Tag Archives: Scottsdale

The Little Red Schoolhouse

Scottsdale Grammar School, built in 1909, was dedicated the following year on the birthday of town founder Winfield Scott — and still stands on its original site located in the area now called Old Town Scottsdale.

The Scottsdale Historical Museum housed in the schoolhouse notes that “the $5,000 building was constructed of sand and gravel from the bed of the Salt River and bricks brought by horse-drawn wagon from Phoenix.”

It became Coronado School in 1928, serving Spanish-speaking students in first through third grade, but was closed and sold to a local businessman after courts declared school segregation illegal in 1954.

Through the years it’s housed everything from a courthouse to a library. The Scottsdale Historical Society, which has used the building since 1991, operates the Scottsdale Historical Museum.

I recently toured the museum with my son Christopher, where we got a glimpse of life in Scottsdale during earlier times. Folks who visit the Scottsdale Historical Museum will find re-creations of a classroom, Victorian parlor and tent-house kitchen.

Also maps and photos of early Scottsdale, school memorabelia, and artifacts from the early Scottsdale home of Winfield and Helen Scott — plus changing displays of special collections.

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The Little Red Schoolhouse is open September through June — Wed. to Sat. from 10am to 5pm and Sun. noon to 4pm. It’s located on the Scottsdale Mall near Main and Brown within walking distance of plenty of other interesting places.

When you go, leave extra time to explore the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (including the young@art gallery inside the adjacent Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts) and the Scottsdale Civic Center Library (which is nearing completion of some pretty nifty renovations).

Admission to the Scottsdale Historical Museum is free but the Scottsdale Historical Society will happily accept donations from those eager to support projects like recording oral histories, gathering information about early Scottsdale and acquring artifacts from Scottsdale’s pre-incorporation days.

A special event benefiting the Scottsdale Historical Museum takes place Fri., March 23 at the Chaparral Suites in Scottsdale. It’s the 19th annual Scottsdale’s History Hall of Fame Dinner, which will honor five 2012 inductees.

This year’s inductees — selected by the Past Presidents’ Council of the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce — are Mary King, Mary Manross, Gary Shapiro, Joe Wong and Scottsdale Healthcare Auxiliary.

I leave the lovely dinners to those of you who can still win the war with your panty hose. You’ll find me kicking around Old Town in my tennis shoes and shorts — a far cry from the duds women wore when Army Chaplain Winfield Scott founded the town in 1888.

— Lynn

Note: Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane presents his annual “State of the City Address” Thurs, Feb. 23 at 5:30pm at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

Coming up: Art meets journalism


Birthday parties — theater style!

Aubrie Silva celebrated turning 7 years old at Greasepaint

Before the opening of yesterday’s performance of “Disney’s Aladdin Jr.” at Greasepaint Youtheatre in Scottsdale, board member Wendy Claus called “birthday girl” Aubrie Silva up on stage — presenting her with a light blue Greasepaint t-shirt and leading the audience in a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday to You.”

Scottsdale mother Francine Silva let the theater know ahead of time that she was bringing Aubrie, who has two siblings, over to celebrate her birthday at the show with a group of ten friends. Silva even brought a tent and benches along so the girls could spend an hour or so before the show having their nails and temporary tattoos done by big sister Annelise and one of her friends.

Silva proudly notes that Annelise is the oldest member of Greasepaint LIVE — a group of young performing artists who “bring entertainment to shelters, senior centers and other organizations.” The 17-member group also “provides peer mentoring programming to youth groups with a special focus on trying to reach children in Title 1 schools.”

Birthday girl Aubrie has “been to many Gammage shows,” according to her mom. But for some of Aubrie’s guests, this was the first experience with live theater. Silva told me that Aubrie “absolutely loved the show,” then offered her own description of Sunday’s performance — “all live, all wonderful, all beautiful.”

Aubrie Silva poses with friends on the Greasepaint Youtheatre stage in Scottsdale

It sounds like Silva had just as much fun as her daughter, getting in the spirit ahead of time with invitations that read “princess dresses and tiaras optional” and putting together small tubs of blue cotton candy with bows on top and labels reading “Genie in a Bottle” or “Clouds from Agrabah.”

Silva also put together “princess bags” for each guest — containing party favors that included roses, necklaces, crowns, wands and candy. Parents less inspired to gather their own favors always have the option of getting show t-shirts for party kids and their guests.

Aubrie Silva and party guests with members of the Greasepaint Aladdin Jr. cast

“Disney’s Aladdin Jr.” is being performed again this weekend, so there’s still time to plan a birthday or Halloween party around the show assuming you get tickets while they’re still available. Other Greasepaint shows this season, “Les Miserables” and “Cinderella,” also have great theme party potential.

Most theater companies who perform for families won’t mind you asking about birthday celebrations theater-style, so check with your local theater groups to see what they offer. Also check with folks like Childsplay, Cookie Company and Valley Youth Theatre.

Aubrie Silva and friends outside Greasepaint Youtheatre in Scottsdale

Something tells me that Aubrie will always remember her Greasepaint Youtheatre princess party. Before you know it, her mom’ll be calling to schedule a graduation party. Time is fleeting, and they grow so fast. Cherish every birthday, and remember the power of live theater as you’re planning all those joyous celebrations.

— Lynn

Coming up: A world of faces, Gershwin tales

A trio of tributes

Detail of artwork by theater students at Arizona School for the Arts

Detail of artwork by theater students at Arizona School for the Arts

In Tempe Beach Park, a flag is flying for each person who perished in the attacks of September 11, 2001. So too in Battery Park, New York — where stripes on the flags have been replaced by the names of those killed, and people gathered Saturday morning to form a human chain of solidarity and remembrance.

Candlelight vigils in Scottsdale and countless cities throughout the world are honoring those lost, as well as those who remain. A beam from the World Trade Center is being installed at a Gilbert memorial, and a sculpture crafted of three sections of WTC buildings has been unveiled in London’s Battersea Park — a tribute to the 67 Britons lost that day.

Detail of Tiles for America exhibit in New York City

But it’s a trio of tributes, our country’s permanent memorials to 9/11, that most will visit in coming days, decades and beyond. One in Pennsylvania. One in New York. One in Washington, D.C.

I was particularly moved while watching a live C-SPAN broadcast of the dedication ceremony Saturday morning for the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania, where the heroism of everyday Americans was honored by dignitaries, artists, family members and others.

Poet Robert Pinsky read two works — “Souvenir of the Ancient World” by Carlos Drummond de Andrade and “Incantation” by Czeslaw Milosz. The second was interrupted at our house by a call from the National Republican Party. The timing made my stomach turn.

Art from one of two Tiles for America exhibits in NYC

I heard an interview with George Packer, who has a piece titled “Coming Apart” in the Sept 12, 2011 issue of New Yorker magazine, on NPR today. He noted that two things he’d hoped might change about America in the aftermath of 9/11 are much the same. Our partisan politics and the growing gap between America’s rich and poor.

I hope our national 9/11 memorials will help to change that. Reminding us of what we have in common. Reminding us that every person matters. Reminding us to volunteer in service to others. Reminding us to be grateful.

During the “New York Says Thank You” documentary broadcast on local FOX affiliates Saturday evening, several people involved with the “I Will” campaign shared ways they’ll be honoring those directly affected by 9/11.

More street art from Tiles for America

Actor Mariska Hargitay plans to volunteer at her local domestic violence shelter. A teen girl says she’ll “clean up my room.” A middle-aged man plans to plant a tree at the Flight 93 National Memorial. And a woman about my age says simply, “I will forgive.”

The Friends of Flight 93 and the National Parks Service (which operates the Flight 93 National Memorial) are partnering with the Fred M. Rogers Center at Saint Vincent’s College in Pennsylvania for an October event titled “9/11 Forum: Impact on Young Children.” And folks far and wide have started discussions about incorporating 9/11 into school curriculum materials.

My “I Will” is following the developments of the trio of tributes best known to Americans and sharing them with our readers, not just on 9/11 but throughout the year. But also the everyday stories of children, families, teachers, artists and others working to make September 12 and every day that follows a day of healing, humility and hope.

— Lynn

Note: Learn more about the Flight 93 National Memorial at www.npca.org and www.honorflight93.org, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial at www.pentagonmemorial.org and the 9/11 Memorial in NYC at www.911memorial.org. All three appreciate gifts of time and money as they move forward honoring those affected by 9/11. Learn about “I Will” at www.911day.org.  Watch eight artists “talk about how that day and its aftermath have informed their work and lives” at www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/09/02/us/sept-11-reckoning/artists.html?ref=arts.

Coming up: A photo tour of memorials at Phoenix’s Wesley Bolin Plaza

9/11 meets Arizona arts and culture

This work by Sam Irving is one of several you can enjoy at exhibits at two Gilbert libraries this week (Photo courtesy of Gilbert Fire Department)

The town of Gilbert is preparing for Sunday’s dedication of a 9/11 memorial to feature an 8-foot long beam from the World Trade Center.

Recently they invited folks to submit photographs, paintings and drawings with a “Memory of Hope” theme. Selected works are on exhibit through 9/11 at the Southeast Regional and Perry High libraries. www.gilbertaz.gov/911memorial.

One of several works currently on exhibit at the Tucson Jewish Community Center

Contemporary Artists of Southern Arizona has created a mixed media 9/11 memorial called “3,000 Souls” that’s being exhibited at the Tucson Jewish Community Center through Sept 26. ww.tucsonjcc.org/arts.

The ceramics program and fine arts department at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix (part of the Tempe Unified High School District) presents a 9/11 memorial Thurs, Sept 9 from 6-9pm (room 149).

The event features “students from dance and theatre,
choir, speech and band, a special slide and musical tribute, the
signing of victims’ names into a tribute vessel to be delivered to New
York in December, and fundraising for the WTC Health Hospital.” The event is free and open to the public. www.desertvista.schoolfusion.us.

Several 9/11-related items, including a huge “National Unity Flag” designed and created in Arizona, will be exhibited Sept 9-16 in the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts atrium.

A “9/11 Memorial Wall” with 2,996 full-color memorial cards featuring biographical information and photographs of 9/11 victims will be exhibited as well.

Scottsdale begins a “9/11 Day of Remembrance” program in the atrium at 1pm on Sun, Sept 11 with a reading of victims’ names.

Keynote speaker Ray Malone, a former New York police office and firefighter, follows in the Virginia G. Piper Theater at 6pm. The evening also includes performances of patriotic music by school bands and choral groups, as well as a candlelight vigil. www.scottsdaleaz.gov.

ProMusica performs with other Valley groups this weekend

ProMusica Arizona Chorale and Orchestra of Anthem will perform Mozart’s “Requiem” (a work being performed by groups throughout the country on 9/11) at two Valley churches on Sun, Sept 11. www.promusicaaz.org.

Mozart’s “Requiem” is also being performed at a “Remembrance and Renewal” concert at UA’s Centennial Hall in Tucson on Sun, Sept 11 at 3pm. It features the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and Tucson Chamber Artists’ professional choir. www.uapresents.org.

The Damocles Trio, who met as doctoral students at The Juilliard School in NYC, will perform the “Requiem Trio” by Spanish composer Salvador Brotons (b.1959) at Tempe Center for the Arts at 2:30pm on Sun, Sept 11.

The work was “written especially for the group to commemorate the tragic terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001.” The piece was first performed in Sept 11, 2004 in NYC.

Tempe officials note that “this concert will be linked to the Tempe Beach Park 9/11 Healing Field and other city commemoration events.” The concert also features the music of Dvorak and Villa Lobos. www.damoclestrio.com and www.friendsofTCA.org.

The Tucson Pops Orchestra, with guest conductor George Hanson, performs “Americana: Remember 9/11” Sun, Sept 11 at Reid Park in Tucson at 6:30pm. www.sept11tucson.org.

The National Unity Flag will hang in Scottsdale this weekend

Folks looking for additional 9/11 memorials and related events can check with local interfaith or religious groups, performing arts venues, universities or colleges, museums, local governments and community centers for local offerings.

If your Arizona organization is presenting a music, dance, theater or visual arts event in remembrance of 9/11, please comment below to let our readers know.

— Lynn

Note: Several 9/11 remembrance events will be televised, including a New York Philharmonic concert with Alan Gilbert conducting Mahler’s “Resurrection” (Sept 11 on PBS). Listen to KJZZ 91.5 all week for 9/11 memorial coverage (including 9 hours of live coverage on 9/11). www.kjzz.org. Watch the “9/11: 10 Years Later” concert live Thurs, Sept 8 and share your reflections with others at facebook.com/KennedyCenter by clicking on the 9/11 Livestream tab.

Coming up: Remembering 9/11 with literature and love

NYC in Scottsdale?

My husband James stumbled on a great pizza joint last Friday night while making a pet store run. Lovebirds can’t do pizza, so Trixy got bird food and we got slices from Joe’s New York Pizza in Scottsdale. Cheese for Lizabeth and Hawaiian for me.

March for gay rights in NYC, 1976 (Photo: Warren K. Leffler)

He walked in the door with dinner just after I’d watched a CNN broadcast of a short speech by New York governor Andrew Cuomo. The occasion for Cuomo’s remarks was the passage of a marriage equality act in the New York legislature.

I already had New York on the brain because I was readying for this week’s trip to NYC for Lizabeth’s college orientation. Lizabeth starts a B.F.A. in acting program this fall.

As Lizabeth weighed possible colleges earlier in the year, I was mindful of the political landscape in the various states where she might go to school — though I never mentioned things like my Cuomo versus Christie musings.

Cuomo spoke last Friday night of New York as a “social justice” state. “I’m always proud to be a New Yorker,” said Cuomo. “But tonight I’m especially proud to be a New Yorker.” Cuomo was among those leading the fight for marriage equality in New York.

In his remarks, Cuomo spoke of New York’s leadership in several fights for equal rights — the movement for women’s rights, the push for worker’s rights after the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and the most recent battle — equal marriage rights for gay and straight couples.

“Social justice,” said Cuomo, “is an evolutionary process.” He recognized others who’d championed this cause for New York citizens, and praised “the advocacy community from across the nation.” I’m sure some in Scottsdale embraced the vote with a “we’re all New Yorkers tonight” mindset.

I’m thrilled to be enjoying NYC with Lizabeth this week, but there are folks in Scottsdale that I’ll be missing while we’re away. Trixy, Pinky, Rugby — plus James and our other two children, also college students. But also Lizabeth’s teachers from the Scottsdale Conservatory Theatre, where she studied theater last summer.

Before we marched for marriage equality, we marched for women's rights and workers' rights

The conservatory presents its 2011 performance at the Scottsdale Community College Performing Arts Center Wed, June 29 and Thurs, June 30. They’re presenting “Strange Bedfellows,” which is set in my daughter Jennifer’s favorite city — San Francisco. They have a thing for civil rights too.

“Strange Bedfellows” is the tale of Senator Cromwell, “a politician who keeps his women under stern rule.” His son, Matthew Cromwell, is a young congressman who “dutifully follows in his father’s political footsteps — except when he marries a beautiful and determined suffragette.”

It examines “the coming of age of a woman’s right to vote” — and features “the escapades that ensue as the suffragette converts the women in the Cromwell family to her way of thinking.” Who doesn’t love a good conversion story?

I’m told that “shades of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata and San Francisco’s brothel district come into play as each side tries to out-maneuver and out-smart the other.” Aristophanes, by the way, was a comedic playwright of ancient Greece.

I know the actors, theater professionals and teachers of Scottsdale Conservatory Theatre played a part in helping Lizabeth achieve her dream of studying and making theater in NYC — and I’m grateful.

Thanks to James and Joe’s New York Pizza, we can always enjoy a bit of NYC in Scottsdale. But this week, we’re carrying thoughts of Scottsdale with us in New York.

— Lynn

Note: Check out the “Stay Fancy Free” blog for more nifty black-and-white photos of suffragettes — plus lovely fiber arts fare. Click here to check out the site where I found the photo shot while the Democratic National Convention was in NYC during 1976.

Coming up: Shakespeare NYC-style, A stroll through the theater district, NYC: museum highlights

From jungle to farm

Greasepaint Youtheatre presents "Disney's Jungle Book" in March

Most Valley residents associate Scottsdale with art shows, upscale malls or shops selling souvenirs of the Southwest.

So families may be pleasantly surprised to discover the farm and jungle fare coming soon to Scottsdale stages.

Longtime supporters of Desert Stages Theatre in Scottsdale recall the many talents of founder Gerry Cullity, who died in 2005, but whose work lives on in so many of the company’s works.

Gerry and Laurie Cullity came to Arizona (during the ’90s) from the East Coast, where they’d been active with the Barn Theatre in New Jersey.

So it’s no surprise that Gerry Cullity’s many adaptations of children’s stories for the stage include a musical production of “Charlotte’s Web.”

The show (directed by Laurie Cullity) opened Feb 18 and runs through March 20. Desert Stages describes it as “a musical hoe-down” and “spirited country gospel musical.”

Cullity notes that her husband’s fondness for the E.B. White tale of Wilbur and Charlotte (plus a gossipy goose, a gloomy sheep and a grouchy rat) stems from its “great message of friendship.”

Scottsdale is also home to Greasepaint Youtheatre, which has long performed at the venue formerly know as Stagebrush Theatre (once home to the now defunct Scottsdale Community Players).

The venue also features Cookie Company productions presented by Phoenix Theatre (their production of “Charlotte’s Web” runs March 25-April 3) — so there are plenty of family-friendly offerings in this neck of the woods.

But it’s the jungle, not the woods, that families will be enjoying at Greasepaint Theatre next month as Greasepaint Youtheatre presents “Disney’s Jungle Book” (directed by Scott Storr) March 4-13.

Greasepaint describes the show — which features familiar characters like Mowgli, Baloo and King Louie — as “jumpin’ with jazz,” noting that it’s “specially adapted from the beloved film.”

Given their relative proximity, it’s easy to make a full day of taking in both shows — spending time in between enjoying the many art galleries, restaurants and shops of downtown Scottsdale (known to us old-timers as “Old Town”).

— Lynn

Note: Find more information on Valley performing arts with a family focus in monthly print and daily online editions of Raising Arizona Kids magazine

Coming up: A modern dance legacy

Follow the children

We got some not so welcome news last week about an hour before I was scheduled to judge auditions for a student talent show at Kiva Elementary School in Paradise Valley, whose distinguished alumni include my hubby James.

I was reminded of a song called “Where Do I Go” from the musical “Hair.” It follows the question “Where do I go?” with the answer “Follow the children.” I knew that watching children perform was just what I needed.

I entered the Kiva cafeteria after school last Tuesday to find it abuzz with doting stage mothers and fathers, and kids with all sorts of performing arts fare – a cello in a hard neon green case, a pink Daisy Rock guitar, tattered costumes a la “Annie” orphans, tumbling mats and more.

I sat at a long table in front of the stage, joined by two fellow judges – including Desert Stages Theatre co-founder and executive director Laurie Cullity, who was quick to introduce herself with a confident handshake and broad smile.

The other judge was Matt Peterson, a 14-year-old student at Mohave Middle School who “founded” the Kiva talent show when he was in 5th grade and vice president of the student council.

Peterson eagerly described his acting ambitions and plans to utilize “YouTube” to make his talents known.

As Peterson described his dreams of heading to Hollywood to pursue television or film work before graduating from high school, I thought of my own daughter’s eagerness to graduate and begin B.F.A. studies in theater.

I hope he’ll stay in school – because his experiences there will likely broaden his horizons and add the depth of character that makes an actor’s performance authentic and compelling – and because childhoods cut short can never be recaptured.

Together we judged fifty performances ranging from fiddling and gymnastics to skits and singing. I was surprised by how many details rushed back from watching my own children’s lessons and recitals.

Bow placement on violin strings. Hand position at the piano. Posture during dance. We weren’t judging on these factors, but I realized while judging that I’ve developed a critical eye over the years (for better or worse).

I admire every single one of the students who took to that stage. It takes guts, and all demonstrated true class and composure. I remember my own modern dance and gymnastics performances at that age, which I’m sure were far from perfect.

Whatever the outcome of auditions – students, parents and teachers should be proud. We rated each performance on a scale of 1-10 based on entertainment value and student preparedness, but there’s more to performance than pleasing judges.

Every child gave it all they had – and it showed. The talent show takes place in March, and I’ve no doubt it’ll feature both polished acts and supportive audience members. I hope I’ll be able to attend.

Next time you have a bad day – even a truly dreadful day – just follow the children. Their smiles will show you the way.

— Lynn

Note: The Kiva Elementary School talent show is Thurs, March 10, at 6pm at Saguaro High School (and is open to the public)

Coming up: Arizona art volunteers, You’ve got Spam!, Grammy winner performs for Valley students

Artwork from Kansas City, Kansas Public Library