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Thursday 21

Heavy reading. In 1979, Elaine Pagels analyzed 52 ancient manuscripts, known collectively as the Nag Hammadi Library.

Her findings, which resulted in her ground-breaking book The Gnostic Gospels, illustrate both the pluralistic nature and diversity of the early Christian Church as well as the role of women in the developing movement.

Pagels' eagerly awaited current research forms the centerpiece of this year's Town and Gown Lecture, The Recently Discovered Gospel of Thomas: An Early Mystical Jewish View of Jesus.

Pagels will delve into the now little-known gospel of Thomas, an early Jewish mystical writing. The themes in Thomas, says Pagels, recur in cabalistic teaching and have significance for modern-day interpretations of the formative "Jesus movement."

Pagels is a renowned historian of religion, and has radically changed the historical landscape of Christianity by exploding the myth of the early Christian Church as a homogenous and unified movement.

Pagel's most recent book, The Origin of Satan, traces the evolution of Judeo-Christian concepts of evil. She demonstrates how the early Church demonized those who dissented from it, including Jews, other non-Christians and heretics. These beliefs may have fashioned the basis for Western civilization's view of the world as a battlefield between good and evil.

Tonight's talk begins at 7:30 p.m. in the UA Social Sciences Building Auditorium, located southwest of Old Main and east of the UA Main Gate. For more information, call 621-1284.


Friday 22

Planet on it. If you missed Jupiter's close brush with the moon last month, the good news is that you haven't completely blown it because March is the last month this year for the best views of Jupiter and Saturn.

Both planets are highest in the sky this time of year and directly overhead for telescopic viewing tonight between 7 and 9 p.m.

The gas giant planets are usually considered consistently the brightest and best planets to look at in a telescope. To help you you, large telescopes and giant binoculars will be set up by Flandrau Science Center and the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association on the University of Arizona mall in front of Flandrau Science Center.

The free public viewing event will be held from 6:30 to 10:00 p.m. tonight, weather permitting. The center is located at 1601 E. University Blvd. Both planets will be best visible between 7 and 9 p.m. and also will be visible in the Flandrau Observatory's 16-inch telescope. For more information, call 621-4515 or 621-4310 or visit Flandrau's Skywatchers Guide at www.flandrau.org/astronomy/skywatcher.htm.

Ballroom blitz. See all that glitters--and much that doesn't--during a black-tie optional benefit showcasing outstanding costume design and production created at the University of Arizona over several decades.

Theatrical Threads is a formal gala benefit and costume fashion show presented by the School of Theatre Arts Advisory Board in the UA College of Fine Art.

The highlight of the event is a fashion show of costumes, with live musical performances, which will include various stages of costume design and construction from the designer's rendering to muslin drafts of costumes to the finished project.

The evening will include a pre-dinner reception with no-host bar, during which attendees can enjoy a silent auction featuring theatrical memorabilia. The premier item on the auction block is an original costume rendering, painted in opaque watercolors and signed by the artist, professional costume designer Albert D. Tucci, director of the School of Theatre Arts.

The celebrity hosts for the evening are two of Tucson's favorite musical performers: Brooke Davis and Armen Dirtadian.

Davis is best know locally for her musical and comedy performances with Arizona Repertory Theatre, Southern Arizona Light Opera Company, Invisible Theatre and the Gaslight Theatre.

Dirtadian is celebrating 25 years in the theatre. A frequent player at the Gaslight Theatre, Dirtadian teaches drama at Secrist Middle School in the Tucson Unified School District.

The showcase of talent, one of the few programs of its kind in the United States, is an annual audition opportunity at the University of Arizona School of Theatre Arts. Producers, casting directors, agents and representatives from some of the nation's best theatre companies are invited to audition acting, musical theatre and design/tech students for potential employment.

The costume program teaches all aspects of design and technology including building techniques, fabric modification, draping and other costume crafts such as wigs, armor and footware. Graduate and undergraduate students design and build the majority of costumes seen in Arizona Repertory Theatre productions.

The event, which benefits the UA School of Theatre Arts Showcase of Talent Endowed Fund, begins at 6:30 p.m. today at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, 7000 N. Resort Drive. Tickets are $150 per person, $60 of which is tax-deductible. For tickets, call 626-2686. For more information, please visit www.arts.arizona.edu/theatre.


Saturday 23

Getting high. Treat yourself to the stirring sound of bagpipes and drums, the precision and grace of Scottish Highland and Country dancing.

Not to mention the toe-tapping melodies of Scottish vocal and ceilidh band music as Seven Pipers Scottish Society presents Scots Wha's Like Us!

The annual community performance of Tucson's award-winning Seven Pipers Scottish Society benefits the group's trip to Glasgow, Scotland, where the band will compete at the World Bagpipe Band Competition.

Today's performances are at 2 and 7:30 p.m. at Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway. Advance tickets are $12 and $10 at Centric Photo, 3220 E. Speedway. At the door, tickets are $15. For more information, call 299-0701.

Struttin' their stuff. "When Ballet Hispanico's dancers take the stage, watch out. No one struts, kicks, spins, leaps and gyrates the way they do."

So raved a Newsday observer.

And why not? With infectious joy and energy, Ballet Hispanico is the premier dance interpreter of the Latin culture, translating its stories, its nuances and its rhythms through the power of movement. Innovative and eclectic, the company blends flamenco, classical Spanish, popular Latin American and traditional Caribbean dances with ballet and modern dance technique. Led by award-winning founder and artistic director Tina Ramirez, Ballet Hispanico is considered one of the most successful companies in the United States, promoting an appreciation of its cultural heritage and a universal consciousness.

In Ballet Hispanico's return to Tucson, the company will present: Guajira, which depicts the women of the Cuban countryside with choreography by Pedro Ruiz; Club Havana, inspired by the fever and frenzy of the Cuban mambo and the cha-cha; and Eyes of the Soul, a stunning work with lyrical choreography by Ramón Oller that honors the rich musical landscape of Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo. Eyes of the Soul is co-commissioned by UApresents.

Ballet Hispanico was founded in 1970 and has gone on to perform for more than 2 million people in major concert venues and festivals around the country and the world. Ballet Hispanico represented the United States at Expo '92 in Seville, Spain, where the company was featured in a special Independence Day celebration at the invitation of the U.S. Pavilion.

The performance begins at 8 p.m. today at Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd. Tickets are $26 to $38, with discounts available. Box Office hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. Tickets also are available online at www.tickets.com. A free "Arts Encounter" will be held 45 minutes before the performance in the auditorium of the Social Sciences Building, just east of Centennial Hall. For more information, call 621-3341.

Thunder on the mountain. Runners should lace up this weekend for a marathon in Sierra Vista.

The third annual Thunder Mountain Marathon today is a classic marathon--26 miles, 385 yards. The race starts at Veterans Memorial Park in Sierra Vista at 6 a.m., and finishes at Chaffee Parade Field on Fort Huachuca.

In addition to the full marathon, other running events are organized for a variety of athletic abilities.

The 13.1-mile half-marathon also begins at 6 a.m., at Veterans Memorial Park and ends on Chaffee Parade Field. Runners may also choose to take part in the 26.2-mile relay. Four runners form a team and begin segments at the park, mile 6, mile 13 and mile 20, with a finish on the parade field.

The 5K fun run begins and ends at Chaffee Parade Field.

An awards ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. at Chaffee Parade Field. Shuttle buses have been arranged to provide runners transportation back to Veterans Memorial Park.

The Thunder Mountain Marathon is one of many sporting events put on by the MWR Sports Office. Future events include the Mountain Bike Race April 20-21, the 2-10-2 Biathalon May 11, and the Steelhead Triathlon July 28.

Registration deadline is March 22 and there will be no race day registration. Runners can register for the third annual Thunder Mountain Marathon at Barnes Field House on post or online at www.active.com or www.arizonaroadracers.com. For more information, please call 533-3180.


Sunday 24

'Tis the season. The Arizona Choir is ready for spring.

For its annual spring concert, the Arizona Choir performs a program including works by J.S. Bach, Max Bruch, Carlos Chavez, Johannes Brahms and Franz Liszt. Among the highlights of the concert will be a performance of UA faculty composer Daniel Asia's From Out of More.

The 30-person, mixed-voice Arizona Choir is comprised of graduate and undergraduate students at the UA School of Music and Dance. Pianists performing in the program are Christopher Cano and Eric Stellrecht, both graduate students.

The performance, directed by Bruce Chamberlain, begins at 3 p.m. today at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 400 E. University Blvd. Tickets are $8 general; $6 UA employees and seniors; and $4 students. Advance tickets are available through the UA Fine Arts Box Office, 621-1162, or at the door on the day of the performance. For more information, call 621-2998.


Monday 25

Dreams do come true. For Tucson artist Ron Garrison, the opening of Perceptions art gallery in Tubac marks the realization of a dream.

If the gallery hadn't been named Perceptions, it might have been named The Eclectic Gallery because the gallery's many artists offer a varying selection of artwork to cater to a diverse market. In fact, Perceptions offers plenty of opportunities to indulge any art lover's appetite, including watercolors, pastels, photography, acrylic, oil, and pencil mediums.

There are even a few truly out-of-the-ordinary visual offerings, such as Pat Berg's handmade paper collages that lend themselves to capturing the essence of the Arizona landscape and Jerry Squire's pencil drawings that are so true to form that taking a second look still does not convince ones' eye that it is not a photograph.

Find out why. The gallery is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Sunday. For more information, please call 398-3049 or email datapres@mindspring.com.


Wednesday 27

For love and wages. Nathan Hamilton's gritty, raw and intellectual roots rock helped him win the Kerrville New Folk Award in 2000.

Nathan's first band the Sharecroppers' Spirit of the Sharecroppers and his solo debut Tuscola both garnered critical acclaim and a growing and dedicated fan base. Tuscola also featured several Americana hits including "Cash & Tobacco" and "Spent."

Now comes Hamilton's latest release, All For Love & Wages, which features extra punch and muscle, courtesy of his seasoned road band, No Deal, named after the Townes Van Zandt song.

"They played a big part in shaping the sound of the new record," Hamilton enthuses. "My guitar player, Brent Malkus comes from a punk background so he adds a whole new edge to the music. Also Rob Gaines on drums and Mike Stevenson on bass just drive it home. They helped me lean a little harder into the rock direction I was headed, which I am really enjoying. At least for now."Help celebrate Hamilton's growing success tonight. He takes the stage at 10:30 p.m. at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. For tickets and more information, call 798-1298 or visit www.plushtucson.com.

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