Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

Save a Tree, Plant a Tree, Make a Better Downtown

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

treesnewpicTrees often fall victim to the path of progress. But in the second public-private partnership of its kind, trees uprooted during the course of a big Downtown development project found new homes, thanks in part to the Downtown Phoenix Partnership.

After breaking ground Oct. 16 on the Biosciences Partnership Building - a new addition to the University of Arizona College of Medicine near Seventh and Fillmore streets – crews began digging up, boxing and preserving 42 Desert Museum Palo Verdes, Native Mesquites and Sweet Acacias.

These types of trees typically cost between $500 to $1000 each, depending on the size.

“We need to be very mindful that we’re not just ripping trees out of the ground – it’s a sustainability issue,” said Ray Cabrera, streetscape manager at the Downtown Phoenix Partnership. “These are public assets and we need to make sure that we’re protecting them.”

In an effort to preserve these mature desert trees, the Downtown Phoenix Partnership worked with the University of Arizona, City of Phoenix, DPR and Sundt Construction and is currently in the process of relocating them to the Space Between “parklet” activation project on First Street between Taylor Place and Valley Youth Theater, where they will provide shade, beauty and interest.

construcworkerAccording to Djuro (Judo) Rosic, LEED AP for DPR Construction, it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

“We had the opportunity to save some and get rid of some and it worked out perfectly that we saved them all,” said Rosic.

In a similar situation with Arizona State University’s law school, which went under construction in July, the partnership salvaged 43 Dalbergia sissoo trees, commonly known as Indian Rosewoods, which are known for the quality of their shade canopy.

Those survivors are now taking root along Adams Street between Second Avenue and Second Street, where they will replace a number of immature Palo Breas, which are not conducive to small urban tree wells and topple easily during monsoon storms.

“It’s become apparent over the last several years that the life span of these desert trees, here in this urban environment, is much shorter and makes them a hazard,” said Cabrera. “It’s in our best interest to phase out the desert tress that we have in these tiny tree wells and put in something that’s going to thrive.”

Because of this, the newest batch of salvaged desert trees from the U of A site will stay in boxes until larger tree wells or more suitable habitats can be determined.

In all, 85 trees were rescued from the wood chipper since July. But the long-term goal, according to Cabrera, is creating a comfortable, beautiful and safe urban shade canopy that will stand the test of time.

Why We Love Zombies

Thursday, October 16th, 2014


With a rich history in film, comics, novels and TV shows, it’s no surprise zombies have emerged as beloved, albeit disgusting, pop culture icons. Downtown Phoenix is just one of many communities around the globe that participates in a yearly zombie walk or celebration. Since the inception of Downtown Phoenix Zombie Walk in 2009, it has grown from 200 attendees to 20,000 in 2013.

So what is a zombie walk?
The first known zombie walk was held in Toronto in 2003 with seven participants and since then, the trend has grown into a worldwide phenomenon with walks in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Singapore and the UK – just to name a few.

Typically, zombie walks bring people together in an urban setting just to have fun. After meeting in a designated location, people in zombie makeup and garb parade through city streets, public spaces or bars (in the case of a zombie pub crawl.) It’s organized for entertainment but often has a charitable component.

PhxZombieWalk5-20How did the annual event find roots in Downtown Phoenix?
In 2009, the Downtown Phoenix Ambassadors put together a small zombie walk as a fun event amongst themselves. Zombie walks were just starting to gain popularity in other cities and seemed like a good way to get outside, have fun and explore Downtown. Without much advertising or promotion, over 200 people showed up! From there, the event took off, growing exponentially each year.

Similar to zombie walks around the county, the goal is to raise money for charity. In 2011, Downtown Phoenix Zombie Walk partnered with St. Mary’s Food Bank and since then, has collected more than 10,000 pounds of non-perishable food items for people in need.

Why have zombies grown in worldwide popularity so much in the last decade?
It’s hard to say what spurred the recent craze, but the entertainment industry is certainly a driving force. From recent movies like “World War Z,” TV shows like “The Walking Dead,” comics like DC’s “Blackest Night” and video games like “Resident Evil” – zombies permeate every aspect of pop culture.

IMG_3942How can I get involved in zombie-mania?
Come to Zombie Walk 6 Saturday, Oct. 25! It’s a free community-based event in the heart of Downtown Phoenix at Heritage and Science Park. Featuring live music presented by Psyko Steve, Little Zombie Zone, Four Peaks beer garden and Zombification makeup tent, this festival is a raucous good time for the entire family (including baby zombies.) Doors open at 2:00 p.m., the walk begins at dusk and the party doesn’t stop until 11:00 p.m.!

How do I make myself looks like a zombie?
The first 400 people to bring a non-perishable food item benefiting St. Mary’s Food Bank will receive a voucher for one free zombie makeover. Or you can watch our video tutorial that provides step-by-step instructions on how to create a zombie look in 15 minutes or less using inexpensive household items. Whether you’re a newbie to the walk or a zombie veteran, we greatly encourage everyone to bring canned food donations benefitting St. Mary’s Food Bank.

*First and second photos courtesy of Mr. Anathema Photography. Last photo courtesy of 98KUPD.

Zombie Walk 6 Makeup Tutorial

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

savethedate_barcardWith the arrival of fall, the days get shorter, the weather gets cooler and we all know what that means…zombies are coming!

It’s time to start planning for Zombie Walk 6, which is just around the corner on Saturday, Oct. 25. This full day of fun begins at 2 p.m. with live music, vendors, family-friendly activities and awesome street eats inside Heritage and Science Park. Then we’re shuffling and limping toward the world record for largest zombie walk ever!

In order to be counted in the zombie census, you need to come diseased and ready to feed. So start putting together your best zombie motif for a march that will make history.

Need a zombie makeover? With these simple do-it-yourself tips by Samantha Jackson, community services director at the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, you can get the grotesque look you’ve been yearning for without breaking the bank on costumes and makeup.

Fake homemade skin: for gaping wounds, flayed skin and other zombie injuries.

Mix 2 tablespoons gelatin, 2 tablespoons glycerin and 2 tablespoons water in a microwavable bowl, then microwave for about 20 seconds and let cool before you apply to skin.

Eyes: for dark, sunken-in and sickly-looking zombie eyes.

Apply red eyeliner or lip liner around eyes first. Then use brown or black eye shadow (without shimmer) using a cosmetic sponge about 2 inches all around eyes in a circular fashion.

Mouth, forehead and face basics: for that undead look.

Blend some white or yellow eye shadow into the cheeks and forehead. Look for natural creases or wrinkles in the skin along the forehead and chin, and using a cotton swab, go over those areas with a black or brown eye shadow.

Veins: for popping out diseased looking veins. Remember, the disease is spreading!

Try to find large visible veins on the side of the face or forehead and use this as a guide. Draw a line over the large vein first using a blue or purple eye liner and add small wavy lines coming out from there, similar to a tree with branches.

Blood: for that just-fed look.

Mix about one cup of corn syrup with red food coloring until you’ve reached the desired color. Add a couple drops of blue to make it a deeper red along with some powdered sugar for shine and a pinch of cocoa powder for darkness. For texture, use minced onion seasoning, which resembles skin flakes.

Using a stipple sponge, which can be purchased at any party of costume store, apply the blood mixture generously to the mouth and neck. Wear an old shirt. The excess can be applied to clothing and wounds. Using a cotton swab, apply drops to the corners of the eyes and inside the ears.

Chile Pepper Festival Celebrates Local Food and Culture

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

chileLiving in Arizona for any amount of time, you learn how to add chile to just about everything. With more than 200 known varieties of chile pepper, understanding the subtle and nuanced flavors is an art form that takes a lifetime — and many taste tests.

Come taste a variety of delectable chile-inspired dishes Saturday from 5-11 p.m. at the third annual Roosevelt Row Chile Pepper Festival located in the open-air section of Phoenix Public Market. This free event features 24 restaurants, craft beer, cocktails and entertainment for the whole family.

As the smell of fresh-roasted chiles wafts through the air – roasted on-site by Crooked Sky Farms – cool yourself down at the Deschutes craft beer garden or 3 Amigos Tequila margarita station. Enjoy some live music by Pick and Holler, Mariachi Luna de Mexico and a free salsa dancing lesson and demonstration by Stilo Dance Company.

Bring the whole family and check out the campy and hilarious Ghost Pepper Talent Show and designated kid’s zone with chile pepper-themed arts, crafts and face painting.

Street and on-site parking is available but guests are encouraged to ride the light rail, walk or bike to the event.

Tasting tickets can be purchased for $2 each or in discounted bundles available on the website, with a special deal for Downtowners living or working in the Roosevelt Row Arts District.

A Bold New Look for Canyon Cafe

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

photo 1

Downtown Phoenix landmark Canyon Café inside the Arizona Center reopened Tuesday with a completely new look and feel. After three weeks of renovations, the new style is bright, modern and upscale with a classic Southwestern feel.

photo 2With new flooring, paint, outdoor fire pit, lighting and furniture, almost everything got a facelift. The new aesthetics enhance the expansive patio area, which it’s known for, and simplify the dining room, showcasing the lovely Southwest-style wood pillars and archways.

For regulars who love the sophisticated Southwestern fare, the menu remains the same with the addition of seven street tacos, served a la carte and perfect for happy hour, everyday from 4-7 p.m.

Try the Crispy Chicken Street Taco with its spicy-sweet marinade, creamy cilantro dressing and fruit salsa for $4. The Chile Relleno Street Taco is another favorite made with thinly sliced steak, mushrooms and cheese tucked inside a poblano pepper and wrapped in a fresh flour tortilla for $4.50.

photo 4In the mood for a drink? Wet your whistle with the famous Top Shelf Traditional Margarita, made with only the best tequila, fresh squeezed juices and Grand Marnier. For $13, it’s the best margarita in Downtown.

Open for 24 years and formerly known as Sam’s Cafe, Canyon Café is truly a Downtown staple and local favorite. Fortunately, the restaurant stayed true to its roots through this remodeling process and came out with a beautiful new look, classic enough to withstand another 24 years.

September RadiatePHX Spotlights ASU Grant Street Studios

Thursday, September 11th, 2014


Stepping into the large atrium at Grant Street Studios with its natural light, metal doors, exposed brick and giant vintage motel sign – it’s easy to feel a tinge of creativity, excitement and wonder.

“It’s got that cool factor,” said George Harris, facilities supervisor for the ASU School of Art in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

ceilingHarris watched this 100-year-old renovated factory transform into a state-of-the-art studio and gallery space for ASU graduate art students over the past year.

“When we needed to relocate, the burgeoning art community and increasing presence of ASU Downtown made this a really desirable location,” Harris said.

In addition to housing the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) student-run Step Gallery and a number of studio residency spaces, Grant Street Studios in the Downtown Phoenix Warehouse District is also becoming an arts and culture venue – hosting the September RadaiatePHX event on Tuesday.

Organized by the Downtown Phoenix Journal and Downtown Phoenix Inc., RadiatePHX celebrates the beginning of the fall arts and theater season with a free networking event and lecture series, while showcasing Downtown’s most innovative art space – Grant Street Studios.

studioAdriene Jenik, Grant Street Studios’ visionary and director of the ASU School of Art, is currently on sabbatical but wrote in an emailed statement that she dreamed of one day bringing the Step Gallery and MFA students under one roof, enriching their surrounding community and embracing public forums like RadiatePHX.

“We are buoyed by the excitement this project-in-progress has stimulated,” Jenik wrote.

In addition to opening for special events like RadiatePHX on Tuesday, Sept. 16 from 5-7 p.m., the Step Gallery is open First and Third Fridays and 12-5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Hikers Guide to the Urban Ale Trail

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

mainGet ready to hike the Urban Ale Trail Sept. 20 from 1-6 p.m., a walkable beer tasting tour from Downtown Phoenix to uptown, exploring amazing craft beers and great local cuisine along the way.

With 25 “beer stops” in all, you might need some planning. Luckily, we’ve done the orienteering for you, listing a few routes ranging from easy to advanced, depending on your “hiking” ability.

Be one of the first 300 people to reach the Urban Ale Trail base camp - District American Kitchen and Wine Bar – and receive a free commemorative growler!

The Van Buren Corridor (Easy)

Start at the District American Kitchen and Wine Bar and for $2 each, try the Sonoran White Chocolate Ale, Phoenix Ale Camelback IPA and Mother Road Gold Kolsch. The featured snack is Devils on Horseback (Bacon Wrapped Dates.) Located at 320 N. 3rd St.

easy trail

Cross Third Street and enter the Arizona Center where you’ll find Brick Restaurant. For $2, sample the North Mountain Cream Ale, Four Peaks Kilt Lifter and Four Peaks Hefeweizen. The snack is Brick’s Signature Flat Bread. Located at 455 N. 3rd St.

Head west on Van Buren Street and you’ll see Crescent Ballroom on the corner of Second Avenue. Snack on some chips and salsa and wash it down with $2 samples of Four Peaks Kilt Lifter and Odell IPA. Located at 308 N. 2nd Ave.

The Downtown Switchbacks (Moderate)

alesquareFrom District American Kitchen and Wine Bar, walk one block west to Second Street and head south to Adams Street. Steve’s Greenhouse Grill is featuring  $3 samples of Papago Orange Blossom, Oak Creek Nut Brown and Humboldt Hemp Ale. Eat a Soft Pretzel with Spicy Beer Cheese for energy. Located at 139 E. Adams St.

Follow your compass west on Adams Street and head south on First Avenue. You’ll find respite at Tom’s Tavern & 1929 Grill located at 2 N. Central Ave. Beer and snack samples will be announced soon.

Walk across the street south to CityScape Phoenix and find Copper Blues. For $2, get a taste of Four Peaks Sunbru Kolsch, Hacker-Pschorr Bavarian Marzen and SanTan Hefeweizen. Some Spicy Chicharrones will put some pep in your step. Located at 50 W. Jefferson St.

Don’t wander too far. Next door is the Corner CityScape, formerly known as Chloe’s Corner. Try $2 SanTan Devil’s Ale, Borderlands Prickly Wheat and the Grand Canyon Pilsner. You might need some homemade Trail Mix to keep your strength up. Located at 50 W. Jefferson St.

Cross Central Avenue to the east and you’ll find Squid Ink Sushi Bar. For $3, taste Badlands Citra, Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA and Hakutsuru Sayuri Nigori Sake. Pork Gyozas create a perfect pairing of flavors. Located at 2 E. Jefferson St. on the street level of the Kimpton Palomar Phoenix.

Just up the hill (or stairs) is Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery with $2 Samples of Guinness Stout, Harp Lager and Smithwick’s Ale paired with Irish Nachos. Located at 2 E. Jefferson St.

ModerateNext to Gold’s Gym is V’s Barbershop CityScape – a barber with beer! Try $3 samples of Kona Longboard Lager, Mudshark Full Moon Belgian White and Four Peaks Kilt Lifter while noshing on some mini pretzels. Get a free shoe polish puck (pre-oiled polishing pad) while supplies last. Located at 1 E. Washington St.

Go down the escalator to The Strand Urban Italian for a $3 Johnny Appleseed Cider, Deschutes Chainbreaker White IPA and SanTan Devil’s Ale. Feeling fatigued? A Caprese Bruschetta will act as an energy bar. Located at 2 E. Jefferson St.

Next door find The Arrogant Butcher with $2 Samples of SanTan Hefeweizen, Lumberyard Knotty Pine Pale Ale and Prescott Ponderosa IPA. Pretzels & Fondue are the perfect salty snack. Located at 2 E. Jefferson St.

Head east on Jefferson to Hard Rock Cafe Phoenix for $2 Four Peaks Kilt Lifter, Four Peaks 8th Street Pale Ale or Four Peaks Lefty’s Lager. Try some signature Rockin’ Wings and Vegetarian Spring Rolls. Located at 3 S. Second St.

The final stretch is a 10-minute walk to The Duce, the southernmost destination on the trail and good camping spot for the night. Once you’ve made it, reward yourself with a $2 Schlamm (Schlitz and Hamm’s Lagers), Chi-town Schlamm (Old Style Lager, Organic Prairie Vodka and lemonade) or a Bloody Schlamm (Schlitz and Hamm’s, Bloody Mary mix and citrus on ice.) Duce Dip and Mac and Cheese Muffins make for a fine meal around the campfire. Located at 525 S. Central Ave.

Uptown Pinnacle (Advanced)

hikerguyFrom District American Kitchen and Wine Bar, walk one block west to Second Street and head north. Once you hit Pierce Street, you’ll see Phoenix Public Market Cafe. Try $2 samples of Oskar Blues Mama’s LittleYella Pils, Phoenix Public Market Amber and Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro. Recharge your batteries with some Chips and Fire Roasted Salsa. Located at 14 E. Pierce St.

Just across First Street to the east you’ll find The Turf Public House with $3 samples of SanTan Mr. Pineapple, Lumberyard IPA and Grand Canyon Sunset Amber Ale. You’ll definitely need some Fried Pickles to hike the next leg of the trail. Located at 705 N. 1st St.

One block east of The Turf, turn north on Second Street and follow the trail to Angels Trumpet Ale House. For $3, try any craft beer taps numbered 1 through 31, which are always changing. Pair your brew with a Meat and Cheese Skewer. Located at 810 N. 2nd St.

From there, it’s just a short bike ride or 10-minute walk east on Garfield Street to Mother Bunch Brewery. Choose from a selection of 20 different Arizona craft beers for $2 each, while enjoying Gougere and Roasted Garlic Crostini. Located at 825 N. 7th St.

Walk or bike one block north up Seventh Street and turn west on Roosevelt Street to Carly’s Bistro, where you’ll be greeted with $2 samples of Lumberyard Knotty Pine Pale Ale, Dragoon Stronghold Session Ale and Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA. A little Hummus and Pita never hurt either. Located at 128 E. Roosevelt St.

bikeadvancedNext door is Short Leash Sit…Stay with $3 samples of Marble Pilsner, Ballast Point Big Eye IPA and Santa Fe Imperial Java Stout. For a snack, try the Pimento Cheese Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing, Sausage Meatballs with Naan Wedges or a Brioche Doughnut with Chocolate Icing. Located at 110 E. Roosevelt St.

Head west on Roosevelt to Central Avenue and hop on the light rail. It’s time to hit Fez in midtown. Get off at the Indian School Road and Central Avenue rail station and walk south one block. Sip a $2 Shiner White Wing Belgian Ale, Four Peaks 8th Street Pale Ale or Stella Artois Cider. By now you’re probably running out of steam and need some Hummus and Kisra Bread. Located at 3815 N. Central Ave.

Walk about three blocks north to Central Wine on the opposite side of the street from Fez. For $3, sample THAT Roadrash IPA, OHSO Handlebar Hefeweizen and Anchor Steam. Snack on some Truffle Chips and rest up. Located at 4236 N. Central Ave.

Get back on the light rail and head to the Campbell and Central Avenue rail station where Hula’s Modern Tiki is located just one block north. Taste $3 samples of Kona Longboard Lager, Kona Big Wave Golden Ale, Kona Firerock Pale Ale or Kona Castaway, all while snacking on Hawaiian Ceviche. Located at 4700 N. Central Ave.

Next door to the north is Maizie’s Cafe and Bistro with $2 samples of Phoenix Ale Fretzy’s Unfiltered Pale Ale, Oak Creek Amber Ale and SanTan Oktoberfest Lager. Bratwurst sliders on a pretzel roll with peppers and onions compliment the samples nicely. Located at 4750 N. Central Ave.

Keep trucking north until you reach the Central Avenue and Camelback Road light rail station. It’s time to get back on the train for a final push to the summit. Just a block west of the light rail station is uptown’s newest venue The Newton, where you can rest your weary bones at First Draft Book Bar inside Changing Hands Bookstore, sampling $3 North Coast Scrimshaw Pilsner, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale and the Rogue Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout. Reward your ascent to the top with a Pretzel with Spicy Mustard from MJ Bread. Located at 300 W. Camelback Rd.

Meet the Man Behind Lawless Denim

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

squareIf Roman Acevedo wasn’t handcrafting jeans and leather accessories, he’d probably be a rock star. Usually wearing jeans, a pony tail and turquoise jewelry, he’s articulate with a larger-than-life persona. Fortunately for us, he went the route of Levi Strauss instead of Carlos Santana, opening up Lawless Denim in October 2013 at CityScape.

So far, Acevedo’s hip heritage-style jeans have been a hit in Downtown Phoenix. In fact, he said he can’t keep up with the demand and is opening an additional factory in Los Angeles.

“You can still come to Lawless and get custom fitted and your jeans will be made right here in Arizona, he said. “But for our online presence, it will all come out of L.A.”

Acevedo is committed to creating an affordable American-made product, while still paying workers a living wage. His passion for sustainable local production recently led him to acquire 14 vintage looms with plans to begin producing his own chambray and denim using Arizona-grown Pima cotton. He said he’ll have 20 looms by the end of 2014.

“It will be 100 percent Arizona if we can help it,” he said.

Using high quality materials and selvedge denim, which has a finished edge instead of a frayed one, is costly and time consuming, but ultimately, he said it’s worth it.

“There’s nothing like this store that I know of west of the Mississippi,” he said.

When you come into Lawless Denim, located on the first floor of CityScape, it’s a completely custom experience. For $79, you pick out the denim, the fit, the cut, the thread color and even the buttons. You’re guaranteed to love them or Lawless will make you an entirely new pair.

Love Your Downtown at Wednesday Wind Up

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

PrintHow can we create a sense of playfulness, fun and energy in the communities where we work and live? The answer could be as simple as coming together in a public space and fostering activity through programming, atmosphere, interaction – and food, of course!

This is the simple but deep-seated idea behind Wednesday Wind Up, a weekly park activation dreamed up by Downtown Phoenix Inc. and the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department.

This event not only spotlights the award-winning Civic Space Park, but also brings people together on a regular basis just to have fun.

Featuring food trucks, pop-up park games, activities, music, and great local vendors like Bunky Boutique, Coiffeur’s Salon, Nostra Style House and Maggie’s Thrift – just to name a few – this event has a little something for everyone.

Wednesday Wind Up kicks off Aug. 27 from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at Civic Space Park, located on Central Avenue between Polk and Fillmore streets right across from ASU Downtown.

But this event is only the beginning. The fun continues every Wednesday, with special Halloween-themed programming coming at the end of October. Check Downtown Phoenix’s Facebook and Twitter pages for weekly updates.