Perhaps some of you are aware the Florida Georgia Line (the country band) did a song with Nelly (the rapper.) It was an unlikely mix, but it worked. Really.
In fact, here is the video. Give it a listen:
Well, a friend of mine who has always been involved in awesome projects (see Ikonoklast and Hardwire) is now in a band called Goth Brooks, which is a fusion of country music and heavy metal.
I know you might be thinking that such a mix could never work, but I would argue that it not only works, but it’s hilarious! Songs like “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” will remind you of some of your favorite country hits, but with a delightfully creepy twist.
Don’t take my word for it! Check them out for yourselves and tell me how great they are:
All of you must know at least one person who would enjoy it, so please make sure to share with your friends!
So I have a friend and his name is David Matteson. He works with a group called Synthetic Human Productions, and they make short films. He’s really good, and I can’t believe I never wrote about him before. You should check out all of Synthetic Human Production’s videos, but for now, I find this relevant:
A few things I saw this week that were great was Ben Bedell’s “Time Recycled” clocks made of computers, Michelle Geiss’s “Unique Recycled Sculptures” made from old car parts, and of course, the Cucumber Kamikazes at Fate. All these things are worth trying.
I know I must have said this several times before, but you should all check out First Fridays in downtown Phoenix. Every time I go they get bigger and more impressive. I could never cover all of what a First Friday is, but here are my three favorite things from this month.
Michelle Giess is excellent with a blow torch, and I sincerely regret my part-time employment status, because I wanted to buy everything she had.
There is a wide variety of artists on a First Friday, but this was by far the most unique. You can see from the pictures that it’s some original stuff, but my favorite didn’t come out. It was a three-panel screen-style set of Chinese bamboo, and it was amazing.
I know I have said you should all eat at Fate, because it’s great food. But now that Johnny has expanded his place to include a large bar, I have to mention that too. The cucumber kamikaze is a brilliant invention that should be celebrated far and wide.
Fate is at 4th Street and Garfeild, and it’s been one of my favorite places for a long time, but it seems to get cooler every time I go. (Although it really was cold and windy this month.)
The strangest thing I saw was the recycled time. Perfect for any geek, these clocks are made from old computers. I wondered what my machine was good for once it got so outdated I couldn’t open the files people sent me anymore, and now I know. Ben Bendell makes these creative clocks, and they are definitely worth checking out.
Fire dancers from Plaza de Anaya in Tempe are one of the many great things you can see at The Firehouse Gallery in downtown Phoenix.
The Firehouse Gallery is located on First Street, just north of Roosevelt Road. Managed by Michael Hudson, it is a mellow artist’s collective with an art space in front and a stage in back. Currently, The Firehouse Gallery is sticking to only doing events on Fridays. In the future, they hope to have the gallery open several days a week.
First Friday at The Firehouse are exciting because the fire dancers from Plaza de Anaya in Tempe perform on First Fridays at The Firehouse Gallery. These girls are good; it makes you want to sign up for lessons yourself. And, it’s memorizing to watch people dance with fire.
I highly recommend checking out The Firehouse, which is a great example of the sorts of cute little places that make downtown Phoenix unique and special.
Get ready for Halloween fun at the (Sic)monic show in Tempe this Friday.
Halloween is coming, and there are lots of great things to do! One of the fun things going on Halloween day is a (Sic)monic concert at The Setsin Tempe.(Sic)monic is a local hard rock band, with a following of creepy kids who will be dressing up and getting down this Halloween. The show starts late, so you’ll have plenty of time to hand out candy or take the kids trick-or-treating beforehand. Come check these guys out with other local favorites and support your local music scene.
There will also be a costume contest, so don’t forget to dress up!
I was reminded the other day of an artist I used to know named Lisa Albringer, and I thought I would share.
Lisa is now teaching beginning oil painting in Portland. Once, she lived in downtown Phoenix and did a portrait of me (which you can see below and which is titled “JD”). While it is named after me, I don’t know how much it actually resembles me. But it’s lovely anyhow.
Lisa tours the country doing art shows when she isn’t teaching. I highly recommend picking up a piece by Lisa. She is already doing very well, but I expect her to be quite famous some day. While her paintings are priced in the hundreds now, I have no doubt they will appreciate in value over time.
Besides the investment aspect, a painting by Lisa realty brightens up a room. I have one in the corner with my houseplants, and it really goes well there.
Modified Arts is a venue and an art gallery on the Southeast corner of 5th Street and Roosevelt Road in downtown Phoenix.
Most venues only do things on Friday and Saturday night, but Modified packs in the people every day of the week. They have independent film screenings, local and national bands, and art exhibits, to name a few things. There is so much going on there that you really have to check their calendar to know when to go.
Modified Arts is owned by Kimber Lanning, who also owns Stinkweeds music store at the Northwest corner of Central and Camelback Road. Kimber is devoted to local arts and music, and has been active in the arts community for over ten years.
In Modified, she has a space that can be transformed into anything. It can be a spot for a dance recital, but it can also host an art show or a metal band. It’s worth dropping by to pick up a calendar. Kimber’s wonderful employees keep lot of monthly events calendars handy. That way, you always know what’s going on when you have a night free.
The Alwun House is at 12th Street and Roosevelt in Downtown Phoenix. The house is a four-corner bungalow design from the early 1900’s. It’s a neat house, but it also serves as an art gallery and a venue. The Alwun House hosts lots of events from fall to spring, although they don’t do much in the summer. Events are mostly out in the gardens, although the gallery is inside. A cash bar in generally set up near a beautiful coy pond and there are generally two stages on the east and west side of the backyard.
If you go to the Alwun House for an event, expect mature content. The Alwun House welcomes people 21 and over for events, and all ages for daytime gallery hours. But just because it’s all ages, doesn’t mean you should bring your kids. The Alwun House is proud of the fact that they use their right to free speech, and they sometimes allow adult-oriented art in.
I would certainly recommend a trip to the house in the spring to see the gardens in bloom. Even if art and music aren’t right up your alley, the gardens are magnificent. It’s amazing such lush plants can grow in the desert.
The Paisley Violin is an art space at 1030 NW Grand Avenue in downtown Phoenix. There are a lot of neat little art spaces downtown, but this one has good cookies. From tasty food to awesome Chai Tea, this space could certainly be called a restaurant. However, it’s much more than that. Some places are a work of art, and The Paisley Violin definitely fits that description. Renovated by the owner Eric and his friends, the counters are brushed steal with wood trim. The ceiling beams are left exposed, with things suspended in them like an old violin. From the floor to the fish tank, everything was done with the help of customers and friends.
“The reason why it is what it is, I have to say, is because of the individuals,” said Courtney Smith, a Mesa resident who provides security for the Paisley Violin on First Fridays.
There is a feeling of community among downtown Phoenix businesses that is much different from the competitive feel of other cultural hot spots like Mill Avenue. The galleries on The First Friday Art Walk and venue owners downtown are more willing to cross-promote, even if it might mean customers going elsewhere for the night. There are flyers for events at other venues on the counter at The Paisley Violin, and no one minds a bit. This sense of community and friendship seems built into the walls at The Paisley Violin, where local artists and musicians perform, and where local residents hang out.
The stage is small. It’s hardly big enough for a three piece band. But then, there are lots of local artists who perform solo, like Alden Powers, who performs alone with his guitar. There are plenty of large stages near by, so The Paisley fills its own niche with a space for smaller ensembles.
I definitely recommend a trip to The Paisley Violin. It’s a little crowded on a First Friday, so drop by during the week when you have time to enjoy a sandwich and check out the construction of this unique art space.