UNLOCKING THE CREATIVE PROCESS. Her pliable voice and exceptional range have been compared to France's diva, Edith Piaf. Many say she looks like the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
Lila Downs was born in a mountain town in Oaxaca in 1967, the daughter of a Mixtec Indian mother and an American father. She spent much of her childhood in both Oaxaca and Minnesota and studied classical voice and sang with mariachi bands. In 1993 she re-emerged from a performing hiatus to greet Oaxaca's audiences.
Now she travels the world singing the bittersweet stories of her homeland fusing jazz, gospel and hip-hop influences with traditional cumbias. Her newest CD, titled Border, collects songs about migrant workers and hardships endured by indigenous peoples.
In advance of her performance tomorrow at Centennial Hall, Downs and UApresents Director Ken Foster sit down for a candid dialogue about the inspiration and creative process of her work. Join them at 7:30 p.m. in the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Auditorium at Speedway Boulevard and Park Avenue for a free presentation and reception. Parking is available just north of the building. Call 621-3341 for details.
SEE THIS NOW. Do you get the feeling that we're post-Labor Day and everything's buzzing suddenly?
Saunter downtown for an artist's reception--GOCAIA's season opener--from 6 to 8 p.m.
The show is called Form/Function and, as you can guess, it includes sculpture and sculptural furniture by regional artists Scott Baker, James Cook, Rob Stevens, Frank Sheriff and Mary Meyer. Some of them even blur the boundaries between sculpture and fine furniture.
The show continues through September 28. Gallery hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The gallery's at 306 E. Congress St.
SEE THIS NOW, REDUX. Not one, but two UA campus galleries are opening their doors tonight for artist's receptions.
At Lionel Rombach Gallery, the show's called The Evolution of Dis Con Nect Ion and features the black and white architectural photography of BFA candidate Shawn Kelley, who investigates both the internal and external metaphors of space. Silas Hite's ethereal music accompanies the show.
Across the courtyard at the Joseph Gross Gallery is an extensive body of work by Albert Kogel. A Walk in the Dark focuses on paintings and drawings by the Tucson artist from the past 12 years: haunting portraits of residents of a rest home, images of medieval hand-to-hand combat, images of stress, death and disease, even the fearless, adventuresome spirit of a child. Dark--and light--stuff.
Both shows run through September 23. The receptions take place simultaneously from 5 to 7 p.m. The courtyard galleries are located just off the southeast corner of Speedway Boulevard and Park Avenue. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. Call 626-4215 for details.
FIRST SATURDAY. This is the start of what organizers hope to be a regular gig on Fourth Avenue, aptly called Saturday on Fourth. For now, they'll start with the first Saturday of the month and maybe expand into a weekly event. This one goes from 3 to 8 p.m.
There's a sidewalk bazaar (replete with all the bizarre goods that are sold inside the Avenue's stores), an open-air farmers market, local craft and food booths, trolley rides, face painting, tarot card readers, hair braiders and more. But the cornerstone of the event is music.
The main stage is at Winsett OPC at 316 N. Fourth Ave. and features DJ Clay Steele at 3 p.m., Satori at 4, Claire Holley at 5:15 and Al Perry and Cattle from 6 to 8 p.m.
Beginning at 5 p.m., various stores and restaurants offer their own thing: at Epic Café there's Quartal Equinox playing jazz; folk musician Eric Hansen performs at Magpies patio; DJ Butta Fly spins the vinyl at Delectables patio; and Amber Jade sings acoustic songs at Chocolate Iguana patio.
If you want to sell your wares (legal ones, that is), contact the Fourth Avenue Merchants Association to get your free permit (you'll need to show your business license to participate).
All performances and strolling are free. For details, call FAMA at 624-5004.
COVERING THE KING. If you can name the folk/rock legend that sang these lyrics back in '65, then you're a real fan: "A song is anything that can walk by itself. I am called a songwriter. A poem is a naked person. Some people say that I am a poet."
The "poet," in this case, is none other than Bob Dylan. And members of the Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association celebrate his music at 8 p.m. in the Unitarian Universalist Church's Holland Hall, 4831 E. 22nd St.
TKMA's musicians include Kevin McConnell, Linda Lou Reed, Larry Armstrong and Copper Moon, Bill Lackey, Elise Grecco and too many others to list here.
It's a fund-raiser for the Tucson Folk Festival and for Casa Maria homeless projects. The concert is preceded by a vegetable soup and bread dinner at 6 p.m. Tickets are a bargain at $5 general and $4 for TKMA members. Advanced tickets can be purchased at Guitars, Etc., The Folk Shop and Antigone Books.
Call for reservations and information at 544-0401.
LOCAL YOKELS. Bonnie Raitt, Richie Havens, the Blues Brothers, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and the Wayback Machine. They all have something in common. They take other people's songs and make them distinctly their own.
The Wayback Machine is truly Tucson-bred. They're very proud (they'll tell you, too) to release their second CD titled Wayback When. This one's a live recording, like their first CD, Who Knew? It's got tunes mixing up blues, reggae, Latin, '70s hippie rock, New Orleans funk and swing and more.
The musicians include Tom Wooley, lead vocalist and master of the Rickenbacker 12-string guitar, Beverly Seckinger on bass guitar and vocals, Jim Lipson on congas, bongos, percussion and vocals, Susie B. on drums, Bruce Blackstone on lead guitar and blues harp and Taza Guthrie on acoustic rhythm guitar, percussion and vocals. They're joined tonight by Stefan George and Shanti Foster at Boondocks Lounge, 3306 N. First Ave. at 9 p.m. Cover is a mere five bucks and CDs will be released on the spot. Call 721-1710 with your questions or just show up.
SWING DOWN LOW. The Tom Patrick Band, a six-piece swing band, rigs up the stage for Swingin' Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m.
The great part is that it takes place in an airplane hanger--Hanger #4 to be exact--at the Pima Air and Space Museum.
There are drinks (soft and hard) to get you swingin' and dancin'. Admission to the museum costs $9.75 for adults and $6 for the kids. The museum is located at 6000 E. Valencia Road at Kolb and I-10. Questions? Call 574-0462.
PIPES, BROGUES AND FIDDLES. They're from Aberdeen--the original burg in Scotland. And they play traditional and new tunes. They're Old Blind Dogs.
Five musicians orchestrate fiddling and mandolin-playing, low whistle and Scottish piping, electric bass twanging and percussion and conga drumming. Their repertoire includes newly written instrumentals, sometimes with a Middle Eastern beat crossing into Scottish traditional fiddle tunes and reggae-style riffs. Their latest album is titled Fit? and it's out on Green Linnet Records.
The concert starts at 7 p.m. at the Berger Performing Arts Center at Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind, 1200 W. Speedway Blvd., a half-mile west of I-10. Tickets are reserved and cost $17 general and $15 for In Concert! members and seniors. Buy them at CD City and Antigone Books or charge them by phone at 327-4809.
DIGGING OUT. This month's program at the Audubon Society features burrowing owls of Tucson's urban edge. Find out about their habitat, life cycle, seasonal behavior and feeding patterns. How has the owl population changed and why?
Don Carter is an ecologist and park police officer with Pima County Natural Resources. He'll address these issues and talk about his recent work installing artificial burrows for the owls along the Santa Cruz River and his monitoring of their movement.
Dan Conway's nature photographs accompany the presentation and Sonja Macys, the director of Tucson Audubon Society, gives a short presentation on the society's accomplishments this year and plans for the future.
It all starts at 7 p.m. in the DuVal Auditorium of the University Medical Center at 1501 N. Campbell Ave. and it's free. Call 629-0510 for more information.
I THINK I CAN, I THINK I CAN. When I was a kid, there was a big, old locomotive at the science museum in my city. I loved that engine. You could climb all over it and squeeze through the claustrophobic compartments of that Iron Horse.
Come to the dedication of the Ramada that displays the historic engine today at 11 a.m. at the Downtown Intermodal Center (track side) at 400 N. Toole Ave. The Locomotive #1673 Task Force and the City of Tucson provide the music, light refreshments and speeches for this free dedication. Call 325-2108 if you have questions.
A MOMENT OF SILENCE. We've all told the story ad nauseum about where we were when we first heard about the events of September 11, 2001. OK, I'll share mine, again: I hadn't turned on the radio, seen a paper, glanced at the tube yet. It was 9:38 in Tucson. I was on the phone pitching a story to an editor at NPR who very nicely, but with a tremble in his voice, told me that it was a bad day and could I call back in a few days. A humbling moment.
Now it's 365 days later. There are numerous ways to reflect--with or without throngs of people--on the events of that fateful day (and don't get me started on all the other heinous events that have unraveled this year).
Starting the day before, on Wednesday at 5 p.m., join the Live from the 92nd Street Y Satellite Series, beamed down to the Tucson Jewish Community Center, 3800 E. River Road. Thomas Friedman, foreign affairs columnist for the New York Times who won a Pulitzer for his 9/11 coverage, is the series first guest. You'll be able to participate via email from the JCC. Call them at 299-3000 for information.
Beginning today at 8:46 a.m. (we all know the significance of the time), across the land thousands of people will sing the famed Requiem--a Rolling Requiem, that is. Here in Tucson, it happens at Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd. at Park Avenue. Members of Tucson Masterworks Chorale perform for free. For details call 578-7973.
At 12:45 p.m., a different kind of acoustic event happens at the Arizona State Museum just east of UA's Main Gate at Park Avenue and University Boulevard. Since September 12 of last year, the American Folklife Center in Washington, D.C., has directed fieldworkers to document on audiotape the immediate reactions of average Americans to the events. They came up with 300 hours of recordings, from which the Center for Documentary Studies, has produced an exhibition of sound that will be at the Museum until September 18. Opening the show is a blessing by Tohono O'odham Daniel Preston and dancing of the Hoop, Eagle and Women's Fancy Shawl dances by the Manuel Intertribal Dance Group. Call 626-2973 with questions.
The city of Tucson observes Patriot Day beginning at 8:30 a.m. with a procession through downtown led by the Fire and Police Departments, launching from Station One at 265 S. Church Ave. A memorial service starts at 9 a.m. at El Presidio Plaza, 160 W. Alameda St., with the official moment of silence at 9:11 a.m. At 10 a.m., there's a service at St. Augustine Cathedral, 192 S. Stone Ave., held by the Multi-Faith Alliance. At 7 p.m., an evening service takes place at the Tucson Convention Center Music Hall. Call the Mayor's Office at 791-4201 for details on the day's events; call Temple Emmanu-El at 327-4501 for information about the services.
United We Remember claims to be the official Pima County 9/11 tribute. Kino Veterans Memorial Sports Complex holds sway with patriotic fervor starting at 4:30 p.m. Sons of Orpheus and the Tucson Concert Band perform medleys of homeland and Americana music. There's a parade of heroes. Local clergy lead a prayer. Airforce jets soar overhead, fireworks light the sky, the flag is unfurled. Holding glow sticks, individuals will come down to the field to form a human spelling out of 9/11. Main events get underway at 6:30 p.m. Parking is free. Call 434-1000 for information.