Tag Archives: Modified Arts

Art meets asphalt?

The Weekend Pilots perform during the 2012 Phoenix Fringe Festival

Art meets asphalt next weekend as Asphalt Arts performs “Food for Thought” — a work featuring spoken word, drama, dance and audience participation — at Warehouse 1005. It’s part of the 2012 Phoenix Fringe Festival that kicks off Fri, March 2 — and includes more than 20 original works performed at five different venues.

“Food for Thought” was created in collaboration with homeless youth served by the Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development. Asphalt Arts also collaborates with ArtsWork: The Kax Herberger Center for Children and the Arts, a program of the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, to bring “the expressive power of the theatre and digital story-telling” to Tumbleweed youth.

Actors Alchemy also performs three short plays during this year’s festival. Their “Short Play Festival” consists of “The Yard Sale,” “Holly,” and “Make This Go Away.” Sounds like a tour of my garage, though I’m certain it’s something more. “Short Play Festival” is being performed March 2-4 at Space 55.

Come Thurs, March 8, you can enjoy a performance of “The Weekend Pilots’ Musical Comedy Show,” the only other Fringe offering at Space 55 that looks tame enough to mention here (though looks can be deceiving). These three snappy dressers (pictured in pink above) promise a “fusion of comedy, rock, rap, electronica, dancing, and costumed characters.” Let’s hope they leave a certain politician’s new hairdo out of the mix.

The 2012 Phoenix Fringe Festival (March 2-11) features theater, dance, music and poetry

This year’s Phoenix Fringe Festival has a pair of offerings particularly well-suited to dance and music lovers. Dulce Dance Company performs March 2 & 4 at Warehouse 1005. The venue welcomes “Cool Like That: A Tribute to Miles Davis” March 2, 3 & 10. It’s “a poetic narrative by and about Miles with chronological sequencing that reflects upon the social and political climate of his time.” Think poetry/spoken word, live music, vocals and dance.

Five works are being performed at Modified Arts and three at the FilmBar in Phoenix. The four works being presented at The Studio at Phoenix Center for the Arts include “The Other Side of History,” written and performed by The Soul Justice Project and “SWAN dubstep” performed by SWAN (Devan Martinez).

The Soul Justice Project describes their work as a piece of hip hop theatre that fuses poetry, dance and music to “address key political issues facing the AZ community.” Martinez is “on a mission to educate the world about common misconceptions” surrounding pop music (think Top 40 tunes).

Learn more about the 2012 Phoenix Fringe Festival, and their projects supporting Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development, at www.phxfringe.org.

– Lynn

Note: Many Phoenix Fringe Festival works include mature content and language suitable for adults rather than youth. Review the Raising Arizona Kids Magazine calendar in print or online to find family-friendly fare.

Coming up: Five festivals for families, The fine art of Freud?, Celebrating World Theatre Day

Update: The Soul Justice Project performance has been cancelled. Click here to find this and other updates on the Phoenix Fringe Festival Facebook page.

Chicago envy?

I spent an evening in Chicago once — if a trip to and from the airport and a concert venue counts. It was many years ago, and I made the journey with my youngest daughter after a foiled attempt to meet the Jonas Brothers during a Phoenix meet and greet.

The Phoenix concert venue erred in getting us the wristbands and details needed to attend the Phoenix meet and greet, an opportunity Lizabeth won through a contest sponsored by one of her favorite stores. So we tried again in Chicago, but fared no better.

I’ll spare you the details, although I have Chicago on the brain this weekend because Lizabeth, now a 17-year-old high school senior, is there visiting one of her top three college/conservatory choices — and seeing the play “God of Carnage.”

This poster (from All Posters) features a Richard Cummins photograph of the Chicago Theatre

When I think Chicago, I think museums. I think deep-dish pizza. I think Barack Obama. I think cutting-edge theater, and plenty of it. And sometimes I even get “Chicago envy” — wishing Phoenix had the same wealth of diverse theater options.

But I enjoyed a bit of an attitude adjustment Friday when I read some thoughts sent via e-mail by Tom Tiding, writer and sole performer in the 2011 Phoenix Fringe Festival piece titled “Twisted: Greeting Card Moments Gone Bad.”

“I chose to debut ‘Twisted’ in Phoenix,” wrote Tiding, “partly because there’s such a can-do attitude in Arizona.” Then he added the following:

“Phoenix has this fantastic growing arts scene where it just feels like anything is possible. When I began researching the arts scene in Phoenix, I was blown away by the diversity of people’s experiences– I started reading your posts, and it’s just like a breath of fresh air. It’s so inclusive and positive.”

“I’ve got long-time friends in Arizona,” wrote Tiding, “so I know the past few years have been tough, but I think that can-do attitude is what will get everyone through the tough economic times and some of the divisions that go with that.”

I think I’d like this fellow even if he didn’t have such fine taste in blog posts. Seems he grew up in a family that always made homemade greeting cards for each other. “Mine,” he quips, “tended to be on the more sarcastic side.”

After seeing his cards displayed at an art exhibit, Tiding got requests from folks who wanted to buy them. Once retailers got ahold of the cards, they started asking Tiding how he ‘got so twisted.’ Tiding began sharing “snippets on the true stories behind the cards” — and the play “Twisted” was born.

There’s nothing like uncovering evidence to support one’s own convictions. So when Tiding shared the following, I felt vindicated in my advocacy for a crayon in every corner: “My family always made sure we had something we could draw or write with,” he wrote. “Mostly because it was cheaper and they didn’t have any money.”

Tiding, who nowadays works with a D.C.-based group called “Speakeasy,” includes plenty of family anecdotes during his “Twisted” piece. So those of you not whizzing off to Chicago for a show next weekend needn’t worry that you’re missing cutting-edge performance art.

Trust me when I tell you that his family is anything but typical. And that the only thing Chicago has on Phoenix when the Phoenix Fringe Festival comes around each year is the perfect pie.

– Lynn

Note: Twisted Tidings is “a greeting card company for people who want to throw up when they read greeting cards.” You can enjoy Tiding’s twisted theatrical performance April 8-10 at Modified Arts (as part of the 2011 Phoenix Fringe Festival).

Coming up: Another cool artist who crafts poetic e-mails

Definition of a dream

Call those babysitters! The 2011 Phoenix Fringe Festival starts tonight!

Many of us wake up every day in warm, secure houses with pantries full of food and closets brimming with clothes. We dream of smarter phones, faster computers, bigger television screens.

But the dreams of homeless teens are very different. You can get a rare glimpse into the lives of homeless youth in Phoenix by attending a play titled “Definition of a Dream.”

It’s being presented April 1-3 by homeless youth who developed the original work in conjunction with Sarah Sullivan and the Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development. The Center describes the work as follows:

“Through the artistic experience, young people take their stories to the stage, looking to change the conversation about homelessness in Phoenix, one show at a time. This year’s play takes a look at dreams — the dreams we have for ourselves, for the people in our lives and our community as a whole.”

“Definition of a Dream” asks a powerful question: “What are the things we have to fight for and against to make these dreams a reality?”

The play is one of many thought-provoking works being presented as part of the Phoenix Fringe Festival, which runs April 1-10 at various downtown Phoenix venues.

Tickets for tonight’s performance of “Definition of a Dream” were not available online when I checked Friday afternoon, but tickets for the Sat, April 2 (5:30pm) and Sun, April 3 (8pm) performances may still be out there — but don’t delay in checking the Phoenix Fringe Festival website if you’d like to attend this or other works.

“Definition of a Dream” is being performed at “Modified Arts” at 407 E. Roosevelt in Phoenix. Additional venues for 2011 Phoenix Fringe Festival performances (most appropriate only for mature audiences) include Phoenix Theatre: Little Theatre, Third Street Theatre, Soul Invictus, Bragg’s Pie Factory and Space 55.

You can check out the full “Fringe” schedule (which also includes after-parties and such) at www.phxfringe.org. After reviewing the schedule the other day, I noticed that there are works dealing with religion, sexuality, border issues and a whole lot more. Even Greek myth and Shakespeare manage to get in the game.

Several “Fringe” works, including “Twisted: Greeting Card Moments Gone Bad” by “Tom T. and Twisted Tidings,” are presented by a single artist. Some are presented by local artists, others by artists from other regions (including Australia). A few include students from Arizona State University.

You can get a good feel for the festival by considering the titles of some of the pieces being performed. Schreibstuck. Oppressed. Borders and Bridges. Hamlet Machine. The Panic Opera Sacraments. Too Close to the Sun. Your Teacher Never Told You….

There’s even “Confessions of a Mormon Boy,” which may hold special appeal for those of you who, like myself, have yet to snag tickets to the new Broadway musical titled “The Book of Mormon” (billed by some as an atheist love song to believers).

The Phoenix Fringe Festival is an edgy, off-the-beaten-path experience that’s fun for date nights, outings with friends or solo adventures. Think of it as a way to up the job numbers for all those babysitters out there.

Consider an afternoon, evening or weekend out with the “Fringe.” You might be offended. You might be educated. You might be inspired. But I doubt you’ll be bored. It’s a great way to explore our smaller community theater venues, enjoy affordable performance art and meet folks who probably wouldn’t recognize a remote control if they saw one.

– Lynn

Note: Attend the Phoenix Fringe Festival and you can save $10 off your ticket to “Liz Lerman Dance Exchange: The Matter of Origins” Monday, April 11, at ASU Gammage (use the code FRINGE when ordering tix from the ASU Gammage box office or 480-965-3434).

Coming up: Jellly bean dreams, Chicago envy?

Art adventures: Roosevelt Row

Recently I headed downtown with my son Christopher eager to shoot some photos. We decided to stroll a bit along “Roosevelt Row” after the bold graffiti art caught our eye.

We grabbed drinks at a cute little place called “Carly’s” (home to the “Twilight” homage painting in the slide show below), then walked over to the “Eye Lounge” art gallery (next to “Modified Arts,” which was closed at the time).

In a little gift shop next to “Eye Lounge” exhibit space, we found all sorts of eclectic gifts, some more odd than others. Funky ties. T-shirts featuring the fanged rabbit art of Sebastien Millon. Jewelry by local artists.

Here’s a slide show featuring just a few of our many fun finds…

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While we don’t know the names of artists who created the graffiti we encountered, I do want to share the names of two artists whose work on exhibit at “Eye Lounge” is included in the above slide show.

The gold skull is part of a Crystal Phelps exhibition titled “Fielding Form” and the sculpture is a work titled “The Obsessive Man” by Benjamin Phillips — a cautionary tale, perhaps, for editors who have little too much fun wielding the red pen.

Click here to learn more about “Roosevelt Row” — a fun place to support local merchants, discover unique events and just kick around with a camera.

You can head to “Roosevelt Row” and surrounding areas this weekend, March 19 & 20, for an event dubbed “Art Detour 23.” It runs Sat 10am-6pm and Sun noon-6pm in the “Arts District of Downtown Phoenix.”

Guided tours of “Roosevelt Row” — departing from the information booth at 515 Arts — take place Sat at 10:45am and 12:45pm.

Click here to learn about other “Art Detour 23″ offerings — which include demonstrations, artist talks, meet & greets, live music performances and fashion events.

Just promise me you won’t buy the last fanged bunny top. It’s just the sort of thing my teens would enjoy finding in their Easter baskets.

– Lynn

Note: Roosevelt Row also participates in First Friday and other downtown Phoenix events.

Coming up: Art programs for kids

Photo credit: Lynn Trimble