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April 8, 2015 in Ballet Arizona
Mahowald Vagi is a lovely dancer.
We talked a bit above about where to sit in Symphony Hall, and I concluded tonight that the 18th row is too far for me. It's hard to tell where the first row of the balcony begins, as it's closed for this weekend, but it's at least a couple of rows further back.
It's probably a good location for a concert, though, as the main floor is rather flat, as most new halls seem to be, and this bodes ill for sound as well as sight lines - and maybe this is part of the reason Helene prefers to sit in the 17th row, where there's nobody directly in front of you in the cross-aisle, if I have that right? - whereas the balcony is "open-back" - it's not attached to the back wall of the auditorium.
This feature, which I think Frank Lloyd Wright got from his days working on the Auditorium Theater in Chicago under Adler and Sullivan and may have imported into this area by including it in his design for the Gammage Auditorium in Tempe, bodes well for acoustics. It's rarely used, though, as far as I know, so I was surprised to see it. Do any of you have concert experience there versus the main floor?
Reviewing my seat reviews from a year ago in planning a return visit, I thought I'd update this discussion a little bit by saying that I found 17th Row center much better than the 18th Row - no blocking there, as Helene says.
The 14th Row had excellent distance, and my seat, number 11, had a good offset - I'm very fussy about sitting too far to the side of the center line, because ballet is "frontal", and if I'm off-center, the dancers are dancing for somebody else - those people over there in the center - and not for me: I want to get their effect right between the eyes!
On the other hand, I found the 14th Row low, as I had the 18th. (I stand about 5' 7" in my socks, so someone reading this can interpret for themselves.) So I'm thinking I'll aim for the 16th Row this time.
As for places to stay, Maricopa Manor was a very pleasant "oasis" - their own word, but it really fits - once one adjusts to the transportation four miles along Central via the light rail, which takes a little while. But surviving in the heat includes taking it easy. (This Midwesterner learned to walk adagio rather than andante.)
And for places to eat, I may have made a bad choice at Southern Rail - the flavor of the Gumbo Ya-Ya just blared, compared to my favorite New Orleans restaurant in Chicago - but I had several good meals from the skillful and original menus at Postino Central and a few more at Pizzeria Bianco. (Thanks for those two recommendations Arizona Native! I'll have to try your others.) At Nobuo, one of my experiments, across the way from Pizzeria Bianco, familiar (and typically wholesome) Japanese components were combined in ways that seemed weird to me, though not to others - the place had quite a following and soon filled up.
Has anyone tried the round restaurant atop the Hyatt Regency Hotel? Probably not a bargain, like other restaurants with a view, but once, for a tourist? I thought it might afford a nice view of the mountains late in the afternoon, like an hour before sunset.
The rest of the neighborhood right around Symphony Hall seems to be mostly sports bars, but as it was, the nearest one directly west on Adams, Steve's Greenhouse, provided a good burger (from their huge list) served by a cheerful and competent young lady...
And getting my BA tickets from a competent human being when the high-tech method failed, I inquired about places to eat in the Symphony Hall neighborhood. Has anybody here any experience with Majerle's Sports Grill, on 2nd Street? Or the Arrogant Butcher, 2 E. Jefferson Street?
Don't know Phoenix, but I had a similar question in Vancouver BC last year (was staying in the hotel with RRR (rooftop rotating restaurant) and wound up having breakfast there. A lovely set of views of the city, during the day when I could really see things, including a seaplane landing. Spendy if you compare it to breakfast, but certainly cheaper than dinner.
Or try the place for happy hour?
I tried it a year ago, and the view from up there looked worth it, except that a few clouds lay over the sun, low in the western sky, making the whole panorama gray and dim: Lurking in the gloom, the sharply-outlined mountains, not eroded and worn in that dry climate, jutted abruptly into the air from the flat desert floor. With the lights on, so to speak, it must be pretty dramatic, especially for somebody from the upper Midwest, a.k.a. Flatland. I'll try it again if I go back - thinking about that brought me back here to this thread - but I'm going to be more careful about the weather forecast.
Indeed, seen in 2017 and 2018, the view from the Compass (300' up) is pretty dramatic when the sun is out, if maybe less so than from the Space Needle in Seattle (600') - when it's not fogged in!
But I have another question about accommodations in Phoenix: When that wonderful oasis of a bed and breakfast, Maricopa Manor, is booked, what's second best? BAZ's Napoli weekend in October has already been booked there for a while - what I'm thinking of as a "snowbird" phenomenon - so I'm seeking more advice from the wise people here who sent me there in the first place years ago.
I hope you were able to find a great place to stay for Napoli weekend. I searched a bit and found there aren't a lot of Bed and Breakfast style lodgings in the Phoenix area. The following link may be helpful: metro Phoenix bed and breakfasts. Note the highest-rated B&Bs on this list are in Scottsdale (12 miles from central Phoenix) and Chandler (24 miles).
I recently ordered season tickets for Ballet Arizona ("silver front side", aisle seat), will be seeing everything from Napoli through Evening at Desert Botanical Garden. I'm staying at downtown hotels for convenience.
As it happened, space opened up at the last minute for me at the wonderful Maricopa Manor both for Napoli and for some Nutcracker performances, but Maricopa Manor is no more. In December, they told me the property was being re-purposed, and it comes up now as Olivette Place, a developmental enrichment center for intellectually disabled adults. Great concept, and I certainly wish them well!
The couple who ran Maricopa Manor mentioned a "boutique" hotel of 30 rooms or so about to open nearby on Camelback Road, but it doesn't come up on Google Maps, and Camelback is a heavily-trafficked street for this light sleeper to stay on.
In the meantime, has anyone got an update on the theme of places for visitors to Phoenix? I appreciate Marquis de Carabas's suggestion above, though Maricopa Manor will be a hard act to follow. But this forum is where I learned of it!
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