Tag Archives: used bookstores

Truckin’ through Tempe

I found myself “truckin’ through Tempe” today while searching for a new installation of public art along Mill Avenue. Six utility boxes between Rio Salado Parkway and 7th Street have been painted by artists whose designs also grace new library cards for Tempe Public Library patrons.

I spied the “Sonoran Afternoon” utility box painted by Bud Heiss on Feb. 4 first, because it’s on the same corner as the Shoe Mill — my favorite haunt when new shoes beckon, and a splendid place to fondle handbags I can scarcely afford.

While making my way up Mill Avenue to check out other utility boxes, I stopped to chat with a woman named Susan who was playing her violin along the street — but was soon distracted by a painted truck whizzing past so quickly I couldn’t catch a photo.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I turned my attention to exploring other shops in the area — including a charming hole-in-the-wall bookstore called Old Town Books that reminded me of taking my babies to Changing Hands Bookstore back when it occupied a similar space along that very strip.

While there, I spied a book about Helen Keller — reminding me that “The Miracle Worker” opens later this month at Scottsdale Community College. I’ve no young children to buy such books for anymore, but snapped a picture that’ll help me rekindle memories of reading to my children when they were small.

I also lingered over artwork and furnishings with a vintage/retro vibe at Loft a Go Go, a shop I’ve been eager to explore since spotting it one evening on a hurried walk from parking structure to Stray Cat Theatre. Its diverse offerings include all sorts of goodies plastered with the likenesses of Elvis, Audrey and Marilyn.

I spotted a few more painted utility boxes in my travels, and one of the unpainted variety that made me appreciate the others even more. Colton Brock’s “Mill District” work is located near the light rail stop most convenient for folks eager to explore the Mill Avenue District.

Dawn DeVries Good’s “Be the Good,” painted on Feb. 6, sits at the corner of 6th Street and Mill Avenue. I’m saving others for another trip once my bum knee is on the mend. They include Lucretia Torva’s “Tempe Shine,” Oliverio Balcells’ “Tempe Roots” and Linda Parker’s “Day Dreaming at Tempe Town Lake.”

I was about to head home when I spotted the painted truck again — parked and perfectly primed for an impromptu photo session. As I suspected, it was covered with assorted paintings, each bearing the name and city/state of its creator. There was just a single catch — it was a beer truck. While I snapped photos, a driver for Crescent Crown Distributing did his delivery thing. To the restaurants, not the nearby dorms.

Then, after a successful dig for more parking meter change, I made one final stop — to a brick building called Hackett House that was once Tempe Bakery. Hackett House is home to the Tempe Sister Cities program, so folks who hit their gift shop or cooking classes can help a worthy cultural cause in the process.

I spotted all sorts of rabbits, chicks and other fare with a whimsical Easter vibe. Even a trio of ceramic “see, hear and speak no evil” bunnies. Also Raggedy Ann dolls, tiny tea sets in charming picnic baskets, richly textured scarves, accessories for wine lovers and glass flowers to hold birthday candles. Even plenty of bobbles and bling for those thinking ahead to Mother’s Day.

I’ve been truckin’ through Tempe for a good twenty years now. First pushing a stroller. Now strolling with camera in hand. It never gets old — thanks to book stores, beer trucks, bunnies and beyond.

— Lynn

Coming up: Sunday at Seton, Conversations with local artists, Poetry meets drumroll, A prophet tale

Advertisements

Musings on Main Street

We often strolled the main streets in Tempe and Scottsdale when our children were younger, but rarely made our way to Mesa. Nowadays, I often make my way down Main Street heading to and from the Mesa Arts Center, which is home to both visual and performing arts venues.

I paused one day to enjoy a relatively new bevy of small shops and businesses, plus longtime favorites like Linton-Milano Music, and found Main Street bustling with families enjoying the sculptures, friends chatting over coffee and folks supporting local fare from vintage clothing to used books.

I remembered playing I-Spy with my kids when they were little, calling out things that they could look for during all those drives between home, school and lessons. Red stars. Yellow cars. Round signs. White animals. Flashing lights.

So when I walked along Main Street in Mesa, I imagined doing a treasure hunt for various types of sculpture. If you’re game, give your kids some themes to look for, then see that they come up with.

Sculptures in Mesa include a trio of children playing baseball, a pair of boys playing on a tire swing, and more. Challenge your children to find a tool, a fish, a book, an orange and a newspaper. Even Humpty Dumpty and a high heel shoe.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Consider these photos a cheat sheet of sorts. They’ll help you get the lay of the land before you head out with young explorers. When you go, take some drawing materials along. There are plenty of benches and places to sit and sketch your many finds.

While you’re there, check out the many museums located on or near Main Street — Mesa Contemporary Arts at MAC, the Arizona Museum for Youth and the Arizona Museum of Natural History.

Click here to learn more about Mesa’s permanent sculpture collection and find a map you can follow as you explore public art along and around Main Street.

— Lynn

Coming up: Peace out