Grand Avenue has gained quite a reputation over the years: home to the notorious dive Bikini Lounge, warehouses converted to art spaces, always-stuffy whiskey-fueled rock shows and even a few triangular-shaped storefronts that cut diagonally northwest, mimicking the avenue itself. So, it’s only fitting that a festival has popped up in its honor. Enter the Grand Avenue Festival, a celebration of all things Grand.
Set for Saturday, September 26, this all-day affair will give attendees the complete Grand Avenue experience: lots of free live music, art exhibits, historic building tours and more.
At the heart of Grand’s revival is its art spaces, and fittingly, they’ll all be open for passersby. Fifteen artist studios in all will be open to the public from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.: Jordre Studio (1007 W. Grand Ave.), The Lodge Art Studio (1231 W. Grand Ave.), Lucky Rabbit Studio (1020 W. Grand Ave.), Studio of Jen Urso & Christy Puetz (1341 W. Woodland Ave.), Studio of Lee Berger (PHiX) (1113 W. Grand Ave.), the ambient studio (1023 W. Grand Ave.), Deus Ex Machina Gallery (1023 W. Grand Ave.), Phoenix Fall Space (1023 W. Grand Ave.), Studio 8 (1301 W. Grand Ave.), Moderncat Studio (1301 W. Grand Ave.), Barry Sparkman Studio (1301 W. Grand Ave.), Brad Konick Sculpture Studio (701 N. 15th Ave.), R. Booker Studio (701 N. 15th Ave.), Chris Caufield Studio and Trillion Clarke Studio (701 N. 15th Ave.).
Adaptive reuse is a key element to the revitalization of Grand, and the Grand Avenue Festival plans to celebrate that fact with adaptive reuse tours throughout the morning. The tours begin at the Tilt Gallery (919 W. Fillmore St.) and visit Jordre Studios, Paisley Town (1028 W. Grand Ave.), the Motley Design Building (1114 W. Grand Ave.), Arnold’s Auto Body Shop (1209 W. Grand Ave.) and the old Bragg’s Pie Factory building (1301 W. Grand Ave.), which has recently started housing several art spaces and Sapna Café. The tour costs $10 (the only paying event at the festival!) and is scheduled for 8, 9:30 and 11 a.m. Tickets are available at the Tilt Gallery.
Live music will start at 4 p.m. and carry on until at least midnight, with an impressive lineup of great local acts taking various spots along Grand: the PHiX, Sweets & Beats (1504 W. Grand Ave.), Rockin’ A (1209 W. Grand Ave.) and the Loft. Check for a full schedule of tunes the day of the festival.
To celebrate Grand’s budding boutique hub status, three fashion shows will take place: A recycled wearables show at 5 p.m. at Bragg’s Pie Factory, a local boutiques show at 7 p.m. at Bragg’s Pie Factory and a “BoHo Haute Hippie Movement” (guess we’ll have to attend to figure out what that is exactly) show at 8:30 p.m. at Soul Invictus (1022 W. Grand Ave.).
On top of all of this, expect demonstrations, quirky gifts for sale, tons of free acoustic tunes and even free snow cones! For fans of Grand and newcomers alike, this is a great opportunity to experience the other art row Downtown.
Parking is available along Grand’s side streets, or you could huff it from the light rail station at Van Buren and Central/1st Ave and head west to Grand.
The Tilt Gallery is tucked away on a stretch of 10th Avenue just north of Grand Avenue that is populated mostly by early 1900s bungalows (many still without proper air conditioning systems). Standing out front, one can see the varied colors and rooftops of Paisley Town, and though it’s just a block away, it seems like a million miles.
The Tilt, with its mangy exterior of funky-colored beams, white brick and ever-glowing accent lights, is the perfect setting for a display of Angela Franks Wells‘ work. In stark contrast, Wells’ prints — all in black, white and copper — mellow the space the likes most art couldn’t. The collection, called “Parts & Labor,” focuses on the dirty, rugged profession of Midwestern tradition: skilled labor.
Raised by a mechanic and a machinist, Wells, who has shot and taught photography in the Valley for years, knows a thing or two about hard labor. And, the aged hands, tattered clothes, oil-slicked furniture and old engine parts depicted here tell the story well. Wells traveled to independent shops of skilled laborers — mechanics, plumbers, welders and construction contractors — in search of these scenes and the tired souls that occupy them. Portrayed in copper-plated photogravure and gelatin silver prints, the testament to hard work comes through in eerie depiction. When you leave the Tilt this Third Friday, you’ll appreciate that beer down the street at the Paisley Violin a bit more.
The Tilt Gallery is located at 919 W. Fillmore St. 602.716.5667. Open 6-9 p.m. Third Friday.
The much-anticipated opening of the Phoenix Public Market’s new Urban Grocery & Wine Bar is nearing reality. Currently taking shape inside the historic red-brick warehouse facing Pierce Street, directly adjacent to the outdoor market, the new full-service Downtown grocery store will provide the neighborhood (and city) a more permanent, thoughtful destination for locally sourced, organic foods.
Cindy Gentry, Executive Director of Community Food Connections, the local organization behind both the Public Market and the Urban Grocery, speaks about their newest endeavor with great pride. “If you love our outdoor market, you will love this place,” she gushes. “We wanted to create a real place, with real food. A place tied to the local community.”
Gentry goes on to point out that the market will exist as more than just simply a permanent, physical anchor for the biweekly Public Market — it will complement it. “We are looking forward to offering a larger selection of certain foods like meats, cheeses and other perishables,” she says.
Intending to be open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. initially, the new Urban Grocery will also become not only the first full-service grocery store to open Downtown in at least the past quarter-century, it will also be one of the only such grocers to offer food selections largely locally sourced.
The renovated interior itself is as cavernous as it is quaint, with careful consideration to original architectural features being not merely preserved, but enhanced. Such notable elements include an airy, bow-trussed, vaulted ceiling that highlights the structure’s sturdy wooden support beams overhead, as well as the building’s original masonry surrounding in full, unadorned exposure.
Besides a wider selection of local produce, baked goods and previously mentioned perishables like dairy products and meats, a major component of the indoor grocery will be the Market Café, a grab-and-go counter offering patrons prepared items like sandwiches, salads, soups and other sides. Once a planned side patio is completed this fall after subsequent construction plans materialize, said takeaway foods will be available for eating on site.
The Urban Grocery will sell a rotating selection of beer and wines, the latter of which will become a primary focus of the grocery, with a dedicated wine-tasting area offering samples of varied wines to try, as well as purchase by the glass.
In an effort to further stimulate bright ideas and innovation in the local food landscape, there will also be a commercial kitchen and meeting area located in a sectioned, private space toward the rear of the building. Besides facilitating certain small, food-related events, it will act as an incubator of sorts for fledgling local food organizations and respective entrepreneurs trying to develop new products and or get their related businesses off the ground.
Last but most definitely not least, probably one of the more high-profile components of the new indoor Urban Grocery will be the addition of Royal at the Market, a tiny, stylish coffee shop brought to us by some of the same principals behind the respected Royal Coffee Bar on Jackson Street. Expect the same self-roasted, hand-pressed coffee, along with a careful assortment of baked goods both homemade and locally selected. The tiny coffee bar will exist in a connected space within the grocery store, but will also have an individual side entrance for visiting patrons during the main store’s off-hours.
Optimistic about the new Urban Grocery’s progress, as all of the finishing touches (and required permits) fall into place, Gentry is hoping for an official opening sometime during the second or third week in October. Moving along at a slightly faster pace, Royal at the Market is shooting for a quiet, individual debut sometime sooner, possibly in the next week or two. Stay tuned for updates.
I joined 16 other mayors in New York City last week to launch a nationwide effort to boost volunteerism in cities. Join in on volunteerism — it makes a world of a difference. We anticipate covering about 230 miles on area roads to attend Make A Difference Day projects. The message we like to send is that every individual can make a difference. Click here to learn more on how you can get involved in Phoenix and make service part of your daily life.
The scene from last week’s When in AZ compilation release show at the Rhythm Room was sweaty, full of cheap beer and sometimes oddly confusing. The show featured Treasure Mammal, Colorstore, Lonna Kelley, Sweetbleeders and Coats and Villa. Check out the photos below for all the rockin’ good times and make sure to stop by the final release show this Friday, September 18, at Hard Rock Café.
All photos by Deona Smith