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GOING TO THE BIRDS

Saturday, Jan. 3, 8:30 a.m.
Mason Audubon Center
8751 N. Thornydale Road
622-2230

The names of bird species crack me up. Most of the folks named these birds over the years must have been on drugs. The names are either stunningly literal or WAY out there.

Witness this sentence from a news release announcing the Avian Snowbirds public tour at the Tucson Audubon Society's Mason Audubon Center: "Possible sightings include ruby-crowned kinglet, blue-gray gnatcatcher, and perhaps wintering or resident raptors."

The tour is free, but it's limited to 30 participants, so you need to register. Bring a water bottle, too. Call Carrie at 622-2230 to register or get more information.


BANG!

Saturday, Jan. 3, 6 p.m.
The Shane House
218 S. Fourth Ave.
623-2577, www.corbusart.net

I am sitting here looking at the artist's statement for The Smoking Gun Show, an exhibit of airbrush and neon-lit paintings by Robin Corby. The show, at the Tucson Arts Coalition's Shane House, will consist of works depicting guns. But you probably already knew that from the title.

That much, I know. What I don't know is exactly what Corby is trying to say about guns and our society; his statement is all over the map. Therefore, I called him and asked him to sum his message up. He had a lot to say: He feels our country has a double-standard. On the one hand, people preach the virtues of family; on the other hand, these same people preach the virtues of guns. And it's no coincidence that the United States is the one of the most violent countries in the Western world. Meanwhile, people are so flooded with negative information regarding gun violence, they're disregarding and ignoring news about it.

"I want people to be aware," Corby says. "I want to hold a mirror up to (show) the actions of individuals and the dangers of negligence."

What to hear--and see--more? Then get thee to the Shane House. If you can't make the reception, the exhibit will be up through the month of January. Admission is free.


WAR, ART AND POETRY

Saturday, Jan. 3, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Reader's Oasis
3400 E. Speedway Blvd. #114
319-7887

Bless the folks at Reader's Oasis. They're always bringing in speakers and programs, covering a wide variety of topics and genres. And this Saturday, they'll be hosting two events--one covering the Vietnam War, and the other covering poetry.

At 2 p.m., three authors will come together for "Ghosts of Vietnam," a roundtable discussion of the war and its continuing impact nearly three decades after it officially ended. The participants are Stella Pope Duarte, an Arizona State University faculty member who wrote Let Their Spirits Dance, a novel focusing on the large number of Latino soldiers who lost their lives in the war; Geneva Escobedo, a manager of multicultural programs at Pima Community College who wrote a series of poems after touring Vietnam last February, in an effort to honor her cousin killed after a mere eight days of service in the war; and John Wesley Fisher, a Colorado man whose debut novel, Angels at Vietnam, is a fictionalized story of his own experiences as a draftee in the war.

After that, stick around for the debut of a new poetry series at 5 p.m. Ali Vyain, the force behind poetry journal The Moon, will host the series, slated for the first Saturday of every month. She'll welcome poets featured in the January issue of The Moon, and then the mic will be open.

Both events are free.


GO SEE A PSYCHIC

Sunday, Jan. 4, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Windmill Suites
4250 N. Campbell Ave.
318-3027

My friend, Christina, made me accompany her to a psychic fair a couple of years back. Then, she talked me into getting a reading. I sat down at a booth and paid $20; at that point, a kerchief-wearing woman made me hold one end of a wand while she held the other end. She closed her eyes and started prophesying. One of her revelations: I would marry a co-worker named Sharon, and we'd have five children.

Upon hearing this, Christina yelped, covered her mouth to help her refrain from laughing, and left. Christina knew that there was nobody named Sharon at the newspaper I worked at. And she knew I was gay.

Hopefully, the psychics at this fair will be a bit more accurate. Psychics, astrologers, vendors selling all sorts of goodies, health consultants and others are promised to be in attendance at this fair, produced by Win Against Crime, a nonprofit organization that, so says the release, was "formed to help law enforcement and crime victims."

Admission will be $3. Want more information? Call Ann at 318-3027.


FROM MAIL TO MEDITATION

Tuesday, Jan. 6, 6 p.m.
Bookman's
6230 E. Speedway Blvd.
296-8626; meditationintucson.org

She used to be named Sue Reed. She graduated from Tucson High School in 1980 and went to work for the U.S. Postal Service. The job took her away from the Old Pueblo; she remained with the Postal Service until 1993, when she retired as a high-level executive with the San Diego Postal District.

The reason for such a young retirement? She was diagnosed with leukemia.

This sent her on a spiritual search. She found Kadampa Buddhism, and now she's an ordained Buddhist nun, named Gen Kelsang Lingpur. And once again, she's calling Tucson home.

She's the resident teacher at the new Tara Mahayana Buddhist Center, opening this month at 6590-D E. Tanque Verde Road. That's a temporary home; the congregation is looking to buy a building.

Want to know more? Lingpur will be giving a talk, "Introduction to Buddhist Meditation," at the Speedway location of Bookman's. It, of course, is free.


IT AIN'T EASY BEING GREEN

Tuesday, Jan. 6, 7 p.m.
Northwest Center
2160 N. Sixth Ave.
881-8022

It's officially 2004 now. That means it's officially a presidential election year.

God help us all.

Ralph Nader's saying he might run for president again this year. While we know he'll get his ass kicked, we don't know if he'll have an impact on the result like he did in 2000.

Nader's local former homies, the Green Party of Pima County, will be holding a general meeting, open to the public. Roll up your sleeves and join them, or go and hear what the Greens have to say about more local issues.

Just don't bring up the fact that some believe the Greens helped get George W. Bush elected. That'll make them cranky in a hurry.

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