SEE IT: When Richard Nixon died in 1994, his funeral brought five fellow U.S. Presidents together for an executive conversation. The fiercely funny stage drama Five Presidents imagines their exchange of old grievances and the toll the presidency takes on the commander-in-chief.
ARTIST OF THE MONTH: Jeff Slim looks like an artist. With his hair pulled back into a bun, white shell earrings, lacquered fingernails and blue paint stains on his jacket, there’s no denying he does something artistic. The Phoenix resident, 28, was raised in Arizona and spent a quarter of his life living on the Navajo Nation. He sold his first painting of a landscape in the third grade for $2. That sum bought him and his friend a snow cone, but more importantly, the $2 gave Slim the confidence he needed to pursue art. In grade school, Slim won several awards for his creations, despite the dearth of art programs at his school.
SEE IT: James Brown famously sang, “It’s a man’s world, but it wouldn’t be nothing without a woman or a girl.” And if all the world truly is a stage, then the stage wouldn’t be nothing without the contributions of the fairer sex. To that end, Arizona Women’s Theatre Company in Phoenix will present 14 plays, ranging from comedies to suspense, penned by Arizona women playwrights. The works will be presented over three evening shows and one matinee at the Eighth Annual Pandora Festival of New Works.
ARTIST OF THE MONTH: During Phoenix artist Christine Cassano’s senior year in 2001 at Old Dominion University in Virginia, her professor-mentor told her she had reached her apex as a painter. So, with a lot of cussing and finger injuries, she made the transition to producing three-dimensional art.
READ IT: “Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.” When it comes to Valley lifestyle guru Cheryl Najafi and her Missouri-bred “mama,” poet Robert Browning’s tribute to mothers might be edited to say, “Motherhood: All good food begins and ends there.” Najafi’s new cookbook, Mother Daughter Dishes: Reinventing Loved Classics ($19.76, CherylStyle Publishing), celebrates the mother-daughter bond with updated (and healthier) versions of Najafi’s down-home childhood favorites, from her granny’s buttermilk biscuits to Najafi’s beloved coconut cream pie.
ARTIST OF THE MONTH: “Everyone can relate to my paintings, because we all were kids,” Michael Maczuga says.
The Cleveland, Ohio transplant began painting scenes in the life of children back in 2000, after attending art workshops in Scottsdale, where his family had moved when he was a young boy. But though Maczuga’s childhood was spent in a desert metropolis, his paintings portray Midwestern, Rockwellian environments with an impressionist touch: a little girl walking through fall foliage, or a boy enchanted by something he found in a garden, rendered in soft strokes with an ethereal, almost watery-looking aesthetic.
SEE IT: When it comes to presidential defeats, Arizona lays claim to one of the most historic: Republican Barry Goldwater’s 1964 slaying at the hands of Lyndon B. Johnson. Revisit Goldwater’s campaign and get a candid look at his personal life in Mr. Conservative: Goldwater on Goldwater, the acclaimed 2006 documentary told through the eyes of Goldwater’s granddaughter CC. Featuring interviews with former “Goldwater Girl” Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Sandra Day O’Connor, the documentary demonstrates how Goldwater electrified the Grand Old Party and established his legacy as one of the Beltway’s most powerful legislators. The film screens for free at 6 p.m. November 2, at Harkins Shea 14 Theatre, 7354 E. Shea Blvd, Scottsdale, 480-948-6555.