"There are moments at these events where you get the feeling that the world just couldn't get any more perfect," says Lon Austin, a principal organizer of the Folk Traditions Music Festival, set for Saturday and Sunday, March 22 and 23, at Encanto Park.
The festival is the 13th such affair; in addition to concerts, there will be workshops and demonstrations, which ought to be fun for musicians, casual park visitors and kids. Seven stages will be employed by folks who have come from near and far to strum, stroke, poke, hammer, pluck, bang, pick and blow on all types of instruments. Vermont troubadour Rick Palieri will demonstrate his skills with Polish bagpipes, the Ozark mouthbow and the deadly Australian didgeridoo, and Loca Rosa will perform Russian and Jewish songs on the balalaika, loshki (spoons) and other instruments.
Other musical forms to be represented include blues, Irish and Celtic, country, variations of traditional folk, bluegrass, cowboy, and Native American flute. An added attraction this year is an African songfest and rhythm workshop. There will even be some time put aside for a concert of hobo and railroad music, though Austin is quick to mention that contemporary hobos carry computers in their weathered knapsacks.
Austin refers to the event as a "'60s happening kind of thing" and says that, as the day continues and musicians and locals join in, the event will take on the atmosphere of a cosmic folk jam, with everyone tossing in their musical two cents – so bring your axe.
The free festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the park, 2605 North 15th Avenue, and shuttle buses will ferry folks to festivities at the Encanto School, 15th Avenue and Osborn. For details, call 602-261-8993.- Henry Cabot Beck
If Hormel just isn't cutting it, maybe you need to broaden your chili tastes. Luckily, this Saturday is a perfect time for chili experimentation. More than 70 chili cooks will vie for the hard-won title of the Smart and Final Copper World Classic Chili Cook-Off regional champion – and Phoenix residents and visitors get to share in the spoils. If the regional competition is too daunting, Sunday's Arizona Chili Championship might be more your speed. Whether you enter, eat or both, admission is free, other than a 50-cent tasting kit. Both events run 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Phoenix International Raceway, 11901 West Baseline in Avondale. For details, visit www.chilicookoff.com. – Quetta Carpenter
Dwelling on It
Strolling through the Coronado District, admiring the early 20th-century architecture of homes that completely ooze charm, is fun to do any time of year. But it's especially inspiring when the Greater Coronado Neighborhood Association hosts the annual Coronado Historic Home Tour, giving the public a chance to see a dozen beautiful dwellings, both inside and out. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 23, the tour starts at Coronado Park, located at Palm Lane and 12th Street, where you can purchase tickets ($10, or $9 with a canned food donation), get refreshments, listen to live music, and peruse crafts, a vintage car display and the Phoenix Family Museum Mobile Exhibit. Call 602-578-9835 for details. – Michele Laudig
If, as John Keats asserted, "beauty is truth" (and vice versa), what can beauty and politics possibly have in common? Columbia University's Arthur C. Danto will address the connection on Wednesday, March 26, when he delivers ASU's 10th annual Elaine Horwitch Lecture in Contemporary American Art Criticism. In "Beauty and Politics," the philosophy professor/editor/author will discuss the compatibility of political art and aesthetics, and contemplate a return to beauty in art.
The free lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. in Neeb Hall, at Forest and Tyler malls on the ASU campus; a public reception with Danto follows in the Harry Wood Gallery. Call 480-965-6303 for further details. – Jill Koch