Local Favorites to Check Out Before the Alison Hawthorne Deming Reading Tomorrow

For a literary mind there’s not much that can top good reads, except maybe good eats, and if you’re going to be in town for tomorrow’s Alison Hawthorne Deming reading you’re probably going to want a little of both. We’ve put together the short, short list of local favorites around ASU for you to check out while you’re in Tempe.

Four Peaks Brewery is less than a mile from campus and boasts great craft brews and really good food. Originally built in 1892, the building that Four Peaks occupies used to be Pacific Creamery and then later Bordens Creamery. Despite the fact that cows used to live there, the exposed red brick, wooden beams and a thirty five foot high glass clerestory is a very appealing place to hang out with friends. Try the Italian Beef Beer Bread or the Salmon BLT, both local favorites. Map here.

1340 East 8th Street #104, Tempe, AZ 85281, (480) 303-9967 ‎


photo by metromix.com

The Cartel Coffee Lab is a favorite local hangout for ASU students. Located just a half mile West of ASU’s Tempe campus, you can sometimes smell the aroma of roasting coffee, roasted in house, wafting down the streets. Cartel offers a great cup of coffee or a light snack, if you’re not hungry enough for a full meal. It can be a little bit hard to find though. It’s on the Southwest side of Ash Ave behind Buffalo Exchange. Don’t worry if you can’t find it at first, just follow your nose. Map here.

225 West University Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281, (480) 225-3899

House of Tricks is just a block away from campus. In fact, you can sit on their spacious

photo by domesticbliss

patio and watch ASU students come and go. They have a great lunch and dinner menu that you can enjoy from one of the two converted houses on the property, or on their comfortably shaded patio, the highlight being the bar constructed around an old tree between the houses . And when you’re done with you’re meal you’ll only have to walk about a block to campus. Map here.

114 East 7th Street, Tempe, AZ 85281-3711, (480) 968-1114


If none of these places entice you there is always Mill Ave just two blocks from campus. Mill is home to numerous restaurants and eateries, such as RA Sushi, Corleone’s for Philly Cheesesteaks, Irish pub Rula Bula, Gordon Biersch, La Boca pizzeria, My Big Fat Greek Restaurant, P.F. Chang’s, Z-Tejas Southwestern Grill and Robbie Fox’s Public House. Map them all here.

Don’t forget to check out the Facebook page for the Alison Hawthorne Deming reading tomorrow on the Tempe campus at 7 p.m.

Local Event: Black Pearl Poetry

Back in December, after spending an evening at the monthly downtown Phoenix street fair known as First Fridays, I wandered into Fair Trade Cafe near the LightRail station at Roosevelt and Central in search of a hot beverage. What I found (in addition to coffee) was a slam poetry show. As an English major, my definition of poetry has been shaped by classes spent examining poets with diverse styles, but I had never encountered spoken word poetry except in a disclaimer from a creative writing professor that we would be discussing written word poetry and not spoken, because slam poetry is “a whole different ball game.”

Watching spoken word, I did find it to be an entirely new experience that challenged my conception of poetry, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I was drawn in by the blending of sets of words that fit into my definition of poetry and the stylized vocal delivery that turns slam poetry into a performing art and a category of its own. If you’re interested in trying a new way of experiencing poetry, you should check it out:

Ed Mabrey, the 2007-2008 Individual World Poetry Slam Champion, is the founder of Black Pearl Poetry, which runs two shows in Phoenix per week:

Black Pearl Poetry Tempe Thursday: Every Thursday 8-10:15 p.m., $5.00 admission, MADCAP Theaters (the former Harkins theaters) at 730 S. Mill Ave in Tempe.

Black Pearl Poetry Phoenix Friday: Every Friday (except 3rd Friday) 7:45-10 p.m., $5.00 admission, Fair Trade Cafe at 1020 N. 1st Ave. in downtown Phoenix. *Every 3rd Friday instead of the evening show, there’s a poetry workshop in the same venue from 5:30-7 p.m.

This week’s lineup:

April 1 (Tempe): The National Poetry Slam Finals for Team Selection, an open mic, special guest performers, a farewell to the ASU SunDevilSlam Team, and featured performer Taalam Acey.

April 2 (downtown Phoenix): The Youth National Poetry Slam Finals for Team Selection, an open mic, special guest performers, and featured performer Taalam Acey.

These shows are both once a year events and two of the biggest shows that Black Pearl will host all year, which makes them perfect opportunities to get a feel for what slam poetry is all about. Don’t forget to say hi if you see me there!