Tag Archives: Weekend events

I’d rather be…

It's "Plan B" time as a bout of bronchitis has me reading "Blue Like Jazz" and watching the "Olivier Awards" online during a weekend I'd hoped to spend at Valley theaters

I did something last week that surely shocked the folks who know me really well. After learning the second leg of my Southwest flight between Newark and Phoenix was delayed, I ended up spending another night in NYC. Too frugal to pop for another night at a hotel, the wheels started turning. What to do with an extra night in NYC?

Too tired for Springsteen? That should have been my first clue.

I remembered that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were performing at Madison Square Gardens, and daughter Lizabeth quickly jumped online to discover that StubHub tickets were posted for prices lower than your average hotel room.

Then things got really weird — becaused I just didn’t have the oomph to get up and go. I love me some Bruce and the band, and was especially eager to see young musicians in his new brass section rock the house, but figured hiking all those arena stairs might be the death of me. (There are worse ways to go, but “gone” is one place I’d rather not be.)

Lizabeth suggested other options more suitable for a mom still recovering from recent knee surgery, including mother-daughter craft time at Make Meaning – but decided to save that adventure for her summer back home since the NYC-based company also has a Scottsdale Quarter location — which buys us more time to choose between glass, soap, jewelry, paper, candles, ceramics and other creative options.

Folks in Arizona can enjoy the Tribeca Film Festival online

We ended up taking the subway to Tribeca — where this year’s Tribeca Film Festival (which has an online component for folks like me who can’t get to the NYC event) opens in just a few days. We enjoyed a splendid stoll, stopping at some her favorite NYC haunts — including Strand Book Store, where I wistfully admired the black and white photo of Springsteen she’d spotted weeks before on a postcard rack near the entrance.

Also dinner at a diner with festive orange and yellow walls that’s called “S’MAC” because the only dish they serve is macaroni and cheese. Think oodles of noodles delivered skillet-style in endless gourmet variations. When I texted James to tell him where we’d landed, he shot back a brief “How hipster of you” reply. I quickly responded in praise of sporting a vocab that includes “hipster.”

Let's hope someone tells the Mother's Day fairy about this baby

I wasn’t hip enough, apparently, because I’d forgotten that it was my last chance to see Simon Callow perform Jonathan Bate’s “Being Shakepeare” at the Brooklyn Music Academy — which prides itself on being America’s oldest performing arts center (think 1861). Silly, really, considering that my last trip to NYC opened with a glorious exploration of Keith Haring works exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum.

After dropping Lizabeth off at her dorm after dinner, I played “musical Starbucks” until the last of them located near Pace University shut out the lights. I was ready to move on after enduring far too many boisterous barista solos. I hailed a cab for the Newark airport, where I snagged the lone electrical outlet at a Dunkin’ Donuts and curbed the urge to indulge as the smell of freshly baked glazed goodies wafted through the air. It beat sleeping on the floor.

I landed at Sky Harbor Airport just as James was hopping a flight to NYC for his turn at Liz time, but realized later that day that pulling the all-nighter was a serious mistake. I was pooped, and in the early stages of the bronchitis that now finds me bedbound during a weekend I’d hoped to enjoy nearly back-to-back shows from a long list of options.

Think Childsplay’s “Tomas the the Library Lady,” Theater Works’ “All Through the Night” and/or “Sakura no Ne” (a collaboration with the Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix), Cookie Company’s “Charlotte’s Web,” Valley Youth Theatre’s “Freckleface Strawberry,” Rising Arts’ “Sleeping Beauty,” and Desert Stages Theatre’s “Altar Boyz” and/or “How to Succeed in Business Without Even Trying.” They’re all places I’d rather be at this point — but nobody wants to sit by the constant cougher, it’s never nice to share such things.

I'm rooting for RSC and Roald Dahl while watching the Olivier Awards online

Instead, I’ve developed a bit of a plan B. Watching streaming video of Britain’s Olivier Awards, especially eager to see how the Royal Shakespeare Company’s “Matilda the Musical” (based on the book by Roald Dahl) fares. Cuddling up with Donald Miller’s “Blue Like Jazz” and Paul Torday’s “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” (hoping I’ll bounce back enough this week to catch them on the big screen). And reading online guides for upcoming productions like “Red” (Arizona Theater Company) and “Much Ado About Nothing” (Southwest Shakespeare Company).

Those of you with more bounce in your step can find plenty of ways to enjoy the rest of your weekend by exploring the Raising Arizona Kids calendar in print or online. If you experience an especially nifty concert, art exhibit, dance performance or show — feel free to comment below to let our readers know.

– Lynn

Coming up: Art meets Earth Day, Musings on Mental Health Month

Note: Remember too that you can explore a comprehensive list of summer camps on the Raising Arizona Kids magazine website — click here to find this and other resources for readers. (Final shameless plug — Subsciptions to Raising Arizona Kids magazine make easy, practical and affordable Mother’s Day gifts.)

Get out, get art!

After hitting just a single night of this year’s “Phoenix Film Festival,” I’m giving serious thought to running away from home. Not forever. Just through next Thursday when the festival comes to a close. With so many amazing offerings, it seems silly to drive back and forth from theater to laundry room and such.

All sorts of things caught my eye on this weekend’s festival schedule — including a free “Kids’ Day” for families presented by IFP Phoenix from 9am-2pm on Sat, March 31 (where you can also see three family films for just $5 each — including “Chimpanzee” from Disney at 1:05pm).

Also high school shorts, college shorts, animated shorts, a silent auction, a preview of Phoenix Comicon 2012 and plenty of live performance art by folks from Scorpius Dance Theatre to Carol Pacey & the Honey Shakers. Even workshops on topics like “Casting Indies” and “Life as an Indie Actor.”

A film titled “Kerry and Angie” that’s part of a Saturday morning “Arizona Showcase” is directed by Amanda Melby, head coach and owner at Verve Studios in Scottsdale — one of many performing arts groups to participate in this year’s RAK Camp Fair. Folks who attend the Actors Theatre production of “Body Awareness” at the Herberger Theater Center will get to see Melby in action.

Those seeking more family-friendly fare have another great option in the “Children’s Day & Kite Festival” taking place Sat, March 31 from 10am-3pm at the Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix – which features martial arts, games, food, face painting and other activities. Families are invited to wear kimonos and bring a kite along (or make kites during the festival). Best they not offer kimono-making. I would only embarrass myself.

Fans of Rodgers & Hammerstein can enjoy a double dose of musical theater this weekend as Greasepaint Youtheatre performs “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella” and The Phoenix Symphony performs “An Evening with Rodgers & Hammerstein” (don’t let the name “fool” you — Sunday’s show is actually a matinee). The latter is a collaboration with Phoenix Theatre featuring direction by Michael Barnard and a collection of vocalists that bears a startling resemblance to my list of favorite people.

Your last chance to see the Scottsdale Community College production of “The Miracle Worker” by William Gibson is Sat, March 31 at 2pm and 7:30pm — and I happen to know first hand that at least one of the show’s young actors is cuter than the dickens. If acting is hereditary, she’s also rocking her role.

– Lynn

Note: Family-friendly activities are always available in print and online calendars from Raising Arizona Kids magazine.

Coming up: Two of the most imporant hours of my life

Holiday ornaments — museum style

Can you spot my favorite purple pig ornament from a 2010 tree at the Heard Museum in Phoenix?

While others were waiting on Thanksgiving for stores to reopen with “Black Friday” blow-outs, the most savvy among were kicking off their holiday shopping at the Heard Museum, which has locations in both Phoenix and Scottsdale.

Thursday was the first day of this year’s “Ornament Marketplace” — which the Heard Museum is holding at both sites through the weekend.

Though many of the ornaments are displayed on Christmas trees, there are plenty of options for folks who celebrate other holidays — like the Native American folk art pigs with wings perfect for co-workers who appreciate sentiments like “when pigs fly.” Some ornaments feature religious images like angels while others represent secular motifs.

This tree at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC features origami ornaments with space and dinosaur themes

Giving and collecting ornaments are lovely ways to mark the passing of time, and revisiting the ornaments we’ve gathered or been given is like running our fingers over a scrapbook come to life. “Some people make scrapbooks,” I quipped to my husband while baking cookies Thursday morning, “but I write blogs.” Others do ornaments — and it’s all good.

When our youngest daughter Lizabeth, a college freshman living in NYC, paid her first visit to the American Museum of Natural History this week, she discovered a giant tree covered in origami ornaments mirroring the themes of two current exhibits — one on dinosaurs, another on space exploration. The size of the tree is meant to mirror the size and scope of its subjects.

Purple Peace Tree featured in a 2010 exhjbit at the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa

Lizabeth’s pictures of the AMNH tree reminded me that I’d seen something similar a year before while exploring the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa with my son Christopher. It was a “Purple Peace Tree” covered in origami ornaments eventually sent to Hiroshima, Japan.

Folks with nimble fingers, good spatial skills and long attention spans can craft their own origami ornaments for the tree this year. But I’m not among them — so I’m thankful to the Heard Museum for hosting an Ornament Marketplace where I can put other skills, like supporting local arts and culture, to good use.

– Lynn

Note: Many Valley museums and cultural venues have gift shops or retail areas where you can find creative ornaments and other holiday offerings. Get the December issue of Raising Arizona Kids magazine to enjoy a poignant article about ornaments and memories written by publisher, editor and writer Karen Barr.

Coming up: A pair of Muppet movies — and a cinematic love letter

Bookstore blues

Classic meets contemporary on this bookshelf

I headed to one of the country’s bigger bookstores a while back too see what they might have for kids on a particularly timely topic. It’s easy to research such things online but true book believers like to see, touch and smell the goods.

I brought laptop, camera and cell phone along — every piece of electronics gear I own. Which is pretty much everything but the one they really want me to have. I know this because the kiosk for their bookreader gizmo greets me each time I enter their store.

I headed to the children’s section, where I found craft kits, plush toys and lots of books with commercial tie-ins. But nothing I was really looking for. Not even a real live person who could assist me in my search. And they wonder why we’re all addicted to Amazon.

More books that make us feel all warm and fuzzy

In another section of the store, I overheard a man telling a bookseller that his child had read 300 books in the past year. I wanted to jump for joy, but the woman had a different reaction. “Imagine if they had an e-reader,” she said. So imagine I did.

I imagined a weekend without father-daughter trips to the library, without cradling a book after falling asleep mid-chapter. I imagined my daughter’s bedroom without shelves stacked with Shakespeare plays, without books signed by favorite authors like Jodi Picoult.

Normally I hit my favorite indie bookshop, but some days I feel too grungy to pop in to places where folks might see me in my tired old tee and saggy shorts. I’m gonna have to get over that. It beats the heck out of battling the big bookstore blues.

– Lynn

Note: The “1st Annual Rally for Literacy” takes place Sat, Oct 1 from 9-11am. Five Tucson literacy organizations are merging into a single one dedicated to promoting a culture of literacy and creative expression. Their new name and logo will be revealed at this rally. More info at www.bookmans.com.

Coming up: Arts and culture — festival style

Odds & ends

I must have had a blast in preschool. Sorting shapes. Finding matching colors. Hunting different letters. Searching for related numbers.

My favorite posts are those that manage to weave seemingly disparate parts into a cohesive whole. When I got word of this weekend’s opening of “Little Shop of Horrors,” I imagined chasing down all sorts of monster shows or working the plant angle somehow.

But sometimes the piles of papers resist fastidious filing. So I have to live with throwing all sorts of goodies into a single post without much rhyme or reason.

I’m starting to wonder whether there’s a “Monopoly: Midlife Edition” of the classic board game. If so, I figure I’m due $200 for “passing go” by “letting go” and sharing news of nearing events “odds & ends” style…

Chandler-Gilbert Community College presents “Little Shop of Horrors” — which features book and lyrics by Howard Ashman and music by Alan Menken.

If you’ve ever swayed to “Under the Sea” from the movie “The Little Mermaid” or felt sentimental listening to “Beauty and the Beast” from the film of the same name, you’ve enjoyed some of their other collaborations.

“Little Shop” has more mature themes — like personal boundaries and blood-sucking plants — but it’s every bit as fun. The CGCC production runs March 4-11 at the Arnette Scott Ward Performing Arts Center in Chandler.

I suppose I could have stretched the plant theme a bit with an “everything’s coming up roses” transition to this next event — a celebration of “Rosie’s House: A Music Academy for Children” taking place Sat, March 5, in Scottsdale.

The event honors founders Rosie and the late Woody Schurz. Others to be recognized include Alice Tatum (community honoree) and Judy Conrad (faculty honoree).

This party has plenty of appeal. Ticket prices are reasonable in fundraiser world — just $75 each. Featured entertainment includes jazz artist Tatum performing with Rosie House students. It’s happening at the Gebert Contemporary Art Gallery. And there’s a silent auction (just in time for teacher gift shopping).

Rosie’s House offers more than 300 group and private music lessons each week — and hopes funds raise from this celebration will “support the goal of teaching 10,000 music lessons in a single year.”

The Division of Fine & Performing Arts at Paradise Valley Community College is also raising funds for music education this weekend — with an event titled “Stompin’ at the Savoy: A Tribute to Swing.”

The fundraiser —  which features a silent auction, musical performance and video clips documenting the Savoy Theatre’s role in the swing jazz movement — takes place March 5 & 6 at the PVCC Center for the Performing Arts.

The goal of this shindig is to “raise $15,000 to provide full-tuition waivers for five students” — one each in creative writing, dance, music, theatre and visual art. Adults tickets are $20 — but senior, staff and student tickets are less.

It just so happens that these shows and events fall at times that allow the most dedicated among you to attend all three in a single weekend.

It’s a quick and fun fix for those of you struggling with a high G.Q. (guilt quotient) because you support youth arts in theory but rarely find yourself out there in the audience.

– Lynn

Note: Remember too that plenty of theater productions open this weekend — including Greasepaint Youtheatre’s “Disney’s Jungle Book” and Actors Theatre’s “Andy Warhol: Good for the Jews?Click here for a comprehensive calendar of family-friendly events from Raising Arizona Kids magazine. Click here if community college news is of special interest.

Coming up: Art meets democracy, ASU Gammage unveils new season, Tucson meets Yonkers, More community college offerings

Update: I just learned of another weekend event — the 8th annual “Jewish-Muslim PeaceWalk” taking place Sun, March 6, in Tucson. Learn more at www.peacewalktucson.org.

Fun with art & festivals

Artwork by Marna Schindler

I’ve been taking my kids to the Tempe Festival of the Arts since they were about knee-high. It’s a a great place to people watch, enjoy treats like kettle corn and fry bread, and find unique wares for your own home or gift-giving occasions.

Tempe’s 2010 Fall Festival takes place 10am to dusk Fri, Dec 3, through Sun, Dec 5 — in the charming, pedestrian-friendly Mill Avenue District.

The festival features more than 400 artist booths in 18 different artistic categories — plus entertainment booths, street performers, live on-stage music and more.

Artwork by Paul Counts

A portion of festival proceeds will benefit local charities.

My children were shoulder-high by the time the Mesa Arts Center opened, and it’s a favorite haunt for enjoying diverse East Valley offerings.

Resident companies of the MAC include Ballet Etudes, East Valley Children’s Theater, Mesa Encore Theater, Metropolitan Youth Symphony, Sonoran Desert Chorale, Southwest Shakespeare Company, Symphony of the Southwest and Xico, Inc.

Artwork by Rin Colabucci

The Mesa Arts Center hosts a festival next weekend — featuring original works by more than 70 juried artists, live entertainment on three stages and art demonstrations (glassblowing, blacksmithing, etc.).

The Mesa Arts Festival also features a “kids’ fun zone” as well as “hands-on art activities” and local food vendors. Fry bread two weekends in a row. I like it.

Mesa Arts Festival activities begin at “2nd Friday” — a downtown Mesa event that next occurs Fri, Dec 10, from 6-10pm.

That explains all those nifty booths and activities I so often stumble on when attending Friday night performances by Southwest Shakespeare Company (their current production is “Twelfth Night“).

Artwork by Andrew Carson

The festival itself takes place Sat, Dec 11, and Sun, Dec 12, at Mesa Arts Center. Like the Tempe festival, it’s full of fun finds for shoppers seeking holiday or other gifts. My mantra? One for me, one for you…

Chandler Center for the Arts welcomes “Vision Gallery” to a new home in the Chandler City Hall building in downtown Chandler  — and the gallery will celebrate with a free public event titled “Art Rising: A Festival of Visual Art” Sat, Dec 4, from noon-4pm.

The event features original artwork and performance art such as storytelling, Chinese dance and magic. The “Tumbleweed Tree Lighting Ceremony” and lights parade follows at 4:30pm.

Artwork by Carolyn Dubuque

If original jewelry is your thing, or on the wish list of someone you love, you’ll want to head to the “Holiday Jewelry Trunk Show” at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art next weekend.

The show takes place Fri, Dec 10 (1-9pm) and Sat, Dec 11 (11am-9pm) in the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts lobby. All proceeds support programs at SMoCA and the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts (which welcomes Audra McDonald for “ARTrageous” Sat, Dec 4).

This time of year, I’m focused on fun and efficiency. One can have both. Especially when festivals like these make it possible to couple holiday shopping with visual and performance art.

Let the good times stroll…

– Lynn

Note: Artwork above is by various “featured artists,” past and present, of the Tempe Festival of the Arts

Coming up: Fun and fundraising with Valley arts organizations

Theater by and for youth

Enjoy a “Village of Idiots” without turning on cable news. Travel “Once Upon an Island” without leaving the desert. And ease on down the road with “The Wiz” without all that nasty road rage. It’s all coming soon to Valley stages…

Chris Disney, Devin Derr & Logan Barrett in "Winnie-the-Pooh" at Fountain Hills Community Theater

I’m heading out with Lizabeth this weekend to enjoy “Winnie-The-Pooh” performed by Fountain Hills Community Theater’s youth theater. It’s one of many shows being performed this weekend by youth and for youth (although adults who appreciate youth theater are always welcome too).

I always leave youth theater productions feeling inspired by the talent and hard work of the young actors and crew members (and their fearless adult leaders). Participating in youth theater fosters creativity, committment and collaboration — three things that serve our children well both on and off the stage.

Often it’s seeing that first live performance featuring young performers that inspires a child to give theater a try. If you’re eager to introduce your children or teens to community theater, you’ll have plenty to choose from in the coming weeks and months.

It's your last weekend to enjoy "The Emperor's New Clothes" by East Valley Children's Theatre in Mesa

This weekend is your last chance to see “The Emperor’s New Clothes” performed by East Valley Children’s Theatre at Mesa Arts Center. I saw the show last weekend and loved everything about it!

It’s also the final weekend for Creative Stages Youth Theatre’s production of “Some Kind of Wonderbread: Not a John Hughes Movie” — a Jim Gradillas peice described as a send-up of ’80s movies about the trials and tribulations of high school life.

VYT's "Pinkalicious" makes a fun birthday party outing

Valley Youth Theatre is having an incredible run with “Pinkalicious” — which has now been extended through Oct 31 at VYT in downtown Phoenix. It’s the tale of a little girl who takes her love of pink to the extreme, with some charming and funny results.

Asijah Adolph plays Dorothy in "The Wiz" opening soon at Greasepaint Youtheatre

“The Wiz,” performed by Greasepaint Youtheatre, opens next week for an Oct 22-31 run in Scottsdale. It features 32 young actors directed by D. Scott Withers, whose previous work with Greasepaint has earned several awards.

Samantha Pear, Maddie Lopez, Jade Schalk, Amaya Lim and Taylor Ellsworth (front) perform in MTA's "Once Upon an Island Jr." opening later this month

You’ll only have a small window of time to enjoy “Once Upon This Island Jr.” performed by Musical Theatre of Anthem – which runs just a few days (Oct 28-31). Children who attend the 3pm Halloween matinee of this Caribbean-theme adapatation of “The Little Mermaid” are invited to wear costumes and enjoy trick-or-treating with cast members.

Theater Works Youth Works, which performs at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, opens “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” on Nov 5. My daughter Lizabeth’s first community theater experience was performing in this show when it was presented a decade or so ago by Greasepaint.

I can still picture her hanging a fishing pole over the front of the stage, playing hop scotch, clapping along to a gospel tune, swiping a paintbrush across a white picket fence and crouching to make her way through a tunnel she found rather frightening at the time.

Desert Stages Theatre in Scottsdale presents Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast, Jr.” Nov 19 to Dec 19. See the touring production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” next week and you can enjoy comparing the two next month. (Garage sale fans can enjoy the “DST Grand Garage Sale” Fri, Oct 15 from 4-6pm and Sat, Oct 15 from 6am-noon.)

Come December you can enjoy “Village of Idiots,” a work based on several Jewish folk tales. It’s being performed by Curtain Call Youtheatre — which is affiliated with the Arizona Jewish Theatre Company – on Dec 11 and 12 only at the John Paul Theater at Phoenix College. (Watch for AJTC’s online auction coming Nov 1.)

Stay tuned to the daily online calendar from Raising Arizona Kids magazine to learn more about children’s activities on stage and off.

– Lynn

Note: If your school or community organization offers theater by and for youth, please stay in touch so I’ll have the scoop on your offerings as I’m preparing future posts.

Coming up: Community college arts offerings