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. To help you see the forest for the trees, here's a recap of the top arts and culture stories of the week.
Since the ASU Art Museum announced local artist and arts advocate Greg Esser would take on the Desert Initiative this fall, the arts and science communities have been all ears waiting to hear more about the artistic and science-based initiative aimed at desert cultures and environments.
Now, the Desert Initiative has unveiled Desert Initiative: Desert One (DI:D1), a "creative collaboration" between regional museums, cultural centers, universities, and public agencies in the Chihuahuan, Sonoran, Mojave and Great Basin deserts. This will be first of a series of programs falling under the Desert Initiative umbrella.
DI:D1 will "investigate the desert as a site of critical and creative inquiry" by bringing together the four desert regions in North America, according to a recent press release. Museums and other cultural outlets throughout the region will present a series of exhibitions, lectures, projects and events, all of which will draw inspiration from desert landscapes.
There's no more construction fencing around the installation by Arizona-based artist James Turrell on ASU's Tempe Campus, and if you have a minute to spare around sunset or sunrise, you're going to want to spend it on one of the benches inside.
The structure was designed and built by Turrell along with Phoenix-based architect Will Bruder, who designed Burton Barr Library, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and The Nevada Museum of Art (to name a few).
ASU representatives say more information, including a name, will be released about the installation "soon" and that the official unveiling will be in October. The site, at Rural and Terrace roads (just off the ASU Lightrail stop) doesn't have any signage, but finding it is fairly easy. Just look for the glowing light.
To write America, You Sexy Bitch, conservative bombshell Meghan McCain and liberal goof-off Michael Ian Black traveled around the country for a month in a stinky, run-down RV.
During their trip, the twosome fired guns with McCain's family in Sedona and interviewed a slew of people, including exotic dancers in Las Vegas, a Muslim Michigander, and rockers in New Orleans, in an attempt to capture the pulse of a politically polarized people in the midst of an economic downturn looking toward a presidential election.
The resulting read is a Hunter S. Thompson-style adventure (McCain's a self-proclaimed "groupie" of the author) that collects stories of seemingly disparate groups who, much like McCain and Black, have more in common than you might think.
Jackalope Ranch talked with the famously outspoken blogger/writer/MSNBC contributor/Senator's daughter about her upcoming book-signing at Changing Hands, Black calling her bitchy, the likelihood of a President Romney, and more. Read the full interview with Meghan McCain.
You can thank the offices of Scottsdale, Phoenix, and Tempe public art for commissioning, organizing, and orchestrating interesting and often beautiful installations in public spaces. But those same offices depend on artists -- both in Arizona and around the U.S. -- to complete the projects.
Currently up for grabs are three opportunities to get creative and produce something that will be installed for public view. Find out more about the public art projects.
Sheila Missy Lectro is something of a quadruple threat.
Over the past few years she's organized and performed with cabaret troupe the DeViltry Dolls, designed her own line of dancewear and racy couture, starred as a go-go girl at local EDM events, and worked as fashion photographer. (She performed with her fellow dolls during Vince Neil's After-Party at 910 Live in Tempe.)
Oh, and the 27-year-old also writes poetry and aspires to be a vocalist to boot.
Fashion work is what takes up the bulk of Missy Lectro's schedule, however, as the graduate of the Academy of Design Tampa spends most of her time creating costumes for her fellow DeViltry dancers as well as for her own label Dolls R'nt Dead.
Don't forget to check out Jackalope Ranch's continuing series, 100 Creatives.