Tag Archives: free concerts

Right on Target

I’m feeling the love for Target these days knowing that Valley families will be able to enjoy several museums for free thanks to the store best known for its bullseye.

The Children’s Museum of Phoenix presents “Target Free First Friday Nights” the first Friday of every month through 2012. Your next opportunity to enjoy free admission to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix is Fri, March 2 from 5-9pm.

Three venues located with three blocks of each other in Mesa are part of “Target 3 for Free” — which features free admission on the first Sunday of each month through May 2012.

Mesa Contemporary Arts, located at the Mesa Arts Center, dedicates a special area to children’s art activities and offers a free performance in MCA’s outdoor courtyard on “Target 3 for Free” days — which include Sun, March 4.

Another participant, the Arizona Museum of Natural History, has a new exhibit titled “Rulers of the Prehistoric  Skies” in addition to its permanent collection.

The “3 for Free” program in Mesa also includes the Arizona Museum for Youth, which currently features an exhibit called “Wings It! Things That Fly!” Think airplane cockpit simulator, butterfly puppet theater, paper plane launcher and more.

Big or small, it’s nice to support the businesses that supports arts and culture in our communities.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to explore Target partnerships with educators and arts organizations in your area

Coming up: Beyond paint by numbers, All aboard the digital bookmobile!


No-cost and low-cost concerts

First, a little something you don’t even have to venture outside of the  house for — the Songwrtiters Showcase at Tempe Center for the Arts. It’s perfectly fun to attend in person but you can also enjoy it at home starting Sat, Sept 3, when it hits the PBS airwaves before “Austin City Limits.”

Seems the concert stars are aligned for Sat, Sept 3 — when Paradise Valley Community College kicks off its “First Saturday Concert Series” on the Center for Performing Arts amphitheater stage. Fall offerings include Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian (Sept), R &B with soul and neo-jazz (Oct) and a 30-song Beatles tribute (Nov). Admission is free.

The Chandler Symphony Orchestra will perform several free concerts at the Chandler Center for the Perforning Arts this season

Chandler Symphony Orchestra has announced six free concerts during the 2011-2012 season at Chandler Center for the Arts. Evening concerts are scheduled for Sept 9 and Feb 3. Afternoon concerts take place Oct 9, Nov 13, March 25 and May 6.

Mesa Arts Center offers free fall and spring Out to Lunch concerts

The fall “Out to Lunch Concert Series” at Mesa Arts Center features free entertainment in an outdoor setting Thursdays between Oct 27 and Dec 8. Like most venues, they recommend bringing folding chairs, cushions or blankets along.

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts presents a series of concerts with ASU musicians from Aug to Oct 2011. The series opens with a Mon, Aug 22 “Opera and Operetta Extravaganza.” Watch for additional concerts featuring everything from classical to modern urban sounds. Students (with I.D.) are free and general admission is just $10.

Watch for free Sunday concerts at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts early next year after the weather cools

Their free “Sunday A’Fair” outdoor concerts take place select Sundays from Jan to April 2012. You can pop in anytime during these four hour affairs to enjoy arts and crafts exhibits, hands-on art activities for children and families, and free admission the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.

Bring those cameras along for fall and winter concerts, since photos will allow you to tastefully tease friends and family in colder parts about the deliciousness of desert living.

— Lynn

Note: Chandler Center for the Arts is accepting applications (through Aug 31) from 13-18 years olds for its new Youth Advisory Council, which fosters art appreciation, community service and leadership skills.

Coming up: More arts offerings from Arizona universities

From JFK to Father’s Day

This poster resembles a T-shirt my daughter Jennifer loves to wear

For most, the name Kennedy conjures thoughts of politics. My own daughter Jennifer, a 20-year-old antroplogy student at ASU who aspires to work for the United Nations, loves wearing a T-shirt that bears the likeness of a 1960 poster supporting JFK’s presidential campaign.

John F. Kennedy was born in Massachusetts on May 29, 1917. Had he not been assassinated in November 1963, today would be JFK’s 94th birthday. And while opinions of his politics may vary, it’s hard to find fault in his avid support for the arts.

After Kennedy’s death, a work in progress originally dubbed the National Culture Center became the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. It’s located near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. and there are three ways folks in Arizona can enjoy its offerings.

Those visiting D.C. can attend diverse music, dance and theater performance at the Kennedy Center — assuming tickets are available when you’re ready to buy them. The rest of us can watch for touring productions of Kennedy Center programs like the Theater for Young Audiences performance of “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical” presented last year at Higley Center for the Performing Arts, Or go online for daily webcasts from the Center’s Millennium Stage.

The Kennedy Center offers free daily performances (at 6pm EST) on its Millennium Stage. Saturday night I watched streaming video of the Beach Fossils. Sunday night will feature a D.C. trio called “Medications,” described as “an 18-year collaboration between multi-instrumentalists Devin Ocampo and Chad Molter with drummer Mark Cisneros” that “combines a love of ’60s and ’70s pop, as well as the visceral pulse of ’70s punk.”

There’s plenty of live performance art right here in Arizona, but Kennedy Center Millennium Stage offerings are perfect for evenings you’re content to stay home but still want to get your daily dose of arts and culture. While you’re online, consider exploring the Kennedy Center website to learn about its many collaborations with Arizona artists.

Ballet Arizona performed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as part of the Center’s “Ballet Across America II” program in June 2010. And Childsplay, a Tempe-based theater company presenting works for youth and families, has participated four times in the Center’s “New Visions/New Voices” playwriting development program — with “The Yellow Boat,” “Even Steven Goes to War,” “Salt & Pepper,” and “Telemera: Stories My Mother Told Me.”

But the Kennedy family legacy goes beyond the realms of politics and art.

Patrick J. Kennedy, son of JFK’s brother Edward M. Kennedy and former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, is coupling his personal experience with bipolar disorder and addiction with his expertise in public policy to further the work of the newly-established “One Mind for Research” campaign — which aims to unify the science, technology, research and knowledge needed to battle brain disorders.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, JFK’s sister, founded the Special Olympics in 1968. The organization — which describes itself as “the world’s largest movement dedicated to promoting respect, acceptance, inclusion, and human dignity for people with intellectual disabilities” — serves more than 3.5 million people through a variety of programs. From June 25 to July 4, 7,500 athletes from 185 countries will participate in the Special Olympics “World Summer Games” in Athens — which includes 22 Olympic-type sports.

Today the only surviving child of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy, continues making her own contributions to arts and culture. She serves as honorary chairman of the American Ballet Theatre governing board and has authored several books including “A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poetry for Children” and the recently released “She Walks in Beauty: A Woman’s Journey Through Poems.”

I imagine what it must have been like to grow up surrounded by the countless words of others attempting to decipher or describe your father’s legacy. If you’d like to try writing about your own father, consider attending a “Father’s Day Writing Workshop” Fri, June 9, from 6-8pm at MADE Art Boutique on Roosevelt Row in downtown Phoenix. Here’s a little blurb about the event from the “Mothers Who Write” website:

A good dad is hard to find. If you’ve got one, let him know how you feel by writing something for him this Father’s Day. And if you don’t, write about him anyway — it just might be cathartic. Bring 17 copies of your two-page (typed, double spaced) piece to MADE and fine-tune it with MWW instructors Amy Silverman (Phoenix New Times) and Deborah Sussman (ASU Art Museum). Spaces are limited; registration is required. To register, call 602.256.MADE.

We all spend far too much time delving into the private lives of other families, famous and otherwise. And while I find the topic of JFK fascinating, I can assure you that my own father is every bit as interesting and complex — albeit in a wholly different sort of a way. Maybe he’s the one I should be writing about…

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn about Special Olymics Arizona

Coming up: Local twists on the Tony Awards®, Last chance! Art camps, Do the math: Arizona arts & culture by the numbers

J is for Jersey — and Juneau

“Alaskan Fiddling Poet” Ken Waldman, who’ll be performing at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix next weekend, does plenty of traveling as a sort of modern day troubador.

I’ll bet Waldman didn’t expect to be in New Jersey late last week – but he was a stowaway of sorts as I traveled to the East Coast with one of my daughters.

When I went to rev up my laptop, I discovered Waldman’s bright green “D is for Dog Team” CD inside.

I’d listened to several of his CDs, and read two of his books, just a few weeks before. He was kind enough to send them my way so I could get a feel for his work before he hits the Valley with his family-friendly blend of music, poetry and storytelling.

One book, a memoir titled “Are You Famous?,” is a detailed read standing in sharp contrast to the mini-memoirs I write in many of my posts. Perhaps he’s not ready to accept rumors of readers’ shortening attention spans. Or maybe he just gives people more credit than most.

Waldman’s “D is for Denali” — featuring Alaskan acrostics from A to Z — is more my style. There’s “A is for Avalanche,” “I is for Iditarod,” “R is for Reindeer” and more.

It reminds me of the years I spent living in Anchorage — and my mom’s brother Bob, who lived with his family in Juneau.

Its development was “made possible in part through a grant from the New Jersey-based Puffin Foundation” — an organization dedicated to “continuing the dialogue between art and the lives of ordinary people.”

The name of the non-profit caught my eye because my daughter Jennifer, who’ll turn 20 this week, was quite the puffin fan during childhood.

Animals are a common subject in Waldman’s works. The “D is for Dog Team” CD includes “Stubborn Old Mule,” “I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground,” “Duck River” and several other selections.

Another offering — a pair of CDs titled “All Originals, All Traditionals” — features one CD with 28 instrumentals and another with fiddle tunes and poems.

When you open the packaging, you see a poem titled “Suffering Democracy” — one of my favorite little gems from Waldman’s world.

Head to the Musical Instrument Museum this Friday (April 29) at 4pm for “Experience the Music: Ken Waldman and Poetry and Storytelling for Kids.” The event, designed for kids ages 4-8 (with a parent), is just $15/child.

Waldman also performs a series of three free events at the MIM on Saturday, April 30. Other MIM activities that weekend include “Listen to the World” — a celebration of the museums’s first anniversary, complete with music, dance and workshops.

If “M is for Moose Pass” — then “MIM” is for music, imagination and memories. It’s unlikely you’ll see a moose around these parts. But thanks to the MIM — music exhibits, performance and education are always available right here in Arizona.

Now if only I could get New Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen to pay a visit to the MIM…

— Lynn

Note: Waldman is currently a featured poet on the website for “49 Writers,” an Alaskan non-profit supporting writers and their work. Click here to learn more.

Coming up: Costume shop treasures

I ♥ outdoor concerts

The Desert Botanical Garden is one of many Valley venues offering outdoor concert fare

Much as I enjoyed the lovely bit of wind, rain and snow that recently blew our way, I’m eager to get outside and reclaim the sunshine.

Happily, plenty of Valley venues offer outdoor music fare that’s affordable and fun.

The Desert Botanical Garden begins its Winter 2011 “Music in the Garden” concert series — which includes six diverse musical styles, complete with dance demonstrations/lessons — Sun, Jan 9.

“Music in the Garden” concerts take place Sundays (Jan 9, 23, 30 and Feb 6, 13, 20) from noon to 2pm and feature special rates for children ages 3-12.

Admission for children is just $8/each. Members pay $15/each and the general public pays $21/ each.

The first concert features retro rock/surfer band “The Surfside IV” with a “Hula” dance lesson/performance. It’s not every day you get to hula alongside your family or friends.

Other themes include root music/country with two-step dance, vintage rock/swing with swing dance, Meditteranean/world beat with belly dance, mambo/salsa/bachata with salsa dance, and blues/Chicago soul with blues shuffle dance.

Come February, you’ll be able to enjoy the Spring 2011 “Out to Lunch” concert series at the Mesa Arts Center. 

These concerts, which take place Thursdays from 12:30-1:30pm, are free and open to the public. The series runs Feb 3 to March 31, 2011 in the Wells Fargo Garden.

The Feb 3 event features Nazim Rashid and New Renaissance with “An Acoustic Jazz Experience.” Other dates in the series spotlight everything from Irish and Celtic music to steel drums and folk music.

The mid-day timing makes these concerts perfect for lunchtime office getaways and playdates with fellow parents and their children. Complete the fun with a sack lunch or picnic basket.

For outdoor concerts featuring Native American arts and culture, head to the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts — which presents several “Native Trails” events on their outdoor fountain stage Jan 20-Apr 2.

We often attended outdoor concerts with our young children — who loved the experience of being closer to nature, hearing different types of music, dancing along with diverse rhythms and making new friends along the way.

Most folks consider metro Phoenix the “Valley of the Sun” — but I prefer to think of it as the “Valley of the Fun.”

— Lynn

Note: If you snap an especially fab photo at one of these outdoor concerts — a mother/daughter hula shot, perhaps — send it my way and I’ll share it with our readers. And feel free to comment below if you have news of other outdoor concerts to share.

Coming up: Tucson meets Yonkers

Weekend art adventures

My oldest daughter Jennifer once enjoyed a brief clowning gig as “Jumpin’ Jenn” — an homage to her beautiful, bouncy personality. Jennifer performed with a wonderful clown who took Jenn under her wing for an annual clowning event in the Valley.

That was some ten years ago, so folks who head to Desert Ridge Marketplace in Phoenix Saturday morning for the 10am “Cirque Dreams Illumination” audition (for a featured role when the troupe performs at the Mesa Arts Center Nov 9-14) will have one less strong contender.

Get a sneak peek at Cirque Dreams Illumination Saturday at Desert Ridge Marketplace in Scottsdale

The audition is limited to the first 100 attendees so event organizers suggest folks arrive early to secure a place in line. But what of other art adventures taking place in the Valley (and beyond) this weekend? You have plenty to choose from…


“Arab-American Festival.” Sat, Oct 23 and Sun, Oct 24 at Steele Indian School Park in Phoenix. www.arabamericanfestival.com.


“Key Ingredients: America By Food” (A Smithsonian traveling exhibition). Opens Sat, Oct 23 at the Tohono O’odham Nation Cultural Center & Musem in Topawa. www.azhumanities.org.

The traveling Smithsonian exhibit "Key Ingredients" comes to Arizona this weekend


“Tetra String Quartet.” Fri, Oct 22 at 7:30pm. Delightful and talented group of young musicians I enjoyed meeting and listening to recently at the MIM. King of Glory Lutheran Church in Tempe. www.tetraquartet.org.

Tetra String Quartet performs classical works this weekend in Tempe


“Pirates of Penzance” presented by Arizona Opera. Fri, Oct 22-Sun, Oct 24 (times vary) at Phoenix Symphony Hall. www.azopera.com.


“Halloween Storytime featuring Splat the Cat.” Sat, Oct 23 at 11am. Barnes & Noble at 101 Fwy and Shea Blvd in Scottsdale. www.bn.com.


“On Golden Pond.” Opens Fri, Oct 22 at Desert Stages Theatre in Scottsdale. www.desertstages.org.

“The Brothers Grimm: Out of Order.” Fri, Oct 22, at 7pm (also Sat 2pm, Mon 7pm) at the Queen Creek Performing Arts Center. www.qcpac.com.

“The Wiz.” Opens Fri, Oct 22 at 7pm (and through Oct 31) at Greasepaint Youtheatre in Scottsdale. www.phoenixtheatre.com.


“Cirque Shanghai Bai Xi.” Sun, Oct 24 at 7pm at the Chandler Center for the Arts. www.chandlercenter.org.

“Friends of the Phoenix Public Library Book Sale.” Sat, Oct 23 and Sun, Oct 24. 1330 N. 29th Dr in Phoenix. www.phoenixlibraryfriends.org.

“Otsukimi: Moonviewing.” Sat, Oct 23 from 5-9pm. Assorted cultural activities for kids and adults. Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix. www.japanesefriendshipgarden.com.

To learn more about weekend events in the Valley, visit the online calendar for Raising Arizona Kids magazine — and read earlier blogs featuring everything from Bill Harley’s MIM concert and Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” at ASU Gammage.


Note: The recent post titled “Pumpkins & performing arts” will be updated as I learn of more arts adventures with a Halloween theme. Families can enjoy “Boo at the Zoo” at the Phoenix Zoo this weekend — and stop by the Raising Arizona Kids magazine booth to meet various members of the magazine staff.

Coming up: A “bonus blog” to be posted on Friday — which will share insights from award-winning storyteller Bill Harley in advance of his Sunday performance at the Musical Instrument Museum.

Puppets for grown-ups?

Great Arizona Puppet Theater is well known for offering good clean fun for children. Little Red Riding Hood. Goldilocks. The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Rapunzel. But did you know it also offers adults-only puppet slams, perhaps best described as simply good fun?

If you’re 18 or older, head over to the puppet theater in Phoenix at 8pm tonight (Aug 6) or tomorrow (Aug 7) for “quirky edgy puppet shows by Arizona’s leading quirky edgy puppeteers.”

Younger puppet patrons can enjoy “Two Bad Mice” through Aug 22 (10am Wed-Fri, 10am and 2pm Sat, 2pm Sun)–and “Baby Bear Goes to School” opening Aug 25.

If your aim is escaping the Valley’s heat, you can hit the “2010 Prescott Film Festival” being held Aug 6-8 at Yavapai Performance Hall and various downtown locations.

Fare includes “innovative comedy, daring drama, thought provoking documentaries and a slate of Native American Films.

Music lovers can enjoy a free concert by The DelRayz on Aug 6 at the Chandler Center for the Arts.

Dance fans can enjoy a free “Night With the Artists” presented by Terpsicore Dance Company of Scottsdale on Aug 6 at the Madison Event Center in Phoenix. The event features a performance (8pm and 9:30pm) and the opportunity to meet many visual and performing artists (including an opera singer and metal sculptor).

“Dancing in the Heights,” which features dancers from the Fred Astaire Dance Studio of America, takes place Aug 7 at 2pm at Tempe Center for the Arts–and benefits the Arizona Multiple Sclerosis Society.

If you’re a theater buff who also happens to be an Arizona Diamondback season ticket holder, you can take advantage of a special offer to see the Arizona Broadway Theatre production of the musical comedy titled “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” running through Sept 29.

Other theater options include “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Mesa, Irving Berlin’s “Annie Get Your Gun” or “The Little Mermaid” at Hale Centre Theatre and more.

For a bit of family-friendly cabaret-style fun, head over to Desert Stages Theatre in Scottsdale Aug 6 or 7 for a concert featuring songs from popular musicals sung by Valley favorites including Toby Yatso.

Visit the Raising Arizona Kids magazine online calendar for “on stage” and “on exhibit” listings featuring family-friendly performing arts and visual arts opportunities–and remember to check all those fun details like cost and age recommendations before you go.

If you know of something wonderful happening in the Valley or state this weekend with an arts focus and a family-friendly feel, feel free to share it with our readers in the comment section below.

Perhaps the finest art of all is sharing the arts with others…


Note: Hale has a limited number of $10 children’s tickets for “Annie Get Your Gun” performances before Aug 14–for phone/in-person orders only (no online discount available).

Coming up: News from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Arizona theaters featuring performances by people with disabilities, Photos from the Utah Shakespearean Festival, Creative Stages Youth Theatre season preview