Culture reigns supreme this week in downtown Phoenix. Indie hip-hop lingers alongside premium fashion, new music venues co-exists with potlucks, and a documentary aims to expose the truth of one of the world’s most powerful charities. Enlighten all parts of the brain, and take a stroll through town.
- Tuesday, Sept. 25
- 7:30 p.m. Doors, 8:30 p.m. Show
- Crescent Ballroom: 308 N. Second Ave.
- Getting there: Walk — Second Avenue and Van Buren Street
- Price: $13 in advance at psykosteve.com, $15 at the door
Recommended if You Like: Doomtree, hip-hop as genre experiment, autobiographies in song
After eight years of relentless touring, slugging it out in the underground, 2011 brought paydirt for rapper Astronautalis. His fourth full-length, This Is Our Science, hit number 43 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart, and number 41 on the Hip-Hop chart, marking the Minnesota-based hip-hopper best sales week of his career, with no marketing or promotion from his label. Astronautalis spins a yarn of a style completely his own, mixing blues vocal styles with indie-rock guitars and hip-hop gusto. Together, this unique combination has earned the rapper praise from such disparate sources as AbsolutePunk.Net, NPR, the Stranger and Consequence of Sound. Astronautalis (a.k.a. Charles Bothwell) gained extra momentum for the album by utilizing guest spots from P.O.S. of Doomtree, and Tegan Quin of Tegan & Sara. And if this description isn’t enough to entice a listen, Bothwell is known for performing extended freestyle raps at each of his concerts, all based on audience topic suggestions.
- Friday, Sept. 21
- 6 to 10 p.m.
- Sixth Street between Garfield and Roosevelt streets
- Getting there: Walk — Sixth and Garfield streets
- Price: Free, with sales on many items
Recommended if You Like: thrifty shopping, fresh couture, 11th Monk3y
The many boutiques of Sixth Street along Roosevelt Row have finally formed a united front. This Friday, celebrate the arrival of the Sixth Street Merchants with a night on the town, featuring deals, gifts and surprises at each of the businesses on the block. The Merchants include Butter Toast Boutique, GrowOp, Nostra Style House, Revera Beauty, The Lab at 137 and The Roose Parlour & Spa. Together the shops provide a one-stop-shop for all your beauty needs, covering clothes, shoes, accessories, makeup and even spa treatments, all within walking distance. Each shop is offering its own treats for the occasion, including a movie screening of 1980s cult film Heathers in the back yard of GrowOp, gift cards at Butter Toast, and live music at Nostra. Will Sixth Street be Phoenix’s newest premier shopping district? The Sixth Street Merchants certainly think so.
- Saturday, Sept. 22
- 7 p.m. Show
- Burnt Sky Studios: 327 E. McKinley St.
- Getting there: Walk — McKinley Street between Third and Fourth streets
- Price: FREE
Recommended if You Like: unconventional venues, art-pop, Dirty Projectors
Oftentimes, a unique venue alone is enough to make a show worthy of attendance. Opened in April, Burnt Sky Studios offers just a few hundred square feet of space for art and occasional performance, but that space is utilized to its fullest during each and every artwalk. Adding music to the already-eclectic mix of galleries and boutiques at “SoRo,” Burnt Sky has slowly been rising in the scene, beckoning unsuspecting pedestrians into their glass-walled space on McKinley. This weekend’s show is far from ordinary, featuring Animal Eyes from far-away Alaska and Fanno Creek from Portland, alongside local favorites Former Friends of Young Americans and Drunk & Horny, all for FREE. Barely larger than a matchbox, Burnt Sky Studios has a big future ahead of it in the downtown music and art scene.
- Saturday, Sept. 22
- 7 -10 p.m.
- The Ro2 Lot: 1005 N. Second St.
- Getting there: Walk — Second and Roosevelt streets
- Price: Free with potluck item
Recommended if You Like: potlucks, community building, Peritoneum
Founded in 2010 by a small cadre of downtowners, the monthly Places, Spaces and Faces Community Dinner has truly lived up to its name. At each event, dozens of artists, activists, community builders, musicians and other interested citizens gather for a potluck of epic proportions. The only organization for the events is a listing of what to bring, assigned based on attendees last names. Otherwise, anything can happen. Not a networking event, performance or art exhibition, the Dinner aims to make Downtown Phoenix a place to feel welcomed, allowing politicians and children to mingle in an unpretentious setting accompanied by homemade food. The ever-changing venues provide a unique backdrop for the dinners, bringing people into private offices, art studios, galleries and historic churches, all to celebrate the city’s cultural capital. For this month’s Dinner, the organizers have chosen the Ro2 Lot, a community-driven pop-up park at the corner of Second and Roosevelt streets to welcome the falling temperatures of late September.
- Saturday, Sept. 22
- 6:30 p.m. Doors, 7 p.m. Show
- Phoenix Center for the Arts: 1202 N. Third St.
- Getting there: Walk — Third and Moreland streets
- Price: $6 in advance at nofestivalrequired.com or at the door
Recommended if You Like: exposing the truth, confrontational documentaries, Race for the Cure
With all of the attention afforded to breast cancer in recent years, one would likely assume a perfect storm of hope, sympathy and generosity, all for a wonderful cause, giving people reason to celebrate. However, with her latest film, Lea Pool aims to tell a different story of the devastating disease. The Susan G. Komen walks, ad campaigns and products have raised millions of dollars for breast cancer research and support, but little has changed for the millions of men and women fighting the disease each day. Few new treatment options have been created, and more and more people are diagnosed every day, leaving many to wonder what all this awareness is really accomplishing. In Pink Ribbons, Pool urges viewers to think critically about the causes they support, and expose the vision of the breast cancer “brand”.
Events compiled by Connor Descheemaker