Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Mesa Arts Center Receives Rukkus Accolade

Who is Rukkus? A colony of live music aficionados based in New York City with an insatiable appetite for concerts. Rukkus writers and photographers scour tons of diverse music scenes across the U.S. to find the best live acts in music today. They also check around for great places to enjoy that music.

From New York to San Francisco to Philadelphia to Minneapolis to Florida, Mesa Arts Center was recently spotlighted as #8 of The Best Places to See Live Music: The RukkusPicks. They stated, “Whether you’re into comedy or dramatic theater, jazz or classical music, Arizona’s Mesa Arts Center is guaranteed to have something for everyone.”

Mesa Arts Center is proud of its offerings and pleased to receive acknowledgement. Every season we provide a plethora of music and arts experiences to choose from and enjoy. Shakespeare, Sesame Street, Japanese Drums, National Geographic Live, Spoken World Poetry, Jazz and Classical music and many other performances cross our international award winning venue stages. Along with Rukkus, we invite you to join us.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Creative Aging: Arts for all of our lives

“This class was a delight. I'll remember how wonderful it felt to be free to trust my body to move,” said a 72 year old participant of her experience in the Mature Moving Me class at Mesa Arts Center.

To thwart stress and depression as we age, studies have shown that participation in arts activities can boost mood and support an overall sense of well-being. Now in its third year, Mesa Arts Center’s Creative Aging Program presents two unique workshops on storytelling and creative dance movement. Each of the workshops offers social and creative outlets to enhance self-esteem, morale, and overall health for adults over 55. Workshops are held at Mesa Arts Center now through the end of April, and they are free and open to the public. For more information, click here.

Rita Hawkins, an 83 year old participant, said of the program, “I feel so exuberant after I leave here.”

Workshops include Mature Moving Me, a collaborative dance class for seniors that is appropriate for all levels and all abilities as well as What’s Your Story, a 90-minute workshop that leads participants in transforming memories into recorded history or legend.

“I love seeing the light in their faces because it’s a very playful atmosphere — open and playful — and we just come alive,” says another pleased participant.

For the most current discussion on healthy aging and the arts, join Mesa Arts Center and The Arizona Commission on the Arts March 13, 2015 for Arizona Creative Aging Summit: Arts Across the Aging Spectrum. Creative Aging is a national movement aimed at fostering an understanding of the vital relationship between creative expression and healthy aging. The summit will convene arts organizations, teaching artists and aging and healthcare service providers interested in the significant impact the arts can have on quality of life for older adults.

Friday, March 13, 2015 | 10:00am - 4:00pm
Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum @ Mesa Arts Center
One East Main Street | Mesa AZ 85201

By: LaDawn Lingard

Thursday, February 19, 2015

There is magic from out of this world at Mesa Arts Center: Potted Potter and Intergalactic Nemesis take the stage!

Everybody rushed to the silver screen to see the adaptation of the Harry Potter books and the adaptation of 300 the graphic novel; now rush to Mesa Arts Center to see all seven Harry Potter books in 70 hilarious minutes, and Intergalactic Nemesis, a graphic novel adapted to a theatrical experience. From book to screen, screen to stage, book to stage and so on, these adaptations don’t miss a beat!

Potted Potter
Potted Potter is the Hogwarts experience you have been waiting for. BBC’s own Dan Clarkson and Jeff Turner open The Chamber of Secrets on Hogwarts in a whole new way. If you haven’t read or seen any of the Harry Potter books – which I hope you have – don’t worry; with the help of a wonder cast, you’ll watch as they tackle all seven books and all 362 characters in 70 minutes. Now that’s magic!  This live production seems as much fun as it will be magical. “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” would want to see this magic played out onstage. Click here for more information and toget your tickets. See it Feb. 18 – 22.  

The Intergalactic Nemesis
Graphic novels are a popular ticket sale and are flying off the shelves at your local comic book store. Intergalactic Nemesis is offering you a whole new way to experience a graphic novel. The show will be taking you back in time; with this experience you have a Foley artist doing live sound effects and live keyboardist. This harkens back to the days of early cinema! As a fan of cinema and graphic novels, I’m excited to see a theatrical experience like this. The live music and sound effects will make those graphic novel drawings pop out at you and pull you into the story. Click here for moreinformation and to get your tickets. See it Mar. 14-15.

See you there!

By Samuel Childress 

Friday, February 13, 2015

She Blew the Roof Off: Rachel Barton Pine’s performance in the Classical Music Inside Out series

“Do you want Ozzy or Metallica?” asked violinist Rachel Barton-Pine during her master class for Mesa students. Rachel is a touring classical musician and heavy metal enthusiast. To the delight of teenage students she proceeded to play a violin rendition of a classic Ozzy Osbourne tune. This was just one of many intriguing layers peeled back during her action-packed lecture-demo for orchestra students at Red Mountain High School. 

Rachel was a child prodigy who performed with the Chicago Symphony at age 10, but she relates her whiz kid past with humility by saying “I just learned quickly.” She notes that “by the time you are 30, learning evens out for most” and from that point on she states, “performance is about the musicality.”

Musicality was an integral part of Rachel’s afternoon master class. “Let’s play Twinkle Little Star with emotions.” The nursery song turned joyful, depressed and thoughtful as her refined touch worked its magic but the real show of her musical power was made evident when the “scary” evolution of Twinkle Little Star made the students involuntarily jump in their seats and gasp with surprised fear. That simple yet utterly profound little presentation brought the audience to applaud wildly and rightly so. Rachel is a powerful musician!

Rachel’s performance of ALL 24 Paganini Caprices in one evening at Mesa Arts Center would attest to her continued musical agility. It was astounding to watch and listen as she started out at the top of her “game” with Caprice No.1 and never lost steam during all 24. In fact she gained momentum as she went, each piece more electric with energy and passion than the last.  Caprice No. 24 nearly blew the roof off and we the audience, rose to our feet in admiration and acclamation of Rachel Barton Pine: Priestess of Paganini.

Don’t miss the final performance in the Classical Music Inside Out series, when Natasha Paremski takes the stage to play Pictures at an Exhibition on April 2. Find more information, here! 

By LaDawn Lingard

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