Saturday, August 31, 2019

It All Started Here

Did you know that Steven Spielberg grew up in Phoenix Arizona?

The Phoenix Theatre Company recently added this Steven Spielberg Entrance to the theatre that sits right behind the Phoenix Art Museum.

In 1964 when Spielberg was just 17 years old, he premiered his first feature length film called "Firelight" right here in this theatre.  It was then known as Phoenix Little Theatre where he worked in the properties department.

Spielberg visited Phoenix in 2013. He's pictured here holding a photograph of himself standing by the marquee advertising his film.

Friday, August 30, 2019

What Do you Think?

I've always thought that this was one of our least attractive high-rise buildings in the city of Phoenix.  So I'm asking, what do you think?

It's located on the southwest corner of Central and Thomas Roads and I believe it goes by the name "One Thomas".

I had a picture of this building once before but it was from the back side of the building because of a mural that appears there.  You can see that post here.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Lots of Fake Palm Trees

I finally got a photo of this house when there wasn't a huge truck parked in front of it.  Someone once told me that the owner here creates those colorful fake palm trees.  I've seen them around town, usually adorning a business location.  It's hard to see them all in this yard.  They were everywhere.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Ride & Shine

Our light rail trains carry a vast array of advertising on them these days.  I happened to catch this one with ad for the light rail itself.  Actually, this one happens to be a prize winner for the "design a transit wrapper" contest conducted among high school students in the valley.  They are asked to design a wrapper that promotes the benefits of public transportation.  This one was designed by Lindzi Ramos of Peoria High School.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Front Yard Art

When I'm driving around different neighborhoods looking for interesting things to photograph, I sometimes spot art sculptures in the various front yards.  This one was a mobile that turned in the breeze.

Here's another colorful mobile.  It almost looks like this one might have been created by the same artist as the first one, doesn't it?

This one was a small ornament hanging from a tree but it caught my eye because it was glinting in the morning sunlight.  I saw the glint first and wondered where it was coming from and then I spotted the ornament and zoomed in on it.

Three different ways to add some color to the front yard of a home!

Monday, August 26, 2019

National Dog Day!

Today is National Dog Day so I thought it appropriate to feature man's best friend on my post today.  This is Nikos, my friend David's dog.  He is such a sweetheart and big baby.  I give him a kiss on his forehead every time I see him!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Alone Among the Crowd

I wonder if this lady knows she's being watched!  I snapped this inside the cafe in the lobby of the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Phoenix.  This one wall is covered with this crowd of people doing all sorts of things.  It's an interesting collection of characters.  I could spend some time looking at them all.

P.S. I went to see a movie yesterday called "Where'd You Go, Bernadette" starring Cate Blanchett.  I LOVED it.  Such an interesting story about life's challenges, sacrifice, family, artistic passion and love.  And, it's told with humor and adventure.  I highly recommend it.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  Of all the Italian villas I toured last May, the one I'm featuring stands out as the biggest, most opulent and quirkiest.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Look What I Found!

There were quite a few grackles hanging around the outside tables at a restaurant in Tempe and even though not many people braved the heat to dine outside, this fellow found a tidbit to take away.

It looks like a piece of popcorn to me but it might just be a piece of bread.  He was pretty proud of his find and he pranced around with it for a while before flying away.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Just Because They are Pretty

It is so hot and dry here that I find myself in the mood for something more spring-like and pretty.  So, for today's post I have some flowers from my last walk at the Desert Botanical Garden.  My last walk was back in June when I could still get there early enough to enjoy being outside.  It will be a few more weeks before I can do that again.  Above we have two varieties of Desert Rose.  I love this resilient plant.  They bloom all year and can take our punishing sun.

A big yellow sunflower is always a cheerful sight.

Blooms on the Guayacan plant. The bees love this one.

And, some pretty purple owls clover.  This one can be found growing wild in some areas.

I can't wait to see things bloom again.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

To Serve and Protect

I found this bronze statue in Scottsdale in front of a police station.  It's called "To Serve and Protect" and it was created by artist Jeff Carol Davenport.

However, the story doesn't end there.  Although the statue belongs to the City of Scottsdale's Public Art portfolio, the idea for the statue was conceived of by Scottsdale Police Officer Ron Gorski who single handedly raised the funds to have it commissioned.  Nice work Officer Ron!

The Tempe Arizona Foundry donated its foundry services to complete the project.  A true community effort.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Colorful Building Blocks

There was a Lego store inside the Arizona Mills shopping center so of course there was a large display in the mall area of things made from legos.  This display was all about dessert plants.

All kinds of cactus and cactus blooms were featured.

The piece was complete with an owl living inside a cactus, a desert tortoise crawling around and frogs and snakes slithering among the plants.  Not to mention that gorgeous butterfly sitting atop one of the cactus blooms.  It was an impressive display!

I'm glad I visited this mall once again after such a long time away.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Inside the Rainforest

I had no idea that any Rainforest Cafes still existed but the one inside the Arizona Mills shopping center was still there and customers were inside.  I have eaten here before (or maybe it was another one somewhere) but, it was a very long time ago.  It's just an average restaurant that is all about the experience and not so much about the food.

The inside and outside are decorated like a jungle complete with waterfalls and jungle noises.  As I recall, while dining here you will hear all kinds of bird calls, hoots from monkeys and an occasional growl from the large cat family.  It's all recorded sound, of course.

I was quite surprised to find this place still open for business.

Monday, August 19, 2019

I Was Tempted...

The "kid" in me was tempted to hop on this gorgeous carousel horse take the musical ride in that colorful circle.  Since I was on the south side of town last Friday to photograph the unusual architecture house from yesterday, I decided to head east a little and visit the shopping center called Arizona Mills.  I bet I haven't been inside this center for at least 15 years.  With so many shopping centers struggling to survive, I wasn't sure what I would see.

I'm happy to report that this one appears to be doing well.  Arizona Mills is a outlet or discount mall and not only was it open for business but, it was quite busy.

The gorgeous carousel was located in the food hall area and it was a bit quiet there but, it was a Friday and all those fun loving kids were in school.

I'll have some more shots from this interesting place tomorrow.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Unusual Architecture

Back in mid-April one of the issues of The Week magazine, had a picture of a house for sale in Phoenix.  It was part of a weekly article in the magazine called "Best properties on the market" and every week there is a certain theme for the piece.  On that week it was "Unusual Architecture".  I so rarely see a listing from Phoenix so I decided I should locate this one and get a look at it myself.  I found the listing and the address, mapped it out and then tossed the magazine in my car to search it out sometime.  It was pretty far from where I live so it sat in my car for several months until I finally made the trip this weekend.

As you can see, the house is constructed from shipping containers.  Personally, I don't find that very attractive and I can't imagine that it could possibly be very cost effective.  After all, those containers need to be purchased, transported, then insulated and plumbed and placed on a foundation.  And, that doesn't take into consideration the cost of cooling a giant metal house during the Arizona summers.

The photo that was in the magazine and that appears in the listing was taken from this angle and in the evening with the lights glowing from inside.  And, of course those garbage containers were not in the picture.  The for sale is still in the yard so it looks like it hasn't appealed to anyone and at a price tag of $575,000, who can blame them.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  The sea is calling me!

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Global Transport

When my plane landed in Phoenix two weeks ago when I returned from California, I saw this huge aircraft parked to one side with a nose cone that lifted up revealing a ramp to drive something into the belly of the plane.  I was curious about it so I zoomed in on the photo to see what was printed on the side.  It reads "Volga-Dneper".  I did a little investigating and found that it is a company based in Ulyanovsk, Russia that specializes in providing air charter services.  It operates a fleet of twelve AN-124 Boeing 747-8F aircraft that are certified for global transport operations.  Now I'm very curious to know what it was doing here.  Was it bringing something big here or is it taking something big away. Who knows!

Friday, August 16, 2019


I was driving around in the far north of Phoenix last weekend when I passed this grand entrance with what looked like a very long drive.  I turned around to get a closer look wondering what this sanctuary was.  I drove down the long, well-manicured drive and finally came to a locked gate that was operated with a remote control or coded key-pad.  Behind it was a subdivision of houses.  From what I could see, the houses were nice but they weren't especially elaborate.  The entrance sure is.  It must make the people who live there feel like they are entering a little paradise.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

A"Head" of the Competition

I noticed this giant head perched at the entrance to the Goodman's Furniture store so I stopped to take a photo.

Goodman's sells office furniture so I'm not quite sure how this fellow fits in with the marketing of desks and the chairs that fit under them.  However, there he is sitting rather proudly on his tall platform.

I guess you could say he drew me in and I'm certainly not in the market for office furniture.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

In-Fill Housing

I live in the heart of Phoenix in an area that has been well established for a long time.  However, when I drive around my area, I see lots and lots of construction on condominiums that have been squeezed into small spaces surrounded by older homes.  Most of the time, they blend into the neighborhood very well.

Every now and then, I find one like this that seems to be such a stark contrast to the little brick houses that are all around it.  This one is simply way to severe to suit my taste.  I'm afraid it makes me think of a prison block.

This one is also very angular and plain but, at least the paint colors make it more appealing.  One of these days, I'm going to roam around these places and have a look at the models.  That would be fun.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Random Observations

Just a few random observations I've made recently around town.  Here's a guy who loves a wide range of Rock and Roll.  He rolled up next to me at a traffic light.

I spotted this guy talking to someone in a parking lot.  He obviously likes living on the wild side.

An unusual name for a hair salon.  I shot this one through the windshield so its a bit hazy.

A little tableau I noticed at a local antique store.  The brush and mirror and jars are very attractive.

Flying over a house in my neighborhood.  Just a little out of place.

Monday, August 12, 2019

It's All About the Hats

I took these photos at one of the galleries in Scottsdale three years ago and I noticed them again when I was organizing photo files.  The only problem was, I didn't know who the artist was.  So, when I ventured out to Scottsdale for the art walk last Thursday, I made a point of visiting the same gallery to see if they had any more from this artist.

They didn't so I asked the gallery owner if he remembered these paintings and he did. The artist is Victor Ostrovsky and I learned that he has retired from painting because of an illness.

What strikes me about these paintings is that they look more like mural art than paintings on canvas.  I could picture one of these on a wall or the side of building.

Looking at his web site, these images look like they are part of his "Metaphors of Espionage" series.

They are certainly an interesting take on a typical landscape.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Revisiting The Last Supper

When I went on that art walk last Thursday evening, one of the galleries I stopped at was Sacred Art Gallery.  I probably wouldn't have stopped in if it hadn't been 105 degrees outside, and the air conditioning inside was beckoning.  As it turns out, I'm glad I stepped inside and found this "painting" that caught my eye immediately.  It looked so much like the real thing I had seen two months ago in Milan Italy.  I approached and looked at the tag and saw that this was a giclee print and the artist was rightfully credited to Leonardo da Vinci.  I talked with the gallery employee and learned that many of the pieces in the the store were giclee prints of famous religious art.  It's good to know that this piece of art that is in so much peril will live on in photos and artwork for centuries to come.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm at the third stop on the tour of Milan and there is an amusing story to tell.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Scottsdale Art Walk

I was sorting through photos again last week when I came across several photos I had taken when I went on the weekly art walk in Scottsdale.  I got to thinking that I hadn't done that in a while and figured I should do it again when they start up in the fall.  I checked their schedule and discovered they do it all year long.  So Thursday evening I headed over to Scottsdale to see what the art walk was like on a hot August night.  Quiet would be the word that comes to mind.  Not many people were out admiring the art and many of the galleries were closed for vacations but I pushed on and visited around eight different galleries.  It was all on a stretch of three blocks so I wasn't out in the heat for long periods of time.  I snapped the above photo when I was crossing the street at the corner of Main and Scottsdale Road.  I snapped three shots before I got one without any cars crossing in front.  Scottsdale Road is pretty busy.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Old Adobe Mission

The Old Adobe Mission is located right in the heart of downtown Scottsdale.  It's official name is Our Lady of Perpetual Help and it was built by hand by Mexican immigrants who settled in Scottsdale in the early 1900's.  In 2001, the city of Scottsdale had it placed on the Register of Historic Buildings.

I love taking pictures of it's snow-white bell tower against a perfect blue sky!