Spring 2013 at The Comedy Playhouse
Season starts Friday, Jan. 4, and continues through Sunday, June 23
The Comedy Playhouse, 3620 N. First Ave.
The plays to be put on by The Comedy Playhouse for its spring season exemplify the kind of classic humor that doesn't disappear over time; there's something about the plays that hits the funny bone of every audience member.
"The goal is to make you feel better when you walk out the door than when you walked in," said Bruce Bieszki, director of The Comedy Playhouse, which is celebrating its third year of operation.
Up first, beginning Friday, Jan. 4 and continuing through Sunday, Jan. 13, is The Comedy Genius of Mark Twain III. The playhouse has done a play about Mark Twain each year since it started. The new show focuses on some of Twain's comic short stories.
"Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are just scratching the surface," Bieszki said. "Mark Twain wrote many funny short stories. He was a master."
Following the Mark Twain show is The Mystery Genius of Baroness Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernel. The play is based upon the play created by Baroness Emmuska Orczy in the 1900s, in which a British aristocrat rescues French aristocrats during the French Revolution. The first performance is Friday, Jan. 18, and the play continues through Sunday, Jan. 27.
Showtimes are 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays; and 3 p.m., Sundays. The plays last about two hours, with a 15-minute intermission. Tickets range from $12 to $18, with a $2 discount available for seniors and students.
Utopia or Uniformity?
Photo Friday: Suburbia
11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 4
The Center for Creative Photography, 1030 N. Olive Road, on the UA campus
"I grew up in the suburbs," said David Benjamin, archivist and assistant head of research services at the Center for Creative Photography. He said that while he can appreciate suburbs for their calm uniformity, some of his friends who grew up in urban areas feel exactly the opposite.
The Suburbia showing is part of the monthly Photo Friday series at the center. It's been going on for about a year, and arose from patron interest in seeing more of the vast collection of photographs that the center houses.
Photo Fridays have a more relaxed atmosphere than other photo exhibits. "They're not behind glass; it's not in a formal setting," Benjamin said.
There are 24 images in the show, selected from a wide range of photographers. Benjamin said that the idea for Suburbia came about when he was helping a patron and started examining photos of construction and development. Having grown up in the suburbs led him to look at the images through a different lens.
"It's a hot-button topic," Benjamin said. "One person might look at a photograph and say, 'I don't see suburbia at all!' That's what's great about photography."
"Photo Fridays in general are a great way for people to have access to our photographs," Benjamin said. "A chance to really see the breadth and depth of our collection, (and) to view images they might not normally see."
Admission to Photo Friday: Suburbia is free.
Art as a Verb
It's Been Abstract
Thursday, Jan. 3, through Saturday, Feb. 9
Davis Dominguez Gallery, 154 E. Sixth St.
In some ways, abstract art can be intimidating. Maybe you're not an art buff and you're just not sure what to look for. If you've ever felt that way, the new abstract art exhibit at Davis Dominguez Gallery is a good chance to familiarize yourself with the genre. And even if you're an old pro and love the form, you're likely to discover something new.
The exhibit features the works of three artists: painters David Pennington and Amy Metier, and sculptor Steve Murphy. Each artist has a unique style and personal take on the abstract form.
Pennington, who has lived in Arizona since 1978, has been making art for 30 years. He says he generally sticks to nonrepresentational artwork.
"It's pure, raw experience," Pennington said. "It's about the state of a pure painting without attempting to represent anything."
Pennington said he enjoys the process of making art. "For me, art is a verb," he said. "Art should be an adventure. ... Take risks and do new things." Pennington also does collage work, but all of his works at this exhibit are paintings. He uses acrylic and enamel, and says he likes having a hard surface to work on.
Metier will also be showing paintings, and Murphy has submitted several sculptures.
This art is not concrete—and perhaps that's what can be so intimidating about abstract art. These are not landscape paintings or sculptures of people. It is art that, as Pennington says, is all about experience. "Be mindful of the experience," he said.
Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday. Admission and parking are free.
Making it up on the Fly
This Here Now: An Evening of Improvised Performance
7:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 5
ZUZI! Theater in the Historic Y738 N. Fifth Ave.
It's difficult to know what to expect at This Here Now. Kimi Eisele, one of the performers at the event, doesn't know what to expect either. And that's a good thing.
Eisele is part of the local improvisation ensemble Movement Salon, which has been performing for about five years.
"We practice improvisation," Eisele said. "We compose using movement and spoken word, (and) we have a musician, so we create pieces."
For this performance, the members of Movement Salon will also be playing host to their original mentors, The Architects, a group of women who have been doing movement improvisation performances for almost 20 years. This will be the third time Movement Salon has hosted the Architects.
On Saturday, Movement Salon will start the show with a 20-minute piece and the Architects will follow with a 45-minute piece. The evening will culminate in a merged performance by both groups.
So how do you know what you're getting yourself into? Movement Salon doesn't work with themes. It's just as the title suggests: a focus on the here and now.
"We don't give ourselves that kind of parameter," Eisele said. "We work with whatever we're feeling; what somebody said, if someone in the audience coughs—it all becomes fodder."
This Here Now is a performance that is, in a sense, being created as you are watching it. Nobody knows exactly what will happen.
"There's something about watching a spontaneous performance that I think is inviting to an audience member," Eisele said. "It's an invitation to pay attention in a different way."
Tickets are $10 to $15.