Tag Archives: Harkins

Everything’s coming up Rosie

Rosie's House holds its 2012 Anniversary Celebration this Friday

Everything’s coming up music at Rosie’s House, a Phoenix music academy for children founded in 1996 to serve low-income families by inspiring social change and helping students develop a committment to personal and academic achievement.

Their “2012 Anniversary Celebration” takes place this Fri, March 2, from 6-8pm at Scottsdale Artists’ School. Folks who attend are encouraged to don “festive attire” for the event that’ll span both gallery and patio spaces.

Cello student at Rosie's House

Rosie’s House will honor three individuals during the event — including Michael Christie, music director of The Phoenix Symphony, jazz pianist and arts advocate Charles Lewis and Rosie’s House piano faculty member Erin Crawford.

Both Lewis and jazz singer Alice Tatum are performing “musical selections” at Friday’s shindig, as are Rosie House students.

Music advocacy and jazz stylings are all good and fine, but some of you may feel motivated to attend by the prospect of acquiring an amazing bit of rock and roll bling — an electric guitar signed by Nils Lofgren, who has performed with Bruce Springsteen as a member of the E Street Band. Also Neil Young and Ringo Starr.

Other auction items include a California vacation package (think $500 US Airways gift card and 3-bedroom vacation home in Encinitas), an Arizona hiking package (think 6-night stay in a log-sided cabin in Overgaard) and a musical performance by violinists Dian D’Avanzo and Karen Bea of The Phoenix Symphony.

Sounds like lots of hip eateries — including The Vig, Il Postino, Beckett’s Table, Downtown Public Market and Cibo — have donated raffle basket items. Others supporting the cause with donations include Harkins Theatres, AMF Bowling, Arizona Diamondbacks and many more.

Tickets runs $75 and are available by calling 602-252-8472 or clicking here.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about Rosie’s House and here to learn more about Scottsdale Artists’ School

Coming up: Art meets cell phone

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Need a film fix?

Fans of films that are a bit off the beaten path have plenty of options in coming months. Here’s a roundup for those of you needing a frequent film fix:

The Film Bar in Phoenix. Offerings include indie films, including the first screenings of “A Boy in China” Jan. 13 and 14. The film follows a boy from Phoenix who pursues Kung Fu training in China (Andre Magnum, plus his parents and coach, will attend both screenings). www.thefilmbarphx.com.

The Film Festival at Paradise Valley Community College. Offerings, focused this year on women in film, include “Catching Babies” (Feb. 2), “Caramel” (Feb. 8), “Water” (Feb. 22) and “Maria Full of Grace” (March 7). “Catching Babies” is a film about midwifery. Free. www.pvc.maricopa.edu.

The Loft Cinema in Tucson. Offerings include new indie works, mainstream and cult classics, film festival shorts, award-nominated shorts and more. Also National Theatre Live broadcasts — including “The Collaborators” (Jan. 15), “Travelling Light” (Feb. 26), “The Comedy of Errors” (March 25) and “She Stoops to Conquer” (April 15). www.loftcinema.com.

Mesa Contemporary Arts (part of the Mesa Art Center). Offerings include “Community Cinema” screenings (“Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock” by Sharon La Cruise Jan. 19). Free. www.mesaartscenter.com.

Phoenix Art Museum. Offerings include individual films, National Theatre Live broadcasts (including those noted in the Loft Cinema list above) and the Masterpiece Film Challenge (a six-week challenge in which 15 filmmaking teams create 5-7 minute films inspired by art from the museum). Also the Ab/Ex Film Series (“The New York School” Feb. 12) and filmed museum tours (“Leonardo Live” exhibit at the National Gallery of London Feb. 19). www.phxart.org.

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Offerings include the “Talk Cinema” series (Jan. 10, Feb. 7, March 20, April 17, May 8) and the “Discovery Film Series” (“This Way of Life” Jan. 22). “Talk Cinema” titles are announced on the center’s website just days before screenings (this month’s film is “Declaration of War,” about a couple whose baby is diagnosed with a brain tumor). www.scottsdaleperformingarts.org.

The Anti-Defamation League and Scottdale Community College. Offerings include “The Many Faces of Hate” film series at SCC (including Jay Rosenstein’s “In Whose Honor” Jan. 18). Free. www.scottsdalecc.edu.

Harkins Theatres. Offerings include various film festivals and broadcasts of  “Opera & Ballet in Cinema Series” performances — including “Le Corsaire” (March 11), “La Boheme” (March 13), “Romeo and Juliet” (March 22), “Rigoletto” (April 17), “The Bright Stream” (April 29), “La Fille Mal Gardee” (May 16) and “Raymonda” (June 24). www.harkinstheatres.com.

Many museums, performing arts centers and universities offer film screenings, so check with your local venues for additional options.

— Lynn

Note: If your venue or organization offers film fare with an arts and culture twist, please comment below to let our readers know.

Coming up: Theater meets classic literature

“Being Elmo”

The film Being Elmo is currently playing at the Harkins Valley Art Theatre in Tempe

Kevin Clash began building puppets at the tender age of ten, and was often teased by classmates for “playing with dolls.” His sister, who enjoyed playing with Barbie dolls, couldn’t understand why their mother gave the puppets more attention. One day she threw Kevin’s puppets out of the window onto the snowy street below. Soon her cosmetics met a similar fate. Seems even the man who operates Elmo, one of the sweetest characters on Sesame Street, knows a thing or two about sibling rivalry.

Clash’s mom reveals, in the film titled “Being Elmo,” that she was never bothered by her son’s fascination with puppets. She knew that building puppets and bringing them to life was his gift and his passion. Once Clash landed a local television gig, kids at his Baltimore school decided he was cool — but that was never his goal. Clash merely wanted to do what he loved, and use his puppets to make others happy.

His earliest audience consisted of kids from the day care center his mom ran in their home. Soon Clash was performing at hospitals and other community settings, where he noticed the special affinity of kids with special needs for his playful puppet characters. Several “Being Elmo” scenes show Clash, and Elmo, interacting with children from the Make-a-Wish Foundation and other children’s charities.

Being Elmo features the journey of puppeteer Kevin Clash

Clash was thrown, quite literally, into the world of Elmo after another puppeteer couldn’t decide what to make of the furry red creature. Elmo’s original voice, much deeper than the voice Clash developed for Elmo, wasn’t resonating. Clash followed the advice of a mentor who’d once told him that every character needs a hook — one unique, defining characteristic.

As Clash watched the children around him, he noticed something they all seemed to need and appreciate — a hug. So Elmo — with his high, exuberant voice — became the Muppet who loved to kiss and hug. Elmo, like Clash, is all about making others happy. Toys like Tickle Me Elmo don’t gel with Clash, who says Elmo would never use the word “me.”

Folks who see “Being Elmo,” a documentary about Clash’s puppeteering journey, hear tales of his first trip to New York City and his first glimpse at the famous porch steps on Sesame Street. Also home movies from the day his daughter’s mother, once his wife, went into labor. Seems she didn’t take kindly to Elmo’s narration of the event.  

Several scenes show Clash working in the Jim Henson workshop, pulling out wide drawers filled with assorted plastic eyeballs and brightly colored facial hair. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Clash is well into the journey before realizing that he’s spent much of his daughter’s childhood entertaining other people’s children.

The film captures his attempts to right the wrong with a very special sweet 16 party. And other bittersweet moments too — including a gathering of puppeteers, and puppets, at the memorial held after Jim Henson’s death. As the film draws to a close, we see Clash opening the beloved eyeball drawer as he delights in the excitement beaming through a young puppet builder’s eyes. That’s the nature of “Being Elmo.”

— Lynn

Note: “Being Elmo” is currently playing, along with another documentary titled “We Were Here,” at the Harkins Valley Art Theatre in Tempe’s Mill Avenue District. Click here for details and showtimes.

Coming up: Black Friday — Main Street style

A final wave of the wand

 
Budding movie reviewer Lizabeth Trimble (right) with friends at an advanced screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 at a Harkins Theatre in Scottsdale this week

My youngest daughter, who’ll enter college this fall, still remembers the day she picked up that very first “Harry Potter” book. Her older brother left his copy on a table two houses ago, and once Lizabeth picked it up and started reading, she read until she finished it — never wanting to put the book down.

I wish this time turner could send us back to the day Lizabeth first discovered Harry Potter

“I was eight years old when the first movie came out,” she recalled after seeing the final film in the “Harry Potter” series with friends. She wore a “time turner” necklace to the show after deciding it would be too sad to take her Hedwig stuffed animal along. One of her friends sported a “Muggle” T-shirt and wand.

Lizabeth shared with her dad that she’d cried through most of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.” But that’s not necessarily a bad thing in her book. Seems she was especially impressed that a friend prone to giggling controlled the urge to laugh at Lizabeth’s sentimentality. The characters in “Harry Potter” aren’t real people, of course, but they feel real to the generation who grew up with them.

Like Hedwig, the ones we love and lose live on in our hearts forever

One of three friends who saw the film with Lizabeth has never read the books. She mentioned to Lizabeth that she prefers “Deathly Hallows” part two over part one — saying this film has more action and “is more fast paced.” Lizabeth added that the first part of “Deathly Hallows, Part 2” flies by with remarkable speed, a bit like the fictional golden snitch used during Quidditch games at Hogwarts.

Lizabeth mentioned that there were five and six year olds in the theater for “Deathly Hallows, Part 2” but said they had a hard time sitting still. She feels the film is “too scary” for young children given all the blood, dead bodies and such. Death scenes in this film are “gross,” she tells me. Think cracking bodies, shriveling bodies. Plus lots of fire and the image of a dead child. Best to save this movie for those who grew up with the “Harry Potter” series. They’re just the right age for it.

Once she’d seen “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” I had to ask Lizabeth the one burning question that has plagued me throughout the series — “Is Snape good or bad?” I get the same answer every time. “I’m not going to tell you!” He’s the one character whose motives I can’t quite get ahold of.

Memories of Harry Potter moments will be with this generation for a lifetime

But she did share that “there are lots of messages in this movie.” Loyalty. Stepping up to the challenges. People are always there with you, even when they are gone. Bravery. Do what’s right even when you’re scared to do it. Friendship. When I asked Lizabeth how the film made her feel, she offered a single word: “Nostalgic.”

Lizabeth says that seeing “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” gave her a sense of “closure.” Still, she describes feeling “torn” about the “Harry Potter” series ending. “I want it to continue,” reflects Lizabeth, “but it was time for it to end.”

“It ended in a good spot,” she says — crediting “Harry Potter” creator and author J.K. Rowling with “giving fans everything they needed.” I only hope she’ll feel the same way about us as she heads to NYC in September. Before too long, her father and I will give a final wave of our own. And then, she’ll be off to make her own magic.

— Lynn

Coming up: Outdoor concert fare, Road trip: Utah Shakespeare Festival, Kids who “Glee,” Teachers who “MIM”

Cars 2: Conspiracy theory?

I hadn’t even realized a “Cars 2” was in the the making until political pundits got hot under the collar this week alleging some sort of conspiracy by the movie’s makers to push alternative energy sources.

The last time cars were of any great concern at our house, my son (now in college) was a toddler taken with Richard Scarry’s “Cars and Trucks and Things That Go” book — plus all manner of construction trucks, real or playground version.

So naturally I had to see what all the fuss was about. I saw “Cars 2” with Christopher — and a theater packed with kids from toddler to tween age — at Harkins Shea 14 Friday morning.

A little boy named Alex, there with his father (or very young grandfather), sat nearby — naming each “Cars 2” character as it appeared, often adding an adorable “zoom” sound like a real car engine.

It was his first movie experience, and he came dressed for success. Think khaki pants, crisp white T-shirt and plaid hat with a brim all the way around. He looked to be about preschool age, and had trouble negotiating the theater seat until he got his hands on a booster seat.

Both Alex and his grown-up laughed heartily throughout, and it was great fun to hear their reactions to the movie’s many plot turns and action-adventure sequences. Reviewers have claimed the film is plodding and predictable, but I really enjoyed it.

Christopher offered two observations as we walked out of the theater after the credits rolled. First, that it seemed much more violent than the first “Cars” movie — with more guns, bombs, fires, explosions and such (though no one really gets hurt). And second, that the storyline about oil versus alternative fuels felt unnecessary.

We didn’t feel like we were watching a message movie. “Cars 2” is a great visual romp. No more, no less. I’m not the least bit interested in cars or racing, but I loved seeing all the different makes, models and colors of cars. I’ve owned more than a few of the cars deemed “lemons” in the film.

The beauty of “Cars 2” is its settings — a small American town, a large metropolis in Japan and three European cities. Plus all the landmarks you’d expect to see, but with an automotive twist. “Big Ben” in London, for example, becomes “Big Bentley.”

I loved the attention to detail. The pope (a car) inside his pope-mobile. The truck raking sand in a Japanese rock garden. The tiara on the British monarch car. Also the many depictions of arts and culture — live theater, musicians, museums and more. The credits even thank the orchestra for making the music sound so good.

Your kids might enjoy learning some of the easy foreign language vocabulary used in the film. It never hurts to know how to say “thank you” or “excuse me” when traveling, and the movie’s world travels vibe might motivate young kids to try their hand at some new words from other countries. (This assumes, of course, that they know the importance of good manners in English too.)

If there’s a message in this movie, it’s not that oil is evil. It’s that friendship is good, and that friends accept one another “dents” and all. I suppose it might be offensive to those who insist a rigorous “rugged individualist” approach should prevail. But I’m guessing most parents who see the film with their kids will welcome the themes of loyalty, acceptance and forgiveness.

— Lynn

Coming up: Family fun with Changing Hands, What a difference a summer makes

How to succeed at Hogwarts

Lizabeth was thrilled to see Daniel Radcliffe perform in “How to Succeed in Business Without Even Trying” on Broadway during her last trip to NYC. But long before his stage work, which also included the play “Equus,” Radcliffe was working the wizardry angle as “Harry Potter” in a series of films inspired by J.K. Rowling’s books.

When Harkins Theatres put a special package of tickets for their upcoming “Harry Potter Week” at Tempe Marketplace on sale, those puppies went in a hurry. Something tells me that “Harry Potter Week” is about to become the Valley’s version of Broadway’s “The Book of Mormon” — meaning tickets for those who wait will be hard to come by.

Thankfully, Harkins Theatres has since opened up more seats and added additional locations, something that won’t be possible on Broadway until elders Price and Cunningham agree to cloning — which isn’t likely given the rigors of performing eight live shows a week.

The “Harry Potter Week” package — which covers designated films from Mon, July 11 to Thurs, July 14 — is available (while supplies last) at Tempe Marketplace, Scottsdale 101 and Arrowhead 18 Harkins Theatres. It runs just $40 and includes tickets to all eight “Harry Potter” films.

Check the Harkins Theatres website for a list of additional benefits. Think free popcorn/drinks. “Harry Potter” swag. And early entry to the midnight premiere of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.” Be sure and read the fine print online because the brevity of blogging prevents me from sharing every detail.

For those of you who find a full week of “Harry Potter” just too thrilling to imagine, there’s another option — a “Double Dose of Harry Potter” package that runs just $18. It includes tickets to a 9pm showing of “Deathly Hallows” part one and the midnight premiere of “Deathly Hallows” part two (in 3D!).

The “Double Dose of Deathly Hallows” deal is available (while tickets last) at Arizona Mills, Arrowhead, Chandler Fashion, Gateway Pavilions, Norterra, San Tan Village, Scottsdale 101, Superstition Springs and Tempe Marketplace. Get your tickets at the box office or online at www.harkinstheatres.com.

For those of you eager to maximize this thrilling moment in movie-going history, Harkins Theatres presents “Arizona’s Ultimate Harry Potter Line-up Party” at Tempe Marketplace from 10am to midnight on Thurs, July 14. Think costumes, trivia contests, random drawings, freebie 2011 Harkins loyalty cups for the first 100 in line and more. (Please think water and sunscreen too.)

I’m told prizes for the random drawings include “Harry Potter” swag, Harkins Theatres movie tickets (also 2011 loyalty cups), gift cards, merchandise from participating Tempe Marketplace retailers and more. If you don’t see me there in line with you, there’s a simple explanation.

I’m traveling to New York with Lizabeth later this month, and it’s entirely possible that I’ll be living in “The Book of Mormon” ticket raffle line until my name gets called. Where is Harry Potter’s wand when a girl really needs it?

— Lynn

Coming up: “Stage Mom” posts from the Big Apple!

Strange bedfellows

Bill (Michael Sheen) and Kate (Maria Bello) make strange bedfellows in the film Beautiful Boy

Bill and Kate make strange bedfellows in a recently released film titled “Beautiful Boy,” which I saw at Harkins Camelview 5 with my 18-year-old daughter Lizabeth last weekend. The film’s creators describe it as “an unconventional love story of a married couple on the verge of separation.”

The woman, Kate (Maria Bello), sleeps in a dark four-poster bed placed against a neutral-colored wall decorated with three white diamonds, one centered above the other two, that appear to be made of antique fabric or lace. The man, Bill (Michael Sheen), sleeps in another bedroom, or on a couch — and spends a lot of time searching online listings for his own place.

They sit on separate beds, talking on different phones, as their son Sammy (Kyle Gallner) calls home one evening. He’s away for his first year of college, and this night will be his last. The next morning, he commits a horrible act of school violence before turning the gun on himself.

But “Beautiful Boy” isn’t his story. It’s the story of his parents’ relationship in the aftermath of his act. It’s eloquently conveyed by a script and director who use various beds and sleeping arrangements to move the audience through the evolution of their marriage, and their attempts to come to grips with “shared grief and confusion.”

This is a quiet film with a loud voice. The writing, acting and directing are exceptional — and the visual elements are exquisite. It was written by Shawn Ku (also the film’s director) and Michael Armbruster. In a “director’s statement” available online, Ku writes of a friend’s death and his family’s ties to a university where a tragic shooting really did take place.

Scottsdale Conservatory Theatre 2011 performs Strange Bedfellows later this month

To experience strange bedfellows of an entirely different sort, head to Scottsdale Community College Wed, June 29 or Thurs, June 30 at 7pm — when a comedy titled “Strange Bedfellows” will be performed by students from this summer’s Scottsdale Conservatory Theatre, a five-week intensive theater training program held at SCC and headed by Randy Messersmith.

Set in San Francisco during 1896, “Strange Bedfellows” tells the story of “the coming of age of a woman’s right to vote.” Apparently outrageous escapades abound as a suffragette converts the women in an especially chauvenistic family to her way of thinking.

Seems the two sides — men favoring the status quo and women working for significant social change — try to out-maneuver and out-smart each other, creating all manner of chaos (and comedy) along the way. The show first opened on Broadway in 1947 and ran for 229 performances.

Messersmith notes that Colin Clements and Florence Ryerson, a husband and wife playwriting team, wrote more than 50 plays and screenplays during their prolific careers. Director Elaine E.E. Moe shares that “Strange Bedfellows” is long on satire, double entendres and innuendo — but says its themes remain poignant, relevant and thought-provoking for contemporary audiences.

Whether navigating personal grief and loss, or larger societal shifts, couples often become strange bedfellows. And the rest of us, it seems, never tire of watching.

— Lynn

Note: Tickets for “Strange Bedfellows” run $10 ($8 for students or seniors with valid I.D.), and can be purchased through www.showup.com or at the door (box office opens one hour prior to show). Both the film and play featured in this post are recommended for older teens and up.

Coming up: Playing “20 Questions,” Lynn & Liz see “War Horse” on Broadway, Art meets economy