Arts & Culture
This Friday, Phoenix artist Christine Cassano is shaking up the local art scene in two significant ways.
First, she is holding an artist reception on a Second Friday (not First or Third). For those of us who have bemoaned the lumping of events on First Fridays, this is a welcomed change.
Second, and more importantly, Christine is offering those of us who have had to cut our spending during the economic downturn a unique way to purchase her art: She will be offering a substantially discounted monetary price in return for a commitment to provide five to 10 hours of volunteer service through Hands On Phoenix. Prices and volunteer hours per art piece will be set by the artist. Those who wish to purchase her work in the traditional method (i.e., paying the full monetary price) still may do so.
“I’m hoping people who come to my show look a little different at what they consider an investment,” Cassano says. “By volunteering, you can get so much out of that just by making a personal investment.”
Want to learn more? A full explanation is available here. Here is an overview of the show:
“Invest With Confidence” draws attention to the disparity between how the American people are feeling the economic recession and the extent to which they are understanding it. Each piece contains a host of embedded objects representing free market commodities, as well as a piece of modern paper currency that is sealed within the work but accessible enough to be removed and recirculated by the collector, thus raising questions about the negotiable integrity of the piece and the value of the art as investment.
If You Go: Christine Cassano’s “Invest with Confidence”
Practical Art, 5070 N. Central Ave. in Uptown (light rail station at Central/Camelback) — 602.264.1414
A free, public reception for the artist will be held Friday, July 9 at 7 p.m. No RSVPs are necessary. Exhibit runs July 1 to 31.
The band is comprised of Illya Riske, Wasef El-Kharouf, Owen Marshall, Dave Gironda, Tobie Milford and Chris Kasych.
Everyone trades places playing guitar and keyboards, but they also incorporate bass, drums, trumpet and a violin to add lushness to their sound.
The Whisperlights started in February 2009, and after gaining their spot here in Arizona, they hope to repeat the success in other states, as their first West Coast tour started a couple days ago.
Their songs are quirky and fun, but most of all surprising — they’ll have you on your feet dancing in no time with their dark, electronic pop sound.
The band’s song process is a huge team effort where every member takes a part in completing a song.
“Seventy-five percent of the time each of us will individually write a song with lyrics and basic structure and then 25% of the time somebody will just come up with something that we like, develop it into a song, someone will come in and write lyrics for it,” Riske says.
The Whisperlights are more than just bandmates and friends, they’re more like brothers. They have so many inside jokes that no one outside their circle knows what they’re talking about and they email each other constantly throughout the day.
“I don’t think there’s ever an hour where we’re not talking to each other via email about something,” El-Kharouf chimes in.
“It’s really homey. It’s like playing in your house,” Riske says.
The rest of the band joins in saying they love the people, lights and how loud it gets in there. Whenever the band plays there, El-Kharouf has a plan of his own, too.
“The Roosevelt is right down the street, so I’m fond of going over there and recruiting people over there to come back. It never goes over well… the DJs yelled at me, screaming, ‘Stop trying to steal people!’” El-Kharouf admits.
Outside of Arizona, the band has only played in Las Vegas at a festival, so to say the least, they have been looking forward to this first tour.
On the road, the band said they can’t wait for long nights of Scrabble, Uno, backgammon, being in the van with each other and 20 questions. However, Gironda already warns the band that his answer for everything in 20 questions is “Indiana Jones,” so the games may not last long.
On tour they’re supporting their newly released EP, Wake Up Dead, but you can catch them here at home at the Lost Leaf on July 29.
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Target Free Sizzlin’ Summer Saturdays in July at Heard Museum
Parents now have a place and time to take the kids during the summer to escape the heat. Adults can enjoy the museum while kids enjoy the free arts and crafts, dance performances and artist demonstrations, and meet popular children’s authors, all thanks to Target.
The fun at the Heard takes place every Saturday in July. This Saturday is “Fancy Flyers” day, with arts and crafts paying homage to our favorite winged animals. Dance performances by the Yellow Bird Dancers will rile the crowd. Kids will walk away with treats and a goody bags filled with activities, crayons, stickers and more.
For more information, please call 602.252.8848 or visit heard.org/Sizzlin. The Heard Museum is located at 2301 N. Central Ave. in Midtown (light rail at Encanto Station).
A Tiki good cause
Refuse to have a case of the Mondays in July, thanks to Hula’s Modern Tiki. Every Monday, the restaurant will be donating 10% of its proceeds to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Phoenix.
Hula’s “Mahalo Mondays” started in March and has since raised over $7,500 to organizations such as the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, The Red Cross Haitian Relief Fund, The Boys & Girls Clubs and Free Arts Arizona.
So, end Mondays on a wonderful note with a delicious meal at Hula’s Modern Tiki and give to amazing causes.
Hula’s Modern Tiki is located at 4700 N. Central Ave. in Uptown (light rail station at Central/Camelback) — 602.265.TIKI
Beat the heat and keep the beat at Portland’s
Portland’s Restaurant and Wine Bar just added some new flavor to its Saturday nights with live music and special prix fixe dinners.
During dinner, you can enjoy live acoustic music every Saturday night featuring local artists like Shelby James, Betsy Ganz, Jeff Schnuck and Zubia + DeGuvera from 8 to 11 p.m.
The special three-course prix fixe dinner is only $25 with mouth-watering meals like tempura rock shrimp, Stilton blue cheese bistro steak or sustainably farmed Scottish salmon. And, don’t forget dessert, with the tiramisu or Claire’s flourless chocolate torte.
Portland’s is located at 105 W. Portland Ave in Roosevelt (light rail at Roosevelt Station) — 602.795.7480
If you don’t want to fight for a spot at First Friday but still feel like seeing amazing art and hear local music, well I’ve got one place for you. SuTRA Midtown Yoga is hosting a night full of beautiful photography by Shawn Anderson and acoustic sets by local artists.
If you haven’t heard of Shawn Anderson’s music blog, Electric Mustache, you need to open another tab and start discovering what you’ve been missing. His blog will open your eyes to mind-blowing music, open and trustworthy CD reviews and local and national band updates.
After Anderson started Electric Mustache, he started his website, Electric Shots, displaying his photography that makes you feel as if you were there the night of the show. He captures musicians at their purest on stage.
His photography will be displayed on the gallery walls on Friday and will stay up all month long.
On Friday, watch as his photos come to life, as Bears of Manitou and Matt Harris, who have been subjects of Anderson’s lens, also take the stage.
Bears of Manitou have quickly sprouted up in the Phoenix music scene. They opened up for Rocky Votolato in March and everyone was in awe that the duo were playing their first show and nailing it.
Gabe Williams, Laney Coletti and Brian Champ make up Bears of Manitou. They are a folk-indie group that has Williams on guitar, piano or ukulele; Coletti changing up her instruments every other song, from bongos to cello to maracas; and Champ on drums as the newest addition to the group.
Harris and Sorry Charlie will grace the stage with their soft, rich sound, adding to the soundtrack of the night.
Join everyone on First Friday at SuTRA Midtown Yoga, where they will supply the essentials: art, music and completely free (and delicious!) sangria.
SuTRA Midtown Yoga is located at 2317 N. 7th St. in Coronado — 602.253.9525
With so many routes and itineraries to fit into the four-hour window that is First Friday, there are some spots that are bound to get overlooked. One such location, Garfield Galleria, is hardly a hole in the wall (it’s actually 12,000 square feet), but its location on McDowell Road and 3rd Avenue is a destination spot, which deters the usual foot traffic from making an appearance.
The arts space is home to 13 different studios of various shapes and sizes — all worth exploring — but Matt Priebe‘s Outside In gallery continually draws attention for its textural, abstract paintings, both simplistic and bursting with expressionism at once.
Priebe, a Phoenician who left the desert for stints in Jerome and Seattle before heading toward the glitz of LA stardom, returned to Downtown Phoenix to further hone his craft after glamorous gigs in the pages of Los Angeles magazine and on the set of HBO’s Entourage, among others. Privately schooled on abstract expressionism in his early years, Priebe draws on much personal experience, using “his vocabulary of color to capture the viewer between twilight and darkness.”
To explore Priebe’s work further, head to the Outside In gallery inside the Garfield Galleria — 316 W. McDowell Rd. #201 (light rail station at Central/McDowell) in Willo.