With boldly colored canvases recently hung on the pristine white walls, David White, owner and director of downtown's New Urban Art, beams with satisfaction at the work in his new exhibition. "This is optimistic art," he says.Indeed, the work from Berlin-based Jean Milu Truesdale, Italian-born Marco Casentini, and prominent architect Michael P. Johnson is instantly mood-altering.
Complementing paintings by Truesdale and Casentini are four of Johnson's large "constructions," most notably an immense, glossy red steel structure that consumes much of the gallery space.
Seven oil-on-canvas pieces by Casentini demonstrate a controlled geometry, all perfect 90-degree angles. While his work once made more use of deeper primary colors, these newer pieces take greater liberty in juxtaposing sophisticated hues, from delicate, pale pink to dense, chocolate brown. Clearly, his recent move from Milan to Los Angeles has been inspirational. "I love the California light," Casentini says.
Truesdale's canvases, shown on the opposite wall, provide a sensual foil with their dynamic, joyful shapes and delectable candy colors. "I wanted it to be happy," he says. A painter since age 7, Truesdale says he spent years being confused and angry, searching for a style that suited him, and it showed in his art. "But my personal expression didn't really start until I started doing this," he says of his emotional pieces. "What can I say? Life's good."-Michele Laudig
Benefit takes a bite out of AIDS
Who knew that going out to eat could save lives? On Tuesday, May 13, it's possible, when Arizona Food & Lifestyles magazine presents the seventh annual Dining Out for Life fund raiser benefiting AIDS Project Arizona. The Barrio Cafe, Hamburger Mary's, Tequila Grill, Patsy Grimaldi's Pizzeria and six Chipotle locations are among the 40-some restaurants that have pledged to donate 100 percent of the day's proceeds to the cause. The event's honorary chair, Nafeesa De Florias, Miss Arizona USA, will be visiting many of the restaurants throughout the day. Whether it's breakfast, lunch, dinner or an after-work cocktail, you can help find a cure. For a list of participating restaurants, see www.apaz.org. For more information, call 602-253-2437.- Eric Schandel
Sofa, So Good
I'm too sexy for this ottoman...
It's been pushed around long enough -- cushy job or no, furniture is due a little respect. Home furnishings finally receive some recognition on Saturday, May 10, when Kierland Commons stages a first-of-its-kind Furniture Fashion Show. From 7 to 10 p.m., the north Scottsdale shopping center spotlights the season's top trends, as furnishings from Z Gallerie, Crate & Barrel, and Restoration Hardware cruise down the runway (with a little help from the ASU hockey team).Apparel also makes the scene, as models show off casual and evening wear, business fashions and children's clothing from 30-some retailers. An acoustic performance by singer-guitarist Steve Krum follows the free show.
Kierland Commons is located on the northwest corner of Scottsdale Road and Greenway Parkway. See www.kierlandcommons.com for more information.
Chic and Ye Shall Find
Second anniversary looks comfy
Stylish souls in search of cosmopolitan glamour have been flocking to SIX, the sleek Scottsdale watering hole, since 2001, when attendance at the opening night soiree prompted management to throw two more "opening" bashes. On Thursday, May 8, glitterati toast the lounge's second anniversary with another party fit for Hollywood -- red carpet entry, free-flowing champagne and all. This time, though, huge crowds are a given: The party sprawls across Stetson Drive to make an outdoor lounge with two extra bars, a stage for live music, and plenty of seating for the best people-watching in town. Festivities run from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. at SIX, 7316 East Stetson in Scottsdale. For details visit www.6az.com or call 480-663-6620. - Michele Laudig
Let the good times spin
Elements of megapolitan life too often flicker like cheap light bulbs here in the Valley. The incomparable Bombshelter DJs (Emile, Z-Trip and Radar) held down Wednesday nights at Nita's Hideaway's former digs more than five years ago; now they've returned -- Emile and Radar, at least -- to funk up Thursday nights at Nita's new location at Price and Southern in Tempe.
The new incarnation of Bombshelter's weekly get-down bears little resemblance to the former, one obvious reason being Z-Trip's absence (he now resides in L.A.), but it offers one of the best club scenes in town nonetheless. Radar's hip-hop scratch gymnastics and Emile's drum 'n' bass 'n' funk 'n' techno are complemented by the addition of jazz aficionado and keyboard dynamo Raul Yanez. Radar and Yanez have been experimenting for some time with a jazz duo routine that's jaw-dropping. Populated by b-boys, bump 'n' grinders and hip-hop heads, Bombshelter's new night is beginning to shine as brightly as it did before the lights went out. - Brendan Joel Kelley