Friday, January 30, 2015

Burning in the Night: A Hobo’s Song

That guy who wrote the stage play. Man of La Mancha. You know; the 1960’s Broadway production that ran for 2,329 performances and won five Tony Awards? (Cue Broadway music; enter deluded Spanish man with a quest, Don Quixote.) “’Tis I, Don Quixote, the Man of La Mancha…”

This guy was the playwright for other performances too, like the comedy play adaption of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Both shows continue to be produced nationally and internationally with an estimated 300 productions a year.

The guy’s name is Dale Wasserman. He decided to be an Arizona resident "because it's the one State which refuses to adopt Daylight Saving Time." This guy had chutzpa. Perhaps it was due to the difficulties of his early life. He was orphaned before 10 years of age and preferred to pursue survival the next number of years as a hobo riding the railways.

Known to be reclusive in his later years, Wasserman did not usually attend awards ceremonies, although there was one ceremony he just couldn’t skip. “When the University of Wisconsin offered an Honorary Doctorate, I did appear in cap and gown to address the audience in the football stadium at Madison, because a scant quarter-mile from where I was being Doctored, I had hopped my first freight at the age of 12. Irony should not be wasted."

Dale’s memoir gives clear-cut, personal experience description of a Hobo as “…a wanderer who works. A lumberjack. Woodchopper. Construction stiff, barley bucker, short order cook, merchant mariner…You name it and there was hoboes who could do it.” Dialogue such as this as well as music reminiscing Dale’s Wasserman’s Hobo years will be presented in Burning in the Night: A Hobo’s Song at Mesa Arts Center February 6-8. Be sure to enjoy the trip back in time.

When:  Friday, February 6 - Sunday, February 8, 2015
Performing Live Series
Where: Nesbitt/Elliott Playhouse
Start time: 3:00PM & 7:00PM
Price: $32

Special Mesa Arts Foundation Fundraiser to benefit Outreach Programs like Spoken Word will be held Feb 6, 2015 | 7:00PM. Tickets for the opening night fundraiser on Feb. 6 are $75, and purchase includes a post-show dessert reception with the cast and special guests Martha Wasserman and Richard Warren.

By LaDawn Lingard

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Q & A with Mike Libecki from Nat Geo Live: Untamed Antarctica

What is the single most important piece of (nonessential) gear for you to have in the field, and why?

Without a doubt my two necklaces (they are on right now as usual). I have one from my mom that she gave me 20+ years ago. It is a pendant of St. Michael, my mom is Catholic and had it blessed by her priest.  She told me, that if I wear it, I will always come home alive from my expeditions.  And you know?  I have not take it off once in 20+ years!  Seriously.  Then the other necklace is of my daughter.  It is a small carving of a girl.  I put it soon after she was born.  So now, she is always with me when I am gone, every moment.  I have not taken it off in 11 years, she is 11 now, almost 12 years old.

What’s your favorite snack to take in the field? (Does your subject matter or environment ever limit your food choices?)

Definitely Clif Bars and their products.  Really, not just a plug for them.  I have taken huge amounts of their products on every expedition for over 15 years now.  It works, and works well and is perfect expedition food.  Also, I am obsessed with Justin's Maple Almond Butter!!! Lots of dried foods that cook quick, but whenever possible real food, cheese, beef jerky, chocolate, etc. 

Complete this sentence: When I starting working with NAT GEO, I never thought I would be .... fortunate to work with such amazing people, make such awesome new friends, and get to experience and share with and through National Geographic...Truly a life long dream come true.

In one sentence, describe the most breathtaking view you’ve enjoyed while in the field. In your response, tell us where it is and why you ended up there.

I will never forget when I was on the side of the Ship's Prow, a huge, 2,000 foot, vertical granite wall in Baffin Island, I was all alone soloing about half way up the wall, and this angel-ghost-white-like arctic owl was circling around me in all its peace and glory, snow gently falling, about -20 degrees, it was just the owl and I, checking each other out, curious about who or what this other being was...It was a gift from the Universe that is on the front walls of my mind.

What is the most treacherous terrain/environment or unpredictable situation you have encountered?

Definitely in Afghanistan.  I went solo to try and climb a first ascent on a big 1,800 foot rock tower. About 800 feet up, huge natural rock fall (a rock flake the size of my garage door) almost sent me to my grave.  It was the closest I have come to death.  The rock cut up my ropes and left me in tears.  I retreated with my tail between my legs...Yet, came back the next year and was able to make the summit.

In three sentences or less, how did you get involved with National Geographic? Do you have any advice for those who would love to be in your shoes.

I never rationed passion, in other words I stayed true to my passion of adventure and expeditions and bringing those stories home via photography, videography and writing.  I had been pursuing this passion for 20 years when a dream of mine came true: to start working with National Geographic.  My advice is simple: 100% commitment and optimism and patience with whatever it is you love, whatever it is that creates organic enthusiasm.  Why ration passion?

Monday, January 26, 2015

MAC Campus Buzzing with Community Sweetness

Well, hellooooooo from Mesa Arts Center on a typically excellent Arizona winter day. It’s10 a.m. and while other cities shut down due to inclement weather, Downtown MAC Campus is buzzing with activity. I bring greetings from ASU’s Public Administration Department and am lucky enough to be MAC’s newest Marketing and Public Relations Intern. This means I have the opportunity to see pleasant bee-hive style action on a first hand basis. One of my duties at Mesa’s desert jewel is to walk the rounds of campus and restock brochure kiosks. Those brochures we all so casually pull by the handful from the racks have to be restocked by the likes of me on a regular basis. As I descend the outdoor staircase from my third floor cubicle I immediately sense the hum of activity. The outdoor Shadow Walk is packed with chairs, waiting for the season’s first “Spring Out to Lunch” concert while techs weave sound system wiring about the stage. 

I had thought I would have a quiet morning with my kiosk replenishing duties but as I walk through the sparkling glass wall doors to approach my first kiosk I am pleasantly surprised by additional busy buzzing.  Performances are in progress in at least two of the four MAC theaters. The disarray of the brochures racks testify to the busy life at the center. As I straighten and organize important packets of performance information, I can hear and see from the wall monitor that the Educational Outreach programs are providing research approved arts engagement. I notice red-vested volunteer ushers preparing to help patrons find their way. Intermission begins and the hallway floods with happy students from area schools who have come to see performances by Southwest Shakespeare.   

I put the finishing touches on my multiple kiosks and exit to see bee-hive action gaining momentum. “Life of the Party” has set up shop to offer lunch options to Spring Out to Lunch concert patrons. The band is starting sound checks. The listeners are starting to gather. As lunch hour approaches I step out on the balcony for my own lunch break to see a view like this: The MAC bee hive full of about 1,000 out-to-lunchers on the Shadow Walk according to usher counts. I sit back on the balcony chair and break out my sack lunch, enjoy the Arizona sunshine while the music floats up to me and with the other bee hive members, I taste the honey sweetness of the day, downtown at the MAC.

FREE SpringOut to Lunch afternoon concerts in the Wells Fargo Garden performance area on the Shadow Walk at the Mesa Arts Center begin at 12:30 p.m. Seating is limited so bring your favorite comfortable folding chairs, cushions and/or blankets and don’t forget your lunch!

By LaDawn Lingard

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Wedding Walks Right Through Mesa Arts Center

 Mesa Arts Center is known for its signature festivals, incredible lineup of live performing events, endless schedule of classes, stunning museum galleries and much, much more. But did you know it is also an in-demand venue for one of the biggest events of your life? Mesa Arts Center offers several spaces within the facility to hold an unforgettable wedding celebration and boasts gorgeous architecture to serve as a backdrop for engagement photos and special occasions. See it all and get your planning started at this weekend’s Downtown Mesa Wedding Walk.

This Sunday, Jan. 25 from 2-6pm, enjoy venue tours, tastings, fashion shows and more, as part of this free event. Register here for all the details, and we’ll look forward to greeting you and your plus one on the Mesa Arts Center stop of the tour!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Shows! New Shows! New Shows!

Hot off the presses, we present to you our mid-season brochure. With it comes our newest batch of recently-announced shows! Click through for the full scoop on each of the new shows listed below.

George Benson withThe Phoenix Symphony: George Benson’s signature sound blends perfectly with The Phoenix Symphony to bring an unforgettable evening of rhythm and blues on Jan. 21.

The Avett Brothers bring their honest music to the Mesa Amphitheater, performing music from their latest album and more on Feb. 7.

Fresh Beat Band:Greatest Hits Live: The Fresh Beat Band, Nickelodeon’s preschool music group and stars of the Emmy Award-winning TV series of the same name, make a stop in Mesa on Feb. 18, on their nationwide concert tour.

The Very Best ofCeltic Thunder: For the past seven years, Celtic Thunder has been wowing audiences with their distinct sound. Don’t miss their latest tour when they stop in Mesa on Mar. 1!

The Australian BeeGees Show: Take a nostalgic trip through the Bee Gees legacy in a multimedia theatrical concert experience with The Australian Bee Gees Show on Mar. 15.

Punch Brothers bring their bluegrass roots, intricate melodies and daring performance to Mesa Arts Center for an exhilarating night of entertainment on Apr. 14.

Men are from Mars –Women are from Venus, LIVE! is the one-man fusion of theatre and stand-up based on the New York Times #1 Best Selling Book of the same name. Be ready to laugh when you see it at MAC Apr. 16-18.

ABBA The Concert brings one of the greatest pop phenomena back to life with dazzling, iconic ABBA hits! In the Ikeda Theater on May 7!