Tag Archives: festival


Christmas at the Princess lights up Scottsdale resort

The Christmas at the Princess festival at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess features the resort’s four-story musical Christmas tree in Princess Plaza, more than 2 million Lagoon Lights, the Princess Express Train, the Desert Ice Skating Rink and the new Christmas Carousel.

Christmas at the Princess is open to the public throughout the season. Admission is complimentary for hotel and restaurant guests, then admission/parking for non-hotel guests is $30 for self-parking with up to 10 people per vehicle or $40 for valet after 5 p.m. without dining. Valet for local residents is complimentary when dining at any of the resort restaurants. The Princess Express Train, Christmas Carousel and Lagoon Lights are complimentary; there are fees for ice skating sessions and skate rental. The “Christmas at the Princess” festival runs through January 4, 2015.

Highlights include:

Enchanted Plaza: Local residents can see the four-story tree’s synchronized lighting and music show 6 p.m.– 9 p.m., nightly, throughout the holiday season. During the day, this stunning four-story tree is a visual experience, with dozens of glistening snowflakes and a five-foot snowflake tree topper. Add to that, a high-definition, one-of-a-kind animated video show features five delightful holiday scenes set to music and projected against the resort’s façade. This five-minute show plays promptly at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. nightly in the Enchanted Plaza through January 4, 2015.

Lagoon Lights: With more than 2 million LED lights illuminating the resort’s majestic lagoons, visitors stroll or ride the Princess Express train through a lit fantasy land to see graceful swans floating on the water, a buccaneer pirate ship, 14-foot poinsettias, a teddy bear, toy soldiers, a fishing Santa and a candy cane forest. Throughout the resort, 150 trees are wrapped in lights, many draped with icicles and snowflakes, along with a 10-foot lighted menorah, dreidels and the Star of David.  New for 2014 are lit leaping arches mimicking a water show, Nessie the 30-foot Loch Ness Monster, 3-D giant reindeer, a 20-foot snowman, elves peeking around trees, as well as a family of four singing trees.

Train: As guests board the Princess Express Train, sponsored by Waste Management Phoenix Open, they are greeted by an enchanting curtain of falling snow, along with carolers on the weekends. The train depot is near the tennis courts and offers complimentary rides around the Lagoon Lights nightly for spectators of all ages.

Carousel: As holiday revelers arrive at the Princess, a new, not-to-miss attraction is the resort’s Christmas Carousel, where dozens of galloping horses glitter ‘round and ‘round. It will be open evenings and rides are complimentary.

Santa: Friday and Saturday nights are spent with Santa in his workshop, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., through December 20, where the young and young-at-heart can have their photo taken with Kris Kringle. Photos are just $10 and available for immediate pick-up.

Nativity Garden: The resort’s Fragrance Garden becomes the Nativity Garden, where an 88-foot narrated Nativity light show tells the story of Christmas. Seating is provided for the 10-minute show. Shows begin at 5 p.m. and occur every 10 minutes until 9 p.m., nightly throughout the festival.

Tree Lot: New this year, Moon Valley Nurseries will have a Christmas tree lot at the resort, where those enjoying the festival can also pick out and purchase their Christmas tree. Home delivery is also available.

Lagoon Lights, the Princess Express Train and the Christmas Carousel are complimentary throughout the season. The resort is located at 7575 East Princess Drive in Scottsdale. For more information, call (866)-540-4495 or visit Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Get ready for the Sedona Bluegrass Festival

Now in its eight season, the June 4-8 Sedona Bluegrass Festival is making serious inroads in the Arizona Bluegrass world. Led by Festival Artistic Director Darol Anger, the Festival will include many friends invited personally by Anger including the legendary Peter Rowan, one of the bluegrass worlds multiple award winners and leading ladies Laurie Lewis with husband Tom Rozum, and one of America’s most exciting artists of this generation, cellist Ben Sollee.

Ben Sollee

Ben Sollee

“Darol’s connections and insights add a tremendous amount to our efforts,” said Festival director Bert Harclerode. “One is often judged by the company we keep, and Darol’s shared vision promises to make this festival our best yet! Ben Sollee is one of the college scene’s hottest tickets and we’re delighted to bring him to Sedona.”

Sollee, according to his web page, first gained major notice with his 2008 debut album, Learning to Bend, which led NPR’s Morning Edition to call him one of the “Top Ten Great Unknown Artists” of the year. Later, All Things Considered called his debut “an inspired collection of acoustic, folk and jazz-flavored songs, filled with hope and the earnest belief that the world is good.” Around the same time, Sollee was touring the world with Abigail Washburn’s Sparrow Quartet alongside Grammy nominee Casey Driessen and multi-Grammy winner Bela Fleck. Sollee’s music drew the attention of My Morning Jacket frontman Yim Yames, who produced his second full-length album, a collaboration with Daniel Martin Moore. In 2010 they released Dear Companion, a stunning collection of songs meant to inspire environmental stewardship. The next year Sollee contributed his cello stylings to My Morning Jacket’s hit album Circuital and released Inclusions, a sonically awe-inspiring album about relationships that was called “structurally brilliant” by Slant and “stunning” by No Depression.
Through it all, Sollee has garnered a rabid following of listeners devoted to his music. They will be greatly pleased with this, his most personal and adventurous album yet. His voice is grittier here, and the instruments—fiddles, lovely in their sawing, and electric guitars grinding out love and disappointment and every emotion in between—mimic the urgency and passion so evident in his vocals. “The vocals are more off the cuff and freer,” he says, stressing that the production strives more for rawness than perfection. “We steered our ears toward getting the right energy for each song. The takes took on their own life and led us along. The machines and mics had a weighty sound that we could use to drive the story through the lyrics and arrangements.”
The songs give us the many facets of a human being who is acutely aware of the world around him and his own faults. The album is novelistic in its scope and theme as we travel with the narrator who reveals everything about himself as a father, a spouse, a musician, and more. We are along for the ride as the narrator sings of selfishness, joy, impatience, romance…being human. With Half-Made Man, a record of raw power, grace, and wisdom, Sollee is sure to be measured alongside the best artists of his generation.

Sollee’s fourth album, Half-Made Man, a revealing, deeply moving album that explores a man trying to figure himself out, just as we all are. Known for his thrilling cello-playing that incorporates new techniques to create a unique mix of folk, bluegrass, jazz and R&B, Sollee possesses rough-smooth-smoky vocal stylings and a knack for intricate arrangements that has brought about comparisons to Sufjan Stevens. Sollee shares himself completely with his audience, whether it be by personal lyrics, or his commitment to the environment. Sollee can often be found riding a bicycle to his concerts (cello strapped to the back), which have become legendary for their intimacy.

The album, produced by Sollee himself, boasts a sublime cast of musicians, including Carl Broemel (My Morning Jacket) on electric/acoustic guitar and pedal steel, Alana Rocklin on bass, Jordon Ellis on percussion, Jeremy Kittel (formerly of the Turtle Island String Quartet) on violin, and guest vocals by Abigail Washburn. Sollee contributes octave mandolin, guitar, and of course, his signature cello.

“I wanted it to have a raw, real-time performance quality,” Sollee says. “This is kinetic expression. I dug deep into myself and asked the musicians to go there with me. To my ear, it sounds like musical search party; we often find what we’re looking for in between defined styles and genres. It won’t be easy to place this in one category, but I, and my generation, are measured by a little bit of everything these days.”

Sollee will perform Saturday and Sunday at the Festival taking place at Los Abrigados Resort in the heart of Sedona. Complete Festival information can be found at www.SedonaBluegrassFestival.org or by calling 928.204.2415.


Scottsdale Film Festival Intoduces New Children's Programs

The annual Scottsdale International Film Festival returns for the 13th time on October 4 at Harkins Shea 14 Theaters. The entertainment will continue until October 8.

The festival will showcase local and foreign films, which have not been announced yet. The festival will also introduce a new children’s program that is sponsored by Republic Charities in partnership with Deer Valley Unified School District.

The children’s program will include a live action and animated series of films, curated by the Northe Film Forum’s Seattle International Children’s Film Festival. Your little one can enjoy the theater on October 7 at 10:30 a.m.

“This is a great opportunity for young people to experience the wonder of great filmmaking and explore the art form deeper than a major blockbuster,” says Amy Ettinger, Executive Director of the Scottsdale International Film Festival. “Without Republic Charities belief in and support of this program, we wouldn’t be able to give these kids the chance to see the world from the view of their counterparts around the world.”

Children will hop aboard a celluloid magic carpet and take a trip all the way from the Arctic to Mozambique, with stops along the way to see animated sights in Turkey, Germany, France, Argentina, and India, through movies like Bottle, Istanbul, Chinti and much more!

Films are appropriate for all ages. Ticket will become available on September 3. Prices range from $8 to $12.