Remember the guy who taught you how to ride a bike? Who interrogated your prom date about his intentions? Or maybe you were cheered by him at your sports games growing up? There’s a good chance you call that man your father (or father figure), and this weekend just happens to have a special day for him.
But how do you show your appreciation? While spending time together may rank as the #1 gift, spending a few bucks on the guy at these Downtown Phoenix boutiques surely ranks a close second.
If your dad tends to shop at brand-name stores and would never be caught dead in a regular T-shirt, then you likely have a pretty debonair dad. This man don’t care for the typical clothing that doesn’t have any pizzazz – he likes to make an entrance and isn’t afraid to stand out in a crowd. Amir’s La Voûte, located inside Vintage by Misty on Central, has his essentials covered.
If your dad is relaxed and loves to throw on his favorite old T-shirt for any occasion, then you most likely have a street-style father. This chill attitude exudes through his wardrobe choices. He might layer the classic essentials with a vintage twist and, sure enough, those proportions work cohesively for him. GrowOP is a fabulous shop on 6th St. that is sure to be equipped with a thing or two to give to the street-style dad.
If your dad is always impeccably dressed, seamlessly put together, but always has a quirky detail on his outfit, then you probably have a hipster father. This man leaves no detail untouched and always has the perfect accessories to complete his ensemble. He also knows he likes to keep things simple and demure, perfect for a business meeting yet still appropriate for afternoon cocktails. Dapper+Dash, sold at Mercantile on Central, is a brand dedicated to the bow-tie, and perfect fit for the hipster dad!
For information on sales happening at these boutiques in June, check out the Fashion Roundup!
The Garfield Galleria is home to many talented artists, including three fashion-forward designers. I sat down with a T-shirt creator, jewelry maker and a gown seamstress and got an up-close look at their operations.
Brian Cresson, 28, is the sole designer and curator for Alter Ego, his handmade T-shirt line that is expanding quickly in the Downtown community. He uses completely original designs and stencils on each shirt, and even makes his own tags with his vintage typewriter.
Downtown Phoenix Journal: How did you come up with Alter Ego as your brand’s name?
Brian Cresson: At the time I was still at my other job, which was managing some restaurants at a local resort, I kind of started doing this and I decided to make the move down and get a little more involved in my art. So at the time it was sort of my alter ego, later on I realized that out there was my alter ego but in here doing this was the real me.
DPJ: When did you first begin creating art?
BC: It is something I have always been into. I have always been making things, building and painting things. As far as really getting into this it has really been over the past few years.
DPJ: How long ago did you decide to become a full-time artist?
BC: It has been about 3 months now. A lot of things have really happened in just a couple of months. I was juggling both of them and it felt like my other job was taking away from my creative time. It wasn’t fair to keep doing that.
BC: My main focus is the clothing right now. I was painting for a while . . . I had been pushing that for a long time trying to get people to catch on to what I was doing. I then started cutting sleeves off of my T-shirts and jeans into shorts and I decided to make a stencil to put my studio on my shirt then I thought oh I can add a little more to that and I added a few photos of them on Facebook and within two days I had about 10 requests for shirts. It was just like this is it. I have always been into fashion and I have stood out at times, so when that hit it was a light bulb moment and so I hung the paintings up and started figuring out how to do clothing. I just taught myself and I learn something new everyday.
DPJ: How do you choose your fabrics for the shirts?
BC: Everything is handpicked. I collect vintage shirts from around town; thrifting all around from the Downtown shops to Mesa. I pick depending on the feel of the shirt, how worn is it and what the print is on it. I like a lot of local stuff and I find really neat pieces that are of different things that have happened in the past in Arizona and the world, like one from Arnold Schwarzenegger running for California governor to beat the heat shirts from the heat wave in Arizona in 1991. A lot of my time is picking the right shirts and colors.
BC: First I hand pick the shirt for the design, from there I am hand drawing whatever symbol or design that is going to be on there and then making that into a stencil, which I also hand cut. Then working right on the floor, I use actual screen print ink and I paint it by hand with a paint brush. It is quite a tedious process.
DPJ: How long does each shirt take to make?
BC: Anywhere from one to four hours, but that varies with each shirt. The thing is I am not doing the same thing over and over again, so it changes every time. I just keep on trying something new, which is my fault. It is evolving really quickly.
DPJ: First painting and now T-shirts, what is next for you?
BC: I want to expand to more types of clothing, more feminine cuts for shirts and tanks, creating shoes, bags and dresses. I will also use more interesting fabrics in the future.
DPJ: Are you involved in the Downtown community?
BC: Yeah, I really have fallen in love with the people and scene down here. The whole community I have come into is a great feel. I have been involved with Roosevelt Row CDC and the Valley of the Sunflowers, from the planting of the seeds to maintaining the field and the harvesting this weekend. Everyone Downtown is very supportive of what I am doing.
DPJ: Other than in the gallery, are the shirts available anywhere else?
BC: They are featured at GROWop right now, but it is all so new so finding the right places to carry them is still in process. I also have my ETSY shop. I will be having a First Friday show on Friday, July 6 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at GROWop as well.
Take a peek inside locals’ shopping bags and learn how they use health and beauty products in everyday life.
Name: Ronda Hampton
Occupation: Bartender at Legacy Golf Resort
Her Neighborhood: Central Phoenix
Where spotted: Haven Boutique (pictured below)
What she purchased:
• Tokyo Milk Le Petit Handcreme
• Love & Toast Cherry Lemonade Lip Balm
• Love & Toast Sugar Grapefruit Handcreme
• Two handmade bracelets
• Vintage sterling ring
Why she chose these products: The jewelry would probably make great gifts, but I picked these up for myself because they were so pretty. I picked the beauty products for the scents. They are so summery, light and cool, which is great in the hot Arizona summer.
Her must-haves: The hand cremes will be something I use everyday because I will probably just throw them in my purse. It’s something that’s great to always have right there with me when I need it.
How she benefits: I’ve bought a Love & Toast handcreme before and I love it because its non-greasy and it’s not too heavy at all. Now I’m picking up a new scent, but I already know I love the product. The lip balm is something new I had to try because the scent is irresistible. Its ingredients are all-natural and the list is simple and straight-forward. The Tokyo Milk also has an ingredient list with only four things listed on it, which I think is great because it’s not hard to understand what it’s made of.
Why they fit her style: The mix of vintage (jewelry) and new products makes my purchases unique and shows I like trying out the new while still using old favorites. And I’m all about the natural and simple ingredients in my beauty products because I like to be able to understand what’s in them.
Steve Weiss took out his yellow highlighter.
The local resident and film programmer was preparing to show an independent documentary at the Phoenix Art Museum and was marking up the resumé of Los Angeles filmmaker, Andrea Kreuzhage.
He wanted to mention some of her most significant projects to the audience during his introduction to her piece, “1000 Journals,” but he realized he was highlighting almost all of them. Unable to choose from the impressive list of experience, he asked Kreuzhage what he should talk about.
“I don’t want you to mention any of that,” she replied. “If you want to say anything, say that I sold my house to make this film.”
“That’s why I like independent films,” Weiss explains as he tells the story that has stuck with him for the last three years.
Weiss’s Phoenix-based, one-man film programming company, No Festival Required, is turning a decade old this year – a milestone he’s amazed by.
“It was a total crapshoot 10 years ago,” he says.
The idea developed out of his and the film community’s discontent with the traditional process of film festivals, which Weiss says rarely includes explaining to filmmakers why their pieces aren’t selected and often includes charging such filmmakers the same entry fee as those who receive slots in the festivals.
Weiss came across filmmakers in search of other avenues for presenting their short films and, in 2002, he began forming “the anti-festival.”
In June of that year, Weiss and former Modified Arts booker Leslie Barton threw up a sheet at the gallery and performance venue and waited to see if anyone would show up to watch the approximately 60 minutes of content Weiss had gathered. After seeing a decent turnout, Weiss and Barton deemed the inaugural show a success and decided to continue it. They played more than 600 short films in 50 screenings over a period of five and a half years.
While still screening regularly at Modified Arts, Weiss began showing movies at other venues. His first show outside of NFR’s Roosevelt Row home occurred at the Phoenix Art Museum in February 2004 and consisted of a compilation of what he considered to be the best short films from the screenings at Modified Arts.
In 2010, Weiss heard about FilmBar, a independent movie theater-slash-bar, slated to open in Downtown Phoenix. He approached owner Kelly Aubey about getting involved, and after assisting with six months of pre-planning, Weiss spent six more programming for the space until his departure in August 2011.
Weiss has learned over the years that bringing a film to an audience is much easier than bringing an audience to a film.
While screening at one location, Weiss had to attract people who were willing to see a flick that they knew nothing about and maybe wouldn’t even relate to. But showing movies at various locations allows him to present a broader range of work and attract viewers who actually have an interest in the specific content of the films.
He says his Building Communities Cinema series, which includes films about improving the livability of cities, attracts many Downtowners and arts advocates.
Weiss’s predictions for the future of NFR include continuing to work with many different venues and individuals, becoming more involved in the film distribution process to help filmmakers promote and sell their films, and maybe even bringing shows to small towns interested in creating art house, documentary and independent film environments.
Weiss enjoys gathering the community around uncommon cinema and championing filmmakers’ good works.
“There are a few films that I’ve screened and re-screened because I just think if the whole world hasn’t seen these films, I’m just going to show them again and again until just one person is left in the theater,” he says.
For Weiss, one of the biggest benefits of working with independent films is developing close connections with filmmakers like Kreuzhage, whose “1000 Journals” documentary he has screened twice.
“For the viewer, I think it’s knowing that people really put their hearts into these things,” he says.
Film: “Trimpin: The Sound of Invention”
Filmmaker: Peter Esmonde
Date: Thursday, June 14, 2012
Time: 7:30 p.m. (Doors open at 7 p.m.)
Where: SMoCA Lounge, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
Synopsis: “A documentary feature profiling the life and work of a highly creative and somewhat eccentric artist/inventor/engineer/composer. The artist Trimpin generally shuns publicity, yet he has received a MacArthur ‘Genius’ Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and many other international accolades for his outrageous musical investigations.” Learn more
Film: “Two Americans”
Filmmakers: Dan De Vivo and Valeria Fernández
Date: Monday, June 18, 2012
Time: 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30 p.m.)
Where: 3rd Street Theater, Phoenix Center for the Arts
Synopsis: “The life of a 9-year old child is forever changed when ‘America’s Toughest Sheriff’ arrests her Mexican parents for working at a local carwash. Fighting to rescue her parents from deportation, Katherine Figueroa becomes the poster child of a movement to oust Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio from office. Exposed by the media, Kathy’s family is challenged to overcome their fear of living in Arizona. But when Sheriff Joe uses his power to retaliate against the County Board, it’s the legality of his actions that is questioned. Now the Sheriff’s fate hangs in the balance of an FBI criminal probe.” Learn more
Blue Hound Kitchen and Cocktails is trying to do something right.
Padded gloves in their approach, the powers behind the new Downtown restaurant and cocktail marker inside the equally fresh Hotel Palomar have made a transparent effort to court and coddle the new neighborhood in which they are rooted. Hopefully, this transcends over time.
Unlike other recent Downtown hotel (or big-monied) projects, who landed Downtown like an alien spacecraft, there seems to be an edge of awareness for the Downtown community here that separates.
A large, deep-pocketed development this may be, splashy and superficial it is not. With equal attention paid to both its physical, and spiritual, design, Blue Hound Kitchen and Cocktails appears to be a nice layover between that quirky, idealistic (and independent) hot-spot we Downtown die-hards crave, and the more manufactured corporate digs our transitioning Downtown still needs, despite those entrenched cravings to the contrary.
Weathered wood, untreated metal and communal energy pervade Blue Hound. Its deceptively raw interior is trimmed by art both playful and pointed, and, with its floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the city just above street level, Downtown’s biggest inherent asset is always dining with you: a genuine urban environment.
Honest in its hotel restaurant genes, but clear in its stance to veer off course, Blue Hound’s food menu straddles the accessible and foreign. Arizona-grown food items are injected throughout, and responsibly raised and sourced produce, proteins and seafood have a clear agenda here. The balance between food-cost and food ethics hits a good middle ground here.
Executive Chef Steven Jones is a local player who knows Arizona well, too. From respectable stints at Tarbell’s and most recently Latilla at the Boulders Resort in Carefree, Jones understands local palates and what’s possible market-wise.
Otherwise common short-ribs lean uncommon at Blue Hound, with their Flintstone-sized entry (full order $26; half $15). One of the menu’s biggest jewels, it’s a primal cauldron of tender red-meat that has been lacquered in a sarsaparilla-heavy barbeque sauce. The blue cheese grits that sit beneath show restraint, and the pickled peaches that bedazzle this aggressive rib are great, providing that perfect smack of summer.
The Kentucky-fried quail ($15) is another example of Blue Hound and Jones’ intention to tease without obscuring. Seasoned quail, fried flaky, screams of the famed Colonel’s secret recipe – Jones claims to harbor its secret mix – climbs a cube of foie gras cornbread (you read correctly) and swims in a sinful, spiced red bean gravy. These are trophy southern flavors twisted with reinvention.
Blue Hound’s beverage program is probably one of the outpost’s flashiest canons. Initially guided by San Francisco-based mixologist Jacques Bezuidenhout, but built-out and fully refined by two of the Phoenix area’s most talented and enthusiastic bar personalities Shel Bourdon and Tyson Buhler, the booze menu is extensive but smart, and reasonable: most cocktails float at price point of $10 or less.
Never overwhelming, the bar showcases a brainy catalog of top-shelf spirits. From gin to scotch, rye to mezcal, Blue Hound is clearly braiding the sentiments of timeless, prohibition-era cocktailing with the exploding ambitions of current craft cocktail trends. Much like the food menu at Blue Hound, these are hand-crafted drinks that will please ardent spirit geeks and surprise unknowing hotel guests alike.
For something more serious, be sure investigate the appropriately named “The Darkness” ($10), a smoky cocktail with Bols Genever (think a malty Dutch gin), homemade lavender syrup, fresh lemon, mezcal, amaro (bitter herbal liqueur) and egg white. It’s floral, deep and smooth – the perfect introduction to an evening of menu hopping.
For something a little airier, swing for the Heathen Child ($10), a bright muddle of strawberries, Jamaican rum, strawberry-coconut creme, ginger liqueur, fresh lime and orange bitters. A cold pitcher of this on a sweltering Phoenix afternoon? Instant relief.
Blue Hound’s wine list covers ample ground as well, with almost 70 varieties – some on tap – represented efficiently. For sud lovers, a great craft beer checklist exists presenting options bottled and on tap, local and beyond. Blue Hound also flexes its muscle with its house-made ginger beer, served on tap – one of the first bars in Arizona to exploit this trend. Spicy and fragrant, their version is worth a sip. Added to a cold, fizzy cocktail or guzzled virgin, straight from the tap, it’s ginger beer on another level.
Exploring the rest of the Palomar’s multi-level lobby and common areas, you’ll also discover what is soon to be one of Downtown’s most buzzing perches, the expansive pool terrace and outdoor bar area Lustre. A colorful plank overlooking Downtown’s growing skyline, the entire space is ripe for early afternoons and late evenings lounging outdoors with icy cocktails and great gossip. Totally urban, totally un-characteristic of Phoenix (or Scottsdale), this space alone marks a new era in Downtown socializing.
Outside of Blue Hound Kitchen, and Lustre, the Palomar Hotel in its entirety lacks most of the pretension local cynics will be hunting for. Alien in its arrival it is not, the newest player on the block respectfully cues our neighborhood – and its possible future – without completely succumbing to its (sometimes) provincial pitfalls. It’s confident, proud and perfectly happy to be in Phoenix.
We couldn’t agree more.