Jason Hill's retro-futurism is so bright, he's gotta wear shades. You will, too, when you view his blindingly vivid works, which seem to leap out of their frames and smack you right between the eyes. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to liken Hill to Ed Mell, another Arizona designer turned artist who paints picture-perfect landscapes. But Hill, unlike Mell, focuses on urbanscapes, taking duotoned prints from his photographs of vintage Valley architectural sites and hand-painting them with acrylics to create an effect that falls somewhere between surrealism and pop art. His new exhibition, "Visions of a Modern Oasis," continues the "Urban Dreamscape" theme he introduced with his exhibition at monOrchid Gallery in August of 2004.
Says Hill, "I'm trying to draw attention to the extraordinary architectural heritage we have here in the desert. It's really like no other place on Earth. But now we're at a crossroads -- destroy or preserve? I'm making a case for the latter."
"Visions of a Modern Oasis" opens with a reception from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday, December 2, at monOrchid, 214 East Roosevelt, and continues through December 16. Viewing is free. Call 602-253-0339 or visit www.jasonhilldesign.com. -- Clay McNear
Par for the Coarse
Pageant will sleigh you
Looking for a little holiday sneer? Check out the 20th annual Bad X-mas Pageant. The vulgar variety show features scurrilous skits and sing-alongs, putrid poetry, unregenerate videos like Rudolph the Tourette Syndrome Reindeer and I Hate Teletubbies, coarse carols by the Norman Block and Tackle Choir, and pictures with Santa that you wouldn't want to send home to the grandparents. Bad X-mas is not intended for kids or the "seasonally squeamish," as the Pageant's honchos put it. It starts at 8 p.m. Saturday, December 3, at the Paper Heart, 750 Grand Avenue. Admission is $5, with proceeds benefiting the Andre House. Call 602-262-2020 or visit www.thepaperheart.com. -- Jodey Brown
Wing and a Prayer
Spirit is willing, flash is weak
Camille Lyles bases many of her photographs on Bible verses. Prints like Faith, Namaste, and Into the Light show the artist's spirituality, but don't expect a bunch of smiling cherubs. Lyles hasn't yet tried to render the apocalyptic images in the Book of Revelations, but many of her prints are dark, centered on figures posed as looming silhouettes. The photog unveils her latest murky angelic art in an exhibition titled "xPosed" -- a series of black-and-white photographs taken with film that was exposed to light. The exhibition opens with a free reception at 6 p.m. Friday, December 2, and continues through January 5 at Holy Click Art Gallery, 1326 West Roosevelt. Call 602-271-4242 or visit www.holyclick.com. -- Niki D'Andrea
Games People Play
Spreading holiday jam
Politicians dread veering from their carefully crafted and rehearsed statements, but that unscripted terra incognita provides the unique buzz that attracts artists such as Jose Gonzales to improvisational work. "Instead of the re-creation of moments for an audience, the emphasis is on the moment of creation," says Gonzales, who emcees the improvisational Bingo Jam at the Trunk Space, 1506 Grand Avenue, on Saturday, December 3. "For the event, we randomly select teams of seven improvisators for 20-minute shows," adds Gonzales. The jam is free and starts at 7 p.m. Afterward, the performers lead a Christmas-caroling procession down Grand Avenue to the Paper Heart's Bad X-mas Pageant. Call 602-256-6006 or visit www.thetrunkspace.com. -- Douglas Towne