READ IT: Gone are the days when children’s books taught the importance of keeping a tidy room; nowadays, kids are taught the importance of keeping a tidy planet. Conrad Storad penned his latest children’s book, Gator, Gator, Second Grader (Five Star Publications) to promote discussion on how classroom pets and other animals should be treated. When second graders Benny and Jacob bring a baby alligator to their classroom in a cardboard box, their teacher Mrs. Nichols sets them straight on what constitutes a proper classroom pet, which leads them on an extemporaneous escapade as they learn about everything from alligators to gerbils.
ARTIST OF THE MONTH: Thad Trubakoff is “carving out” a career as a kinetic-wood sculptor. His display this month at R. Pela Contemporary Art contains several automated artworks, including a vintage phonograph that’s both exquisitely beautiful and surprisingly functional.
Valley performing arts groups offer a plethora of productions this season.
What could a Memphis deejay in the 1950s have in common with a cantata based on medieval poems? Probably nothing, aside from the fact that both are components of upcoming Valley stage productions.
Phoenix is getting an A-list of onstage entertainment this fall season. Productions range from a mariachi opera about immigration to the story of two middle-aged siblings whose world is turned upside down when their larger-than-life sister arrives. Here’s a spotlight on some of the stagecrafts coming this season.
Six rare screenprints by Andy Warhol were donated to the museum by the late artist’s institution, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The original works will be displayed in the free museum (51 E. Tenth St., Tempe, 480-965-2787, asuartmuseum.asu.edu/exhibitions) until September, when they will be transferred to the Jules Heller Print Study Room. The prints and 155 photographs by Warhol that the foundation donated in 2008 enliven and continue Warhol’s legacy, says Jean Makin, the museum’s print collection manager and curator. “He wanted his work to be accessible to the public. His work is not limited to one sector of the country or facet of contemporary art, but open to everyone.”
ARTIST OF THE MONTH: Artist Tim Rees just completed a mission to put the mining town of Miami, Ariz., on the map – or at least on canvas.
Rees moved back to Arizona from Chicago in 2012 and purchased a century-old home in the tiny town, which is adjacent to Globe. He took a look around. After years of painting realist figures, still lifes and landscapes, he became enchanted by the town’s ramshackle aesthetic and brightly colored, boxy buildings.
“I started seeing these old buildings with chipped paint and wood falling off and everything rusted over,” says Rees, who finished a series of paintings portraying Miami’s old houses in July. “It’s sort of visual candy to see all these different textures and colors and surfaces. I was compelled to paint them.”
HEAR IT: “To the things I can count on to keep me going strong / Yeah, I hold on, I hold on.” So croons hometown country hunk Dierks Bentley in “I Hold On,” an ode to the grounding elements in his life – faith, love, family and freedom, as well as his beat-up truck and scratched-up guitar case – and the second single from his seventh studio album, Riser. The Tempe native will hold on to his Arizona roots with a stop at Ak-Chin Pavilion on Saturday, July 26, for his Riser Tour 2014, with openers Chris Young, Chase Rice and John Pardi. Sing along as Bentley belts the album’s other singles, the swingy torch song “Bourbon in Kentucky” and the party-starting “Drunk on a Plane,” and fan favorites from his twangy oeuvre, like “What Was I Thinkin’” and “Come a Little Closer.” Tickets cost $25-$240. ak-chinpavilion.com
How historical houses of the holy around the Valley became converts to a new purpose.
Built: 1893, as a Methodist church and school
Repurposed: 2014, as Taco Guild restaurant
If you’ve been praying for a place that serves a ton of tequilas (like, more than 152) and innovative locavore street tacos among stunning stained glass windows, elaborate chandeliers and a seamless hodgepodge of secondhand items and historical finds, may your prodigal wandering bring you here. When Z’Tejas CEO Steve Micheletti was looking for a location for his new taco concept, he was skeptical of the enthusiasm expressed by commercial real estate agents about the location, which was badly in need of restoration.