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Thursday 31

SLAP-DASH FOR THE DRAMATIC. A performance of short plays that will go from conception to production within 24 hours is part of the Old Pueblo Playwrights' 12th annual New Play Festival.

For a dozen years, Old Pueblo Playwrights has been bringing Tucson audiences the world premieres of dramatic works by Southern Arizona authors in its annual festival.

This year's event tries something never before attempted in Arizona: "Play in a Day," an event in which playwrights will be randomly paired into collaborative teams that will work through the night to write original 10-minute plays that will then be handed off to directors and actors who will rehearse and perform them on stage--all within 24 hours.

The breakneck pace and unpredictable nature of such an event promises to be an adrenaline rush of pure creative energy.

The first two days of the festival will be in keeping with the group's tradition of performing staged readings of new works written by its members. More than just an opportunity to witness the birth of new plays, the OPP festival is an opportunity for audiences actually to participate in the creative process. After each performance, those in attendance are invited to join in a discussion of the play and to provide direct feedback to the playwright.

Today, enjoy Variations on America by Hal Melfi. Not a word is spoken, but an American family moves through the paces of a full life in five musical minutes. Heart, by Joan Van Dyke, is about a family that must come to grips with a destructive force as it struggles through a lifetime of secrets, illusions and mystical garden gnomes.

On Friday, see The Greek Potato Trilogy, also by Van Dyke. This trio of short comedies follows a "bad boy" hero as he confronts ancient ideology, a trip to the underworld, wacky family members and some dramatic spuds, all in an effort to retrieve love for humanity. Take Another Take, by Guy Castonguay, is about a teenager who has mere moments to decide his fate when a store clerk accuses him of stealing. Desert Rats, by Bret Primack, wraps up the evening. This dark comedy asks the age-old question: So just how hard is it to bury a body in the desert, anyway?

Saturday's all about risk--and reward--as "Play in a Day" gets under way.

All three days' performances begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Temple of Music and Art Cabaret Theatre, 330 S. Scott Ave. Tickets cost $5 per performance and are sold at the door. For more information, call 529-2937.


Friday 1

ABCs OF H2O. Where in the world would we be without water?

We take water for granted. How much do most of us know about this most precious of resources, anyway? Soak up some knowledge during the International Wildlife Museum's Winter Family Night: Water, Water Everywhere?

Activities include a water "Olympics," water conservation demonstrations and models by Tucson Water and the Arizona Department of Water Resources. You'll also find fish printing, a pond aquarium display, fish trivia and water-related videos.

The Oasis Grille restaurant and the entire museum will be open all evening.

The event is 6 to 9 tonight at the museum, 4800 W. Gates Pass Road (five miles west of I-10). Admission costs $3 for non-members, and is free for members. No reservations are required. For more information, call 629-0100, ext. 336.

SHOTS FROM THE WILD BLUE YONDER. Woodward Payne takes an unusual approach to art, first shooting photos from his Cessna 182, then transforming the images into beautiful watercolor and oil paintings.

Aspects of Nature, which opens today, is an exhibition of Payne's seascapes, still lifes and desert aerialscapes.

To truly appreciate Payne's work, you have to understand just how much work is involved.

Imagine juggling two to three cameras, furiously trying to photograph beautiful landscape images--from the airplane you are piloting with one hand. This is an average day at work for the acclaimed painter and his wife, Beverly.

The couple often flies together seeking out the beautiful images that inspire Payne to paint.

"It gets a bit wild at times when we are over a spectacular area to photograph. I'll be banking hard to the left shooting straight down while Beverly is tugging at my sleeve trying to get me to bank to the right so she can shoot. It's quite a scene with cameras and film flying everywhere," he said.

Art enthusiasts can meet Payne during a free artist reception from 6 to 9 tonight at Victoria Boyce Galleries, 3001 E. Skyline Drive, in El Cortijo Art Annex. The show runs through March 3. For more information, call 615-2236.


Saturday 2

NO BUFFALO BALLS OR BORNEO BUGS. So you work for a living and can't spend a month in the Outback or hanging out in the Big Brother house?

So drive to Phoenix and see if you can meet the Urban Challenge, which promises to combine the best of racing, reality TV and adventure in a half-day race within reach of the average competitor.

Urban Challenge's inaugural race takes place today. Some 300 two-person teams are expected to race through 12 checkpoints in downtown Phoenix using only clues, their feet and public transportation.

The event race is a warm-up for the official racing season that begins May 18 in Phoenix. Urban Challenge will travel to 20 major cities this summer. The best teams from each race will compete for $50,000 in the Las Vegas National Championship.

"The difference between Urban Challenge and other adventure races is fun," says race creator Kevin McCarthy. "You don't have to eat buffalo testicles, or get parasites in Borneo, or be mean to other competitors. This is an adventure race you can actually enjoy."

Intelligence is as important as racing speed. The race begins with a trivia challenge to determine starting position in the race. The sharpest teams start first. Racers find checkpoints by solving clues.

The course is designed to be accessible to anyone reasonably fit. Racers will cover 10 to 20 miles, and can choose whether to run, walk or ride the bus.

Start time is 8:30 this morning at Phoenix Live at Arizona Center, 455 North Third St. To register, or for more information, call Brian Flatgard at 602-284-9489, or visit www.urbanchallenge.com.

FOR THE LOVE OF WOMEN. Jennifer Thuy Lan Phang's dysfunctional family dinner turns out to be the perfect setting for her not-so-perfect coming out party.

Love Ltd. is just one of seven shorts being screened tonight to launch the 10th annual Lesbian Looks film and video series, which features free screenings, with four diverse programs of narrative, experimental and documentary works.

Tonight's shorts from the United States, United Kingdom and Australia also include 4 p.m. and Bare, a pair of uproarious morning-after tales about one-night stands that end with a twist.

Tonight's event starts at 7:30 in the Modern Languages auditorium on the UA campus.

Other February events include a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. February 7. Wingspan hosts this reception celebrating 10 years of Lesbian Looks. It includes hors d'oeuvres, clips from favorite Looks films and videos, and live music by the Betty Diamond band.

On February 9, check out Hand on the Pulse at 7:30 p.m. in the Modern Languages building. Joyce Warshow's new biodoc chronicles the life and careers of Joan Nestle, political and sexual bad girl, author, teacher, activist and cofounder of the Lesbian Herstory Archives. The program also includes Dayna McLeod's tongue-in-cheek performance rant Watching Lesbian Porn and Guadalupe Olvera San Miguel's history of the lesbian rights movement in Mexico, And the March Continues.

For more information, visit w3.arizona.edu/~lgbcom


Sunday 3

ROLLIN', ROLLIN', ROLLIN'. If you feel the need for speed--and even if you don't--here's a great chance to get out and ride your bike.

Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists are sponsoring an intermediate/advanced ride today.

Meet for car-pooling at Trader Joe's (at the southeast corner of Oracle and Magee roads) for the Golder Ranch 3 Ring Ride.

Show up promptly at 9 a.m. or meet at 9:30 at the corral parking lot (go to the end of pavement on Golder Ranch Road, turn left immediately after crossing the cattle guard, then take the second right to the corral).

For more information about the ride, call Dick Bryant at 299-9588 or 907-3782.

NOW HEAR THIS. A couple of local poets take the stage this afternoon.

Ken Bacher and Tom Cox will read from their work in the Lamplight Reading Series.

The reading is at 4 p.m. at the Reader's Oasis, 3400 E. Speedway Blvd., #114. The reading is free and an open mic follows the featured readers. For more information, call 908-0927.


Monday 4

LEARN BEFORE YOU LISTEN. Opera star David Daniels will bring his superlative talent to Crowder Hall on Wednesday, but you can learn more about him before you get settled for what promises to be a stunning performance.

Join Ken Foster tonight for a candid conversation with Daniels about the inspiration and development of his work.

Described as one of the most electrifying singers of the present day, Daniels, a countertenor, has brought his unique, beautiful voice to some of opera's most challenging and rewarding roles.

With a talent shared by a privileged few throughout the world, Daniels was named Musical America's Vocalist of the Year for 1999 and received the Richard Tucker Award in 1997--two of the music world's most significant awards.

"Mr. Daniels is absolutely splendid, with a cutting and decisive delivery that makes him very much an operatic emperor," wrote the New York Times.

Daniels' performance will spotlight the works of George Friderick Handel and Francis Poulenc, and will include Maurice Ravel's Cinq mélodies populaires grècques and selections from Hector Berlioz's Les nuits d'été--uncharted territory for the countertenor voice.

Countertenors are adult males who reach into the usually female alto and soprano range using a head voice, often a falsetto. The sound is a contemporary version of the castrato voice.

The son of two voice teachers, Daniels began singing as a boy soprano, gradually emerging as a tenor. He attended Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music and the University of Michigan. He began singing as a countertenor in 1992. His superlative artistry, magnetic stage presence and warm, vibrant voice have won him equal praise in opera, recital and concert.

Tonight's talk, Unlocking the Creative Process, starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering auditorium (northeast corner of Mountain Avenue and Speedway Boulevard).

Check tonight's talk, then make plans for Daniels' performance Wednesday, which begins at 7:30 p.m. in Crowder Hall. Reserved seats cost $34. Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Tickets also are available online at www.tickets.com. For more information, call 621-3341.


Tuesday 5

GOOD GLASS. Delight in the works of Canadian glass artist Susan Belyea, featuring free-form polka-dotted glass hearts in rich, bright colors.

Berryware Studio gallery presents the work through February 15.

Berry Silverman established Berryware in 1996 as a local art studio specializing in handmade ceramic tableware. The nontraditional designs are whimsical, delightfully colored and fanciful. No, it's not your mother's tableware.

Because of her large local following, Silverman recently opened her studio to the public and plans to offer exciting new artists to the community throughout the year.

Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Berryware is located at 321 S. Kino Parkway. For more information, call 670-1808.


Wednesday 6

THINK ABOUT THIS. Some guy from California is in Tucson to talk about Zen mysteries ...

Go figure.

Yeah, but anyway, if meditation is your way of dealing, don't miss John Tarrant Roshi of the Pacific Zen Institute, billed as one of the "new generation of Zen masters trained in both eastern and western traditions,"

The author of The Light Inside the Dark: Zen, Soul and the Spiritual Life, Roshi teaches meditation and trains meditation teachers in the United States and Australia and he is an internationally renowned koan teacher. He has a doctorate in psychology and has a special interest in healing and the imagination.

Roshi is interested in a spirituality that works, that transforms suffering, and that brings creativity into daily life.

A Zen public talk starts at 7 tonight at the Zen Desert Sangha of Tucson, 3226 N. Martin Ave. A donation of $10 is suggested. A retreat February 7-10 costs $210. For more information, call 320-5883.

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