The Bad and The Beautiful Fuses Contemporary and Modern Dance at Herberger Theater

Categories: Dance, Review

Tim Fuller
Center Dance Ensemble performs Night of Moonlit Wild at Herberger Dance Center in Phoenix.
We're used to seeing dancing vampires this time of year, thanks to A Vampire Tale choreographed by Lisa Starry for her Scorpius Dance Theatre. Now Valley audiences can also enjoy the première of a new Starry work titled Fade, which is part of The Bad and The Beautiful program for Center Dance Ensemble (CDE) of Phoenix.

Center Dance Ensemble opened its 2014-15 season Thursday, October 23, with a five-piece program that includes four world première dances, including Fade, in addition to the ballet Billy the Kid choreographed by CDE artistic director Frances Smith Cohen.

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The Hungry Woman at ASU's Lyceum Theatre Is Interesting, Lacks Subtlety

Categories: Review, Theater

Tim Trumble, courtesy of ASU Herberger Institute for Design and Arts
The Hungry Woman at ASU will continue October 23 through 26.

Cherrie Moraga's The Hungry Woman debuted on the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts' mainstage last weekend. The play, set in a post-Revolutionary, futuristic Phoenix, is a modernized retelling of the tragedy of Medea. Native and Mexican themes and folklore are integrated into the story, which also explores issues of homophobia and gender inequality. While the play presented an interesting perspective and was certainly thought-provoking, many elements of this particular production failed to reinforce the text.

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Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike: Misery Meets Company Meets Absurd Comedy at Phoenix's Herberger Theater

Categories: Review, Theater

Joan Marcus
Charles Janasz and Ali Rose Dachis in Arizona Theatre Company's production of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.

Two women are weeping. A man dressed as a Disney dwarf arrives with a tea tray. References to Chekhov are made. It's plain: We are watching a Christopher Durang play.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play. It is, in many ways, archetypal Durang: an absurdist comedy dense with literary and theater-world references, a happy story about deeply unhappy people.

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"Chaos Theory" Has Gone From Funky to Formulaic at Legend City Studios in Phoenix

Categories: Review, Visual Art

Lynn Trimble
Randy Slack's California Jamboree, 1985 is on view in "Chaos Theory 15."

The "Chaos Theory" exhibition at Legend City Studios opened on First Friday to big crowds and social media praise. But during its 15-year history, the event has gone from funky to formulaic.

About half of the 19 artists invited to show works in 2000 still participate and only nine of the 69 artists included this year are first-timers, says organizer Randy Slack, who founded "Chaos Theory" with James Angel and David Dauncey, fellow members of the 3CarPileUp artist collective.

They named the event for the mathematical principle that says small changes can produce big effects, and they were early adopters of the First Friday art walk. All deserve kudos for helping build what's become a full-fledged arts scene, but the time has come to stop celebrating the past 15 years and start creating the next 15.

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Porsha O Crowned 2014 Individual World Poetry Slam Champion in Tempe

Categories: Poetry, Review

Zaida Dedolph
Porsha O presents her winning poem at the Individual World Poetry Slam championships.

This year's Individual World Poetry Slam, sponsored by the Arizona Humanities Council, was thought-provoking to say the least. The event lasted four days at multiple local venues, and led up to a final bout at Marquee Theatre on Saturday, October 11. The iWPS finals offered exposure not only to this year's top contenders, but to the culture of slam poetry.

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Scorpius Dance Theatre's A Vampire Tale Keeps the Cult in "Cult Classic"

Categories: Dance, Review

Scorpius Dance Theatre
A Vampire Tale kicks off its 11th Season.

This is the story of the time I brought my boyfriend to a dance play about vampires during post-season baseball. More specifically, this is a story about the time I peeled the aforementioned man off the couch and dragged him to Scorpius Dance Theatre's A Vampire Tale during longest playoff game in the history of the world, or something.

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Misha Mendicino Named Emerging Designer of the Year at Phoenix Fashion Week 2014

Categories: Fashion, Review

Evie Carpenter
Misha Mendicino (far right) won the emerging designer competition.

Misha Mendicino Designs was named emerging designer of the year on Saturday, October 4, at Phoenix Fashion Week 2014 at Talking Stick Resort.

Based in Phoenix, the brand creates breezy resort wear often printed with elephants. The label donates a portion of its sales to David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to help protect elephants from poachers.

While Mendicino was easily the best emerging designer who showed on Thursday, her winning the overall title came as a shock.

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Phoenix Fashion Week 2014 at Talking Stick Resort: Friday's Designers a Mixed Bag

Categories: Fashion, Review

Evie Carpenter
Blackberry Maverick opened Phoenix Fashion Week's second night.

Is it just us, or has Phoenix Fashion Week 2014 been the best edition of the event yet?

Sure, there have been ugly outfits and underwhelming collections. But so far they've been outnumbered by thoughtful designs and higher garment quality than we've seen on the PFW runway in past years. And the event seems to be running more smoothly than ever.

Here's hoping we aren't jinxing it. Because the designers who showed on Friday, October 3, at Talking Stick Resort were still a mixed bag of good and, well, unfortunate. And there's still one more night to go.

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Nicole Belit Dazzles in By the Way, Meet Vera Stark at Phoenix's Herberger Theater

Categories: Review, Theater

Courtesy of iTheatre Collaborative
Nicole Belit shines in By The Way, Meet Vera Stark.

Vera Stark is, like so many actresses who start out hungry and wind up legendary, alone on her own stage. She works alongside other actors only because she needs someone to talk to, but none -- in her estimation, and in ours -- are her equals.

Vera is a fictional character, drawn from life by playwright Lynn Nottage. Nicole Belit, the woman who plays her in the iTheatre Collaborative production of By the Way, Meet Vera Stark that opened on Friday night at the Herberger, is very real. The two women share this: They are -- thanks to Belit's enchanting performance -- alone onstage.

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Welcome Diner Film Fest 2014: A Bag of Biscuits and Some Talking Animals

Heather Hoch
Standing room only at Welcome Diner Film Festival's showing Thursday night.
For two nights, people crowded the Welcome Diner front patio to watch 11 short films made in just 48 hours. Each team was randomly assigned an odd genre to make a film, with such options as "talking animal sitcom" and "coming-of-age time travel." What the teams made in just two days ranged from odd and experimental to dramatic and emotional, with many teams going for laughs overall.

Though all the films were interesting to watch in their own right, only one could win.

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