Sick of the slick, production-driven artwork that passes for hip in other galleries? Kathy Cone, artist and owner of the Cone Gallery, 1324 Grand Avenue, offers the sort of space where edgy art and music can flourish and provide an antidote to the cheesy Southwestern clichés you might see elsewhere around town. For instance: The gallery's latest show, "The Futurists," is described as a "technology-based visual arts show and experimental music super jam," with avant-garde video, photography, and 2-D and 3-D artwork. Cone promises it'll be a breakthrough for the Valley art scene, with the work of local gender-bending video artist-photographer Debora Brown, the dreamlike digital collages of Audra Bergen, and the fetishistic photography of Joi Carey (a.k.a. "Agony Bliss"). Artist Andrew Schreiber, 16, also provides an infusion of young blood with his colorful 2-D creations, which will be featured in the gallery's Bohemian lounge. An intense experimental music jam at the show's opening reception at 8 p.m. Friday, January 7, by such ambient noise and dark wave musicians as Scott K. Spacefly will provide a driving and rhythmic soundtrack for patrons viewing the thought-provoking work.
In keeping with the gallery's mission of supporting all brands of freaky and far-out artists, Kathy Cone says she's also a firm believer that art lovers in the Valley are more than ready to support this kind of work. We sure hope so. Call 602-258-3455 or see www.conegallery.com for more. -- Pat Beck
Sun Lakes Jewish Film Festival takes the screen
Jewish culture, while both rich and compelling, has with few exceptions been largely ignored by mainstream Hollywood. Lucky for filmmakers who choose to embrace it there are events such as the Sun Lakes Jewish Film Festival at Pollack Tempe Cinemas, 1825 East Elliot in Tempe. Four films that chronicle the Jewish experience will be featured on a month of Sundays beginning with Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust on Sunday, January 9, and continuing with A Day in October on January 16, The Line King on February 13, and Double Edge on February 20. Showtimes are 3 and 6:30 p.m. For details and ticket information, call 480-802-0200 or visit www.az.jhs.org. -- Craig Wallach
Magical Mixed-Media Tour
Visit artists' studios with SMoCA
Art aficionados, rejoice! The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7374 East Second Street, is offering a four-part studio tour package, beginning Wednesday, January 12. The first tour stops at the studios of painter Monica Aissa Martinez, and printmakers John Risseeuw and Segura Publishing. Subsequent tours include the studios of sculptors James T. Larson and Jana Peterson, mixed-media artists Nina Ilitzky Solomon and Janet de Berge Lange, ceramist Jane Kelsy-Mapel, painters Sue Hunter and Suzanne Tyson, and Indigo Street Pottery, among others. Continental breakfasts and lunches are included in the tours, which begin at 9 a.m. The cost for the tour package is $182 per person. Call 480-874-4641. -- Niki D'Andrea
Poets Know It
Get lit at library reception
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Does the word "poetry" take you on a nasty flashback to high school literature class where you tried unsuccessfully to decipher ancient works allegedly written in English? Perhaps a poetry paradigm shift is in order with the help of some live music, spoken-word performances, and a little bit o' soul. All these ingredients will be on hand for the opening reception of "? on Poetry" from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, January 7, at the Burton Barr Central Library's @Central Gallery, 1221 North Central. An exhibition featuring Joseph Prevost's photography, which captures the emotion and expressions of African-American poets in action, runs through January 29. See www.phoenixpubliclibrary.org. -- Douglas Towne
Juried exhibit melds history and art
The authors of history books love to use the passive voice: "Slaves were brought to the United States," "Segregation was enacted." Generally, such tomes teach us little about the people who really played a part in our history, even less about their experiences and perspectives -- and nothing about how they relate to us in modern times. Where academics fail, art prevails, as Phoenix Parks and Recreation's Center for the Arts presents "Vibes of the City," opening on Friday, January 7, at the center's Visual Arts Gallery, 1202 North Third Street. The juried exhibition features two- and three-dimensional artwork by local African-American artists, who use mixed media, watercolors and pastels to paint a cultural portrait that reflects the experiences of its creators. The "Vibes of the City" exhibition traditionally moves to ASU in February, as part of the university's "Black History Month," but you can catch the first glimpse of the art at the free opening reception, beginning at 7 p.m., with entertainment, refreshments, and opportunities to meet the artists. Call 602-262-4632. -- Niki D'Andrea