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.

More »

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.

More »

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.

More »

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.

More »

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.

More »

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."

More »

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.

More »

Nicole McCord of Tempe's Urban Art Tattoo and Piercing on Pinterest Tattoos, Mythology, and Inking Dark, Sultry Ladies

Josh Chesler
McCord's eccentric style of tattooing fits best with bigger tattoos, as evidenced by the outlines of back pieces and leg sleeves behind her

When Nicole McCord started tattooing in 1996, she was under the same mistaken impression that she believes a lot of young people fall for.

"I originally didn't want to be a starving artist, and I was one of those kids who assumed that tattooers were all rock stars," McCord says. "I was wrong, obviously, but it's very rewarding. I'm glad I'm not just doing something to pay the bills."

When she's not tattooing, McCord spends her free time on her other artistic passions, like painting and drawing.

More »

Steven J. Tepper, New ASU Herberger Institute Dean, Talks Arts, Policy, and Community

Andy DeLisle
Steven J. Tepper is the new Dean of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at ASU
No need to wonder whatever became of the little boy whose mom sent him to his first drawing class at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. when he was just 10 or 11 years old.

You'll find Steven J. Tepper heading the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, where 4,700 students are studying in five schools.

His purview also includes the ASU Art Museum on the Tempe campus.

Until recently, the institute's new dean was an associate professor in Vanderbilt's sociology department and associate director for that university's Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy.

He continues to serve as research director for the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project based at Indiana University, which gives him powerful insights into what becomes of art students once they graduate.

More »

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni on Growing Up with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, Race, and What It Takes to Do a One-Woman Show

Courtesy of Mesa Arts Center
Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni stars in a one-woman show written by her and produced by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni wants to talk about race in America -- and she's got an idea of where she wants to start. The writer-actor-director-producer extraordinaire will bring her one-woman show, One Drop of Love, to Mesa Arts Center on Saturday, November 1.

Inspired by her own experiences with race, family, and reconciliation, One Drop of Love endeavors to explore these concepts in a funny, relatable way. In addition to giving two performances, Cox DiGiovanni will be hosting a panel discussion and community dialogue on Thursday, October 31, at the Arizona Opera Center. We spoke with the creative about her performance, her history, and her first-ever visit to Arizona.

More »