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Thursday 6

SHINDELL SHINDIG. Troubadour Richard Shindell gallops into town with his new folk sound.

Ranked among this country's best singer-songwriters, Shindell could easily top the heap. Since his 1992 debut album Sparrow's Point, his songs have been steadily climbing the charts, and his follow-up release, Blue Divide, only added momentum. As part of the band Cry Cry Cry with Dar Williams and Lucy Kaplansky, his "Ballad of Mary Magdalen" was a highlight on the group's eponymous CD, and Joan Baez included three Shindell gems on her last album of new material.

Show time is 8 p.m. in the Temple of Music and Art Cabaret Theater, 330 S. Scott Ave. Advance tickets are $12, $10 for In Concert! members, available at The Folk Shop, Antigone Books, and by calling 327-4809. Tickets cost $2 more at the door.


Friday 7

TOP TOES. The UA Dance faculty takes flight with Premium Blend, a concert featuring special guest Ben Vereen.

A star of film, TV and Broadway, Vereen won a Tony for Best Actor in Pippin. He's also known for his roles in All That Jazz, Funny Lady and Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

For this year's faculty showcase, Vereen performs a roster of Sinatra tunes. Dance highlights include "Point of Origin," Melissa Lowe's contemporary ballet built around pedestrian and childlike movement motifs; Nina Janik's "WaWaWa," which takes its style from black and white movies of the '20s; and "Indre's Dream," choreographed by John M. Wilson, and loosely based on the story of a Hindu girl's love for Krishna.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. today, 2 and 7:30 p.m. tomorrow, in UA Crowder Hall, on the southwest corner of Speedway Boulevard and Park Avenue. Tickets range from $14 to $25, and are available at the UA Fine Arts box office and by phone at 621-1162.

GHOST OF A CHANCE. A young woman evokes hope through apparitions in The House of Spirits/La Casa de los Espiritus, presented by the PCC Theater Department and Borderlands Theater. The drama is based on Isabel Allende's novel of the same name.

Alba Trueba is wasting away in a lousy South American jail, where torture has pushed her to the edge. That's when the ghost of her grandmother Clara appears. "You'll help me die?" Alba asks the apparition. "That's why you came?"

Not quite. Instead, the ghost brings strength, hope and reasons for living. "The women in the family have been strong, so stop feeling sorry for yourself and write," Clara tells her progeny. "You have to write a testimony and disclose the horror that you're living, because our memories are fragile, and the span of a lifetime is too brief."

With that prodding, Alba embarks upon a journey to her family roots, weaving a powerful portrait of social and moral changes that rocked Latin America in the 20th century. "With this spectacular first novel," The New York Times noted in 1985, "Isabel Allende becomes the first woman to join what has heretofore been an exclusive male club of Latin American novelists."

Opening night celebration begins at 8 p.m. in the PCC Proscenium Theatre, 2202 W. Anklam Road. A $15 ticket includes a post-performance reception; admission is $12 for the play only, $8 for student rush. For reservations and information, call 882-7406. Performances continue at 8 p.m. tomorrow, 2 p.m. Sunday, and 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, April 12 through 15. Performances alternate in Spanish and English. Tickets are $11 and $12, $9 for seniors, and $8 for student rush.


Saturday 8

ARTISTIC COMBO. The didgeridoo playing of Tanya Gerard and Rob Thomas provides a musical backdrop for ArtFest of Tucson.

This fountain of creativity features some 150 local and national artists providing insight into their craft, along with a smorgasbord of work up for grabs. There will also be rides, supervised activities for the kids, a variety of international chow, and a family picnic area. Pianist Grady Soiné and vocalist Merrill Leffman round out the celebration.

ArtFest of Tucson runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and tomorrow in Rillito Park, on the southeast corner of First Avenue and River Road. Admission is free. Call (888) ARTFEST for information.

ART MART. The creative season gets underway with the Tucson Museum of Art's Spring Artisans Market.

The annual gala features work by more than 100 of the region's best talents, from glass art, ceramics and jewelry to wood, metal, leather, photography, watercolor and mixed media. Proceeds benefit the museum's art, education and outreach programs.

Market is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and tomorrow in the TMA courtyard, 140 N. Main Ave. Admission is free. For details, call 624-2333.

RUGRAT REGALIA. The Civic Orchestra of Tucson serenades the wee set during Kids' Classical Morning.

The concert features Handel's "Water Music," and "The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra," by Benjamin Britten. Highlighting this educational outing are two student winners of the orchestra's Young Artists Competition. James Liu will perform the first movement of Beethoven's "Piano Concerto No. 3," and David Brauer will tackle the first movement of Mendelssohn's "Violin Concerto." An "instrument petting zoo" precedes the performances, allowing kids to check out all types of music makers.

Kids' Classical Morning begins at 10:30 a.m. in Palo Verde High School, 1302 S. Avenida Vega. Admission is free. Call 791-9246 for information.


Sunday 9

JAZZ ATTACK. Musical titans make a frontal assault when the Tucson Jazz Society hosts Big Band Extravaganza.

The brassy roster includes the University of Arizona's AZ Jazz I ensemble; PCC's Big Band; and TJS's Jazz Werx I, II and III. Comprised of musicians aged 12 and up, each group performs classics from swing-era masters such as Count Basie and Duke Ellington, as well as contemporary favorites.

Show time is 6 p.m. in St. Philip's Plaza, on the southeast corner of Campbell Avenue and River Road. Tickets are available for $11 at the door, $6 for TJS members. For information, call 743-3399.

LEGEND AFOOT. Since its founding in 1958, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has earned a place among the world's greatest modern dance companies. Now UApresents brings the troupe's magic to Tucson.

Ailey studied with countless dance luminaries including Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman, Hanya Holm and Karel Shook, but his dream was to create a company that celebrated black culture through continuing education. He eventually realized that dream, and in 1960 choreographed "Revelations," a work which would become a masterpiece of American modern dance. Based on the religious heritage of his youth, it's a continuing signature piece in the Ailey repertoire.

Today, Ailey's spirit lives on through the troupe still bearing his name -- and still dedicated to preserving the African American community's unique cultural expression. They've succeeded: "Dance is an art of the spirit," says the Chicago Tribune, "and no dance company confronts that reality as directly and powerfully as the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater." (See this week's Arts section for details.)

Show time is 2 p.m. at UA Centennial Hall, inside the main gate east of Park Avenue. Tickets range from $36 to $48, and are available at the Centennial Hall box office and by phone at 621-3341.

SCREEN SAVER. Just when you thought cinema was doomed to corporate pabulum, an alternative has arrived with the Arizona International Film Festival, presented by the Arizona Media Arts Center.

Tonight, a trio of feature-length films screens at The Loft, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. Catch Americanos, "a celebration of Latino life in the United States," at 6:30 p.m.; My Best Fiend Klaus Kinski, a filmic memoir of the volatile actor, at 8:30 p.m.; and Following, "a shifty paranoid neo noir," at 10:15 p.m.

Single tickets are $5 at the door. Festival passes ($20 to $150) and programs are available at the Arizona International Film Festival office, 113 E. Congress St. Call 62-FILMS for tickets and information.


Monday 10

FRESH PERSPECTIVES. Budding talent is granted ample wall space at the Fifth Annual Teen Art Invitational, hosted by the Tucson-Pima Main Library.

For this special show, public and private high school teachers were asked to select five entries in any media from their students' work. Submissions were then reviewed by a jury, which honored exceptional pieces with four awards: Best of Show, Best Two- and Three-Dimensional Work, and Best Photograph.

The entries reveal fresh, emerging visions among tomorrow's rising artistic tide.

The Fifth Annual Teen Art Invitational continues through April 30 in the Tucson-Pima Main Library, 101 N. Stone Ave. The gallery is open during regular library hours. Call 791-4391 for details.


Tuesday 11

IN THE BEGINNING. Past and present ingeniously collide in The First Hundred Years, a new comedy by Geoff Hoyle presented by the Arizona Theatre Company.

The story revolves around Jack Proust, a fictional music hall comic (and later silent film actor) who inhabits an abandoned theater, surrounded by the trappings of his life in vaudeville. Intrigued by the aging clown, a homeless kid lurks in the shadows of the building, unwittingly ministering to Proust's needs. The plot thickens as Proust awaits the theater's looming demolition to make way for "Mallennium 2000!," an "entertainment mall for the 21st century."

With the help of several eccentric re-creations -- his aunt Vesta; Loess, an old music hall impresario; the school teacher Mr. Deasy; his mentor, Monsieur Alberti -- Proust relives the spectacle of his tumultuous career, as the kid helps him face an uncertain future.

This clever comedy ultimately reveals a poignant underbelly, emerging as an "exploration of the comic imagination as survival tool in a culture dominated by global commercialization."

Preview performance begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. Tickets for tonight's special "pay-what-you-can" performance go on sale at 10 a.m. at the ATC box office. Performances continue through Saturday, April 29. Tickets range from $20 to $32, and are available at the ATC box office, and by calling 622-2823.


Wednesday 12

VOICE-OVERS. Hits from the 1950s through the '70s return in harmonic style with Catacoustic Groove.

Appearing as part of UMC's Center Stage monthly performance series, members of the Groove heat up the same finely tuned sound that earned them last year's Tucson Area Music Award for Best A Cappella Vocal Ensemble.

Catacoustic Groove performs from noon to 1 p.m. at UMC DuVal Auditorium, 1501 N. Campbell Ave. Call 626-4828 for details.

PRIMAL FORCE. Love's paradoxical forces share canvas in Laughter and Forgetting, a new exhibit by Xochitl C. Gil showing in Raices Taller 222 gallery.

For this show, Gil explores the exploitation and innocence of sexuality. Using children as subject matter, childlike iconography as form, and oil paintings, prints and soft sculpture as media, she describes the beauty and pain inherent in discovering love and lust.

Laughter and Forgetting runs through May 3 in Raices Taller 222, 222 E. Sixth St. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For information, call 792-9619.

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