#ArtLitPhx: Books | Beats | Bites with the Heard Museum

picture of stickers

Make stickers with Steven Paul Judd

Looking for enrichment, creativity, and fun? Join the Heard Museum on May 11 for the continuing 2nd Saturday Series.

This month the Heard Museum will host, Books | Beats | Bites: food, music, and interesting titles. Come and browse the many selections of cookbooks, children’s books, American Indian genre, Southwestern-themed novels, and many other tables throughout the marketplace. We will be joined by artist, Steven Paul Judd (Kiowa/Choctaw.) He will host a maker space to create stickers for your own sticker book. Also, try out a new delicious Native foods dish from our tasting table. Authors, Laura Tohe, and Evangeline Parsons Yazzie will be on-site with their wonderful books. Join Wasted Ink Zine Distro, and make and take your very own zine and express yourself during the open-mic session with authors and poets at 1 p.m.

Catch our continual Scene and Heard Film Series, for a showing of Taqwacore, Recommended for mature audiences, at 11:30 a.m.

Zines
Wasted Ink Zine Distro
rinky dink press

Bookstores and Publishers
Palabras Bookstore
Holum Press
Hoot N Waddle

Authors 
Evangeline Parsons Yazzie
Laura Tohe

Poetry
Imogen Arate, Poets and Muses

Event Details:

Saturday, May 11
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location:
Heard Museum Campus, 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix

For more information, visit the Heard Museum website.

Guest Blog Post, Emily Cole: You Are Already A Poet

Last year, I had the extraordinary privilege of teaching an undergraduate class on music and poetry. I was thrilled to witness the camaraderie that developed between the musicians, poets, and fiction writers who enrolled as they built our classroom community through workshop and discussion. I watched them collaborate, and watched many genuine friendships form. During the last week, I put together my last planned lesson of the course, a sampling of “how-tos” for the professional writing world – how to publish in undergraduate literary journals, how to write a cover letter, how to find resources and enroll in online poetry classes, etc. Thirty seconds into my presentation, one of my students – let’s call her Viola – said, “but Miss Cole, how do you know when you’re a poet? When do you count?”  

This question both deeply resonated with me and also broke my heart. I abandoned my previous lesson plan, reentered the circle of students, and told them that when I was in my second-ever poetry class, I capped off my portfolio with a poem called “When I am a Poet.” The poem itself has been lost, but the general gist was “when I’m a real poet, my work is going to be so much better, I’m going to be so much smarter, and I’ll be taken so much more seriously.”

To be an artist of any kind is to live with the constant, nagging doubt that your art is not legitimate. We believe, instead, that our legitimacy as artists comes from the world around us – from poems and books we have published, to accolades we have won, to degrees we have earned. We believe that these things are concrete and tangible proof that we “count” as artists in our chosen fields.

And it’s not to say that those things don’t matter. They can be helpful to a poet’s career, especially if one wishes to enter academia, where right amount of acclaim and professional connections can sometimes translate into a teaching job. Publication increases our work’s visibility. Awards and grants provide us funding to continue our work. Books allow a poet to showcase a range of work that readers can keep on their bookshelves or bedsides.

But none of these trappings, however useful to someone’s poetry career, make us poets.

Fewer than ten of Emily Dickinson’s poems were ever published during her lifetime, all of them anonymously, possibly without her knowledge, and she is one of the greatest American poets of all time. But even her greatness, her innovation and brilliance is not what made her a poet. Her poetry made her a poet. And that lesson is less about poetry itself, and more about the system that young American poets are brought up in, a system that teaches them to value their work based on publication credits, awards, Facebook likes, and, ultimately, money.

As poets, and all too often as people, we define ourselves by our external accomplishments because the “marketplace” of poetry – of capitalism, of America – teaches us that the value of our artistic work is directly correlated with how many people see that work and thus how much money it makes and/or how famous we become because of it.

Until Viola asked her vulnerable and important question, I was doing all my students a disservice by focusing their attention on publication, rather than teaching them the far more important lesson that their work has intrinsic value all on its own.

So I invoked another metric. “Class,” I asked, “How many of you think that Viola is a poet?”

The class responded with a chorus of affirmation that, yes, Viola was not only a poet, but a talented poet, one with a gift for strange, defamiliarizing syntax and potent, memorable metaphor. “But you’re my friends!” Viola cried.

“Precisely.” I said. “Now, is there anyone else who feels that they aren’t a poet?”

Every hand went up. Including mine.

When they stared at me—but you’re the teacher—I told them that the “marketplace” of poetry would have them believe that they are not a real poet until they’ve collected a certain, often arbitrary, number of accomplishments. I told them that even with dozens of publications in nationally-recognized journals, with a CV full of accolades, a chapbook publication, an MFA, there are days, weeks, whole months, that I don’t feel like a real poet. I told them about poet-friends I know, friends who have books and NEA grants and lists of accomplishments pages long, who still consider themselves to be “emerging” poets, because the poetry marketplace has told that they don’t count as “real poets” yet.

Viola isn’t alone. Every poet I know wonders, at one time or another, at what point they “count.” At what point they will count as “real.” But that’s just the marketplace talking. It’s an easy thing to forget, in the midst of all the other noise, but it’s the poetry that makes the poet. Not the money. Not the brand. Not the number of fans, or of followers on Twitter or Instagram.

Before class ended that day, I asked my students to do one more thing. They looked to their left and their right, and told each other the one truth that I hope they’ve taken away from class, the truth more important than any advice about publication than I could ever give them: You are already a poet, they said to one another. You already count.

#ArtLitPhx: A Bowie Celebration

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Date: February 6, 2019

Time: 7:30pm-9:30pm

Location: Mesa Arts Center

Event Description:

Join key alumni musicians of David Bowie’s bands from across the decades, anchored by his longest standing member Mike Garson along with other amazing Bowie band alumni with A BOWIE CELEBRATION: The David Bowie Alumni Tour featuring an unforgettable and critically acclaimed evening of Bowie songs with world-class vocalists and an ever-rotating mix of hits and deep cuts.

#ArtLitPhx: Joshua Bell, Violin with Sam Haywood, Piano

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Date: February 14, 2019

Time: 7:30pm-9:30pm

Location: Mesa Arts Center

Event Description:

With a career spanning more than 30 years as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist and conductor, Joshua Bell is one of the most celebrated violinists of his era. Bell has recorded more than 40 CDs garnering Grammy®, Mercury, Gramophone and Echo Klassik awards and is the recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize.

#ArtLitPhx: Nash Nights at MAC ft. Francine Reed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: November 2, 2018

Time: 8:30pm

Tickets

Event Description:

Mesa Arts Center has partnered with The Nash, jazz venue in downtown Phoenix, to offer a series of jazz café-style events in the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum Courtyard. Sound in the Ground: Nash Nights at MAC kicks off with legendary percussionist, Joe Saylor, best known for his work with Jon Batiste and Stay Human on October 5. Then, on November 2, see Phoenix native blues, jazz, R&B, gospel singer Francine Reed who’s currently touring with Lyle Lovett. Finally, the series wraps up with Cuban jazz trumpeter and composer Josiel Perez.

Guest Blog Post, Tim Reilly: How a Former Tuba Player Becomes a Writer of Short Stories

I had played the mandolin since age seven, but when I entered high school, in 1964, I chose the tuba as the instrument I would play in the concert band. At the time I had little knowledge of the dented brass contraption in the corner of the band room, but it seemed to beckon me: like the Sword in the Stone. As it turned out, I had a natural talent for the tuba. The first notes I produced were stable and centered, and in less than five minutes instruction, I was playing a B-flat major scale. Four years later, I enrolled in junior college as a music major (I had been offered a one-hundred dollar “scholarship”). The junior college music department had no tuba instructor, however, so I set out on my own to find a private teacher, and in 1969 I contacted Roger Bobo—one of the greatest musicians ever to hoist that magnificent horn. He was then the tubist in the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He had also been the first tubist to give a solo recital at Carnegie Hall (see John Updike’s light verse poem: “Recital”).  

I can remember clearly my first lesson with Roger. His home, at that time, was in the Hollywood hills, not far from the Hollywood Bowl. I arrived a little early and he offered me some coffee (very good coffee, as I recall). He was wearing an Irish fisherman’s sweater and he looked a little like Tyrone Power (if Tyrone Power had been a tight end for the Rams). We sat and talked for a while, and then, before hearing me play a single note, he said: “I hope you’re not planning on making a living playing the tuba.” Becoming a professional tubist was exactly what I had been planning to do. I was stunned by his remark, but when the color returned to my face, Roger added that he was not trying to discourage me from pursuing a professional career, only that I should have something else to fall back on. “It’s a tough way to make a living,” he said. “There’s a lot of competition, few openings, and no guarantees.”  

I studied with Roger Bobo throughout most of the 1970s (the topic of “having something else to fall back on” was never again mentioned). Roger was (and still is) a remarkable teacher. During our first year of instruction, he would often perform with me in unison the etudes or solos I’d prepared for my lesson—his tuba-bell a foot or two from my right ear. This gave me confidence and a strong concept of proper phrasing and rhythm and sound. But he discontinued this practice after our first year. Instead, he would sit—or stand—and sometimes sing and/or conduct a passage. His comments were always precise and beneficial and never sugar-coated. In the following years, we worked almost exclusively on orchestral repertoire. I was encouraged to study the tuba part in the context of a full orchestral score. Roger helped me learn the principles of artistic discipline, daily regimen, and a reverence for the smallest details (attributes not foreign to a good writer). During one particular lesson, he said something that would take root in my mind.

“What would you say is a teacher’s job?” he asked.

I thought it was a rhetorical question and I answered without thinking. “A teacher’s job is to teach.”

“Wrong,” he said. “A teacher’s job is to help students learn how to teach themselves.”

By the mid-1970s I was making my living as a professional tubist. In 1978 I traveled to Europe and was offered the tuba chair in the orchestra of The Teatro Regio, in Turin, Italy. It was a wonderful experience (for the most part), but at the end of the opera season, I decided not to renew my contract, and I returned to the States. Once home, I took up where I’d left off, only now my situation had improved: I was offered more studio work and I performed regularly with several of the local orchestras and other ensembles throughout southern California. And then my friend and mentor, Roger Bobo, gave me the highest honor yet: he asked me to substitute for him in the Los Angeles Philharmonic. This was something akin to being Olivier’s understudy filling in as Hamlet.

Performing with one of the world’s top symphonic orchestras is a near-approach to the gates of Heaven. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. All those years of hard work had paid off. And I was up for the task; I felt right at home. But something horrible happened during the second concert. A malevolent force suddenly weakened my left jaw and my embouchure muscles. I was terrified. I leaned over to Jeff Reynolds, the bass trombonist, and whispered my situation. Jeff’s response was outstanding: he doubled my part, where he could, and helped me sandbag through the rest of the concert, without a hitch.

The condition that ended my music career is called “Embouchure Dystonia.” (You can read about the different forms of dystonia in Oliver Sack’s book Musicophilia.)

II

Midway on my life’s journey (the 1980s), I found myself with nothing to “fall back on”—except a series of low-paying, low-skilled jobs, and a major funk. My spirits rose a little when I took my mandolin out of mothballs and performed with a traditional Irish music band, but—tasteful and challenging as the music was—it didn’t supply enough nourishment to heal my soul or turn my life around.

I had been a hungry reader my whole life. As a child I loved fairytales and Arthurian legends and the poems and stories of Edgar Allen Poe. In my twenties, however, I started reading more nonfiction: history, biography, and science. It was an unbalanced diet. Fortunately, during a particularly low stretch of my mid-thirties, I instinctively increased my intake of poetry and fiction, and my soul resumed its proper course, leaving behind my overabundant self-pity.

It was about this time I encountered the first of two lifechanging events. The first event would end in an unintentional negative sell. I was at a party, engaged in a conversation about great literature. I was the greenhorn among the group, and I naively asked the Leader of the Pack about James Joyce’s Ulysses. I said I’d heard about the book and was wondering should I read it. The Leader of the Pack smirked and said that I should instead read something by Steinbeck; Ulysses was for scholars.

The next morning, I started a syllabus for what would be my self-taught course to conquer Mount Ulysses. (“The best way to get an Irishman to do something is to tell him he can’t do it.”) I made a list of the books I knew Joyce would have read: The Bible and Dante’s Divine Comedy; the works of Shakespeare, Ovid, Virgil, and, of course, Homer. I included Greek and Irish and Nordic myths and legends. I would also read Joyce’s Dubliners (three times) and Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man.

I am a very slow reader. The process took about three years to complete. When I felt ready, I went to a used book store and paid a dollar-fifty for a hardbound copy of Ulysses. It was one of the most enjoyable books I’d ever read. I learned what I knew as a child (“The child is the father of the man”): a book is something to read; not conquer. One of the best side effects from all this reading was the uncontrollable urge to write something of my own. This time, however, I decided to go the traditional route of the university, and I enrolled for night courses. I tapped into my past musician’s discipline and developed the joyful habit of writing every day. (I would eventually earn a degree in liberal studies and an elementary teaching credential.)   

1991 brought the second of my lifechanging events. It was the year I met Jo-Anne Cappeluti: the most extraordinary human being I have ever known, the love of my life, and the woman I would marry. At the time we met, Jo-Anne was already a published poet and scholar, with a Ph.D. in English. She was then teaching creative writing and literature courses at a local university (a position from which she retired a few years ago, after thirty years of service). Over the years Jo-Anne has coached me on how to be my own editor—emphasizing a reverence for the smallest details and the necessity for revisions. She makes suggestions but never edits my work nor tells me what to do. Sometimes we disagree about things (sometimes we argue)—but she’s the one who usually had it right from the start. We listen to classical music and read aloud to one-another from great works of literature. Recently we read aloud from George MacDonald’s The Golden Key.

In 1997 my first publication, “The Awakening,” appeared in the Seattle Review. Since then I have had the good fortune to receive more than three-dozen acceptances in various literary journals (including two short stories in Superstition Review). Every acceptance is a magical experience; the excitement never diminishes. (I have received far more rejections than acceptances—but I quit counting them years ago.) God willing, I will continue writing short stories as long as I draw breath in this life. My passion for writing has given back to me something I had lost (and then some). I never intended to make a living by writing, and it looks like I’m in no danger of ever doing so. This doesn’t bother me in the least.

#ArtLitPhx: Spark! After Dark

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Event Description:

Fade the lights and turn up the music. Every third Saturday from October to May MAC’s campus is taken over by a new artist with a unique, crazy fun theme – complete with live art, live music, great eats, and tasty adult drinks.

OCTOBER 20:
SPOOKTACULAR
Curated by: Martin Taylor with Taylor Family Circus
Featuring:
Live performances by the Taylor Family Circus
A fire show
Flamenco!… the Studio
Live music
Live murals by spark paint artist Roger Johnston
Spanish and Flamenco guitarist Ricardo De Cristóbal
Halloween costume contest & prizes
Tasty treats
Spooky drinks
And more!

mesaartscenter.com/sparkafterdark

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Authors Talk: Ephraim Scott Sommers

Today we are pleased to feature poet Ephraim Scott Sommers as our Authors Talk series contributor. In this brief interview, Ephraim discusses his life as a poet and as a singer/songwriter, and how each endeavor creatively informs the other.

While Ephraim grew up in a musical household, he said that he “didn’t really think about being in a band until I turned 18,” when he formed the group known as Siko with other musically inclined friends. He admits that he originally “was way far behind in his musicianship”, but that through years of dedication and hard work, he was able to “create something…from nothing” and craft many memorable experiences.

Speaking on the interrelationship of poetry and music, Ephraim states that “he came to lyricism and to poetry writing through music.” He elaborates that “what really drew me to poetry at first was the sound of words,” and that this inspired him to “try to tell stories in a musical way” through his pieces. In light of this, he expresses his interest in the lyric tradition of people like Dante and Virgil, who are “singing you a story” through their poetic work.

You can read another interview with Ephraim, “The Funeral Pyre of Poetry,” in Issue 19 of Superstition Review.

#ArtLitPhx: Mesa Arts Center: The Art of Three in Conversation and Song With Billy Cobham, Kenny Barron, Ron Carter

 

ArtLitPhx

The Art of Three in Conversation and Song With Billy Cobham, Kenny Barron, Ron Carter

July 25, 2018

7:30 p.m.

Location: Piper Theater

$50

An unforgettable evening of rich conversation and music with three living legends, Billy Cobham (drums), Ron Carter (bass), and Kenny Barron (piano), delving into the Art of the Rhythm Section.

#ArtLitPhx: Roosevelt Row First Friday ARTS Market

 

Roosevelt Row will be having First Friday ARTS Market on the first friday of every month from 6:00-10:00 pm

Roosevelt Row Arts District is a walkable, creative district in the urban core of downtown Phoenix that is nationally known for its arts and cultural events, award-winning restaurants, galleries, boutiques and live music. RoRo is fostering an urban renewal with rehabilitated bungalows and new infill projects. The Arts District connects downtown Phoenix to historic neighborhoods including Garfield, Evans Churchill, F.Q. Story, Willow, Roosevelt, Historic Roosevelt and Grand Avenue.

The Artists’ District connects downtown Phoenix to historic neighborhoods including Garfield, Evans Churchill, F.Q. Story, Willo, Roosevelt, Historic Roosevelt and Grand Avenue. Roosevelt Row begins at 7th Avenue and extends east to 16th Street. On the north side it begins at Interstate 10 and extends south to Fillmore Street.

A BIT OF HISTORY

Roosevelt Row has been a vital mixed use area from the earliest days of the establishment of Phoenix. Many of the concrete sidewalks in the neighborhood were poured in 1909, three years before Arizona officially became the 48th State. In the early 1940s, when there were approximately 30,000 people living in Phoenix, numerous businesses were established along Roosevelt Street. The flower shop at Fifth Street and Roosevelt has been in continuous operation since 1948.

In the 1970s, parts of the area were re-zoned as a high-rise incentive district leading to land speculation and a decline of the neighborhood that lasted until the late 1990s.

The blighted area was attractive to artists because the boarded-up buildings and former crack houses were affordable for studio and gallery space. The arts were a major factor in the revitalization of the area and crime rates plummeted as more people began to venture into the area to experience the cultural vibrancy.

The corridor is re-emerging as one of the most dynamic areas in downtown phoenix and a valued cultural resource in the metropolitan region and the state.