Top 5 Arts Events for March 28-April 3: Chicano painter Eric Almanza, Chandler Jazz Festival, Roger Clyne & More

Written by Niki D'Andrea Category: Lists Issue: March 2016
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Frida, 2014 by Eric Almanza#1: Eric Almanza exhibition at Unexpected Art Gallery, ETA April 1
Self-described “subversive Chicano figurative painter” Eric Almanza has a quote from Pablo Picasso on his website ( that declares, “Painting is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war.” It's an apt description of Almanza's intention whenever he lays brush to canvas, painting scenes that speak to social and political issues such as immigration, Chicano identity, the struggles and expressions of urban life, and the ongoing battle against minority oppression. (A prime example: Almanza's 2013 “Lo Que No Se Puede Ver” – “that which cannot be seen” – portrait series, done in reaction to Arizona's Senate Bill 1070.) Based in California, Almanza will bring his work to the Unexpected Art Gallery “by April 1st,” according to the Unexpected Art Gallery's Facebook page. Visit or for more information.

#2: Chandler Jazz Festival at Dr. A.J. Chandler Park, April 1-2
Lighter on jazz than blues, this year's fest features RD Olson Blues Band, Paul CruiZe Blues Crew, the trumpet and flute stylings of the Gabriel Mark Hasselbach Quintet, Navajo power blues three-piece Levi Platero Band, and South Mountain Community College Latin Big Band. L.A.-based ensemble El Chicano headlines Saturday night. Free. 5-10 p.m. April 1 and 2 at Dr. A.J. Chandler Park.

#3: “Defining Moments: 50 Years of Fashion at Phoenix Art Museum” opening night, April 2 through August 7
Fashions by iconic designers including Alexander McQueen, Givenchy, Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent are just the tip of the proverbial runway at Phoenix Art Museum's opening bash on April 2 for the exhibition “Defining Moments: 50 Years of Fashion at Phoenix Art Museum,” which also features elaborate historical pieces like leather gloves (dating from 1650) with metal lace and silk embellishments, and commissioned large-scale illustrations by New York artist Ruben Toledo. The exhibition runs through August 7. The opening night soiree on April 2 includes food, a no-host bar, live entertainment, and gift bags from presenting sponsor Max Mara. $50, general admisson; $20, students. 6-9 p.m. April 2 at Phoenix Art Museum.

Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage#4: “Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage” at Mesa Arts Center, April 3
Trekkies and music geeks alike will love this multi-media foray into “the final frontier” that features music from the “Star Trek” franchise, played by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. While the orchestra plays selections from “Star Trek: The Original Series,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “Star Trek: Voyager” and more, audience members can watch iconic “Star Trek” footage beamed in high-definition to a 40-foot wide screen. $35-$75. 7:30 p.m. April 3 in the Ikeda Theater at Mesa Arts Center.

#5: Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers at Talking Stick Resort, April 2
Arizona son Roger Clyne has lived the life he sings about in his songs: The Tucson-born troubadour grew up splitting his time between Tempe and his grandparents' cattle ranch in southern Arizona, where he spent his days roping, riding, herding cattle and mending fences, and taking frequent trips with his family into Mexico. Our south-of-the-border neighbors – and their fine tequilas – have also been a big source of his musical inspiration. On April 2, Clyne & the Peacemakers will bring their catalogue of tunes poolside – the perfect setting for a margarita on the side. $30-$100. 8 p.m. April 2 at the pool at Talking Stick Resort.

About the main image: “Frida, 2014” by Eric Almanza, oil on canvas, 24 x 18