LAST EXIT TO TUCSON. Native Tucson filmmaker Minda Martin taps the Old Pueblo's darker side with a.k.a. Kathe, presented as part of the Alternate Routes '99 video series.
The documentary portrays the life and tragic death of drug-addicted Tucson street prostitute Kathe Vargas, a childhood acquaintance of Martin's. This gripping piece contains interviews with Kathe's loved ones gathered over three-and-a-half years, detailing the family's loss, and exploring the cycle of violence towards women.
The evening also features two of Martin's shorter works: Mother's Heritage and a little ballad [sic]. The former, a video scrapbook of her mother's life and death, was triumphantly received at the New York Video Festival and Europe's prestigious MOSTRA Video Art Tour. In the same vein, a little ballad is a highly personal piece about the differing perspectives of a mother and daughter who find escape through the radio.
Martin is a UA grad who currently teaches film and video courses at the University of California, San Diego. She'll be on hand to discuss her work. The free screenings are at 7:30 p.m. in the UA Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Building, Room 202, on the northeast corner of Speedway and Mountain Avenue. For details, call 621-7352.
Speer shares her work in a free reading hosted by the Make a Date With a Poet series, a regular program of the now defunct Book Mark. The series continues appropriately enough at 6 p.m. in the New Life Café, 4841 E. Speedway. Call 881-5180 for details.
RIGHT ON. For years, the folks of Derechos Humanos have been fighting for the rights of immigrants, refugees and others who find themselves at the bottom of the societal heap in these parts. Now they're lightening up for a little fun to celebrate six years in their south-side headquarters.
The party will include a potluck dinner, with music by Gila River Reservation tribal councilwoman Brenda Robertson, and also by Ted Ramirez. Join the celebration from 6 p.m. until dark at Derechos Humanos, 631 S. Sixth Ave. A $5 donation is requested. For details, call 770-1373.
FLORAL FOLLIES. Norman is a little bit charming. Unfortunately, he's also a lot self-centered. But it all adds up to yuks when the narcissistic eccentric starts a chain of events that ultimately plants the seeds for hilarity in Round and Round the Garden, written by Alan Ayckburn and presented by Live Theatre Workshop.
Show time is 7:30 p.m. in the Live Theatre Workshop, 5317 E. Speedway. Performances continue at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, through August 15. Tickets are $10, $9 for seniors and students, available by calling 327-4242.
CONTRA DICTION. Learn the language of timeless culture with the Tucson Friends of Traditional Music, at another weekend contra dance sure to leave you winded. The wholesome fun is like square dancing in a line, with lots of smiling toe-tappers circling their partners with grace and precision...or at least with plenty of joie de vivre. Either way, it's a great way to meet new friends and give the ol' ticker a workout.
Tonight's event bears a flamingo theme, so wear something pink. Round the House will provide the live music and calling, with the dance running from 8 to 11 p.m. A refresher course in the proper steps begins at 7:45 p.m. in the Armory Park Recreation Center, 220 S. Fifth Ave. Admission is by donation. For details, call 327-1779.
SPRINGBOARD TO THE PAST. Prehistory is increasingly accessible on the Murray Springs Clovis Archaeological Site Interpretive Loop Trail, recently upgraded by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
Aided by a Heritage Grant partnership with Arizona State Parks, the BLM has placed new exhibits along the trail near Sierra Vista. These 10 displays tell the story of a 13,000-year-old settlement excavated by the UA between 1967 and 1971. The site also revealed remains of mammoth and bison kills near the campgrounds once inhabited by Clovis Man, and ranked among the most important archaeological sites in the country.
To reach the trail, travel east from Sierra Vista on Highway 90 to Moson Road, and turn north for 1.1 miles to the entrance gate. The trail is open during daylight hours. For details, call (520) 458-3559.
SOUNDS OF DOWNTOWN. Cosmic Debris is just one of several bands firing up for another Downtown Saturday Night event. Their multi-cultural sounds -- ranging from jazz and reggae to blues and swing -- will fill the Ronstadt Transit Center with plenty of foot-tapping rhythms.
Meanwhile, The Red Carpet Brigade arrives from Prescott to perform their very physical brand of theater, music and dance on Arizona Avenue. Highlighting their appearance will be Tragedy Magnate Ha-Ha!, a segment "which takes into account the journey of the ship of fools."
KXCI will dish up its regular music mix on Fourth Avenue, while Fun With Dirt takes the Winsett Park stage with original alternative music, and solo guitarist Sabra lays down originals and covers on the Fifth Street Stage in front of Magpies Pizza.
The Arts District Partnership's Downtown Saturday Night runs from 7 to 10 p.m. every first and third Saturday of the month. Admission to all performances is free. Call 624-9977 for information.
BE-BOP COWPOKES. The state's official balladeer, Dolan Ellis, is back with another charming weekend of music at his Arizona Folklore Preserve, nestled high in the cool confines of Ramsey Canyon near Sierra Vista.
Today, the preserve welcomes special guest Igor Glenn, best known for fronting Igor's Cowboy Jazz Band. A fave at jazz festivals across the globe, he and Ellis logged plenty of touring miles together in the late '60s. Their reunion gig is guaranteed to light up old-time fans, with music beginning at 2 p.m.
The Arizona Folklore Preserve is six miles south of Sierra Vista on Highway 92. Turn right on Ramsey Canyon Road, and drive for another 3.5 miles. Reservations are required, and donations are suggested. For reservations and other information, call (520) 378-6165.
A CRYSTAL BALL. Peek into the future or channel yourself right back to the past at today's Psychic Fair, a gathering of the all-seeing featuring mind-probers and astrologers from across the Copper State. Partake of individualized readings, chart surfing, predictions, computer horoscopes, aura photography and of course, enough crystals to stuff your cosmic vortex good 'n' full.
The Psychic Fair runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Windmill Inn, 4250 N. Campbell Ave. Admission is $3. Call 577-0007 for details.
BUGGED OUT. The beautiful, unusual and the downright frightening share space at The Bug Show, now on display in the Obsidian Gallery.
More than 50 artists have collaborated for this creative investigation of insects and arachnids. Some portray our multi-legged friends through stunning jewelry, with others winging it in a variety of media from photography, fiber and clay to recycled metal, wood and glass. Facets range from elegant to whimsical, with many practical -- and highly appropriate -- pieces that double as garden ornaments.
While contributors to this phalanx of tiny phyla are local, the gallery has also drawn upon its extensive list of national craftspeople to round out the exhibit.
The Bug Show runs through September 4 in the Obsidian Gallery, 4340 N. Campbell Ave., in St. Philip's Plaza. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For information, call 577-3598.
MALL MEANDERING. We like homegrown businesses just like everyone else, but there's a simple fact of summer we desert dwellers can't escape: when the thermometer blows its top, there's no place like a vast retail refrigerator to ease the pain.
We're talkin' the mall, folks. And the big kahuna of local refuge is The Tucson Mall, which now adds to its chilled allure with events geared towards both the wee and world-weary crowds.
Today at 10:30 a.m. in the Food Court, wildlife ecologist Wendy Burroughs will display several native desert species, allowing tikes to get up close and personal with a tortoise and an owl. As president of the Tucson Wildlife Rehabilitation Council, and education specialist with the Tucson Audubon Society, Burroughs knows her game, so to speak.
And in the evening hours, the mall continues its Hot Nights -- Cool Jazz series with the jumpin' jazz sounds of Descarga. This percussion-rich Latin band has been strutting its congas around town for years, and has a huge, hip-shaking fan club that regularly sets the charge for their explosive energy. Descarga plays from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Center Court, on the mall's lower level.
For more information about these and other Tucson Mall summer events, call 293-7330.
GRAPE ESCAPE. Enjoy a bountiful harvest among the budding extravagance of our favorite inner-city oasis when the Tucson Botanical Gardens hosts an "Enchanted Summer Evening Wine Tasting."
The fruits of the vine will be provided by Callaghan Vineyards, with wine poured by owner Kent Callaghan himself. Jon Rogers, author of Wines Without Mystery, will also be on hand to discuss a variety of fruity nectars. And as you sip away, you're invited to wander through the spiritual haunts of this lovely floral treasure-trove, where groovy walkways take you far away from the overheated urban bustle. Live musical entertainment will also be on hand to uncork that workaday stress.
Raise a glass from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way. Regular TBG admission is $4, $3 for seniors, and free for children under age 12. For specific event and ticket information, call 326-9686.
CULTURE CROOK. Bookstore owner and master thief Bernie Rhodenbarr is back in Lawrence Block's The Burglar in the Rye. Today the author will be on hand to sign copies of his new book at Clues Unlimited bookstore, in the Broadway Village Center.
This marks Bernie's ninth appearance in the Block series, and of course he's still up to his old shenanigans. Now he's asked to retrieve the letters of a famed and reclusive author reminiscent of J.D. Salinger, in what will no doubt prove yet another fascinating, larcenous romp.
For his part, Block was named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1994. He's certainly earned it, with more than 40 novels, three Edgar and four Shamus awards under his belt. He was also the first recipient of the prestigious Nero Wolfe Award.
The signing runs from 4 to 6 p.m. in Clues Unlimited, 16 Broadway Village, at the corner of Broadway and Country Club Road. Call 326-8533 for details.