Tag Archives: book signings

Ready, set, write…

Both this metal quill and the black marble inkwell below, created in 1994 by artist Larry Kirkman, are visible as you enter the Scottsdale Civic Center library

There’s a lovely house in Tempe that’s home to the ASU Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. Its Piper Writer Studio offers writing classes for adults of all ability levels, and registration for their fall offerings in underway.

All courses are led by an experienced writer and teacher. Some take place in the historic Piper Writers House on the ASU Tempe campus. Others are offered online. Your Fall 2011 choices include an eight week poetry session and two four week fiction sessions. Online poetry and fiction courses are also available.

Artworks offer plenty of writing inspiration

Several one day classes are scheduled for October. Topics include memory versus imagination, the art of the very short story, tools for writing dynamic characters and more. Costs are reasonable and discounts are given to “Piper Friends.”

The Arizona Authors Association keeps a calendar of writing-related events offered around the Valley and the state. Think book signings, writers club meetings, writing seminars  and more. Some are meant for writers of a particular genre like romance or mystery. There are groups for Christian writers, groups for women writers and plenty more.

I need a group for writers who write about other writers. Maybe I should head out to ASU’s Piper Center for the 2011-12 “Distinguished Visiting Writers Series” featuring free public lectures by writers here for residencies with ASU faculty and graduate students. The fall lineup includes poets Tony Barnstone and Bruce Weigl, plus novelist Aimee Bender.

Writers often tout the value of a rich reading life in honing the craft of writing, so your local bookstore is a good place to check for writing-related events and classes. Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, for example, has offerings that include a mystery bookgroup, a poetry roundtable and more.

I pause to admire this work (the quill and inkwell pictured above) every time I visit my local library

One of my favorite pairs of writers, Amy Silverman and Deborah Sussman Susser, lead “Mothers Who Write” workshops just a couple of times each year at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. These puppies fill quickly.

Keep an eye on local museums, libraries, theater companies and community colleges for additional writing workshops and opportunities to interact with other writers. We’re interesting folk and better than you might think at sharing.

— Lynn

Coming up: Celebrating International Peace Day

Advertisements

Art & air conditioning

"Fractured" by Kathryn Herbert from Herberger Theater Art Gallery exhibit at the University Club in Phoenix

You know you want it. Frankly, some of us nearing the big “5-0” want it more than the rest of you. It’s air conditioning.

Enough with Arizona’s dry heat. I’m way beyond ready for some dry cool–which is why I went in search of museum adventures to fill my weekend hours.

Ceramic art from the "Ceramic Design" exhibit at the ASU Ceramics Research Center

One of the first things I found is an exhibit you can only enjoy on weekdays, so get there today if this strikes your fancy. I have other suggestions for Saturday and Sunday fare.

It’s the Herberger Theater Art Gallery, on display at the University Club in Phoenix while the Herberger Theater Center undergoes renovations. Like many Valley theater-goers, I’m pulling for essentials like more potty space for women than men for a change.

Anyhow, the current exhibit is titled “The Sacred and the Living” (redundant, perhaps?) and it features artwork in various media by 26 Arizona artists. It runs through July 28–but you can enjoy it today (Fri) from 9-11am and 1-5pm.

You can experience three free art exhibits this weekend thanks to the ASU Art Museum–each of which are open today and tomorrow from 11am-5pm.

The "Jump to Japan" exhibit opens this weekend at the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa

There’s the off-kilter (yup, it’s also the name of a Celtic rock band) “Ceramic Design: Manufactured Brilliance & Beauty in Daily Life” at the Ceramic Research Center, which promises to be more illuminating than late-night infomercials hocking products that promise a different sort of manfactured beauty.

There’s “Signs and Signals from the Periphery, an Installation by Dinh Q Le” featuring the work of an “internationally acclaimed multi-media artist” who tackles the everyday with a view to global significance. It’s at the ASU Art Museum on the Tempe campus, as is this next cool-fest…

The “11th Annual Family Exhibition” titled “What Moves Us: Art of Transportation from the Permanent Collection” presents all sorts of transportaion in all sorts of media. My main interest will be in those with windows, a roof and AC that’ll knock your socks off.

This would have been the perfect outing for my young son, now nearing 21, who used to feel about cars, trucks and construction vehicles the way I feel about espresso and chocolate. Too much is never enough.

Etwan Finatawa brings "Nomad's blues" from Niger to the MIM in Phoenix this weekend

Also in the “Friday and fabulous” category is the July 16 opening of the “Jump to Japan” exhibit at the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa, a destination that will also take you close to the Mesa Arts Center and the Arizona Museum of Natural History.

The latter currently has three exhibits, including “Lights! Color! Action!,” which “explores the relationship between light and color and how they are used in our daily lives.” You can gently remind your kids once they’ve seen it that not everyone on the planet has the luxury of light and color (which leaves me wondering where I can find a study on the role of color in cultural identity and expression).

Make & play drums at the MIM!

The newly unveiled and ever so glorious Musical Instrument Museum (the “MIM”) in Phoenix has two special offerings this weekend–a “Build a Rhythm”  workshop where kids ages 8-11 can build and learn to play the Dondo drum from Ghana (Sat at 10am; $35; preregister) and concerts (Sat 7:30pm and Sun 2:30pm; $32-$36) by Etran Finatawa performing “Nomad’s blues” from Niger, “a gritty, mystical, dynamic journey to the Sachel desert region of Africa.”

Hopi Dance Group performs at the Heard Museum in Phoenix

I’m tempted to recommend that last one to politicians who sometimes have a hard time telling their countries from their continents. We can send them to the Heard Museum in Phoenix for extra credit–where they’ll discover that “American Indian” refers to more than a single homogenous group of people.

On second thought, let’s put play before politics this weekend as the Heard Museum continues its July series of “Target Free Sizzlin’ Summer Saturdays” featuring free museum admission plus unique kids’ activities and music/dance performance.

Illustrator Yazzie comes to the Heard Museum this weekend

This Saturday’s line-up at the Heard includes 11:30am and 1pm Hopi Dance Group performances, a noon to 2pm book signing by Yazzie, Navajo, illustrator of “The Stone Cutter & the Navajo Maiden” and more.

Grown-ups can enjoy the Heard for free the Friday night before during a 6-9pm event featuring live music, art and wine tasting. That’s a whole lot of happiness in one place.

As always, just give a holler if I’ve overlooked something you think other Arizona families might enjoy. And so much the better if they couple art with AC…

–Lynn

Theater Works in Peoria presents "On the Air!" during their summer cabaret series

Note: If theater is your muse, check out the new “Little Red Riding Hood” from the Great Arizona Puppet Theater in Phoenix, the “On the Air!” summer cabaret performance at Theater Works in Peoria or “The Hormel New Works Festival” at Phoenix Theatre. Please check all event details before attending, and remember to visit “Raising Arizona Kids” online each day for a comprehensive calendar of family-friendly events and activities.

Coming up: A view from the Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City, Arts advocates gather to evaluate and fuel progress in Arizona arts and culture

Still using our words

I remember a time when my children—now teens and young adults—were in preschool. Among their many take-away lessons of time spent with skilled and caring early educators was a simple mantra: “Use your words.”

I was reminded of those days yesterday as our celebration of Jennifer’s 19th birthday drew to a close.

We began our all-girls birthday tour after Lizabeth (now 16) got out of school, stopping first at MacAlpine’s Soda Fountain in Phoenix for ice cream and a bit of window shopping through their vintage clothing, jewelry and such. It’s a family-owned business (see “quality control” photo at left) that does ice cream “old-school and very cool.” They even whip up Egg Creams™ and Phosphates™ in 34 flavors!

Though a movie seemed the obvious choice for an early evening outing, we opted instead for a book signing with Tom Leveen at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe.

Jennifer is keen on supporting “indie” businesses like Changing Hands—which describes itself as an “independent community bookstore.”

Lizabeth was eager to support Leveen since she’d recently performed in “Talk Radio” at Chyro Arts Venue in Scottsdale, where Leveen serves as artistic director.

Chyro Arts Venue will close next month after the last performance of its final production, “Orange Flower Water,” which runs April 29-May 15. It’s directed by Michael Peck, and contains mature themes not appropriate for those under 18.

Chyro is renowned for selecting edgier works and presenting them with gusto, and notes that patrons with a taste for alternative theater still have terrific options in the Valley—including Stray Cat Theatre and Nearly Naked Theatre.

I was saddened to learn of their decision to close, but delighted to discover that Leveen and his wife Joy (an Arcadia High School graduate, like Jennifer) are already steeped in other adventures.

They were beaming at last night’s book signing, so I suspect they are enjoying a time in life that Tom Leveen laughingly likens to riding a roller coaster.

I kicked around Hoodlums Music and Movies for a spell after dropping the girls off two doors down at Changing Hands.

Seems I missed my opportunity to get the exclusive release 10-inch vinyl of Springsteen performing at Giants Stadium because they sold out during Hoodlum’s “Record Day” event over the weekend.

But I did get to enjoy an exhibit of painted “album covers” along one wall–a work by Glenn Moust of Denmark and a work featuring small irridescent red glass tiles by Deborah Wahl of Tempe were my favorites.

Then I shot my wad on a button for Jennifer reading “I Still Read Books & I Vote!”–only to learn later as we sat cross-legged in a little corner of Changing Hands comparing book finds that Jennifer had gotten me a bumper sticker with the exact same slogan. 

I’m not sure what’s more intriguing–discovering the many ways our children are different than we are, or uncovering the startling number of ways we seem so very similar.

Once I headed over to Changing Hands, I saw what looked like at least 50 people—including Lizabeth—listening to Leveen talk about his recently published book titled “Party.” It’s a “teen lit” work of fiction that follows the lives of eleven different characters as they attend a single party in Santa Barbara, California.

Leveen talked about his inspirations for the book, his lovely experiences with rejection letters (there were dozens), his hopes for those who read his work and his plans for a second novel for young audiences. He also shared tips for fellow writers and reflected on how theater prepared him for the craft of writing.

In the meantime, Jennifer and I strolled through the store in search of books, gift items and more. We even checked out the children’s area, where I was thrilled to discover some toy makers I hadn’t known about when my kids were younger–including Rubbabu and Jellycat.

I fell in love with the “Goodnight Moon” gift sets—one with a softbound book and little bunny in blue and white striped pajamas, and another with a chunky book coupled with tiny bunny slippers. I managed to leave the “Where the Wild Things Are” characters on their shelves, but I’m beginning to regret that now.

We leave so many things behind as our children grow with such incredible glory. But according to Leveen, artist of both stage and page, one thing remains ever true–and serves as the take-away message from his book…

It’s the importance of using our words.

–Lynn

Note: Lizabeth bought a copy of Leveen’s “Party” so one or both of us will offer a more formal review once we’ve had a chance to read it. Despite the note Leveen wrote for Lizabeth when he signed her copy of his book—which reads “Have fun staying up all night!”—we made Lizabeth go to bed before she’d finished more than the first chapter.

Coming up: More of Leveen’s reflections on the stage and the page, “Hoodstock” event benefiting a local school, Childsplay unveils their 2010-2011 season

Today’s tidbits: Chandler-Gilbert Community College presents a free Community Band Concert tonight at 7pm at the CGCC Performing Arts Center (info: 480-732-7343). The Musical Instrument Museum presents “Nation Beat” (a fusion of music from the southern U.S. and northeast Brazil) tonight at 7:30pm at the MIM Music Theater (tickets $25-$30, info: 480-478-6001).

There’s an award for that!

A week ago Monday, protestors took to the Arizona state capitol to protest immigration-related legislation—but the governor wasn’t there to witness the gathering.

David and Sonja Faeroy Saar (center) attend 2010 Governor's Arts Awards

She was already scheduled to appear at the 28th annual Governor’s Arts Awards, held at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Phoenix—an event presented by Arizona Citizens for the Arts, the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Office of the Governor.

I spoke with a Valley artist attending the event that evening, who felt it a bit odd to be celebrating Arizona arts with the governor at a time when so many sectors of our community—including education, health care and the arts—feel ravaged by state budget cuts.

Still, it’s important to recognize the achievements of Valley artists and arts supporters. Now, more than ever, their work matters. I was especially proud that my 16-year old daughter Lizabeth was there, performing with Greasepaint Youtheatre.

She had strict orders to bring me a program and note names of the 2010 winners so I could pass the info along to you.

Dean Osborne performs at the Grand Canyon Music Festival

Here’s the happy news:

• Composer James DeMars of Tempe, a three-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, received the Artist Award

• Preservationist Elisabeth Ruffner of Prescott, received the Individual Award

• Arts advocate Shirley Chann of Tucson, received the Shelley Arts Advocate Award

• The Grand Canyon Music Festival received the Education Award

Bank of America received the Business Award

The Drawing Studio in Tucson received the Community Award

Art for Kids Project at Webb Center

If you know of a deserving volunteer, artist, advocate, arts organization or business, there are plenty of other awards out there. Consider nominating/voting for the artists and arts lovers in your life if they’re eligible for the following…

• Arizona Central’s “Best” Poll. Vote on nominees online before tomorrow’s (April 28) deadline. Categories include art gallery, annual arts festival/event, regional arts center, theater company, live theater venue, museum, musical festival/event and more.

AriZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence. Nominations for two awards are being accepted through August 15, 2010. The “Outstanding Contribution Award” honors someone within the theater community and the “Distinguished Service Award” honors an individual, corporation or organization outside the theater community.

• Business in the Arts Awards. Nominations now being accepted for awards to be presented at the August 18, 2010 “New Artitude” event presented by Wells Fargo. Categories include large business partner, mid-size business partner, small business partner, arts organization, arts advocate, arts board member and special business volunteer.

Detour Company Theatre

Two other nifty bits of news in the arts award department…

Arizona Theatre Company’s own Latino Playwriting Award-Winner, “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” by Kristoffer Diaz, was honored as a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. (The Pulitzer was awarded to “Next to Normal” by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey—which will tour, beginning in November, with stops in Los Angeles and San Diego).

• Eight’s Third Annual Be More Awards™ will be announced at a May 20, 2010 luncheon and awards ceremony at Eight’s downtown Phoenix studios. Nominated arts organizations include the Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts, Rosie’s House and Valley Youth Theatre (for the “Be More Creative” award recognizing achievement in arts and culture) and Detour Company Theatre (for the “Be More Encouraged” judges’ choice award).

Rosie's House Music Academy

As always, I welcome your input if there are additional resources not included here. Please let me know of other award opportunities in the comment section below so our readers will have even more ways to recognize the artists, advocates and other arts leaders in our communities. There’s only one rule around here: Be nice.

–Lynn

NEW FEATURE! Watch for “Today’s Tidbits” at the end of Monday-Thursday posts so you’ll know of arts experiences you can enjoy during the week with your family or friends. Look for weekend arts events in Friday “Stage Mom” posts. More arts and other family-friendly activities are available every day at Raising Arizona Kids’ online calendar thanks to our amazing calendar editor Mala Blomquist.

Today’s Tidbits: ASU Theatre and Film presents their “5th Annual Student Film Fest” featuring both showcase and competitive formats at 7:30pm at Harkins Valley Art Theatre in Tempe (info at 480-965-6447 or www.theatrefilm.asu.edu) • Chandler-Gilbert Community College presents a free CGCC Community Choir and Orchestra Concert at 7pm (info at 480-732-7343) • Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe presents local author Tom Leveen with his debut teen novel “Party” at 7pm (info at www.changinghands.com) • Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts presents “Talk Cinema: Sneak Preview #7” featuring a film that “depicts the aspirations of all immigrants and the fulfillment of the American dream” followed by a moderated conversation with experts (tickets are $20; info at www.scottsdaleperformingarts.org). If you have a visual or performing arts event to share, please drop me a line at rakstagemom@gmail.com. Calendar items can be submitted online.

“Last chance” weekend

Lizabeth took to the Nordstrom outlet known as “Last Chance” with her dad for a bit of pre-prom perusing last weekend.

Turns out it was more crowded than what they’d bargained for–making it even harder than usual to choose from the myriad of fashion choices they offer.

"Otis Redding and the Coat Rack" by Judy Feldman (SCC exhibit)

There’s plenty on the arts horizon this weekend, but it’s no fun to feel overwhelmed with options.

So here’s a brief sampling of events you might like to enjoy with your family or friends this weekend..

Activities

• Vision Kidz presents “Birds of a Feather” with Kris Kollasch. Sessions Saturday, April 16, at 10am and 1pm. Registration required for these free art classes for ages 6-12 (with adult present) held at Vision Gallery in Chandler. Call 480-917-6859 to check availability, to register or to learn more about future sessions. chandlercenter.org

Dance

• Chandler Center for the Arts presents “Yu Wei-The Dance Collection.” Dance art featuring music from China and around the world Saturday, April 16, at 7pm. Also features short films depicting the “culture and artistic background of both dance and dancer.” chandlercenter.org

• Mujeres Productions presents “Mujeres 2: Flamenco & Belly Dance Music.” Urban fusion of flamenco and belly dance performance Saturday, April 16, at 6:30pm at Tempe Center for the Arts. tempe.gov/tca

• Royal Dance Works presents “Royal Dance Works.” Features collection of dance pieces on April 17 at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix. royaldanceworks.com

Festivals

• Mesa Arts and Culture Festival presents “MACFEST.” Free festival features creations from local artists, food, live music and more Saturday, April 16, from 10am-4pm in downtown Mesa (on Main St. and Macdonald St.). mesaartscenter.com

• Phoenix Improvisation Festival presents “Phoenix Improv Festival.” Three-day event, April 15-17, features shows, workshops and networking at Herberger Theater Center. herbergertheater.org

• ASU Culture Week 2010 presents “The 24th Annual ASU Pow Wow.” Three-day event, April 16-18, features Native American cultural activities on the ASU Band Practice Field in Tempe (E. 6th St. and S. Rural Rd.). powwow.asu.edu

Music

• Local artists present “Community Music Night.” Ten musical acts perform from Friday, April 16, 6:30-8:30pm at Changing Hands Bookstore (co-sponsored by Hoodlums Music & Movies). changinghands.com

• LakeShore Jazz features “Cinco de Moio w/ Luis Conte.” Concert Friday, April 16, at 8pm at Tempe Center for the Arts (in their Lakeside venue overlooking Tempe Town Lake). tempe.gov/tca

Puppet Theater

• The Great Arizona Puppet Theatre presents “Hotel Saguaro.” Shows Friday, April 16, at 10am and 2pm at Higley Center for the Performing Arts in Gilbert. For grades K-3. higleyarts.org

Theater

• Higley High presents the musical theater production “Bye Bye Birdie.” Final show is Friday, April 16, at 7pm at the Higley Center for the Performing Arts in Gilbert. higleyarts.org

• Childsplay presents “Tomato Plant Girl.” Play features friendships between young girls (with themes such as self-esteem, peer pressure and loyalty). Final weekend includes five shows, including a 1pm and a 4pm on Sunday at Tempe Center for the Arts. childsplayaz.org

Visual Arts

• SCC Art Department presents the “11th Annual Spring Painting Exhibit.” Through April 22 (closed Sunday) at Scottsdale Community College. scottsdalecc.edu

• Chandler Center for the Arts presents “Ten Transformations: Framing Renewal.” Exhibit featuring “new works exploring a metamorphosis of unlikely materials” ends Friday, April 16. chandlercenter.org

• Central Community Theatre presents “Art Exhibit Featuring Artist Mary Lou Salazar.” Exhibit Saturday, April 16, from 3-7pm on the campus of “Central United Methodist Church” in Phoenix. cctstage.org

• ASU’s Future Arts Research (F.A.R.) presents Blane De St. Croix’s “Broken Landscape II.”  Exhibition reconstructs “the geology and social material surrounding a selected slice of the uncompeted wall on the U.S.-Mexico border” through April 23 (closed Monday) at the Night Gallery at Tempe Marketplace. Panel discussion on “Art and Activism” April 17 at 4pm. futureartsresearch.asu.edu

• The Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix presents speaker Michelle (Mishy) Katz on “Raku.” Lecture/demo looks at “a method of firing pottery rich in history and used in the Zen of the tea ceremony” with artist Katz (ASU, BFA, 1982). Free event with paid admission to the garden. japanesefriendshipgarden.org

Like items that fly off the hangers at “Last Chance,” many of these events are one-time only happenings or have their final run this weekend. 

You wouldn’t expect a fabulous pair of shoes to wait a week for you at a popular store, so don’t delay in getting to the arts-related shows and performances noted above.

In many cases, this weekend really is your last chance…

–Lynn

Note: If you’re a regular “Stage Mom” reader or blog subscriber, you know that there are plenty of other shows happening this weekend–from “All the More to Love” and “12th Night of the Living Dead” to “The Diviners” and “Forbidden Broadway.” Please see earlier posts for details. Remember too that Raising Arizona Kids magazine features a family-friendly calendar in both its monthly print magazine and its daily online magazine.

Update: I discovered something fun while making my daily Iced Americano run this afternoon–a book signing coming to Buzzberry in Scottsdale Saturday, April 17, from 9am to noon. What caught my eye? The event flyer complete with ink blotch graphic and this tagline: “Be careful where you dangle your participle.” I’m guilty of some serious dangling, so I may have to drop in to meet “English Doesn’t Suck” authors Alice Courtney and Sue Skidmore (who warn their book is not suitable for children). Learn more about these anti-danglers at englishdoesntsuck.com.