It still kind of does.
“There are still like 15 spots left.”
We were a few cars back in a long line for a parking lot that attendants were debating whether to declare full.
Fortunately, we made it in before they closed the lot.
Turns out, Tucson Convention Center parking is no joke.
Even though the world premiere of the Riders of the Purple Sage opera was a big event, it wasn’t the only thing backing up traffic at Tucson Convention Center that night.
After we’d parked, I asked a security guard the quickest way to Tucson Music Hall.
He replied with “Oh! Are you looking for the rap thing?”
I was wearing a long velvet dress and heels.
“No, not the rap thing…”
A few minutes later, someone asked if we were looking for the game.
Apparently, in Tucson, no one bats an eye if you decide to don formalwear to see hip hop or hockey. And we noticed several people wearing cowboy hats to the opera.
285 ft – Museum of Contemporary Art
.4 mi – Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block
.5 mi – Hotel Congress and Maynard’s (lodging + dining)
.7 mi – Mercado San Agustín (dining + shopping)
.9 mi – Mission Garden
Performances in Tucson also have a lobby full of shopping and refreshments for sale – wine, snacks, delicious-smelling coffee, and old school west-coast favorite Thrifty ice cream!
There’s also “Shopera at the Opera” with booths of Local artists and vendors, who give part of their proceeds to support Arizona Opera.
We enjoyed seeing the inventive ways that Southern Arizona Artists’ Guild member Betty Harris found to upcycle fabric scraps and thrift store pieces. Next to her was a Barefoot Books booth with a selection of really neat-looking kids books, including the very fitting Stories from the Opera.Read More
There are people making great things in every corner of the world.
Here’s some of the good November/December-ish stuff from Italy, France, the U.K., and the U.S. (Arizona, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington) that’s come up on my radar recently.
Now – March 2018
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson
Watch hawks, falcons, and owls fly completely untethered in the open desert, while a narrator explains the characteristics of each species. Two presentations daily (at 10am and 2pm) with different birds of prey native to the Sonoran Desert region each time. Included with admission.
Now – Nov 5
Pre-event workshops (Sep/Oct):
Oct 27 – Nov 7
Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix
Día de los Muertos festivities with music, dance, and storytelling. Included with admission.
Mesa Arts Center, Mesa
Food, market, live entertainment, and handmade altar contest. Free admission.
Oct 30, Nov 6, Nov 13 at 6pm
East Flagstaff Community Library, Flagstaff
Drop-in for help with your fiber arts projects. Knitting supplies available.
All skill levels welcome. Ages 9+. Free.
Oct 31 – Dec 1
NAU Art Museum (2nd floor, NAU Old Main building), Flagstaff
Exhibition of ceramic work by Marshall Maude that explores both traditional methods and new technologies. Free. (Parking info.)
Nov 3 + Dec 1 every 30 minutes from 6-10pm
Mesa Community College, Mesa
Monthly Planetarium shows open to the public the first Friday of the month during the Fall semester. Free admission (first come, first served).
Heard Museum, Phoenix
Monthly (First Friday) events at the museum with free general admission to the museum’s galleries. Food and beverages available for purchase. Heard Museum Shops open until 8 p.m.
Visit artists’ studios, see artists at work, and purchase art. Free admission.
Tucson Convention Center
Community-based pop culture convention with a mission statement of “Pop Culture For All!” Full weekend passes $30.
Tucson Expo Center
Expo with sewing, quilting, needlework, and craft supply vendors (both local and national), as well as workshops and presentations. Admission $10 or free with online coupon (printable PDF).
**The Festival in Phoenix.
Nov 17-19, 24-26
Cave Creek, Arizona
Self-guided tour of open artist studios in the Cave Creek and Scottsdale area with demonstrations and art for sale. Free admission.
Nov 18, 11am-5pm
Margaret T. Hance Park, Phoenix
Festival of top pizza makers, benefitting Downtown Phoenix Inc. Advance tickets $10.
**Phoenix Pizza Festival 2016
Du Bois Center (at Northern Arizona University), Flagstaff
Juried show of handmade arts and crafts benefiting the United Way of Northern Arizona. Admission $2 at the door.
Nov 24 – Dec 30
Desert Botanical Garden
Garden lit by 8,000 candles inside luminaria bags. There is also stargazing, hot cocoa and apple cider, sculptures by artist Jun Kaneko on display throughout the garden, and a variety of musical performances. Tickets $30.
Nov 24 – Dec 23
Over 90 vendors with food and hand-crafted gifts surrounding the Merry Main Street 35-foot Christmas tree.
Nov 25, 9am
Phoenix Public Market
Learn how to care for succulents and the best varieties to grow both indoor and outdoors. Pop-up truck will have succulents, containers, and soil available for purchase.
Dec 1, 6-10pm
Medlock Plaza parking lot (Frances/Stinkweeds/Golden Rule Tattoo), Phoenix
Annual arts and crafts festival with local handmade original work, (jewelry, toys, knitwear, beauty products, holiday decor, etc.), as well as live music and food trucks. Free.
Juried art show with 350 artist booths lining Mill Avenue and the surrounding streets. Handmade ceramics, wearable art, jewelry, woodwork and photography for sale, as well as food vendors, wine and beer gardens, and live entertainment. Free admission.
Dec 2, 8:30pm
Virginia G. Piper Theater, Scottsdale
Gala to Benefit Scottsdale Arts Education + Outreach featuring Ansel Adams photography set to music. A full orchestra will perform a commissioned symphonic work by Dave Brubeck and his son Chris Brubeck. Concert + after-party tickets $75.
Dec 9-10, 10am
Mesa Arts Center
Annual festival with original works of art for sale, live entertainment and artist demonstrations, and kids’ activity area. Free.
**NEARBY: Community Garden.
Dec 14 + 21, 5-10pm
Phoenix Public Market
Holiday celebration with a Phoestivus Pole, Pheats of Strength, and Airing of Grievances, as well as a market featuring locally grown and hand-crafted gifts from more than 130 local vendors. Free admission and free parking near Roosevelt/Central Light Rail Station.
Now – Dec 30
Palo Alto Art Center, Palo Alto
Group exhibition of artists who believe in the importance of play and make it part of their work.
Now – Apr 1, 2018
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
Exhibition about how four design movements — Spanish Colonial Inspiration, Pre-Hispanic Revivals, Folk Art and Craft Traditions, and Modernism — defined California and Mexico throughout the twentieth century.
Oct 29, 10am-5pm
Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach
Celebration with art and craft workshops, craft activities, live music, dance performances, gallery tours, face painting, sculpture garden, food and craft vendors and Community Ofrenda and Art Exhibition. Free.
Nov 4, 10am-3pm
Pasadena Christian Church, Pasadena
Lace displays, classes, vendors. Pre-register to receive a goodie bag. Admission $5 (free for ages 25 and under).
November 4, 6pm
Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena
Movement theater piece inspired by the work of Rodin, in honor of the hundredth anniversary of the artist’s death. The performance will include images, text, fragments of Rodin’s life story, and music. Included with admission.
Nov 4 – Dec (date TBD)
A Little Lodge, San Francisco
Kanako Abe’s solo show of intricate hand-cut paper artworks inspired by wildlife.
Nov 11, 9:30am
Filoli Center, Woodside
Workshop on making a metallic or white crepe paper acorn ornament using a real, blown-out chicken’s egg. $90 fee includes materials.
Nov 18-19, 10am – 4pm
Central Park, Pasadena
Shop handcrafted goods from over 200 local artisans. Free admission.
Nov 18, 8:00pm
The Wiltern, Los Angeles
Performance of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band in its entirety to celebrate the album’s 50th Anniversary. The Fab Faux with The Hogshead Horns, The Creme Tangerine Strings, and Erin Hill. Ages 5+. Tickets $40-65. To skip service charges, buy tickets in person at the Hollywood Palladium box office Saturdays from 10am-2pm, except holiday weekends.
Dec 2, 1pm
Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena
Tour to explore museum pieces that depict divine Hindu families (Vishnu and Lakshmi, Shiva and Parvati etc.) Included with admission.
Dec 2, 11am
Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena
Workshop on pastel drawing based on Degas’s painting and sculpture. $35 fee includes museum admission and materials.
**Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena
Dec 9-10, 10am – 5pm
McNichols Building, Denver
Shop handcrafted goods by over 150 local artisans. Free admission. (Optional donation to Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies.)
Dec 18, 6-9pm
Potato pancake tasting event to benefit The Sylvia Center, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching healthy eating habits to children and their families. $70 general admission ticket includes unlimited latke tastings, beer, wine, and nonalcoholic beverages.
Oct 28, 12-5pm
American Indian Museum Heye Center
Day of the Dead celebration with traditional dances performed by Cetiliztli Nauhcampa and craft activities like decorating skeleton puppets and making paper flowers. Free admission.
Nov 4-5, 10am-4pm
White Salmon Studio, White Salmon
Gather stinging nettles near Gifford Pinchot National Forest, while learning sustainable harvesting techniques. Then process the nettles into cordage or yarn. Tuition + materials $225.
Now – 2019
Natural History Museum
Understanding this unique tusked whale through traditional Inuit knowledge and scientific research.
Nov 4, 3pm
Potomac Atrium (American Indian Museum)
Musical collaboration to bring together the Day of the Dead with Native American Heritage Month. Performance by Sones de México Ensemble of Mexican folk genres, including huapango, gustos, chilenas, and son jarocho. Free.
First + third Wednesdays, 1:30pm
National Museum of African Art
Drop-in workshops highlighting different artistic processes. All skill levels and ages welcome. Free.
President’s Park (White House)
The National Christmas Tree is decorated and surrounded by the “Pathway of Peace” and smaller trees with handmade ornaments for each U.S. state and territory. Free.
Nov 1 + 2
Philharmonie de Paris, Paris
2 free public concerts to celebrate the 50th anniversary of l’Orchestre de Paris. The orchestra will perform works by Stravinsky, Debussy, and Berio, as well as a newer piece by Jörg Widmann.
Nov 24 – Dec 24
Strasbourg city center
Traditional holiday market started in 1570 with 300 stalls with vendors of handcrafted items, regional produce, and typical Alsatian Christmas decorations.
Now – Nov 26
Giardini and Arsenale, Venice
“Viva Arte Viva” – International exhibition of visual art, theater, architecture, music, dance, and film. Full regular tickets €25.
Now – Jan 21, 2018
Palazzo Strozzi, Florence
Exhibition of 16th century art in Florence with works of art by such artists as Michelangelo, Bronzino, Giorgio Vasari, Rosso Fiorentino, Pontormo, Santi di Tito, Giambologna and Bartolomeo Ammannati. Combo ticket to the exhibition, Baptistery of St. John, and Opera del Duomo Museum: €8.
The Oval, Torino
International Fair of Contemporary Art with emerging as well as established contemporary artists from nearly two hundred international galleries.
Now – Dec 31
Barbican Centre, London
Clue solving, drawing and games for families along the Barbican do-it-yourself adventure trail. Pick up a free trail kit for The Big Barbican Adventure from the Barbican Centre Information Desk on Level G. Allow at least one hour to complete the trail. Ages 6+. Free.
As always, if you go to anything on the list, let me know how it goes!
FYI, I try to make sure all this information is correct, but there could be errors or changes. Also, I don’t necessarily endorse (or know) every single thing about each event, the venue, or organizations connected with it.
**Asterisks point to related Travelcraft Journal posts.
Massachusetts photo via Jessica Tennant.Read More
I was scanning Google Maps, planning for our Italy trip, when something piqued my interest that other people might think of as mundane. I mentioned it to Phillip.
Me: Did you know there’s a grocery store in Vatican City?
Him: We should totally go!
Me: That’s what I was gonna say!
Another day, researching tours for the Doge’s Palace in Venice, I started to tell Phillip about the options…
Me: Okay, this tour costs a little more, but you go through secret passages–
Him: Let’s do it!
I’ve traveled with a lot of people, but Phillip is definitely my favorite.
Decorating sugar skulls at CraftHack this time last year prompted me to learn more about Día de los Muertos and the handmade elements of this tradition.
“Day of the Dead, or Día de los muertos, is a time for commemorating the dead, celebrating with family— both living and dead—and appreciating the cycle of life and death.”
When you lose someone you love, they don’t stop being part of your life. They remain in your heart and your memories. There’s something beautiful about recognizing and honoring this presence.
One way to do this is by making a small altar (ofrenda) for the October 31 – November 2 celebration.
“Making a Day of the Dead Altar is about memories and traditions and the most important part is that you enjoy the process … add [your] own special touches … add the four elements, water, wind, earth and fire in some way, the picture of your beloved one, food, flowers and candles.”
The ofrenda can take many forms. Crafty Chica Kathy Cano-Murillo has even made them inside foam pumpkins!
“The calavera is an important symbol in Mexican culture, representing ancestors and the celebration of the continuity of life through generations.”
Colorful sugar skulls are probably the most iconic element in Day of the Dead celebrations, and they take many forms in art and craft.
Decorated candy – For CraftHack, Shanlyn made the candy skulls ahead of time in molds she had at home. Then we decorated them with frosting, sprinkles, and sanding sugar. The skulls she made were the mostly straight-up sugar kind, but some people make them from white chocolate instead.
Tip: You can also use sugar skull molds with plaster of Paris!
Tip: If you don’t have a skull bead on hand, you can make your own with polymer clay!
Coloring pages to print off or color online.
Quilt – Berene Campbell also made this awesome Sugar Skull Quilt using a variety of techniques (piecing, appliqué, reverse appliqué, stuffed hand appliqué, etc.)!
“Delicately decorated tissue paper represents wind and the fragility of life.”
Tip: Sketch your own design or use a printable template.
“The ofrenda (the altar), traditionally includes the yellow marigolds (cempasuchitl) the sweet scent that leads the departed home toward their altar…”
What traditions are meaningful to you as you remember your loved ones?
1 + 2. MeRead More
It seemed fitting to post this on Indigenous People’s Day (which I’m glad is gaining traction over Columbus Day!), since the recipe includes several local ingredients originally used by the Native American tribes in this area.
Also, unrelated to the video, we went to an IPD screening of two documentaries by Diné (Navajo) filmmakers at the Heard Museum yesterday. Both films were really great!
You may get a chance to see them too, since they’re traveling around on a Navajo Films Documentary Tour starting in November, and one of the films, The Mayors of Shiprock, will air on the World Channel November 6.
If I can track down tour dates, I’ll put them on the next Happenings List.
Past midnight, we are zipping through Rome in the back of a cab, street lights flying by, windows down. It has taken 4 flights to get us to this point, and, after all that time in planes and airport terminals, the outside air feels delicious.
In about an hour, we will have checked into our hotel. We will sleep like logs (or maybe like a pair of felled Corinthian columns) our first night in Italy. And that will be even more delicious.
Over the next two weeks, Phillip and I would be traveling from Rome to Venice to the central Italian countryside to Florence and back to Rome. Here’s some of the stuff we were up to.
From there, we walked the length of the Circus Maximus into the Trastevere neighborhood, ate enough apertifs to equal dinner, and then were irresistibly drawn into the gleaming gelato shop across the street.
The next morning we were on a train to Venice.
Of course, we saw some of the city’s more permanent sights, as well.
At the Doge’s Palace, we wound our way through the ornate apartments, stuffy prison cells, and across the Bridge of Sighs. Afterwards, we went to the Basilica San Marco, craning our necks to marvel at the detail of its ceilings covered in gold mosaics.
We rode a water bus down the Grand Canal but mostly did a lot of walking and got lost so, so many times.
When we were just starting to maybe get the slightest grasp on getting around, it was time to retrace our path back over stepped bridges towards the edge of Venice – and into a car rental office.
We were already behind schedule when we picked up our cute two-seater Smart car and began the (supposedly) 4-hour drive toward our next stop in the countryside of the Le Marche region.
Of course, it took us longer.
Winding through mountain roads well after dark, we finally arrived at La Tavola Marche, the inn/cooking school/agriturismo where we’d be staying. It’s run by a pair of American expats, chef Jason and marketing-genius Ashley, who have spent the last 10 years immersing themselves in the local culture and cuisine.
The “agriturismo” classification means all the food they serve must come from their own property or the local area. So they have fruit trees, chickens, and a big vegetable garden. We got to check it out the next afternoon, picking tomatoes for our cooking class.
Our last full day there we hiked a bit, and then got to sit back and enjoy a five-course dinner Chef Jason prepared just for two other guests, Phillip, and I.
At checkout time, we packed up our rental car, stopped briefly in the nearby town of Piobocco for postcards and an espresso, and then drove on to Florence.
Arriving in the city to a tangle of traffic, we were glad to leave our rental car behind and head to the Hotel Ferretti, walking distance from all the sights we were planning to cram into our single-night stay.
We were also a short walk from the train station, where Italo Treno would take us back to Rome.
This time, we stayed in an apartment building built by our Airbnb host’s great grandfather. It was a lovely place to hang out when we stayed in to rest one rainy morning.
The day before we had wandered through the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica. We managed to make into the Vatican Post Office before closing time, so Phillip could check out the stamps.
At some point, we crossed the invisible borderline from Vatican City back into Italy. Instead of going straight to the Metro, we opted to walk by Castel Sant’Angelo (Hadrian’s Tomb) and hop on at the Spanish Steps.
Our final evening in Rome, we went to dinner on an island in the Tiber River. A couple different locals had recommended Trattoria Sora Lella for authentically Roman food, so we got the tasting menu and savored every forkful.
The next morning we were back in a cab, zipping through city streets on a circuitous route to the airport, grateful for our time in Italy.
We received media passes from Teatro La Fenice and Italo Treno.Read More
Last Saturday was Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day. The weather was too good to be inside, but they count the Desert Botanical Garden (DBG) as a museum, so we took advantage of the free admission and spent the afternoon walking garden paths.
I guess a botanical garden is kind of like an outdoor museum with living plants and animals.
We saw a hummingbird and bees buzzing around the Garden’s flowers and a big lizard was just hanging out on a rock next to the bench where I was sitting.
Since the DBG no longer allows picnicking, we ate our lunch at a nearby picnic area in Papago Park and were entertained by ground squirrels scurrying around and birds attempting to carry off pieces of a pizza someone had left behind.
Maybe they’re the reason DBG banned picnicking. You really don’t want grackles flying through your museum and dropping half-eaten pizza slices.