IDENTITY CRISIS. A Tarahumara woman finds herself lost in America and tragically misunderstood in The Woman Who Fell From the Sky or La Mujer Que Cayo del Cielo, presented by Borderlands Theater.
Written by Victor Hugo Rascón Banda, this is the true story of Rita, a Tarahumara woman from the Mexican Sierra who speaks only her native Rarámuri language. When she's found wandering the streets of Kansas City, and no one is able to understand her, she's judged schizophrenic and mentally retarded, and committed to a mental institution for 12 years.
There, Rita is subjected to "normalizing" treatments including social and occupational therapies, and psychotropic medications that cause her irreversible mental damage. In a surprising twist of luck, Rita is "discovered" by Giner, a friend of Rascón Banda, who finally rescues the woman from the institution. (Following a lawsuit, she was able to return to Mexico, and now lives back among her people in the Sierra Tarahumara.)
The Borderlands production stars Mexican actress Luisa Huertas. The cast includes Arturo Martinez, Robert Aros, Tim Janes, Robert Rowden and Eva Tessler, with direction by Barclay Goldsmith.
Today's preview performance is at 7:30 p.m. in the PCC Black Box Theatre, 2202 W. Anklam Road. Tickets are $10, $8 for students, and available by calling 882-7406. Performances continue with an opening celebration at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow. Tickets are $16 including the post-show reception, $13 for the show only, and $8 for student rush.
Regular show times are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday through July 16. Tickets range from $8 to $13.
ALTERNATIVE LIT. The Tucson/Pima Public Library marks a page in Gay and Lesbian History Month by hosting Pride Night with Tucson Authors.
Poets Karen Faulkenstrom and Boyer Rickel, authors Jean Baker and Judith McDaniel, and journalist Scot Skinner will read from their work, celebrating the creative contributions of all people. A panel presentation, reception and book-signing will follow.
The free event runs from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Main Library, 101 N. Stone Ave. Call 791-4393.
DANCE AWAY. OK, so maybe you're not Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers. Perhaps you were tragically born with two left feet, and the closest you've come to a tuxedo is eyeing penguins at the zoo.
No time like the present to hoof it anew, as the Arizona Ballroom Dancing Company presents regular evenings of silky-smooth slithering across the big dance floor. Singles and couples are welcome to add a dash of romance to their Old Pueblo lives while learning the most graceful of steps, beginning with a 30-minute group class. And a tux is definitely not required.
The event runs from 8 to 11 p.m. every Friday and Saturday at The Arizona Ballroom Dance Company, 5536 E. Grant Road. Admission is $6. For information, call 290-2990.
SEASONAL ROMP. Join the Invisible Theatre when it takes the lid off another season of Sizzling Summer Sounds.
The series opens with Forever Plaid, conceived and written by Stuart Ross, with direction from Carol Calkins and choreography by Stuart Moulton. Described as a "deliciously comic romp," the musical takes audiences back to the 1950s, where they'll definitely Catch a Falling Star as they fall in love with this heavenly tale of the four "Plaids" singing in close harmony.
Forever Plaid stars Walter Belcher, Jay Cotner, Todd Wachsman and Ryan White.
Show time is 8 p.m. in The Doubletree Hotel, 445 S. Alvernon Way. Performances continue at 8 p.m. tomorrow, 2 p.m. Sunday and 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, July 6 through 8. Tickets are $20, and are available by calling 882-9721.
DESERT FRUIT. Join an ancient Sonoran tradition with the Saguaro and Desert Harvesting gathering.
DAWN/Out on Bale By Mail and the Tucson Audubon Society invite you to this annual saguaro fruit harvest on 20 acres of private land on the east slopes of the Tucson Mountains. Traditional techniques will be used to collect and prepare the fruit, led by Stella Tucker of the Tohono O'odham Nation, and Barbara Rose of the Permaculture Drylands Institute. And by tradition, the harvest will begin early to avoid the heat.
For registration, time and other information, call 624-1673. The cost is $50.
SOULFUL DREAMS. Catch rich, roots blues when Sonny Rhodes performs an all-weather outdoors show at the Plaza Palomino.
Hosted by the Courtyard Concert Series, the "Blues King of the Lap Steel Guitar" fires up soulful sounds, fueled by powerful single notes plucked with old-time finesse. In fact, Rhodes is the only player tackling southern funk and blues on the steel, an instrument usually associated with country or Hawaiian music. Real Blues magazine calls the five-time W.C. Handy nominee "one of the best blues voices alive."
Raised in the heart of Texas cotton country, Rhodes picked up his first guitar at age 6. When his mother bought him an electric guitar a few years later, he began copying the sounds of T-Bone Walker, Freddie King and Chuck Willis. "I was a young black boy in the '40s that dared to dream," Sonny recalls. "I dreamed that one day I'd be able to go all over the United States and the world and play my blues for people, and they'd like it."
That day has definitely dawned.
Sonny Rhodes plays at 8 p.m. in the Plaza Palomino, on the southeast corner of Fort Lowell and Swan roads. Advance tickets are $14, and available at Hear's Music, Antigone Books, Brew and Vine, and Enchanted Earthworks. Tickets are $16 at the door. Call 297-9133 for details.
ROLLING STONES. Join the Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists for a two-wheeled flurry into stunning Brown Canyon.
This intermediate 12-16-mile ride takes in the beautiful scenery of the Huachuca Mountains, with their abundance of trails and rich variety of wildlife. There's not much better way to catch some fresh mountain air and a healthy workout than with this high-spirited band of two-wheeled brigands. And best of all, it won't cost you one thin dime.
The group will meet at 6:30 a.m. in the Randolph Golf Course parking lot, on Alvernon Way between Broadway Boulevard and 22nd Street. Call 742-7729 for details.
HEART BEAT. Turn up the firepower when Club Congress hosts ¡Oye Latino!
Dig the sizzling sensations of salsa, samba son merengue, cha cha, bossa nova, cumbia, "boogaloo y mas ritmos exoticos" with DJs Noé and special guests. And quench your passions with cool Cuba Libres and Dos XX, on special from 9 to 11 p.m., all in the watering hole Playboy magazine calls "one of the best bars in America."
Doors open at 9 p.m. in the Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Admission is $1. Call 622-8848 for details.
EYE ON THE EAST. The Far East makes a powerful landing in the Old Pueblo with Bill Baker'sVisual Haiku: Images of China and Tibet, now on display in the International Art Center.
These powerful images come from mysterious lands most of us can only imagine. The compositions are often spare, but the moments piercing and juxtaposed. For example, one work depicts a solitary man pedaling down a lonely street, flanked on either side by towering, impenetrable walls in the Forbidden City. In another, a young girl in rural Tibet wears the ancient face of hardship, but still holds high a photo of the smiling Dalai Lama.
The photos were taken in the late '80s when Baker visited the East and traveled through Tibet when it was briefly opened to westerners.
Visual Haiku: Images of China and Tibet runs through July 31 in the International Art Center, 516 N. Fifth Ave. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call 903-0919 for details.
PATRIOTIC CHORDS. Celebrate a harmonic holiday with The Neville Brothers and Leftover Salmon, appearing at the Pima County Fairgrounds.
The brothers Neville--Art, Charles, Aaron and Cyril--have been making music since the '50s. Over the years they've developed their own unmistakable blend of pop, soul and funk, combining African-American musical styles from jazz and R&B to reggae and Zydeco. Their long recording legacy includes such hits as "Brother John-Iko Iko," "Fayo on the Bayou," "Yellow Moon" and "Little Piece of Heaven."
For its part, Leftover Salmon hails from Boulder, where the band has spent nearly a decade dishing up a fresh hybrid of bluegrass-based Americana. Salmon draws upon everything from country and Cajun to Southern rock-boogie and assorted ethnic influences.
Show time is 6 p.m. at the Pima County Fairgrounds, 11300 S. Houghton Road. Advance tickets range from $10 to $20, and are available at Dillard's, or by calling (800) 638-4253. Tickets are $20 the day of the show, and also available at the door.
FREEDOM'S RING. The Old Pueblo meets Old Glory when the TCC hosts Let Freedom Sing.
Produced by Arts Express, the "patriotic spectacle" will explode with red, white and blue, along with stirring melodies of classic American tunes. More than 200 people representing 38 churches and musical groups are lined up for the event, under the direction of Joan Ashcraft and accompanied by the Arts Express Choir and Orchestra. Headliners include musical theater artist Armen Dirtadian; Broadway dancer and choreographer Richard France; world-renowned opera baritone Richard Clark; vocal group On Broadway; and the Tucson Concert Band, under the direction of Hershal Kreloff.
Donations will help benefit the Fine Arts Youth Academy, a summer program that encourages students in the study of music, dancing and visual arts.
The free performance is at 3 p.m. in the TCC Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. For information, call 319-0400.
GENDER RENDERINGS. The fine art of collage is showcased in Bits and Pieces, now on display in the WomanKraft gallery.
The exhibit assembles work by numerous local artists. Some come from the Arizona Collage Society, while others have "discovered the power of collage to visually represent personal journeys of self-discovery" in classes and workshops, according to spokeswoman Linn Lane.
Bits and Pieces runs through August 26 in WomanKraft, 388 S. Stone Ave. Hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, with a reception from 7 to 10 p.m. on August 5. Call 629-9976 for details.
NIGHT FLYERS. Kids can hang with the bats in Creatures of the Night, a class hosted by Tucson Botanical Gardens.
The nocturnal aeronauts serve a crucial role as pollinators for Sonoran Desert plants. This class will detail their habits and habitat, culminating with a trip to major bat turf at Kartchner Caverns.
The class is geared to third and fourth graders, and runs from 8 a.m. to noon today and tomorrow, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday. The cost is $65, $60 for TBG members, and includes the Kartchner Caverns trip. For registration and other information, call 326-9686.