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16 Athletes Compete for Cash, Pride and Prizes at Rush Club Nation Event on January 18th in Downtown Phoenix
Eight men and eight women between the ages of 18 and 38, will take part in a fitness competition on January 18th designed to test strength, agility and endurance. Professional athletes Camille Leblanc-Bazinet and Josh Bridges will also participate in an exhibition before the Final throw down.
Rush Club, founded in February 2013 by Stacey D. Snyder and Abenadi (AJ) Richards was born from a shared love of fitness and the desire to create a workout competition that was all inclusive and exciting for people to watch. The duo takes pride in creating an electric atmosphere for their fans, and likes to call the feeling of involvement experiencing “the rush.” Stacey is a NASM certified personal trainer and AJ (a combat veteran of the Iraq war) is the owner of RushRx CrossFit Mesa.
Since its inception, RUSH CLUB has grown to see 500+ spectators at their local competitions. They have hosted 56 athletes on the Rush Club stage and have awarded approximately $7,000 in cash prizes. The pair has plans for continued growth of the competition and brand in 2014. Unlike traditional sport competitions where athletes typically pay a fee to participate, Rush Club caters to the athletes with no fee. This is made possible through sponsors, vendors and spectator ticket sales.
“I believe we are creating the most exciting head to head competition to draw crowds of all ages.” says Richards. “Our goal is to promote health and fitness in the most exciting way possible!”
“When you help people meet their physical goals and see how much it helps them overcome their mental hurdles too, that’s pretty powerful stuff.” adds Snyder. “This is a sporting match for anyone and everyone.”
A portion of the Final Rush event proceeds will benefit the United Phoenix Firefighters.
When: Saturday, January 18th, Doors open to the public at 12:30 p.m. Preliminary matchups kick off at 1:30 p.m.
Where: The Pressroom, 441 W Madison St.
Cost: $25 & Up
For more information on Rush Club Nation and to purchase tickets, visit:
Here at DPJ, we’re all about sharing what we love. Beyond the stories that make us love downtown, we often come across things that catch our eye, tingle our senses or have us dancing in delight. “We Like…” turns a brief spotlight on the little treasures that make our day, with helpful links so you can share in the fun.
It’s a new year, a new me, and now I have Kaleidoscope Juice in Cityscape to get my healthy resolutions off to a perfect start.
Kaleidoscope’s fourth juice bar is nestled inside Chloe’s Corner, but the company’s vibrant colors and equally delicious offerings called to me from afar. I found out about this downtown location via Twitter a few weeks ago, as I was pondering the amount of pumpkin pie I’d eaten during the holidays. Kaleidoscope couldn’t have opened at a better time.
Every summer it seems easier to do a juice or smoothie cleanse and eat healthy, but during the school year, as stress bears down on me, fast food temporarily takes the edge off my schoolwork woes. I was gung ho for buying my own blender for my dorm and creating my own smoothies, but it became too time consuming. To me, what’s fantastic about smoothies and juices is that when they have the essential ingredients of a balanced meal, they are all you have to consume for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
On my first visit, I was in the mood for a creamy, rich and nutrient-packed smoothie to start my day. The Strawberry Warrior helped me face everything that came my way in the hours that followed. With protein, almond milk, almond butter, goji berry and banana, the vitamin-filled drink was delicious and made me curious to scope out the other options when I’m next in need of a boost.
With juice bars popping up around the country, and celebrities constantly seen holding a blended green drink, Kaleidoscope encourages one to not only be on trend, but healthy at the same time. At the beginning of each year, I’ve found it’s always best to make my body happy first, and then true style and confidence will radiate from that.
Want to share your love? Send a note to email@example.com and tell us what YOU like.
Earlier this week, the Phoenix Convention Center hosted Imaging USA 2014, the largest annual convention and expo organized by and for professional photographers. More than 8,000 photographers attended, snapping shots of downtown Phoenix as they honed their newly developed skills acquired from the over 100 speeches, presentations and hands-on demonstrations at the fair.
Of the successful event and setting, John Owens, of the Professional Photographers of America, says, “Phoenix has been a tremendous host for Imaging USA 2014. The warm sun, friendly locals and the downtown area in particular has helped enhance the experience for attendees by being so welcoming. And of course, the valley provided a beautiful backdrop for thousands of photographers to immediately practice what they learn.”
DPJ followed those attending IUSA14 and posting pictures on Twitter and Instagram, culling the most representative shots of the downtown scene, and asking our readers to vote for their favorite photos. Below are those that received the most “likes” on Instagram. See more on DPJ’s Facebook page.
Last month DPJ visited a downtown building undergoing renovation for its new tenants in Warehousing ASU’s School of Art: Part One. The second part of this story explores the warehouse’s history from the perspective of its owner, developer Michael Levine.
Over the past century, many of the warehouses of Phoenix have been either demolished or disappointingly modernized. All too often, they acquire a regrettable aura of Brutalism reflecting the utilitarian design of structures like Symphony Hall and its surrounding skyscrapers.
But a handful of these venerable buildings are slowly regaining their ageless appearance, re-emerging as majestic, enduring dowagers anchoring the architecture of downtown, thanks to preservationist-developer Michael Levine. “I’m very protective of the properties,” he says. “I try to look at the long-term effect and where they’re going to be in a hundred years.”
As a handful of graduate studios from Arizona State University’s School of Art prepare for the Third Friday opening reception on January 17 at Levine’s 605 East Grant Street warehouse, the School’s director, Adriene Jenik, is full of enthusiasm. “Our gallery and critique space will present greater opportunities to engage with [the public],” she says. Later, as Jenik describes the adaptive construction, she adds with a laugh, “It’s like an artist’s wet dream.”
The School of Art’s move comes as a new dean prepares to lead ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts beginning July 1. Steven J. Tepper comes from positions at the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy and Vanderbilt University, where his research and teaching focus on creativity in education and work as well as conflict over art and culture.
Graduate painting and drawing programs will move downtown with the Step Gallery, followed by sculpture, fibers, and intermedia, ultimately occupying 26,232 square feet including plenty of mouthwateringly spacious 250-square-foot individual studios. One large room, built in 1959, features a 15-ton A/C unit and seven studios with LED lighting and no ceilings, allowing vast expanses of natural sunshine through overhead windows.
“Spatially, it’s been really fascinating,” says landlord Levine. “Because the [warehouse] ceilings are so high and you have ten-foot-high [studio] walls, you feel like you’re three years old. For the artists…to stand back…they’ll have no claustrophobia — they’ll have all the light they’ll want.”
CCBG Architects and Kitchell [construction company] have been working at a rapid pace to accommodate ASU risk management concerns while maintaining historical integrity. “They overbuilt,” says Levine with some satisfaction as he surveys the gallery. “This is a building inside a building…so they don’t touch the existing building.” For example, in one area an interior glass wall simultaneously protects and reveals the beauty of restored brick. “Conceptually, for historic preservation, it’s the same outcome,” he says, adding with a laugh, “Everything has been like a really beautiful puzzle — I’m watching all the pieces nest together, but it’s not a 2-D puzzle…it’s like a weird 3-D puzzle.”
Levine, who fabricated a Batmobile and a steampunk balloon for his family in the warehouse, has found it somewhat painful to give up his own “dream” creative space to provide fire egress for the new ASU construction. ”It was like the worst seller’s remorse I’ve ever had, because this is the perfect studio,” he says with a sigh, still grinning. “Having two cranes is like having two employees…two employees I don’t have to talk to.” He’ll move Levine Machine into the oldest warehouse in Phoenix: the Seed & Feed building at 411 South Second Street, built in 1905 by Swedish immigrants.
His other renovation successes include The Duce (at 525 S. Central), Arizona Cotton (at 215 S. 13th St.), and Bentley Projects (at 215 E. Grant St.), along with the 2007 grand prize in the Arizona Governor’s Heritage Preservation Awards.
Levine attended art school himself, studying architecture and drafting. He moved to the Valley 23 years ago and established his AAARDVARk AARMAdILLO Corporation for design and construction. As he points out features of the warehouse, Levine’s boundless enthusiasm for industrial restoration is palpable.
“This site’s really interesting,” he says, pointing toward the southwest area of the property. “The back corner…goes back to 1895 as the Phoenix Cotton Oil Company.” Levine gestures toward Grant, indicating original windows and concrete openings. “This corner building was built [around] 1909…this was McCall Cotton.” As Phoenix grew, so did the warehouse.
In 1917, as the United States began to prepare for war, a young vice-president of Goodyear Tire named Paul Litchfield came to the Valley. “With the power of the U.S. government and Goodyear Tire he buys…everything,” says Levine. “He buys every cotton field down here, he buys all the cotton gins, and he buys the entire ecosystem. Then they came and they built this two-story building…and as far as I can tell this was the headquarters for Goodyear.”
The warehouse operated under the subsidiary Southwest Cotton Company, Levine says. “The construction methodology that they used was board form and they had slits in the wall for the belts to go through and all the pulleys,” he describes. “And all that stuff is still there — all the slots are there, all the bolts. If you look at the very top you can still see the ghost [sign painted on the brick], and it says ‘Pure and uniform in quality,’ and on the left near the door it says ‘The best is the cheapest.’” He smiles and adds, “I try to leave all that history, all those scars.”
Levine learned that Andrew Karlson, an undocumented Norwegian immigrant and the first certified welder in Arizona, worked on the Roosevelt Dam before purchasing the warehouse in 1943, according to his granddaughter Mikelene Karlson. In tribute to the longtime owner of Karlson Machine Works, Levine hung a black-and-white photo of Karlson and his wife Marie on one of the structure’s restored brick interior walls.
“I had a Robin Hood mentality about saving these buildings,” Levine says, explaining his history of reinvesting in downtown warehouse preservation. “I’ve been holding on to these things against my own economic interest….” He continues, “The theme that runs through everything I do is…site-specific, so it’s all about…deconstructing and peeling things back.”
“I’ll try to do the restoration based off of the history, to find out what the character is,” Levine adds. “When you’re dealing with industrials…they’re living documents — they’re living buildings.”
He says matter-of-factly, “The greenest building is an existing building, and the best historic preservation is neglect, and that’s really what saved this building. Demolition’s easy to see, but historic equity disappearing by a thousand small cuts will still kill you.”
- ASU’s School of Art grand opening and open studios in downtown Phoenix
- Friday, January 17, 2014, 7 p.m.-9 p.m. (more information at ASU.edu)
- 605 E. Grant Street
- Michael Levine and Levine Machine, including past and ongoing warehouse projects
Update: An earlier version of this article referred to Michael Levine as an art teacher in Peoria, which is incorrect.
Here at DPJ, we’re all about sharing what we love. Beyond the stories that make us love downtown, we often come across things that catch our eye, make our senses tingle or have us dancing in delight. “We Like…” turns a brief spotlight on the little treasures that make our day, with helpful links so you can share in the fun.
Looking for the perfect seasonal soundtrack? Trying to find an entirely unique gift? Nothing could be jollier — or quirkier — than Oy to the World!, the holiday-melding album from Paul Libman featuring a vastly talented group of musicians called The Klezmonauts.
It’s been around 15 years since Libman released his inventive collection of tunes on Oy, and the album’s still selling like hot latkes. Although Shirim Klezmer Orchestra tweaked Tchaikovsky’s beloved score into a klezmer Nutcracker, there’s never been anything quite like Libman’s light-hearted assortment of klezmerized, jazzy Christmas carols, with their startlingly familiar musical references.
My sister discovered Oy several years ago, and both of us have been gifting it year-round ever since. Honestly, it’s just as refreshing in July as December. Here’s a handful of reasons why I love this CD:
- I’ve had a weakness for klezmer, the traditional music of Eastern European Jews, ever since I first heard Itzhak Perlman’s version on In the Fiddler’s House, and I’d like to try my hand (although I’m a pretty square classical violinist)
- Libman uses musical quotes cleverly borrowed from every possible source, including “Wipeout”and Ennio Morricone’s soundscapes (and I can’t resist spaghetti westerns either)
- The Arizona connection: the original song “Santa Gey Gezunderheit” (which translates to “Santa, Go in Good Health”) was written by Libman with local composer Mark Pierce
- Oy’s creator has a marvelous background in jingles, including “Two Scoops” for Kellogg’s Raisin Bran
When I contacted Libman to ask more about the album (and plead for a sequel), he responded with a friendly e-mail. “At the time I created Oy, I had a jingle production company and a recording studio in Chicago,” he says. “I’ve since found my calling in musical theatre and have moved to New York.”
Before he began composing award-winning musical theater, Libman wrote thousands of tunes for Old Spice, Hamburger Helper, and countless other products — check out his archive of commercials on YouTube and his website, where the “Demos from Hell” are particularly entertaining. “Not surprisingly, Oy has been a terrific calling card for me in NYC,” he told me. “Nearly every musician I meet knows or owns the CD.”
Based on the album’s quality, I wasn’t too surprised when Libman told me more about The Klezmonauts, a one-time pick-up band he assembled just for Oy. “They were an almost embarrassingly talented combination of studio musicians and Chicago Symphony members,” he said.
The star-studded ensemble featured jazz trumpeter Bobby Lewis , violinist Arnie Roth (a long-time member of Mannheim Steamroller), Blue Note Records guitarist Fareed Haque, and the late jazz violinist Johnny Frigo. Shelley Yoelin played clarinet and more — he’s active in Maxwell Street Klezmer Band — and Libman himself recorded piano and percussion on the CD.
“I’m not entirely sure what inspired me,” Libman added, “but, being Jewish and married to an Italian Catholic, I was especially excited to create something both our families could enjoy.”
Find Oy to the World! –