Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Technology in Action


I've been wanting to grab a photo of one these cars for months but since I only see them when I'm driving, it's been a challenge.  I finally captured one at a traffic light.  It's the new "driverless" car that Uber is testing here in Arizona.  (You can see the sensor on the top of the car.)


When the light changed, I went in one direction and the car went in another but, a little while later we met up again at a different traffic light.  Yes, there is a driver in there but, he's not driving the car,  While the cars are being tested, there are usually two technicians inside who help with refining and improving the software.  I watched this one turn the corner and that guy in the driver's seat was just sitting there and letting it turn all by itself.

Uber announced yesterday that they had made an agreement with Volvo to purchase 24,000 of these cars between 2019 and 2021.  After Uber gets the car, they will install the sensors and autonomous driving computing equipment.  Uber has been testing these cars in Arizona, San Francisco and Pittsburgh for the last couple of years.  At this time they are only testing, they do not take any passengers.

So, what do you think?  Are you ready to take a ride in a "driverless" car?  Buckle up!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

After Dark


When I was at the Mesa Art Center last Thursday evening, I took a few "after dark" photos around the building.  It really is a spectacular facility with several theatre spaces available, an art museum and art education classrooms.  When I lived in Mesa almost 20 years ago, we dreamed of an art center like this.  In fact, I served on the Mesa Arts Advisory Board and we started the long and bumpy road to getting a facility like this built.  It didn't happen until long after my board service ended and a while after I moved to Phoenix.  It was completed in 2005 and is the largest arts campus in the state.  Bravo Mesa!


Those cactus in the top shot look just as good as shadows up against that turquoise plexiglass wall.


In another location, there is an other plexiglass wall with barrel cactus planted along it.


The theatre space houses four separate performance spaces with the largest being the one I pictured last week at 1600 seats to the smallest with just 99 seats.  I posted some daytime photos of the arts center last year.  You can see them here.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Illegal Alien Abduction


Last week I had just a photo of the lady on the mural at Just Blaze but, I didn't show you the other part of that mural.  It's called "Illegal Alien Abduction" and it's by an artist who goes by the name of "ABOMBTHEARTIST".  It has actually been on the side of this building for a long time while the back half of the wall gets changed periodically.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The View from the Stage


A friend of mine gave me tickets to an event at the Mesa Arts Center which was called "A Conversation & Book Signing" with Sarah Vowell and Daniel Handler.  If those names don't sound familiar (they didn't with me at first), Sarah Vowell is an author who refers to herself as a 'social observer' and Daniel Handler is also an author and the creator of Lemony Snicket.

The event started on an unusual note when instead of sitting in the audience, ticket holders were seated on the stage.  It was a great opportunity for me to get a quick photo of this magnificent theatre from a vantage point that would otherwise be impossible to get.  The event was very enjoyable with lots of humorous stories about how the two authors conceived of their most current books and other hints into their creative processes.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm visiting a place in Washington D.C. that many visitors miss.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

My Love of Patterns


By now you  know how I just love repeating patterns.  That must explain why I found three photos in my files of parking structure stairs.  It has to be those nice even lines.  This one is at the Biltmore Shopping Center in central Phoenix.


I noticed this one in downtown Phoenix very near the baseball stadium.
































I especially like this one also in downtown Phoenix.  Those circular platforms look like giant bread-baskets or a stacking fruit and vegetable dish.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Noticing the Little Details


When I was shopping in Scottsdale a few weeks ago, I noticed that the True Food restaurant there had created a wall of herbs in pots on their west facing outside wall.  It's not only decorative but edible too!


Then I recently had lunch at the True Food restaurant just down the street from me and I noticed they added one of those gnarly gourds to the table to give it a little fall-like touch.  That's just me and my camera, we notice all kinds of silly things.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Imposter


Isn't he the most life-like looking stuffed animal you've ever seen?  I spotted him in a toy store window when I was at the mall last weekend.  The funny thing is, it made me think of my dad.  When I took my dad to London some 17 years ago, the only thing he purchased as a souvenir was a stuffed tiger.....and it was just for him!  He would have loved this guy!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Garden at Night



When I was at the garden last Friday to see the concert, I took the opportunity to snap a couple of night photos around the garden.

The giant Jun Kaneko head near the entrance looked "in the pink" with that flood light on it and the dusky sky in the background.























This cactus that was also near the entrance also looks good and you can see the twinkling tree lights in the background.  The trees are all wrapped in lights to get ready for the annual "Luminarias" event in December when the garden paths are lined with the traditional luminaria bags.  I hope to have some photos from that event some time in December.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

All That Glitters....


...is not gold!
I was at the mall over the weekend when this glittery, shiny and glaringly bright window display caught my eye.  So I stopped to take a photo.  I recognized the form of the balloon dog, which is one of the signature sculptures by artist Jeff Koons but, I couldn't figure what the artist had to do with Louis Vuitton.


I did a little research when I got home.  It turns out that the artist, Jeff Koons has teamed up with Louis Vuitton to create a collection of bags based on some very famous old masters by the likes of da Vinci, Van Gogh and Turner.  


So they are offering a line of handbags with images of a few art world masterpieces and according to one site I visited, shoppers are not amused.  One comment made reference to how LV spends a lot of time and money battling "knock-offs" and now they've done the knocking-off of the great masters (so to speak).  Another person commented that they looked like souvenir bags that you might get in the museum gift shop.  Ouch! It will be interesting to note if I see any of these on the arms of any women around town.  There won't be any on my arm.   But hey, that window is a show stopper.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Sexy Lady vs. Hip Hop


There is a store on Indian School Road called Just Blaze that calls itself a smoke shop and street art supplier.  Along with the smoking paraphernalia it sells paint supplies that are regularly used to produce street art.  The side of their building is an ever changing mural space.  I took the above photo of the sexy lady back in August.


I went by there a week ago and this mural was painted over the top of the mural of the lady above.  I really have to keep my eye on this place.  The murals change often and most of them don't have an artists name associated with them.  As you can see, this one just advertises a Hip Hop festival that I guess took place this last weekend.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Music in the Garden




Friday night I went to one of the Desert Botanical Garden's "Music in the Garden" events and I had great front row seats to see Big Nick and Gila Monsters.  After a couple of songs, they were joined by four guys with some jazzy brass instruments.  They reminded me of the Blues Brothers in their black shirts and black hats.



Mike Lewis, the lead guitar player was my favorite.  He really knows how to play a guitar.



I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm visiting some residents of Parliament Square.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

America's Escalating Outrage

Last Thursday evening I attended another of the Arizona State University's School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership lectures.  This one with guest speaker Jonathan Haidt.  His subject was America's Escalating Outrage: Why is it happening, what does it do to colleges, and how can we reverse it?"

Wow, what an exceptional talk it was.  He had a lot of insights into what has caused this growing divide between liberals and conservatives and how we can try to address it.  The bad news is, he doesn't see it ending anytime soon.  In fact he said he fears it will get worse before it gets better.  Given that dreary prediction, it was still a most informative talk and I learned a lot from it.  Haidt is a professor at New York University and the author of a recent book titled "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion".  He is also a founding member of Heterodox Academy. Check out their website if you are interested.  There is a lot of amazing information and fascinating points of view featured there.

Friday, November 10, 2017

An Arizona Truck


I saw this artwork made of old license plates on the wall of a local restaurant.  I liked the way it was constructed from pieces of the plates and formed into a cute little pick-up truck.  A clever piece of art.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Desert Plants


These purple flowers can be seen all over the Phoenix area and are used mostly in landscaping around commercial properties.  I think it's called Desert Ruellia.  I spotted this plant when I parked my car at the Phoenix Art Museum last weekend.  The flowers looked so pretty in the sun so I snapped a picture of them when I got out of the car.


An hour and a half later when I was leaving the museum, I glanced at the same plant and it had no flowers on it at all.  That's when I noticed that all the pretty purple blooms were scattered on the ground.  I couldn't help thinking how sad it was the someone felt the need to pull the blooms off this pretty plant.  It's funny the things that one notices.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Caged!


When I was at the art museum last weekend, I suddenly realized that I had never posted an image of this sculpture that sits outside the museum.  It's called Jurassic Age by Chinese artist Sui Jianguo.  He's noted as one of China's most important artists whose work is often described as a symbol for China's transition from communism to capitalism.  The words "Made in China" appear on the belly of this caged beast which some see as a reflection on global commercialism with limits on freedom.

The artist says:  "The reason I enlarge the toys to such an enormous size is to highlight the political economic system behind them.  Dinosaur toys are designed by a company in a western country, produced in China and then commercially distributed around the globe."

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Return of Black Cloud


Back in 2013 I posted images of this art piece by the Mexican artist Carlos Amorales.  It's called Black Cloud and was inspired by the annual migration of Monarch butterflies from Canada to Mexico each year.


Once again the entry hall at the Phoenix Art Museum has filled up with 25,000 black butterflies and moths.  


Carlos Amorales is a highly celebrated Mexican artist.  He was chosen to represent Mexico in the 2017 Venice Biennial which is one of the highest international honors for an artist.

I can't imagine how long it takes to fix all these black paper butterflies to the walls and ceiling.  That must be quite a job.

Monday, November 6, 2017

For the Love of Color


This colorful mural is on the side of a studio near downtown Phoenix.  It's by artist Carrie Marill who goes by the name of Punk Wasp.  Carrie's artwork is full of patterns and bright colors and she also has a line of jewelry.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Hay Fields


Yesterday I mentioned that my friend Glenda and I visited some of the Scottsdale art galleries last Thursday and I wanted to show the work of one artist who really appealed to me.  The artist is Jean Luc Messin and he's been represented by Brennan Fine Art for a number of years.


For such common farm scenes, these struct me as exceptionally beautiful.  You could see every blade of hay and some of the hay bundles were raised with heavy paint so they almost had a 3-D effect.


I love the stormy skies in these paintings and this one with fields in the background and tire tracks in front made me feel like I could walk right into it.


Mr Messin lives part time in France and part time in Scottsdale and these scenes were inspired by the area in France where he spends part of the year.  I think these are wonderful paintings.  I'd be happy to capture a photo this good.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm visiting a tiny historic spot.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Let There Be Light


Last week I checked a web site about things to do around town and I found a link to a new gallery in Scottsdale that was featuring the photography of Bob Carey.  I went to the website for the gallery, Fiat-Lux (which means "let there be light") to check their hours and learned that they are only open to the public on Thursday nights which happens to be the night of the Scottsdale Art Walk.  And further, they are only open Thursday night from 7 to 9.  Well I was intrigued by a gallery that could keep such sparse hours so my friend Glenda and I decided to check it out last Thursday.  We were sadly very disappointed.  Here's the gallery, all lit up but, where I'm standing there was a chain across the entrance (which I almost tripped over in the dark) and no sign of life.  We even waited around for 15 minutes thinking maybe they were just late but, no one came.  Apparently, one night a week for just two hours must be too much for the gallery owners.  If I sound a little miffed it's because I am.  I wanted to see that show and it only goes until the 6th and I have other plans next Thursday.  Of course, they might not be open next Thursday either, who knows.


Glenda and I didn't let it spoil the evening.  We visited some other galleries and ended the night in the Aridus tasting room where we indulged a bit of wine tasting.  They have some pretty darn good wines so the evening ended on a high note.


Friday, November 3, 2017

Pueblo People


I had lunch at the Heard Museum last Sunday so while I was there I visited my favorite little garden spot with the red wall.

The sculpture is by Allan Houser and it's called People of the Rio Grande.  It's described as paying tribute to the Pueblo People who are presented as mysterious and ethereal.

It looks pretty good with that red background.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Hot Mess


I do enjoy contemporary art and I'm always interested in new and different things.  However, I will admit that there are always pieces of art that I just don't get.  This is one of them.  I don't think the artist is necessarily at fault.  I think it has more to do with my own sense artistic style and interest.


The Phoenix Art Museum has opened a new exhibit called Hot Mess Formulation by the contemporary artist Sheila Pepe.  Ms. Pepe is best known for fiber based, large scale installations.  The piece I have pictured (yes, all three photos are one piece) is called "91BCE Not So Good for Emperors" and it goes from the gallery floor all the way to the second floor of the museum.


The description for this piece says "Here the improvisational, drawing-like quality of Pepe's work becomes inextricably bound with her use of materials linked to family traditions such as crocheting passed down from her mother, to shoelaces referencing her grandfather's work repairing shoes."

So now you know as much as I do.  I'm certainly not sorry I went to see it.  I guess I just can't appreciate it as much as another person might.  You can form your own opinion.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Theme Day: Rock & Roll


Theme Day has arrived again to City Daily Photo Bloggers and the November theme is Rock & Roll. This was a tough one for me.  I haven't been to a "rock" concert in ages and ages and all my music has been moved to iTunes on my iPod so what can I photograph.  Then I remembered that I still had a few CD's stacked up somewhere that didn't get tossed when I moved so I dug through them a came up with some old Rock & Roll standards.  Anyone recognize these albums.  I'm not sure why these are still hanging around.  They've been uploaded to iTunes long ago.

If you would like to see how other City Daily Photo bloggers are picturing Rock & Roll, click here.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween


Yesterday I mentioned that the Desert Botanical Garden had a rather whimsical display of pumpkins called Pumpkin Alley.  Since today is Halloween, I'll show you the pumpkins who've donned their Halloween costumes.  These three witches are tending their bubbling cauldron. (Anyone else thinking "Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble"?)


While this pumpkin has jumped on her broom and taken off in search of children to scare.

I have to say that this was one very clever holiday display!  Bravo to the planners!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Pumpkin Alley


I went for a walk at the Desert Botanical Garden yesterday morning and I found something new to photograph.  The garden had a family event this last weekend called Strange Garden and they created one path that was called Pumpkin Alley.  These two orange fellows were pointing the way.



This bell-shaped archer was attempting a trick made famous by William Tell.  The fellow with the apple was saying his prayers.






























This poor gourd has stumbled into a "jumping cactus" and he has those little balls of thorns attached to his back side.  It looks like his friend is pretty freaked out by the sight of his friend's dilemma.


This group of rotund squashes were having a fun time in this big tree.


This group has set up camp and are roasting marshmallows over the campfire.  

What fun arrangements.  I'll have a few more tomorrow.