Local Music (Part II) : What’s Right on Mill

3 10 2009

The last post discussed what bands I like from Tempe and what happened with Mill Ave.  Let’s talk about the winds of change.

We had a shopping center in Tempe called Centerpoint and the anchor was a movie theater.  In a matter of a couple of years the economy tanks and the byproduct is distressed real estate – hence an empty theater.

I don’t remember how long it sat empty – just as I don’t really remember when it died.  People who cared about the city and recognized what happened, how it went awry and how to start change.  MADCAP Theaters is born in the old movie multiplex.  I wasn’t sure how this all happened so I e-mail Casaunda from Downtown Tempe to explain.  Here is her email in it’s entirety:

I asked her three questions: 1) What/Who made MADCAP happen? 2) Why? 3) If you wanted people to know something about MADCAP what would it be?

Her answers: Thanks for inquiring about MADCAP!  We are very excited about where we
are heading with Thursdays on Mill and MADCAP.

My organization, Downtown Tempe Community, Inc., is a non-profit that
works with the landowners, developers, businesses, and the City of Tempe
to make Downtown Tempe a unique and vibrant destination.  After the
economy crashed and we saw that we had this extremely viable empty
building on our hands, we decided we should do something about it.
Luckily, the owners of the building, Centerpoint on Mill, were just as
excited about the idea of creating an independent performance space as
we were and gave us a lease for a mere $10 a year!  We wanted to have a
place where local musicians, filmmakers, poets, comedians, and so on
could afford to perform in front of an audience, bringing much needed
vitality back to Mill Avenue.  After brainstorming, we came up with the
Mill Avenue District Community Arts Project or otherwise known as MADCAP
Theaters.  And thanks to support from sponsors and community members we
were able to make the necessary renovations to open in June 2009.

Since then, we have gotten a great response from local artists that have
chosen to perform there, such as Dry River Yacht Club, The Dorsets,
Captain Squeegee, Isle of Essence, Azul, and so on.  We have also
acquired the Midnite Movie Mamacita, Andrea Beesley-Brown, who has been
programming MADCAP with the best B movies and film festival fare in the
Valley!  She also helped bring Rocky Horror Picture Show back to Mill

MADCAP is extremely important to bringing back the local music and
cult-classic movie scene to Mill Avenue.  Historically, Mill Avenue has
been the entertainment hub of the Valley and we want to continue that
reputation by bringing together music, art, unique businesses, and
colorful people.

# # #

This is what’s going right!  I walked around Mill last night and listened to four musical acts playing on the street.  Photos are available HERE Aftwards I went to the theater and listed to a jazz quartet.  It was a feel of old time Mill Ave.  Something I haven’t experienced in years.

(MADCAP also had a poetry slam and a horror film showing in different theaters at the same time.)  I was disappointed that I was the only one in the theater listening to Jazz that was not associated with the music.  We all need to step up – show our support or this will go away.

If you ignore the local arts – they will go away.  In a town where we struggle to be noticed we have a good thing happening.  MADCAP is not the only outlet either.  We have the largest First Fridays Art Walk in the country, Venues like The Sail Inn, Yucca Tap Room, Modified, Rhythm Room , The Ruby Room and The Clubhouse all with good stuff happening plus local painter DumperFoo runs the best hip-hop night (Blunt Club) at the Red Owl on Thursdays.  There is something for everything : get out and enjoy something.



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