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
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
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.
This past Monday was Superstition Review’s first reading of the semester and, I have to say, it was pretty amazing, particularly with the small and intimate setting of our favorite local bookstore, Changing Hands, literally setting the stage for the event!
Not only did we get to hear from American Book Award winner Stella Pope Duarte, who was previously featured as an interviewed writer for her award-winning book, If I Die in Juarez, but she also asked two of her writing students to join her. Accomplished writers Rita Ackerman and Annie Lopez accompanied our main guest reader that night as they too shared highlights from their varied portfolios. After a brief introduction to the readers for the evening via our Editor-in-Chief, I grabbed a seat off to the side and settled in for the reading–notebook, camera, and BlackBerry (for live-tweeting!) in hand.
Reading Series Editor, Samantha Novak, took the Changing Hands stage first, quickly introducing Trish Murphy, our Editor-in-Chief, inviting her to speak a little about SR. As Trish gave the rundown of how we work, take submissions, and run the magazine all through semester-long undergraduate internships, she also gave an update on submissions and solicitations that have already drifted into the magazine. Among the poets and authors submitting work, we learned that award-winning author and former ASU professor Ron Carlson will be interviewed for this upcoming issue–how exciting is that? With the logistical side of the reading out of the way, we were ready to hear from our esteemed readers.
First to read was Rita Ackerman, a scholar of the history of the American Wild West. She read an illuminating narrative on the shootout at the O.K. Corral from the perspective of Ike Clanton, an under-celebrated outlaw of Arizona’s history.
The story came from her recently published O.K. Corral Postscript: The Death of Ike Clanton and provided a street view of the shootout. It was particularly interesting because it viewed the famous Earp brothers from a fairly neutral position. Ackerman continued with a short dip into the death scene she has reconstructed from the obituaries and accounts of Ike Clanton’s death. Introducing ‘Pigleg Wilson,’ her writing explained that Ike, though a pivotal member of the Clanton gang, is not buried in a dignified grave in Tombstone like the rest of his family, but he instead resides in a unmarked grave somewhere in Springerville, Arizona.
It was particularly interesting to hear a detailed and engaging account of one of Arizona’s famous outlaws. Ackerman really brought to light the benefits of well-written nonfiction narratives, highlighting one of the under-sung genres of many literary journals, and one that SR is proud to feature.
Next up was Annie Lopez. Not only is Lopez a great storyteller, but she’s also an artist–one featured at the Phoenix Art Museum (and giving a lecture on her work on October 21st at 4 and 7 p.m.).
Lopez’s work collectively focused on the naivety of youth, especially as a young woman growing up in Phoenix. In her partly auto-biographical stories, the fourth-generation Phoenician read about her young adult mishaps. In, The Dress, a middle school-aged Lopez shows us a glimpse into a home-economics class. She and a friend made complete fools of themselves by knowing a little too much about sewing and trying to flaunt their skills, resulting in becoming the laughing stock of the Phoenix Suns basketball team. Her other story not only brought about laughs from the audience as she explained the awkward situation she was put in when her high school guidance counselor exposed herself to Lopez, but also reinforced the need to feel comfortable in your surroundings as a young adult.
Enterprising on the hilarious hi-jinx of youth, Lopez really connected with her audience as she shared her humorous tales and reminded everyone in the audience the importance of staying on the good side of friends-who-happen-to-be-writers–whatever you do, she warned via her shared anecdote, don’t forget that whatever you say and do can, and often will, be written down and used against you in the future if it has high humor value. In all fairness, you should know better!
Finally, it was Stella Pope Duarte’s turn to take the small stage. The audience seemed particularly excited to hear from her as she was introduced.
The ABA award-winner greeted everyone with a quick, unabashed admission: she loves rumors and secrets. As she talked about the upcoming acceptance of her award, she revealed that, though she loves Phoenix more than she could ever like NYC, she enjoyed the City for its eavesdropping goldmine that it is; she claimed she loves nothing more than walking the streets there to gather as many rumors as she could. It wasn’t just a random comment, though–she said none of her stories would really be possible without them, especially from the collection she was reading from.
Duarte is a passionate activist and writer defending human rights issues, particularly bringing child prostitution wrongs to light. On Monday she shared one of her newer stories, “One of These Days I’m Gonna Go Home,” a selection to be published in her upcoming collection of short stories, with the working title of Women Who Live in Coffee Shops, that focus on rumors and the lives of individuals whose worlds are affected by the rumors. The story dealt with the adoption and rehabilitation of a former child prostitute being raised in the Phoenix desert.
Our featured reader was really engaging with her audience and she had complete command of local Phoenician dialogue, slang, and speech. Her reading, as well the other women’s, really featured the outstanding talent of local writers. It was refreshing to hear these home-grown southwestern stories of our state’s history, growing up in Arizona, and dealing with the complexities of such a culturally rich state.
Overall, I’d say that the reading was a complete success and a wholly enjoyable event. I’m extremely excited about the next one, October 26!
Did you attend the event? What did you think? What was your favorite work you heard?
Derrick Laux is a student of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences majoring in English Literature. He is Superstition Review’s Administrative Team Manager, head of the Administrative Team. This semester he is a senior.
Superstition Review: What do you do for SR?
Derrick Laux: I manage four interns in areas of administrative duties including advertising, reading series, funding & development, and contests. My job is to create workflows, manage deadlines and be available to answer any questions and assist with the workload in each of these four areas.
SR: How did you hear about or get involved with Superstition Review?
DL: I contacted Trish Murphy, our Editor-in-Chief, with questions about a couple of specific fall and summer courses and told her that I was looking for an opportunity, like an internship, that would help prepare me with some marketable skills and resume building attributes. She said she needed some help managing the workload for Superstition Review and it seemed like a perfect fit at the perfect time. I was afraid that my schedule would not allow me the freedom to partake in an internship that required a lot of physical presence on campus, so when she informed me that the majority of the work was done online, I saw something that could potentially work.
SR: What is your favorite section of SR?
DL: Personally, I like the interviews. I love knowing background information about authors and artists and the opportunity to get to know them on a personal level. Their writing affects and influences so many people that I just think it’s really neat to humanize them for a brief instant and see what makes them tick, what they do in their everyday lives, and what inspires them.
SR: Who is your dream contributor to the journal?
DL: Most of the time, I don’t feel qualified enough to answer a question like this or make any kind of literary assessments due to the limited nature of my reading. In comparison to others, I feel like I’m very under-read, but if I could pick anyone right now, it would be a writer from the American Southwest, namely Leslie Marmon Silko. I’ve not read a lot of her work, but I’m absolutely infatuated with Ceremony and the spiritual healing that characterizes that book. It’s beautiful. Anyone that can write something like that, I’d like to see more of their work, especially something exclusive to Superstition Review. I’m falling in love with the Southwest and really feel like it’s neat if we can publish local authors representative of the region that we represent as a literary magazine. Rudolfo Anaya, Barbara Kingsolver, and other contemporary Southwestern writers would be my ideal contributors.
SR: What job, other than your own, would you like to try out in the journal?
DL: I think I’d love to be either the Web Design Editor or the Interview Coordinator. I’m infatuated with logos, graphics, and the overall visual appearance of things. I feel like you only get one chance to make a first impression, and the design of a page usually either clicks the interest switch on or off in a person’s head. Great design is an attention grabber and sets an immediate successful tone while poor design shuts people off in an instant. Their minds are already tainted with bad thoughts if the design isn’t up-to-par. I think being the interview coordinator might be just as fun and rewarding because as I stated before, I love getting to know people on a personal level to see what makes them tick and inspires them to write the things that influence and move our everyday lives.
SR: What are you most excited for in the upcoming issue?
DL: The new design of the webpage and the reading series. I feel like there’s so much potential for both to help establish Superstition Review’s name and get the word out about our publication. Never before have I had the access to deal with such established and talented writers. The chance to meet some of them and even host them at one of our readings is a big goal of mine that really excites me.
SR: What are you currently reading?
DL: I’m currently reading whatever is assigned for my classes. Luckily, the books have been interesting. Recently, I just finished Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote and Double Indemnity by James M. Cain. I thought Breakfast at Tiffany’s was a great book, far better than the film.
SR: What are some of your favorite websites to waste time on or distract you from homework?
DL: Nfl.com and as of late, Craigslist. I’m trying to get set-up in my new place and Craigslist is a life-saver. There’s a lot of good stuff on there whether you’re poor or not.
SR: What would be your dream class to take at ASU? What would the title be and what would it cover?
DL: It would be a class called either “NFL Football” or “American Microbrews.” Beer has become such a hobby of mine and I love spending my free time finding out more about new beers and breweries. It’s the new wine tasting in this country because there are so many good microbreweries out there. Football is self-explanatory. If you don’t like football, there’s something wrong with you; I don’t care how nice you are.
SR: What are your feelings on digital medium?
DL: I like the easy access that technology provides, but it really does leave me feeling jaded and detached at times. I can’t argue with the convenience that new developments like Kindle provide, but most times I see someone using a device like that and think, “Man, I really miss the simplicity of a paperback book.” There’s a lot of quality stuff to be said in blogs out there, but I just don’t like the feeling of sitting behind a screen all day long. It does things to people and its very dehumanizing, especially when I catch myself being mesmerized by the computer.