Tag Archives: St. Mary’s Food Bank

We take care of our own

Work by 8th grade student Luis Velasquez exhibited by Young Arts Arizona

Springsteen’s “We Take Care of Our Own” topped the set list at last night’s Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band concert at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem. I sat spellbound in Scottsdale as Springsteen and the band rocked their way through 19 tunes heavy laden with tales of upheaval and undying optimism.

Work by 6th grader Elias Galvin Rendon

The Apollo Theater concert was broadcast live by Sirius XM in celebration of its tenth anniversary, coinciding with the recent release of Springsteen’s “Wrecking Ball” album. Yes kids, that’s what some of us old timers call them. Without apology.

Critics have weighed in on both, and I find those from The New York Times most intriguing. But my own read on the concert has a different vibe. The Apollo Theater concert was simply Springsteen taking care of his own. Like all the best storytelllers, Springsteen listens. And he hears people hurting.

Work by 3rd grader Elizabeth Navarro

Hold tight to your anger. Don’t fall to your fear. Put old skills to new uses. Seize the break of blue in a long cloudy sky. Remember those dealt injustice, and help those suffering now. Be the change. Make the change. And enjoy the rock and roll ride — Springsteen’s vehicle for soothing the soul while calling heart and hands to action.

As Springsteen wove older works into newer “Wrecking Ball” fare, the continuity of his decades-long drive for social justice was clear. So too was his genuine gratitude for those who came before — including many an artist who’s graced the Apollo Theater stage. Springsteen is a soul man. And soul must be shared.

Some folks are especially gifted at simultaneously running with and passing the torch. Springsteen is among them. After longtime friend and fellow musician Clarence Clemons died last summer, the torch went to nephew Jake Clemons — now part of “the E Street horns.” The Apollo Theater concert was rich with brass, choral music and strings that make the band’s heart beat just a little louder.

Work by 3rd grader Gabriel Ramirez

Gospel. Soul. Rap. Rock and roll. Irish jigs and mariachi melodies. It’s not your mother’s Springsteen. Or perhaps it is. I remember taking our two daughters, then in high school, to Springsteen’s last concert in Phoenix. They were equally moved by the music and the food collection boxes scattered throughout the venue’s main hall. Music feeds the soul. But it takes more to feed the hungry.

Hence Springteen’s shout out, near the end of the Apollo Theater concert, to fans who support the work of WhyHunger — and to its executive director Bill Ayres, who co-founded the organization with singer/songwriter Harry Chapin (whose brother Tom Chapin recently performed here in the Valley).

Work by 5th grader Victoria Anchondo

Like plenty of Springsteen fans, we won’t be in the house for any “Wrecking Ball” concerts, but there’s much we can do to move our own communities past hard times. Learn more about WhyHunger. Support our local food banks. Advocate for just public policies. Promote the arts that sustain us. And rise up.

Wherever this flag’s flown, we take care of our own. — Bruce Springsteen

– Lynn

Note: Saint Mary’s Food Bank Alliance presents its 11th annual “Kids Cafe Open” on March 30 to raise funds for battling child hunger in Arizona — click here for details. Artwork featured in this post was part of the Young Arts Arizona “Living the Dream, Passing the Torch” exhibit celebrating MLK Day 2012 at the Arizona State Capitol.

Coming up: Rising Youth Theatre shares diverse youth perspectives

Theater for grown-ups

Stray Cat Theatre. Nearly Naked Theatre. Folks offering mostly mature-theme works are hoping you’ll book the babysitter and experience some of their upcoming “theater for grown-ups” fare.

I’m as big a fan of “Jungle Book” and “Peter Pan” as the next person, but sometimes a change of scenery is in order. So here’s a sampling of some of your options…

The Great Arizona Puppet Theater presents adult puppet slams several times a year for the age 18 & up set. I’ve never been, but I’m told it draws a good crowd — and I’m eager to join the fun. Their next adult slam takes place at 8pm on Fri, Dec 3 and Sat, Dec 4.

Scene from New Carpa's American Pastorela by playwright James E. Garcia

New Carpa Theater, a company founded in 2006 that specializes in “Latino and multicultural theater works,” presents their latest production Dec 4-19 at the Arizona Latino Arts & Cultural Center in downtown Phoenix (near Symphony Hall).

“American Pastorela: Show Us Your Papers!” is an unabashedly political play written by James Garcia and directed by Arturo Martinez — who certainly have a lot to add to the Arizona dialogue.

Stray Cat Theatre in Tempe presents “Learn to be Latina” Dec 3-18. It’s written by Enrique Urueta and directed by Ron May — and features the tale of a Lebanese woman told she must feign being Latina to achieve pop singer stardom.

Enjoy a talkback with playwright Enrique Urueta after the 2pm performance on Sun, Dec 5

Both May and Urueta will join the audience for a talk-back session following the 2pm performance on Sun, Dec 5. It should prove an interesting discussion of various issues related to self-identity.

For grown-ups who aren’t particularly fond of holidays or musicals, Space 55 in Phoenix presents “A Bloody Mary Christmas” Dec 3-18 (all Fri/Sat eve shows). Reduced ticket price available with canned food item donation to St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance.

And now for the naked part. Nearly Naked Theatre, which performs at Phoenix Theatre’s Little Theatre, presents an Arizona premiere titled “Devil Boys From Beyond” Jan 8-29.

It’s written by Buddy Thomas and Kenneth Elliott, with direction by Toby Yatso. Think campy space-invader movie from the ’50s or ’60s. This baby won the 2009 award for overall excellence for outstanding play at the 2009 New York Fringe Festival. (Maybe for this one someone will actually wear fringe?)

N2N presents a full season of Arizona premieres for 2010-2011, including Devil Boys From Beyond

If alternative theater is your vibe, save the dates April 1-10, 2011 — when the 2011 Phoenix Fringe Festival takes place. Just get a sitter and a room for this one people. It makes for a great weekend “staycation.”

With any luck at all, the sitter will simply assume that you’ve developed a quaint fascination with fabric arts.

– Lynn

Note: Other theater companies with offerings enjoyed by adult (and sometimes younger) audiences include Actors Theatre, Arizona Jewish Theatre Company, Arizona Theatre Company, Black Theatre Troupe, and Phoenix Theatre.

Coming up: Traveling tribe comes to ASU Gammage, Southwest Shakespeare Company presents “Twelfth Night,” Family-friendy theater options, Art venues and holiday shopping

Giving back to and through Valley arts organizations

Depending on which holiday/s you celebrate, you may find family traditions such as gift-giving sneaking up on you all too quickly. A couple of things to remember as you search for ways to create special holiday experiences…

First, attending performances together with family and friends can yield the greatest gift of all: memories.

Second, every gift matters–and seemingly small actions taken by a multitude of people can have a huge impact.

“Never doubt,” reflected American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead (1901-1978), “that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

This quote has special meaning because, although I’m certain I’d heard it many times before, it struck me for the first time during a visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

In this spirit, I’m delighted to share an update to our original blog (posted 11-24-09) on ways to give back during the holiday season.

Please let us know if you’ve discovered another way–no matter how great or small–to give back to, or through, Valley arts organizations.

Arizona Jewish Theatre Company. Online auction to benefit their education department. Auction runs through December 11th—which means you can enjoy holiday shopping from home and help Valley kids enjoy great theater!

Art Awakenings. Purchase holidays cards featuring original artwork to “support empowerment and recovery” for youth and adults living with mental illness.

Childsplay. Buy a teddy bear (donated by Build-a-Bear) sporting a handcrafted sweater by Tempe fiber artist Sonja Faeroy Saar to benefit their Benjamin Fund, which provides free tickets to organizations working with underprivileged youth or youth with disabilities.

Free Arts of Arizona. Buy gift bows (made of authentic movie trailers) while supplies last at Harkins Theatres to benefit arts programs for abused, homeless and at-risk youth.

Greasepaint Youtheatre. Receive $2 off your ticket price to Oliver! for all remaining performances when you donate an item at the show for the St. Mary’s Food Bank holiday drive.

Theater Works. Bring an unwrapped toy for the Peoria Fire Fighters toy drive or a bag of non-perishable food items for the Valley View Community Food Bank when you attend their Dec. 16th Christmas Concert to receive one coupon redeemable for a $5 discount on a future performance.

Valley Youth Theatre. Help support Operation Noah by bringing a new stuffed animal to donate at any remaining performance of A Winnie-the-Pooh Christmas Tail. Donated animals go to children who are in the hospital.

Note: Please comment below if you know of other opportunities to give back to, or through, Valley arts organizations. Many thanks!