Arts & Culture
Quietly and steadily, The Heard Museum‘s Native+You Third Friday celebrations have been picking up steam for more than a year, offering a unique mix of music, art, food and the Heard’s trademark Native American cultural focus.
Tonight’s event features an hour-and-a-half (7:30-9 p.m.) set from Valley darlings Dry River Yacht Club, a band that seems to play every night of the week, whether it be in the dingy confines of an East Valley bar or the open-air crispness of the Heard courtyard. Sure, they’ll be playing stripped-down, acoustic versions of familiar songs — this is, after all, known as a pretty chill event.
As well, the Berlin Gallery, Heard’s take on contemporary, striking art, shows off its creature comforts this month (literally) with “Coyotes and Other Artful Creatures,” on display tonight from 6-8 p.m.
And, to top it off, a 2009 Sundance selection, Barking Water, makes its Phoenix premiere at the event at 7 p.m. The Heard Museum Café will offer good nosh until 8 p.m. The event runs from 5:30-9 p.m.
The Heard Museum is located at 2301 N. Central Ave. (light rail station at Central/Encanto) in Midtown — 602.252.8848
A lot of you have been asking for weeks what’s up with The Duce. Is it open? Didn’t they have their grand opening already? Well, sort of. Yes, the building had a soft opening event two weeks ago, but many of the features of the warehouse’s “Chicago city block” were not yet ready for the crowds. Not to worry! The place officially opens this Sunday for the “Orange Crush the Lakers Bash” at 11 a.m. Be sure to stop by for awesome drink specials while you cheer on the Suns!
Join the DPJ crew for this month’s RadiatePHX event, taking place on the second grand opening night, Tuesday, May 25, from 5:30 to close. Come for the drink specials, good conversation and a Suns victory!
It’s here once again. That nausea you’ve been feeling is probably brought on by the Los Angeles Lakers, who the Suns are set to take on in the NBA Western Conference Finals beginning Monday night. No matter the outcome — whether it’s a Lakers showcase, a dominant Suns series or a come-from-behind team effort like the first-round win the Suns picked up against the Lakers in 2006 — we’re never happy to see Kobe and company at US Airways Center. Thinking of Andrew Bynum trudging up and down the court is painful enough, without me wondering what ill Ron Artest will inflict his hairdo. Yup, another series against the purple and gold sounds oh so pleasant.
Yet with the Suns playing brilliant ball since the All-Star break, the buzz level is at its highest. Expect a battle each and every game, as this series promises not to disappoint. Our own Suns Spot predicts Phoenix will take the series in six games, but we wanted to back it up with a friendly wager with our pals at LA Downtown News. They are equally as confident in their Lakers, so the battle of Suns speed versus Lakers height is on. If the Suns win the series, expect a lovely essay on the virtues of Downtown Phoenix life to grace the LA Downtown News homepage for a few weeks. If the Lakers muscle their way to victory, DPJ will likewise pony up a sweet-talking study of LA’s budding central core.
So, root the Suns to victory, not only so we can beat the East in the Finals, but also so a few Angelinos can learn about life in the PHX.
One of the best things about Phoenix is our local art scene. Phoenix is full of talented, bright, passionate and creative people; those who disagree are looking in the wrong places. Right now the place to see some of the best of what Phoenix has to offer is on display at 26 Blocks, an exhibit at After Hours Gallery.
I love the idea behind this exhibit: 26 Phoenix photographers and 26 Phoenix writers were paired up and sent to 26 random city blocks in Downtown Phoenix and asked to photograph and write specifically about that block. Some had much more to work with, like old houses or buildings, while some of the artists had nothing more than dirt and weeds. The creativity that came out of this assignment and the resulting photographs and stories is truly amazing.
The main theme I saw throughout can be summed up in one word: potential. More so than any other city, Phoenix is still a place where a person has the potential to be and do anything — a city that still has the potential to define its own destiny. When my friends from other cities antagonize Phoenix, I take it personally. Their condescending attitudes frustrate me because they don’t see “my” Phoenix, and they don’t see the potential and possibilities. 26 Blocks helps deconstruct those false assumptions and will inspire Phoenicians who may not be able to see the beauty that exists here, even in vacant dirt lots.
One writer interviewed a parking meter, and I liked the photo that went with it. I was moved to tears (really) by a story written from the perspective of one of the city blocks itself, telling us about its life and history the way a grandparent might tell a story to a grandchild.
I felt proud to be a Phoenician. I left the gallery with new perspectives and feeling recharged and inspired, more dedicated to making Phoenix the best city it can be. That’s the power of creative thinking and good art, and Phoenix offers some of the best.
26 Blocks will be on display through the rest of the year at various Valley locations. After Hours Gallery is located at 116 W. McDowell Rd. in Willo (light rail station at Central/McDowell) — 602.710.2398.
His friend is actually an art project that displays 26 Downtown Phoenix blocks from the perspectives of 52 local writers and photographers. It debuts Friday at After Hours Gallery.
Although the project has helped bring the community together, Parks says he wasn’t trying to accomplish that, or anything else, really.
“The project feels like a friend; someone I just met at a coffee house,” he says. “There’s this great person and I just want to introduce him to everybody.”
Parks adds, however, that he hopes the project will get people to look at each block from a different perspective and change their attitudes, which, he says, is how people start to change their cities.
Parks developed the abstract idea for 26 Blocks last October, but it really came together and launched in late November after his best friend passed away unexpectedly.
“I just felt like there’s no time to be afraid,” he says. “All of those ideas that were disconnected were suddenly on fire.”
He began pitching his idea to Phoenix-based writers and photographers, inviting them to be a part of his vision. He started with a few people he already knew and asked them for the names of other talented writers and photographers in the area until he had 26 of each.
“The amazing part was that I’d pitch them and I’d do all this research, and every time they’d write back and they’d say, ‘This is awesome, sign me up.’”
The photos, which are 24 inches by 36 inches, are suspended from the ceiling by steel cables with the 12-inch by 18-inch writings attached underneath. Twenty-six waist-level cinder block stacks are also part of the display, with each stack holding one of 26 wood cubes created by sculptor Rafael Navarro. Parks says the cinder blocks represent the concept of building blocks. He chose the number of city blocks for the project based on the 26 children’s building blocks, A through Z.
The project also incorporates monthly contests from now until the end of the year. Contestants will choose one of the blocks to write or photograph. The 52 project contributors will select two winners every month, a writer and a photographer, who will each receive a prominent spot on the 26 Blocks website with a biography and a headshot. At the end of the year, the public will vote to determine the grand winner, who will join the end of the tour (at another gallery to be announced) and be featured in the 26 Blocks book.
The project has inspired Parks to consider more projects in the future so he can have more friends like 26 Blocks.
“This person is great. I want more friends like this and not exactly the same,” he says. “I want to surround myself with other projects that are equally stimulating and equally challenging for me.”
Parks, who has never done an art show before, says he feels like he can do anything that is just as big as this project as long as he can find a way to set his ideas on fire and box up his fear.
“All you need is an idea that’s really interesting that you can get people excited about, and all you need other than that is just evidence that you can pull off the different components.”
26 Blocks debuts Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. After Hours Gallery is located at 116 W. McDowell Rd. (light rail station at Central/McDowell) in Willo.