Whether you stuff yourself silly with too much Tofurky and cranberry sauce or fast on the day that marks the ultimate in political spin doctoring (yeah, right, the Indians welcomed the white dudes with open arms and a dead turkey), there's much to be thankful for.
But for many, Thanksgiving is a day of doing without, the same as any other day in Tucson. The Casa Maria Soup Kitchen offers less-privileged residents a warm meal--every day--feeding 600 single people and more than 200 families. For the second year running, the warm-hearted servers join with musicians for the Casa Maria Soup Kitchen Thanksgiving Benefit to help feed a couple of souls and pound out some equally soulful music.
Playing for free in an effort to help the homeless and hungry are locals Felipe "El Rey de Casa Maria" Jara, Dutsi Spoon and The Last Call Girls, featuring Nancy McCallion and Kevin Schramm from the renown Mollys.
Showing up from Davis, Calif., is Barry "The Fish" Melton, with the Bay Area's Harold Acevus and local performer Rich Hopkins. Melton formerly played with Country Joe and The Fish, of Woodstock fame, while Acevus plays with Quicksilver Messenger Service. You may know Hopkins from his band Rich Hopkins and The Sand Rubies, among other projects here in town.
Casa Maria Soup Kitchen was established back in 1981. Spokesman Brian Flagg says the group's greatest needs this time of year are for clothing and sandwich makings.
Join the fun before, during or after your own enjoyable celebrations and/or family disasters. Bring five bucks and a can of nonperishable food for admission.
Thanksgiving seems to mark the launch of every imaginable holiday concert from here until the end of the year. We've combed through the pile of press releases and have a few to recommend.
Sneak into Tucson's high schools, and you'll hear the kids belting it out in choirs practicing traditional and unconventional vocal holiday fare. Arts Express, Inc. presents the first Christmas concert of the 2003 season with A Centennial Holiday at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 29, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 30, at UA's Centennial Hall (1020 E. University Blvd.). Under the musical direction of Joan and David Ashcraft, the concert features the Arts Express Choir and Orchestra and the Arts Express Chorale (made up of high schoolers) plus the Sahuaro Singers as Dickens' carolers. All seats are general admission, with prices ranging from $8.75 for adults to $5.75 for students and children. Proceeds benefit the summer Fine Arts Youth Academy sponsored by Arts Express. Get your tickets at the door, online at www.arts-express.org or by calling the box office at 621-1162.
What's a holiday season without the annual community Messiah Sing-In? Jeffry Jahn conducts the Grace Chapel orchestra and soloists Robin Lee-DeLeon, soprano; Korby Myrick, contralto; Todd Strange, tenor; and Chris Herrera, bass, in the classic work by Handel. And the chorus is you, the audience. Warm up with caroling directed by Julian Ackerley of the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus beginning at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 1. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Grace Chapel is located at 6180 E. Pima St. Admission is free. Messiah scores are available for rent at $5 or for sale at $10. You can also bring your own.
Women of Substance is the theme of the fall Opera Scenes concert that features strong women caught in unusual circumstances. Hear students of the UA's School of Music and Dance sing nine scenes in 90 minutes. Selections include Cosi fan tutti's "Dialogues of the Carmelites," The Marriage of Figaro's "Il Matrimonio Segreto" and arias from The Turn of the Screw. The sopranos and others rev up at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2, at Crowder Hall, located in the fine arts complex east of Speedway Boulevard and Park Avenue. Parking is available at the Park Avenue garage on the northeast corner across from the complex. Admission is free.
Take the kids, full-grown or just-sprouted, to launch the museum's annual Festivals of Light. Celebrations begin this week and continue through the end of January--hitting all the biggies in between, including Polish Christmas, India's Diwali, winter solstice, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Japanese and Chinese New Year and D'a de los Reyes Magos.
Eid al-Fitr is the commencement festival of the most holy of Islamic holidays. It celebrates the end of the fasting month, Ramadan, that takes place in the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. From year to year, it lands on a different date as it follows the appearance of a new crescent moon. Muslims hold this holiday in great reverence, because it's believed that the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. It's a time of reflection, compassion and patience. Fasting takes place from dawn to sunset every day, followed by a simple meal of dates, fresh fruits, appetizers and dinner. The day ends with prayers, and scriptures are recited every night until the entire Quran is read.
Along with the UA's Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the museum offers performances and children's activities from different traditions--Egyptian, Iranian, Lebanese and Moroccan--including demonstrations of a call to prayer, folk dancing, Arabic drumming, greetings, calligraphy and more.
Admission to the museum costs $5.50 for adults, $4.50 for seniors, $3.50 for kids over 2 and free to anyone younger than that.
Three pioneering women architects have made their mark in a mostly male-dominated profession here in Arizona. Anne Graham Rockfellow, Mary Jane Colter and Judith Chafee are the subjects of a new exhibition that features photographs, scrapbooks, journals, renderings and drawings related to their building projects over the last century.
R. Brooks Jeffery and Anne Nequette have highlighted, among others, these three designing women in their book, A Guide to Tucson Architecture, put out last year by the University of Arizona Press. The two present insight into these women's struggles in the field in a lecture and book-signing event.
Anne Graham Rockfellow first moved to Tucson in 1895. She designed the El Conquistador Hotel, the YWCA and the Safford Middle School, among others. In the teens and '20s, she was Tucson's only woman architect, then working as chief designer with the better-known Henry Jaastad firm.
Mary Jane Colter's legacy includes some of Arizona's famous landmarks, particularly at the Grand Canyon. She started her career in the 1930s as a designer with the Fred Harvey Company. Eleven of her buildings are listed on the National Register as historic places.
The career of Judith Chafee, whose Tucson childhood influenced her ideas for melding modern design with the desert's climate and culture, was a long and rich one. Chafee, who died in 1998, taught at the UA and was the first Arizona woman to be inducted into the American Institute of Architects' College of Fellows. Some of her residential work will be highlighted.
The lecture is free, but call to RSVP by Nov. 28. The exhibit is free and continues through Jan. 16. Viewing hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. Holiday hours are in effect from Dec. 22 to Jan 13. Call for those or visit www.library.arizona.edu.