Sunday, December 6, 2015


November 18 - 30, 2015:

Life must go on and I decided to go to the “Rhythm Room” in Phoenix for some needed blues revival.  Phil and Dave Alvin and the Guilty Ones were playing, I had seen them earlier in the year and they put on a tremendous live show.  They play the brother act to the hilt, Phil Alvin has this booming incredible voice while brother Dave is a great guitar player and a master storyteller.  

We visited the Wells Fargo Museum and had lunch with my sister Marie in downtown Phoenix.  The museum was better than expected with some really cool stuff and great interactive exhibits.  It is right around the corner from City Hall and the Orpheum Theatre.

The portraits of Mr. Wells and Mr. Fargo

Twinkles poses in front of a real Wells Fargo wagon

An original coping machine

I return on another day to the Orpheum Theater for a very informative guided tour.  The Theater was built in 1929 in the Spanish revival style of Spanish Baroque architecture. Through the years it eventually became a regular movie theater and gradually went into decline.  The beautiful murals and elaborate painted interior details were eventually covered with black paint ?  In the late 1960’s the city of Phoenix planned to build a new City Hall adjacent to the theater and then tear it down for a parking garage.  The local historical preservation group objected, managed to get public support on their side and convinced the city to save the building.  A fund raising organization was started, the building was placed on the historic register and many donors contributed to a full restoration of the Theater. The new City Hall is now connected to the Theater and they complement each other wonderfully.  The Theater is amazing and is now a world class performance venue.

The amazing Orpheum Theater

Theater details

Interior view

The atmospheric ceiling with stars that illuminate as
the theater lights are darkened

Every detail is a work of art

Phoenix is a city with an image problem in synch with Arizona’s conservative politics, but I have to admit that the downtown area is actually getting pretty cool these days.

The historic Hotel San Carlos

Building refections within another building

Colorful flower shop paint scheme

View in front of City Hall

Very impressive structure

Temporary ice skating in downtown Phoenix

City Hall

We went to the White Tanks Mountain Park for a hike in need of some fresh air and exercise.  Twinkles is slowly getting back into hiking mode again.

Good to be back in the White Tanks again

Dinner with the family on Saturday night at “Bucca di Beppo” which is a unique family style Italian restaurant in Phoenix.  The decor is great, the walls are covered with interesting old photos and stuff.  It serves family style where you have to share bowls making ordering for a group somewhat challenging. It the kind of place to go to for a special event, probably not for a simple meal.

The way to eat Pasta

Angie and Tatum getting ready to dig in

We did the family thing for Thanksgiving at my sisters house.  It was a little subdued as expected with Mom’s chair being vacant.  Also I have a nasty cold, Angie was down and out with a stomach bug and everyone is concerned with upcoming funeral and travel plans back to New Jersey.  Tatum has an early Christmas present, a power board which seems to be the hot new teen thing this year.

Tatum on the Power Board

I learned that the, “the Meat Puppets” were playing at the Crescent Ballroom and just had to go.  I had seen them last year, same time, same place, this must be a Thanksgiving tradition ?  They have been around a long time, but gained most of their notoriety by being a favorite band of Nirvana and joining Nirvana to do three Meat Puppet songs on Nirvanas highly acclaimed MTV unplugged performance. These guys can still rock, full volume, hardly take a break between songs and have a sort of cult following.

The Meat Puppets in action

We took a ride to Wickenburg which we found to be a really nice western town.  It has a number of historic buildings, nice shops and restaurants.  

The Jail Tree

Elizabeth Hudson Smith who arrived in Wickenburg by train
in 1897, got a job at a local hotel, gained fame as the cook, and eventually
bought the business.  The railroad then approached her about building a new
Hotel which became the finest one in town. In the 1920's racial prejudice
decimated her business and social standing.  She died in 1935 and was
not allowed burial in the the white only cemetery.  Shame on Wickenburg ! 

Sculpture in front of the museum

Local cowboy hero Everett Bowman, one of the greatest
rodeo stars of all time, a ten time world champion and founder of the
Rodeo Cowboys Association, the predecessor of todays Pro
Rodeo Cowboy Association.

Next week is going to be a full one with us taking the RV to its winter home at Desert Trails in Tucson on November 30th.  We will then fly out of Tucson on December 2 to New Jersey for my mothers funeral on December 5th and then return to Tucson on the 7th. 

Next and final stop of the year is Tucson, Arizona;
Twinkles and Slick

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