Tag Archives: Studio Movie Grill

That’s what friends are for

Friends Janet Arnold and Ed Asner perform a reading of "Advanced Chemistry" to benefit Arizona Jewish Theatre Company

Like many arts organizations, Arizona Jewish Theatre Company has faced financial challenges in recent years. But executive director Janet Arnold has a friend in renowned actor Ed Asner, who graciously performs here periodically to support Arizona Jewish Theatre Company’s work.

Most recently he treated Valley audiences to a reading of Rich Orloff’s “Advanced Chemistry,” a pair of plays about “love, lust and longevity” at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. The event helped Arizona Jewish Theatre Company raise funds needed to continue their season with “The Blessing of a Broken Heart” — a work they’re dedicating to former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Tucson.

But now it’s Asner who needs our help. Asner has both a son and grandson with autism, and says the issue “really hits me at home.” Asner describes the organizations Autism Speaks as “the main focus of my family’s charitable efforts.”

Will Asner and Charlotte Luckerman in a photo shared by Matthew Asner

Asner’s son Matthew serves as executive director for Autism Speaks in Southern California. “He is on the front lines,” says Asner, “fighting for our kids and others like them.” Ed Asner is eager to both improve the quality of life for children and adults with autism — and to “find a way to stop it.”

Asner has four children. Twins Matthew and Liza Asner, and Katie Luckerman, are in their 40s. Charlie Asner is in his 20s. His oldest grandchild, Jake Asner, is 11 — and the youngest, Charlotte Luckerman, is just two. There’s also Will Asner (age 9), Gabriel Luckerman (age 8), Grant and Helena Asner (7-year-old twins), and Sam Luckerman (age 5).

His passion for supporting families living with autism was clear when we chatted by phone a while back, soon after the American Psychiatric Association released information about proposed criteria for autism spectrum disorders — which Asner and other autism advocates worry will mean less help for individuals and families living with autism.

Jake Asner self-portrait, shared by Matthew Asner

Folks eager to join Asner in fighting for autism research and increased public awareness can donate to Asner’s “Walk Now for Autism Speaks” team — which is participating in the “10th Annual Los Angeles Walk Now for Autism Speaks” on April 21. Or click here to join his “Asner’s Avengers” online.

Those eager to participate on the local level too can support the “Arizona 2012 Walk Now for Autism Speaks” as well. It takes place Oct. 28, and is being presented in partnership with the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center.

Both Autism Speaks and SAARC offer plenty of ongoing opportunities to learn more about autism and ways to support families living autism. SAARC presents a free screening of HBO Film’s Temple Grandin” at Studio Movie Grill in Scottsdale Feb. 21 (click here to register because space is limited).

Walk. Watch. Donate. Volunteer. Write to legislators. Learn more. And listen. That’s what friends are for.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about Arizona Jewish Theatre Company — which is home to Curtain Call Youth Theatre (which holds auditions for “Annie” on March 5) and All Rights Reserved teen improv troupe (which presents a teen improv festival on Feb. 26), plus a variety of special programs and events.

Coming up: Ed Asner talks arts in education, Once upon a peacemaker


Movie meets martini

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I indulge in a martini once every decade or so, but need my movie fix a lot more often. So I headed out Friday night to explore the Studio Movie Grill in Scottdale, a movie theater that first landed on my radar when they showed a film about writer Ayn Rand.

It’s a swanky theater with a lounge-like feel, where you can mingle around a large, square-shaped bar or enjoy a full meal as you watch your favorite flick. I paid just over $9 for my ticket Friday night after deciding to see “The Woman in Black.”

Once you’re ready to move from lobby to movie theater, you show your ticket to folks who hand you both drink and food menu. Theaters look little like those you’re used to. Instead of row upon row of seats, you’ll find generously-sized seats with nifty swing-out trays for holding all the goodies you can order by pushing your very own red call button.

Friday night I snagged a seat between two couples enjoying various menu fare. To my left, it was a martini and a beer. To my right, it was a chili dog and chicken tenders. I passed on eating, but took time to check out the menu — which has dozens of items, including quite a few in the $10 range.

Studio Movie Grill looks like a great option for Valentine’s Day, or a bit of a splurge day with the kids. There’s a special kids menu, for those age 10 and under, complete with grilled chicken tenders or chicken sandwich, burger, corndog, cheese pizza, apples and peanut butter, fruit cup, beverage and ice cream sundae.

The regular menu includes a good assortment of salads and pizza — plus burgers (including turkey burger), tacos, ribs and more. Folks with a sweet tooth can enjoy milk shakes (they’ll add crushed Oreo cookies if you like), chocolate molten cake, peanut butter shake, hot cookies or a brownie sundae. Even something called “frozen hot chocolate” — plus popcorn for all you traditionalists.

Keep an eye on Studio Movie Grill offerings. In addition to mainstream movies, they sometimes offer more off the beaten path selections — and special events like a recent screening of “When We Were Kings” that raised money for the Barrow Neurological Insitute in Phoenix.

I hit their Facebook page a few minutes ago and found discounted tickets — plus the suggestion that folks come down and enjoy the Super Bowl on their big screen. So while I still expect to see plenty of movies at theaters closer to my home, I’m following Studio Movie Grill offerings. In another couple of years, I’ll be up for my next martini…

— Lynn

Coming up: Downtown meets down on the farm