I haven’t been to Phoenix since early 2001 and I’ve been getting a bit homesick for the desert. Everything seems to be reminding me of the Southwest lately – even last night’s NYCB program with Melissa Barak’s new ballet, Call Me Ben, set in Vegas with its Santiago Calatrava-designed desert-themed backdrops, and then Balanchine’s Western Symphony with the cowboys, saloon girls and Old Tombstone-looking stage piece.

Albert Evans and cast in earlier NYCB Western Symphony production, taken from Explore Dance. Photo above that of the main street in Tombstone, AZ, taken from the city’s website.

I have to get out there soon.

In the meantime, just ordered this book, which looks like the perfect proverbial beach read.

The photo of the little guy at the top of the post, by the way, is taken from the Facebook page of my childhood friend who operates a kind of traveling zoo featuring reptiles native to Arizona, exposing children to and creating respect for their unique little charms.

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