Food trucks at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market.

Food trucks at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market.

Food-truck law? Who knew?

That was the guiding theme of my morning yesterday, as I sat in a CLE on the topic. I recommended it to you before, and I was happy to listen as attendees got legal, business and marketing advice on the topic of food trucks. Among the audience members were lawyers (who may have their own truck-ish aspirations) and high school students who are aiming for four-wheeled businesses.

The information provided was terrific … but let me get to the delicious part. For after the morning CLE, attendees could gather outside, where the marvelous Short Leash Hot Dogs and Rollover Doughnuts had rolled up to provide lunch.

In case you haven’t been paying attention: This is how life is supposed to be.

Photos of the noshing and learning below. (Click to biggify.)

An April 3, 2015, Arizona Forward event at the Arizona Supreme Court gathered advocates and legal experts to addr4ess access to justice issues.

An April 3, 2015, Arizona Forward event at the Arizona Supreme Court gathered advocates and legal experts to addr4ess access to justice issues.

Our offices will be closed for the Fourth of July holiday on Friday, July 3. But before I head for the hills, I’ll share one more post for this week, this one written by my prolific colleague Alberto Rodriguez.

His piece is in regard to a noteworthy event held earlier this spring. Arizona Forward was a gathering of people and organizations committed to access to justice. Held at the Arizona Supreme Court on April 3, 2015, speakers included American Bar Association President William C. Hubbard.

Now, the event organizers have released their report, which Alberto summarizes for us here (more event photos are at the end of this post; click to enlarge and to view them in a slideshow):

Speakers at the April 3, 2015, Arizona Forward event included (L to R) State Bar CEO John Phelps; ABA President William Hubbard; Arizona Chief Justice Scott Bales; State Bar Governor Jeff Willis; and State Bar President Richard Platt.

Speakers at the April 3, 2015, Arizona Forward event included (L to R) State Bar CEO John Phelps; ABA President William Hubbard; Arizona Chief Justice Scott Bales; State Bar Governor Jeff Willis; and State Bar President Richard Platt.

Legal professionals and community leaders are one step closer to solving the shortage of accessible legal services in Arizona. Arizona Forward, a day-long conference held in April that focused on finding new and better ways to deliver legal services, has released its findings, which included the following.

To move Arizona forward in the future delivery of legal services to its citizens, the significant changes in demographics, economies and technology must be considered by leaders from all sectors of the community-at-large.

  • (We) need to consider further augmentation of the legal services profession, beyond licensed document preparers, to include greater use of non-lawyers and paraprofessionals.
  • (We) need to communicate more effectively to those who need legal services about access to the legal system and recognize when legal advice is needed.
  • (We) must harness technology in every imaginable way to reach and assist those in need of legal services.

The underlying theme in the report was the need for increased communication. Advancements in technology will help to tackle this communication barrier. As technology continues to advance, it will play a key role in ensuring that it provides the gateway in linking those who need legal services to those who can provide it. Mobile and virtual technology are two elements being considered.

As Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Scott Bales has said, “Having meaningful access to legal services is vital to fulfilling the promise of justice for all. The goal of Arizona Forward is to find new, innovative solutions that advance justice for all Arizonans.” That first step was taken, and the first goal met by the State Bar of Arizona, the Arizona Supreme Court, the American Bar Association and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU, who co-sponsored the event, along with community leaders from across the state, was to identify the issues and offer attainable solutions.

For more information on Arizona Forward and to read the report, click here or contact Carrie Sherman at 602-340-7201. To learn more about the nationwide initiative led by the ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Services, click here.

Sandra Day O'Connor, before she was a Justice.

Sandra Day O’Connor, before she was a Justice.

This past week, I finally had the chance to see a historic exhibit that has been on display since September (I mentioned it before). I’m glad I caught the show regarding Sandra Day O’Connor before it closes in May.

Whether or not you’re a cowgirl, or Irish, you’ll enjoy the show at the Irish Cultural Center in Phoenix.

Some photos I took during my visit are here on the Arizona Attorney Magazine Facebook page.

In the next (April) issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine, I write about my visit in my editor’s column. Here it is (spoiler alert):

Honoring a cowgirl–justice

Let’s admit at the outset: Sandra Day O’Connor may not be Irish.

That small fact detracts not a whit from an installation at the Irish Cultural Center in Phoenix that explores one remarkable woman’s path from cowgirl to jurist.

The show—up since September but which I finally saw in February—comes to Phoenix from Texas—Fort Worth, in particular. That’s where (of course) the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame is located, and where they conceived the idea of “The Cowgirl Who Became a Justice.”

Sandra Day O'Connor speaks at her Senate confirmation hearings, her image reflected on the case holding her judicial robe.

Sandra Day O’Connor speaks at her Senate confirmation hearings, her image reflected on the case holding her judicial robe. (Click to enlarge.)

The well-chosen exhibition displays offer viewers the opportunity to explore how life on the ranch and in chambers are similar and different. You can’t help but marvel at the distance a young girl traveled, and it’s hard to resist viewing her judicial approach anew, through the lens of the Lazy B Ranch (where, to nobody’s surprise, no one was lazy).

Family photos and a branding iron are concrete and evocative reminders of Justice O’Connor’s heritage. But the portion of the beautiful room given over to her ascension to the Court reminds us of her historic appointment.

As I watched the looping footage of O’Connor’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I was struck by her calm demeanor and kind but firm method of schooling her questioners. Her flickering visage, reflected in the case holding her judicial robe, reminded me how fortunate Arizona is to be home to talented lawyers and jurists like Sandra Day O’Connor.

The show remains open until May 23, 2015. More information is here.

Artist Don Coen speaks before the opening of his "Migrant Series," Phoenix Art Museum, Oct. 17, 2014.

Artist Don Coen speaks before the opening of his “Migrant Series,” Phoenix Art Museum, Oct. 17, 2014.

An impressive show has launched at the Phoenix Art Museum that forces viewers to take a closer look at people and products they may take for granted. “The Migrant Series” by Don Coen is composed of arresting portraits of the migrant workers who bring much of the food to American tables. It opened on October 18 and runs through February 1, 2015.

Just a few days ago, I recommended an art-related event. I hadn’t planned to offer another so soon, but last night’s address by President Obama explaining his sweeping move to overhaul the nation’s immigration system got me thinking that this Change of Venue Friday should also head down the migrant path.

Understand, Don Coen’s remarkable artwork is not about undocumented workers or illegal immigration—though its appearance at the museum was affected by both of those things. Instead, his pieces are about the people themselves, most often workers who are here legally.

A media preview of the show on October 17 gave the opportunity to hear from the Colorado artist and some museum officials.

Ten years’ work went into the show, Coen said. And it was our relationship with our dining-room table that drove him.

“At Whole Foods, we pick up food, but we usually have no idea where it comes from,” Coen told attendees.

Perhaps best known for his previous work called the Lamar Series, Coen hopes viewers focus on the workers who bring that food to most Americans.

“I don’t think anyone will walk into the show and leave without knowing these people.”

Aiding in that result will be the near-photo-realism of the works, their close-up nature, and their massive scale.

Coen was accompanied at the media tour by his two grown sons. Shane Coen said, “Don saw the workers as friends, humans. He wanted to tell the human stories, show their faces.

Museum Director Jim Ballinger said how impressed he is by Coen’s work, including how its “luminosity is built up through layers of paint”—60 to 120 layers of paint per painting.

“This shows the back-of-the-house of the agricultural economy,” Ballinger told me. “America is so urban that we don’t see the agricultural life.”

That is the show’s most important layer, Ballinger said. When pressed, though, he did discuss the show in relation to the immigration debate.

He said that the museum delayed the show for a few years to avoid getting swept up in the debate over SB1070. “Don Coen’s first interest was not immigration,” Ballinger said. After all, most if not all of the people in the paintings are either citizens or have green cards.

Cover card Don Coen show

But the topic cannot be entirely avoided, Ballinger acknowledged, and in the context of SB1070, there may be great value in helping people understand more about the individuals who work in the fields.

“It may change people’s minds about how we get the food that we get.”

Dr. Jerry Smith, curator of American and Western American Art at the museum, agreed.

“We didn’t want the heated debate of a few years ago to overwhelm the story” of Coen’s work, he said. “There are 1.3 million citizens who are migrant farmers; when those people can see themselves be self-represented, that’s good.”

Smith spoke with me about the paintings’ scale, “which is very important because it makes the point that you are looking at people who should not be ignored.”

“The takeaway is that you really don’t have to be a head of state to get a portrait.”

Son Shane Coen told me that the family originally wasn’t sure the project was a great idea—or how it would be received.

“In the beginning, we asked him, ‘What are you painting?’”

Don Coen, Phoenix Art Museum, Oct. 17, 2014.

Don Coen, Phoenix Art Museum, Oct. 17, 2014.

Ultimately, though, he saw that his father was able to “bring the workers’ voices to light.”

“Hopefully, it will bring more compassion.”

Cord Coen saw the show’s importance in its ability to reveal “a world that is often invisible to us.”

More photos can be found on the Arizona Attorney Magazine Facebook page.

(In case you wondered (as I did), Cord explained how Don Coen worked with such massive canvases: Not (as I had guessed) via scaffold, but by having the pieces raised and lowered into a gap in the floor. That allows Coen to stand on the floor and have the piece ride up and down on a track.)

Don Coen, Phoenix Art Museum, Oct. 17, 2014.

Don Coen, Phoenix Art Museum, Oct. 17, 2014.

Here is some more background from the Phoenix Art Museum:

Don Coen: The Migrant Series was organized by Phoenix Art Museum and opens there on October 18, 2014. The exhibition is comprised of a series of 15 large-scale, realistic portrait paintings of migrant farm laborers by the Colorado artist. The paintings are inspired by photographs of individuals that Coen took on farms across the U.S. over a decade. During the hundreds of hours he spent in the fields studying and taking photos of these farmers, Coen got to know each person’s story and it shows in these paintings. Over the past decade, he painted these works measuring almost 10 by 7 feet using dozens of layers of paint applied with a spray gun—then added the finishing details by hand with pencil. In these portrait paintings, the artist’s non-traditional approach of using airbrush is apparent.

Creative Arts Competition photo shoot, Tempe Center for the Arts, March 3, 2014.

Creative Arts Competition photo shoot, Tempe Center for the Arts, March 3, 2014.

One of my favorite days in the magazine’s year has to be the annual lawyer–artists photo shoot. This year’s version occurred on Monday afternoon.

Once again at the beautiful Tempe Center for the Arts, the shoot requires huge coordination and the establishment of numerous “shots.” We have single portraits (for each winning artist’s page in the printed magazine), as well as numerous group shots for the winners, honorable mentions, entire group, and other spur-of-the-moment combinations.

Karen Shell has been our go-to photographer for a number of years now, and I’m continually impressed by her creativity, willingness to adapt, and calm in the face of chaos.

Kudos also to Karen Holub, our Art Director. She herds multiple cats in the effort to get this whole affair launched, implemented, and sewn up.

Photographer Karen Shell (left) and Art Director Karen Holub consult on a shot.

Photographer Karen Shell (left) and Art Director Karen Holub consult on a shot.

In previous years, we’ve shot the photos in the light-filled lobby and on the lakeside patio of the TCA. But this spring, we wondered whether it would be possible to do something different. Could we get on the main stage and include shots of the gorgeous cherry-wood theatre?

You never know. Theatres and the acting companies that inhabit them can be a tetchy lot.

The happy answer: Yes. The result is a series of shots that capture the evocative theatre as well as the moody-black of the stage itself.

Here are a few photos (click to make them larger. The real deal—shot by Karen Shell and not be me on my Canon S110—will be in the May issue of Arizona Attorney. (Here is last year’s coverage.)

New board of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association sworn in by Judge Roxanne Song Ong, Feb. 13, 2014, Chandler, Ariz.

New board of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association sworn in by Judge Roxanne Song Ong, Feb. 13, 2014, Chandler, Ariz.

Four years ago, I posted a list of the nine courses (yes, nine!) served at the annual Arizona Asian American Bar Association banquet. You can read it here.

Over the (too) many years of this daily blog, I have covered that event in multiple ways—for example, here, here and here. (I’ve even included photos and a video of our now-beleaguered Attorney General Tom Horne playing the piano as the crowd chats; here’s a photo you might like).

But writers are always learning, and here is the instructive point for me: I have always and forever received the most follow-up queries after my here’s-our-meal-list post. Showing, I suppose, that food trumps most legal issues, including allegations of campaign-finance violations. The main commentary I typically receive: The list is nice, and your description of the keynote speech is swell, but why only one food photo?

C-Fu Gourmet restaurant logoThe public speaks, and I listen.

So today, on Change of Venue Friday, I decided to keep the words to a minimum and to share only photos and captions of each of the dishes served last night at C-Fu Gourmet in Chandler. If you were there, you know how great it was. If you missed it, too bad for you. Remember to follow the Asian American Bar Association on Facebook, so you can keep track of when they announce next year’s banquet. You can join the organization too.

I hope you’re sated by the photos below (click to make them larger). I plan to share later some more detail about the evening’s great elements, among them the awarding of a few law student scholarships. But that’s for another day.

Have a great—and dim sum-filled—weekend.

Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver

Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver

Earlier this week, I shared the magazine’s good news about our national award (press release here). But today is Change of Venue Friday, so we’re on a related but lighter topic: Here are some photos from my trip to Denver (nothing says Change of Venue better than few words, more pics).

I’ve placed a few photos in this blog post; the rest are here, on the Arizona Attorney Facebook page.

But before you head over yonder, you really have to watch a brief video. No, not by me, but by a friend and talented communicator named Patrick Tandy. He’s the Communications Director at the Maryland State Bar Association. Besides all the work that goes into attending a conference (it’s true), Patrick also lugged his iPad around, snapping pictures and capturing the flavor of Denver (and the funky Curtis Hotel).

Patrick teamed up with everyone’s favorite songwriting buddy, Warren Zevon, who provided the appropriate track: “Things To Do in Denver When You’re Dead” (communicators – so so dark).

Enjoy his video, and then go look at my non-videofied photos. Have a great weekend.

By the way, have you Liked the Maryland State Bar on Facebook yet? Whatcha waiting for?

Larimer Street, Denver

Larimer Street, Denver