It’s that time of year: Valentine’s Day has come back to taunt the lonely once again. If you don’t have a significant other, don’t fret. You can chalk the entire “holiday” up to a capitalist marketing scheme deployed by greeting card manufacturers and chocolate vendors and blissfully (née bitterly) ignore it until February 15 rolls around, thanks to a cache of activities for members of the Lonely Hearts club happening around the Valley. We are lonely no more!
Chicago multimedia artist Hannah Barco has been busy creating an intriguing new installation, titled “Fathomings,” during her one-month residency at the Arizona State University Art Museum. Last night, she debuted her new exhibit at a special preview and PHOENIX checked it out.
“The Greatest Show on the Green” has returned to the Valley this week. The Phoenix Open’s main event will start on Wednesday with the Annexus Pro-Am and will end Sunday. And while there’s plenty of golf sightings to be had – 2016 winner Hideki Matsuyama is back to defend his title – we all know golf isn’t really why people love the Phoenix Open. Rowdy parties at the 16th hole, the annual tumbles of drunk sorority girls in heels, and major music acts in the Birds Nest provide entertainment galore for those of us who can’t quite muster the enthusiasm for thwacking a little white ball toward a hole in silence.
I really should have eaten dinner before attending the premier of "Kakehashi: A Portrait of Chef Nobuo Fukuda" at the Harkins Scottsdale 101 theater last Thursday, January 19th. But I didn't, and I began to regret the oversight about five minutes into the 45-minute documentary that was written, filmed and produced by food-centric filmmaker Andrew Gooi of Food Talkies.
#1: John Jorgenson at Musical Instrument Museum, January 22
Multi-instrumentalist John Jorgenson’s gypsy jazz guitar might remind you of the great Django Reinhardt, and in fact, he portrayed Reinhardt in the 2004 movie “Head in the Clouds” starring Charlize Theron. He’ll bring his talented quartet to MIM for a pristine-sounding performance of gypsy jazz, with maybe just the slightest touch of bluegrass. $38.50-$45.50. 7 p.m. January 22 at Musical Instrument Museum. mim.org
Originally from Spain, Olvido García Valdés is one of the most renowned poets in the Hispanic literary community. Last October, Phoenix-based Cardboard House Press published the translated version of her book And We Were All Alive/ Y Todos Estábamos Vivos. Local poet and translator Catherine Hammond will be presenting García Valdés’s award-winning poetry collection at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe this Friday, January 13 at 7 p.m.
Calling Harold Baldwin a “patient” man is an understatement. It takes him months, even years to finish a single piece of artwork. But it’s well worth the wait. Baldwin creates complex and meticulous works that are at once whimsical and engaging. They are moving – in every sense of the word.
Recently, his three-foot high kinetic sculpture at the Shemer Art Center, “Steam Punk Pinball,” had lines of people waiting to crank the handle and watch as two balls moseyed through the piece via bike chain. Everyone slipped into a joyful state as they looked on, mesmerized.
#1: Dr. Ordovich’s Grand Exhibition at Alwun House, January 14:
Randall De Souza Clarkson is a world-traveling musician and illustrator – and now, he’s “Dr. Ordovich” for his latest multimedia project, a 27-song concept album and book inspired by his journeys through Mexico, the West Indies, Brazil and Ireland. This exhibition includes live performances augmented by circus-style sideshow acts. $9 in advance, $14 at the door. 7 p.m. January 14 at Alwun House. alwunhouse.org
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), only 19 states provided funding for arts education grant programs in 2016. That’s just 38 percent of the country, and it shows the downward trend for arts programs in public schools; three years ago, “U.S. News” reported that since 2008, funds for schools had been cut in more than 80 percent of school districts – and arts programs are usually among the first curricular victims of budget cuts.
The importance of visual and performing arts programs – particularly music education – has been emphasized by everyone from educators and celebrities to scientists and students. Nonprofits and fundraising drives have appeared all over the country, including arts programs-deprived Arizona (which does not require credits in the arts for high school graduation, and does not require schools provide arts programs to be accredited). One of the local people trying to make a difference is Phoenix filmmaker Matty Steinkamp, creative director of Sundawg Media. He filmed and interviewed musicians, music educators, and students from all over the world for the documentary “Play,” to showcase the importance and magic of music in peoples’ lives. Among them are local music producer Bob Hoag, Phoenix-based musician Henri Bernard, and Nate Anderson of nonprofits Ear Candy and Little Kids Rock.
“Play: The Documentary” has screened in theaters around the U.S., and Steinkamp uses the screenings to raise funds for music education programs, and to provide instruments to schools. “Play” will show at the Higley Center for the Performing Arts in Gilbert on January 11, and all profits will go to the Foundation for Arts, Culture and Education of the East Valley (event details here ).
We recently caught up with Steinkamp to talk more about the movie and music education.
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.
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