Tag Archives: rock and roll

I-Spy: Guitars

As the “Six-String Masterpieces” exhibit enjoys its final week at the Mesa Art Center museum, I’m revisiting a few of my own guitar images — collected during travels near home and beyond.

Soft toy guitars from the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix

Neon guitar that hangs in the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square

Culinary fare from the MIM that could pass as a guitar or violin

Guitar case belonging to an Occupy Wall Street protester in NYC 

Sign for the guitar exhibit at Mesa Contemporary Arts

The “Six-String Masterpieces” exhibit, which is curated by Curse Mackey, runs through Dec. 4 in the South Gallery of the MAC museum. It’s described as “a charitable art exhibition featuring a impressive collection of Dean Electric Guitars that have been hand-painted, illustrated and sculpted by leading musicians and contemporary visual artists.”

With more than $200,000 raised to date, the exhibit “continues to evolve as an ongoing charitable exhibition that serves to raise awareness and support for music education and carries a message of anti-violence.” All proceeds from “Six-String Masterpieces” benefit a music education charity called “Little Kids Rock.”

Folks eager to enjoy guitars in the hands of those who play them can head to Tucson for an exhibition titled “Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present.” The exhibit, organized by the Brooklyn Museum with guest curator Gail Buckland, runs through Jan 15 at the Tucson Museum of Art – and is part of a larger experience called “Tucson Rocks.”

The University of Arizona Museum of Art presents an exhibit titled “Good Vibrations: The Guitar as Design, Craft & Function” through Jan. 15, 2012. Students from the UA school of music will perform free guitar concerts Dec. 2 and Jan. 13.

Buck Owens guitar exhibited at the House of Broadcasting museum in Scottsdale

The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix has an Artist Gallery that includes guitars used by Eric Clapton, Paul Simon and the Jonas Brothers — and will soon be adding guitars played by John Denver, Toby Keith and Buck Owens. Their museum shop is full of guitar goodies from holiday ornaments to silver earrings. Fans of Buck Owens can see his “signature guitar” displayed at the House of Broadcasting in Scottsdale.

The world’s best artwork, of course, is created by students. You can enjoy an “Art Rocks!” art show featuring works by students at Marcos de Niza and Kyrene Middle School at Hoodlums Music & Movies in Tempe Dec. 10 from 6-9pm. “Art Rocks!” music will be provided by alumni bands.

– Lynn

Note: Mesa Arts Center offers classes for adults and kids in various visual and performing arts. Click here to learn about lessons in playing guitar and other musical instruments available at the MAC.

Coming up: Use your words, I-Spy: Elvis, More music education from the MAC

“Memphis” meets movie theater

Alert: Click here to learn how you can help victims of flooding in the Memphis area.

Lizabeth and I are heading to a Broadway musical Thursday night — not in the theater district in NYC, but right here in the Valley — as Fathom Events presents a filmed performance of “Memphis” at several AMC movie theaters.

Memphis” was nominated for eight 2010 Tony Awards, and won four of them. It beat out “American Idiot,” “Fela!” and “Million Dollar Quartet” for the 2010 Tony Award for “Best Musical.”

You wouldn’t have expected as much had you read an early review of “Memphis” by theater critic Charles Isherwood of The New York Times – who described it in an Oct 20, 2009 review as “the Michael Bolton of Broadway musicals.”

Isherwood decribes the musical as “slick but formulaic entertainment,” but that hardly dampens my interest. If anything, it ups the intrigue factor — already quite high because the music for “Memphis” comes from Bon Jovi pianist David Bryan.

“Memphis” explores issues of sex, race and rock & roll in 1950s America. Seems a white high school dropout stumbles into a black nightclub and wows the crowds with his powerful piano licks — then hits plenty of highs and lows before landing a DJ gig that appears his true calling. Falling for a black singer doesn’t make his life any easier.

The club where character Huey Calhoun first finds his bliss is located on Beale Street, an actual music row located in Memphis, Tennessee — where something called the “Beale Street Music Festival” takes April 29-May 1 this year.

I suppose those who get really inspired when “Memphis” meets the movies on Thursday night can hop a plane and live a bit of Memphis in real life this weekend. Other fab events on the Memphis horizon include a May 2-8 “International Salute to Belgium” and a May 12-14 “World Championship Barbeque Cooking Contest.”

Memphis has influenced or been home to plenty of famous actors — from Dixie Carter and Justin Timberlake to Kathy Bates and Morgan Freeman. Also musicians Johnny Cash, Aretha Franklin, Al Green, B.B. King and Jerry Lee Lewis (depicted in the musical “Million Dollar Quartet“).

As every loyal Elvis fan knows, Memphis is home to Presley’s “Graceland.” Tennessee museums include the National Civil Rights Museum, the Memphis Rock n Soul Museum, the Memphis Zoo and the Children’s Museum of Memphis.

I have a feeling I’ll want to jump on a plane bound for Tennessee come Friday morning. Thankfully, I’ve got lots of reasons to stick around — including tickets to see the Arizona School for the Arts performance of “Triangle” and the Actors Theatre performance of “Circle Mirror Transformation.”

Come to think of it, perhaps the good folks of Memphis ought to think about coming here to enjoy a bit of Arizona arts and culture…

– Lynn

Note: “Memphis” is also being shown at Cinemark Mesa 16 (home to performances from the Metropolitan Opera in NYC and other special events).

Coming up: Like everyone else…

Update: We had a great time attending “Memphis” at a Mesa movie theater Thursday night. The movie theater venue lets viewers see actors up close, enjoy behind the scenes happenings and watch interviews with cast/creative team members that they can’t experience during live theater performance. I liked the musical as a story of the difference one person, or a small group of people, can make — but Lizabeth and I agree we’d enjoy it more as a concert or play rather than a piece of musical theater. You still have the weekend to see “Memphis” in select movie theaters. It’s perfect for those who enjoy rock and soul, those interested in the history of the civil rights movement, those who appreciate the marriage of history and music, those who like a lot of dance with their Broadway, and those who want to see what happened when Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan got inspired to write music that might help us all like each other more than we hate each other.