Twice during the month of February, Phoenix area residents were treated to historic home tours. This coming Sunday, March 7, the caravan moves Uptown, for a glimpse of what life is like in Windsor Square.
The Windsor Square neighborhood, which is located just north of Camelback Road and stretches from Central Avenue to 7th Street, was originally one of Phoenix’s first suburbs. This neighborhood of 260 homes was predominantly built in the 1930s and ’40s, and is unique for older Phoenix neighborhoods, as the lots were laid out on “curvy” streets as opposed to the standard “grid” street program.
The Windsor Square Tour, which is held every other year, will be a self-guided walking tour of 11 historic homes and gardens. The tour runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased in advance online or on the day of the event. Tour headquarters on Sunday will be at Orange Drive and 2nd Street, just northeast of the Central/Camelback intersection.
Lyle Plocher is a licensed Arizona real estate broker with the Urban Connection Realty team at HomeSmart. Lyle can be reached at email@example.com.
It’s called [title of show]. When I had first heard about this production, I thought, “OK, a musical about musicals?” I pictured a combination of West Side Story, Wicked, Rent and Le Miserables. You know, where Maria meets Jean Valjean and where Glinda and Tom Collins are lovers. The only route I could see was simply a parody.
While comfortable in my seat waiting for the show, I thumbed through the program to see what this play is about. I noticed that there are merely five cast members and that the stage is minimally designed. Well, at this point I knew my theory was way off. At that point, I’m thinking this play could go anywhere, so I patiently wait for it to start.
The lights dim, some activity is happening on stage and suddenly there is music. As the lights come up, all cast members burst into tune with the accompanying keyboard riffs. It took me a second to put it together, but I realized that they are singing about the first song of the show. What, the first song of the show? I literally mean the song is about singing the first song in their musical. How clever!
I was pleasantly surprised at the wit and simpleness of this play that spent three months on Broadway. After all, people are used to big props, popular actors or actresses playing the lead roll and lavish costumes to go along with it. Not this show: five cast members, a keyboard, four chairs and a couple of doors are all they needed to complete a Broadway-worthy production.
I can’t go into too much detail, because you should really see this play for yourself, but I can tell you that they touch on every aspect of two guys who come up with an idea to write a play together. Think of it as though you were watching 24 — real-time TV. Well, this is real-time theater.
After the show, we were fortunate enough to participate in a discussion panel with the actors and actresses. The music and lyrics were written by Jeff Bowmen and the book by Hunter Bell. Originally, when the play was on Broadway, the characters played themselves. This truly is an autobiographical production — it took four-and-a-half painstaking years to create. As more questions were asked by the audience, we were enlightened by the fact that some of the actors starring in the Arizona Theatre Company production are close friends with the writers. All of the actors in this production of [title of show] were excellent, and I was able to emerge myself in all of their characters.
[title of show] is playing at the Herberger Theater through March 7. The creators of the show, Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell, will appear on stage March 4 for a post-show discussion. Also, original cast member Larry Pressgrove will play the role of “Larry” for the final week of the Phoenix run. Don’t miss this opportunity to see an intelligent off-Broadway production and meet the creators to ask them all the questions I guarantee you will have in the end!
The Herberger Theater is located at 222 E. Monroe St. (light rail station at Washington/Jefferson and 3rd St.) — 602.754.7399
From the Arizona Room is a weekly column examining the historic, reuse and infill structures in Downtown Phoenix. The inspiration for this column stems from the ever-expanding resources in Burton Barr Central Library’s Arizona Room (located on the fourth floor). For further information on this and other historic structures in the area, visit the Arizona Room during normal library hours.
1210 N. 5th Ave. in Roosevelt
It’s impossible to miss from several thoroughfares — 3rd, 5th and 7th avenues and I-10, in particular — the massive Neoclassical building teetering on the edge of the former Kenilworth Historic District (now part of the larger Roosevelt Historic District). It is the Kenilworth School, and it has been enriching Downtown elementary students since 1920.
The columned Neoclassical Revival façade of the building is demanding, towering in scope and just plain impressive to see. The front portico features six 35-foot Roman Ionic columns, an entablature with a pediment top proudly proclaiming, KENILWORTH.
Construction of the school began in 1919 using architect Verne Wallingford’s design, heavily influenced by Revival-style lines that were popular in the 1910s and ’20s.
Remarkably, the building is in fantastic condition and still operating as it was in 1920, despite 90 years of children running through its halls. A major renovation occurred in 1981, but perhaps the most remarkable feat is its current location: mere feet away from the walls of I-10. The school was spared from the freeway expansion, which cut through neighboring buildings to the south and through parts of the F.Q. Story neighborhood to the west. The school now has convenient 5th/7th Avenue entrances off the interstate.
One of few A++ schools in the area, Kenilworth has a proud tradition in Roosevelt. Famous alumni include Margaret Hance (namesake to the neighboring park across 5th Avenue) and Barry Goldwater.
Sources: Staging a Comeback — The Arizona Commission on the Arts by Gerald A. Doyle & Associates, P.C.; National Register of Historic Places
Is there a historic property in Downtown Phoenix you’d like to see in From the Arizona Room? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the address and a brief description.
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I just got home from Sweets & Beats and I already want to go back for more candy and vinyl.
This place is a small shop specializing in music and old school candy. They are nestled between The Trunk Space and The Bikini Lounge.
I found lots of great records ranging from Talking Heads, various ska bands and a Rudy Ray Moore album. Good selection of yummy candy like squirrel nut zippers (a chewy, nutty candy), lemon heads, cherry heads, bubble gum cigrars and cigarettes. They also have a selection of books, t-shirts and novelty items.
Definitely check Sweets & Beats out. It’s a great addition to the downtown area and it’s owned by two wonderful people.
Cash only here folks, so bring the green. Everything is pretty cheap, so you can walk out with a bag of candy under $3.
Sweets & Beats is located at 1504 NW Grand Ave — 602.253.9258
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I will start out by apologizing. Most of the time I talk about a coffee joint, people want to know how great its espresso is or how great the drip is. Despite my ravenous thirst for brewed things (i.e., sweet tea and beer), my palate is inept at distinguishing coffee. That might be because I generally cover most of the authentic coffee flavor with copious amounts of sugar and cream — virtually rendering it a mocha or milkshake by definition. So, you are blessed by hearing about the amazing baked goods on their counters and, of course, how their mochas compare to each other.
Lux is most certainly the place to be. If you have not gone there yet, I must ask if you have a pulse or happen to have been stranded on a desert island for the last decade (don’t laugh, it happens — just ask Tom Hanks). The ambiance and overall chill factor make this place a great place to work, talk, indulge or just spend the afternoon. You might even see some local celebs — like Si Robins, Beverly Kidd or Chris Bianco — if you are lucky.
The fact that the staff is so attentive and good at what they do just amplifies their staying power. Upon entering after about your third time, you are almost guaranteed to be greeted by name. They recognize my order a mile away. A velvet (their mocha) and the latest pastry to grace the counter. What can I say. I’m predictable.
On this trip, Lux outdid itself. The velvet is arguably my favorite mocha in town. It is always prepared the exact same way — splendiferous. Creamy and piping hot, there is no denying that this milk chocolaty dream is too good to be true. Each sip is like diving into bliss.
I move on to the crown jewel of the evening, the angel food cake. To mortalize this sugary spectacle by calling it “good” or even “great” would be a slap in the face to its true taste. Every soft, lemony bite was better than the last. The blackberry glaze actually reminded me of the fresh-picked blackberries that my grandmother uses to make her famous blackberry preserves. It made me tear up. Geez, I tear up a lot over food. Don’t judge me.
If the title of this entry or its contents reminded you at all to go to Lux today, consider that I did you a giant favor. Don’t worry, though. You can pay me off with a velvet or a slice of cake.
Lux is located at 4404 N. Central Ave in Midtown (light rail station at Central/Campbell) — 602.696.9976