Monday, May 5, 2014

The Contradiction of Mesa #1

This is a special guest post from downtown resident Jaime Glasser.

Last night was amazing and illustrated the sometimes contradictory personality of my home town.
On the same night, Main Street was closed for Motorcycles On Main a gathering of thousands of motorcycles enthusiasts:

 This festival had music, pop up bars and lots and lots of motorcycles as you see. Many leather clad bikers were having a great time listening to some great rock and roll by a band called Broken Toys:

Then, to the East on Main separated by Macdonald Street was part of the CycloMesa Unchained Bicycle Festival. This had been going on all day at the Mesa Convention Center and included Criterium Bicycle Races. The Criterium consists of very fast paced laps around a closed course track about two blocks around that had been set up with barricaded portions of Main Street, 1st Street, Center and Macdonald streets. The races started at noon and continued until about 8:30 PM:
The CycloMesa Unchained bicycle festival includes vendors and exhibits at the Mesa Convention Center on Center and University easy walking distance of Main Street and continues today on Main Street with a kids Bicycle Rodeo lots of extreme bicycle sports demos a fun ride for the whole family and culminates with the Tour de Mesa a 70 mile road race.
Last night at the finish line of the Criterium races were a crowd of bicycle enthusiasts dressed in spandex and mostly young and fit.

A young R&B band called Eye Candy was wrapping up after playing on the new Shadow Walk stage on the plaza in front of the Mesa Arts Center for four hours. The lead singer, Vaughn Willis was engaging and in good humor despite the fact only about five of us were in attendance once the bicycle races had concluded and most of the crowd had left. He played "one more" at my request.

While he was playing, behind him suddenly the doors of the Mesa Arts Center opened and thousands of people began spilling out. The sold out John Legend concert was over. Within seconds, hundreds of people stopped to enjoy Ear Candy's music! It was amazing. Buoyed by the new crowd's enthusiasm they played about four more songs including Pharrell Williams "Happy". My friend Cindy Ornstein, Arts and Cultural Director for the City of Mesa and I danced away to the music of an amazing band in front of the Mesa Arts Center the cultural gem of the Phoenix Metro area on a perfect night in Downtown Mesa.

As we danced I hoped that more people would realize what a potentially amazing place my home town is. Where else on one night could you mingle with  both a motorcycle and bicycle festival, go see a top-10 performer at an incredible arts venue and dance afterwards to a great local band on a perfect night?

I hope the light rail which will be constructed right down Main Street and completed in the next year and a half would allow more people to discover Mesa as a destination for arts and culture and see what they are missing. Maybe too us locals will appreciate our town and come down to Downtown Mesa and take advantage to all it has to offer.

Jaime Glasser takes artistic photographs with her iPhone as well as teaches classes on how to use mobile devices for art. She is a downtown Mesa resident and can usually be found, iPhone in hand, stalking Main Street for that perfect shot. - The Art of Iphoneography Jaime Glasser