For years, Roosevelt Row in Downtown Phoenix has been known as the city’s main arts district. The area along Roosevelt Street from Seventh Street to Seventh Avenue once housed innumerable local art galleries, but over the past several years, many galleries have closed and many artists have left the neighborhood as developers construct new housing and rents rise. That’s one reason local creative Pete Petrisko thinks Roosevelt Row (aka “RoRo”) needs to stop being called an “Arts District” and be rebranded as a “Luxury Living & Good Eats” district.
Just prior to the First Friday art walk on Roosevelt Row in December, Petrisko designed a field guide and several rebranding stickers. The field guide was distributed at local venues, and nearly a hundred “Luxury Living & Good Eats” stickers were affixed to utility poles. We recently spoke with Petrisko regarding his rebrand project, which will be visible this First Friday in January.
#1: Jerusafunk at Valley Bar, January 8
In this show dubbed “East Meets West,” Phoenix’s own “klezmer gypsy jazz” band, Jerusafunk, performs their unique brand of boogie on a bill that also includes local rabab prodigy Qais Essar and his new backing band, The Qosmonauts, and L.A.-based Jewish cultural revival band Mostly Kosher. $5. 8 p.m. January 8 at Valley Bar. www.facebook.com/events/1607808399527245/
What better way to spend this twilight zone week between Christmas and the start of 2017 than by planning the perfect New Year’s Eve celebration? Because we all know New Year’s celebrations always live up to your every expectation… cough…
Even if you’re not delusional and are remaining realistic about how off the chain any given Sunday can be, get a leg up on your potential for fun-having by dropping by one of the many soirees being thrown across the Valley. We’ve got your run-down of NYE parities, whether you’re looking for a family friendly fiesta or an adults-only shindig to let loose in your sparkly finest.
#1: The Music of David Bowie at Symphony Hall, December 30
Backed by a full rock band and the Phoenix Symphony under the direction of conductor Martin Herman, vocalist Tony Vincent pays tribute to the late David Bowie, singing tunes from the flamboyant star’s vast hit list. Audiences can expect to hear renditions of “Rebel Rebel,” “Space Oddity,” “Fame,” “China Girl,” and “Changes,” among others. $59-$119. 7:30 p.m. December 30 at Symphony Hall. phoenixsymphony.org
#1: Blind Boys of Alabama at Musical Instrument Museum, December 23-24
Formed in the late 1930s at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind, Blind Boys of Alabama continue to tour and perform their spirited gospel songs. Tunes from their latest album, “Talkin’ Christmas,” will also be on tap this tour. $48.50-$63.50. 7:30 p.m. December 23 and 2 p.m. December 24 at Musical Instrument Museum. mim.org
When it comes to introducing children to the works of William Shakespeare, there may be no more fitting entree than “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The Bard’s tale of star-crossed lovers, magical meddling, and musical fairy merriment is a comic romp kids can follow even with the playwright’s original dialogue. So it’s fitting that Southwest Shakespeare Company has been touring Phoenix schools with their adaptation, titled “A Midwinter Night’s Dream.” The company’s performance at Kerr Cultural Center on December 9 marked the first time they performed it for adults, and it was a good look at what audiences can expect when SSC performs “A Midwinter Night’s Dream” at Taliesin West this weekend.
If it’s true that “silence is golden,” then the trend of “silent reading clubs” around the Valley is rich indeed. The idea of people showing up at a bar or a coffee shop with books and simply sitting and quietly reading together has its appeal, especially considering how much “information” we’re barraged with these days. This month, two local silent reading groups are hosting events – and one is breaking the silence.
#1: Cirque de la Symphonie at Orpheum Theatre, December 16-18
Aerialists twirl on festive red curtains high above the Phoenix Symphony in this spectacular collaboration with the Cirque troupe. The special holiday production also features seasonal music such as “Deck the Halls,” “White Christmas,” and movements from “Swan Lake” and “The Nutcracker,” performed by the symphony while painted strongmen, hula hoop artists and jugglers dazzle the audience. $30-$109. Call for show times. December 16-18 at Orpheum Theatre. phoenixsymphony.org
The perfect holiday present doesn’t have to elude you. The Shemer Art Center in Arcadia boasts a gift shop offering hundreds of one-of-a-kind gifts at truly reasonable prices. Each piece is hand-made by famous and up-and-coming local artists.
The Shemer Art Center is hidden in plain sight on the southeast corner of East Camelback and Arcadia. Near the entrance, a Latin phrase inscribed over a cozy fireplace translates to, “Art is long, life is brief.” Built in 1919, this onetime home is the oldest in the Arcadia neighborhood. It has been a museum since 1985.
While you’re browsing, check out the schedule of classes and upcoming events. And don’t forget to check out the art in the museum itself.
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