My Space

Sarah Tyler has wanted to cut and style hair since she was five years old. "I was braiding my dolls' hair, cutting Barbies' hair. They got real ugly, these Barbie dolls," she laughs. This year she took over as owner of The Hive Hair Studio, located in Tucson's Hotel Congress and known for its retro hair styling.

In this 3 Story short, Sarah explains why her space not only transforms her clients, but has transformed her.  Interview and photos by Gillian Drummond. Video by Ricardo Bracamonte. Model: Veronica Stice.

 

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My Space

Scott Gilliland dreamed of roasting coffee beans for decades.  Then be bought a tiny coffee roaster and started appearing at farmers' markets in and around Tucson.  Today, Adventure Coffee Roasting occupies a small warehouse and is a supplier to restaurants, coffee shops and stores around the southwest.  In this 3 Story short, this former software executive explains why, despite the company's growth, he'll never quit farmers' markets.  Interview and photos by Gillian Drummond. Video by Ricardo Bracamonte.


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My Space

Stephen Kimble created Tucson's Metal Arts Village as a place for him to weld, and for other artists to come together. It's the space that Spiderman built; the money came from a seven-figure settlement with Marvel over a Spiderman toy Stephen says was his invention. More on that here. In this 3 Story short, Stephen tells how the space has given more meaning to his days. Interview and photos by Gillian Drummond. Video by Ricardo Bracamonte.

* Find his studio, Art Inc, at Metal Arts Village, 3230 N. Dodge Boulevard, Tucson.3230 N. Dodge Blvd.3230 N. Dodge Blvd.


 

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My Space

Roller derby player Carolyn Van Hazel came to the sport late, aged 41 and a working mother of two. Now she's a  member of Tucson Roller Derby's VICE Squad under the name Van D. Lyzer. In this 3 Story short, she talks about the freedom and focus she finds out on the skating rink. Interview by Gillian Drummond. Video by Ricardo Bracamonte. Music by Gazzze, a three-piece indie band from Tucson, AZ. For a link to their downloadable EP click hereWith thanks to Tucson Indoor Sports Center.

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Photos by Gillian Drummond, David T. Anderson, Alethea Photography, Larry Perona and © 2014 Daddy Skittles, All Rights Reserved

 

 

My Space

In the latest in our series on people and their favorite spaces, architect Page Repp shares the home he built as a student project. Story and photos by Gabby Ferreira

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Page Repp's student project has turned into a family home.

"My senior year, I knew that I wanted to design and build something for my senior [architecture] project. I had a lot on the far west side of town. I went out there to make the final negotiation and it fell through. I was driving back to school, super bummed because my project wasn't going to go through. I would have to come up with something else on short notice and I didn't know what I was going to do. Maybe I wasn't going to graduate. Then I drove by on Speedway and saw a 'For Sale' sign here.

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"I was designing the project for affordable housing. I never intended to live here, but I built the 1500 square feet for $54,000. It was so affordable that I didn't have a choice but to live here. I sold my other house, moved in here, and have been here ever since. I love the neighborhood. It's close to downtown, it's close to campus, and it’s close to pagehome2 the freeway. We've done a lot to help improve it. I was the neighborhood president for probably ten years. I've done a lot for and with the neighborhood. I really like the area, neighborhood, and location but as my daughter Ramona gets older, the writing's on the wall. We will have to pull up stakes sooner rather than later because we're going to want to be in a different school district.

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Page Repp

"I have a very strong personal attachment to this house. It was my senior project, so that's huge. It's the foundation for a lot of our business that we have now. I designed and built it, it got published in the paper, and then literally every client we had for five years said, 'I remember seeing that house in the paper'. Some of our clients became repeat clients. This house led to relationships with other people in town. I did this, I built the house next door, and then I bought the property across the street and did some rentals there.

pagebathroom "This is the house I lived in when I met my wife, this is the house that Ramona came home to.  I am as attached to this house as much as anyone could be. It's all here for me. Most of it I built with my own hands. I love it, I'm proud of it. I love how it's evolving over time."

* Page Repp is the president of Tucson-based architecture firm Repp Mclain Design + Construction. He is also the architect for and part owner of Sidecar, a new cocktail bar opening this month in midtown Tucson. Learn more about Sidecar in our feature in this issue, All The Young Dudes.

 

 

My Space

As Tucson gets ready for its latest Cyclovia event, Brad Lancaster - permaculture expert, environmentalist and two-wheel king - tells us why his favorite space is his Xtracycle. Story and photos by Gabby Ferreira.

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Brad Lancaster on his Xtracycle cargo bike. It carries kids, ladders...

"I got really into cycling in elementary school. I loved riding my bike with my friends, so we'd ride the two miles to school every day and we loved it because it was an adventure. No parents, no bus driver-- we could take whatever route we wanted. I continued to do it and it was always a cheaper way to go, but I also ran cross-country and track so it was a way for me to train. As time went on, it was less about exercise and more about saving money and I enjoyed it more. Now that I'm 47, exercise is back up there again! Doing my writing, I spend a fair amount of time on the computer, so it's awesome to get that break. I'll make excuses to run errands just so I can ride the bike.

"A big reason why I cycle is it really clears my head. It doesn't matter how stressful the day, if I can have that bike ride everything's cool. I see more of my friends around town this way. It's hard for me to see someone behind a windshield and recognize them, but this way I see friends all the time. It's a speed of transportation that encourages me to take the extra two-block detour to visit a friend because it's easy and parking's not a problem.

bradlan2 "It can be your car. I sold my car in 1996 and I've been carless since then. Originally, when I met Ross [Evans, the inventor of Xtracycle], I had a bicycle trailer. That was great, but if I didn't have the trailer with me and saw something I wanted to carry, I had to go back for the trailer. With the Xtracycle, I always have the trailer. It's more compact but can take just as much stuff and it is the bike itself. I'm really passionate about how we can make the most of and enhance what we already have for free. That's a big reason why I like riding bikes. I don't have to pay for gas, I don't have to pay for insurance, I just buy more burritos!

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It carries lumber...

"I remember pulling up to a stop sign on my bike in the middle of summer. I wasn't sweating profusely because I was outside and there's a breeze. I looked at the car next to me and there's a woman in there and her hair was being blown backwards but her windows were closed. I realized she had her air conditioner on high. The exhaust was just pumping the toxins right towards me and I saw the mirage effect of the heat rising off the car. She was obviously very comfortable and enjoying the ride but what's the expense to the community? What's the expense to me and my health? I feel really good knowing that I'm not worsening anyone's health. Rather, I really believe I'm helping enhance the community health.

"I love life, so I'd rather do things that are more enlivening, that enable me to have a greater tactile experience of that life. Cycling was an easy fit with all that. Where I've gone with solar design and water harvesting grew from a desire to learn what I never did in school, which is 'How can I do everything in a way that improves my life, improves my community's life, and improves life in the world for everyone and everything?' I don't always make it on all three levels, but just by striving I get a lot further than I would otherwise. It's a challenge and an adventure for myself, so the further I can go the more fun it is for me.

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It takes an extra bike...

"It's great how the biking community is really growing. We've been lucky to have the Cyclovia event, and that really shows people a big change. We're getting better-enhanced crossings of major streets, so we're working with other neighborhoods to create a continuous linkage of bicycle boulevards and enhance residential streets with traffic awnings, street tree plantings that are irrigated by street runoff so you have a much more elevated and enhanced experience as you ride your bike.

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It takes luggage...

"This neighborhood when we moved here was very high crime, now crime's really dropped a lot through a lot of efforts, one of those being that we have a more walk-able, bike-able community so there's more neighbors on the street seeing each other, looking out for each other, and noticing if anyone's doing anything weird. It's more of a community now."

 

* Brad Lancaster teaches classes in all aspects of water harvesting, permaculture and sustainable design, passive solar design, gardening, and food production. Additionally, he has written books on rainwater harvesting in the desert. Find out more at his website, www.harvestingrainwater.com

* Cyclovia Tucson, a one-day event that sees streets closed to cars and open exclusively to cyclists, walkers and skaters, takes place April 6th.

For more on Xtracycle's line of cargo bikes, visit www.xtracycle.com

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... and it transports passengers. Thanks Brad and friends for a fun photoshoot!

 

My Space

In the latest in our series on people and their favorite spaces, Melissa Watkins shares the story - of pain, joy and body confidence - behind her dance studio. Story and photos by Gabby Ferreira

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Melissa Watkins (right) leads a class at Steps Dance & Fitness.

"My senior year of high school, I was in a nearly fatal car accident. I was very lucky to be okay - no broken bones - because I was very physically fit. I had a bad closed-head injury and lots of upper neck and spinal problems. I was unable to dance at that point; I had been doing mostly jazz dance up until then. All my flexibility was gone. For years I couldn't put my hands above my head.

"College started and I failed out of a lot of my classes. I didn't really know what was going on. I finally went to a neurologist and found out that I was walking around with this pretty bad brain injury so I was unable to retain any information.

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"When they first walk in the door, their head is down," says Melissa of her female clients.

I started going to a speech therapist who helped me. Once I conquered the mental part of it I was like, 'OK, well now I need to deal with this chronic pain that I'm having,' so I started going to physical therapy and really started weight training seriously. Then I found Zumba. It was like dancing again but without a lot of the stress dancing had put on my body.

"I started teaching and strangely found that I was really good at it. I never thought I would have this secret weird talent. I taught wherever I could.

"November of 2011, LA Fitness -  one of the places I taught - announced they were going to get rid of Zumba. The entrepreneur in me was like, 'Alright. There's about 200 people in each of these classes. It makes too much sense not to make something of this.' The night before the grand opening of Steps Dance & Fitness, I didn't sleep. I was so scared no one would come and 55 people came and joined that day. It was awesome. It was surreal.

melissasteps2 "I think this business started very much about me. I found something that I was great at that I was surprised I was great at. But in the last three years, it's become so much about everyone else. Women come in here and this place is their heart and their soul. It's become a place for women - we have some male members, but mostly women - to come and be comfortable and bring their insecurities in the door with them but not feel them when they're here.

"As fun as it was to teach at these huge gyms and have these huge 200-person classes, Steps is not like that. I think we live in a very judgmental society in terms of women's bodies and I sense it with women. When they first walk in the door here, their head is down, they're terrified to walk into this space that, in terms of other gyms, is usually something that really breeds and brings out their insecurities.

"Sometimes I'll work out at another gym in town and women don't want to look at themselves in the mirror when they're there - they don't feel good about their bodies, so going and working on their biggest insecurity in a public place is terrifying.

melissasteps4 "I think that [the car accident] shaped me to be a fighter. It taught me that when life throws things at you, you can make something beautiful out of them. I still am very much like that here, because it's not fun to run a business. Sometimes I'll start to complain and I'll remember that in 2007, I could barely lift my arms. I couldn't stand for more than 5 minutes without severe back pain.

"It's really shaped me into an entirely different person and the person that I needed to be to keep a successful business running. [Teaching] started as just my way of not having pain every day and it became like I didn't know how to live without it."

* Steps is located at 5813 E. Speedway Blvd, Tucson. Call 520 730 2279, visit stepstucson.com or like it on Facebook.

 

 

 

My Space

In the latest in our series on people and their favorite places, Meg Johnson shares a piece of her yard that is building community and helping literacy: a free mini library. Story and photos by Gabby Ferreira.

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 "I first saw Little Free Library on Facebook and thought, 'What a really unique idea for building community.' And it does more than just spread literacy, it does build community. Unquestionably it's become a focal point in our neighborhood.

"It was immediately love at first sight. I like it being outdoors. I mean you see that 'leave a book, take a book' kind of thing at the doctor's office or at a hotel, but not outside where anybody can access it.

"Being near the center of Tucson, we have a high number of rentals, especially south of us. I just thought it would be a way to ground people to an area and make them feel like it's a neighborhood rather than just loose random houses with strangers in them that you don't know. And it's helped a lot with that.

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Meg Johnson, whose yard has become a focal point in the community

"Our neighborhood is the Garden District. It's a one-square mile neighborhood and our section here has the highest percentage of homeowners, but across Pima there are high numbers of rentals and a large population of people living below the poverty line. I knew that at [our neighborhood school] Wright Elementary, with 100% of the  kids on free and reduced lunch, which means living below the poverty line, they would not have books in their homes. A lot of those kids walk past my house on the way to school, so I thought it would be a neat way to get books into their hands.

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The inside of the 'library' is lined with the pages of old dictionaries

"We talked about different places to put it and it just seemed perfect with the shade there and views north, south east and west. I love that corner of my yard, because of the tree. That mesquite tree grew from seed. It's a rather large space and always seemed to need something more done with it.

"My friend Judy Ostermeyer is the artist, architect, and the builder. I supplied the deep pockets and helped. I spent about $100 on it; we already had some of the materials, like the doors and the roof. It was fun when we were putting it in. We had neighbors constantly coming by. The hardest part was figuring out the roof to make sure it didn't leak.

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Meg's dog is the library mascot

"I thought 'What a great focal point for positive happenings' and right under the mesquite tree in the shade with the wall there to sit on, it's perfect. One time I looked out and there was an ambulance out here and I thought 'Oh no, someone's sick!' But the paramedics were taking turns going to the little free library to get a book.

"Reading is about improving yourself, getting the job, having fun, knowing about the world, creating your own world. As a teacher and an older person I worry that paper books are going to disappear. I think the little free library created a different feeling in our neighborhood. When I send out a newsletter there's a lot about graffiti and crime and potholes and all that stuff ,whereas now we have a little free library and this is our community rather than the potholes and the crime. Our community is literacy and getting together with friends, meeting new people. And it just presents a different face to our neighborhood."

* Meg Johnson is a 2nd grade teacher and Secretary of her neighborhood association. You can learn more about Little Free Library here. Read more about Tucson's Garden District here.

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My Space

Husband-and-wife film buffs David Sherman and Rebecca Barten are owners of 'microcinema' Exploded View, combining film, music and art. Story and photos by Gillian Drummond.

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David is also a filmmaker and Rebecca is an artist.

"We've been in Arizona for ten years.  We had been teaching in California, where we met, and moved to Bisbee in 2004 to raise our son. We did an underground film festival in Bisbee for three years.

"We landed in Tucson because all of three of us really were ready for some kind of a change. Our son was needing a new school and we were looking to be somewhere where we could be more socially and culturally engaged again.

IMG_3032 "Our first microcinema was in San Francisco (where we met), where we had a derelict space. It lasted three and a half years and it ended when it needed to end. Since then we've had ongoing conversations about what's going to be the next location when the microcinema happens again.

"Part of it had to do with this space on Toole Avenue becoming available. It was a reasonable rent and it wasn't on the main drag. It was close enough to be accessible but we wouldn't have to experience crowds of drunk students every weekend.

explodedview.jpg "It took about six months to remodel - building a projection loft, painting, electricity. We wrapped wood with burlap to make acoustic panels. It seats 40 people and there's artist studio space at the back.

"We exhibit local artists, and put on bands. There are a lot of funky spaces in Tucson, which are wonderful. But we wanted this to feel like it was designed for what we're doing.

"This building was owned by the Warehouse Arts Management Organization and so we felt very at home dealing with artists as administrators of the property. There's a consciousness about what we're doing. It's not just commercial real estate to them, and getting as much money as they can. We feel like we're in a city that wants to see this happen.

"Tucson is much more of an event-based city as opposed to a retail city. There's not a huge amount of street traffic in a lot of the city. So our model is around doing events which are primarily cinema-based but also [using] music and poetry. We've had local band Catfish and Weezie doing a score to Tod Browning's silent film The Unknown. We've linked up with the University of Arizona's German studies department and LGBT Institute. People are meeting other people [through our events]. We're seeing relationships developing among different artists who are going to our shows.

"We love the fact that we're being portrayed as slightly avant-garde, but we're really covering a spectrum, not just art films. Sometimes our films are historic, sometimes very contemporary, sometimes regional.

"Our programming also tries to engage different communities in Tucson. One show might be a completely different audience from another one. This is an art project, funded by ourselves, and with grants too, from people like the Tucson Pima Arts Council.

* Exploded View Microcinema puts on events twice a week at 7.30 pm. For more info, visit the cinema's website or Facebook page. Exploded View is located at 197 E Toole Ave. Tel: 520 366 1573.

My Space

In the latest in our series on people's favorite spaces, Tucson graphic designer and artist Tom Baumgartner talks about his long-time idea made real at Wee Gallery. By Joan Calcagno.

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Tom Baumgartner in his wee Wee Gallery. Photo by Gillian Drummond

 

“This idea has been ruminating a long time. Ever since my days at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago I’ve wanted to do a gallery. Emerging artists need opportunities to show and sell their work - something different than the traditional 50% commission gallery system. It’s expensive to show work and sometimes artists just need a break.

“Last summer my partner Jane Pitts and I found this space for OZMA Atelier, Jane’s vintage clothing store. There was a small space in the back and I started to see a space for my idea to get traction. I had to do a lot of renovation. A month and a half later Wee Gallery had its first show.

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A painting by Cristina Cárdenas, who shows at Wee Gallery from December 7. Photo courtesy of Wee Gallery

“The space itself is 13 feet by 13 feet, in the back of the store, separated by a partition and short hallway. Part of the draw is that the gallery is a bit hidden. Some coming to the openings really like that it’s in the back of the store – something you need to know about, a little secret place. There’s a sense of discovery.

“I love the smallness. It’s easy to manage. Standing in the gallery, the work surrounds you.

"Every First Saturday Art Walk, Wee has its opening for the artist being featured that month and I get to have a big party. I don’t have a stable of buyers like a traditional gallery does. So Wee has other things to offer, like help marketing for the openings, and the opportunity to show for free. The artists we show are accomplished and doing quality work. Some are still emerging and can’t get a break; some are getting into juried shows elsewhere and Wee provides more exposure; some have traditional gallery representation and Wee provides the venue to exhibit more experimental work.

wee gallery “I thought of calling it Small Gallery, but Wee is a bit more antiquated and a better fit with the vintage store. The logo has its roots in a bit of the anti-commission, anti-usual-gallery-system rebellious spirit.

“This space is becoming popular with local artists. I’m an artist myself so I really appreciate what it takes to master the work. The artists are the stars at Wee. I’m honored to get to know them and to participate in the show experience.”

* Wee Gallery is located at 439 N. 6th Avenue inside Ozma Atelier and open Thursday through Saturday, 11 am to 6 pm. Information about artists and upcoming shows can be found on the Wee Gallery website and its Facebook page. For the scoop on the space Wee Gallery shares, check out our feature on OZMA Atelier.