Tag Archives: Changing Hands Bookstore

Make some waves

Tile mural at the San Diego International Airport in California

The Phoenix Art Museum presents “Make Waves!” for teens who like to “mix, mingle and create” Fri, March 2 at 6:30pm. Youth who attend can create their own beach-ware accessories, hear sounds of the ocean and view sea-inspired garments during opening night for the museum’s newest fashion show, “The Sea.”

Mesa Community College Act I Musical Productions performs the musical “Rent” featuring book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson through Thurs, March 8 at Theatre Outback.

The Phoenix Municipal Art Collection has more than 1,000 works of art that’ll be featured in rotating exhibits in the newly renovated Gallery @ City Hall. Folks can get their first glimpse Fri, March 2, between 10am and 2pm — when the city unveils “Place: Images of the West,” which includes 23 paintings, photographs and prints from 21 artists inspired by western landscapes.

Scottsdale Community College opens its “13th Annual Spring Painting Exhibition” featuring more than 20 artists Fri, March 2. View the exhibition in the SCC art building Mon-Fri 8am-4pm or Sat 9am-3pm.

Chandler-Gilbert Community College presents the musical “Little Women” March 2-9 at the Arnette Scott Ward Performing Arts Center in Chandler. It’s based on the book by Louisa May Alcott, and features book by Allan Knee, music by Jason Howland and lyrics by Mindi Dickstein.

AZ Musicfest 2012 presents “From A to Z — Abba to Les Miz — Broadway’s Best” Sat, March 3 (a March 2 performance is sold out) at Scottsdale First Assembly. Nat Chandler and Teri Dale Hansen will be singing works from “Chicago,” “Mamma Mia!,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Rent,” “Spamalot” and “Wicked.”

Scorpius Dance Theatre is looking ahead to their next performance of “A Vampire Tale” at the Bram Stoker International Film Festival this fall, raising funds for the trip through an all-day dance class marathon Sat, March 3 from 11am to 8pm. They’re offering hour-long master classes in ballet, modern technique, salsa/cha cha, centemporary jazz, burlesque and hip hop.

Tempe Center for the Arts presents a “Walk-in Artist Workshop” Sat, March 3. The “Plein Air Family Workshop with Ellen Waggener” takes place from noon to 4pm in the Gallery — where families can also enjoy an “Arizona Landscapes” exhibition.

The Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture and the Seventh Street Merchants Association unveil new artwork and poetry Sat, March 3 at 1:15pm during the “Melrose on Seventh Avenue Street Fair” (11am-5pm) in Phoenix. The works comprise series 8 of the “Seventh Street Streetscape.”

Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe presents a “Meet and Greet Booksigning” with Roxanna Green Sat, March 3 at 5pm. Green authored “As Good As She Imagined: The Redeeming Story of the Angel of Tucson, Christina-Taylor Green” after losing her daughter last January in the Tucson tragedy and now heads a foundation that bears her daughter’s name.

Arizona State University in Tempe holds an Arizona SciTech Festival event dubbed “Night of the Open Door” Sat, March 3 from 5-9pm. The Piper Writers House hosts author readings/book signings that night with Conrad Storad (author of more than 40 science and nature books for children and young adults) and Stephen J. Pyne (author of nearly two dozen books who specializes in history of the environment, exploration and fire).

Never fear if you’re over 21 but still eager to make waves. You can hit opening night for the “Phoenix Fringe Festival” Fri, March 2 — with offerings that include performance by Dulce Dance Company, a choreopoem presented by BlackPoet Ventures, a trio of short plays from Actors Alchemy and more.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to find additional events for families featured in the Raising Arizona Kids Magazine online calendar. Always check with venues before attending to confirm event details.

Coming up: Five freebies for families


Writer, writer on the wall…

Want to be the fairest writer of them all? Read often. Write daily. And learn from the masters.

Amy Silverman and Deborah Sussman Susser just announced that registration is now open for the next “Mothers Who Write” workshop, a 10-week series that starts Feb. 23 at Scottsdale Center for the Arts. It meets Thursday evenings from 6-8pm and costs $200 (Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Arts members pay just $175).

A teen writing workshop called “Fems with Pens,” for girls in grades 7-12, begins Jan. 23 at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe. The six-week series also include 5-6pm sessions on Jan. 30, Feb. 6, Feb. 13, Feb. 27 and March 5. Participants write fiction and non-fiction using various exercises, then discuss and edit their work in a “creative, supportive environment.” The series costs $60.

Phoenix Public Library and Changing Hands Bookstore present a “Young Adult Writing Conference” featuring writing classes and a writing panel on Sat, Jan. 28 at the Burton Barr Central Library. Presenters and panelists include authors Adam Rex, Bree Despain, James Owen, Anna Carey, Kiersten White, Aprilynne Pike, Amy Fellner Dominy, C J Hill (Janette Rallison), Robin Brande, Cecil Castellucci and Tom Leveen. The event runs 9am-3pm and costs $85 ($75 through Jan. 19).

A “Yallapalooza” event for teens and tweens takes place at the library that same day at 4pm. The 11 authors noted above will attend, and the event also features free pizza — plus games, prizes and book signing opportunities. Admission is free.

ASU’s Virgina G. Piper Center for Creative Writing holds its 2012 “Desert Nights, Rising Stars” conference Feb. 23-26 at the center, located on ASU’s Tempe Campus. Conference faculty include Sally Ball, Robert Boswell, Bernard Cooper, Denise Dumahel, Carolyn Forche, Pam Houston, Adam Johnson, Mat Johnson, A. Van Jordan, Antonya Nelson, Alix Ohlin, Jem Poster, Melissa Pritchard, Jeannine Savard, Eleanor Wilner and Xu Xi. Writers of all levels are welcome, and general registration is $375 (master class tuition is an additional $125).

The UA Poetry Center in Tucson is presenting several classes and workshops in coming months, including “Poetry in the 21st Century” with Joel Arthur. The eight week literature class, which begins Feb. 6, will explore trends including conceptual poetry, Gurlesque, flarf, virtual poetics, Vispo and more. Participants will read, discuss and listen to American poetry from 2000 to the present. The class costs $200 (plus a $10 materials fee).

The Poetry Center also offers “Possibilities of Short Plays” with Laura Owen, an eight-week writing workshop on writing short form theatrical pieces — monologues and ten-minute plays. Participants will explore voice and dialogue, as well as the intersection of poetry and other forms. Students can expect to complete several dialogues and at least one complete ten-minute play. The workshop, which starts Feb. 8, costs $200 (plus a $5 materials fee).

Scottsdale Public Library and the Scottsdale Society of Women Writers present a “Local Writers Workshop” at the Mustang Library at 1:15pm on Feb. 19. The free workshop covers writing, publishing, an online author toolkit and networking. It’s one of many free writing-related events offered by Scottsdale Public Libraries. (Check your local library for additional options.)

If your organization offers writing classes for youth or adults, feel free to comment below to let our readers know.

— Lynn

Note: An organization called Friends of the Phoenix Public Library needs donations of children’s books to help economically-challenged schools stock their libraries and classrooms. Click here for donation details, and to learn about the Friends’ annual “Winter Book Sale” taking place later this month.

Coming up: Celebrating black history on stage and screen

In & Out of Oz

Detail of a mural at the Gershwin Theatre in New York City

I felt I’d walked right into Oz last month when I entered the Gershwin Theatre to enjoy the Broadway musical “Wicked” with my 18-year-old daughter Lizabeth. Giant murals of scenes from “Munchkinland” and the “Emerald City” line an expansive theater wall. Props from the original film are exhibited inside the theater. Families gather at a special photo booth for pictures set in the land of Oz. And there’s no shortage of green — or sparkle.

We’ve seen the musical “Wicked” several times now, and will happily see it again at every opportunity. The touring production returns to ASU Gammage next year for a Feb. 15-March 11 run. Tickets go on sale Nov. 28. So while others are distracted by “Black Friday” sales, Broadway lovers will be waiting for “Green Monday.”

Folks familiar with books by Gregory Maguire are eagerly awaiting his Nov. 14 appearance at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe — where his new book titled “Out of Oz” will be featured during a discussion, Q & A and booksigning. It’s the final installment of his four-part “Wicked Years” series.

Other books in the series include “Wicked,” “Son of a Witch” and “A Lion Among Men.” It’s his first book that inspired the Tony Award winning musical “Wicked.” In “Out of Oz,” a once peaceful and prosperous Oz is “knotted with social unrest” and “wracked by war.”

I’ve always found the social justice piece of “Wicked” its most fascinating strain, so I’m eager to read Maguire’s tale of “the Emerald City mounting an invasion of Munchkinland.”

Still, “Wicked” is for most the tale of two witches — one who sparkles and shines while enjoying glowing popularity, and other scorned for her green skin and less-winning ways. It’s a morality tale with important lessons about friendship and the perils of judging those around us. But first and foremost, it’s a magical spectacle of stagecraft and storytelling.

— Lynn

Note: “Wicked” is one of many shows participating in the 2012 “Kids Night on Broadway” program in NYC. Click here for details. Click here to learn about the wicked women of Goosebottom Books (and watch for a future review of two new titles). And click here for a sneak peek at the “Storytellers 2012” calendar featuring Gregory Maguire.

Coming up: Broadway’s “Theater Hall of Fame,” If you give a mouse a musical…

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

Children’s Book Week

I’m no math genius, but when I first learned of “Children’s Book Week” it occured to me that this left 51 other weeks in the year. So what are these, exactly? “Children’s Twitter Week?” “Children’s Junk Food Week?” “Children’s Tattoo Week?”

Let’s hope not — because if “Children’s Book Week” sets the bar, our children may soon be enjoying free nachos or sailor “tats.” Seems that Friends of the Phoenix Public Library is giving away free used books to children during “Children’s Book Week.”

“Children’s Book Week” was started in 1919 — the idea of Franklin K. Matthiews, librarian of the Boy Scouts of America, who toured the country promoting higher standards in children’s books.

Enjoy music inspired by literary classics like Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz and The Secret Garden in Chandler this weekend

Today it’s orchestrated by “Every Child a Reader,” the philanthropic arm of the children’s publishing industry.

How lovely to have a philanthropic enterprise that helps kids and boosts sales.

I’m all for running right out to buy the kiddies a slew of books, but why not head to the Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix as well?

That’s where the small shop operated by Friends of the Phoenix Public Library is doing their used book giveaway. It’s a one-a-day deal (for readers 17 and younger) as long as the books last during “Children’s Book Week.” There’s a special book cart with teen selections.

“Children’s Book Week” runs May 2-8 — and is also being celebrated by participating bookstores throughout the country. In Arizona, special “Children’s Book Week” events are taking place at Tempe’s Changing Hands Bookstore, proud member (like Raising Arizona Kids Magazine) of Local First Arizona.

Click here to learn more about activities for children and teens at Changing Hands, and be sure to check with your own local bookstores and libraries to see what they’ve got planned during “Children’s Book Week.” There’s no “Grown-ups’ Book Week,” but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some reading of your own as well.

Children who see their parents reading get the message that reading is a fun way to spend a part of each day — and may just do more reading of their own. It can only help them do better in school and in life.

— Lynn

Note: While I have books on the brain, I’m pleased to report that the musical “The Book of Mormon” has been nominated for 14 Tony Awards. Click here for a list of all nominations announced this morning. To enjoy a lovely bit of family-friendly music closer to home, head to Chandler Center for the Arts Sat, May 7 at 7pm for the Chandler Children’s Choir “Singing Happily Ever After…” concert featuring music inspired by literary classics, plus poetry, fables, Shakespeare and more.

Coming up: Government rocks!

Water for Elephants

I’m enjoying a few days on the East Coast with my 17-year-old daughter Lizabeth as she gets a final look at one of the colleges she’s considering attending in the fall.

After making a campus visit and touring surrounding towns on Friday, we somehow managed to stumble onto an AMC movie theater just as “Water for Elephants” was about to begin.

“Water for Elephants” is a PG-13 movie about life in a traveling circus during the Depression era. Think prohibition. Riding the rails. And an era not yet enlightened on issues like animal and domestic abuse.

Lizabeth agreed, after we’d watched the credits roll, that posting a review as soon as possible was a good idea — because parents need to know that this movie isn’t meant for kids.

Plenty of parents make a habit of taking children to see PG-13 movies. Perhaps they think mature themes and language will go right over their child’s head. And, in some cases, they may be right.

But animal abuse like that depicted in “Water for Elephants” is something you don’t want your child or pre-teen to see. And the images of domestic violence in this movie are equally inappropriate for kids.

“Water for Elephants” shares a moving story, first told in book form (by author Sara Gruen), of a man trained in veterinary medicine who ends up traveling with the circus after losing both parents in a car crash. Your kids don’t need to see the morgue scene either.

So snag a babysitter or save this movie for an outing with your teen. Lizabeth and I agree that “Water for Elephants” is an excellent film. It’s certainly one of the best directed films I’ve seen in some time (it’s directed by Frances Laurence), and the cinematography is captivating. We also enjoyed the sets, costumes, music and acting performances all around.

It was a treat to finally see Robert Pattinson (“Jacob”) of “Twilight” fame without all that sparkle vampires must endure in the sunlight. But Reese Witherspoon (“Marlena”), known to many for playing “Elle” in the “Legally Blonde” films, delivers the better performance here.

And it’s Christoph Waltz — who portrays the circus master driven by desperation, excess and narcissism — who brings the most depth to the story. Waltz’ performance is engaging at every turn, as his “August” puts profit over people and baits the mere boy who dares to delight his wife.

Hal Holbrook opens and closes the tale as “Old Jacob” — recounting his life before and after his Benzini Brothers days — with a gift for storytelling that’s beautiful and rare. And a number of actors with smaller roles feel equally indispensible to moving the story forward in colorful ways.

“Water for Elephants” is storytelling at its best. I’ll be looking for it next time nominations for film awards are rolled out — and not just because I want to see an elephant walk the red carpet.

— Lynn

Note: Learn more about circus arts by visiting the Circus World Museum in Wisconsin (which was involved in the making of “Water for Elephants”).

Coming up: Finding art in New Jersey

Update: “Water for Elephants” author Sara Gruen appears at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe Thurs, May 5, at 7pm for a Reading, Q & A and Booksigning. Event is free with purchase of Gruen’s new book titled “Ape House,” but space is limited. Learn more at www.changinghands.com.

From storybook to stage

Childsplay performs a a musical adaptation of P.B. Eastman’s “Go, Dog. Go!” at the Tempe Center for the Arts Jan 29-March 6

Telling and reading stories is one of the most enchanting parts of childhood. But today’s kids have additional options for enjoying their favorite tales — including movie and stage adaptations of classic and contemporary children’s books.

Consider the case of P.D. Eastman’s “Go, Dog. Go!” The book comes to life this weekend as Childsplay presents a preview at Tempe Center for the Arts.

I’m told the preview and opening night are already sold out, so don’t delay if you’re eager to take in the show.

Childsplay’s “Go, Dog. Go!”– recommended for ages 3 & up — is adapted by Steven Dietz and Allison Gregory, with music by Michael Koerner. 

It runs Jan 29-March 6, with 1pm and 4pm shows both Saturdays and Sundays. An ASL interpreted performance takes place at 1pm on Sun, Feb 27.

Take the kiddos to Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe Sat, Jan 22, at 10am if you’d like to enjoy some charming “Go, Dog. Go!” moments with Childsplay.

Changing Hands notes that children will be “exploring the world of story using dramatic play to guide kids through an exploration of scenes from P.D. Eastman’s Go, Dog Go!” and promises that “They’ll even create some of their own!”

Another book for children was literally “on the go” last weekend as the cast of Cookie Company’s upcoming “Unstoppable Me!” took a bit of the show on the road — performing selections at Desert Ridge Marketplace.

The cast of Cookie Company's "Unstoppable Me!" performed last weekend at Desert Ridge Marketplace

Cookie Company is affiliated with Phoenix Theatre, which offers more mature fare in “No Way to Treat a Lady” through Jan 30.

“Unstoppable Me!” runs Jan 28-Feb 6 at Greasepaint Theatre in Scottsdale. It’s based on the book by Wayne W. Dyer with Kristina Tracy. It has the shortest run of the shows noted here so you have just a small window of opportunity to see it.

This iPhone "app" is proof that some stories have moved to both stage and super-small screen

Though “Unstoppable Me!” is best for K-grade 4 students, I’m eager to see is myself — having recently seen one of its cast members, Walter Belcher, offer a moving performance in the Black Theatre Troupe production of August Wilson’s “Fences.”

Many adult actors who perform brilliantly here in the Valley in works for children also can be seen in works for older audiences (by older, I mean no longer required to do homework).

I’m especially excited about seeing Childsplay’s Yolanda London appear in an Actors Theatre production titled “This” which opens at the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix this Friday. And Kristen Drathman, a Valley actor frequently seen in Phoenix Theatre productions, performing in “Go, Dog. Go!”

Youth Works, which is part of Theater Works in Peoria, brings “James and the Giant Peach” to the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts Feb 3-20.

Enjoy "James and the Giant Peach" at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts next month

It’s based on the book by Roald Dahl — which recounts the adventures of James as he finds a way to escape from two odd aunts who take him in after his parents die in a tragic rhinocerous accident.

The adventures of "James and the Giant Peach" exist in book, stage and movie form

Theater Works presents “The Desperate Hours” on another stage Jan 28-Feb 13.

I’ve always been a fan of reading books before seeing them portrayed on stage or screen (whether big screen or handheld device).

Childen who read these stories before seeing them performed have a chance to imagine the setting and characters free of someone else’s images.

But once your child reads or listens to a book, there’s nothing more fun than seeing it come to life on stage. Unless, of course, you finish off an afternoon at the theater by cracking open another exciting book.

— Lynn

Note: Childsplay and Cookie Company productions feature adult actors performing family-friendly works, while Youth Works features young performers presenting family-friendly fare.

Coming up: Theater cats (no Andrew Lloyd Webber required), Musings on “mature content” theater as ASU Gammage presents a touring production of “Spring Awakening,” Valley veterans participate in a national arts contest, It’s a jungle (and farm) out there!

Photos provided by Childsplay (photo by Heather Hill features cast members from a previous run), Phoenix Theatre and Theater Works.