A little rain didn’t stop September’s First Friday in Downtown Phoenix this month. And just like nearly every First Friday, I made my usual rounds. Since it was still a bit muggy out, I started out at the Phoenix Art Museum.
When you first step into the building, the black spots on the wall are a little disillusioning. However, looking closer, the massive display of 30,000 paper butterflies stuck to the hallways still amazes me every time. While arriving as part of a past exhibition called, “Order, Chaos and the Space In Between,” the butterflies still (to my delight) greet visitors upon arrival. (But if I was in charge of the museum’s displays, I probably wouldn’t want to take down thousands of butterflies either.)
Passing The Art of Video Games exhibit, I immediately turned the corner and ran up two flights of stairs to my favorite room. Entitled, “You Who are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies,” the ‘Firefly Room’ gives me goosebumps every time. Unlike the rest of the museum, the pitch blackness of the room robs you of your senses and makes the mirrored walls and random corners even more confusing. The only sources of clarity in the room are small, ever-glowing lights dangling from the ceiling. Often tranquil, cool colors, every minute or so the “fireflies” turn an ominous red, darkening the room even further.
Personally though, even if the story behind the piece is meant to be dark, I, along with many of the younger visitors, like to spin in circles in the room. Lights spin all around you and it’s nearly impossible to find your way out again, but it’s beautiful and a whole lot of fun.
But while I could talk about the Phoenix Art Museum for hours, I’ll save your time by featuring cycling exhibits in future articles. Plus, on this particular First Friday, I hadn’t eaten lunch and was starving by the time I was finished fooling around in the ‘Firefly Room.’
If you’ve never been to the Downtown Phoenix First Friday, first of all, go. But secondly, know that Roosevelt Street becomes one giant frat house. Music blasting from random homes, shops opened up on front lawns, the entire street becomes part of the party. While it is a lot of fun, I made a beeline for the food trucks.
From fry bread to Philly cheesesteaks to ice cream, one Roosevelt lot hosts an onslaught of Food Trucks every month starting at around 7 pm. I went straight for Burgers Amore and got a hot dog and probably the most greasy, delicious curly fries I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.
After dinner, I headed over to Revolver Records to check out some of the art-related goods on sale and the latest local band. (And while I didn’t visit this month, if you go to Stinkweeds at Central and Camelback, there’s usually a live DJ and many, many more fun arts and crafts tables.) This month’s band was “Cavalier Streets,” a local alternative rock band whose Extended Play (EP) is still selling at the record store. While I was there, I picked up quite a few business cards of local artists so there will hopefully be some artist profiles in the future!
A few songs later, I walked over to the galleries. Most change month to month, so there are always different artists and pieces to goggle at. While I unfortunately couldn’t take photos in any of the galleries, you can still visit them at Roosevelt Row, if you hurry. My favorite gallery by far was called, “Do Art is Good for you,” sponsored by The Bergamot Institute. Showcasing artwork from local kids of all ages, visitors could see the talent spread across different generations and how that talent develops over time.
When I was finished looking at the galleries, it was getting pretty late and everything was starting to fizzle down. Even the animal rights activists stopped their protesting and headed home. (And when they leave, you know it’s time to head home.)