Featured

Steele Indian School Park

In light of our collective cultural conversations about public space, midtown Phoenix’s Steele Indian School Park must be a part of it. Here’s why

When I prepared my midtown Phoenix history lecture last year, A Brief History of Midtown Phoenix, one of the things that I wanted to do was to learn more about the full history of the Phoenix Indian School, which most Phoenicians know only as a giant park in the middle of Phoenix with a dog park and where they launch fireworks on July 4. With a few exceptions, most contemporary history books of Phoenix and its urban history tend to gloss over the site.

I should mention that I don’t intend this to be the last word in scholarship on the site. There are many more people who have reported on the history of not only the Phoenix Indian School but the issues with Indian schools nationwide. The point of this essay is to contribute to a dialogue that should be had about the challenges that this site has, especially in the broader contexts of the urban Phoenix moment and the cultural conversations happening about how we memorialize our history and interact with public space. Continue reading “Steele Indian School Park”

Metrocenter photos

On June 24, prior to its closing, I traveled up to Metrocenter to take some final photos. Here are a few of them

Prior to its closing next week, I thought I’d make one final trip to Metrocenter to see it before the lights turn off for good June 30. I grew up close to this mall and visited it more than I probably care to admit in the 1990s. I wrote an appreciation essay on Metrocenter earlier this week, which I invite you to read first before viewing the photos.

Metrocenter (1973-2020), an appreciation

The closure of north-central Phoenix’s Metrocenter was announced. Some final thoughts on what was and what might be with the space

The big Phoenix news story over the past weekend is that the closure was announced of Metrocenter (1973-2020), the struggling shopping center in north-central Phoenix. The mall will close at the end of June after 47 years of operation.

Although this news is not surprising to hear, it is still a bit of a shock to hear the finality of it. The mall opened in 1973 with a record-setting five anchor store positions and 1.4 million square feet of retail space on two floors. For those who came of age in Phoenix in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, it was the place to see and be seen. It reached new appreciation in the 1980s when Metrocenter stood in for a mall in southern California in the 1989 science fiction film, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

Continue reading “Metrocenter (1973-2020), an appreciation”

The Friday Five: Improving Your Video Calls

As video calls have taken a bigger spot in our lives in the past few weeks, here are some cheap and easy ways to up your video call game.

What a weird few weeks it’s been. I hope everyone has been safe and healthy during these interesting times. For those who have been working from home, I’m sure video calls have been a part of your life. They certainly have for me!

Since I’ve been doing this for a bit, and since I also have some things to bring from dabbling in the photographic arts, I thought I’d share some easy things you can do to help improve your video conference setup. Each one of these ideas can be done independently of each other, so as to be flexible for limited budgets, but the total cost of all five of these different interventions shouldn’t exceed $100. With a couple exceptions, you probably have the kit around your home already! Continue reading “The Friday Five: Improving Your Video Calls”