From outside looking in

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¤ "24 Hours of South Routt" Photography by Alana Rothstein¤ 8 to 10 p.m. tonight and Saturday¤ Paradigm Theater, 116 Main St., Oak Creek¤ $5; proceeds go to breast cancer awareness projects¤ 846-5137

— Tonight, the doors of Barbi Bonfiglio's new arts venue will open to the public. As the art hungry and the curious wander into the venue, they will usher in with them a new era in South Routt.

The Paradigm Theater looks like a black-box theater with the walls and ceiling painted black and the audience surrounding the stage, but it's so much more than that, Bonfiglio said. "It's a black box, it's an art house, and it's a vehicle for visual art, acoustic music, theater, dance and readings."

The new space is at the end of the long hallway in the Oak Creek Plaza on Main Street. The place is booked through January with music, art shows and plays.

The first show, which opens with a reception tonight and Saturday, is an exhibit of photography by Alana Rothstein. The show is titled "24 Hours of South Routt."

The 15 photographs on display were taken during Labor Day weekend, when Rothstein visited the Bonfiglios. She was only a tourist then, but a week ago, Rothstein packed her belongings in Los Angeles and moved to Oak Creek.

"I moved here for the adventure of it and the unknown of it," she said. "It's a new chapter and a chance to take some time to pause and look at things."

Rothstein still sees things through her Los Angeles eyes. Chickens walking across a dirt road are still funny. When she listens to a story told at the counter of Bonfiglio Drug, she thinks in terms of how it could be made into a movie.

"I want to take advantage of having a new perspective and being fresh," she said.

Her photograph "Parade" captures a couple of children dressed in cowboy hats watching the Labor Day parade. It's the kind of photo that a parent would stick to the refrigerator or a teacher would tack to the bulletin board. But when framed and hung in a setting such as the Paradigm, it takes on other meanings.

"A shift happens when you take something out of its regular context and look at it again," Rothstein said. "It's something you see every day, and to me, that's what art is. It's what you see. It's what's in front of you, and that's why I enjoy shooting people and moments."

Rothstein is a self-trained photographer who began her career in the late 1980s in Los Angeles. Her main body of work included portraits, celebrity photos and fashion photography.

In South Routt, she hopes to make a distinctly different collection of images that are even more surreal and juxtaposed than the ones on display at the Paradigm this weekend.

"I won't be shooting landscapes," she said. "My work has a more social context. I've done an exhibit on minimum-wage workers, for example.

"I like to make people think."

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