DIVA DIVULGED. The Arizona Theatre Company explores the complexities of opera diva Maria Callas with its production of Terrence McNally's Master Class.
Callas was an incomparable talent, a soprano endowed with a dramatic voice and a magnetic stage presence unparalleled for her time. Throughout the fall of 1971 and the spring of 1972, Callas taught master classes to a select group of students at the Julliard School of Music. Set during one such class, Master Class reveals Callas' feelings about life, art and music, and details her struggles, her memories of fame, and her tempestuous affair with Aristotle Onassis.
"What is remarkable about the structure of the piece is the way McNally has combined the personal and public aspects of her life," says director Bruce K. Sevy, "especially when you realize how public her private life was in the first place, how vulnerable that made her, and how awful and humiliating that final rejection by Onassis had to be for her."
The performance is at 7:30 p.m. in the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. Performances continue through November 6; show times vary. Tickets range from $20 to $32, with half-priced adult rush hour tickets available at the box office one hour prior to curtain time. Regular tickets are available at all Dillard's outlets, the ATC box office, or by calling 622-2823.
FOUR BY FOUR. Explore cost-effective, spell-binding cinema with Four Films, Four Bucks.
Presented by the PCC Digital and Film Arts Program, these projects come from advanced students, and include "Fabio and Juliette," "Undercover," "Casualty Call," and the premiere showing of "Moo Shu Pork."
Show times are 7 and 8:15 p.m. in The Screening Room, 127 E. Congress St. Admission is $4. Call 622-2262 for details.
WELL LIT. Bundle up your best verse and head downtown for Poetry Performance Night.
Each Thursday, the informal gatherings feature an open mike for all budding Longfellows -- or Longpersons -- to strut their imagery before always-eager listeners. And it doesn't cost a penny for your thoughts. The weekly soirees also include a featured lyrical lime-lighter.
Poetry Performance Night is 8 to 10 p.m. at Martin's on Congress, 256 E. Congress St. For information, call 324-0903.
CHAMBER MADE. Flutist R. Carlos Nakai opens the Catalina Chamber Orchestra's ninth season with a performance of James DeMar's "Spirit Horses."
On a program spanning global music traditions, the piece bridges the gap between the classical and indigenous. Other selections include Francis Poulenc's "Concerto for Organ and Chamber Orchestra," performed by Janet Tolman to honor the 100th anniversary of Poulenc's birth; the world premiere of Jay Vosk's "Catalina Concertante"; and "Six Dances for String Orchestra," a lively work by the late African-American composer -- and Tucson High graduate -- Ulysses Kay.
Today's performance is 7:30 p.m. in the Catalina United Methodist Church, 2700 E. Speedway. Tomorrow's show includes a 2:15 p.m. mini-recital by Music Academy of Tucson students, followed by the regular concert at 3 p.m., in Canyon del Oro High School, 25 W. Calle Concordia. Tickets are $12, $10 for seniors, $5 for students, and available at Hear's Music, Borders Books, Beavers' Band Box and the Music Academy of Tucson. Call 624-0170 for details.
BAREFOOT BAILE. Explore your primal core on the big dance floor with another Bohemian Boogie at the Barefoot Ballroom.
Filled each Friday with friendly fellow gyrators, these gatherings promise to "awaken your sacred fire of movement," and allow you to "dance with all the motion and emotion of many musical styles."
The Bohemian Boogie at the Barefoot Ballroom runs from 8 to 11 p.m. in Orts Space, 121 E. Seventh St. Admission is $3, free for children. For information, call 323-2438.
LENS CRAFTERS. Get your hands on a cornucopia of lens-related goods at the Southwest's largest camera show.
Hosted by the non-profit Arizona Photographic Collectors, this shooter's paradise offers thousands of cameras and lenses, tripods and monopods, strobes, projectors and books from local, national and international exhibitors. There will also be free camera checks.
The camera show opens for early birds at 8:30 a.m. in the Sabbar Shrine Temple, 450 S. Tucson Boulevard. Admission is $10. The regular show runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $4. For information, call 529-5072.
STILL LIFE. Raices/Taller 222 gallery celebrates the Day of the Dead with a group exhibit.
A Mexican tradition spanning centuries, the festive holiday is a blend of indigenous and Catholic traditions, honored by a fascinating series of rituals. The scent of the cempasúchil (marigold), the flower of the dead, is used to lure the departed to their family's home. Each family then prepares an offering of food and drink for the visitors, set out on a table among flowers and candles, and sanctified by the blue haze of burning copal incense.
Dating back to Pre-Columbian culture, El Día de los Muertos stands in sharp contrast to the West's typically grim fear of death. The exhibit embraces that festive spirit, and features work by artists ranging from Ceci Garcia, John Salgado and Cecilia Trujillo to David Tineo and D. Estela Dalton. Pueblo Por La Paz and Derechos Humanos will construct a shrine, and there'll be plenty of activities for the kids, including papel picado, coloring and painting.
The free celebration runs from 7 to 10 p.m. in Raices/Taller 222, at 222 E. Sixth St. The group exhibit runs through November 20. Regular gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For information, call 792-9619.
RICHLY DESERVED. The Old Pueblo grooves to familial strains with a concert by Christian McBride's Family Affair.
When bassist McBride erupted on the jazz scene a few years back, acclaim quickly followed. Since the release of his first recordings, Gettin' To It and Number Two Express, McBride has been named in a Down Beat Magazine poll as the "bassist most deserving of wider recognition." Time Magazine calls him "the most promising and versatile bassist since Charles Mingus."
Hailing from Philadelphia, the 27-year-old McBride reaches back to the Philly sound he remembers from the '60s and '70s. "The music is diverse," he says, "lots of straight-ahead jazz, some funk and R&B, and even some borderline folk. We wanted to show the world that all of this music can work together just like a family -- very different personalities, yet still one entity."
The performance runs from 6 to 9 p.m. at St. Philip's Plaza, on the southeast corner of River Road and Campbell Ave. Tickets are $14, $7 for TJS members, and available at the door. Call 743-3399 for details.
GARDEN OF VERSE. East Coast meets West when poets Bernadette Mayer and Barbara Curry read from their work in the Tucson Botanical Gardens.
Sponsored by POG, the reading reveals the Big Apple roots of Mayer, author of Sonnets, The Formal Field of Kissing, The Bernadette Mayer Reader and The Desire of Mothers to Please Others in Letters, among other publications. Mayer was director of The Poetry Project in New York, where she also taught her now-legendary Experiments in Poetry workshop, and became a central figure in the Lower East Side literary crowd.
Cully comes to Tucson via San Diego and the Iowa Writer's Workshop. She is author of The New Intimacy and Shoreline Series, and was the 1996 winner of the National Poetry Series Open Competition. She currently teaches English at the UA.
The readings are 3:30 p.m. in the TBG, 2150 N. Alvernon Way. Admission is $5. Call 296-6416 for details.
DEFENSE MECHANISM. Join the primeval fun when archaeologist Allen Denoyer leads a spear-making workshop. In this expo of Native American technology, Denoyer teaches folks how to fashion traditional atlatls, wooden spears like those used by ancient peoples worldwide. Using natural Sonoran Desert woods and leather materials, he'll demonstrate methods for straightening the spear by heat-curing over an open fire, and discuss his hands-on approach to understanding prehistoric lifestyles. Bring your own pocketknife. The workshop runs from 9 a.m. to noon in the Old Pueblo Archaeology Center, 1000 E. Fort Lowell Road. The fee is $40. For registration and other information, call 798-1201.
KEEP IT SIMPLE. The Tucson-Pima Arts Council takes note of quiet harmony with a new exhibit titled Meditation in Ink.
The work comes from Sumi-e artists, who practice a particular style of Oriental brush painting meant to reflect the unity and harmony of people with nature. Simplicity lies at the core of the quiet, calm technique.
The TPAC show displays pieces by Westerners who admire the Sumi-e values. By stylistically adapting that spirit, their aim is three-fold: capturing the essence of the subject in the fewest possible brushstrokes; interpreting and embodying the expression of the life forces within each of their subjects; and achieving a silence of mind as they practice painting. The medium is also simple -- ink, water, paper and a bamboo brush.
Meditation in Ink runs through December 10, with an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, November 7, in the TPAC Community Gallery, 240 N. Stone Ave. Regular gallery hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For details, call 624-0595.
IMAGINE THAT. After a morning at the mall, rejuvenate the kids' sensory-overloaded noggins with sleight of hand by Magician Jerry Wilson and a performance by Mr. Stu and the Dino Drummers.
Hosted by the Tucson Mall's Club Kidz, Wilson conjures up hidden balls and coins in a "spell-binding" show sure to keep the young -- and young-at-heart -- entranced in a mystical world of magic.
For his part, Mr. Stu asks the pivotal question: Where did the dinosaurs go? He quickly answers when his Dino Drummers erupt into familiar and not-so-familiar tunes. Exotic instruments and the Dino's mischievous antics make up one wild primordial adventure.
The free show is 10:30 a.m. in the Tucson Mall Food Court. For details, call 293-7330.
MOTEL MIASMA. Those detached little rooms the rest of us relegate to roadside nocturne or neon-laced sin become focal points for artist Myriam Babin in Interiors/Motel, a new photographic exhibit in the Elizabeth Cherry Contemporary Art gallery.
"The images presented here represent a body of work, generated in the last three years, which deals with my exploration of interiors," Babin says, "specifically those of motel rooms. From an early focus on figurative work, my interest gradually turned to the interior, and I found a kind of artistic solace in these most unfamiliar of places.
"Such rooms, meant to accommodate an endless succession of dissimilar people, seemed as haunting as they were mundane...Abstraction has allowed me to impose a compositional purity onto these cheaply constructed and often rundown spaces, and by focusing on specific architectural or decorative aspects I am able to zero in on what I find most poignant and emotive within them."