Thursday, November 30, 2017

The City is Nature

The second exhibit I saw at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art was called Repositioning Paolo Soleri:  The City is Nature.  It was a retrospective of the life work of artist and architect Paolo Soleri who made his home right here in Arizona.  Soleri pioneered the term "arcology" which is described as the fusion between architecture and ecology with is designs for urban environments.  Above is a drawing Bow Bridge a design of his that was never built dating back to 1977.

I spent quite a lot of time looking at this model of a city that is very similar to one that is still being built in central Arizona called Arcosanti.  (I really need to get up there and get some photographs from that place.)

One of the docents in the room saw me taking photos and came over to show me this little guy, the only human figure in the model looking out of a round window.  He couldn't be seen from anywhere except one position.  I'm so glad she pointed him out to me.

The exhibit included a lot of Soleri's drawings and sketches he made throughout his long career.  He was certainly a remarkable man.

They also had a few of the vintage Soleri bells on display.  Soleri became well known for making these bells and his students still make them at his Paradise Valley studio today.  You can see photos from that studio here and here.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Marking the Infinite

While I was out for my walk at the Scottsdale Civic Center Park, I decided to visit the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art to see what exhibits were on.  I'm so glad I did.  I saw two wonderful exhibits, the first was called Marking the Infinite:  Contemporary Women Artists from Aboriginal Australia.  With my love of patterns, all of the pieces in this exhibit appealed to me.  The poles and paintings above are by Nonggirrnga Marawili who was born in Darrpirra, Northern Territory.  She depicts the elements of lightning, fire, water and rock which play a role in the beliefs of her clan.

This painting is by Carlene West, born in Tjitjiti, Western Australia and now works and resides in the town of Tjuntijunjttarra.    Her paintings are related to the environment of her birth.  Many of her paintings have large white patches that represent the vast salt lake that is on the edge of Tjitjiti.

This last one is fiber art by Lena Yarinkura also from the Northern Territory and a city named Maningrida.  This piece features mythological female figures called Yawkyawk.

I really enjoyed seeing these wonderful works of art.

Tomorrow I'll show you some things from the second exhibit I saw.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Roses in Bloom

There is a rose garden at the Scottsdale Civic Center Park located around one of the water features in front of City Hall.  I could smell them as I approached and the scent was wonderful.  As I got closer I could see that they were blooming beautifully.  I think I like this one the best.

But, there were other pretty ones to admire too.  I just couldn't get over how they were perfuming the air.  It was wonderful.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Lime Bike

I spotted this brightly painted bike on Saturday when I went for a walk at the Scottsdale Civic Center Park.  It's a bike share bicycle by a company called Lime Bike.  Scottsdale has opted to allow different bike share companies to operate in the city instead of sanctioning just one company.

I looked this one up to see how it operates.  You use an "app" on your smart phone to locate an available bike then you scan it and off you go.  You can leave it anywhere that a bike is allowed to be parked.  Interesting concept.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

I'm Not Camera Shy!

I went for a walk at the Desert Botanical Garden last Friday and I wasn't there five minutes before I saw this lovable roadrunner hiding under a bush.

When he heard my camera shutter click, he looked right at me as if to say "you wanted a photograph?"

"How about if I step out into the sunshine so you can get a better view."  I must say, he was a most cooperative roadrunner.  The fact that we were at the patio cafe where lots of visitors were having lunch had nothing to do with it.  (At least, that's the way I see it.)

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  It's amazing the things you will find driving on country roads.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Chipmunks all Around

I stopped at Berridge Nursery last week to see the Christmas Decorations.   They always have a huge array of professionally decorated Christmas trees and they are so much fun to see.  However, I fell in love with these adorable little carved chipmunks.  They were so beautifully displayed playing among the fall foliage.  I would have loved to take one home with me but, I didn't.

Friday, November 24, 2017

And So It Begins....

Actually, it began several weeks ago.  I'm pretty sure these decorations were up the first week of November.

It will be a hectic time at the mall from today on.  I never shop on "Black Friday".  It's just too crazy.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Turkey Duo

It's Thanksgiving Day here in the United States and there will be a lot of turkey on tables across the country.  These two don't have anything to worry about since they are made of wood.  The turkeys are safe from me to because I've decided not to cook turkey today.  I'll be making roast chicken instead.

Here's a pretty holiday table setting courtesy of Williams Sonoma.  My table will be much more modest. However, I do like those pumpkin plates and I like the plaid one too.  Since I've started downsizing my collected of dishes and china, I've decided to take photos of the ones I like instead of buying them.

Happy Thanksgiving to all those who celebrate!

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.... 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.