Spice of LIFE

If you're searching for vitality in the scorched downtown streets of Phoenix, look no further than the LIFE Festival, a celebration of "Liberty, Independence and Freedom of Expression" at the Icehouse on Thursday, July 4.

While the venue is in a prime location to watch the fireworks display overhead, there's more to LIFE than patriotic revelry. Local artists and performers are collaborating on an evening saturated with creative stimulation.

"Apparently everyone's bored! I had no idea," exclaims Icehouse director Helen Hestenes. "It's so hot, a lot of energies are just sort of bubbling out of the ground, and the Icehouse really offers to that eclectic mix."

Indeed, LIFE includes a very diverse assortment of art and entertainment.

The building's roofless Cathedral Room will contain sculptor Mark Armitage's carved ice benches and Michael Anderson's large-scale steel sculptures. More than a half-dozen DJs will make the room pulsate with music.

Musician Cris Kirkwood will reveal another one of his creative facets with watercolors, on display in the White Column Room along with Kiersten Twillet's stone sculptures. An assortment of other painters and photographers will show their work as well.

Filmmakers Hitomi, Arena and Derrick will screen their edgy creations throughout the building, and fashion designers Shelly Cluff and Galina present wearable art. And the performance lineup includes not only a dozen bands, but a "theater of the absurd" play.

Hestenes likes the challenge of combining unusual, unexpected types of music and art. "What we're doing is putting this together like we're making an exotic soup," she explains. "And the flavors will be hot and spicy, but delicious." Not half-baked or overdone, LIFE should turn out just right.

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Michele Laudig
Contact: Michele Laudig