Local artist Karen Fiorito knows she's on someone's -- or some government agency's -- list. The question, though, isn't which one, but, rather, how many? "That's what my friends have told me," the recent ASU fine arts grad says, laughing, as she hovers around downtown's Studio LoDo. "According to the Patriot Act, I guess I could be considered an enemy of the state."
See, Fiorito -- known to most friends and peers simply as "Fury" -- isn't the typically subtle artist, as evidenced by her exhibition "Lil' Fury: The Art of Propaganda," showing at LoDo, 15 East Jackson, through July 9. While Fiorito insists she's not on the side of one political party or the other ("I'm an independent," she says), "Propaganda" is most certainly and blatantly anti-GWB -- the prez, that is -- and anti-big corporations.
Fiorito's prints hang in every room of LoDo, from the B-movie-style imagery of Dubya as G.I. George ("Cut pay for troops in Iraq"; "Slashed benefits for veterans"; "Deserted the military") to the massive banner of the Bush administration that hangs along an entire wall and reads, "Dear America, We lied to you for your own good. Now trust us." (It can be seen even bigger on a billboard on Grand Avenue between 10th and 11th avenues.) Fiorito even goes after conservative talk radio host/drug addict Rush Limbaugh -- "OxyContin: What a Rush!"
"A lot of artists try to be subtle. And sometimes you have to be," she says. "But I'm obviously not that kind of artist."
See "Propaganda" from noon to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, with a closing reception from 6 to 10 p.m. on July 2. Call 602-200-8790. --Joe Watson
Coalitions vs. corporations
Culture jammers are the new revolutionaries, taking their cues from Fight Club's Tyler Durden and hoping to bury corporate scum in their wake. If you've got a plan for eliminating debt -- yours or the whole planet's -- some folks would like to chat. And if you're fighting schizophrenia with a superiority complex chaser, well, there's probably a movie sequel deal out there somewhere. In the meantime, head down to Thoughtcrime, 1019 North Central, at 8 p.m. Sunday, June 27, for an open discussion on "Bringing Corporations to Their Knees." The Phoenix Anarchist Coalition and like-minded others will discuss the "various steps required" for turning conglomerates into mush. Call 602-254-6397 or see www.phoenixanarchist.org. --Joe Watson
Movies, manga, and more
We love chewing on a big, bloody steak while watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And slurping pea soup while watching The Exorcist. But maybe we're just weird. For something perfectly palatable, check out The Lion King or Casablanca at 33 American Bistro Restaurant. The Bistro, 15680 North Pima Road in Scottsdale, shows Disney movies, American classics and action films on a "theater-style screen" Mondays through Saturdays in the dining room. (Don't worry, sports fans, the games play on in the lounge.) Forget shoveling fistfuls of buttery popcorn into your mouth -- the menu includes seafood, pasta, hamburgers, even bloody steaks. Call 480-222-3366 to make reservations. --Niki D'Andrea
Blaise of Glory
All that "Jazz in the Garden"
Improvisation is the lifeblood of jazz -- just ask any white boy trying to channel Miles Davis. So the Blaise Lantana Quartet (helmed by the KJZZ personality) offers up some alfresco ad-libbing as a part of the "Jazz in the Garden" series on Friday, June 25, at the Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 North Galvin Parkway. Lantana, a vocalist and guitarist, joins with piano, bass and drums for selections from her CD With a Touch of Blues. "Jazz is such an alive thing, it's a spontaneous composition," she says. The riffs reign at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 for garden members, $16 for nonmembers. Call 480-941-1225. --Benjamin Leatherman
Seminar sheds light on chic spirituality
Newfangled religion -- er, "spirituality," for you New Agers -- isn't just for celebrities anymore. For those who've yet to see the light via Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism or other godly -isms, the folks from the Kabbalah Centre in Los Angeles are coming to the Valley to figuratively (and literally, if you're a true believer) shine a light on Madonna's creed of the crop. "The game of life has a purpose," explains Jonathan Shani, a Kabbalah Centre senior instructor, in rather ambiguous terms. "It's about understanding."
If, like us, you still don't get it, head to the Marriott Mountain Shadows, 5641 East Lincoln Drive in Scottsdale, at noon Sunday, June 27, for Shani's five-hour seminar on Kabbalah's spirituality of light, from which -- according to followers -- all things originate.
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The seminar is $126. For reservations, call 602-684-3523; see www.kabbalah.com for more information. --Joe Watson
Roses Are Dead . . .
Scrapbooks become art pieces
Lezli Goodwin and a close-knit coven of contributors are purging past relationships in "Rose-Colored Glasses," an exhibition at the Studio Hub, 130 North Central, Suite 304. Closing Tuesday, June 29, the collection includes old photos, letters and a clump of stuffed animals gifted to the six women during past relationships. Goodwin says she realizes that most of the junk should have been tossed or burned years ago, but now it's art. Case in point: the 15-year-old photo of her high school sweetheart, which adorns one of the installation pieces. "Why do I still have this?" she asks, then confesses that the dashing young man in the picture was the perfect boyfriend -- except for the fact that he's gay. Not all of the art focuses on romantic couplings; some of the pieces explore disjointed familial connections and broader social perspectives on relationships. Studio Hub is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 480-242-6137 or see www.studiohubphoenix.com. --C. Murphy Hebert