of all that is Bike Chic. You may see him scouting locals who not only ride their bikes but look dapper doing it.
When I first saw Bike Chic, I spent the next few weekends dressing in my sharpest duds, hopping from coffee shop to coffee shop searching for someone with a camera who would ask me what I was wearing. For a sharp-dressing, car-free, downtown-dwelling Phoenician, it seemed like a pretty cool thing to be a part of.
When asked to take over the feature for DPJ, vanity ensued. I have decided to take this opportunity to feature myself, for introduction purposes only of course.
Who: Nathan Simpson
Occupation: Writer (who makes a living working at the Amazon.com warehouse)
My Neighborhood: Garfield
What do I enjoy about downtown? It’s a strong community where everyone is connected in a small town way with a big city energy.
Where do I like to explore? You will find me cruising downtown coffee shops, especially Lola.
What is my typical biking ensemble? On my work days, I make the 12 mile trek in a ratty t-shirt so I like to get my hipster-chic on on my days off.
• Cole Haan wingtips
• Bow tie from Last Chance
• Owned the vest since junior high knowing they would eventually come back in style
• Coat from my favorite thrift store Maggie’s Thrift
• I have prescription glasses for when I need to see good and fake hipster glasses from Urban outfitters for when I need to look good.
• I own four bikes. I chose the old beater Free Spirit for the photos because DJ William F****ing Reed once said to me, while I was on it, “Nice bike, man.”
• I almost always have a bandana tied to my wrist when riding. It’s good for sopping up sweat, or wiping tears from the face of a damsel in distress, and you never know when you might have to tourniquet someone.
Look for me all over downtown, but be on your fashion A game if you want a shot at Bike Chic glory.
Photography by Tyson Crosbie