With so many things to do in Downtown Phoenix on First Friday, how do you decide what to do and where to go? Well, with First Friday opening of a play titled “American Pastorela: The Saga of Sheriff Joe,” I knew I’d be in for some good, controversial fun.
Walking to the Third Street Theater, where New Carpa Theater Company put on the production, there was a chill in the air and plenty of people in the streets. Outside the theater abuzz with several Sheriff Joe protesters as people filed in to warm up and see the show. James E. Garcia, the writer and director of the play, was at the door to greet people and visit with the community. He graciously welcomed us and sent us on our way in to the theater, which was humming with enthusiastic patrons.
The lights dim and the curtain rises. The first scene portrays Sheriff Joe, played by James Rivas, being interviewed by the press about his tactics for keeping illegal aliens out of Arizona. This scene touches heavily on Sheriff Joe and his past history with the Phoenix New Times. Suddenly, while being interviewed, the Sheriff suffers a heart attack and dies. From there the play progresses into several quirky scenes that mix Phoenix history, Latino culture and religion.
The play follows the character Bartolo, played by John Tang, who is a messenger of God. Bartolo has been sent on a journey to bring a family from Mexico to Arizona. He misunderstands and finds the wrong family, but decides to bring them with him anyway. One of the family member’s souls happens to be owned by El Diablo, who of course is keeping track of the progress as well. Meanwhile, Sheriff Joe is given a chance to live by El Diablo, but only if he is able to stop Bartolo from completing his task. Along the way, there are appearances by an angel, Billy Mays, Saddam Hussein, Hitler and even Michael Jackson. Wacky.
Sound a little confusing? Maybe odd? There are many pecuilar twists and turns that make this a very fun and interesting play. You must see this play for yourself to get the full experience! The good news is that it is playing from now until December 13 at the Third Street Theater. This play will make you laugh out loud and see a sometimes-touchy subject brought to light in the most unique manner.
For show times and pricing, visit New Carpa Theater Company’s website, or call 623.252.2772. The Third Street Theater is located at 1202 N. 3rd St. in Evans Churchill (light rail station at Central/Roosevelt).
DPJ is proud to bring you the best Yelp reviews of your favorite Downtown restaurants, boutiques, venues and everything in between. Every Tuesday, visit DPJ for a finely crafted, tell-all account of a Downtown spot straight from the experts: the people!
Have you ever watched those dumb/boring/nerdy space documentaries that tell you lies regarding the impossibility of time travel? Some dude with a talking computer tells you “…currently, there is no way to deviate from the space-time continuum”… Lies! I’ll tell you how to do it. You don’t even need to buy a time machine on eBay like Kip Dynamite. Just get into your car (no, it doesn’t have to be a Delorian) and drive to 7th Street and Thomas Road (just south of Thomas on the E side), and BAM! You, my friend have entered another dimension.
You walk into this place and you expect to see Cowboy Biff sitting at the bar. Unfortunately, all you see is elderlies shuffling about. Well, they must know something that we all don’t. Like an old man/woman secret that they only tell their peers. You, my friend, have just learned their secret! Sit down and order yourself a Black Bean Burger. What? You say you don’t like vegetarian food? Well, neither do I! Trust me. Do it!
While you wait, you can imagine you are your grandpa at 12 years old. Just stopping into the local soda fountain shop to get a smooth refreshing malt. Being a 12 year old in the 1930s, you notice how modern and sleek the decor is in here. Ice cream adverts everywhere… Makes you want to stay 12 forever.
“Mom, can I have some ice cream?” Oh, I mean “Sorry, can I get a strawberry malt with that Black Bean Burger? Ahem, thanks…”
MacAlpine’s Soda Fountain is located at 2303 N. 7th St. in Coronado. (602) 262.5545
The DPJ Yelper of the Week offers honest insight on a Downtown business to help you explore your core. DPJ hopes that by partnering with Yelp to spread the good word about well-loved Downtown spots, you’ll spread your patronage and support local business.
Yelp is a social networking and local search engine that provides the reviews of places and things that matter to you. Simply log in, pick a place and queue up your inner critic. You can write a beaming review of your favorite gelato spot, or a scathing portrayal of that rental car facility you had to use after that curb came out of nowhere. Yelp’s reviews are at once honest, uncensored, wildly hilarious and true. Heck, the site must be doing something right — it had 25 million viewers just last month!
I decided to brave Phoenix’s version of a hurricane to venture out and try one of our supposed best kept secrets: the $3 burger at Maizie’s.
Tucked away in the shadow of the Landmark Tower resides Maizie’s Café & Bistro, a unique bistro that knows how to attract the hungry — offer their delicious burgers for $3 from 4 to close on Mondays. I had heard that these were pretty amazingly good. I must admit that the line coming out of the door and the smell emanating from this place surely comforted any trepidation I had about the burgers.
I suppose the chaotic weather kept the crowds a little smaller than they normally are. Hearsay was that the wait would be quite extensive, but we were seated fairly quickly. The wait staff obviously holds the ability to read minds; or they have just served up their fair share of burgers on Monday nights, because the waitress only needed to ask what was required on the burger. So, I selected the pepperjack cheese and a cold Blue Moon to wash it down.
As I was awaiting my cheap treat, I noticed the dining area was extremely packed. It seems that the extensive patio that Maizie’s possesses falls silent on nights of inclement weather. Good thing this is Arizona and rain is about as frequent as a viable Elvis sighting.
The wait for the burger was not too long. As it arrived in its splendor, I almost expected an angelic chorus to erupt. For $3, I was expecting a Krystal (or White Castle, for you Midwestern folk)-sized burger, but I was pleasantly surprised. I could hardly wait to sink my teeth in. Each bite was better than the first. Any form of ravenous hunger I had owned before this was wiped away. This burger was top-shelf quality with a shoestring budget price.
So, if you find yourself scraping the bottom of the piggy bank on some lonely Monday night, forget about the fast food malarkey and go to Maizie’s. You will definitely get more than you bargained for.
Maizie’s Café and Bistro is located at 4750 N. Central Ave. in Uptown (light rail station at Central/Camelback). 602.274.2828
Note: Below is some good writing, which obviously means that it isn’t mine… Please enjoy a wonderful piece on ASU’s role in the development of Downtown Phoenix written by Beth Wischnia. I’ll be back next week with some fresh work. — Sam
The once-lifeless capital city of Arizona has taken on a new look and feel recently, complete with a bustling Arizona State University campus in the heart of Downtown. The influx of students on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus has directly affected the development of Phoenix.
The campus includes nationally recognized schools such as the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the College of Nursing and Health Innovation. The campus opened in fall 2006, however it was when the Cronkite School opened in fall 2008 that many more students relocated to Phoenix.
Paul Martinez, manager of local restaurant Hanny’s, said the Downtown Phoenix campus has brought multiple businesses to the community because of the “youth’s energy.”
A Starbucks is in operation on the first floor of Taylor Place and Hsin, a Chinese restaurant, is expected to open in Taylor Place in the near future. Other recent additions to the Downtown Phoenix area include Fair Trade Café and the Phoenix Public Market Urban Grocery and Wine Bar.
Arianna Heet, a sophomore nursing major, has been working at Starbucks in Taylor Place for more than a year. The job sparked her interest because of the “convenience factor”, which allowed her to wake up and walk downstairs to work. In addition to the convenience factor, Heet said she enjoys the atmosphere of the student-friendly on-campus Starbucks as opposed to off-campus locations.
“We have a different dynamic,” Heet said. “We have a strong student-based business.”
Armark, the company that manages the various dining options in Taylor Place, owns the location in Taylor Place, unlike most Starbucks. Heet said the location she works at is a licensed store and not a corporate store. The Taylor Place baristas are employed by Armark and simply buy their product from Starbucks.
“It’s essentially the same business, but run by another company,” Heet explained.
Hanny’s, an Italian-inspired restaurant located just a few blocks away from the Downtown Phoenix campus, draws in customers by combining great food and service with a “historic piece of property,” Martinez said.
The building that is now home to Hanny’s was built in 1947 and underwent a restoration process that took three years. In addition to the unique building’s historical significance, the location is ideal, as it is located adjacent next to the area’s developmental milestone, the light rail.
“The light rail and us were opening about a month apart,” Martinez explained. “It was exciting to have that advancement next to that historic piece of property.”
Lenni Rosenblum, a sophomore journalism student, lives at Taylor Place because she was elected into a leadership position in a residential program. Rosenblum has been living at Taylor Place since the building opened in fall 2008 because of its convenient location. While she enjoys living Phoenix because of what it has to offer, she recognizes there is room for improvement in the development of the area.
Despite some new development in Phoenix, many students who lived at Taylor Place last year chose to live in Tempe this year. Sophomore communications major Amy Gauvin said that part of the reason she no longer lives in Downtown Phoenix is because of the lack of city development in comparison to Tempe.
“After class you can walk to Mill and go shopping, or you can go to Barney’s and get food and go to happy hour. Downtown Phoenix doesn’t offer any of that,” Gauvin said. “I would literally go to class then go back to my dorm until my next class.”
City of Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon addressed the effect the students have had on the Phoenix community during his State of Downtown address on Nov. 17, 2009 in the city’s new Civic Space park, which was built by a partnership between the city of Phoenix and ASU.
“I want to highlight the steady heartbeat of Arizona State University, which continues to pump life into Downtown Phoenix, continues to generate revenue to the state,” Gordon said, “and continues to do what universities are supposed to do: educate our residents and prepare them to change the world for the better.”
“ASU has brought that fun, youthful life back to Downtown that we didn’t have before,” Martinez said. “We are trying to help pioneer the movement of revitalizing Downtown by taking a local business owner, restoring a building and giving people a place to congregate.”
Samuel Richard, a senior nonprofit leadership and management student, calls himself a “defacto community activist” in Downtown Phoenix. Richard lives and works in the community. He also was part of the team that reimagined the Downtown Phoenix Journal in January of 2009 and is a weekly contributor. He is optimistic about the future of Phoenix because he said that community development takes time.
“Our civic and business leaders have showed a renewed interest in developing the heart of our city,” Richard said. “Thankfully, ASU has been able to play a large part of this renaissance.”
“The area is now seen as a stable, desirable place for the community to be,” Panetta explained. “It’s more attractive for those who might want to live in the area or open a business.”
Also pioneering the revitalization of Downtown Phoenix is CityScape, a multi-use destination blocks away from the Downtown Phoenix campus that will feature retail, restaurants and entertainment. The complex will feature The Breakfast Club, a taqueria bar, Lucky Strike Lanes and an Urban Outfitters, to name a few.
John Matthews, senior leasing associate of RED Development for CityScape, attributes snagging the prime, central location to being at the right place at the right time.
“After reviewing what the city and state had done with getting the ASU campus Downtown, the time seemed to be right,” Matthews said. “Rarely do you get three blocks in the center of a downtown that are available to develop.”
Matthews said the students on the Downtown Phoenix campus were like a “built-in population”, which is an additional reason CityScape is in Phoenix.
“It’s a huge benefit being near a university campus,” Matthews said. “That, and the diversity downtown has to offer.”
Panetta said the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus acts as a “catalyst for development” in an area that was previously underutilized. He explained such a high concentration of students in a relatively compact area creates an economic effect on the community.
Panetta said the indirect impact students have had far exceeds the direct impact.
“The area is now seen as a stable, desirable place for the community to be,” Panetta explained. “It’s more attractive for those who might want to live in the area or open a business.”
“With an increase in the student population comes an increase in the number of students who will locally rent apartments, go out to dinner and attend local entertainment events, for example,” Rosenblum said
Gordon and Martinez said that ASU’s existence Downtown has helped the city appeal to potential Phoenicians who are looking for an enriching environment to live in.
“We have seen a huge surge of people interested in the Downtown area whose businesses were once solely located in the Scottsdale area,” Martinez said. “They’re starting to branch our because they see more people focusing on Downtown.”
“It’s [ASU] attracted…businesses, restaurants and galleries,” Mayor Gordon said.
“ASU has been in Tempe since 1885, and in Downtown Phoenix since 2006,” Richard explained. “If the community at-large can gain a little perspective and patience, our future will be brighter.”
Martinez said that with increased student population comes increased activity in various businesses located in the area.
“Anytime that you bring in the youth and that kind of energy, especially in large amounts, businesses tend to flourish as they strive to provide for the youth,” Martinez explained. “ASU brought dollars and young energy to support and help the Downtown area grow.”
Arizona State University has “long-range plans” in place to accommodate the projected student growth rate at each campus. Panetta said plans include retail opportunities and more student housing, adding there has been a strong trend for convenient food spots on and near campus.
“Additional retail opportunities will likely emerge in the campus and neighborhood, as well as office and residential projects that will desire proximity to the Downtown campus and the energy and activity it generates as well as the market stability it can help foster,” Panetta said.
Richard said it is a combination of multiple sources that creates a successful Downtown area. Additionally, all major development takes time.
ASU President Michael Crow spoke about the Downtown Phoenix campus during a forum held on Dec. 1, 2009. Crow explained how the city of Phoenix and ASU Downtown have an ideal partnership.
“The Downtown campus is a perfect example of a university and a city with objectives that overlapped with each other,” Crow said. “The city was looking for enterprise and we were looking to expand from the Tempe campus.”
Crow added that there are plans for expanding the Downtown campus’ programs and facilities because it has proved to be a successful campus so far. Additional future plans include moving the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law Downtown, building a third residence hall and creating more retail space.
“We’re at the end of phase one,” Crow said. “We need to finish our planning for phase two.”
Contact Beth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After what many supporters said was a long time coming, Downtown Phoenix officially welcomed the Latino Cultural Center Friday, December 4, with hundreds of supporters in attendance.
Guests were greeted at the new Cultural Center, located at 147 E. Adams St. (light rail station at Central/Washington), with a mariachi band serenading them outside the main doors. The center was adorned with the work of local Hispanic artists, from newcomers in the Phoenix arts scene to seasoned, well-known artists.
Mayor Phil Gordon was on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, along with District 7 Councilman Michael Nowakowski, District 8 Councilman Michael Johnson and Phoenix Deputy City Manager Ruth Osuna, who, according to the mayor, has played an integral part in the center’s opening.
Nowakowski, a lifelong resident of Phoenix, said he is proud of those who assisted in the opening of the center and loves the location already.
“This is truly a miracle. This is where we’re supposed to share our culture with everyone,” Nowakowski said.
Supporters of the center say the modest location is temporary, and believe with more support and contributions from the community it will move to a bigger location.
“We are campaigning for a larger facility; this is not the end,” said Ruben Hernandez, a spokesman for the arts coalition that created the center.
Hernandez said he spoke of the cultural center’s impending existence over five years ago, but it was not until a little over two years ago that tangible plans began to come together.
“They all stepped up to offer support,” Hernandez said.
The center was filled to the brim on Friday with supporters from all across the Valley and from many different communities.
“This should have been done 25 years ago,” local artist Luis Mana said.
Mana has been creating art in the Valley for over 30 years, and believes the Cultural Center will be a wonderful place for young, up-and-coming Hispanic artists to showcase their work.
The Cultural Center, which was created by the Advocates for Latin@ Art & Culture Consortium, will feature art, dance, theatre and music, and will be open and welcome to all, said ErLinda Tórres, President of the ALAC Board of Directors.
For more information on ALAC and the Latino Cultural Center, call 602.254.9817.