Phoenix, Arizona / Sunday, September 16, 2007
© 2007 by JPB Publishing Ltd.
Avenue Weather: Partly cloudy with possible late afternoon showers. High 99 / Low 78
Joan De Arc matriarch turns 75
Barbara Bueker Stewart meets major milestone of maturity
(BP) - Barbara Bueker Stewart, one of the founding members of Joan De Arc society and culture, today observes her 75th birthday.
Bueker Stewart came to Joan De Arc Avenue in late 1963 with husband Carl Bueker and her four young children: Susan, Barbie, Charles, and John. She quickly became known on the street for her outspoken political views, unique artistic inclinations, and rigid disapproval of the alcohol-laden parties popular in the neighborhood at that time. An enthusiastically active member of the Sahuaro School PTA, Barbara soon established a reputation for producing inordinately large quantities of sauce for the organization's legendary annual spaghetti dinners. However, it would be her innovative and provocative art work that would secure her lasting Joan De Arc legacy.
Barbara Bueker Stewart was born to Howard and Lois Swaggerty in Detroit, Michigan on September 16, 1932. There she passed a happy Depression-era childhood thanks in large part to the loving benevolence of her doting father. She married Charles Bueker in 1951 and the young couple started their family with the birth of Susan the following year. The Buekers came west to Arizona in July, 1963, arriving on Joan De Arc in December of that year.
During the memorable Joan De Arc years, Barbara Bueker managed to raise her family, tend to an ailing husband, and complete her education while continuing to follow her muse and pursue varied artistic endeavors.
After leaving Joan De Arc Avenue in 1977, Barbara moved to a home in the Moon Valley area with second husband Donald Stewart, where she has resided ever since.
There have been persistent Internet rumors for several months regarding a surprise birthday celebration bash at the guest of honor’s home. As of press time, the Crusader has been unable to confirm these rumors.
Bueker Stewart’s huge cultural impact on Avenue
By J. Beaver
Of all her many contributions to the street culture, an impressive array of unique art work is unquestionably the most important Joan De Arc legacy of Barbara Bueker Stewart. Beginning as an art student at Glendale Community College in the mid-‘60s, she produced a steady series of oil paintings well into the ‘70s as a prelude to her accomplished career as an elementary school art teacher. Early, simple still life compositions eventually gave way to much bolder abstract and impressionistic works as the culturally tumultuous ‘60s drew to a close. Bueker Stewart then expanded her media with generally successful experiments in macramé, collage, sculpture and even metallic African tribal masks.
Among Bueker Stewart’s most memorable works was the 1968 oil painting that eventually came to be known as “Conseulo.” The full length view of a nude Hispanic woman portrayed against a fiery red background raised more than a few eyebrows when it first appeared on Joan De Arc Avenue. Husband Carl Bueker reportedly named the work in honor of his (supposedly) imaginary girlfriend in Tucson, whom he would claim to visit on his frequent work-related trips to that city. Probably more than any other work, “Conseulo” cemented Bueker Stewart’s reputation on the street as a bohemian, blithely unconcerned with the prevailing mores of her community. The artist scoffed at this characterization but secretly delighted in scandalizing some of her more puritanical neighbors.
Less well known but of nearly equal importance are Barbara's musical contributions to Joan De Arc culture. A prime example forever emblazoned upon the memories of her children is her daily performance of the "Good Morning" song, a reveille enthusiastically delivered each dawn to a decidedly unappreciative (and typically groggy) audience. The origin of the song is obscure, but the obnoxiously cheerful melody and distinct lyrical cadence produced a genuinely annoying effect, deftly calculated to abruptly terminate even the deepest and most restful of sleep patterns:
Bueker Stewart was also a Joan De Arc pioneer in the fine art of yoga, a discipline she apparently assimilated from occult-dabbling colleagues at the community college. A legendary nightly yoga exercise ritual soon evolved on the living room floor at 3219. Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of the routine was the now famous "butt walk," a somewhat degrading calisthenic drill that involved locomotion across the room without benefit of either hands or feet. It is widely believed that Barbara Bueker Stewart is the only person to ever successfully butt walk on Joan De Arc Avenue.
A full accounting of Barbara Bueker Stewart’s inestimable contribution to Joan De Arc Avenue culture cannot possibly be related in this small space and is best left to future Joan De Arc historians. However, even as she continues to produce her unique work in a different location, her creative spirit still pervades the Avenue cultural scene, which owes her a lasting debt of gratitude. Barbara Bueker Stewart continues to exemplify the sensitive compassion and studied aesthetic sense of a true artist.
Moon Phases: First Quarter: September 19 Full: September 26 Last Quarter: October 3 New: October 11