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When You Need an Umbrella

Posted by on Mar 6, 2017 in Travel | 7 comments

On Phillip’s military chaplain shadowing day, we woke up in the sunniest city in America under a brilliant sky with a few pink clouds.

Yuma sunrise

Sometime between then and leaving to meet the Marine who would escort Phillip onto the MCAS Yuma base, it must’ve clouded over, and we stepped out of the lobby into an unexpected downpour.

For a second, I thought of getting the umbrella from our room, but I was worried about being late (and didn’t want to keep the U.S. Marines waiting) – plus, I figured I’d just be dropping Phillip off anyway.

Yuma rain

But I actually could’ve, because, not only did we arrive early, our point person didn’t leave to meet us until Phillip finally called him.

And I actually should’ve, because I found out I’d need to pick up a visitor pass for later, which meant this whole registration process and paperwork and a background check and traversing a muddy gravel parking lot in the rain several times to retrieve things from the car (license, insurance, tire pressure gauge, flag pin, library card…okay, some of those I made up…)

By the time I was all official and could go back to the hotel, I was thoroughly drenched and glad for the hairdryer I wouldn’t normally have a use for.

Yuma hairdryer

I made sure to carry the umbrella with me the rest of the trip.

Of course, the sun came out that afternoon, and I didn’t need it again.

North end coffeehouse yuma

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Riders: A Novel Approach to Opera

Posted by on Mar 2, 2017 in Travel | 0 comments

Arizona landscape

It’s not every day that a new opera is born. Especially not one about cowboys. Sung in English. That opens in Tucson, Arizona.

However, this past weekend, Phillip and I got to see the world premiere of Arizona Opera’s Riders of the Purple Sage at Tucson Music Hall.

Riders of the Purple Sage program

While other U.S. cities have premiered new operas, I doubt any of them had as many audience members wearing Stetsons and bolo ties.

Riders of the Purple Sage. Photo by Tim Trumble. Morgan Smith as Lassiter.

The Story

Riders of the Purple Sage is about fighting for love, power, and, ultimately, survival in the harsh western landscape of the Utah-Arizona border in the 1870s.

There are gunslingers and churchmen, cowboys and rustlers, and more than one mysterious stranger.

Riders of the Purple Sage. Photo by Tim Trumble.

But it all revolves around Jane Withersteen, owner of a sprawling sage-covered cattle ranch in a Mormon community. Besides her home, land, and herds of cattle, she possesses a strong will. Her refusal to marry one of the church elders and continued friendship with “Gentiles” (non-Mormons) begins to threaten everything she loves and test her loyalties.

Riders of the Purple Sage at Tucson Music Hall.

The Adaptation

The opera is based on a 1912 bestseller by western novelist Zane Grey. I made it about three-quarters of the way through the audiobook before attending Saturday’s performance.

While the book has been made into a film several times, its adaptation to an opera is brand new, executed by composer Craig Bohmler and librettist Steven Mark Kohn. It’s actually the first time Arizona Opera has commissioned and debuted an opera.

Riders of the Purple Sage. Photo by Tim Trumble.

Of course, squeezing a 23-chapter book into a 3-hour opera requires a lot of paring down. Characters are omitted, subplots get simplified, revelations come more quickly. As a result, some developments that made sense in the slow build-up of the novel may seem to lack justification in the abbreviated retelling on stage.

It is, however, an opera. So improbable plot twists and dramatic discoveries might not be so out of place.

Arizona desert.

On the other hand, the opera goes further than the book in explaining motivations, finding commonalties between characters that seem to have little in common.

As Kohn said during the pre-show Q+A, “Even ‘bad guys’ have a belief in what they’re doing…There are no black-and-white villians. The interactions of people are nuanced.”

Arizona mountains

The Music

Bohmler’s composition opens with the French horns typical of Hollywood Westerns. From there, it’s meant to “go on a journey,” taking the audience along and sounding more like a film score.

Riders of the Purple Sage pre-show

When a woman asked during the Q+A whether the music would evoke the western landscape like Ferde Grofé’s Grand Canyon Suite, the composer smiled and said we (the audience) would have to be the judge of that.

Phillip felt Riders was more like a musical than most operas. Bohmler has previously written both, and others have also noted this musical theater influence, which perhaps gives this opera an even more American feel.

Riders of the Purple Sage. Photo by Tim Trumble.

The Scenery

Arizona artist Ed Mell is known for his landscape paintings of the American West, especially angular interpretations of rocky desert scenes with billowing clouds overhead. This is his first time as a production’s scenic designer and his work adds incredible depth to the show.

It is projected onto 51.6 x 26.6-foot video wall made from 248 interlocking LED panels.

Riders of the Purple Sage. Photo by Tim Trumble.

Honestly, when I read that kind of technical stuff, my eyes tend to glaze over. So lemme just skip to the result, which was awesome.

Riders of the Purple Sage. Photo by Tim Trumble.

The backdrop looks like a gorgeous, giant Ed Mell painting. And, then, just like on a windy afternoon, the clouds begin to move. The light gradually shifts, illuminating different parts of distant cliffs and mesas – and perhaps subtly reflecting the emotions of the characters. The painting’s colors grow warmer and deeper as the sun sets with a crimson sky giving way to a deep blue twilight with the moon shining from behind a cloud, making its edges glow.

It reminded Phillip of a John Ford movie. It reminded me of sitting outside in the open desert.

Even though it basically worked like magic, it didn’t distract from the opera, serving only to enhance the setting and mood.

Riders of the Purple Sage. Photo by Tim Trumble.

The Conclusion

We thoroughly enjoyed watching Riders of the Purple Sage, and there’s something really exciting about seeing a show in its first run. You don’t have to be an opera aficionado or western enthusiast to get into the story and this beautiful production.

You still have a chance to see Riders in Phoenix this weekend. And it’s totally okay to show up wearing a bolo tie.
purple sage in tucson

– More info –

The Opera

  • Upcoming performances of Riders of the Purple Sage are March 3, 4, 5 at Phoenix Symphony Hall.
  • Friday and Saturday shows are at 7:30pm. Available tickets range $30-160.
  • The Sunday 2pm show is nearly sold out with remaining tickets $110-175. Afterwards is a Meet the Cast Q+A.
  • There’s a pre-show talk an hour before all performances.
  • Get a preview of the music on Soundcloud.

The Venue

The Artist

The Novel

1. Arizona desert view on the way back from Tucson.
2. Program and ticket for Tucson Music Hall show.
3. Morgan Smith as Lassiter by Tim Trumble.
4. Karin Wolverton as Jane Withersteen by Tim Trumble.
5. Tucson Music Hall.
6. Amanda Opuszynski and Joshua Dennis as Bess and Bern Venters by Tim Trumble.
7 + 8. Arizona desert en route to/from Tucson.
9. Pre-show Q+A with composer Craig Bohmler and librettist Steven Mark Kohn.
10. View from the controlling laptop on the tech table in Tucson Music Hall by Tim Trumble.
11. Back side of the video wall and interlocking panels by Tim Trumble.
12. Photo by Tim Trumble.
13. Joshua Dennis as Bern Venters by Tim Trumble.
14. Purple chapparal sage in Tucson.


We were guests of Arizona Opera.

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Travel Trade-Offs

Posted by on Feb 27, 2017 in Travel | 4 comments

There’s no such thing as an ideal trip – or even an ideal itinerary. It’s more like a series of bargains you make with yourself, hoping to get the best deal based on what you value.

United States puzzle

Do you see more sights or spend more time at each one? Pack to be prepared for every situation or have less to carry? Visit familiar places or risk venturing somewhere new? Have the security of making reservations or the flexibility of winging it? Spend extra money to stay close to the main attraction (city center, theme park, historic site…) or spend extra time getting yourself there?

Chiricahua trail

How do you tackle your travel dilemmas?

Microblog Mondays: Write in your own space

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Happenings: Spring 2017 #tcjhappenings

Posted by on Feb 23, 2017 in Happenings List | 0 comments

Wildflowers at picket post trailhead

The Happenings List

Our curated list of upcoming festivals, workshops, shows, and other goings-on for makers and explorers – March through May 2017 (and beyond)! If you go to something from one of our Happenings Lists, please tell us all about it!

Read on for events in Italy, New Zealand, and the U.S.: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Asterisked (**) items link to related posts on Travelcraft Journal.


Alaska’s Reverse Dog Sled Race

Mar 18, 10am
Kincaid Park, Anchorage
Human-powered dog sled style race to benefit the UN Refugee Agency. Online donations accepted.

  • Register by March 1.


Phoenix Art Museum


Phoenix Art Museum

  • Now – Mar 12. Horacio Zabala: Mapping the Monochrome.
  • Now – Apr 9. INFOCUS: Juried Exhibition of Self-Published Photobooks.

**Opening night of the Kehinde Wiley exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum.

Spring Out to Lunch Concert Series

Now – Mar 23, Thursdays at 12:30pm
Wells Fargo Garden performance area at Mesa Arts Center

Free outdoor concerts at lunchtime. Pack a picnic or purchase food on-site.

Field to Feast Tour

Mar 1, 2, 4
Visitor Information Center at Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park
(201 N. 4th Ave., Yuma)
Half-day farm tour. Hands-on harvesting instruction from a local grower followed by lunch made from the produce you picked. Includes transportation, some veggies to take home, and the field-fresh lunch. Tickets $50.
**Exploring Yuma and its agriculture.

Savor Yuma

Mar 2, 14, 30
Yuma Visitors Bureau admin office (180 W. 1st Street, Yuma)

Progressive dinner tour. Visit three different restaurants and enjoy a multi-course meal. Price includes meal, two adult beverages, and transportation. Tickets $55.

Old Tucson

Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention

Mar 3-5
Old Tucson

Steampunk convention with contests, panels and workshops, fashion show, vehicle exhibition, vendors, entertainment and rides, tea dueling, artists, authors, performers, and Cthulhu running for president. Tickets: 1-day $41, full event $55-125.

Performances at the Museum

Tempe History Museum
Free evening concerts at the Tempe History Museum, next to the Tempe Library.

  • Mar 3, 7pm. Charlie King (folk music, political satire).
  • Mar 11, 5pm. LOUD VI outdoor concert with (loud) bands Dead Hot Workshop, Japhy’s Descent, and Young’s Modulus; arts and crafts; and food trucks, including Burgers Amore.
  • Apr 7, 7pm. Driftwood Quintet (cross-genre chamber group).
  • Apr 22, 7pm. The Senators (electric folk).
  • May 6, 7pm. Decker (Sedona-based singer/songwriter).
  • May 19, 7pm. Sugar Thieves (blues roots).

Arizona Opera

Riders of the Purple Sage Opera

Mar 3, 4, 5
Phoenix Symphony Hall
Zane Grey’s novel transformed into Arizona Opera’s first-ever world premiere production. Tickets $25-155.
**Lunch Hour Opera.

McDowell Mountain Music Festival

Mar 3-5
Margaret T. Hance Park, Phoenix
Music festival featuring headliners Flume, The Shins, Chromeo, and Grouplove, as well as local artists like Bear Ghost, CooBee Coo and RUCA. 100% of the proceeds go to local nonprofits Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation and UMOM New Day Center. Tickets: 1-day $40-170, full event $80-510. Service charges: $15-25/ticket.

**Pizza Festival At Hance Park.

Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market

Mar 4-5
Heard Museum, Phoenix 
Market and juried show of the work of over 600 Native artists. General admission $20, deluxe 2-day pass $125.

Tres Rios Nature Festival

Mar 4-5
Base Meridian wildlife area (north of Phoenix International Raceway)
Outdoor festival showcasing wildlife, history and culture where the Gila, Salt and Agua Fria Rivers meet. Activities include guided bird watching tours, canoeing, archery, fishing, concerts and dance performances, beer garden, and recycling fashion show. Free.

Boyce thompson Arboretum

Boyce Thompson Arboretum Events

  • Mar 4. Gardening Workshop with Pinal Master Gardeners (“Out of Africa”): Learn to identify aloes and other plants around the Arboretum that have come from Africa on this “botanical safari.” Arbotetum admission required.
  • Mar 4. Thunder Gourd Craft Class: Turn a gourd into a percussion instrument that makes a thunder-like noise when shaken. Previous basic gourd art class recommended. To enroll, call 520.689.2723. Fee $67.50.
  • Mar 5 + Apr 8. Basic Gourd Art Class: Beginners learn gourd cleaning and preparation, design drawing, wood-burning and applying color. To enroll, call 520.689.2723. Fee $52.50.
  • Mar 10-26. Spring Plant Sale: Trees, shrubs, herbs, flowers, cacti and succulents for sale to raise money for the Arboretum.
  • Mar 12 + Apr 1. Paint + Wine Class with Carla Keaton: Paint a simplified scene from the Arboretum. Includes use of art supplies. Fee $45.
  • Apr 1. Gardening Workshop with Pinal Master Gardeners (“Going Vertical”): Tips and tricks for growing flowering vines in your desert garden. Arbotetum admission required.

**Australia Day event at the Arboretum.

Envelope journal

Southwest Maker Fest

Mar 11, 12pm
Downtown Mesa

Collaborative, one-day festival of makers seeking to achieve the vision of a connected community, empowered by creativity. Free.

**My travel journal workshop at SWMF.


2nd Mondays, 6pm
Gangplank Chandler
Free monthly meet-up of artists and crafters. Learn something new or bring your own project to work on!
Upcoming dates:

  • Mar 13.
  • Apr 10.
  • May 8.


Art Detour 29

March 16-19, 2017
Downtown Phoenix

  • March 16, 5pm. Art D’Core Gala.
  • March 17, 6pm. Pre-Detour Third Friday.
  • March 18-19. Art Detour! Studio and art space tours.

MCAS Yuma Airshow

Mar 17-18
Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma

Airshow featuring both military and civilian demonstrations, including the Patriots Jet Team, the Misty Blues All Women Skydiving Team, and the Wall of Fire, which is planning to break a Guinness World Record. Free general admission, VIP Seating + Parking available.
**Staying and sightseeing near MCAS Yuma.

Phoenix Film Festival

Apr 6-13
Harkins Scottsdale/101 Theatre, Scottsdale

The biggest film festival in Arizona. 175 films plus filmmaking seminars and parties.

The Lantern Fest – Phoenix Spring

Apr 8, 2pm
Schnepf Farms, Queen Creek 
Write your hopes on a lantern to be released with thousands of others after dark. The afternoon will include live music, stage show, food, and face painters. Adult pass $25-55/person – includes admission, lantern, marker, lighter, and s’mores kit. Kid pass $7/person aged 4-12  – includes admission and small gift. Parking $10/vehicle.


Tunes & Tacos Festival

Apr 14-15
Competition, carnival, concert, and tequila tastings.

  • Apr 14, 6pm. People’s Choice Salsa Queen Competition & Kickoff Party at Yuma Civic Center with art on display and dance performance. Free admission and salsa tasting.
  • Apr 15, 11am. Festival at Desert Sun Stadium. Over 50 local food vendors with carne asada, chicken, pork, and seafood tacos, empanadas, barbecue, fresh roasted corn, margaritas, and fresh squeezed lemonade for sale.

ARTbeat 10

Apr 22, 4pm
Historic Downtown Yuma
Award-winning juried fine arts festival with local and regional artists – celebrating its 10th anniversary this year!


Sedona Open Studios Tour

Apr 28-30
Free self-guided tour of working artists’ studios in the Verde Valley.

**Open studio tour in Cave Creek.

Verde Valley Wine Festival

May 13-14
Clarkdale Town Park, Clarkdale
Northern Arizona festival with wine, beer, spirits, food, live music, and art. Tickets $35-185.

Phoenix Comicon

May 25-28
Phoenix Convention Center
Pop culture convention featuring actors, top comic book writers and artists, programming, and vendors. Full event passes $65 through April 30.

**Phoenix Comicon 2016.

Photo by McKinley Art Solutions


All In: ArtSpan’s Studio Residency exhibit

Now – Mar 28
Hotel Triton, San Francisco

Joint exhibition by artists participating in ArtSpan’s Studio Residency program.

Martial Spirit: a celebration of martial arts

Now – Apr 29
Chinese Culture Center Visual Art Center, San Francisco
Exhibition by Justin Hoover of martial arts practices transformed into conceptual artworks. Free.

**Local Art Loves.


Apr 27-30
Ventura Beach Marriott, Ventura

Business + makers conference with creative business classes and hands-on craft + food workshops.

pond with water lilies


“Bluegrass Mass” Featuring Rapid Grass

Mar 18 + 19
First United Methodist Church, Boulder

The music of the Rapid Grass Bluegrass Band combined with a new kind of choral mass. Tickets $20.

  • Pre-Concert Talk by Bluegrass Historian Kevin Slick, 30 minutes before showtime.

Spring Plant Sale

May 12-13, 8am
Denver Botanic Garden (York Street)

Browse a selection of plants grown in the Gardens, as well as aquatic plants, edible plants (fruit, berries, veggies, herbs), houseplants, succulents, roses, annuals, summer bulbs, and water-smart varieties. Plant experts will be on hand to answer questions. Free admission to Plant Sale and Gardens.

**Denver Botanic Garden.
Star Wars Celebration - SWCA


Art of Living: Paintings, Drawings, and Ceramics of Sean Sexton

Now – Mar 15
Seminole State College Fine Arts Gallery
Paintings, drawings, and ceramics inspired by artist and third-generation cattle-rancher Sean Sexton’s lifestyle and connection to the land.

Frida Kahlo at The Dali

Now – Apr 17
The Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg
Exhibition of Frida Kahlo’s paintings, drawings, and personal photographs. Included with museum admisssion ($24).

  • Outdoor collection of flowers and plants like the ones in Kahlo’s garden at Casa Azul.
  • Mar 1, 10:30am. Coffee with a Curator: Frida Kahlo’s Legacy + Art History Gender Studies talk. Parking $10.

Poetry at The Dali

Apr 13 + May 11
The Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg Poet Laureate, Helen Wallace joined by selected poets to present poems addressing the theme of Food and Sustenance. Following the presentation, there will be an audience Q&A.

Star Wars Celebration Orlando

Apr 13-16
Orange County Convention Center, Orlando
Star Wars fan convention with panels, art show, and cosplay contest. Single day passes $65-75.
**Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim 2015.


June 22-24
Hilton Bonnet Creek, Orlando

Annual conference for online content creators. Blogger/influencer passes $399.



Indiana State Park Craft and Nature Events

**Mounds State Park.

Museum of Fine Art, Boston


Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Exhibitions

  • Now – Apr 9. Massed Media: Works made by massing multiple components into a cohesive whole.
  • Now – Jun 18. Make Way for Ducklings: The art of author and illustrator Robert McCloskey, in honor of the 75th anniversary of his book Make Way for Ducklings.

Japanese Calligraphy with Michiko Imai

Mar 12 + 15
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
See an artist demonstration of Japanese calligraphy styles and techniques, then try it yourself! Create a small calligraphy work to take home with you.

Boston Pops

Symphony Hall, Boston

  • May 31 + Jun 1. John Williams’ Film Night: Boston Pops Laureate Conductor John Williams and Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart conduct a concert of movie music. Tickets $36 – $122.
  • June 2 + 3. Cirque de la Symphonie: live orchestral music plays while aerial flyers, acrobats, dancers, and jugglers perform. Tickets $29 – $93.

**Star Wars music at Phoenix Symphony Hall.



In Transition: Female Figurines from the Braunstein Collection

Now – Mar 30, 2017
Barrick Museum at UNLV, Las Vegas

Female figurines from the pre-Hispanic era cultures of Mesoamerica, South America, and Central America. Free ($5 suggested donation).
**Our visits to the Barrick Museum, Downtown Container Park, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, and other Las Vegas sights.

Red Rock Wildlife Art Workshop

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Las Vegas
Materials provided. Ages 13+. Registration is required – (702) 515-5367.

  • Mar 10. Geology of Red Rock: Explore Red Rock Overlook and have a lesson in landscape painting.

Glass Craft & Bead Expo

Mar 29 – Apr 2
South Point Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas
Classes, exhibits, glass cutting contest, and charity auction. The Gathering, conference of International Society of Glass Beadmakers (ISGB), will be held in conjunction with the Expo.

Biddin’ for Bottles

Apr 1, 6pm
DragonRidge Country Club, main ballroom, Henderson
Blind wine tasting and auction to benefit Leadership Henderson and Henderson Community Foundation.

Guggenheim : Unwritten Rules Cannot Be Broken: Tea Gatherings

+New York

Unwritten Rules Cannot Be Broken: Tea Gatherings

Mar 1 + 8
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Participatory installation that invites visitors to converse and contemplate calligraphy over a cup of tea prepared and served by local tea brewers. Included with museum admission.

MoCCA Arts Festival

Apr 1-2
Metropolitan West, Manhattan
Independent comics, cartoon and animation festival, which is part of The Society of Illustrators’ mission to promote all genres of illustration through exhibitions and art education. Artists display their work, speak on their creative processes, and conduct workshops. There are also lectures and film screenings. Tickets $5/day.

Rochester International Film Festival

Apr 20-22
Dryden Theatre, Rochester
The world’s oldest continuously-held short film festival. Free (donations accepted).



Arc of Appalachia Wildflower Pilgrimage

April 13-15
Highlands Nature Sanctuary, Bainbridge, Ohio.
Hikes to wildflower displays and talks by naturalists. Tickets $135/person for the Pilgrimage; $185/person for Photography Workshop.

Liberty bell Philadelphia


The Art Dept community programming


  • Mar 3-31. Dese’rae L. Stage: Live Through This: Exhibition of portraits and true stories of suicide attempt survivors. Opening reception Mar 3, 6pm.
  • Mar 29, 6:30pm. Drawing Club: Open figure drawing session for all skill levels. A live model will do several poses. Purchase supplies on-site or bring your own. $15 fee includes beer and wine.


MF@40: A Walk Through the Archives

Mar 16, 6pm

Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh 

Celebrate 40 years of installation art with the Mattress Factory! An evening of guided tours of rarely-seen archival materials, such as artists’ sketches, curator’s notes, and installation models, as well as drinks, appetizers, and after-hours gallery access. Tickets $15.



Annual Spring Tennessee Craft Fair

May 5-7
Nashville’s Parthenon in Centennial Park
Outdoor art event featuring work from 195 juried artists.


Charlottesville Omni


Virginia Festival of the Book

Mar 22-26
Various locations in Charlottesville/Albemarle County

A week of readings and discussions, book signings, film screenings, and performances.
**3 Sides of Charlottesville, Virginia.

Tom Tom Founders Festival

April 10-16
Downtown Charlottesville
Community-led festival with concerts, competitions, talks, workshops, local food, and public art.



Venice Biennale Architecture629 Views Set-up of the 15th International Architecture Exhibition at the Arsenale venue - Reporting From The Front


La Tavola Marche Inn and Cooking School

Le Marche

Venice Biennale

May 13 – Nov 26
Giardini and Arsenale, Venice
“Viva Arte Viva” – International exhibition of visual art, theater, architecture, music, dance, and film. Full regular tickets €25.

  • Jun 23 – Jul 1. International Festival of Contemporary Dance.
  • Jul 25 – Aug 12. International Theatre Festival.
  • Aug 30 – Sep 9. Venice International Film Festival.
  • Sep 29 – Oct 8. International Festival of Contemporary Music.

Otaki Kite Festival

+New Zealand

Newtown Festival Street Fair Day

Mar 5
Riddiford Street, Newtown

New Zealand’s largest free music festival and fair with 12 stages and over 400 vendor stalls.

Wellington Wine, Food and Craft Beer Festival

Mar 10-11
Waitangi Park, Wellington
Showcase of local restaurants, wineries, craft breweries and beverages, and live music. Session tickets $27.50-50.

Bringing Back the Forest: Walk and Talk 

Mar 12
ZEALANDIA Eco-Sanctuary, Karori
Parks Week walk and talk about the reforestation of the Wellington hills. Learn to identify the trees being planted and the challenges of the project. Park admission $18.50.

Otaki Kite Festival

Mar 25-26
Otaki Beach

Bring (or buy) your own kite to fly and watch Japanese Rokkaku fighting kite battles and stunt kite flying demonstrations on the beach, as well as live performances on stage. Free.


While I’ve done my best to be accurate, sometimes things change or weren’t listed correctly in the first place. Also, I choose events that seem fun, unique, and like something you’d be interested in, but your mileage may vary. I may not endorse everything connected with a particular event, organization, venue, etc. So consider this your starting point, double check the details, and then venture forth!


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Local Art Loves

Posted by on Feb 20, 2017 in Craft, Travel | 8 comments

A couple weeks ago, I invited everyone to share art from where you live. Since then, we’ve seen #localartloves from the east coast to the west coast!

Photo by McKinley Art Solutions

San Francisco, CA

Matt McKinley of McKinley Art Solutions shared work from Justin Hoover’s ‘Martial Spirit’ exhibition, currently at the Chinese Culture Center in San Francisco.

Photo by Traci Cavanaugh York‏ @TraciYorkWriter
Traci Cavanaugh York‏ @TraciYorkWriter

New Hampshire

Traci York shared some of her nature photography from the chilly Northeast.

Local first arizona

Cottonwood, AZ

The northern office of Local First Arizona shared shirts hand printed by Christy Fisher, who makes clothing from reclaimed fabric, as well as jewelry from recycled glass and vintage silver.


Phoenix-area, AZ

Courtney Doom (a.k.a. IggyStarpup) in Phoenix shared some of her pop-culture inspired embroidery hoop art. Photo by Phillip Liebold
Phillip stopped to take a photo of this Tempe mural.

@olibalcells mural

I shared the work of several artists on Instagram including a mural by Oliverio Balcells and collaborative paintings by teenagers at Durango Detention Center.



Microblog Mondays: Write in your own space

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Lunch Hour Opera

Posted by on Feb 16, 2017 in Travel | 2 comments

Arizona Opera has this cool concept of a monthly brown bag lunch recital. On the third Thursday of the month, you’re invited to pack a lunch and see a free concert in the atrium of Arizona Opera Center near McDowell and Central (basically across the street from the Phoenix Art Museum).

Arizona Opera

We decided to give it a try this month, and I picked up Phillip on his lunch hour.

The recital was a series of songs introduced and sung by Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio soloists accompanied by piano. We saw Katrina Galka and Mariya Kaganskaya.

It was absolutely captivating. While there are no costumes or props, the simplicity of the setup allows you to focus on the music. Even at this recital, the soloists didn’t hold back, launching full throttle into the performance, pouring the emotion of each song out through their posture, expressions, and voices.

Arizona Opera

Things to know about Arizona Opera’s Brown Bag Recitals:

  • The soloists are extremely talented.
  • The place was packed and parking was gone. Cars were even parked along curbs, and we double-parked next to one of them. You may be able to sneak a spot at the Phoenix Art Museum. (No guarantees on availability or legality, though.)
  • There’s a light rail stop nearby at McDowell.
  • Being late is awkward. If people are rushing over during their lunch hour, there are bound to be late arrivals, and the parking lot entrance opens right in the front of the room. (Hi, everyone.) I believe there is another entrance on the street side of the building.
  • You’re encouraged to bring your lunch, but no one was eating.
  • Definitely worth going, if you have a flexible enough schedule to get there early or work in the Arts District/Downtown. (Phillip works in east Phoenix, and even that was cutting it too close.)

Arizona Opera

Phillip and I tested out the being late theory for you. (Yes, it is awkward.) (You’re welcome.) We crept to the back, scanning the room in vain for open seats. We were standing there listening to a song introduction, when a man appeared from a back room to offer to get us chairs, reemerged to set two up, then silently disappeared again, as if riding off into the sunset.

After a duet from Hansel and Gretel, the recital ended with “I Could Have Danced All Night from My Fair Lady. There was enthusiastic applause, and then the pianist and soloists remained in the atrium, as the audience spilled out into the parking lot.

Arizona Opera

The next Arizona Opera performance will be a world premiere adaptation of a Zane Grey novel! (A couple photos from the program are above.)

Riders of the Purple Sage Opera –

  • Feb 25, 26: Tucson Music Hall. Tickets $25-120.
  • Mar 3, 4, 5: Phoenix Symphony Hall. Tickets $25-155.
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