Monday, September 6, 2010
Toto, we're not in Flagstaff anymore...
Nine-year-old Lily will pull you an espresso shot at 100 Mike's Pike.
by Elizabeth Hellstern
My first week of resolution, and I more than fulfilled it. I attended three cultural events this week; I went to the College of Arts and Letters Film Series screening of "The Gold Rush." I went to the opening exhibit of The Fifth Biennial Print Exhibition at the NAU Art Museum. And I also went to ArtWalk, saw all of you there as well, and stopped by quite a few new places, including Jeff and Kari Maurer's new space at 100 Mike's Pike.
Just to be specific, and to clarify the rules of my fun little game, I'm defining cultural events as fine art exhibits, film screenings (not "movies",) theatre or dance performances, classical music performances, and intellectual lecturers or speakers. I did go to the County Fair this weekend, and while there is plenty of culture there, (the demolition derby alone could satisfyingly fill a graduate student's thesis paper with its American culture theme,) I'm just not counting it. I have a lot of options, and I only have to attend one event per week.
At the packed house of "The Gold Rush," my 14-year-old son was laughing uproariously, along with the rest of the crowd. I felt very connected to my fellow film-goers: we laughed together, we clapped together, we even cringed together when the Tramp kicked a dog (YUCK.) I had an incredibly virtuous feeling afterwards, too, because I had furthered my son's understanding of the history of physical humor. He loves George Lopez, Seinfeld, The Marx Brothers, and the Stooges. Now I've added a historical piece to his comedic understanding!
The NAU Art Museum has a fantastic display of prints up. I learned that the printing process is extremely complex (and involves quite a few chemicals.) It's a fascinating show, and if you go, you should kindly ask Ty to explain some of the processes for you. Maybe I'm just crazy, but knowing all the work that goes into each piece makes me just the tiniest bit in awe of the finished product.
Finally, on First Friday I dragged my friend to the Maurer's space, where Phoenix artist John Tuomisto-Bell is displaying his fantastic bronze-casted army of featureless figures and heads, of all shapes and sizes. I met Jeff last week, following early morning curiosity. Jeff and his wife, Kari, have created a totally restored historic building--but done with corrugated metal siding, cool window placement, and classy old wood. It feels historic, yet super-modern. In the middle of this aesthetic coolness is a super-fine espresso machine. Their 9-year-old daughter, Lily, will pull you the finest shot ever. Watch out Late for the Train!
In between having a good laugh at Charlie Chaplin, learning a ton of new information about the printing process, and drinking super-strong espresso at 8 p.m., a funny phrase started to float about within my earshot. "I feel like I'm not in Flagstaff anymore," I heard several times.
I think it's great that all of the art events are starting to bring people out of their culture box. I think it's great that Flagstaff is starting to bring it all home. But I think it's high time that we stop being shocked that we ARE in Flagstaff, and raise our expectations of our sweet little mountain town!
Yes, we are in Flagstaff, it's great, and getting even better!