To celebrate my birthday Lochinvar planned a trip to Phoenix’s First Friday, which is a monthly evening arts fair that coincides with free admission to the Phoenix Art Museum and the Herberger Theater. In addition, many galleries and downtown shops stay open late (until 10 pm), street fair vendor booths pop up in parking lots, musicians play on corners and in doorways, and artists show off their creations. Though this monthly festival has been going on for some time, we had never been. So, I was excited at the prospect of an evening of good food and artsy happenings.
We most enjoyed Roosevelt Row where we were greeted with lively crowds and vendors offering everything from ceramic cat mugs (SUPER CUTE!) to original sketches and paintings on everything ranging from traditional canvas to old 33 rpm records to handmade jewelry and hemp creations. We talked to an artist who uses tin cans to create fanciful figures which he sells to help feed people at a homeless shelter (which is where he gets the cans) and a woman with steampunk jewelry, including some cameos featuring bats and dragons.
After exploring this area, we walked to the Phoenix Art Museum where we were greeted by crowds of young people walking through the cavernous spaces. While I enjoyed some of the exhibits, the walls felt a little stark after the profusion of eye candy on Roosevelt Row.
Next we hopped on a trolley and went to Grand Avenue where we saw some really cool street decorations consisting of crocheted baby blankets wrapped around tree trunks, stuffed animal bags filled with plants hanging from branches, and stuffed snakes dangling from the canopies. The conglomeration of colors and whimsy made us smile.
Finally, after hiking the length of Grand, we picked up another trolley and headed back to the Arizona Center which we cut through on the way to the Herberger. Unfortunately, we were too late for the performances there (which ended at 9 pm), but we did see several people in costumes featuring fairy wings, feathers, and glitter.
At that point, we found ourselves in need of a snack and a nightcap, so we ended our evening at The Compass on the 24th floor of the Hyatt. The view was spectacular and we nursed our libations until the rotating restaurant came full circle.
The next morning we visited CityScape for a nosh at The Breakfast Club where I had the mignon bene (a four ounce filet mignon with wilted spinach on eggs benedict complete with hollandaise and bearnaise sauce). This came with homemade O’brien potatoes (pan fried potato pieces with sauteed onions and bell peppers) and seasonal fruit. It (along with all the other food we had downtown) was artistry of its own!
Lochinvar and I had a wonderful time. We reflected on years past and those in our future, dreaming of many more adventures like this one. A life well-lived is definitely art.