As much as we hate to say it, corporate sponsorship has its benefits. Take, for instance, Scottsdale's Summer Spectacular ArtWalk, on Thursday, July 8, from 6 to 9 p.m.
"You mean 'The M&I Bank Summer Spectacular ArtWalk'?" asks Kathy Duley, co-owner of the Duley-Jones Gallery in Old Town Scottsdale and president of the Scottsdale Gallery Association.
At first, we cringed at the gratuitous plug, but hell, we gotta give props where props are due. Thanks to those bankers and a slew of other marketing wizards, the free annual event -- which has been around for at least 15 years, organizers say -- promises to give both art connoisseurs and curious novices a reason to walk outside in the middle of July.
"We'll have plenty of refreshments to keep everyone cool," says Duley, referring to the free bottled water and iced tea. There's even free food and live entertainment, with a lineup that includes Lady Bee with percussionist Keith Johnson and their African dance-drum group Sankofa; the eternally funky Caribbean Cruisers; singer Sarah Vanell; and Gradymusic's keyboard concord. Most important, though, the ArtWalk is about the art, stupid, including Duley-Jones' anniversary show.
"We opened the gallery three years ago during ArtWalk," Duley says. "We had a pretty good feeling that we'd be here for at least three years. We'll see about a fourth." (Relax, art hounds -- she's kidding.) The exhibition showcases some of the gallery's most notable artists, including Carole Perry, David Rothermel, David Gordinier, Cynthia Peterson and Dick Phillips. Call 480-990-3939 or see www.scottsdalegalleries.com for a map and directions. --Joe Watson
The Family Frontier
Space out at the Challenger Space Center
Triple-digit temps making you a little spacey? Explore the dark side of summer at the Challenger Space Center's monthly Family Fun Night, Saturday, July 10, at 6:30 p.m. Enjoy a midsummer night's dream, gazing through telescopes, searching for star clusters and constellations. Bring something to sit on for this outdoor event. FFN activities (kids' crafts, rides in the Transit Module and entry to "The Mercury Program: America's First Steps Into Space" exhibition) are included with admission: $6 for adults, $4 for students. The Center is located at 21170 North 83rd Avenue in Peoria. See www.azchallenger.org. --Susan Tully
A movie "so bad that it's good"
At first, we thought the Copper Square Film Series on Friday, July 9, wasn't worth the free admission. But then festival director Chris LaMont set us straight on the 45-minute documentary, Failure, which follows rookie filmmakers as they bungle their way through their first project. "It's pretty obvious that these guys weren't taking the process seriously," LaMont says. "But their movie ends up being so bad that it's good." Failure is preceded by a collection of short films, with electronica band Azul opening the show at 7:30 p.m. Bring a chair for the outdoor showing at the parking lot next to Coach & Willie's, 412 South Third Street. See www.coppersquare.com. --Joe Watson
Let Us Eat Cake
History and calories at the Heard Museum
What would a birthday party be without song, cake and a sculpting demonstration? Well, it wouldn't be the Heard Museum's 75th Anniversary Celebration. On the second Sunday of the month through May 2005, the Heard commemorates its beginnings with "a walk down memory lane." This Sunday, July 11, visitors can view the "Memory Wall," which highlights "major dates and events in the Heard's history," and Hispanic group Nosotros performs. Sculptor Jon DeCelles provides a demo, and shows and sells his works of alabaster, marble and bronze. And the cake is free. The party rages from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. See www.heard.org. --Joe Watson
Ringling Bros. sends in the freaks
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SHOW ME HOW
The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is in town with enough freaks and geeks to fill three rings. (Okay, so there are no actual geeks, and "freaks" is a relative term.) But the 134th edition of the self-proclaimed "Greatest Show on Earth" does feature an illusionist, acrobats, a guy who does cool stuff while riding a motorcycle, and plenty of pachyderms. And, of course, there's a small car teeming with a bunch of scary clowns, including David Larible, a seventh-generation circus performer and clown prince of the three rings. Billed as "fun for children of all ages," the circus rolls at America West Arena, 201 East Jefferson, this Saturday, July 10, at 3 and 7 p.m., and Sunday, July 11, at 1 and 5 p.m. For tickets, $10 to $70, call 602-379-7800. --C. Murphy Hebert
Face the Music
Artist creates mosaic musician portraits
Debbie Wahl once was afraid to display her art in public. Now, she can't stop. "I'm in the backyard with some chickens, my misters and a fan," the Tempe artist says. "I just keep working." First, she created a mosaic portrait of B.B. King, the legendary blues guitarist and singer. Now, she's on to Ray Charles, listening to "My World" while the chickens bawk and an unveiling of her works approaches --"The Portrait Show" opens Saturday, July 10, at reZurrection Gallery, 601 West University in Tempe. "I love blues, and I love jazz even more," says Wahl, who turned a hobby of making mosaic plaques, stepping stones and planters into contemporary artwork. "It's great music, great images, and I just sit and listen to the music while I work." Along with Wahl's portrait of King -- and Ray Charles, which she hopes will be finished by the exhibition's opening -- reZurrection is displaying portraits by painters, sculptors and illustrators. The show runs through August 11. Call 480-377-9080. --Joe Watson