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Phoenix Fridas Set to Raise Eyebrows at Alwun House this Weekend

Alwun House is celebrating its 40th art season this weekend with the Phoenix Fridas, who thankfully know a thing or two about throwing a colorful party.

The group of women artists will open the doors of the Downtown art house for "Viva La Vida," in which each artist draws inspiration from her artistic idol, Frida Kahlo.

In addition to showcasing their artwork, the women will stage a "Frida and Diego Look-Alike" contest (which will be judged by the Phoenix Fridas), and an "!Ay! Brows Station."

"Anybody who wants Frida eyebrows can come to the booth and we'll either paint them on, or we'll give them eyebrows on a stick so they have the option of taking them on and off," says Phoenix Frida Carmen Guerrero, a.k.a. "Beady Frida."

Guerrero says she admires the late artist for her beautiful artwork that was created during Frida's often-chaotic life.

"She presented herself in her pictures so dignified, but in her real life, she was confronting a lot of pain," Guerrero says, mentioning many of Kahlo's health problems (polio, a car accident that left her unable to bear children, 30 operations during her lifetime, and her death at age 47). "She shines in terms of...exploring her pain beautifully."

As part of the "Viva La Vida" festivities, Guerrero will be playing Latin American folk music. "They are songs of struggle, songs of women, all by women composers," she says. "They portray our struggles as women, as artists, as mothers."

Guerrero says the Phoenix Fridas will also be reading poetry and excerpts from Kahlo's diary. They'll also be re-creating Kahlo's studio, an installation that will stay up at Alwun House through the end of September.

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The art show will be on view all month, and includes paintings by Emily Costello and Kathy "Crafty Chica" Cano-Murillo, painted plates by Annalisa Rios, and beaded mandalas by Guerrero.

Guerrero says in addition to the art show opening on Friday, September 2, the Phoenix Fridas will return to Alwun House on Thursday, September 15 for a panel discussion on Kahlo from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

"First Fridays are busy. People usually stop in, see the art, and leave," Guerrero says. "We wanted to talk in detail about 'Why Frida?' and discuss how she inspires us."

"Viva La Vida" opens at 7 p.m. Friday, September 2, at Alwun House, 1204 E. Roosevelt Street. Tickets cost $6 in advance, $10 at the door. Call 602-253-7887 or visit www.alwunhouse.org for more information.

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