DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
The first keg of Western Rivers Ale will be tapped on August 1 at the “Tapping into Conservation” Launch Party at the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center in Phoenix, from 6:30 -9:30 p.m. The launch party, unlike anything else in the Valley this summer, will feature live music from local band World Class Thugs. Admission is free, and beer will be sold for $3 each; ages 21+. Western Rivers Ale will debut among Four Peaks Brewing Company’s already popular line of craft beers. This beer, however, is on a mission: to raise awareness of the plight of the Western Yellow-Billed Cuckoo, just designated as “threatened” in October 2014.
“Conservation is something everyone should be concerned about,” said Steven Prager, a Teacher-Naturalist at Audubon Arizona and the leader of this initiative. “Connecting a beer with bird conservation is a way to promote awareness of the Yellow-Billed Cuckoo to a wider audience.”
The Yellow-Billed Cuckoo’s population has declined due to reduced natural river habitat. A combination of drought, invasive species, over-allocation, and unsustainable management threaten the Colorado River and its tributaries as well as the wildlife and communities that depend on them. Western Rivers Ale also aims to draw new members to the Western Rivers Action Network, Audubon’s grassroots network of 35,000 citizens across three states who take action to preserve rivers in the western U.S.
After the launch party, Western Rivers Ale can be purchased at both Four Peaks Brewing Company locations in Tempe and Scottsdale until August 31 – or until supplies run out. There will be a second brew this winter featuring the Sandhill Crane. The initiative also includes Toyota Together Green and the Phoenix Center for the Arts.
Audubon Arizona is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization with the mission of connecting people with nature, using science, education, and advocacy to protect Arizona’s birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and earth’s biodiversity.
Four Peaks Brewing Company seeks to provide consistent high-quality beer, food and service in a community-based atmosphere. The company has won many awards, including Thrillist’s “Best Brewery in America” (2015), the Travel Channel’s “Favorite Craft Brewery” (2014), and five Great American Beer Festival medals.
Images courtesy of Audubon Arizona
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
AZ’s 100% nonprofit music festival returns to Margaret T. Hance Park in downtown Phoenix for a 13th annual celebration on March 11-13, 2016; the 2015 Festival raised more than $120,000 for charity.
Listen up music fans, the 13th annual McDowell Mountain Music Festival (MMMF) will take the stage on March 11-13, 2016 for three full days of music, food, art, culture and more in the Arizona sun. Can’t wait to get your groove on? Presale ticket packages for MMMF 2016 will be available for purchase at a discounted rate starting on August 1, 2015. Plus, the first 150 presale purchasers will receive a special limited edition ticket package directly from the festival organizers, with all details about the package deemed “top secret.”
Boasting a soon-to-be-announced lineup of both top national and local bands (with previous headliners ranging from Widespread Panic to The Roots), the McDowell Mountain Music Festival annually lures thousands of music fans nationwide to the grass-lined fields of Margaret T. Hance Park in downtown Phoenix.
Even better, the MMMF is Arizona’s premier charity-based music festival, with 100-percent of all profits donated to worthy local charities. In fact, with help from contributors, donors, sponsors and, most important, loyal fans, MMMF 2015 donated $120,000 to benefiting charities, Phoenix Children’s Hospital and UMOM New Day Centers, the largest shelter for homeless families in the state.
Previously hosted in late March, the 2016 McDowell Mountain Music Festival was moved up to take advantage of Arizona’s mild spring weather and hopefully ensure the perfect mix of sunny days and cool nights, said MMMF founder and organizer, John Largay. “Spring is an outstanding time in the Valley. We want festival-goers to enjoy the sun and music all the same, and early March is certainly the month for both.”
Additional details will be released in the weeks and months to come, including enhanced experiences for 2016, ticketing options, lineups, partnerships, and more. For the latest information, visit www.mmmf.com, or Facebook (www.facebook.com/mcdowellmountainmusicfestival), Instagram (@mmmf2016), or Twitter (@mcdowlmtnmusic). #MMMF2016
Photos: Jacob Tyler Dunn
David Krietor has served as CEO of the newly-formed Downtown Phoenix, Inc. (“DPI”) since April 8, 2013. In that time, he has begun work with community stakeholders to develop the downtown we want. “Your Downtown” shares his thoughts and DPI’s progress with the downtown community and beyond. Read the other chats here.
On June 17, the Phoenix City Council unanimously approved a new five year contract for Downtown Phoenix Inc. (DPI) to manage the core Enhanced Municipal Services District. Thanks to everyone who voiced their support to Members of Council. While the Downtown Phoenix Partnership (DPP) remains a major partner overseeing services in the core, our new contract ensures we have a collaborative and coordinated approach to managing our increasingly dynamic downtown.
With the retirement of long-time Deputy City Manager (DCM) Rick Naimark, City Manager Ed Zuercher has announced the latest Table of Organization by promoting Karen Peters and Mario Paniagua to DCMs. In addition, the work of all deputies is now aligned by function: Public Safety (Milton Dohoney), Economic Development (Paul Blue), Community Services (Deanna Jonovich), Transportation & Infrastructure (Mario), Environment & Sustainability (Karen), and Administration (Toni Maccarone). Searches for Budget & Research Director and Aviation Director will commence soon.
In other downtown Phoenix news…
- American businesses flocking to downtown (just not in Phoenix)
- Arizona sees biggest population increase since 2008
- ASU partners with LinkedIn, Markle Foundation to help future jobs market
- Celebrate local businesses during Independents Week, through July 5
- Conference celebrated Phoenix’s independent side
- New Southeast Phoenix RAPID bus service connects commuters to downtown
- Phoenix plans to ride rails to economic prosperity
- Tallwave’s downtown program launches inaugural startup class
- Tiffe Fermaint’s Baby Teith fashion line finds Kickstarter success
- What 80 Orlando delegates took home from Phoenix (and it wasn’t t-shirts)
- Downtown workers coping with hot temperatures
- AIA placemaking series continues with “Shop in the City”
- Chilean developer building condo lofts, live-work units in Evans Churchill
- Filling in empty spaces: Portland St. condo developers look for renaissance
- Lafferty planning St. Ambrose condominiums at 12th St. & Van Buren
- Mitsubishi sells Downtown Phoenix tower for $94M
- New Uber center opening in downtown Phoenix
- Phoenix’s office buildings battle vacancy rates, downward pressure on rents
- UA, Banner to expand downtown biomedical campus
- Where are the architects, AIA panel asks?
- Arizona sports fans vote downtown Phoenix as Coyotes new home
- ASU research might change your mind about ticket scalpers
- Back downtown? Phoenix mayor reaches out to Coyotes
- Phoenix councilman pushes for dual Suns-Coyotes arena, mall, grocery store
- Super Bowl generated $295M in direct spending, $719M in overall impact
- The Sordid Travels Of A Cubs Fan: Phoenix
- The Upper Deck Tour: Chase Field, Phoenix
- Volleyball festival returns to Phoenix Convention Center
- Arizona Opera, Arizona Theatre Company raise $1.5M
- Downtown Phoenix gets new murals
- Go “Into the Woods” with Valley Youth Theatre
- Phoenix Arts and Culture Office seeks art educators
- Phoenix’s Central library becomes light spectacle on solstice
- Roosevelt Row holds Building Blocks fundraiser
- Summer art exhibits to catch at ASU
- Downtown Phoenix chophouse closing doors after 14 years
- Grocery store could be coming to downtown, ASU area
- Now Open: The Counter Custom Built Burgers
- 100 Favorite Dishes 2015: The 301 Pizza at Forno 301
- Phoenix entertainment district will allow alcohol sales near churches
- Ripe Festival and Awards showcase local culinary leaders
- Short Leash Hot Dogs to open in old Downtown Deli spot
- DeSoto’s Walrus & The Pearl: oysters & sparkling wine in downtown Phoenix
- Westin Phoenix Downtown overhauling Province restaurant
- Concert honors Phoenix refugee community
- Local families give out food, water at Phoenix shelter
- Phoenix & Blacksburg top 2015 Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards
- RadiatePHX hosts “Let’s Move, PHX!” rally at DeSoto Central Market
- Teens become doctors, nurses in UA “Summer Scrubs” program
DPI’s What’s Happening Guide for the week of June 29 to July 5 is ready to go. It’s an excellent recap of, yes, what’s happening in our downtown. You can review and download a copy by clicking here. And that reminds me, when was the last time you visited our Facebook page? Nearly 35,000 Phoenix aficionados “like” it and we hope you do too.
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
First annual World Refugee Day benefit concert will feature live music, refreshments and opportunity to learn the stories of refugees living in Phoenix.
Concert will commemorate the courage and resilience of refugees, with all proceeds going to an emergency fund for refugees in crisis.
On Saturday, June 20 the International Rescue Committee in Phoenix will mark its first annual World Refugee Day benefit concert, honoring the strength and resilience of refugees forced to flee their homes and seek sanctuary elsewhere.
Held at the Crescent Ballroom in downtown Phoenix, guests will have the opportunity to listen to live music performed by refugees from Malawi and Zimbabwe, enjoy a signature cocktail made with fruits grown by refugee farmers and meet refugees from around the world now making a new life for themselves and their families in Phoenix. Admission to the concert is $25 per person and 100 percent of the proceeds go to an emergency fund for resettled refugees in crisis.
“Through this event we hope to raise awareness and turn up the volume on the rich diversity refugees bring to Phoenix and the work done at the IRC,” said Nicky Walker, development manager for the International Rescue Committee in Phoenix. “The IRC cannot function without the help from all of our generous partners and volunteers. Nevertheless, because the U.S. is the largest welcoming nation for refugees, the work is continuous and the challenge is ongoing. We hope this event will connect new volunteers and partners to help make refugees’ transition easier.”
World Refugee Day is held every year on June 20 to honor the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homeland under threat of persecution, conflict and violence. Escaping with their lives and few possessions, refugees who are resettled into the United States — a small percentage of the more than 51 million people forcibly displaced around the world — arrive with dreams of hope, safety, and stability
In 2013, Arizona received a total of 3,336 new neighbors from 42 countries through the refugee resettlement program, and more than more than 62,000 people from 109 countries have made Arizona their home since the program began in 1980. In 2014, the IRC welcomed more than 837 refugees, and served over 3000 clients through one of the IRC’s many programs, including immigration services and programs for survivors of human trafficking. In 2015, the IRC in Phoenix is forecasted to welcome 850 individuals from countries including Somalia, Cuba, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Burma (also known as Myanmar) and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
WHERE: The Crescent Ballroom, 308 N 2nd Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003
WHEN: Saturday, June 20th. Live music from Refugees begin at 7:00PM during V.I.P. hour, Concert and Story telling at 8:00PM
HOW: CrescentPHX.com or at Stinkweeds on Central and Camelback
ABOUT THE IRC
The International Rescue Committee helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. IRC teams provide health care, infrastructure, learning and economic support to people in 40 countries, with special programs designed for women and children. Every year, the IRC resettles thousands of refugees in 25 U.S. cities. Learn more at Rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.
It’s unusual to see a Broadway musical enriched with a full symphony orchestra onstage behind the actors, but Phoenix Theatre’s fifth collaboration with The Phoenix Symphony promises the best of both worlds.
“It’s something so unique for an audience, because you’re basically watching a symphonic concert at the same time you’re witnessing a semi-staged production, so it’s just a very cool experience that you’re not going to get anywhere else,” says Phoenix Theatre Producing Artistic Director Michael Barnard, who directs Oliver! at Symphony Hall this weekend. “You can walk out going, ‘Wow — I’ve never seen this show done that way,’ you know? …And it only happens once a year and it’s a really neat collaboration with two arts organizations working in sync with each other.” He adds, “And Tito’s been great.”
“Phoenix Theatre is a great company, and the way we’re collaborating in Symphony Hall is very unique to both institutions,” agrees Tito Muñoz, who’s wrapping up his first season as music director of The Phoenix Symphony. “The wind parts for a lot of musicals are written for a small complement, but it’s the strings that we can augment and have much more than there normally would be,” he says, anticipating a full, lush sound.
“When we do a show at Phoenix Theatre – and even on Broadway any more – pit orchestras aren’t much bigger than 14,” says Barnard, “so to be able to have 56 pieces is quite remarkable. It definitely has its challenges, but it’s really quite lovely, and you don’t get that opportunity.” He continues, “It’s just completely unaffordable other than this kind of concertized version.”
Before his appointment in Phoenix, Muñoz served as music director for France’s Opéra National de Lorraine and the Orchestre symphonique et lyrique de Nancy. “Between opera and musical theater…the only big difference is that everything is amplified,” he says. “And generally speaking, in opera the stage and the theater are vehicles for the music, so the music is the most important part of the art in opera. In musical theater that’s not necessarily the case.”
Muñoz grew up conducting musical theater throughout high school and college before playing as a violinist for Broadway shows in New York. He explains, “I think there’s a little bit more balance between the storytelling, the production itself and of course the musical numbers, but there’s a lot of underscoring dialogue, there’s a lot of scene change music.”
Although this is his first official pops concert with The Phoenix Symphony, he’s confident in the musicians’ expertise. “The orchestra does so much pops that this kind of thing is nothing new to them, actually…they’re well versed in musical theater.”
First produced in London in 1960, Oliver! was written by Lionel Bart, who based his musical on Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. The novel was Dickens’s social commentary on the Poor Law of Victorian England, and was published in serialized form between 1837 and 1839. As a 25-year-old author Dickens drew on his own experiences working in a shoe-blacking factory as a child when his family was trapped in debtors’ prison. His misery during those years was aggravated by a bullying coworker named Bob Fagin, after whom Dickens named a villain in Oliver Twist.
Set in England, the plot follows the orphaned Oliver’s difficult and abuse-filled journey from workhouse – where we hear the famous tune “Food, Glorious Food” — to a dangerous community of pickpockets overseen by Fagin (“You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two”). After a kidnapping and a murder, Oliver ultimately finds his way to better fortune in a comfortable household thanks to a kindly benefactor.
This production’s cast includes familiar Phoenix Theatre favorites D. Scott Withers as Fagin, along with Toby Yatso, Johanna Carlisle, Yolanda London and David Simmons. Sixth-grader Vincent Jacovo stars as Oliver with 12-year-old Asher Angel as The Artful Dodger, a youthful criminal.
“It’s so easy with these kids,” says Muñoz. “They’re unbelievably well trained; they’re fantastic onstage.” Adds Barnard, “Hats off to their parents, and hats off to the other youth theaters that have helped prepare them for an experience like this…they’ve done a good job.”
He continues, “I think the challenge is always in making sure that you can get the best out of the kids without losing your ability to get the best out of the adults as well. Molly Lajoie has been the choreographer in particular for the kids, so she’s been a big help in that regard.” Phoenix Theatre’s technical team also features music director and rehearsal pianist Jeff Kennedy.
Other challenges include timing and staging constraints. “The entire show has to come in with intermission under two hours and 15 minutes [due to the Symphony’s contract with its musicians],” explains Barnard. “Second – and probably one of the bigger challenges – is [that] we only use the apron of the stage because the symphony is occupying the bulk of the stage.” Muñoz elaborates: “We’re having the staging…in front of the proscenium, and so the orchestra’s onstage but behind all the action…so it’s a very big symphonic sound.” He says, “I’m not facing the action, so we’re doing it very much electronically – the singers have a couple of monitors so they can have a visual of my baton…and then I also have a monitor in front of me that shows the stage.”
Barnard continues, “Scenically speaking, we want to just do just fragmented or suggested locales because we want the audience to see the symphony orchestra – that’s part of the fun. So you just have to sort of think it out – necessity becomes the mother of invention. But since this is our fifth collaboration we’ve sort of learned a lot about how this might work.” He adds wistfully, “This also could be our last. I’m not really sure why, but from what I understand it’s not part of the Symphony’s calendar for next season, so this may be the swan song. I’m sad about that because I love that collaboration.”
If you go:
- The Phoenix Symphony and Phoenix Theatre perform Oliver!