Tania Katan to Leave Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

Categories: Interviews, News

Evie Carpenter
Tania Katan is leaving SMoCA in January.

Tania Katan is leaving Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.

The writer, performer, and erstwhile bingo hostess has been with the museum for about three years, working as its curator of performing arts to create events, including the mega-hit Lit Lounge, that engaged Valley dwellers in innovative ways and built an audience and brand for the museum's SMoCA Lounge. She announced her departure from the museum on Friday, December 19, in an e-mail to SMoCA Lounge supporters.

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Joe Rogan on the Freedom of Stand-Up and Why He'd Choose Comedy Over Pretty Much Everything Else

Categories: Comedy, Interviews

Paul Mobley
UFC analyst, stand-up comedian, and television personality Joe Rogan will be performing his stand-up routine at Celebrity Theatre on December 12.

You've probably seen or heard Joe Rogan before, whether you intended to or not.

He's a pretty busy guy, considering that he does the color commentary for the major UFC events, has his own successful interview-based podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, and shows up on a wide variety of television programs. Oh, and he's also "that guy from Fear Factor."

But you might not have realized that he's also an accomplished stand-up comedian who sells out shows across the country and has his own hour-long special on Comedy Central.

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YouTube Comedians Mamrie Hart and Grace Helbig on Selfies, Drake Trivia, and Figuring Out Arizona

Categories: Comedy, Interviews

Courtesy of Tempe Improv
Grace Helbig (left) and Mamrie Hart will be getting really weird in Tempe this Sunday.
If you've been around YouTube, Tumblr, or the general Internet over the past few years, chances are you've heard of Mamrie Hart and Grace Helbig, seen one of their videos on either Helbig's It's Grace YouTube channel or Hart's You Deserve a Drink, laughed, cried, and possibly had your life changed by their movie Camp Takota, or at least giggled over one of their GIFs. If you don't know who they are, do yourself a quick favor and Google them. Because you need to prepare to experience the comedy duo's punny improv live on Sunday, December 7, during their last stop of the This Might Get Weird, Y'all tour.

"We try to keep the show about 90 percent improvised so that if you're the sixth stop on the tour, you're still gunna get something new and fresh and not just going through the motions," Hart says.

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Frank Warren on The World of PostSecret, Confessions on a Rubik's Cube, and the Currency of Intimacy

Categories: Books, Interviews

Courtesy of K.C. Morisseau Jr.
Frank Warren founder and curator of PostSecret is known as "the most trusted man in America."
"I am in love with my boyfriend's cousin." "My bulimia has made me better at giving blowjobs." "I always order chicken fingers when I go out with my friends... Because I still can't cut my own meat."

About a million strangers have told Frank Warren their secrets like these. And he's shared them with the world.

Ten years ago, Warren set out to give strangers the chance to confess their most-protected secrets anonymously for a community art project. On Monday, December 1, the Tuscon-born Warren will return to the Grand Canyon State for a live event and signing of his latest book, The World of PostSecret at Changing Hands Tempe.

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Cary Elwes on Acting, As You Wish, and Andre the Giant's Awesome Hugs

Miranda Penn Turn
Cary Elwes brings As You Wish to the Valley.
UPDATE: Cary Elwes' December 2 book signing has been postponed. Changing Hands has not announced a new date as of this writing, but tickets purchased for the December 2 event will be honored on the new date.

I was elated when I found out that actor Cary Elwes had written a book about The Princess Bride. "Great," I thought, "Now he's not just my first love, not just the star of my favorite movie of all time, now he's gotta go and be a goddamn writer, too."

You can imagine that I just about peed my pants when I was asked to interview Elwes about his upcoming Changing Hands Bookstore signing of his book, As You Wish.

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Choreographer Jessica Lang Finds Inspiration in Arizona Landscape

Categories: Dance, Interviews

Jessica Lang Dance
Performance by Jessica Lang Dance, which performs this month at Mesa Arts Center.
New York choreographer Jessica Lang, artistic director for Jessica Lang Dance founded in 2011, has been spending time on Arizona stages of late. Recently the company performed in Tucson and in Wickenburg, and they'll perform this month at Mesa Arts Center, with a touring program that includes five dance works and one film.

Lang received the 2014 Bessie Award for outstanding emerging choreographer, joining a list of Bessie honorees that includes choreographers Merce Cunningham, Garth Fagan, Bill T. Jones, and Mark Morris. It was Morris, the artistic director for Mark Morris Dance Group, who encouraged Lang to start her own dance company -- and Lang considers him a mentor.

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Dapper Press Brings 21st Century Ease, Whimsy to the Self-Publishing World

Categories: Interviews

Courtesy of Dapper Press
Steven Luna is the Phoenix-based portion of Dapper Press.
Writing a book is relatively easy, right? You come up with a beginning, a middle, and an end. You add in some characters, maybe a plot twist or two to keep your readers on the edge of their seats. Slap a catchy title on the front, and you're done. Okay, maybe that's simplifying things a bit. But compared to getting your novel published, which can involve a long series of hoops to jump through just to ultimately result in nothing, writing the thing can seem like a piece of cake.

Sounds rough, but it's reality. That is, if you go the traditional publishing route. Enter Steve Luna and Clayton Smith, whose Dapper Press, launching December 1, will act as your 21st-century, completely digital guide through the seemingly daunting world of self-publishing, turning final drafts into novels that can stand "shoulder-to-shoulder," as Luna says, with those traditionally published books.

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Carrie Bloomston on Writing Little Spark, the Book Her Publishers Didn't Want, and Choosing Creativity Over Fear

Categories: Books, Interviews

Jill McNamara
Carrie Bloomston will be at Changing Hands Phoenix on Tuesday, December 2, for her debut book The Little Spark.
It was about a year ago that Carrie Bloomston, fabric designer and owner of SUCH Designs in Phoenix, was sitting in the tree fort she and her family had built in their backyard and writing while batting away the last lingering mosquitoes of summer.

Bloomston was finishing what would become The Little Spark: 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity, which she will read at Changing Hands on Tuesday, December 2.

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James "Dalek" Marshall Returns to SMoCA This Weekend: Meet the Artist, Paint a Mural

Sean Deckert/Calnicean Projects
Shift creator James Marshall returns this weekend to Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.
He's best known around these parts as the man who made the colorful geometric designs that infuse the SMoCA Lounge gallery and performance space at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. But James "Dalek" Marshall was making brownies with his 8- and 10-year-old sons the day we chatted, and looking ahead to his next Valley visit.

He'll arrive in the afternoon on Friday, November 7, then do a quick refresh at The Saguaro, which seems a fitting spot for Marshall given its big blocks of color. Next he'll bounce over to SMoCA, where his 2014 mural Shift spans an outdoor courtyard and retail space that visitors encounter right after entering the museum.

Marshall's three-day visit starts with an informal meet-and-greet-style event Friday night in the SMoCA Lounge, the site of his 2014 mural Radiate. The museum suggested a more formal presentation at first, he says. But waxing poetic on the ways of making art isn't really Marshall's thing. He's keen on genuine conversations that foster "meaningful questions and answers."

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Emily McDowell on Making Greeting Cards for Real and Awkward Relationships, Why She Left the Ad World, and Starting a Business

Categories: Events, Interviews

Courtesy of Emily McDowell
Emily McDowell: master of illustrations and everyday interactions
There are certain things in the world that connect people in often unspoken ways. With her honest greeting cards, Emily McDowell has discovered that wanting to simply lie in bed and look at your phone next to that special someone is one of those things.

These kind of insights about modern relationships set McDowell and her beautifully lettered, humorous yet deep greeting cards, mugs, tote bags, prints, temporary tattoos, and pretty much anything else you could think to put letters and pretty drawings on apart.

Phoenicians can catch a glimpse at her creative process as McDowell will be meeting and greeting with guests and doing quick, custom lettering illustrations from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, November 8, at Frances.

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