He sports dark aviator glasses, a goatee, 5 o'clock shadow on his sparsely shaved head and a slick black jacket. This guy screams "cool."
The World Espionage Bureau asks you to consider this: "Are you ready to save the world from threats that the general populous doesn't know exists?" (Maybe this guy works for Homeland Security?)
WEB is W.G. (Bill) Raetz. He's not a government hack. He's the author of four thrillers--Shadows and Secrets, A Tangled WEB, Sierra and just out, The Need to Know. These tomes deliver lethal doses of suspense.
Go visit his Web site at www.worldespionagebureau.com. Here's what it spews: "This is a collection of thrilling, adrenaline-filled stories of mystery, espionage and political intrigue delivered by an elite group of men and women who devote their skills and lives to securing democracy, advancing freedom and disrupting rogue activities--all so you can sleep at night."
I take that back--maybe he is a government lackey.
Raetz comes to Tucson a flurry of times this month to peddle his stories of fearless folks who foil terrorist plans, expose anarchists and risk their lives to ... well ... what else, complete the objectives of WEB. Think of it as picking up where The X-Files left off.
The author reads at Clues Unlimited this week. On Sunday, Sept. 14, he reads at Bohemia Artisans Cooperative and again on Saturday, Sept. 27 at Mostly Books. Call for details at 326-8533.
It's time to celebrate all-things Tucson--local bands, local art, local junk food.
Actually, Rendezvous on the Avenue is more than a fiesta of local flavors. There are booths filled with artisans who travel a good stretch to unpack the typical wind-swept, ocean-view watercolor paintings.
Every year, the Fourth Avenue Merchant's Association welcomes back students and winter visitors with the special fete. There are four outdoor music stages. Here's where the local talent shines. Launching the festival at 4 p.m. at the Winsett OPC stage, located between Seventh and Eighth streets at the southern end of the avenue, is singer-songwriter Emily Long. She's followed at 4:45 p.m. by The Conrads and Stefan George playing blues. At 6 p.m. it's a fashion show hosted by Fourth Avenue clothing stores. At 7 p.m., it's reggae music performed by Spirit Familia.
Heading north at 7 p.m., there are two simultaneous performances. At Magpies courtyard (near Fifth Street), hear jazz tunes by Baird and Artemis. At Delectables courtyard stage (between Sixth and Fifth streets), The Nick Luca Trio performs lounge music.
Other performances include the Desert Bluegrass Association playing from 5 to 7 p.m. at Chocolate Iguana Café (Sixth Street), Azar Dance Company offering belly dancing and drumming at the Creative Ventures parking lot (between Sixth and Fifth streets) at 5 p.m. and DJ Butta Fly spinning tunes in the same lot from 4 to 8 p.m.
Don't miss the sidewalk bazaar with Fourth Avenue merchants hauling all their funky wares curbside. There's food, face painting, tarot readings and 25-cent trolley rides. The people watching is free.
Got questions? Call FAMA at 624-5004 for answers.
If you're a particular age, and you found yourself caught up in the folk music scene of the late '70s and '80s, you'll know who sung those above words about love.
Singer-songwriter Kate Wolf's 1982 double live album featured the title song, written for a friend's wedding. It became her signature and her most popular work; the record also received the Best Folk Album award in 1983.
Her musical beginnings started long before she merited that accolade. In the summer of love, Kate was tooling around Big Sur, Calif., playing folk music in people's living rooms. She traveled up and down the coast in her '57 Chevy, sometimes living in it for months at a time. She'd play in local bars. She was always writing.
Her national touring began in 1977 with her band, the Wildwood Flower. Her friend, the troubadour Utah Phillips, even set her up on the East Coast with gigs at folk festivals.
Numerous albums and awards later, Kate succumbed to leukemia. She was only in her 40s.
The Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association offers a tribute to Kate Wolf, the musician who declared, "The songs I write stop time, just like photographs."
Her music is interpreted and performed by a cross-section of TKMA members. Proceeds go to the 2004 Tucson Folk Festival. A hearty soup and bread dinner is served from 6 to 7:30 p.m. with proceeds going to a local agency to help feed Tucson's homeless people.
Tickets cost $7 general and $6 for TKMA members for the concert. Add $5/$4 for dinner. They're available in advance at Antigone's, Guitars, Etc. and The Folk Shop. For details or reservations, call 544-0401.
Have you ever seen glass art being made? It's amazing to watch someone take a hunk of glass (remember it was once just sand), burn it to a ferocious temperature and mold it into something beautiful, decorative and even functional.
The Glass Studio invites you to watch this process. It's the start of their school year--the foundation offers classes to anyone interested in trying their gloved hands at this endeavor. Advanced student glassblowers create masterpieces throughout the day. Staff members answer questions about the art and about class offerings.
Along with the demonstrations, there's art for sale at the studio's new space down in the Barrio. All sales benefit the artists who come through the Foundation.
For more information, call 884-7814.
Have you had just about all the war games your little pacifist heart can handle? As I write, the number of U.S. soldiers who have died since the invasion of Iraq has just surpassed the "war" casualty figure. But remember, we're not at war.
Arundhati Roy is speaking up about incursions and atrocities like this one. Trained as an architect in India, she let her voice and words be heard. Her stunning, sumptuous novel, The God of Small Things, for which she was awarded the Booker Prize in 1997, was her first foray. Roy then shifted to essay writing, but hers is a poetic nonfiction. Her essays read like manifestos: Here's the problem and here's what we need to do.
In 2001, she published Power Politics and The Cost of Living; the latter was awarded the 2002 Lannan Award for Cultural Freedom. Lest you think she's sitting in some ivory tower at Princeton or Harvard, think again. Roy still lives in New Delhi, where she's been the subject of court battles for her outspoken writing.
Now she's penned War Talk, essays that span this past year. There's no shortage of material to cover, particularly as Pakistan and India stand nose-to-nose with nukes between them or when Muslims and Hindus attack one another (as happened last week with bomb blasts killing 50 in downtown Bombay). Her words are ironic and scintillating: "Genocides can become the subject of opinion polls and massacres can have marketing campaigns." Is Dubya listening?
If you're hungry for a perspective outside of the Fox News-New York Times-CNN troika, get this book and join in the discussion about it in the Democracy & Dissent book group hosted by Antigone's. It's the newest of their Sunday discussion groups. You may encounter dissent, but hey, isn't that what democracy's all about?
The group is free (as is any opposition). Call 792-3615 for details.