Tag Archives: tucson

Tucson, Exploded View Gallery, desert

Exploded View Gallery, Tucson, AZ

Exploded View Gallery, Tucson, AZ

Here I was expecting Tucson to be a hard sell, and the type of town I would feel most alien too. But no, if anything, I felt most comfortable here. Tucsonians are generous, beautiful, creative and friendly people. If you want to feel welcome, come here.

Reception of the Selected 3 programme at Exploded View Gallery was exceptional; applause after each film, whistles, appreciative laughter, sighs – everything in compliment. I was over the moon by the end with a deeply embedded grin on my face.

The screening was followed by interested questions; all the films were talked about, again Sophie Beresford’s Making Adidas Mermaid got attention – loved very much. Lots of curiosity about Cheryl Simmons’ film What are you doing man? They’re cooking my men like sausages. A glorious collage piece that examines reinterpretation and memory.

Exploded View is unique in Tucson; opportunities to show artists’ film and experimental work rely on Rebecca and David’s commitment to the gallery, which is an inspirational example. The University of Arizona’s Center for Creative Photography is worth checking out (the archive gets shown off to the public every Friday), and, off the arts track, there is also the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, a superb department for those interested in dendrochronology.

Tucson also has an amazing desert surrounding it, with huge Saguaro cacti soaring into the sky, perched on the mountain slopes like armies of headless triffids. I was driven into the desert by Carl Hanni, a devoted Tucsonian, who generously took me on a hike to see the Saguaros, desert sunset and endless mountainous landscape.

I leave Tucson with a heavy heart, but with eyes set on LA for Echo Park Film Center and to see some good friends.

Tucson desert sunset

Tucson desert sunset

Phoenix, No Festival Required, old and new

Cohesion by Daniel Shanken on screen at Space 55 with No Festival Required

Cohesion by Daniel Shanken on screen at Space 55 with No Festival Required

Cloudy LA skies are welcome today following the brilliant, burning desert skies of Phoenix and Tucson for the past week. I even, perversely, imagined British winter chill for a moment in the deep heating sun. Just for a moment.

Model audiences. If you want model artists’ film audiences go to Tucson’s Exploded View Gallery and also arrange a screening with No Festival Required in Phoenix. My enormous thanks to Rebecca and David at Exploded View and to Steve Weiss of No Festival Required (who got me totally drunk in a Tiki bar in Phoenix, so drunk I woke up sideways on the hotel bed with my clothes and shoes still on).

Phoenix, with its mixture of sparkly new cultural venues (Phoenix Art Museum is well worth a visit, a mixture of permanent and temporary, contemporary and historic exhibits in a very nice building) and more raw, established and experimental spaces (Modified/Arts being a classic example), has a rich seam of art and culture running through it. The screening of Selected 3 takes place at one of the latter type of venues, an exciting performing arts space entitled Space 55; its delightful bar space with old couches and memorabilia beckons drinking.

The screening goes well, and the audience receives the work with pleasure; lots of discussion follows, with much interest in Sophie Beresford’s work, Making Adidas Mermaid, which fascinates, and with Nicholas Brook’s Arrastre. I’m deeply appreciative of Steve Weiss’s gathering of such model AMI fans. Other suggested organisations to consider from Steve include: Arizona State University, which has an excellent Intermedia programme; Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (where No Festival Required has a regular programme); and, as mentioned, Modified/Arts.

I’m going to update on Tucson in a second post to follow…