Daily Archives: March 8, 2009

Viewpoint: Phoenix city mottos dear to our urban heart

Downtown Phoenix[Source: Arizona Republic] — Much has been made of downtown Phoenix’s new brand, announced last week. Actually, much has been made of how much Downtown Phoenix Partnership paid ($160,000) for said brand, which was “Arizona’s urban heart.” The good news is that it fits on a bumper sticker.  But if you had $160,000 to lure people downtown, why not 16,000 free-lunch coupons?

We, too, thought we could come up with better branding at a drastically reduced price — say, 75 cents, the cost of the newspaper. Since it’s not too late to rethink “Arizona’s urban heart” before it winds up on T-shirts, placards, and perhaps the launching subject of a book (“Arizona’s Urban Heart: Bland Brands and Other Underwhelming Civic Efforts”), here are our ideas:

  • “Come to the island — the urban heat island.”
  • “Look for us on Google maps.”
  • “Home of the few useful stops on light rail.”
  • “If we weren’t cool, would ASU be here?”
  • “A nice buffer between east and west sides.”
  • “On the 33rd parallel and proud of it.”
  • “Home of many tall buildings.  No, the ones to the south.”
  • “Copper Pentagon — now with one more side than Copper Square.”
  • “When you want to see more than red tiles and pink stucco.”
  • “Where Hooters meets the Catholic Diocese.”

Art gallery opens in downtown Phoenix historic church

First Baptist Church, Phoenix, Arizona by thornydalemapco.

First Baptist Church, downtown Phoenix (Photo: thornydalemapco on Flickr)

Release the Fear has opened an art gallery in the Grace Chapel space of historic First Baptist Church, 302 W. Monroe.  On an ongoing basis, the gallery presents works of prominent, socially conscious artists.  The March 7-8 grand opening featured paintings of life-changing moments experienced by Arizona youth who participated in recent Release the Fear workshops. Proceeds from the sale of these paintings will fund future workshops.  

For more information about the grand opening, click here.  For more information about Release the Fear, click here.

Phoenix #22 among major U.S. cities for Energy Star buildings

[Source: Phoenix Business Journal] — Phoenix ranked 22nd among U.S. cities for the number of buildings that received the Energy Star designation in 2008. The metro area had 39 buildings covering 7.3 million square feet that meet the energy efficiency standard last year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Those efficiencies translate to $7 million in annual savings and the equivalent of electricity used by 6,900 households annually.

Los Angeles was No. 1 with 262 structures covering 73.9 million square feet.  That translates to $87.2 million in energy cost savings and 35,800 households, the EPA said.  Rounding out the top five were San Francisco, Houston, Washington, and Dallas.  “Energy Star buildings typically use 35 percent less energy and emit 35 percent less greenhouse gases than average buildings,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a statement.  “EPA commends all of these cities and all of the others, as well as countless individuals, who are now using more energy efficient appliances and dwellings.  They are saving energy, saving money and protecting our environment.”

Overall, Arizona has 93 buildings with Energy Star designations.  Those include 13 Marriott locations, five Bashas’ stores and Renaissance Square, Collier Center, One North Central tower, Wells Fargo Plaza, and Phoenix Federal Courthouse in downtown Phoenix.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

In downtown Phoenix, “Israeli Banana” sells fruit for a song

Erez Kessler sings to sell fruit and other items in downtown Phoenix (Photo: Allison Gatlin)

[Source Allison Gatlin, Jewish News of Phoenix] — Vending-machine snacks had better watch their backs — there’s a fresher, sexier snack in town: fruit.  Donning a banana suit and a guitar, Erez Kessler, also known as the Israeli Banana, helps at The Fruit Stand on Second Avenue and Adams Street in downtown Phoenix by attracting customers with his unusual garb and songs.  Kessler has spent summers in the Greater Phoenix area since 2003, serving as a shaliach (emissary) through the Summer Shlichim Program sponsored by the Jewish Agency for Israel. The fruit stand is owned by his former “house dad,” Ray Eveleth, with whom Kessler lived during the summers of 2004 and 2005.

Kessler, 30, from Dimona, Israel, traveled with the program to various sleepover and day summer camps around the country as someone who could teach children about life and tradition in Israel and make the lessons entertaining through song.  “I came here every summer to deliver the culture of Israel to the children at the summer camps,” Kessler says. “In return I was able to take back some of the U.S. culture with me.”  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]