Poetic women; keep on track (in the sand); Santana rules; Abraham, the religious link; a taste of bioterrorism; burning up.

City Week 

POETIC WOMEN

Friday, Aug. 8

Biblio Bookstore

222 E. Congress St.

In early August, when we realize we've survived only half a Tucson summer, many of us go somewhere else--anywhere--to escape the heat (and recently, the joyful humidity). The staff of Biblio is no exception. Back from vacation and diving in for the rest of summer, they're doing so with the resurrection of their monthly Other Voices Women's Reading series.

Rachel Srubas has been writing and publishing poetry for 20 years. But she's more than a wordsmith. She also holds a master's degree in divinity studies from McCormick Theological Seminary. Srubas serves in parish and campus ministries in Tucson and is an ablate (that's an associate) of the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, to whose magazine, Spirit and Life, she regularly contributes. Her work has also been published in The Best American Poetry, The Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion and The Christian Century.

Her mission is to counter the common perception of religious poetry as saccharine and schlocky. She believes that prayerful poetry can be both boldly crafted and politically powerful. During the first Gulf War, she helped organize poets for Peace in Chicago, and earlier this year, she organized Tucson Interfaith Artists for Peace in Iraq.

Joining Srubas in the series is Jessie Zander, a resident of Tucson for 47 years. Zander has worked as a teacher, counselor and principal. Retired from TUSD since 1989, she now volunteers as a facilitator for the Y's racial justice program and coordinates the Funeral Consumers Alliance Speakers Bureau. Zander has been active with the State Poetry Society for almost three decades, serving here and there as program chair and secretary. Her words have found their way into Brush the Mind Gently, PEN Women, Appalachia Independent and other chapbooks.

The reading starts at 7 p.m. and is followed by an open mic--don't be shy, all you women poets, writers and singer-songwriters. There's no charge.

Call 624-8222 for details.

KEEP ON TRACK

Saturday, Aug. 9

Reader's Oasis

3400 E. Speedway Blvd.

A bunch of folks who know what they're talking about show up for a panel discussion about nature, tracking, wildfires and wildlife of the desert Southwest. They're all intensely aware of the joys, excitement, despair and hope that come with the territory, so to speak, of fieldwork.

Dexter Oliver is author of Tracks in the Sand: Tales From Outside the City Limits. Hailing from Duncan, Ariz., his book is a collection of essays about the nature of field biology, outdoor adventure and the current state of our threatened and endangered animal species. He has paid his dues working for, among others, the American Museum of Natural History and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Pinau Merlin is a Tucson-based naturalist. She shares her experiences of years living in the wilderness by leading natural history expeditions in this country and in Mexico, as well as by teaching tracking. The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum has published her two field guides, Desert Holes and Bird Nests and Eggs.

Roseann Beggy Hanson and Jonathan Hanson are the authors of The Southern Arizona Nature Almanac--a book that guides both the fledgling naturalist and full-fledged scientist alike. Some say it's the definitive resource guide to the natural wonders of our land.

Hear what these writers have to say at 2 p.m. The talk and the discussion that follows are free. Call 319-7887 for details.

SANTANA RULES

Saturday, Aug. 9

Tucson Museum of Art Courtyard

140 N. Main Ave.

The music of Carlos Santana has a signature all its own. So, how is it that someone else, let alone a 10-piece band, could capture that unique sound?

Steel Ribbon has the same passion and energy as the original Santana vibe. Lead guitarist Dale Romero and rhythm guitarist Jim Randall launched the band in 1990. The driving Afro-Cuban backbeat comes from Kevin Robinson on congas and Able Valentino on timbales with Rick Velasques on drums and John Liñon on bass. Keyboard specialists Chuck Morrow and Rich Islas provide the Hammond B-3 sound reminiscent of Greg Rolle. Vocalists Melanie Romero and Melissa Trejo back them up.

But the heart of the band is Dale Romero's scintillating guitar work. This is going to be a night of dancing, so bring your sensible (or fantastically irresponsible, but funky) footwear and dance up a tribute to one of rock's legends.

The summer months find the Rhythm & Roots concert series downtown at the TMA. This one starts at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $10 in advance at Antigone Books, Brew & Vine, CD City, Enchanted Earthworks, the TMA Giftshop and online at www.dotucson.com. Get 'em at the door for $12. TMA members receive a $2 discount.

Questions? Call 297-9133 for answers.

CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?

Sunday, Aug. 10

Bookman's Used Books

6320 E. Speedway Blvd.

At a moment when the world is asking, "Can the religions get along?", Abraham stands as the shared ancestor of Jews, Christians and Muslims. He defines the faith for half the world.

Bruce Feiler has written a book, simply titled Abraham. The author has traveled in war zones, through caves and ancient shrines and sat with the world's leading religious minds to discover and write the untold stories of this amazing character.

Hear what Feiler has to say and add your two cents. Maybe you'll even redefine what you think about your neighbors and your future. The interfaith book discussion goes from 4 to 6 p.m. and is sponsored by the Interfaith Unlearning Racism Task Force of Congregation Ner Tamid, the Islamic Center of Tucson and St. Francis in the Foothills United Methodist Church. Dr. Bill Hillman navigates the discussion. It's free and open to all.

Call with questions at 299-9063.

A TASTE OF BIOTERRORISM

Wednesday, Aug. 13

Borders Books and Music

4235 N. Oracle Road

Dr. Jacquelyn Kirkis is an internationally known researcher on preventative health. And one way to stay healthy is to do the proverbial duck and cover. (Remember that ludicrous technique for avoiding a nuclear blast? You'll never know when it may come in handy again.)

Bioterrorism Threats for the Arizona Area is Kirkis' new book--the ultimate guide for reducing health risks from infectious diseases. The book is widely used by professionals, but it's also a valuable resource for consumers.

Kirkis explores the potential risks we face right here in Arizona, how state agencies might react and what the average citizen could expect and be prepared to deal with. Her talk gets underway at 7 p.m. and is free.

Call 292-1331 for more information.

BURNING UP

Through Sept. 28

UA Museum of Art

Speedway Boulevard and Park Avenue

The theme's an obvious one for this time of year: plenty of allusions to words like fiery, incendiary and hellish.

The museum's Hot Art Series is in the midst of showcasing Susan Crile's The Fires of War, an exhibit that includes 10 large works on paper and paintings--the largest configured at 6 feet tall by 7 feet wide. Crile produced the works from 1991 to 1995. They're based on her trip to Kuwait in the summer of 1991. These are not just arbitrary dates for a little look-see at a desert country. Remember, Kuwait was ravaged by the Persian Gulf War and the oil fires that had been set by Saddam Hussein's retreating armies.

For the next four years, Crile produced an evocative series of paintings and drawings of arguably the most brutal act of ecological violence ever. From her photographs and on-site sketches, she mired herself in a subject that has long been an absorption for her--the subtle differences between beauty and horror.

Crile's Kuwait paintings, anchored in an observed reality, are abstractions of a landscape turned violently beautiful through its destruction. You can't look at them divorced of their historic meaning, as if they're just one more natural disaster. An emotional response kicks in knowing it's much more, provoking a swing from sorrow to fright.

The curators at the museum began organizing this show two years ago and have been meandering the muck of coincidence: the Gulf War, the subsequent changes in U.S. relations with Muslim countries and the tragic events of Sept. 11. Funny how coincidences continue to haunt this exhibit.

Stop by the museum during the week from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. or on Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Summer hours continue through Aug. 15 Admission to the museum is free.

Call with questions at 621-7567.

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