News & Events
(From the Wire includes press releases received from reliable sources that help tell the story of the many happenings in Greater Downtown Phoenix. Yep, they are ripped from our inbox.)
No Festival Required Independent Cinema presents a “Building Community Cinema” Film Screening of “The Greenest Building” a film by Jane Turville.
Over the next 20 years, one third of our nation’s existing building stock (over 82 billion square feet) will be demolished in order to replace seemingly inefficient buildings with energy efficient “green” buildings.
Is demolition on this scale really the best use of natural, social and economic resources?
Or, like urban renewal projects of the 1960’s, is it part of a well-intentioned planning strategy with devastating environmental and cultural consequences?
“The Greenest Building” provides a compelling argument for conservation, rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of our existing building stock as the single most effective strategy for reducing, reusing and recycling one of our most important consumer products-our buildings.
Film Screening: “The Greenest Building”
Date: Thursday, February 9
Time: 7 p.m. Doors at 6:30 p.m.
Location: monOrchid 214 East Roosevelt St.
Cost: FREE Admission, sponsored by Butler Housing Company
Seating: There will be a limited amount of chairs. Please consider bringing either a folding or camping chair with you to ensure a seat. There is plenty of room but not a lot of chairs!
Watch the trailer here:
From his Downtown desk, DPJ Fashion Editor Corbin Chamberlin and his team look beyond the central city and share their views on the people and happenings affecting our Valley’s material world.
Visions of Italy in the 1950’s, convertible rides on the Amalfi coast and a sensation of “old world glamour.” That is what ran through the mind of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice” star Kate Walsh when she first smelled the black jasmine and amber scent a year ago, while producing her first fragrance, Boyfriend. A year later, and with a financially successful perfume under her belt, Kate decided to launch Billionaire Boyfriend.
Before I opened the bottle I was judging the fragrance by its title and, frankly, I had my doubts. Anything titled “billionaire” outside of a Forbes article summons thoughts of tackiness and, let’s be honest, the cosmetic industry is littered with failed fragrances by celebrities. Alas, I was taken back by how great the scent actually was; notes of bergamot, tangerine and jasmine made for a sophisticated scent.
I’ve interviewed many celebrities about their products and I’m normally given the same pre-meditated PR answers to my questions. This was not the case with Kate. She gave very thoughtful replies. Without the help of licensing or royalty companies, the Tucson-raised actress shared with me how she took charge of this personally financed product.
“I wanted to make sure this was really something I wanted out there on the market,” she said. “We are a small brand. It’s my first priority to make sure this thing did well – grow in a small and strategic way. I see it as a household name.”
When asked about the most exciting part of planning her perfume launch, she replied “I was most excited about the marketing of the fragrance, and doing this great experiment by trying to market pretty much solely via internet, doing web commercials and really trying to lead with the idea of storytelling.”
Read below my continued conversation with Kate Walsh…
What inspired you to create the new fragrance?
I had this concept of this very luxe, over-the-top fragrance. It all kind of came together as one cohesive idea, in terms of the ‘Billionaire Boyfriend.’ I was intoxicated with this idea of old world luxury, money and fantasy – Italy in the 1950’s and Bond girls. You know, old school luxury. When we were coming up with the original fragrance, the maker brought me this fabulous big floral scent, which was called ‘black jasmine and amber.’ I told her to hold that, and we would revisit that scent for the second fragrance.
Talk to me about the design of the bottle.
We’re re-using the same bottle shape, which is a custom bottle, but were decorating it differently. It’s absolutely gorgeous – the design is really exciting. I was in Paris, in the spring, and was inspired by the old Venetian glass at my hotel. I wanted the bottle to have the reflective qualities of that glass.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve encountered with launching two fragrances?
Gosh, there are so many. I didn’t have the safety net of a licensing deal or loyalty deal, so it’s all kind of terrifying. I had this idea, and I started a company. There is such a huge risk to whole thing.
There are over 1200 fragrances on the market, and sometimes I thought to myself ‘Why am I doing this?’ But I felt so passionate about the idea, product and story. I have to say the biggest insecurity is the boring details. You know it’s hard working full time on ‘Private Practice’ and then having to worry about paperwork and details.
Clearly, the first fragrance was a success. Do you agree?
We launched on HSN last November, 2010, and it’s selling so well at Sephora. We just finished our biggest month to date. A men’s scent on a women’s skin, and refining that, we made it something I want to wear everyday. I wanted this to be wearable and accessible to everyone, not just a niche fragrance. We’ve had great numbers all 2011. This is very exciting to me, because ultimately, if you make something that no one likes, that’s devastating.
Perhaps you received some kind of advice from another celebrity-gone-fragrance-maker?
I didn’t talk to another celebrity about perfume, but I did talk with Molly Sims – she’s lovely. Molly told me about her experience working on HSN. Having her input was really awesome. She and I chatted about starting our own businesses and the challenges of that. I also got a lot of great feedback from my longtime friend, Kate Somerville. She’s got such a great skin care line. I’ve always been a fan of hers – I love her wisdom. Of course, skin care is so much different than fragrance, but I picked her brain about my own line.
Billionaire Boyfriend is available for purchase at HSN.
The 11th Annual Melrose on 7th Avenue Street Fair and Classic Car Show is seeking both food and merchant vendors. The event will be held on Saturday, March 3rd, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on 7th Avenue between Indian School and Campbell.
Originally consisting of a few six foot tables, a few dozen classic cars and a few hundred people, the m7 Street Fair has grown to over 140 booths, food, rides and crafts for the kids, live music and over 200 classic cars. In ten years this award winning event has become one of the most anticipated events of the year.
Organizers expect between 18,000-20,000 to attend.
Visit M7StreetFair.com for vendor applications.
From his Downtown desk, DPJ Fashion Editor Corbin Chamberlin and his team look beyond the central city and share their views on people and happenings affecting our Valley’s material world.
DPJ Fashion Editor Corbin Chamberlin chatted with Ken Downing, the Senior Vice President and Fashion Director of Neiman Marcus. Dressed in Gucci and looking divine, Ken discussed trends, sales and other fashionable happenings with us. Read our conversation with Ken below.
What do you look for when you take on a new or young brand?
There can be risk. When I look for a young designer, I look for someone who has a complete understanding and balance of creative and commerce. There is a lot of young talent out there who doesn’t understand the business aspect of what fashion is; they don’t always bring on really talented business people. I like to find young and emerging talent that has a solid understanding of business, someone like a Jason Wu, who was really more interested early on, to design the craft of dressmaking and building a business on his talent, instead of building a business on his name and his potential celebrity. Actually, I found Jason, and brought him to Neiman Marcus, before all of the excitement around him with the first lady. He’s the real deal. He’s very committed and has a real understanding of who his customer is. That is a really important part of it. A lot of people want to design clothes, but they don’t think about who their customer is. When they’re making these clothes and putting prices on them, asking ‘who that woman is’ and will she spend that much money on clothes.
Talk to me about the Cusp project at NM.
We’re actually taking our contemporary world and re-branding it as ‘Cusp’. Not unlike what they did with 5F at Bergdorf Goodman. Instead of it being a really contemporary department, we’re actually redesigning the look of it, so it will almost be a shop within the store. It will have a very certain point of view and a definite look in the interior. It will also have its own packaging and its own shopping bags. We’re also going to be doing separate marketing, which will come under the Cusp label. We have a couple of freestanding stores now.
I understand your sales of fur have rocketed.
You know it’s been interesting. We have been selling fur at Neiman Marcus since July and it’s been hot all over the country, everywhere. It’s all about the new technology, a lot of it’s knitted, laser and lightweight. It’s remarkable, heavy wools and cashmeres don’t sell when it’s warm, but fur, is not affected. I feel a lot of the fur craze has been driven by the fur vest and chubbies, and the colors.
Can we thank Anna for the fur sales?
(laughs) Well, Anna is certainly a huge proponent of fur. We’re seeing a lot of fur because designers are really trying to put luxury back into their collections. This started over a year ago. After the recession, people were trying to navigate the challenging financial climate that this country and world were going through. A lot of the beautiful details and touches became not as important in the collection, because it felt extravagant. Now that we’re seeing a change in the economy – it’s certainly not cleaned up 100% – designers are feeling more comfortable about putting those luxurious touches back into their collection.
As fashion director, how do you inspire consumers to open up their wallets and spend?
A lot of it has to do with our catalogs. It’s interesting, when you open up a magazine, especially those big fashion issues like September, there is so much advertising and you need to really make a compelling campaign that burns through all the other add campaigns. As fashion director, I select all the pieces for the catalog from the front row to determine what’s going to be photographed in the campaign. I can’t tell you too much, but you’re going to be thrilled with our spring catalog. I really believe in giving women confidence and looking great. You realize in this world of fashion, that there are magazine editors, bloggers – everyone has a fashion opinion. I think one way Neiman Marcus really inspires women is that we are very definitive and have a definite point of view. That’s why I call out trends every season. It becomes a roadmap to a woman. I truly, in my soul, believe that women should look beautiful, pretty and glamorous as they want to be. A lot of times retailers will look for the peculiar and bizarre, and even try to talk over the customers head. Women just want to look great. I really try to instill how to look the best you can and be very authentic about it.
Tell me about your personal blog and online presence?
What’s been most eye-opening for me, the role of the fashion director has changed dramatically in the last 10 to 15 years. People used to go overseas and determine hemlines and heel heights. We still do a little of that, but I’m a brand ambassador and I’m a writer. I write all of my own letters and material in the book. I write all my own blogs. None of that is done with a copy writer, it is all from my own mind. Even when they send out any sort of press, all of the quotes are from me. I don’t let people speak in my voice, because it has to be authentic.
I have my own product line right now. The company’s kind of experimenting and branding me. Metier came to me for spring and asked me to collaborate on a lip and nail color, I actually said no at first. I was a little concerned about putting my name on a product and if it didn’t sell, I was worried, that my ego might take a real hit. But, it sold out. So we came back and we did the Bordeaux collection for fall, which is doing really well. I also just finished my resort collection and did a holiday nail-set for stocking stuffers. I’m also finalizing spring right now. I actually work with the team to develop color, I name all of the products myself. I’m also doing a fragrance. It’s going to be another year. It’s going to be very limited edition, I’m using really rare essences and oils. There is this amazing vault in New Jersey that is full of these rare oils and essences.
It’s safe to say in the recent years NM has aimed more to a younger consumer. Would you agree?
Absolutely. What’s important to Neiman Marcus is that we love our loyal customers that have been with us for years. We would never do anything to make this brand unappealing to them. But, we certainly have to reach out to a new audience, who has not shopped with Neiman Marcus before. It’s why we have a Facebook page. I have been doing my part, I was on Rachel Zoe and Joe Zee’s show, you’re also going to see me on a new version of Project Runway called “Project Runway All Stars.” They have brought back fan-favorites from the past. I’m a bookend, so I’m a guest judge for the first and last episode, selecting the winner. I can’t tell you who the winner is, but people are going to be very excited. They love this person.
What other projects are you working on?
There are some really interesting projects that come through Neiman Marcus. More product categories. Certainly, some interesting ideas with television. I’m often shopped around to do reality T.V. It has to be intelligent and elegant, and needs to appropriate for the brand. I think that reality T.V. is a moment, and it’s a big and long moment that we’re living in right now, but those sort of things live on forever, and I want to make sure that I place a little bit of elegance that carries through my career.
What are your thoughts on Neiman Marcus on social media?
What’s interesting is, I don’t even realize I have the enormous fan base that I have. I still see myself as a kid from Seattle living in some dream. When I’m stopped in airports or New York City and people stop me on the sidewalk, and remember, I am no one, but people know who you are through social media. They see you on these television shows, and they follow what’s going on blogs. It really makes people more connected to you and your brand. It’s so important in our industry, that we connect with our customers face-to-face, It’s actually a conversation Anna Wintour and I had in Paris; it’s important that we are all represented on Facebook and all social media, but it’s also important that I go around to all of the stores and meet those customers in person. There is nothing like a one-on-one with a personality.
Why would a theater company in deep financial trouble mount a revival of a play that shut down on Broadway after only two weeks, and has had only one revival since 1974? That’s what premiered last night, “Dreyfus in Rehearsal,” by Arizona Jewish Theatre at Phoenix College’s John Paul Theater.
Maybe because Janet Arnold, who founded the company 24 years ago, believes it has something to say to Phoenix audiences circa 2012 – she’s literally betting her company’s life on it.
So what’s the big deal? “Deal, shmeal” you might say.
Dreyfus was a fully assimilated Jewish guy born in a part of France that was taken over by Germany in the 1870’s. So his family moved to Paris, he joined the French Army and rose to the rank of Captain by 1894 – when he was set up on treason charges of spying for Germany, stripped of his rank and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil’s Island. His trial set off a firestorm of anti-Semitism in France, and became a cause célèbre of the day. Ten years later he was exonerated, released from prison, and allowed his former rank back. He then served with distinction in WW I and retired as a patriotic French Colonel.
Anything sounding familiar yet?
The play is set in a Jewish Ghetto in Poland eight years before Hitler invaded, where a bunch of amateur actors are trying to understand why they need to deal with this strange episode in French history. They feel that any nice Jewish boy would never be delusional enough to think he’d be accepted by Polish society, never think of joining the army, never cry out that he loves Poland and loves the Polish Army as he was led off to prison. He would never make waves, just try and remain invisible in his ghetto, hoping to escape any notice by the Poles.
Why does Janet think this story is important enough to risk her company’s future to produce here in Arizona at this moment in history?
Their rehearsal is broken up by a gang of anti-Semitic thugs. Most of the cast escapes to safe places like Berlin and Warsaw. The others go back to doing Yiddish shtick, asking one question of the audience before fading into the dark.
The cast does a somewhat creditable job of it. The theater is cozy, the ushers caring and friendly, the Fairytale Brownies are good at intermission. Everything is two dollars. Easy to remember.
Go. Think about why this theater company is doing this. It will be worth it.