Fall Into Fall!
The season’s BEST PERFORMING ARTS and
most colorful trips
Wavelength PUBLIC RADIO
KBAQ 89.5 fm KJZZ 91.5 fm
Fall 2008 $
Fall issue sponsored by
DIOGUARDI FLYNN LLP Attorneys At Law
Features 22 Music to Your Mind By Elizabeth Exline
When it comes to music and kids, the experts agree—it’s about a whole lot more than the Mozart Effect. 26 An American (Reporter) in Paris By Rene Gutel
KJZZ reporter Rene Gutel tries out life as a foreign correspondent. 28 Art All Around By Walt Lockley
For a greater understanding of the Phoenix metro area, take a tour of its public art. 34 You Heard It Here First By Samuel Hood Burke
Former CNN anchor Aaron Brown develops a new show at KJZZ.
36 Brain, Food By Trisha Coffman
A home cook recounts what happened when she brought a radio into the kitchen.
Why did KJZZ’s Rene Gutel recently take a leave of absence? Find out in “An American (Reporter) in Paris,” on page 26.
26 On the Cover 16-year-old flute phenom Chaz Salazar illustrates the many benefits of studying music.
Art to Go
The morphing of the museum gift shop. By Amy Abrams 16 Chasing Color
A writer contemplates butterflies, bloodsucking flies and the wonders of fall. By Peter Aleshire 42 The Insider’s Arts Guide
Valley experts pick the season’s hottest tickets. By David M. Brown 52 Good Nights, Great Bites
Some options for where to go after a show. By RaeAnne Marsh
Featured Listener Stories
Pages 14, 40, 49, 58
Contributors Editor’s Note 60 KBAQ Programming Guide 62 KJZZ Programming Guide 64 The Last Word
Looking for a late-night nosh? Some food for thought on page 52. EMILY PIRAINO
52 Fall 2008
Wavelength Fall 2008
Amy Abrams Formerly with Art & Antiques magazine and Museum & Arts Washington, Amy has contributed hundreds of articles about the Arizona arts scene to local and national newspapers and magazines.
Art Holeman A commercial photographer for 30 years, Art has garnered national awards, including appearances in Communication Arts, Applied Arts and Graphis. To see more of his work, visit artholeman.com.
Peter Aleshire An award-winning writer and editor, Peter has written eight books, including four history books, three geology books and a book about training F-16 pilots.
Christine Jarmuz Besides proofreading court cases, Christine squeezes in her latest activity: road bike riding. Humbled by the couple she profiles in this issue, she vows to increase her mileage, no matter how funny her tan lines look.
David M. Brown David has been a publisher, reporter and editor and now freelances in subjects such as architecture, entertainment, tourism, food, cars and wine. Samuel Hood Burke Samuel is a master’s student in the broadcasting program at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. He also covers the State Capitol as an intern for KJZZ’s Mark Brodie. Trisha Coffman Trisha works as a freelance features writer and sometime editor. She has contributed widely to local magazines, and these days writes mainly about business and science for Web and print publications. Elizabeth Exline Elizabeth is a freelance writer who frequently covers design and architecture. Her work has appeared in Robb Report, Estates West and Travel Savvy, among other publications. Kristen Forbes Kristen is a freelance writer living near Portland, Oregon. To view her blog, visit krissymick.blogspot.com. Rene Gutel Rene is a reporter and host at KJZZ. She’s been with the station since 2004. She covers a bit of everything: business, immigration, politics, digital culture and all things quirky.
Walt Lockley Walt was born in Texas and educated from the backseat of a 1972 Buick Riviera crisscrossing the continent. His work on disappearing mid-century modern architecture in Phoenix is at waltlockley.com. RaeAnne Marsh RaeAnne’s byline appears over articles on subjects as varied as business, décor and life in Arizona. She is the proprietor of Grammar & Glitz.
Production of Wavelength is underwritten by Friends of Public Radio Arizona (FPRAZ), 2323 W. 14th Street,Tempe,AZ 85281 EDITOR
Karen Werner ART DIRECTION / PRODUCTION
Susich Design Company EDITORIAL CONSULTANT
Peter Aleshire FPRAZ BOARD OFFICERS
Linda Saunders Phil Hagenah Armando Roman Susan E. Edwards
Chair Vice Chair Treasurer Secretary
FPRAZ BOARD MEMBERS
Mike Chiricuzio Mark Dioguardi Sandra Etherton Karen Greenberg Dr. Laura W. Martin Carol L. McElroy
Matt Metz Edward Plotkin Dan Schweiker Dr. Linda Thor Paulina Vazquez-Morris
KBAQ / KJZZ GENERAL MANAGER
Carl Matthusen KBAQ / KJZZ SENIOR MANAGERS
Lou Stanley, Scott Williams Emily Piraino From the moment she lifted her first camera, Emily knew she wanted to spend her life documenting the world through a lens. She lives for the thrill of preserving in print the way the human spirit thrives. Robert Westerman Robert was a paramedic before realizing he could get paid to do what he loves most: create photographs. To see more of his work, visit robertwesterman.com. Evan Wyloge Freelance writer and longtime Arizona resident Evan Wyloge is currently a graduate student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at ASU.
Nancy Mitchell, Public Radio Partners 480.946.6500 KBAQ / KJZZ 2323 W. 14th Street, Tempe, AZ 85281 KBAQ 89.5 FM www.kbaq.org 480.833.1122 KJZZ 91.5 FM www.kjzz.org 480.834.5627 KJZZ can also be found: In Flagstaff / Cottonwood—89.5 FM In Prescott—90.1 FM In Tucson—98.9 FM In Globe—106.9 FM KBAQ, your classical music station, can also be heard in Ahwatukee on 89.3 FM, and North Scottsdale on 89.7 FM. Both KBAQ and KJZZ are streamed live on the Web 24 hours a day to provide worldwide access to our programming at: www.kbaq.org and www.kjzz.org. The views expressed in Wavelength are solely those of the individuals providing them and do not necessarily represent the opinions of KBAQ, KJZZ, FPRAZ, their agents or their affiliates. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information herein, we do not assume responsibility or liability for errors or omissions. © 2008 FPRAZ. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction in any manner is prohibited.
“A Morning Edition story about the ancient homeopathic practice was NPR’s most e-mailed story of 2007.”
A Nose for News unched over the sink, looking squarely at the drain, I inserted the squat little pot’s spout into my nose. Tilting my head to the side, lukewarm saltwater flowed into my right nostril, then trickled out of the left. “That’s disgusting,” my husband said, when he caught sight of my little experiment. “It’s a neti pot,” I nasally told him, explaining that a Morning Edition story about the ancient homeopathic practice was NPR’s most e-mailed story of 2007. Faced with the stuffy nose of a summer cold, I figured it was the perfect time to see what the ripples surrounding sinus irrigation were about. Like many public radio listeners, I get a lot of leads courtesy of KJZZ and KBAQ— books I might like, news stories to follow, CDs that I plan to buy. In that way, I’m a typical NPR fan, someone who uses the radio to cultivate and sate my curiosities about the world. But to learn more about who we all are as public radio fans, I recently dove headlong into the zeitgeist of the NPR community, via a fascinating report about the network’s listeners. The 2008 edition of Profile contained all sorts of intriguing tidbits, such as these: According to MRI Doublebase 2007, NPR listeners are: • Twice as likely as the total U.S. population to buy organic milk; • More than three times as likely to own a Prius; and • 215% more likely to sail Since Wavelength is produced for and about KJZZ and KBAQ fans, it reflects the people who tune in. Profile reported that public radio listeners are devoted supporters of fine arts, education and culture, and you’ll find heavy emphasis on those subjects here. It also indicated that more than half of us likes to bake, barbecue or cook. So to bring two loves together, you’ll find a story about what happens when you cook while you listen. A strong sense of altruism also unites us, which should come as no surprise to anyone reading this magazine. After all, listeners receive Wavelength because they support KJZZ and KBAQ. In turn, monies this magazine makes go back to support the stations. I hope all of this conspires to make Wavelength a window through which we can view and understand our local public radio family. From the people it profiles to the stories it runs, Wavelength aims to portray the traits that make us one special community. Of course, that might mean spotlighting unusual topics, since, according to Profile, listeners are more likely than the general public to “enjoy trying new and different things.” Which brings me back to that neti pot. Breathing clearer, I continued to use the odd little thing. Each day, I’d stir salts into water and dutifully dump the contents into my nose. And darn if I didn’t breathe easier. Then one day, I spied my husband pulling the pot from the dishwasher and doing the “disgusting” regimen himself. That’s the power of public radio—to take an ancient Ayurvedic treatment and turn it into something listeners share with their co-workers, families and friends. Warmly,
P.S. I hope you’ll consider sharing a recommendation of your own—a store that you frequent, a place you enjoy or an anecdote about how something you heard on the stations impacted your life in some way. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
shopping By Amy Abrams
Art to Go The morphing of the museum gift shop. cottsdale artist Darcy McGrane, who frequently shops at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art store, admits what some are reluctant to confess.“I hardly ever spend time at the museum,” she says. “I’d rather go to the gift shop.” McGrane is one of the regulars—folks who find museum shops “irresistible,” or “wonderful places to unwind.”
Two bright red porcelain drinking cups can be stored in the Vineau Carafe & Cup Set ($45 at The Store @ Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts). 8
With public and corporate funding dwindling or drying up altogether, today’s museums rely more than ever on retail revenue, since every penny earned goes to operating costs. Central Arizona’s museums have received accolades in this pursuit, elevating mere browsing to pure entertainment and raising the act of purchasing goods to the joy of collecting. The following museum shops carry cool merchandise and collectibles from all over the world that you won’t find at mega stores or strip malls. As added incentives, shopping at museums doesn’t require
admission, provides discounts for museum members and, specific to Arizona law, there’s no sales tax.
The Store @ Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts: Urban Edginess for Sale
novels. The urban edginess offers the sensibility of a New York or San Francisco boutique. Winding your way to the back—past small sculptures of musicians ($45-$50) and a display of handmade scarves ($55-$115), you’ll find out-ofthe-ordinary and often humorous items: a plastic purse painted as the spitting image of a chicken ($29); stationery supplies, including a folder prelabeled “Total Crap” ($10); and organizers for ordinary messes, such as take-out menus ($22). The jewelry display will make any girl go gaga, and there are good deals including spiffy, geometric necklaces ($40). If you’re looking for pleasure from usually pedestrian products, check out the boldly graphic black-and-white gardening gloves ($21.95). Right next door, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art boasts an ultra-contemporary, circular museum shop with an accent wall painted bright orange. Wall clocks are kitschy … a Mona Lisa clock ($25) and a Dali clock ($35); postcards are pop … Madonna and Leonardo DiCaprio. While you’ll find home décor pieces and jewelry that make unique gifts, the shop is heavy on books, carrying a diverse collection of art, architecture, pop-culture, photography and design titles. You’ll also find a first-rate assortment of books and toys for kids that has amassed a devoted following of parents and grandparents.
ultry female vocals, piped
Sin from the sound system, set the mood for shoppers at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts store. This sophisticated spot sells hip books (Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews, Rock Tease: The Golden Years of Rock T-Shirts), high-minded CDs (Charlie Parker, Scott Joplin) and decidedly “in” graphic
The Store @ Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E. Second St., Scottsdale; 480-874-4644; scottsdaleperformingarts.org The Store @ SMoCA, 7374 E. Second St., Scottsdale; 480-874-ARTS; smoca.org/about_visitor.php
The Museum Store is packed with creative gift ideas, from books, vases and cards to the jewelry below.
Tell Us! Got a favorite store, restaurant or cultural gem? We want to hear about it! Send your suggestions to email@example.com.
Phoenix Art Museum Store: Blending Culture and Commerce he shop at Phoenix Art
razor holder—a little plastic person—that sticks to the shower ($5.99). It makes me smile in the morning.” Fortunately, very few items at the shop fall into the categories of dreadful knickknacks and knockoffs. A sense of humor is required in the Frida Kahlo section, where you’ll find a doll ($16.99), activity book ($19.99) and playing cards ($6.99). Andy Warhol icons (including his Marilyn Monroe portrait and graphic flowers) decorate
everything from plates (set of four in matching box, $16.99) to wallets ($21.99). You can buy a magnetic bookmark replicating Van Gogh’s selfportrait ($2.99), with the quote, “The more you love, the more you suffer.” Within the outlandish spirit of the shop, this seems humorous, not heartbreaking. Phoenix Art Museum Store, 1625 N. Central Ave., Phoenix; 602-257-2182; phxart.org
elegant way. Shelves are cleverly appointed with all kinds of stylish stuff that reflects collections and exhibition programming, blurring the line between culture and commerce. In conjunction with a show highlighting the fashions of Ralph Rucci, who was inspired by Japanese design, Japanese items are showcased. The “less is more” discipline in Rucci’s work is reflected in the simple grace of Zen-infused objects, including a cast iron tea pot ($100) and an elegantly handcrafted basket ($175). Visitors browse books about Japanese culture, including a paperback on wabi-sabi ($14.95), the Japanese aesthetic long associated with the tea ceremony, and a glossy coffee table book about Rucci, signed by the artist ($75). Other merchandise revolves around the increasingly popular theme that good design is good for you. Andrea Brode, who has frequented the museum during a yearlong business stint in Goodyear, visits for an “art fix,” and is buying colorful measuring spoons ($5.99) and whimsical “High Five, Low Five” drink stirrers ($9.99), also brightly hued and shaped into hands at top and bottom. “I find stuff here that I use regularly—to bake and to entertain—so I have the rationale to buy something new,” she says, smiling. “On my last visit, I bought a
TMuseum is hip, but in an
The light-filled Berlin Gallery, which connects to the Heard Museum Shop, promotes and sells the work of the “best of the best” contemporary American Indian artists.
Heard Museum Shop: Native Beauty eard Museum’s shop has a
Hdifferent feel … more casual
Zuni artist Dylan Poblano learned traditional inlay techniques from his mother, but uses them to create very contemporary jewelry, such as this striking geometric bracelet and ring.
and bustling with customers. Delightfully, you may overhear the exchanges of visitors in several languages, including French, German and Japanese. After all, the Heard has one of the most important collections of American Indian art and artifacts anywhere, drawing visitors from all over the world. Here, you can buy the works of many artists showcased at the museum. Other items, mostly acquired directly from artists, are guaranteed authentic. Considered a modern-day trading post, the shop has “trade” relationships extending back generations. This is important to Sharon McKee, an attorney visiting from Philadelphia, who has heard tales of “fakes”—jewelry and
pottery manufactured and sent from the Philippines. Her main pursuit, however, is to purchase a gift before heading home: “Much better than a lastminute purchase at the airport,” she says. Like many shoppers, she enjoys finding a large selection of jewelry and contemporary collectibles, in addition to the traditional American Indian fare. Merchandise is varied. You can acquire a dreamcatcher for $5 or a major painting by famed contemporary artist Fritz Scholder for $120,000, and everything in between, including Navajo rugs, Hopi katsina dolls, jewelry, pottery and sculpture. “Knowledge Workshops” in various genres of art collecting are offered, both at the museum and online. The Berlin Gallery, a separate shop that was recently built, exclusively sells
contemporary American Indian art by nationally and internationally acclaimed artists, including Roxanne Swentzell, Doug Hyde and Allan Houser. Andrea Hanley, the personable manager, enjoys sharing anecdotes about the represented artists. The gallery also shows and sells works by emerging artists, which is part of the museum’s mission. Heard Museum Shop, 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix; 602-252-8344; heard.org Heard Museum North Shop, 32633 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale; 480-488-9817; heard.org Heard Museum West Shop, 16126 N. Civic Center Plaza, Surprise; 623-344-2210; heard.org
Five MoreFabulous Gift Shops
ASU Art Museum Store A well-kept secret of goodies from around the world, with merchandise often linked to museum shows. Get a cool hat, a Japanese kimono, a basket handcrafted in Africa, an artsy watch, plates with Picasso’s designs and more.
African beads, tiny seed pearls, semi-precious stones … and learn beading by taking classes offered at all levels. You’ll discover that, by their shape, material and place of origin, beads can connect us to human stories throughout time.
Nelson Fine Arts Center, southeast corner of Mill Avenue and 10th Street, Tempe; 480-965-9076; asuartmuseum.asu.edu/ museumstore
5754 W. Glenn Drive, Glendale; 623-930-7395; beadmuseumaz.org
Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Store at Taliesin West Browse the mega-selection of books and DVDs about Frank Lloyd Wright and Taliesin West (his former home and architecture studio), as well as authorized and licensed reproductions of the many decorative objects he designed.
FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT FOUNDATION STORE AT TALIESIN WEST
Visitors go home with everything from exquisite lamps to elegant pens.
12621 Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd., Scottsdale; 480-860-2700, ext. 221; franklloydwright.org
Arizona Doll & Toy Museum Store Enter a paradise for doll lovers, young and old, and find all things
frilly and Victorian in Historic Heritage Square.
602 E. Adams St., Phoenix; 602-253-9337; arizonadoll.com
The Bead Museum Store This is a big-deal bead shop—folks come from far and wide—that also sells beautiful beaded jewelry. Find tiny treasures … glass beads,
The Store at Arizona Science Center You’ll find a vast and varied assortment of educational toys for explorers of any age, including all things planetary, prehistoric and futuristic. Check out the science kits, spy gadgets, books and DVDs.
Arizona Science Center, 600 E. Washington St., Phoenix; 602-716-2000; azscience.org
I live on the West Side and do all of my gift buying and Christmas shopping at the WEST VALLEY ART MUSEUM STORE. The items are unique and many are relatively inexpensive … and there’s no sales tax. Most of my jewelry Listeners share a few of their comes from the store; I favorite places to buy and browse. especially like the amber
selection. I also enjoy the art at the museum, which changes frequently, and have lunch at the newly renovated café. This all makes for a nice day with friends. — Erna Nemeth
West Valley Art Museum, 17420 N. Avenue of the Arts, Surprise; 623-972-0635; wvam.org My favorite? Easy—ARIZONA MUSEUM FOR YOUTH. You can buy art games and flash cards and books like Babar’s Museum of Art . You see grandmas and grandpas with the grandkids—it doesn’t require a lot of walking and there’s a place in the gift shop to sit and play. Mesa’s museum shops are great … the stores at MESA ARTS CENTER and ARIZONA MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY—you know, where
they have the roaring dinosaurs. You can buy dinosaur toys, books, rocks and minerals. — Corrine Brooks
Arizona Museum for Youth, 35 N. Robson, Mesa; 480-644-2467; arizonamuseumforyouth.com Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St., Mesa; 480-644-6515; mesaartscenter.com Arizona Museum of Natural History, 53 N. Macdonald, Mesa; 480-644-3283; azmnh.org If you’re looking for one-of-akind, artsy things, there’s a wonderfully outrageous shop called FLEURE-ISH. The owner paints and sells wood furniture—chairs, tables, chests. It’s almost kitschy, very upbeat. They also sell gift items. This isn’t your typical antique store, where everyone is reserved and walks around quietly. It’s fun and it’s
crammed full of fun stuff. — Helen Hayden Backer
Fleure-ish, 742 E. Glendale Road, Phoenix; 602-944-4854; fleureish.com/
Catlin Court Historic District, bordered by 55th and 59th Avenues, from Glendale to Myrtle Avenues; Glendale Visitor Center; 623-930-4500; visitglendale.com THE MESA HISTORICAL MUSEUM is a little-known treasure. The recent Wallace and Ladmo exhibit drew us in, and the gift
I grew up in Glendale, so I like the older stores—they’re small and intimate—especially around the CATLIN COURT HISTORIC DISTRICT. When you walk into the shops, people talk to you, but there’s no pressure to buy. I like to purchase things from local artisans. It allows me to offer support, instead of buying at the big conglomerates. — Marleah McKnight
An elegant fruit bowl (facing page, $99) and modular wooden “Automoblox” (left, $38) are just a couple of cool things available at local museum gift shops. (Both from The Store @ Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.)
shop got our wallets open. Not only did they have great items for sale specific to the show, but they also featured arts and crafts reflective of “old Arizona,” like handmade bonnets and oven mitts, and cards painted with scenes of Mesa. We also enjoyed the wide variety of books about Mesa history, which you wouldn’t typically find in a chain bookstore.
Meanwhile, FRANCES VINTAGE isn’t a museum shop, but it certainly is artsy. It’s great when you have no idea what to buy someone, but you want your gift to be unique. Items range from Japanese toys to vintage clothing and handmade cards. It’s a bit pricey, but perfect for when you need an edgy,
never-seen-before item that stands out from the norm. — Sonia Bovio
Mesa Historical Museum, 2345 N. Horne St., Mesa; 480-835-7358; mesahistoricalmuseum.org Frances Vintage, 10 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix; 602-279-5467; francesvintage.com
” Fall 2008
listener profile By Christine Jarmuz
Dynamic Duo Senior cyclists find that KBAQ is good for the road.
Nora Timson and Jim House “The first time we went 50 miles, I wasn’t sure if I should shower or go straight to the funeral home.”
Long rides and warm weather require Arizona cyclists to rise before dawn. KBAQ offers Nora Timson and Jim House the right kind of wake-up call.
Nora Timson and Jim House might give the impression that they’re taking it easy in Sun City Grand, acquiring a healthy glow from lounging by the pool or maybe a round of golf every week. Think again. This couple will knock the cycling socks off anyone’s feet. Last year, Timson and House pedaled, respectively, 10,500 and 12,500 miles, chalking it up to the fact that they love to ride. While nonchalant about the rubber they lay on asphalt every year, House reveals his sly sense of humor when he says, “The first time we went 50 miles, I wasn’t sure if I should shower or go straight to the funeral home.”
If the mileage quoted doesn’t seem too impressive, given the popularity of the sport in Arizona, just know this: Timson is 62 and House is 83. Aboard titanium road bikes, they trek roughly 60 miles along the White Tank Mountains three times a week, with smaller rides in between. Added to that regimen are hikes and jaunts to the gym. Both natives of Michigan, the two didn’t meet until March 1999, when they participated in a West Valley bike club ride at the White Tanks. As Timson puts it, “I ended up taking a shortcut and he followed me.” Between 1990 and 2007, House pedaled more than 179,000 miles. And not much will get in the way of his upping that number. When he decided to trade in his tennis racket toward a bike, he became a kind of Superman. And since that shortcut, wheeling along beside him is a wonder of a woman. While their home is a respite from the tough exercise schedule they keep, it’s also an oasis of calm thanks to KBAQ. With music in their backgrounds—violin for House, flute for Timson—they are avid KBAQ listeners. Their radio goes on daily at 4:30 a.m. and their favorite programs include the Mozart Buffet and Performance Today. “I love to know about upcoming musical events and enjoy competing to win complimentary tickets,” Timson says. They also enjoy how announcers offer “this day in music history” tidbits and bring facts about composers and their works to vibrant life. Their appreciation extends to their active support and contributions to the station during fundraising events. Timson sums it up by saying, “It’s part of our life: KBAQ and exercise.”
weekends Story and photos by Peter Aleshire
Chasing Color In search of the quintessential autumn drive, a writer contemplates butterflies, bloodsucking flies and the wonders of fall.
The giant cottonwoods lining the endangered San Pedro River in southeastern Arizona provide one of the most reliable places in the state to get a final dose of fall color—generally in late November.
itting atop a fused outcrop of volcanic ash, I watched wind rustling through the golden surge of cottonwood, sycamore, pistachio and ash trees. The tempestuous sea of fall-drenched trees lapped against the base of my hill, like breakers turned molten by the sunset. The Boyce Thompson Arboretum spread out around the peninsula of stone on which I perched. To my right, cacti from all over the world squatted, reared and lurked—spiny monsters with misshapen forms crafted to withstand the deserts of five continents. To my left, red, gold
and yellow trees gathered from streamsides throughout the world jostled one another in a struggle for sun, water and space along the banks of Queen Creek. I had come here with low expectations—and certain lurid needs. I had spent the last few months chasing fall across the state. I was on a mission: resolved to keep driving and hiking and sitting until I could experience the perfect fall day— some blaze of color to reform the soul and shame New England—or at least settle in my own mind on the best fall drive in the state, should
anyone ever happen to ask. The season had started with the first cold snap at 8,000 feet in the White Mountains, progressed to a gold-carpeted dirt road on the back side of the San Francisco Peaks close by Flagstaff, and moved downslope to the winding highway into Sedona along Oak Creek. Each trip seemed more enchanted than the last. I meandered through familiar leafy landscapes transformed by the accidental aesthetic of tannins certain trees use to seal off and kill the broad leaves of summer. In the process of my search, I got
The shimmering Quaking Aspen surrounding Mt. Humphreys (left) generally sound the opening trumpet of color for the fall symphony. The mix of trees at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum (below) often presents the last and most reliable fall colors each year—in November and sometimes even December.
addicted to fall. And as December neared, I realized I had found myself with an undiminished need to study the contrast between saturated red and sky blue. So I went to the last gasp of fall in the state—not to mention the easiest drive from Phoenix—even though I knew an oddball botanical garden in the low desert could not possibly compete with the places I had already found. I sat and savored the cool caress of the sun-softened winter breeze, balanced atop a 30-million-year-old hummock of ash. Some 80 years ago
iconoclast, miner and entrepreneur Col. William Boyce Thompson built a house atop a nearby crag and bought 350 acres of spectacular Sonoran desert, running back up into the rugged depths of Queen Creek Canyon. A longtime lover of plants, Col. Thompson hired a botanist to lay out his garden, which ultimately laid the foundation for the Arboretum. Sitting on that lichen-crusted, rusted-orange swirl of rock, I let my eye wander across the swaying treetops—enlivened by the fall colors of both the stalwarts of a
Sonoran desert stream and colorful immigrants like the Asian pomegranates or the Chinese pistachios. Fall has always struck me as a reckless waste of biological energy —as trees dropped the leaves they’d labored so hard to create, especially here in the desert, where winter consists of scattered freezes and sunny afternoons. So I’d interviewed some biologists, fitted together puzzle boxes of ecology and mounted this leisurely expedition to unravel the logic of fall in the desert. Essentially, trees all face a vexing
problem: getting through the winter. This may not sound like a big deal if you can suck water out of the ground and make all your food from sunlight. But all sorts of unpleasant things can happen during even a mild desert winter, from a tree’s point of view. For instance, it’s almost sure to freeze several times. In addition, wintering trees must cope with shorter days and less available water as the soil freezes. Many trees solve this problem by developing extremely tough, frost-resistant leaves—like the needles that adorn pines and firs. These needles take a lot of energy to produce and don’t present a very impressive surface for carrying out photosynthesis, but they can shrug off frigid temperatures for months at a time. Other trees deal with winter by mass producing large, flimsy leaves that soak up energy through the salad days of summer, but wither with winter. The drop in temperatures in the early fall triggers a cascade of physiological changes as the trees draw nutrients out of the vulnerable leaves, then seal off the now dispensable leaf. The nutrients left in the leaves still return to the system, once they drift to the ground and decay. “Evergreens invest a lot of energy per leaf and design it to last for several years,” explains Julie Stromberg, a plant ecologist at Arizona State University who specializes in cottonwoods and other desert riparian trees.“Deciduous trees make cheap leaves that don’t cost as much energy to use.” The whole process is orchestrated by the release of certain chemicals, which produce Fall 2008 17
Sedona (left and below) puts on its fall finest for visitors every year, depending on how fast it turns cold. Usually, the cottonwoods and sycamores, oaks and ash trees begin turning in late September or October.
dramatic color changes with the seasons. The green chlorophyll retreats into the stems to be replaced by other, stress-related chemicals that come in reds, yellows and browns. Of course, we’re inclined to mourn the dying leaves, to shiver with the onset of winter, and to hang bleak metaphors from leafless branches. But that’s because we think in straight lines instead of the circles with which nature builds. In fact, fall isn’t death, but merely another turn of the wheel. The blaze of the trees, the leaf litter and the relative hush of winter offer just another transition—encouraging diversity, especially in an ecological treasure trove like the Arboretum. The Arboretum’s managers maintain easy meandering trails through about 100 acres of gardens. Approximately 80,000 visitors a year wander along the shaded paths, poke through the crowded cactus garden, add unexpected birds to their lifetime lists, pick through the bookstore and gift shop, and amass stray facts about desert plants. The Arboretum’s bird checklist boasts an impressive 270 species, while the Arboretum’s grounds shelter 48 species of reptiles and amphibians and 37 species of mammals— 18
including the occasional mountain lion that leaves its footprint along Queen Creek as it patrols for deer, javalina and small mammals. The 800 varieties of cactus, 3,000 drought-resistant plants, and remarkable trees, shrubs, grasses and flowers from around the world make the Arboretum a botanist’s dream and an ecological delight. I’d been nearly lulled to sleep by the swaying of trees when a flicker of iridescent blue caught my eye. Velvet black and brilliant blue, the butterfly fluttered downslope, an unexpected note of grace in the first shiver of December. I pursued the butterfly down toward the cactus garden, hoping I’d crossed the trail of a Pipevine Swallowtail. The Swallowtail lives in a tight, ecological triangle with an inconspicuous vine and an obnoxious fly. The flower-scented butterfly, its voracious caterpillar, a vampire fly and a crafty flower live together like a married couple that finishes one another’s sentences. Start with the pipevine, a groundhugging plant with brown, twisted flowers that have earned it the sobriquet “Dutchman’s Pipe.” Indians used pipevine to treat snakebites and in labor and after birth. However, the
medicinal qualities of the plant fell into disrepute when patent medicine salesmen used its “snake oil” in concoctions to treat everything from typhoid to smallpox. In the wrong doses, the potent chemicals can cause nausea, vomiting, colic, flatulence, headaches, belching and other disconcerting reactions. All that makes perfect sense— since the plant produces those chemicals to keep from being eaten. And that brings us back to the Pipevine Swallowtail, whose caterpillars have evolved a digestive tract that can not only handle these chemicals but turn them into their own chemical defense from birds. These caterpillars can apparently survive only in areas with pipevines. They produce beautiful butterflies with metallic blue hindwings, which are decorated on the underside with orange and white dots. The male butterflies smell like flowers—to attract females. The females stink— to repel predators, since they spend a lot of time on the ground searching for pipevines on which to lay eggs. Oddly enough, the butterflies don’t actually pollinate the pipevines on which they depend. That job falls to an easily fooled, bloodsucking fly. The small, fleshcolored pipevine flower resembles the ear of a mouse, which makes it irresistible to the simpleminded Ceratopogonid fly. These flies buzz into the ear-like opening of the flower, and land—hoping to sink their jaws into something warm and wet. Instead, they slip immediately down into the throat of the flower, past downward-pointing “hairs.” The flies can’t crawl back out through the hairs, but can crawl down toward the base of the flower where the pollen waits. The flies crawl around at the base of the flower feasting on nectar until they’re covered with
Fall 2008 19
Those who dig beneath the leaf debris will get a glimpse of the cycles of growth and death that sustain the ecology in a place as diverse and rich as Arizona.
pollen. Then, remarkably, the flower “hairs” that have trapped them suddenly wilt—allowing the fly to escape. The same fly must then wander into another pipevine flower, thereby pollinating the
When it comes to chasing fall, the journey is everything—the destination only the lure. Listeners offer their suggestions for the best places to start the search.
“ Compiled by David M. Brown
Getting away to the cooler climes of PRESCOTT has its colorful rewards. This fall, venture through the forest to and around Thumb Butte and enjoy the sun, filtered through the yellow leaves of the trees as they prepare for their winter un-dress rehearsal. Or, go a little farther into Groom Creek and take the 9-mile loop through the pines. (There’s a nominal fee to park in the forest areas near Thumb Butte and Groom Creek.) Your senses will be awakened by the smells of the forest and the softening hues of the leaves. — Sherry Koopot We truly have a smorgasbord of changing colors from early autumn through winter, so if you miss the color show in Northern Arizona, just wait a few weeks for the Valley of the Sun to catch 20
up! Our top picks: from late September through the first week of October (approximately): NORTH RIM, GRAND CANYON (remember, though, that State Route 67 from Jacob Lake to the North Rim closes mid-October and doesn’t reopen until May). From early to mid-November (approximately): PINAL PEAK, just southwest of Globe (for access information and hiking trails in the area, contact Globe Ranger District, 928-402-6200). — Linda and Bob Granzow Two suggestions: U.S. Route 60 south of WICKENBURG in the fall is reminiscent of the landscape of the Northeast. As you drive along the highway that borders the Hassayampa River and leave the saguaro behind, deciduous trees delight the eye as you proceed to Wickenburg for a taste of cowboy atmosphere and casual cuisine. Also: U.S. Route 180 Flagstaff to Valle drives through the COCONINO NATIONAL FOREST at about 8,000 feet, with graceful stands of aspen trees reminding you of the white birches of the Northeast. You can drop down to Williams on State Route 64 to experience a taste of old Route 66 and return on Interstate 40 to Flagstaff. — Marsha Gratz
second plant. Fortunately for the pipevine, flies do not learn easily from their mistakes. Sure enough, my fluttering guide led me to the cactus garden, where a short search revealed the inconspicuous pipevines. So I found a comfortable seat, and let the day deepen, counting passing butterflies, golden leaves, and my many blessings. One thing I did not do was pick my one favorite place to view fall. Guess I’ll try again next year. There’s no question that autumn color at BOYCE THOMPSON ARBORETUM is the closest and most easily photographable for anyone who lives in Phoenix or Tucson. Drive one hour due east of Phoenix on U.S. 60 and you’ve arrived at the Arboretum—and then the glorious pistachio trees are just a 10-minute walk along shady packed-earth trails. (The Arboretum is famous for trees such as pistachio, sycamore, honey locust and pomegranate.) Peak color occurs close to Thanksgiving. One month earlier— around Halloween—hike the PINAL MOUNTAINS near Globe for higher-elevation aspen and bigtooth maple trees along the Sixshooter Canyon and Icehouse Canyon trails. — Paul Wolterbeek Almost every October, I relive age 5 in Wisconsin on the cool, wooded West Fork Trail of OAK CREEK CANYON, just north of Sedona: fierce crimsons and fuchsias of sumac, glowing oranges, rich yellow-golds of aspen, sycamore, black oaks, even the pinks of sugar maples—all dizzyingly painted against the canyon’s ruby walls. Then the kiss of a brisk breeze and that oh-so-snuggly sweater, leaves crackling underfoot, the
In a future issue, we’ll report on the state’s best lakes. Where do you like to get wet? Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
pungent aroma of ripe apples and the best: the glorious, distinct scent of moisture and rotting leaves. Try to sample sweet juice from the historic apple orchards before you leave, meander up the canyon and assimilate the views. Finally, you might stop at the top of OAK CREEK VISTA for a quick bird’s eye photo and a peek in the Visitor Center before heading home. These are the two areas: West Fork Trail, on State Route 89A, 9.5 miles north of Sedona, and Oak Creek Vista, also on Route 89A, about 14 miles south of Flagstaff. — Kim Sweetman BISBEE in the fall reminds me of morning walks. The air is crisp, clean and thin. We start at the upper end of Tombstone Canyon near State Route 80 and pass beneath yellow tree canopies. Ascending up North Old Divide Road, we see trees that give way to blue sky and wonderful views of town, with a backdrop of red-earth canyon walls and the Lavender Pit mine. At the top, we stop to look at the monument labeled “Continental Divide,” shake our heads and turn around, descending back into town to more beautiful views and a well-deserved breakfast. — Matthew J. Goode
Fall 2008 21
Music to Your Mind
When it comes to music and kids, the experts agreeâ€”itâ€™s about a whole lot more than the Mozart Effect. By Elizabeth Exline Photography by Art Holeman
alk to flutist Chaz Salazar, and you’ll be forgiven for thinking he’s older than his 16 years. His impeccable manners put his peers to shame, and he enthuses about flutists Jeffrey Khaner and Jeanne Baxtresser like other teenagers might over Timbaland. “He just has this passion for music that is pretty amazing for someone his age,” observes Dr. Karin Thomas, executive director at Rosie’s House: A Music Academy for Children. And while music education has been linked with everything from higher test scores to just plain happiness, its effects on Salazar are both diverse and profound. Take, for example, Salazar’s riff on philanthropy. Coming from a low-income family, he’s known the benefits of programs like those at Rosie’s House, an organization that provides free music lessons to underserved youth. But this year, when his mother handed him her tax refund to use as he pleased, Salazar neither squandered nor saved it. Instead, after purchasing some music, he donated the remainder to KBAQ. “It was the last day of the pledge drive,” he says, “so I said, ‘I’ve been on the opposite side, not having the money, and now that they’re asking for it, and I do have it and I can donate, then I’m going to, because they really do a lot for me.’” O.K., so maybe musical instruction won’t turn every kid into a generous flute prodigy who happily devotes five hours a day to practicing. But Salazar’s actions are in keeping with the observations of Dr. Sandra Stauffer, a music education professor in the ASU Herberger College School of Music who researches creativity and
In addition to Rosie’s House, Chaz Salazar credits his mom (pictured below) for much of his musical success. “My mom is very supportive of me and everything I do, whether it be the flute or not,” he says. “She’s always there to back me up, and she’s going to always be there.”
Mia Laity’s interest in the violin was sparked by seeing a mariachi band perform in a supermarket when she was 2. Later that day, she donned a black hat and pretended to play with a ladle and a wooden spoon.
children, particularly those who compose their own music. According to Stauffer, a strong sense of civic responsibility may be just one of many benefits that music education imparts to children and young adults. This, she acknowledges, changes the question from, “Does music make you more intelligent?” to, “How is music good for you?” “We don’t really say that music makes you smarter,” Stauffer explains, “but we do know that engagement with music is good for you cognitively. Every time you’re learning something in a different way (and music is its own unique way of learning) you’re using parts of your brain that might not otherwise be engaged. And every time you do that, the kind of neural pathway or the cognitive connections that you make in your brain
are then open for other kinds of learning that last throughout your lifetime. So it’s not that music makes you smarter, but music is really good for your brain.” Some advantages are obvious. Short- and long-term memory, concentration and attention are all strengthened by music instruction. Beyond that, a recent report released by The Dana Foundation, “Learning, Arts, and the Brain,” indicates that music training enhances children’s geometric understanding and potential for early language development. “One of the central predictors of early literacy, phonological awareness, is correlated with both music training and the development of a specific brain pathway,” it reports. Ensemble performances can extend music’s benefits even further. “Society in general latches onto sports and the teamwork and the discipline of being an athlete,” Thomas says. “But in reality, some of those same skills are used in music.” The flexibility a person develops from performing and interacting with other musicians, Stauffer adds, not to mention problem solving, are valuable skills, no matter what a person does later in life. The classic garage band is a particularly fascinating example, since its members both create and play together. “They’re really interesting little groups to study,” Stauffer says, “because they learn how to work together to make their own music, so it’s a highly creative enterprise, and it’s being created by the group.” Because musicians play to entertain others as much as themselves, their ability to work with people pays off when they need to engage an audience. Laura Breeden, the director of education and community partnerships for the nonprofit organization From the Top, which spotlights young musicians through radio and other outlets, recalls a particular occasion when she took Sebastian Baverstam, a teenage cellist, to perform in front of several hundred third- through sixth-graders.
In her work as professor of music education at Arizona State University, Dr. Sandra Stauffer sees how music affects young people every day. Here, she instructs a group of graduate students.
Eager to show how one melody can convey many emotions, she held up a sign that read, “Sleepy,” to Baverstam. “He got right into it,” she says, “and he started playing ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.’ He played more and more slowly, started missing a few notes, and finally he was completely bent over, his head was down and he dropped his bow on the floor. And the kids, of course, loved it.” To music’s quantifiable benefits, Thomas would add some critical “intangible” ones as well. Of these, joy, selfconfidence and aesthetics top the list. “To hear Salazar play,” she says as an example, “is something that brings me to tears. He’s that good.” For the musicians themselves, the emotions music elicits can be even more powerful. Mia Laity, for instance, is a 16-year-old violinist who’s been taking lessons since she was 3. Articulate and poised, she likens her musicianship to a relationship: It may get frustrating at times, but she can’t imagine life without it. “I just always loved to play,” she explains, “and I loved playing whether or not I was good. So I think it wasn’t like I said, ‘Well I’m good at this, so I should keep playing it.’ I just loved it so much that I didn’t want to stop.” Literally. Laity’s musicality informs her every interest and hobby, from her childhood drawings of home, where musical notes fluttered out the window, to today, when she examines films in terms of their soundtracks rather than their scripts. With more outlets for exploring music than ever before (think software, Internet and iPods), it might be easy to get lulled into a false sense of security about the future of music education. But Stauffer warns that budget cuts and certain legislation mandating chunks of time for other subjects threaten to extinguish formal musical education in schools. “When kids are young,” Stauffer explains, “particularly in elementary school, they need as many ways of learning as possible. To remove music from their potential is, long-term, probably the least good thing we could do, particularly since it’s such a unique way of learning about the world.” If it weren’t for music in public schools, after all, Salazar would probably be pursuing entomology instead of music. (Like a moth to the flame, Salazar abandoned an early interest in insects for music.) Yet every once in awhile, some school administrators make noise regarding the potentially detrimental effects of elementary-school pullout programs where students leave class for half an hour to receive instrumental music instruction. “The children who are participating in those pullout programs for music education are scoring just as high if not higher than the kids who are not participating in pullout programs,” Stauffer asserts. But maybe more compelling than test scores is yet another intangible benefit: “A lot of kids are excited by their involvement in music,” she says, “which makes them more interested in school. And why wouldn’t we want that?”
“It’s not that music makes you smarter, but music is really good for your brain.”
‘From the Top’ Visits the Valley!
ome people grow up on cartoons, others on soccer. But for 16-year-old violinist Mia Laity, the experience was different. As a child, she would travel about a hundred miles to violin lessons each week, and wake up during the morning drive to From the Top on the radio. “I heard the kids, and they really inspired me to keep practicing and playing,” she recalls. Laity, of course, is in melodious company. From the Top is a nonprofit organization that showcases the talents of up-and-coming musicians on radio, television and the Internet, as well as through live events and educational programs like schoolbased performances. “It’s not a park-andbark situation for the kids,” explains Laura Breeden, From the Top’s director of education and community partnerships. “So in addition to having them play and enjoying the music and sharing their joy in the music, we also get to know the kids as part of the format. And we think that
makes classical music accessible to a bigger audience than it might be otherwise.” Each show features about five performers who come from various backgrounds, disciplines and regions. Laity joined their ranks in February 2008 when she appeared on the program herself, playing Wieniawski’s “Scherzo-Tarantelle.” “My husband says that he always knew on our drives for lessons that she would one day be on From the Top,” says Mia’s mother, Kathy. On Nov. 18, 2008 at 8 p.m., From the Top will be taping at the Mesa Arts Center. Tickets are available through the Mesa Arts Center box office (480-644-6500) or online at mesaartscenter.com. When ordering over the Web, enter promo code KBAQ, or mention the station when purchasing by phone to get the following special rates: $25 per ticket for adults or $15 for students. Use the promo code SCHOOL to get the special rate of $6 per ticket for groups of six or more students. You can also view From the Top’s new television series online at pbs.org/fromthetop. Fall 2008
An American (Reporter)
in Paris KJZZ reporter Rene Gutel tries out life as a foreign correspondent. By Rene Gutel
ello, John? You’re not gonna believe this but my laptop won’t start!” I’m huddled in the only public phone booth in Frioul, a barren island with 150 inhabitants, just a few miles off the coast of Marseille, France’s second-largest city and where I have come to do some freelance reporting. Before my husband can even say hello back, I am bawling into the phone. “I don’t know what happened. It worked just fine before I got on the ferry. I was able to connect using the free Wi-Fi at McDonald’s, but once I got to my apartment, I unpacked my things and now it won’t work!” It’s cold here, and mangy dogs are running wild through the island’s one street. The last ferry is pulling off the docks, chugging the day-tripping tourists back to warm, comfortable Marseille. I had hours of interviews to transcribe, the fruit of my first two weeks in France. Deadlines coming up for stories
I was slated to do for PRI’s The World, KQED and Weekend America. My notes, my transcripts, my draft radio scripts were all on the laptop’s hard drive. I am near panic. John tells me he’ll call me right away on my cell phone and we can troubleshoot the problem. As I shuffle back to my studio, I think back on the coziness of my threebedroom ranch-style home in Tempe. When I booked a few weeks in the Frioul apartment, the islands sounded quaint, exotic and remote—a writer’s paradise. But now, in the light of my current crisis, the apartment seems monastic in its stark dinginess. The tiled floor is freezing, one of the two burners in the kitchenette is broken, and all four bathroom walls are covered in mold that stems from a leaky faucet. There’s no television, no radio and no landline. My French cell phone can only accept incoming calls. I realize I am in a complete media blackout. This is not at all what I had planned when I set out to be a foreign correspondent.
Bon Voyage Back in Arizona, when I told my boss, KJZZ’s news director Mark Moran, that I wanted to take a two-month leave of absence to go report in France, my head was filled with romantic images of me, microphone in hand, standing under the Eiffel Tower. Of course I wasn’t completely naïve. I had been to France before. I was a French major and spent six months there during college. I wanted to go back. Like any public radio listener, when I’d hear international reports from NPR’s Sylvia Poggioli in Rome, or Rob Gifford in London, I’d think, “Their job must be so exciting!” So I set out to create my own adventure. Armed with a Rolodex of contacts, and a Marantz digital audio recorder, I booked my trip. Two weeks in Paris, and then to the south. And I had story ideas. Plenty of them. Like I wanted to find out what was happening with Scottsdale-based Taser International’s plan to arm every French cop with a stun gun. And how does the immigration problem in Marseille, a gritty port and a melting pot of a city, compare with Arizona’s?
Torture of the Eyes Turned out my laptop had a busted hard drive, and HP France sent it to a repair center, which took four weeks to replace the drive. It was pretty crushing. But here’s the reality of foreign reporting: Stuff happens. Stories sometimes fall through, editors don’t always get back to you, and ideas that you thought were rock solid don’t always pan out. And yet there is joy in the unexpected, like doing a story about the musical group Marombrina, based in Aix-en-Provence. They’re four French women who sing in the Provençal dialect of Occitan, the same language of 12th century troubadours. I sat in the living room of one while they gave an impromptu a capella concert, and I was transported by their dulcet harmonies. There are only about half a million speakers of Provençal left in the world, and singer Danielle Franzin told me they sing to connect to their roots. The feature ended up airing on WBUR’s Here and Now. Then there was my interview with the CEO of Taser France. When I asked him to respond to the popular belief in France that a stun gun is a weapon of torture, he looked at me and said, “Well, everything is torture. Your watching me with your eyes is torture.” I was speechless. In my two months in France, I interviewed a 6-yearold tennis prodigy, a jazz guitarist turned pop star, and covered a major price-fixing scandal. And I did make it to the Eiffel Tower.
The Metal Asparagus It’s a gray, wintry day in Paris. Light rain has been falling all morning and I am with Tamara Keith, a rock star of a public radio reporter and a dear friend. We’re wearing matching pink and teal T-shirts that advertise our alt.NPR podcast, B-Side Radio, and we’re standing under the tower’s cold steel beams. The Eiffel Tower was controversial when it went up for the World’s Fair in 1889. Some people
called it the “Metal Asparagus.” Today it’s one of the most recognizable and visited monuments in the world. Tamara, B-Side’s host, is holding the microphone and I’m serving as co-host and interpreter. We’re looking for tourists to interview about what it’s like to be a foreigner for an episode about voices. “Excusez-moi de vous deranger...” “I’m sorry to bother you,” I say, as we approach a group of college-age kids. I had guessed right—they’re not French. They’re here on a foreign exchange program. Some are Spanish, some British, one kid is Japanese. We speak to them in a hodgepodge of French and English and they talk about how hard it’s been for them to learn French. But rewarding, too. After talking to them, Tamara and I are off to les Champs-Élysées, one of the most beautiful streets anywhere. We flit up and down the wide, tree-lined avenue, making our way toward the Arc de Triomphe, interviewing passers-by along the way. I guess some assignments are postcard perfect after all.
To hear some of Rene’s French adventures, visit renegutel.com. A sampling of the stories you’ll find include: Pint-Sized Tennis Prodigy Jan Silva may be only 6, but this California boy trains full-time at a private academy outside of Paris. (Aired on KQED’s California Report, KJZZ and Weekend America.) French Jazz Guitarist Thomas Dutronc The son of a famous French pop singer says he doesn’t like Paris anymore. (Aired on The World.) Translating Taser into French Several thousand tasers are already used by French police, but Scottsdale-based Taser International has hopes of landing a major contract to equip even more police officers there. (Aired on KJZZ.) Provençal Singers The four-woman a capella group Marombrina sings in the endangered language, Provençal. (Aired on Here and Now.) France Sniffing Out Product Price-Fixing In Europe, nine makers of consumer products are suspected of colluding to keep prices high. (Aired on Marketplace.) The B-Side Voice Show The alt.NPR podcast goes to Paris, where Rene Gutel and Tamara Keith explore the power of voice. Fall 2008
Art All Around For a greater understanding of the Phoenix metro area, take a tour of its public art.
BOB RINK, COURTESY PHOENIX OFFICE OF ARTS AND CULTURE (POAC)
By Walt Lockley
EDITOR’S NOTE: It may surprise readers to discover that the Valley has some of the most innovative, compelling, creative examples of public art in the country, adorning everything from freeways, to bridges, to public buildings. Ever vigilant for something to do that’s both cheap and intellectually stimulating, Wavelength offers a tour of some of the Valley’s best—and most eclectic— pieces. You’ll find the Maricopa Partnership for Arts and Culture’s official picks, as well as architecture critic Walt Lockley’s own highly unofficial list of the Valley’s often overlooked public art wonders.
ublic art can be a tough gig in the Valley. Outdoor pieces stand in brutal weather, in a city of fast drivers. A big group considers spending tax money on art as a dubious investment, and the area has its share of vandalism, too, with increasing theft of metal pieces for scrap. As if that weren’t enough, the art sponsored by developers or governments comes wrapped in authority that adolescents of all ages are always looking to puncture. With all that, it’s surprising that public art has such a rich history here. Phoenix passed a “Percent for Art” ordinance in 1986 that required up to 1 percent of capital funds be spent on art. Two years later, the city adopted the first citywide public art master plan in the country, and artists and engineers started teaming up to create everything from bus stops to waste management facilities. Since then, Phoenix voters have repeatedly approved bonds that include money for public art—and cities like Tempe, Scottsdale, Glendale, Mesa, Goodyear and Fountain Hills fund public art, too. This article won’t try to answer the question of whether public art is worth it. Instead, it will offer a quick sample of works Valleywide that somehow reveal something about this place. Because in the end, public art isn’t a matter of personal taste. The community should have an opportunity to express its passions and problems [see “Healing Arts” sidebar], then be able to see itself reflected in the finished work. That’s when the public takes ownership. That’s when the conversation begins.
Out and About
Aside from the usual forms public art takes—murals, memorials and plaza sculptures, for instance—the Valley’s most visible public artworks often meld art and infrastructure. “Phoenix distinguished itself nationally in the late 1980s and early 1990s by putting artists to work in designing the city—highway overpasses and underpasses, streetscapes, recycling centers, trails and landmarks along the canals,” says Ed Lebow, public art program director for the City of Phoenix. An example of infrastructure with a twist is “WaterWorks at Arizona Falls,” a playful, mysterious building, perched on the canal at 56th Street and Indian School Road. Its curved roofs and corrugated metal give it the feel of an old-fashioned toy, half ‘microbus’ or ‘tin robot.’ But this toy actually works: It’s a real hydroelectric plant that generates power for 150 homes. With the rusted gears and shafts of the Reopened in June 2003 as a old generator lurking under the waterfall, it’s an restored hydroelectric plant attractive union of function, art, education and and neighborhood gathering whimsy. It boasts a dance floor and a security guard spot, “Waterworks at Arizona on site 24 hours a day, who offers tours that explain the importance of water to the Valley. Designers Falls” was created by Harries/Héder Collaborative, Mags Harries and Lajos Héder are also responsible for the “Pillars of Thought” installed in Scottsdale’s Inc. with Steve Martino. Fall 2008
SCOTTSDALE CULTURAL COUNCIL
“Moving Memories”—Arizona’s official memorial to 9/11—has created a stir in both the local and national press. Created by artists Eddie Jones and Matthew and Maria Salenger, the circular design features statements about the war that are made legible through projected sunlight.
“PILLARS OF THOUGHT”
Civic Center Library, as well as some of the controversial pots along State Route 51. Elayne Achilles, Ed.D.—who spent a year cataloging the Valley’s public artworks for the GEOPA Project for the Maricopa Partnership for Arts and Culture [see page 34]—is a fan of WaterWorks. “It’s an almost spiritual experience as you sit before the falls on the rocks and feel the electricity being generated,” she says. Plus, the water cools the lower level by about 10 degrees. Scottsdale’s “The Path Most Traveled” by Denver artist Carolyn Braaksma is another example of a work that straddles the line between art and urban design. You’ve seen it, no doubt, along Loop 101. But pay attention the next time you circle southbound around Pima Road. You’ll start seeing more and more noise barriers with cactus patterns, repeated green geckos on the underpass supports. At the Shea Boulevard exit, a dramatic curved embankment rises to the right, and these images begin to roll past in the right scale and rhythm to suggest a narrative. The climax lies south of Shea. There, you’ll drive into a 50-foot manmade canyon with gigantic wall graphics, boasting a wealth of visual detail all around. Dig it or not, it’s one stretch of American highway that will make you wonder. And in case you want to stop and wonder, Achilles suggests that you park your car on a side street and walk to the
middle of the intersection at Cactus Road: “The artist placed a similar gecko right in the middle of the crosswalk,” she says, a treat for the intrepid explorer. Like the pots along SR 51, this kind of adornment isn’t typical of a highway sound wall. “Take a look at the Berlin-style walls being erected along freeway corridors up and down the East Coast to appreciate what adding artists to projects can do for the built landscape,” Lebow says. “Braaksma’s design for the 101 wall is a good example of how artists and public art have changed expectations for infrastructure design.” While in Scottsdale, don’t forget to wheel by the lesser-known Chaparral Water Treatment Plant at Hayden Road and McDonald Drive. The work here borders and spills over into a public park; stop and have a walk around. What might have been an ugly, windowless building, like the butt-end of a big-box retailer is instead a concerto of gabion walls and concrete bowls, panels of angular rusted struts, and shade structures overhead, stretched taut and suggesting flight. It’s masterful. The architects were Black & Veatch; the exterior work was by Nader Kavakeb of Swaback Partners. At Arizona State University in Tempe, public art has changed the campus experience. ASU boasts its own sizable collection—named one of the nation’s top 10 by Public Art Review in 2006. One of the most intriguing pieces resides inside the Administration A Building: a colorful, dramatic 1951 mural called “Man’s Wisdom Subdues the Aggressive Forces of Nature” by Jean Charlot. French-born, Mexican-
trained and a major figure of the Mexican muralist movement, Charlot was pals with Orozco and Rivera. A Hopi Snake Dance enlivens the mural on the second flight of stairs, while giant hands preparing anti-venom serum anchor the flight below. Back in downtown Phoenix, in the shadow of the State Capitol, you’ll find a patch of green called Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza and a cluster of 23 memorials worth a stroll. The strength of this collection is its oddity, its obscurity. It almost seems like a secret. Wander around, discover your own favorites, and you’ll eventually arrive at the newest piece, “Moving Memories,” which is controversial for a portion of its message but unnoticed for the brilliant way it uses the Arizona sun. Some of the city’s newest major public pieces are on the Phoenix Art Museum at McDowell Road and Central Avenue. The building is unmarked at the corner and could be a corporate headquarters, or a bus garage. This was on purpose. The architects, Billie Tsien and Tod Williams, intended to mark the museum with art instead of signs. This plan was completed a couple of years behind schedule with the installation of a public-art video piece, “Julian and Suzanne Walking” by London-based artist Julian Opie. Opie specializes in graphic simplifications of the human figure and this piece is easy to stare at,
hypnotically simple, in its location on the southern side of the building. From the street, you may find yourself expecting it to cycle red to Don’t Walk.
ground from three steel towers and composed of a netting material called Tenara, the piece, dubbed “Sky Bloom,” will be “a major feat of engineering,” according to Lebow. The work of Boston-area artist Janet Echelman, it’s meant to showcase the movement of wind and create shade in the park. It will also be underlit by shifting lights and change colors according to season. Although Echelman says the piece’s floral form was inspired by a saguaro blossom, some have said that the plans more closely resemble a 98-foot moon jellyfish—and the charge is more than an easy joke. Moon jellyfish don’t belong in the desert, a stray one wouldn’t last very long, and some complain that the community is not going to see itself reflected in a 98-foot sea creature. Do the public-art complainants have a point? We’ll have to see. And then, of course, discuss it ourselves.
SCOTTSDALE CULTURAL COUNCIL
What’s next? In Scottsdale, the Paolo Soleri Bridge and Plaza will break ground later this year. The second pedestrian bridge connecting the Scottsdale Waterfront and SouthBridge across the banks of the Arizona Canal, it will be part public art piece (in Soleri’s distinctive organic/biomorphic style), part sundial (a tower aligned with the sun for tricks during important solar events), and part victory lap for the longtime area resident, designer and visionary (although he hates that word). With all the civic anticipation attached to the Valley Metro Light Rail opening later this year, look for a string of new public art up and down the route. Among this new collection is work tagged for 5th Street and College Avenue in Tempe by Portland, Oregon artist Tad Savinar, “a series of highly detailed bronze sculptures of natural and manmade landmarks” found in Arizona. And you may have heard the recent flap over the approximately $2.4 million, 98-foot-diameter floating sculpture scheduled to hover above Civic Space park at Central Avenue and Van Buren Street beginning in December. Suspended 38 feet above the
COURTESY OF POAC
On the Horizon
PAOLO SOLERI BRIDGE AND PLAZA
esiding in a 20-acre empty lot at 16th Street and Buckeye Road, the Sacred Heart Church suggests a backstory. Alone and vulnerable-looking, its neighborhood flattened around it, now owned by the city and open only once a year for Christmas Mass, it’s been desanctified and functions only as a symbol. Beware if you pull the thread of this narrative, though. It’s more fuse than thread, and former residents still get explosive about what happened here. Sacred Heart was built in the early 1950s under the leadership of the Rev. Albert Braun, a legendary figure in this poor barrio community, decorated veteran, missionary to the Apaches and, at retirement age, the visionary behind this church. The church in turn became the center of community activity for the Golden Gate Barrio (or Barrios Unitos, or Quatro Milpas, depending on whom you ask). In a simpler era, the modest, glassy Sky Harbor control tower overlooked this neighborhood’s baseball field, and it wasn’t unusual for the airtraffic controller to step downstairs and hold batting practice between flights. Through the 1960s and 1970s, the airport, planning for expansion, used the right of eminent domain to acquire the small houses to its west. With their neighborhood connections cut, many of
the dispossessed were unable to cope. Adding insult to injury, the land then went vacant for about 20 years. But destroying the neighborhood, ironically, did a lot to unify it. Years later, Lennée Eller, the curator of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport— naively, she says now—suggested that the airport commemorate the vanished Barrios Unitos in one of the many public art pieces commissioned in and around the airport. The response was immediate and fierce and after many tumultuous meetings part of the result can be seen along 16th Street south of Buckeye Road, on the western face of the rental car facility. One of three pieces meant for this wall was created by Tempe artist John Nelson. It consists of 12 large, square ceramic icons above a shoe, and images of Food City (which is located across the street) and the Blessed Virgin, and a pattern of ceramic fragments below. The fragments carry quotes from collected neighborhood testimony, some on the topic of tamales, others of heartbreaking family memories. Nelson’s “La Memoria Viva (Memory Lives On)” is in the true spirit of public art, having the community talk back to itself, marking what we’ve lost.
Through the 16th Street Mural Project, artists Martin Moreno, John Nelson, Will Wilson and Josh Sarantitis have created works to honor the now-vanished neighborhoods of south Phoenix. Fall 2008
Finding a Sense of Place Through Public Art
CITY OF FOUNTAIN HILLS
CITY OF CHANDLER
The GEOPA Project:
“Staring into the Sun” (Chandler Public Library, 22 S. Delaware St., Chandler) This suspended metal sculpture was designed by Kevin Berry as a statement on the illumination of knowledge that comes from literature.
“Fragmented Landscape” (Mesa Arts Center Ikeda Theater, 1 E. Main St., Mesa) Ned Kahn perforated thousands of small panels with varying sizes of holes to create two shade screens that are activated by wind to form an image of sand dunes.
BILL TIMMERMAN, COURTESY OF POAC
Tres Rios Butterfly Garden (91st Avenue and the Salt River, south of Broadway Road, Phoenix) Native and migrating butterflies can find food and habitat in Matt and Maria Salenger’s artwork.
“Cactus Mirage” (15525 N. Thompson Peak Pkwy., Scottsdale) A flattened barrel cactus inspired Norie Sato’s work, a translucent wall through which 5,000 reflective dots shift and shimmer in reaction to sunlight and wind.
“The Reading Tree” (Windrose Park, 12859 N. 83rd Ave., Peoria) Joe Tyler created “The Reading Tree,” a 25-foot-tall steel tree sculpture with benches.
“River Then, River Now, River Future” (south-facing wall of the 202 Freeway, at Mill Avenue and Rural Road, Tempe) Over four years, 3,500 people created tiles, which artists Jeff East and Rebecca Ross used in this 545-foot-long mural that represents the past, present and future of the Salt River area.
COURTESY OF POAC
CITY OF MESA
“Color Walk” (Mesa Arts Center Ikeda Theater, 1 E. Main St., Mesa) After taking photographs of a Mesa rainstorm at dusk, Beth Galston created two ribbons of colored glass to capture the imagery of the photos. The glass was attached to guardrails, forming “Color Walk.”
“The Rescuers” (Pinnacle Peak Public Safety Station, 23100 N. Lake Pleasant Road, Peoria) A firefighter and police officer rescuing a young girl are depicted in Arthur Noby’s monument-sized sculpture.
CITY OF MESA
hoenix is nationally known for its public art,” says Elayne Achilles, past director of educational programs for Maricopa Partnership for Arts and Culture (MPAC). Despite the abundance of public artwork that exists in the area, however, Achilles says many of the pieces remain “hidden treasures.” What better way to reveal those treasures than to go on a treasure hunt? The GEOPA Project: Finding a Sense of Place Through Public Art, was designed by MPAC to encourage community members to find and explore the artwork that exists within their surroundings. “The reason we’re doing this is to help families and children understand the importance of art and culture in their community and in their lives,” Achilles says. A selection committee comprised of local public art consultants, technologists and educators chose 21 pieces from throughout Maricopa County to be included in the project. An all-inclusive curriculum, used in classrooms for the pilot project, encourages engagement and inquiry and was designed to meet the Arizona State Standard for the Arts. With ASU professor Alice Christie, Ph.D. serving as consultant and project leader, the GEOPA Project combines art and technology by including the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers in its curriculum. Those without access to receivers should not be deterred— Achilles says they add a fun component, but are not necessary to locate and enjoy the artwork. Following is a list of the selected pieces. (For more information and accompanying lessons and activities, go to alicechristie.org.)
PEORIA ARTS COMMISSION
By Kristen Forbes
“Language of Light” (Cholla Branch Library, 10050 Metro Parkway East, Phoenix) Two kinetic light sculptures transform sunlight into all the colors of the spectrum in Joseph McShane’s “Language of Light,” a celebration of the Southwestern sun.
GEOPA PROJECT SCOTTSDALE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
“Marina Water Muse” (north bank of Tempe Town Lake, west of Rural Road, Tempe) Hand-operated wheels can be turned to direct water flow into underground pipes at Laurie Lundquist’s “Marina Water Muse.”
CITY OF TEMPE
CITY OF TEMPE
CITY OF TEMPE
GEOPA PROJECT COURTESY OF POAC
Fire Station #30 (2701 W. Belmont Ave., Phoenix) Joe Tyler cut more than 6,000 individual leaves in the branches of the steel weeping willow created for Fire Station #30.
“Knight Rise” (Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7383 E. 2nd St., Scottsdale) Created by internationally acclaimed artist James Turrell, “Knight Rise” is one of only three skyspaces open for public viewing in the United States.
Nisbet Road Pedestrian Bridge (3390 E. Nisbet Road, Phoenix) The galvanized chain-link safety cage in Laurie Lundquist’s pedestrian bridge is designed to look like the jagged profile of the mountains to the south.
“The Path Most Traveled” (Loop 101, Scottsdale) Lizards, desert plants, local landforms and Maricopa Indian patterns can all be found on the walls and ramps of Scottsdale’s Pima outer loop highway, designed by artist Carolyn Braaksman.
“The Elements” (McClintock Drive and Southern Avenue, Tempe) McClintock High School students worked alongside artists to craft handmade ceramic tiles, which were incorporated into “The Elements.”
“Barry Goldwater Memorial” (northeast of Lincoln Drive and Tatum Boulevard, Paradise Valley) At the center of the “Barry Goldwater Memorial” is a nine-foot bronze statue of the senator created by Joe Beeler.
COURTESY OF POAC
“WaterWorks at Arizona Falls” (Arizona Canal at G.R. Herberger Park, 56th Street and Indian School Road, Phoenix) Formed by a natural 20-foot drop along the Arizona Canal, this piece is a place where visitors can learn, interact and reflect.
“Art Is a Guaranty of Sanity” (Phoenix Convention Center Atrium, 2nd and Adams Streets, Phoenix) Created by 97-year-old Louise Bourgeois, this highly polished steel mirror is cut into a spiderweb pattern. It stands around 90 feet tall.
“An Open Book” (Juniper Branch Library, 1825 W. Union Hills Drive, Phoenix) Translucent blocks set in a grid-like pattern make up this sculpture attached to the curved wall of the library’s meeting room. Each block focuses on one letter of the alphabet.
“The Sun and the Moon” (Foothills Branch Library, 19055 N. 57th Ave., Glendale) More than 1,000 individually hand-blown pieces of glass make up this 10-foot chandelier created by Dale Chihuly.
COURTESY OF POAC
GLENDALE PUBLIC ART JOE TYLER
“Chauncey the Rabbit” (Fountain Hills Library, 12901 N. La Montana Drive, Fountain Hills) Artist Jim Budish cast this sculpture in bronze after sculpting in low-density foam with a hot knife, then adding clay to the surface.
You Heard It HERE First Former CNN anchor Aaron Brown develops a new show at KJZZ.
n 2005, when Aaron Brown left his CNN post as anchor of “NewsNight with Aaron Brown,” he vowed that if he returned to news, it would be in public broadcasting. Brown had spent the bulk of his career at ABC covering hard news. He was a reporter for “Nightline” and “World News Tonight with Peter Jennings,” and became the fill-in host for Jennings when he was gone. “If it was a national holiday, you knew I was going to be on television,” Brown says with a laugh. He became the permanent anchor of ABC’s “World News Tonight Saturday,” then left to join CNN in 2001. Cable news was uncharted territory for Brown, but it was an opportunity to do something different. He was hired to develop the flagship evening news program and to serve as lead anchor for breaking news, a role that would come to redefine his career. Brown’s first day at CNN was September 11, 2001, and his first breaking news story was covering the terrorist attacks. Brown received praise for his calm, yet firm demeanor during the 18 hours of anchoring he did from Manhattan as the tragedy unfolded. Following the recognition—which included winning the coveted Edward R. Murrow Award—CNN quickly launched “NewsNight.” The program broke the typical cable news mold, but over time Brown was forced to cover the celebrity and other sensational stories that get ratings. The hard news he wanted to report quickly got softer. Brown left CNN in 2005, when the network canceled “NewsNight” and replaced it with “Anderson Cooper 360°.” But Brown’s retirement didn’t last long; he started teaching at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at ASU. Not long after, public broadcasting came knocking 34
In addition to serving as the first Walter Cronkite professor of journalism at Arizona State University, Aaron Brown is lending his talents to KJZZ.
By Samuel Hood Burke
at his door. Brown knew he didn’t want to cover any more Robert Blake cases or wallow in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, and he knew public radio listeners don’t tune in expecting soft news. With his interest secured, well-known producers headed for Arizona to help pilot a program featuring Brown. Executive producer Mary Beth Kirchner has a long history in public radio and has been a producer for “Nightline.” Sean Collins, an NPR veteran, cocreated Talk of the Nation. Emily Botein, an independent producer, helped launch PRI’s The Next Big Thing; and Web producer Lori Leibovich helped launch Salon.com. Impressed by the talent behind the new venture, Friends of Public Radio Arizona quickly signed on to fund development of the show.
Birth of a Program Most people imagine that big-name programming gets created in corporate boardrooms teeming with charts, but this show was born over an Arizona dinner. Some of the producers already knew Brown, but the others tried to get a feel for which of his experiences could be used to make a more intimate show. The next day, the team assembled at the KJZZ studios to map out their pilot. Still no impressive charts, just laptops, notepads and lunch. The producers didn’t want to build a show and then just throw Brown in, as is often done. They decided the most natural-sounding program would fit Brown’s cerebral personality and irreverent style. The first questions were when the program should air and how often. Everyone in the room got the sense that Brown wanted to do a comprehensive yet relaxed look at the important stories of the week. Brown had done news five days a week for most of his career and wasn’t looking to repeat that. Everyone agreed a weekly show made the most sense. It also became clear that Brown had not lost the edge that “NewsNight” viewers enjoyed. Saturday afternoon seemed like a good fit for sarcasm. During these discussions, Brown frequently mentioned his daughter Gabby when, for instance, he talked about different generational viewpoints or new ways parents communicate with their kids. (Brown often text messages Gabby, who left home for college this year.) So the producers knew they wanted a format that would allow Brown to leverage this relationship. After hours mapping out possibilities and Brown
Check It Out!
Pilots of The Aaron Brown Show are available as podcasts at aaronbrown.kjzz.org.
discussing his family and his network experiences, it was still unclear exactly what the show would be. So Brown left the room and let the team firm up the plan. When he got back, they had an outline. They decided that after NPR’s news updates and underwriting announcements, a half-hour show would be too short. So they chose a one-hour format, where Brown would interview someone with a unique perspective on one of the week’s more provocative stories. Unlike many radio programs, it would not be Brown asking a question, followed by an extended answer, but rather a conversation. This would give listeners a chance to connect with the host and Brown a chance to be witty, while making sense of the headlines. With a plan in place, it was now time to record some shows.
aaron brown ’s JOURNALISM 101
The Pilots Early on, Brown mentioned his fascination with marketing and how keenly interested he is in why corporations do what they do—from Viagra commercials to the layout of department stores. So the team decided to package the show as part of the show. What better way to launch the program, they decided, than to invite National Design Award winner Michael Bierut to talk on air about branding and the public’s perception of Brown? Another segment would focus on music. Every radio show has to pick a theme song, but instead of doing this in a conference room, the producers decided to put Beth Urdang, a music consultant and founder of Agoraphone Music Direction, on air to help Brown pick the best music for the show. (He loved George Harrison’s “What Is Life.”) Although the program is still in its infancy, one element has been built in by design: the show’s distinctly Western sensibility. Once a Seattle TV news anchor, Brown has always wanted to retire out West. And, though he’s in no way retired, Brown and his wife are now making Arizona their home. In the first show, Brown mentions roaming around the Valley, being a professor at ASU and walking through the desert with Tucson-based essayist Charles Bowden, discussing the history of Arizona’s landscape. Since the program will be broadcast from the KJZZ studios, the producers wanted that local flavor, even while intending to take the show nationwide. Under Kirchner’s best-case scenario, The Aaron Brown Show would launch nationally in 2009. The final product is more than a show—it’s a Saturday afternoon chat between Brown and his guests. The focus is not just on headlines, but rather on the often-neglected stories behind them. And it’s clear from first listen that The Aaron Brown Show is not being broadcast from some studio in New York or Washington or Chicago, but from right here, in your own back yard. So you really can say, you heard it here, first.
Some tips from the professor: Fact-check everything. “If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out.” Fairness counts. “It’s not enough to have facts right. It’s important to be fair.” Writing matters. “Good writing gets noticed; bad writing is left unread.” Everything is possible. “Many people told me I would never be successful. But it didn’t matter; I knew otherwise.” Don’t be consumed by your craft. “You can be a reporter and have a normal life … it’s just not easy. That said, there’s nothing I see and don’t think there’s a story there.” The best question a journalist can ask: “Is there anything I didn’t ask that you would like to answer?” Choosing a role model: “Look to people whose work you admire. Journalism has a rich history. But find your own voice.“ On technology: “Media change, but storytelling doesn’t.”
A home cook recounts what happened when she brought a radio into the kitchen. By Trisha Coffman Photography by Art Holeman
f there was ever a time when cake seemed superfluous, this would have been it. The cake, for my daughter’s tenth birthday, was indulgent even for cake: layer upon buttery layer of crêpes, each slathered with a chocolate crème pâtissière, a custard-type filling that entailed the proper beating of egg whites in addition to that single step that signals the seriousness of the pastry task at hand: the ice bath. As I lovingly swirled scant one-quarter cupfuls of batter in my crêpe pan, trying to turn out 20 presentable—not merely edible—crêpes, author Diane Ackerman was discussing the Holocaust on National Public Radio’s Science Friday. My eye was on the pan and my hand was on the spatula, gently tucking it under delicate crêpe edges. But my ears were taking in details about concentration camp victims, and their rationed 184 calories a day. There I was, my egg and cream and chocolate custard chilling in the refrigerator, constructing what was possibly the highest-calorie confection ever to grace my kitchen counter, listening to tales of starvation and typhus, of war and courage. And here I’d thought I was being courageous, the abandon with which I was using butter. Desperate for a slot in my day that would accommodate some quality time with the folks in public radio, I’d brought my radio into the kitchen. It was a sort of experiment: Was I capable of performing the mental splits, of actively listening to and processing the information I heard, while at the same time following a recipe? Would I emerge better informed, or would all the talk fade into the background? As with the crêpe cake-making experience, I was finding that the two 36
activities were more complementary than I had originally thought. I’d been tending risotto—tops on the comfort food list in my house—when I heard the stories of tornadoes ripping through Southern states on All Things Considered. Families were losing their homes and sounds of storms played out on my speakers, but I had the calming heft of a wooden spoon in my grip. A woman recounted the blessing of rescuing her family Bible, a man described the way his home was “blown to bits,” and I continued to coax broth into shiny grains of Arborio, my four walls intact. Of course, not every story I heard was tragic. One was about oysters, and an Atlantic oyster expert was discussing how good oysters will “taste like where they come from.” I’d been prepping salmon at the time, and I wondered, because my salmon was wild Alaskan, would it taste like Alaska? That’s when it hit me that cooking and listening to public radio are equally transportive. When Sheryl Crow visited Fresh Air and discussed her Missouri childhood at the same time I was spicing and rolling out Algerian flatbread, I was effectively in two far-flung places at once. Or was it three? North Africa, Missouri and Phoenix. This experiment was getting me somewhere. Months earlier, my several-times-daily public radio fix had undergone a dramatic drop when I enrolled my preschool-aged daughter in French school. The maîtresse strongly encouraged “French World” at home—movies, books and music in French—and that extended to driving time. We started listening almost exclusively to French satellite talk radio from Québec in the car, and while I knew when the value of the Canadian dollar surpassed that of the American and was well informed about National Hockey League results, I was missing out on the programming and perspectives public radio offers. I missed the analysis of hot-button topics and information imparted in the context of conversation. I missed the stories. And so my transformation from car listener to kitchen listener began. I worried at first that I’d get too immersed in listening and lose count of cups of flour or forget when I’d switched on the broiler. To a cook more intuitive than I, such concerns may seem laughable. But as much I love making a meal, I’m a cook that has to pay attention. I have a difficult time engaging in conversation even if I’m just boiling noodles. I asked Lynne Rosetto Kasper, host of American Public Media’s The Splendid Table, if listening has any effect on her cooking. “I usually have something on while I’m doing dinner. It’s a companion,” she says. Taken together,“it’s two different senses at work. I don’t know that it improves my cooking, or that it has a negative effect, but it certainly makes a difference in terms of what makes me relax and what makes me feel as if I’m getting informed at the same time I’m getting supper together.” Instead of vying for my attention, the two activities
Although she typically likes her kitchen to herself, Coffman says it’s fun when her girls drop in. Sometimes they listen to KJZZ, too, and they talk about what’s happening in the world. were more likely to commingle. Instead of competition, there was a sort of convergence. As Kasper points out, “We’re so deeply influenced by what we hear. And from doing radio, one of the things you learn is that this is perhaps the most intimate medium of all. I think that listening to public radio has a far deeper engagement for the listener.” Perhaps this is why the private space of my kitchen contributed differently to my understanding of the programs I heard. It’s why, for example, the repetition of layering lasagna was especially appropriate one evening when stories of the presidential campaign seemed to grow more redundant by the day. Or when after driving to three stores for three particularly elusive and expensive ingredients, a featured financial expert glossed over the guilt I felt about spending money on food and fuel with his claims that consumers should continue to spend, despite the looming economic crisis. Chef Aaron May, of Sol y Sombra in Scottsdale, is a devoted kitchen listener. He prefers the rumbling of KJZZ’s talk to the rhythm of music when cooking. “Music can distract you a little bit. You can get carried away and lose sense of time,” he says. “When cooking, you’ve got to really pay attention to the time. So I find it a lot easier to focus on the food because I’m not distracted by the harmonies. With NPR it’s just voices, it’s just talking, similar to people in the kitchen or people in the restaurant.” For May, prep work is particularly conducive to
I started grouping kitchen activities into two mental columns: those that lent themselves to listening, and those that made listening almost impossible.
KJZZ also helps Coffman reconnect with her husband after a long day. “Sometimes Brian comes home from work and NPR’s on and he’ll say, ‘Hey, I heard such-andsuch about that today,’” she says.
In my ‘good for listening’ column falls just about anything you can do with a knife. listening. “I listen during the day while we’re getting ready for service at night. It’s good to have a break while we’re cutting up fish, breaking down chickens, making soup. All that can be very monotonous,” says May, who also acts as chef at Over Easy in Phoenix. I started grouping kitchen activities into two mental columns: those that lent themselves to listening, and those that made listening almost impossible. In my “good for listening” column falls just about anything you can do with a knife—mince garlic, slice sweet potatoes, chop cilantro—as well as anything repetitive that keeps you relatively stationary, like stirring polenta or kneading bread dough or layering lasagna. In my “bad for listening” column would generally fall mental-intensive preparations that you might overthink, say, making an omelet, as well as anything 38
Radio Recipes Public radio personalities offer a couple of dishes to prepare while you tune in. Almond Chutney Chicken in Lettuce Roll-Ups Adapted from ‘The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper: Recipes, Stories and Opinions from Public Radio’s Award-Winning Food Show,’ by Lynne Rosetto Kasper and Sally Swift. (Clarkson Potter 2008).
that makes noise: the running water that rinses vegetables or thaws frozen shrimp, the mixer beating egg whites, the KitchenAid emulsifying pesto. In fact, the use of noisy, clattering kitchen appliances can bring a whole other dimension to the amalgam of listening and cooking. While listening to a report about last year’s lawsuit involving Yahoo and two Chinese journalists, I debated the number of garlic cloves to put in my pesto. Settling on one, I pulsed it in the food processor, only to hear the word “spineless” ringing from the radio the second I shut off the KitchenAid. Yes, I had to admit, I was spineless in my garlic decision; I love garlicky pesto but was afraid of the dinnertime revolt from the kids if I used two cloves. Then, following my attempt to pulse handfuls of basil leaves in the small processor bowl, the word “irresponsible” sounded throughout my kitchen. I suppose I had acted irresponsibly, lazily underestimating the volume of basil like that and dirtying an extra bowl. But the use of the word still seemed a tad out of proportion. Nikki Silva of NPR’s The Kitchen Sisters says that kind of conversation—the inner volley between considering what one’s hearing and the mental involvement in the act of cooking—contributes to more than food preparation. “It carries over to the dinner table,” she says. “I come together with people, and I’m thinking of something I just heard, and I might tell a story of something I heard or was impressed by or amazed by, and all that very much contributes to the meal for me.” “You know the way that cooking fills the house with smells, warmth and a sense of calm? I feel that radio fills the house with sound and place. Often when you’re cooking it’s solitary, but I find that when I have the radio with me, there’s this conversation in my mind with what I’m hearing, and it’s filling the home with activity and life,” Silva says. That summed it up for me. By bringing the radio into the kitchen, I’d successfully multitasked my way to being both well informed and well fed, to feeding my brain as well as my belly. A simple change of routine had effected a significant change: I was no longer just making dinner.
Chicken Salad: 1 3-pound roasted chicken, or 1 to 1₁⁄₂ pounds firm tofu, cooked shrimp or grilled tempeh 1 medium red onion, cut into ₁⁄₂-inch dice Grated zest of 1 large lemon Juice of 3 large lemons, or more to taste 2 jalapeño chiles, seeded and minced, or hot sauce to taste
9-ounce jar Major Grey Chutney, cut into bite-size pieces if necessary ₁⁄₂ cup mayonnaise Salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste 3 large stalks celery, cut into ₁⁄₄-inch dice 1 cup whole salted almonds, coarse chopped
Lettuce Cups and Herbs: 1 large head Bibb lettuce, 8 radishes, sliced thin leaves separated 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and 1 large bunch fresh basil sliced into thin rounds or 2-inch 1 large bunch fresh coriander (cilantro) sticks Pull the meat from the chicken carcass, discarding the skin and bones. Cut it into bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl, combine the onion, lemon zest and juice, jalapeño, chutney, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Fold in the chicken. Adjust seasoning as needed. Let stand 20 minutes to blend flavors, or refrigerate overnight. To serve, fold the celery and nuts into the chicken mixture. Mound the salad at one side of a big platter. Pile up the lettuce leaves at the other side, and cluster sprigs of herbs in the center. Tuck the radishes and cucumbers next to the herbs. Put a few herb leaves in the bottom of a lettuce “cup,” top them with a spoonful of the salad, a slice each of radish and cucumber, and roll up.
Dorothy’s Only Banana Nut Bread, From Ernie Silva’s Commune Cookbook Recipe courtesy Nikki Silva, ‘Hidden Kitchens: Stories, Recipes and More from NPR’s The Kitchen Sisters,’ by Davia Nelson & Nikki Silva. (Rodale Books 2005).
2₁⁄₂ cups flour 1 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons baking soda 1 cup vegetable oil 2 cups sugar 2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 6 medium) 4 eggs, lightly beaten 1 cup chopped walnuts Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two loaf pans, about 8₁⁄₂” by 4₁⁄₂”. Stir and toss the flour, salt and baking soda. In a large bowl, mix oil, sugar, mashed bananas, eggs and nuts. Add the dry ingredients and mix until batter is well blended. Pour into greased and floured pans. Bake for approximately one hour, checking after 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in pans for five minutes. Turn out onto rack to cool completely.
patron profile By Evan Wyloge
Soldier of Fortune
Deeann Griebel The Patrons Leadership Society (PLS) is a diverse group of philanthropic individuals and families committed to sustaining KJZZ & KBAQ’s ability to inspire and inform members of our community with world-class news, music and informational programming. Members of the PLS share the distinction of being our stations’ most generous annual contributors, giving $1,000 or more each year to one or both stations. In return, PLS members are granted behind-the-scenes access to our studios and are invited to participate in exclusive programming and private visits with public radio personalities from across the country. For more information about the PLS, please contact Aaron Pratt at 480-774-8453 or email@example.com.
A financial advisor uses a plastic army—and public radio—to educate her clients.
At first, Deeann Griebel describes her work as a financial advisor as, “keeping investors out of trouble.” That might evoke images of dry daily tasks, full of number crunching, but when she describes her day-to-day interactions, this former teacher’s passion shines through. “Education is everything,” Griebel says, “and I use the skills I learned as a teacher every day. Seventy percent of my success comes from being a schoolteacher.” Griebel knows she has a knack for breaking down what, for most people, are daunting and complex issues, and that this helps her clients make well-informed financial decisions. From mortgage obligations and bank deleveraging, to trusts and estate planning, she is always ready to jump into a crash course that will bring just about anyone into the know. One of Griebel’s favorite lessons demon-
strates the significance of savings and compound interest, and it’s not limited to her clients. “It’s a technique I use with 3rd graders, Boy Scouts, high-school classes and senior citizens,” she says as she pulls a bag of plastic toy soldiers from her desk drawer. Using a single soldier to represent a small savings, and using his ability to train other soldiers to represent compound interest, Griebel quickly multiplies her lone soldier into a desktop army. “People can see the soldiers and comprehend how this works. I don’t have to use one chart or handout,” she says, “and everyone loves toy soldiers.” Having become known for her plastic army demonstration, Griebel keeps a military diorama of soldiers, tanks and aircraft— even an embedded NPR reporter—on display in her office. Griebel’s passion for education also keeps her tuning in to KJZZ. “I always find myself learning something when I’m listening to public radio, and I’m listening to public radio basically anytime I’m near a radio,” she says. She also enjoys the sensible approach to issues. “It’s respectful,” she explains. “I don’t ever feel like public radio takes sides.” Griebel’s experience dealing with the financial world gives her a unique perspective. “Marketplace is fun and funny and usually very accurate,” she says, “so that increases my confidence when I listen to subjects like politics and science.” In addition to being a longtime public radio fan, Griebel constantly finds herself telling friends, co-workers, neighbors— just about anyone within earshot—about her favorite shows. “I’ll say, ‘Do me a favor and tune in to Morning Edition,’” she says with a smile, knowing she might spark an interest in an important issue being discussed. “Democracy’s success depends on citizens being educated, and I’m not talking about facts and figures and how to do math,” Griebel stresses, “but about how to think. Public radio offers people thoughtful, respectful dialog, which helps people stay truly educated.”
the arts By David M. Brown
The Insider’s Arts Guide Valley experts pick the season’s hottest tickets. or those who like their entertainment on the live side, we’ve compiled this guide to the can’t-miss shows of the season. We asked five cultural leaders to dish on the best of what’s coming—both to their own organizations and around the Valley.
A native Midwesterner, Bruffy has been hailed as the next great American choral conductor by The New York Times, and the Phoenix Chorale has established a wide reputation for its broad repertoire—hence the recent name change. Frequently featured on Performance Today, the Phoenix Chorale recently celebrated four Grammy nominations and a win for their album Grechaninov’s Passion Week. The group will be featured next year on a national radio series celebrating American choral music. A jazz devotee as well, Bruffy approaches revered scores not only with respect, but with openness and flexibility. “We work with dots on the page and reinterpret those—resuscitating them into something meaningful and compelling for today’s listeners,” he says. Some performances he predicts will be both are:
Arts enthusiasts anticipate an exciting season, with performances by gifted young musicians such as Lang Lang and Esperanza Spalding (above). Spalding will sing and play double bass at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts on Feb. 28, 2009.
Charles Bruffy, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, THE PHOENIX CHORALE
rs. Hal and Timona Pittman formed the Phoenix Bach Choir in 1958. A half century later, Charles Bruffy leads the highly regarded a capella choir, now called the Phoenix Chorale.
■ “The Retro Concert,” The Phoenix Chorale, Oct. 25-26 and Nov. 2: “We’ll have a sampling of music that got the choir started, as well as other works,” Bruffy says. To offer a Valleywide experience, the concerts will take place at three different venues: Oct. 25—Episcopal Cathedral in Phoenix; Oct. 26—Camelback Bible Church in Paradise Valley; and Nov. 2—American Lutheran Church in Sun City.
Audiences around the country have heard the sounds of the Phoenix Chorale through broadcasts on NPR’s Performance Today. Local audiences can catch the group at several live shows, which will take place all across the Valley.
■ Benny Green, Tempe Center for the Arts, Oct. 31: A child protégé of Oscar Peterson (who John Mehegan took Goldenthal to hear at the Village Vanguard when he was 11), this great pianist has worked with Ray Brown, Betty Carter, Art Blakey, Freddie Hubbard and Diana Krall. “I’m especially looking forward to hearing Valley vocalist Delphine Cortez perform with Benny at this concert,” Goldenthal says.
Joel Robin Goldenthal,
■ The Reed Family, Jazz in AZ at ASU Kerr Cultural Center, Nov. 30: The beloved Reed Family, including Francine, will share their unique holiday show for the first time under Jazz in AZ auspices. “With R&B, jazz and gospel notes, this show is a crowd pleaser and guaranteed sellout,” Goldenthal says, so get your tickets now!
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JAZZ IN AZ
orn and raised in Queens, New York, Goldenthal began piano at 7, picked up jazz by ear at 9 and studied on scholarship at 11 with John Mehegan, who headed the jazz department at Juilliard and wrote several books on improvisation. Goldenthal has played jazz piano professionally in the Valley since 1975 while working in nonprofit development, advertising and marketing. He’s been with the nonprofit Jazz in AZ for about five years, furthering its efforts to present live jazz and cultivate its future through parties, concerts, youth education, scholarships and community outreach. Here are four shows Goldenthal predicts will help burnish jazz’s reputation.
B ■ Lang Lang, guest soloist with The Phoenix Symphony, Oct. 26: Bruffy wants to see the Chinese virtuoso perform but can’t, because he’ll be conducting the concert above. He saw Lang Lang recently at the Grammys in Los Angeles dueting with jazz icon, Herbie Hancock. “Stars in two worlds, they played each other’s styles with such flexibility and panache,” he says, adding with a chuckle, “Perhaps we can ask him to come over after his concert and accompany us.”
■ “Joey DeFrancesco with Brian Bromberg,” Mesa Arts Center, Nov. 8: Master of the Hammond B-3 organ, DeFrancesco reaffirms for Bruffy the connections of what he does with choral repertoire and the traditions of American jazz. “We all make the same sounds, pitches and durations,” he says. “We all deal with sound in time.” ■ “The Best of Balanchine,” Ballet Arizona with The Phoenix Symphony, June 12-14, 2009: “I like rule breakers,” Bruffy says. Phoenix Chorale, 602-253-2224; phoenixchorale.org
■ McCoy Tyner Quartet, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts at the Celebrity Theatre, Jan. 17, 2009: The legendary Philadelphia pianist has helped shape contemporary jazz as a member of the legendary John Coltrane Quartet and on his own. “I’m excited about McCoy Tyner coming to the Valley,” Goldenthal says. “Our local jazz scene is better in many respects than some of the larger cities today, such as Chicago. This is important because having America’s original art form—jazz— prominent in our cultural mix makes us a more attractive place to visit, work and live.” Fall 2008 43
Bob Ravenscroft, Rob Moore and Dwight Kilian perform as Inner Journeys, a trio that will pay homage to jazz pianist Bill Evans in October.
■ “A Celebration of Bill Evans by Bob Ravenscroft’s Inner Journeys Trio,” Jazz in AZ at ASU Kerr Cultural Center, Oct. 5: Bill Evans is arguably the most influential jazz pianist of his era, influencing Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and others. As a teenager, Goldenthal first heard Evans at the Village Gate in Greenwich Village and saw him in Phoenix in the mid70’s. There were four people in the audience. “I learned recently that Bob Ravenscroft was one of the four,” he says. “Other pianists have emulated Evans’ voicings, but Ravenscroft is the best I’ve ever heard at capturing the subtlety of Evans’ touch and the nuances of his improvisational style.” Jazz in AZ, 480-994-0807; jazzinaz.org
David Hemphill, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE BLACK THEATRE TROUPE
Before You Go All events are subject to change. Please call or consult the company Web sites to confirm performance information.
n 1970, Helen Katherine Mason, a Phoenix Parks and Recreation supervisor, envisioned a community-based African-American theater company that would produce quality plays documenting
the black experience. David Hemphill came to the Valley from New York in 1976 and volunteered for the Black Theatre Troupe (BTT) in various capacities. In 1994, Mason asked him to take over the company when the managing director resigned. He did, and under Hemphill’s leadership, the BTT continues to call on regional and national talent to celebrate African-American culture. This year, the company will present its entire season in its new home at Playhouse in the Park in downtown Phoenix. Here’s what Hemphill recommends seeing there, and at other places around town. ■ “Revenge of a King,” Black Theatre Troupe, Jan. 8-25, 2009: Herb Newsome’s hip-hop reinterpretation of Hamlet features original music, freestyle rhymes, an MC battle, graffiti, dance and a live D.J. “Our big risk,” Hemphill says. ■ “Hair,” Arizona Theatre Company, Dec. 31, 2008-Jan. 18, 2009: Will “The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical,” directed by David Ira Goldstein, raise hackles
in Phoenix? David Hemphill says, “It’s a great show—and it was, and is, risky.” ■ “Aida,” The Phoenix Opera, Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 2009: Founded by John Massaro and Gail Dubinbaum, the Phoenix Opera debuted last year with a well-received “La Boheme.” This “Aida” features Russian bass Mikhail Svetlov, Slovak mezzo Jolana Fogasova and New Zealand soprano Marie-Adele McArthur, who descends from a Maori chief. Hemphill notes that he has “always had an affinity for this work, with its uplifting score and because it focuses on a black woman in the middle of a love triangle.” ■ “Les Misérables,” Phoenix Theatre, Feb. 18-March 22, 2009: Arizona’s oldest arts organization produces the classic show at The Phoenix Theatre: “It’s just one of the best places in town to see a musical,” Hemphill says. “This is always quality local theater.” Black Theatre Troupe, 602-258-8128; blacktheatretroupe.org
Colleen JenningsRoggensack, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ASU GAMMAGE AND ASSISTANT VICE PRESIDENT FOR CULTURAL AFFAIRS, ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY
former dancer and choreographer, JenningsRoggensack has brought inspired arts scheduling to ASU Gammage and ASU Kerr Cultural Center for 16 years. She has held positions at Dartmouth College and Colorado State University and was nominated by President Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve on the National Council on the Arts. She’s also served with the National Dance Project, the Africa Exchange Advisory Council, The Japan Foundation and a contemporary-theater partnership between the U.S. and the Netherlands. Known for her commitment to diversity, here are her diverse picks: ■ “The Mikado,” Arizona Opera, Nov. 20-23: Gilbert and Sullivan’s whimsical tale set in Titipu is one of JenningsRoggensack’s G&S favorites. “There is such joy and frivolity in Gilbert and Sullivan,” she says, adding that she has fondness for anything Japanese, since she spent four years on Okinawa. Yum-Yum!
■ “Spring Awakening,” ASU Gammage, Dec. 9-14: Based on the 1891 German play of the same name, this show explores the sexual awakening of teens. For Jennings-Roggensack, this production is also special because Glendale’s Stephen Spinella
PHOTO COURTESY OF ARIZONA OPERA, TIM FULLER
Filled with charming characters and absurd situations, “The Mikado” is one of Gilbert & Sullivan’s most beloved comic operettas. It hits local stages in November. Fall 2008 45
starred in the Broadway production, and ASU frosh Krystina Albado will star in this National Touring Company production. Even closer to home, JenningsRoggensack and her daughter Kelsey recently traveled to New York for Kelsey’s 16th birthday to see this and eight other shows. “This was her favorite,” JenningsRoggensack says. “She felt it truly captured the feeling, sense and questions of being a teenager.”
■ “Frost/Nixon,” ASU Gammage, March 31-April 5, 2009: Stacy Keach plays the former president in this reenactment of one of the great political interviews, conducted by British bon vivant David Frost. Jennings-Roggensack was a military brat, and her father was stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota. “I wanted to explore the American political process, and the state was short on Democrats,” she says with a chuckle. “So, I became a Young Republican and stumped for President Nixon.” ASU Gammage, 480-965-3434; asugammage.com
Randy Vogel, DIRECTOR OF THEATERS AND OPERATIONS, MESA ARTS CENTER
irecting the Mesa Arts Center since 2002, Vogel is respon-
■ Pilobolus, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts at Herberger Theater Center, Jan. 29, 2009: The dance company was formed in 1971 by four Dartmouth College students under choreographer/ teacher Alison Chase. “They remain preeminent in my mind, as I worked at the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth as the director,” Jennings-Roggensack says.
Pilobolus sible for programming its four theaters, the Shadow Walk and overall live entertainment, as well as all campus operations. He holds degrees in arts administration/education and music (double bass) and has performed in orchestras, jazz ensembles and musicals. “The Mesa Arts Center is a remarkable complex for the visual and performing arts,” he says. “We’ve been fortunate in bringing in a wide variety of traditional to pop shows and have some phenomenal local arts groups as well.” Vogel’s tastes are in sync with several of the other arts experts, and he says he too is looking forward to seeing Lang Lang perform with The Phoenix Symphony and catching “Spring Awakening” at Gammage. At his own facility, here is what he especially recommends:
■ Duncan Sheik (featuring original cast members of “Spring Awakening”), Mesa Arts Center, Feb. 17, 2009: Known for his hit singles “Barely Breathing” and “Half-Life,” Sheik wrote the music for the multiple Tony Award-winning “Spring Awakening.” Conveniently, the show appears at Gammage two months earlier. “This is a great opportunity for people to hear the music and lyrics of this excellent singer/ songwriter,” Vogel says. ■ Juan de Marcos with the Afro-Cuban All-Stars, Mesa Arts Center, March 3, 2009: Vogel grew up in Florida and listened to Cuban music as a child: “It’s authentic and real, unblemished by American influence,” he says. Juan de Marcos is an original member of the legendary Buena Vista Social Club and Vogel says his music “is about people and is truly a cultural event.”
Mesa Arts Center, 480-644-6500; mesaartscenter.com
Juan de Marcos
Fall 2008 47
listener profile By Evan Wyloge
Herd It on NPR
Pamela Powers Now that she no longer works 9 to 5, Pamela Powers has a chance to listen to new programs that she loves, such as Science Friday and The Diane Rehm Show.
“Suddenly we had cows.”
A career change births a new affection for KJZZ.
During her 20 years as a psychiatrist in Phoenix, Pamela Powers never imagined she’d someday spend the predawn hours of Prescott’s freezing winters checking on pregnant heifers or riding along on cattle roundups. Though her life’s path has taken some surprising turns, Powers maintains the work ethic that helped her succeed all along the way. After studying medicine at the University of Arizona, completing a psychiatric residency at the University of Colorado and beginning her career in a private practice in Denver, Powers moved to Phoenix after traveling in Europe. Initially her intention was to visit family in Phoenix and then continue traveling and working, hopefully in the Himalayas. “I thought I was just dropping by,” she
explains. “I thought I’d be going to Nepal and Bhutan.” But before she headed out, Powers took a position as a psychiatrist at Maricopa Medical Center, thinking it would be a stepping-stone back to private practice. “What I found was that I really enjoyed working with the treatment team,” she says. Powers’ “quick stop” in Phoenix thus turned into a 20-year career. Phoenix is also where Powers met her husband Mike Pierce, whose family has been ranching in Arizona for more than 50 years. Three years ago, she and Mike moved to the Prescott area and actively began ranching themselves. “Suddenly we had cows,” Powers says matter-of-factly. “We said, ‘Well, I guess we’re gonna do cows.’” When they first started, she could barely guide her horse through the ranch, but now she participates in the branding and has even learned to weld. “I’m really game for anything,” she says. For instance, Powers hadn’t had any experience with birthing since medical school, but has, in the last couple of years, helped “pull calves,” as it’s called when a heifer can’t deliver on her own. Despite her new life, one constant remains— Powers’ affection for public radio. “When I was working in Phoenix, I would get up to NPR and listen to it when I drove to and from work. It was my main news source,” she says. “Now that I live at the end of a dirt road—and let me tell you: nobody delivers a paper there—I’m more dependent on it than ever.” Not only has Powers found new breadth to her appreciation of public radio—by finding new shows to love— she’s also found new depth. “When you listen to these NPR personalities year after year,” she says, “you feel like they’re part of your family.” Fall 2008
local flavor By RaeAnne Marsh Photography by Emily Piraino
Good Nights, Great Bites Some options for where to go after a show.
The Roosevelt ratchets up the concept of bar food with simple, well-crafted snacks like The Norino—a hotpressed panini with prosciutto di Parma, soppressata, mortadella, aged provolone and marinated cherry peppers—or the Big Fat Pretzel (below), which is served warm with two mustards.
et’s have dinner and catch a movie.” Sounds good, but some of us would prefer that order reversed. Trouble is, despite the Valley’s strong theater and music scenes, it’s surprisingly difficult to get fed after a show. So Wavelength serves up some stoves that stay stoked past 10 p.m.
The Roosevelt Tavern: Teddy Beer he year was 1904. Teddy
TRoosevelt was president. Phoenix was young; Arizona wasn’t even a state. And a modest house was being built on Third Street. 52
Today, behind a sign that proclaims “Roosevelt” in Teddy’s script, cognoscenti find a hospitable watering hole with a late-night kitchen. From the street, The Roosevelt looks like the residences it rubs elbows with, and that sense of home
continues past the threshold. Uncluttered with furniture, the front room encourages mingling, while a small bar fills the room behind. Other rooms provide other ambience: low couches in one, bistro seating in another. With dim lights everywhere else, the “come hither” glow of the back room draws folks to the shrine of this neighborhood bar: a full-wall, windowed, well-lit beer cooler, filled with kegs that feed the taps.
Twelve draught beers are always served, with a good mix of ale, stout, Pilsner and Hefeweizen, plus a rotating tap. Owner Matt Pool, a neighborhood restaurateur, favors local and regional microbreweries in Arizona, California, Colorado and Oregon, but also includes international brews. The bottled selection numbers 43, and Pool pulls a different one each night for a “featured special” to build awareness. Of course there are also wines, with “by the glass” specials listed on a chalkboard. It was the beers, however, that fed the menu development. “These are all foods that I would have with beer,” Pool says. Simple foods. Short menu. But an interesting one that includes Campfire Beans and Franks (Niman Ranch hot dogs elevate the dish), grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup (an unexpected mix of fontina and Gruyère in Pullman Bread, accompanied by a richly textured soup), and a cheese plate of small-batch artisan cheeses and organic fruit. Ham and eggs are also offered, but they’re Not Your Breakfast Ham & Eggs: sugarcured bacon with Southernstyle deviled eggs. From the fried bologna sandwich to the Dagwood, the full menu is available until 11 p.m. six nights a week. Open 5 p.m. to midnight on Sunday and from Tuesday through Thursday; Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Kitchen closes at 11 p.m. The Roosevelt 816 N. Third St., Phoenix; 602-254-2561
Blue Wasabi Sushi & Martini Bar: Sushi Gone Wild our first hint might be the
Ymulti-colored light wall
behind the bar,instead of traditional shelves of sake boxes. Follow that with a perusal of the menu and it becomes clear: This is sushi gone a little bit wild. Blue Wasabi is as much bar as sushi joint, and its list of specialty martinis seems to go on forever. Cherry Bomb comes to your table smokin’, and Mello Jello has pieces of Jell-O floating in the glass. Most popular is the Berry White: berry vodka, blueberry-infused sweet and sour, white cranberry juice and an Asian twist—a Japanese peach called yamamomo. Try the Key West lime martini, with its thick, meringue-like foam. Or just lean over to the next table and ask about that gorgeous drink they’re having—the seating is conducive to interaction. The menu features “New Style” sushi with unexpected sauces: chili aioli on the Red Hot Chili Pepper Roll, a spicy tuna roll topped with sliced
Blue Wasabi offers cocktails, contemporary sushi and, yes, blue wasabi.
Fall 2008 53
Sushi chefs and bartenders work side by side, preparing sushi rolls and more than 20 signature martinis in Blue Wasabi’s interactive environment.
bigeye tuna, and orange-ginger vinaigrette on albacore sashimi. Not into raw fish? They’ll forgive you. There’s the Surf and Turf Roll with shrimp and seared beef tenderloin, and the very sushilooking Get Clucked, a roll with tempura chicken and asparagus topped with avocado and sweet chili sauce. Inspiration for the names may be obvious (“Kiss My Bass Roll,” with sea bass on top), or sardonic (“Eating Nemo,” the Krab and cucumber roll topped with salmon and thinly sliced lemon). Locally owned, Blue Wasabi expanded in the past year to two locations. Both boast a friendly feel, with space between tables kept tight to encourage conversation. And the wasabi is blue. On Sunday, many patrons are, as well—dressed to take advantage of Sunday’s “blue” promotion for half off alcohol orders. (No blue clothes required for the Monday special; just bring in a validated receipt from the previous week for half off on food.) Another great “special” for Friday and Saturday nights: Blue Wasabi serves its full menu to 11 p.m. Blue Wasabi Sushi & Martini Bar 6137 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale; 480-315-9800 2080 E. Williams Field Road, Gilbert; 480-722-9250; bluewasabi.net
Been There and Willing to Share
“ Listeners reveal where they grab grub after hours. The Vig
4041 N. 40th St., Phoenix; 602-553-7227; thevig.us
The big surprise, when we went for the first time, was how beautiful the patio is. I felt warm and cozy in the padded Adirondack chair. You can even play bocce! And the Trivial Pursuit cards on each table are an added bonus. I usually get the sandwiches and burgers, and never leave without having a side of sweet potato fries. My mouth is watering now. (Restaurant is open 11 a.m.2 a.m. Regular menu is served until 10 p.m.; late-night menu served 10 p.m.-1 a.m.) ~ Suzanne Dreyfus
3313 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale; 480-970-8164; carlsbadtavern.com Something light for late night: I like the tortilla soup, and they have great crab cakes. For overall ambience, I really like the outdoor patio, which is a perfect microclimate for the desert. It’s really a courtyard with a water feature. During the day, the space is semi-shaded by trees and shade structures. (SundayThursday, serves regular menu until 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m. Late-night menu served until just before closing at 2 a.m.) ~ Anthony Floyd My Florist Café
534 W. McDowell Road, Phoenix; 602-254-0333; myfloristcafe.com One of my favorites is the turkey
sandwich with brie and spicy cranberry sauce. They also have very good coffee (which is a big thing for me) and a piano player—there’s a grand piano in the room. It’s a small piece of Phoenix history; it really was a florist shop. They always have beautiful fresh flowers on the tables, and I love that they kept the old sign. (Sunday-Thursday, serves until 10:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday until midnight.) ~ Carol Patterson Ten
regular menu—orange chicken and teriyaki chicken or beef—as well as standard favorites like macaroni and hot dogs. (Open Sunday-Wednesday 4 p.m.10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Serves until a few minutes before closing.) ~ Francesca Lyons
28234 N. Tatum Blvd., Cave Creek; 480-794-1469; tenrestaurantaz.com The overwhelming impression is: orange. It’s a large room, with a bar on either side— sushi bar and cocktail bar—each behind a partial wall divider that leaves the entire middle section for dining tables. I like the thought that seems to have gone into the kids’ (“Ten” & Under) menu, with fusion items just like the
In a future issue of Wavelength, we’ll look at restaurants that serve a bit of history on the side. Know of a historic restaurant in Arizona? Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fall 2008 55
listener profile By Alex Dowd
Plumbing the Music KBAQ earns an unlikely fan.
Robert Brandow Though he hasn’t traded Carlos Santana for Bedr˘ich Smetana, Robert Brandow has discovered an appreciation of classical music.
“I thought it was only for the elite people, not a blue-collar guy like me.”
Robert Brandow’s love of classical music comes from an improbable source—Richard, his 18-year-old son. Richard started playing viola in elementary school when he was about 12. And Robert says the “soothing” music his son played spawned his own appreciation for classical music. A Valley plumber for 20 years, Robert says, “I’m not someone that’s musically inclined, but the way Richard puts his heart into it really makes me enjoy it.” As Richard’s skill mounted over the years, so did his father’s appreciation of the music he plays. “In high school, once he got better,” Robert says with a chuckle, “I started to listen to it more.”
In fact, one day when Robert was taking his son to school, Richard turned the radio to KBAQ. “I thought, ‘Maybe I should listen to that in my truck,’ and boy, did it do the trick,” Robert says. “It made it a whole lot better when I’d be stuck in the tunnel on the I-10, trying to get to a job.” Now, he even enjoys his son’s long practice sessions in the house. “It’s very calming. I never tell him to stop,” he says. Robert once felt that classical music was reserved for upper-class folks and never paid it much mind. “I thought it was only for the elite people, not a blue-collar guy like me,” he says. And while Robert has discovered a taste for classical music, he still loves listening to his own favorite classics, bands like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and the Eagles. Robert’s erratic work schedule allows him to tune in to KBAQ at his leisure, but he says he finds himself tuning in more frequently when he’s had an especially hectic day. “When you have a rough day, it’s always good to listen to,” he says. Robert also feels that if more people listened to KBAQ on the road, it could curb their traffic frustrations. “Classical music is so soothing and relaxing, I think everybody should listen to it,” he says. “It could cut down on road rage.”
ON THE AIR mon
FM Public Radio Schedule
midnight 1:00 2:00
Classical Music with Jeff Esworthy, John Zech, Valerie Kahler or Lauren Rico
3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00
with Suzanne Bona
with Jane Hilton
with Sterling Beeaff
8:00 9:25 The Writerâ€™s Almanac with Garrison Keillor
Classical Music with Jane Hilton Classical Music
Classical Music with Janine Miller
with Janine Miller
with Jane Hilton
with Jane Hilton
Classical Music Classical Music
with Katrina Becker
Mozart Buffet with Randy Kinkel
with Katrina Becker
Classical Music with Randy Kinkel
with Jon Town
8:00 9:00 10:00 11:00 60
with Fred Child and Tim McDonnell
with Fred Child and Jon Town
with Katrina Becker
Southwest Season Ticket
with Frank Sprague
St. Paul Sunday
From the Top
Classical Music SymphonyCast
with Susan Mulligan
ASU in Concert
with Frank Sprague
with Ken Taylor Classical Music
with Brian Dredla
Classical Music with Katrina Becker, Susan Mulligan or Frank Sprague
with Scott Blakenship, Ward Jacobson, John Zech or Valerie Kahler
Fall 2008 61
ON THE AIR mon
midnight 1:00 2:00
FM Public Radio Schedule
with Paul Anderson
with Michele Robins
with Joel Spokas
with Phil Pollard Classic Jazz
3:00 Classic Jazz
4:00 5:00 6:00
Only a Game
Morning Edition National and Arizona News, Traffic and Weather Reports
7:00 Weekend Edition
8:00 9:00 10:00 11:00 noon 1:00 2:00
The Diane Rehm Show 1-800-433-8850
Car Talk Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me!
Here and Now
Talk of the Nation 1-800-989-8255
This American Life
The Splendid Table
On the Media
All Things Considered
All Things Considered
A Prairie Home Companion
BBC’s World Today
PRI’s The World American Routes
Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me!
Those Lowdown Blues
with Bob Corritore Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz
Classic Jazz with Blaise Lantana
A Prairie Home Companion
Riverwalk Jazz Classic Jazz Classic Jazz
with Paul Anderson
with Michele Robins
with Michele Robins
the last word
few weeks from now, on November 29, the Metropolitan Opera will begin its 78th season of live broadcasts. The first broadcast of the regular series was on Christmas Day in 1931, with Hansel and Gretel on stage. For trivia buffs, the first national sponsor was not Texaco, but Lucky Strike. Texaco came on board in 1940. KBAQ began airing the broadcasts in our very first year of operation, back in 1993. Most of the stations in the Met Opera network are now public stations, like KBAQ. Public radio has a track record as a leader in creating radio programs—and sustaining them. All Things Considered debuted in 1971, with Morning Edition coming along eight years later.
Car Talk started in 1977, but aired locally in Boston for the first 10 years before NPR began distributing it nationally. A Prairie Home Companion followed the same sort of evolution. It started in Minnesota in 1974. In 1978, Minnesota Public Radio offered PHC to NPR for national distribution. When NPR declined, the Minnesota folks created their own distribution service, and the program seems to have eked out a bit of success.
“Public radio has a track record as a leader in creating radio programs—and sustaining them.”
Elsewhere in this issue of Wavelength you’ll find (or may have already) a story about a KJZZ project that is our first local effort to create a program that we hope will achieve similar longevity, perhaps both in Arizona and nationally. Aaron Brown, the longtime TV broadcaster, recently moved to the Valley. Although “retired,” he doesn’t wish to be inactive, so we’re providing an opportunity for him to continue exercising his considerable talents and for our listeners to enjoy hearing him do that. Overall, public radio in general, and KBAQ and KJZZ in particular, have been able to offer programming that finds and truly reaches an audience. And we hope to continue doing that. Thank you for your ears, your interest and your support as we do.
Carl Matthusen KBAQ / KJZZ General Manager