Top Phoenix Arts and Culture Stories of the Week

If Bob Ross were alive today, he'd be painting happy little trees all over the place in ecstatic fervor for all the arts and culture happenings in Phoenix. Well, to help you see the forest for the trees, here's a recap of the top arts and culture stories of the week.

Where to Catch Sunday's Solar Eclipse in Arizona

Cosmic forces and heavenly bodies will align to create something quite spectacular in the Arizona sky this weekend. An annular solar eclipse will take place late Sunday afternoon just before sunset and will cause the sun to darken considerably....

Since this particular solar eclipse's "path of totality" will cross through Arizona, it will be partially or mostly visible throughout most of the state. And a few local stargazers are planning viewing parties where the public can (safely) witness the cosmic event firsthand.

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For those who slept through astronomy class in high school or college, an solar eclipse is when the moon's passes between the sun and Earth, causing that great burning sphere to be partially or totally obscured. Due to the relative position of both the Earth and moon, this is considered to be an annular eclipse in which the sun isn't completely covered and a ring of light peeks out from the edges.

And for the first time in almost 20 years, this cosmic event will be viewable in Arizona starting at 5:31 p.m. on Sunday. The eclipse will reach totality at 6:40 p.m. and will end at approximately 7:20 p.m.

-- Benjamin Leatherman

Tempe's Wet Paint Artist Supply to Close in July

More than 11 years after Tempe artist Jessica Jordan opened up Wet Paint Artist Supply on Ash Avenue, she says she's decided to change direction.

"Due to increased corporate competition and their massive buying power, and more people buying online, it has been harder and harder to maintain this small independent art supply," she wrote Tuesday afternoon on Wet Paint's Facebook page.

"I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful group of friends and time spent here at Wet Paint, but it's with a heavy heart that I have decided to shut down the business. I have been fighting this for years now; I have such a strong sense of identity associated with this place."

-- Claire Lawton

Beyond Buckskin: Jessica R. Metcalfe Expands Her Native Fashion Blog into an Online Shop

You've seen it at Urban Outfitters, on Etsy, and just about anywhere else that banks on trends: Native American-inspired designs surging to fashion's forefront. And often, those who dub their wares Native or give them a name associated with a tribe (see Urban's "Navajo" undies) do so in direct violation of the Native American Arts and Crafts Act.

Academic and Beyond Buckskin Native fashion blogger Dr. Jessica R. Metcalfe got fed up with the continuing misappropriation.

Her solution? Metcalfe (who's Turtle Mountain Chippewa) created a new platform that would connect Native designers with potential customers. With 12 artists who make items including jewelry, clothing, scarves, and handbags ranging in price from $20 to more than $2,000, she launched Beyond Buckskin Boutique a little more than a week ago.

-- Becky Bartkowski

ASU Professor Dr. Stephen Pyne on Arizona Fire Season: Who Names Fires?

Wildfire season is in full swing in Arizona; Four fires are currently burning throughout the state.

The Gladiator Fire has burned almost 10,000 acres and is 5 percent contained, the Bull Flat Fire, in Fort Apache Indian Reservation, is more than 2,000 acres, and is 50 percent contained, the Elwood Fire, in the San Carlos Indian Reservation, covers almost 1,500 acres and is at least 5 percent contained, and and the Sunflower Fire, which has consumed more than 14,000 acre, is 15 percent contained according to fire officials this morning.

Dr. Stephen Pyne, who spent 15 years as a wildland firefighter at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, now teaches at Arizona State University and is an expert on the history and management of fire. We caught up with Pyne to talk about the naming of fires in the United States.

Read our full interview with Dr. Pyne about Arizona wildfires.

-- Claire Lawton

George Lopez Talks Tempe Improv's Closure, His New Fox Dating Show, Joking About Latinos in Arizona, and More

Most comedians might just enter into a deep depression or go on a serious drinking binge after getting canned from the biggest gig of their entire career. Not so with George Lopez.

The 51-year-old comic, whose late-night TBS talk show Lopez Tonight was cancelled last summer after only two seasons, has plenty on his plate this summer. He's got a new hourlong HBO special, It's Not Me, It's You, debuting July 14 and is hosting the new Fox dating show Take Me Out, which premieres on June 7. Plus, Lopez is paying visits to comedy clubs and venues across the country, including a two-night performance at Celebrity Theatre this weekend.

Jackalope Ranch recently spoke with Lopez about his two upcoming TV gigs, as well as his feelings about the soon-to-close Tempe Improv (where he's previously appeared several times), as well as what it's like for a Latino comic to perform in Arizona in the SB 1070 era.

Read our full interview with George Lopez.

-- Benjamin Leatherman

Also, don't forget to check out our "100 Creatives" of 2012 where we're featuring Phoenicians who are digging into the local arts scene and adding their own creative elements.

Follow Jackalope Ranch on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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