Tag Archives: Scottsdale events

From aliens to arm wrestling

Got a thing for UFOs? Hit tonight’s free Summer Opening Celebration — and sign up for a UFO-theme family day on June 21 at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.

It sometimes feels like aliens from outer space have already landed in Arizona, and no one would be happier than my hubby if it actually happened. He’s a longtime fan of science fiction who’ll be pleased to learn that the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art has UFOs on the brain these days.

Seems we human types once sent a “Golden Record” into space, eager to put our best foot forward in the event our probes made their way to alien lands. But that was the 70s, and this is now. So a Brooklyn-based composer named Judd Greenstein is working with artists who call themselves “New Catalogue” to imagine how humans might represent themselves now.

Folks curious about the project can hit tonight’s “Summer Opening Celebration” at SMoCA — which’ll feature previews of a new work composed by Greenstein that’s being performed tomorrow night at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Tonight’s affair, which runs from 7-10pm, is free and open to the public. You can hit the Lounge at SMoCA to enjoy a no host bar and Dulce Dance Company.

Meet composer Judd Greenstein tonight at SMoCA and enjoy the premiere of a new Greenstein work tomorrow at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

Those who attend tonight’s shindig can mingle with artists, curators, dancers and composers — plus check out four new exhibitions. I’m hoping to pop over after we’ve celebrated Lizabeth’s birthday, but will most certainly be in the house tomorrow night as Greenstein premieres “In Teaching Others We Teach Ourselves,” written for violinist Nadia Sirota. Sirota, a string quartet and members of the Grammy-winning Phoenix Chorale will all be taking to the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts stage.

Families fascinated by UFOs can hit SMoCA on June 21 for their annual “Family Fun Night,” which promises all sorts of UFO-related fare like creating hands-on art projects that involve sending messages to aliens in outer space. Also “a planetarium for stargazing,” a child-friendly docent-led tour of related exhibitions and plenty of good clean fun. Think blowing big bubbles, sampling refreshing treats and enjoying playtime in the Civic Center Mall fountain (BYO bathing suit).

There’s also a free event taking place June 12 that’s dubbed “Summer Stargazing and Music in Outerspace.” That baby features a curator-led tour of “This is a Present from a Small Distant World” plus an ASU ethnomusicologist discussing musical selections performed by Erin Hales. There’s even stargazing at ASU to follow.

I discovered oodles of good stuff browsing through the summer events and exhibition calendars for SMoCA — from film screenings and author events to art workshops and teen gatherings. I’m especially intrigued by “Arm Wrestling for Art” (July 13) and an online experience called “Out of the Cubical.” Watch for another post featuring pearls shared by Greenstein once I’ve rocked the birthday party vibe here at home.

— Lynn

Note: Pre-register for the SMoCA “Family Fun Night” on June 21 by calling 480-874-4642 (The evening is $20 for a family of four and $4 per extra person). I’m assuming any actual aliens from outer space choosing to land in Scottsdale that evening will get in free.

Coming up: Composer Judd Greenstein talks art, music and life

Update: I’m now blogging as “Stage Mom Musings” at www.stagemommusings.com. Please find and follow me there to continue receiving posts about arts and culture in Arizona and beyond. Thanks for your patience as the tech fairies work to move all 1,250+ posts to the new site. For the latest news follow me on Twitter @stagemommusings. 6/13/12

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Refugee tales

While driving through a parking lot Tuesday morning, I spied a small delivery truck with colorful faces painted on two sides — along with the words “Welcome to America.” This is one of those moments my children dread, because they know two things are about to happen. First, I’m going to whip out my camera. And second, I’m going to go in search of the artist. What I call serendipitous, they consider strange.

Jennifer might have felt differently about this encounter, because I ended up introducing myself to a man who was walking towards the truck — only to discover he’s the driver for an organization called The Welcome to America Project, which delivers donated furniture and other household goods to refugees who have recently located to the Phoenix area.

Turns out there’s a United Nations connection that would fascinate Jennifer, an ASU student in cultural anthroplogy who dreams of working for the U.N. one day. There’s a 9/11 connection too — because The Welcome to America Project was started by Phil and Carolyn Manning after Phil’s brother Terence Manning lost his life in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.

Seems the Mannings were searching for a way to honor his memory by making a positive difference in the community when they saw the photo of a political refugee family from Afghanistan on a local news report. Each “realized this family sought the same things they did – safety, housing and a future free of fear for their children.” Soon they were collecting clothing and household items on the family’s behalf.

To date, their non-profit organization (described by the truck driver I met as a “mom and pop” operation) has engaged thousands of volunteers in helping 1,200 refugee families. This week they’re scheduled to assist two families originally from Bhutan who lived for many years in Nepal before coming to America, plus a single woman from Sri Lanka who survived a bombing that killed her brother and father.

The Welcome to America Project also holds special events that raise funds for aiding refugees. Last year’s “prom” had a Broadway musical theme, so I’m eager to see what they come up with for the 2012 version, taking place April 21 at the St.  Patrick’s Catholic Community Center in Scottsdale.

They’re kicking off a 2012 Cultural Dinner Series this Sun, March 11, with “A Night in Havana” at Orangewood Church in Phoenix. The event is “is designed to give Phoenix residents a rare glimpse into the complex history and culture of Cuba.” Think “dance performances, poems, cuisine, colorful clothing and firsthand accounts of the struggles and strength of Cuban refugees building new lives here in Arizona.”

Tuesday’s encounter with Jack Bigus (whose business card simply reads “driver”) reinforces a philosophy I’ve long embraced while exploring Arizona arts and culture — Follow the art, Follow your heart.

— Lynn

Note: Click here for information on refugees to the United States from the Cultural Orientation Resource Center

Coming up: More NYC travels

You are my sunshine

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I’ve got a long way to go in the speaking Spanish department. One of the few words I know is “sol” — which means “sun,” something I likely learned from all those years watching the “Parada del Sol Parade” make its way through Scottsdale.

I enjoyed Saturday’s parade sitting on a curb next to three young girls rocking a bohemian vibe with multicolor sundresses, silk scarves donned like capes, cowboy boots and adorable hats. Also a couple who’d arrived by bike.

The gentleman got a hoot out of watching one of the high school marching bands go by. Seems he and about two dozen seniors spent five hours on a little high school prank at their school, which made the local papers a few decades ago. Best I not repeat it here for fear the next generation will feel inspired to continue his legacy.

I also ran into dogs sporting tiny little cowboy hats about the size of a teacup. One, dressed in a furry little leopard version, probably gave a shout out as the animal rescue organizations marched by — but to no avail.

Several high school marching bands — complete with brass, drums and all sorts of fanfare — strutted their stuff. Some were accompanied by cheerleaders, both male and female. And a large group of Arizona Twirling Athletes made their mark with a sparkling red, white and blue float.

Mojave Middle School students deserve high praise for cheerfully cleaning up after all those high-stepping horses. At one point I overheard a man suggest he’d vote for any politician willing to do the same.

Lots of scouting groups took part in the parade, and red wagons passed by every so often attached to folks selling Girl Scout cookies. I forget, do any of their cookies have the word “sunshine” in their name?

No matter, I suppose. Because the real stars of the parade were those representing veterans. Onlookers clapped with genuine enthusiasm as people representing our MIA/POW citizens, and various wars or branches of the military, went by. Law enforement was well received as well.

Several giant balloons added a larger than life feel to the event, one of many dubbed an official part of Arizona’s centennial celebration. Think giant Saguaro cactus, coyote and more. Plus a silvery snake head on wheels.

Plenty of old cars, trucks and souped up (or down) vehicles made their way down Scottsdale Rd. too — reminding me of parades I attended many decades ago in the tiny South Dakota town where my father grew up. My favorite, of course, was a fire truck from the Hall of Flame museum in Phoenix.

To all the children and youth who smiled and waved while marching down a long parade route in the Arizona sun — you did an amazing job. No doubt friends and family looked on with pride, thinking all the while: You are my sunshine.

— Lynn

Note: You’ve still got plenty of time to enjoy a myriad of events celebrating Arizona’s 100th birthday — click here for ideas. And click here to learn about upcoming events from the Parada del Sol organization.

Coming up: Festivals celebrating native cultures, High school musicals

Art meets valentine

A work by Sherry Maguire of Tempe exhibited at the "Made in Arizona Festival"

Tucson artist Toni Matison-Horn won’t be spending Valentine’s Day with her husband because she lost him to ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, back in 2005. But she’s creating art and selling art that benefits those living with the devastating neuromuscular condition.

These whimsical "Sofa Chicks" are the work of Tucson artist Toni Matison-Horn

I met Matison-Horn while strolling through the “Made in Arizona Festival” with my son Christopher on Saturday. The event runs through Sunday, so folks still have time to enjoy it. Matison-Horn is sharing a booth with two other artists, located near the Silverland shop that houses a museum called the “House of Broadcasting.”

Toni Matison-Horn works exhibited at the Made in Arizona Festival in Scottsdale

Her husband was a news anchor, making the loss of speech that eventually comes with ALS especially heartwrenching. I imagine it’s like being a writer who can no longer hold a pen, or a painter unable to wield a brush. Seems he had a large collection of ties, which Matison-Horn decided to incorporate into whimsical works of fabric art.

Toni Matison-Horn's "Tie Chicks" Angel Ties benefit people with ALS

Friends suggested she save Harry’s ties, and began gathering and sharing other ties for her creations. Together they donated about 1,ooo ties to the cause. Those of you still searching for Valentine’s Day gifts should explore the festival’s “Ties 4 ALS” booth where Matison-Horn is exhibiting her works.

Sherry Maguire of Tempe repurposes old materials to create works of art

It’s a lovely reuse of items that would otherwise find their way to burgeoning heaps of trash. So too are the works of artist Sherry Maguire, with Eye 4 Art of Tempe. She’s sharing a booth with Matison-Horn, and also creates works by reusing discarded materials. Sometimes, Maguire told me, she find just a single piece of an old toy or other object — and gives it a home until it fits into something she’s working on.

Christopher loved this work by Tempe artist Sherry Maguire

One of her artworks is a black rectangular frame, about the size of a sheet of notebook paper. It’s filled with items that washed up on a beach in Japan — before the devastating earthquake. Some look like fishing lures my dad used to keep in his tackle box. Other look like small parts of brightly-colored plastic toys — something the ocean habitat certainly doesn’t need floating all over the place.

This Sherry Maguire work is perfect for a valentine who loves Dr. Seuss

Like Matison-Horn, Maguire sometimes creates works of art with items donated by friends. Seems several of them know to gather washed up beach fare and bag it for her to add to her collection of materials. Once, she told me, a friend shared tiny starfish washed up in polluted waters. She’s keen on recycling objects that might otherwise land in oceans or other habitats.

A third artist, offering beautifully colored sets of pitchers and margarita glasses, is sharing their booth as well. We actually met her first, and were so pleased to find that all were truly gracious and committed to doing work that makes a difference for people and the planet. Her glassware would make a lovely Valentine’s Day gift for someone who loves to throw parties or entertain friends.

Artist Mary Beier also has several small paintings featuring hearts

We met plenty of other artists too, all in white booths lining either side of Fifth Avenue in Old Town Scottsdale. Artist Mary Beier is showing works from Metalworks Art and “Nana” is rocking adorable knits hat for babies and children. Her handmade Cutie Pie Hats include Elmo, hedgehog, cupcake and many more designs.

On our way out, we stopped for kettle corn. It’s standard festival fare that always looks yummy but sometimes doesn’t taste nearly as tasty as it looks. But these folks made the best batch of kettle corn I’ve ever tasted. It was hot, fresh, lightly salted (on request) — and they served it with genuine warmth and enthusiasm.

Shopping for Valentine’s Day is all good and fine, but there’s no reason we can’t treat ourselves to a litte something too. Plenty of small shops throughout Old Town Scottsdale, featuring everything from fashionable baby gear to turquoise jewelry, are welcoming folks to explore their wares during the “Made in Arizona Festival.”

Folks shopping for tiny valentines have lots of Cutie Pie Hats choices

The area is also home to all sorts of art galleries and restaurants, so it’s easy to make a day of it. Just promise me you won’t go home sporting a kitten hat.

— Lynn

Note: The “Made in Arizona Festival” takes place 10am-5pm through Sunday on Fifth Avenue in Scottsdale between Scottsdale Rd. and Goldwater Blvd. Feel free to bring your old ties along — Toni Matison-Horn of “Ties 4 ALS” is happily accepting tie donations.

Coming up: Along the parade route, More fun with festivals

Scottsdale Street Fair

I love the way exploring arts and culture always leads from one remarkable path to another. Thursday I attended the “Visions of Arizona” reception at the Arizona Capitol, where an artist told me about the Arizona Art Alliance Gallery in Scottsdale.

While checking out their website, I learned of a new Scottsdale Street Fair being held Sundays at The Pavilions at Talking Stick. I hit the gallery on Saturday, and the fair on Sunday — where I met more artists who’ll no doubt lead me to more art adventures.

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I took my son Christopher along, and the first folks we encountered were sharing news of an upcoming performance by Shen Yun Performing Arts of China at ASU Gammage in Tempe. I’ve had China on the brain of late — thanks to a documentary titled “A Boy in China” starring Andre Magnum of Phoenix.

Next we stumbled on the Jan’s Pies booth filled with homemade cheesecake slices, fresh fruit turnovers, miniature loaves of bread and more. I noticed a harmonica laying off to one side of a table and asked about it, launching a wonderful conversation with the man working the booth about his daughter’s love of all things music and Elmo.

I made sure he knew about the “Being Elmo” film and the Valley’s own Musical Instrument Museum (complete with hands-on “experience gallery” where kids love trying all sorts of exotic instruments) before moving on.

We chatted with a woman who creates copper works of art that look like they’d be lovely in both commercial and residential settings, and spoke to several people offering foodie fare — fresh produce, dried beans, flavored pasta, unusual spices. Then we went in search of street fair staples like Indian Fry Bread and fresh-squeezed lemonade. Next time we’ll try the pulled pork and Italian ice.

I was delighted to find several fun options for busy bodies — including a great assortment of bounce houses, a trio of giant balls allowing kids to make like hamsters and a tall climbing wall. Also face painting (featuring exquisite colors and designs) and other kid-friendly fare.

Several booths featured clothing, handbags, jewelry and such — and there was even live entertainment. A singer/songwriter was doing her thing when we arrived, but dancers dressed in costumes akin to those of Arabian dancers in “The Nutcracker” were taking the the stage as we left.

I suspect the Scottsdale Street Fair will grow as more vendors and visitors learn of its existence. You can check it out from 10am-4pm every Sunday at The Pavilions at Talking Stick through May 2012. To learn more, visit them online at www.scottsdalestreetfair.com.

— Lynn

Coming up: All thumbs, A revolution in Scottsdale?

Photos: Lynn Trimble

Walk on the art side

The Beastro participates in 4th Fridays in Prescott

Families who’ve resolved to get more fit during the New Year have several art walk options that make power walking a bit more playful. Check out these art walks, which couple time to stroll with opportunities to experience local arts and culture.

Downtown Chandler Art Walk. Takes place the third Friday of every month along San Marcos Place and Boston Street. The event features art in various mediums, live music from local talent and a fun family atmosphere. Learn more at www.downtownchandlerartwalk.com.

Artist Alicia Van Noy Call painting during a Prescott 4th Friday event

Downtown Mesa 2nd Friday. Takes place the second Friday of each month from 6-10pm on and around West Downtown Main Street. The event features open galleries, live music and hands-on activities. Learn more at www.2ndfridaynightout.com.

First Friday Artwalk. Takes place from 6-9pm the first Friday of each month in historic downtown Flagstaff. The event features special art exhibitions, performances, live music and treats from local art galleries and businesses. Learn more at www.flagstaffartwalk.com.

First Friday Phoenix Art Walk. Takes place the first Friday of each month from 6-10pm. The event features more than 70 galleries, venues and art-realted spaces — with free event shuttles based at the Phoenix Art Museum. Learn more www.artlinkinc.wordpress.com.

Rowena Tank enjoying a 4th Friday event in Prescott

Gallery Row in Tucson Artwalk. Takes place every Thursday from 5-7pm. The event features open galleries, live music and wine tastings. Learn more at www.tucsongalleryrow.com.

Prescott’s 4th Friday Art Walks. Takes place the fourth Friday of each month, with art galleries listing various art walk hours (most start at 5pm and end at 8pm). The event features open art galleries, live music, food and more. Galleries invite visitors to bring non-perishable food items for donation to the Prescott Community Cupboard. Learn more at www.artthe4th.com.

Scottsdale ArtWalk. Takes place every Thursday from 7-9pm in the Scottsdale Art District (in and around Old Town). The event features open galleries, live music and more. Special ArtWalks each month have diverse themes (Jan. 2012: A Taste of…; Feb. 2012: Best of …, March 2012: Native Arts…, April 2012: Glass Act…). Learn more at www.scottsdalegalleries.com.

— Lynn

Note: Events details are always subject to change, so please verify before attending. For a comprehensive listing of events for families, check the Raising Arizona Kids Magazine calendar in print or online.

Coming up: Cinderella– with a twist, Wings & things

Photos courtesy of the City of Prescott Office of Tourism

Scottsdale school joins Scottsdale ArtWalk

Faculty, students, friends and supporters of New Way Academy in Scottsdale gathered during Thurday night’s ArtWalk in Scottsdale for an exhibition of artwork by students, with a few fun teacher works — including an amazing quilt by school librarian Janet Caruth — thrown into the mix.

New Way Academy serves K-12 students living with dyslexia and other learning challenges, and understands the role of art in communication, imagination and self-expression. There’s always plenty of art lining the halls of the Scottsdale campus, but it was nice to see some of it on display for others in the community to enjoy.

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Students created works with various themes — like flowers or desert scenes, and used particular approaches, such as still life and surrealism. The diversity of their creations beautifully mirrors the unique individuality of each student. Exploring children’s art is like opening a window to the heart and mind. It’s breathtaking.

While attending Thursday’s exhibition at the Calvin Charles Gallery, I spied lots of intriguing works by grown-up, professional artists too. Some dense, some light. Some neutral, some bright. Some abstract, some traditional. A lovely variety, really, that leaves me eager to return again to explore the full measure of the gallery’s offerings.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about New Way Academy and ways you can support their work with students facing dyslexia, AD/HD and other learning challenges.

Coming up: Art classes for children and teens