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Therapeutic Theater

Auditions For Teen Performance Program
Through Summer
Compass Health Care
237-1303

Compass Health Care--a local, nonprofit organization that provides community-based alcohol and substance abuse and treatment programs, regardless of participants' ability to pay--is seeking cast members for their sixth Teen Prevention Performance Program season.

Cast members are people between the ages of 13 and 21 whose lives have been impacted by addiction--either their own, or that of a family member or friend--and their experiences will help shape the script the group will perform throughout the school year.

After their 12-16 hour-per-week summer rehearsal schedule is completed, the troupe plays at high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, treatment centers and conferences through June of the following year, educating other kids, families and professionals about addiction issues. Participation in the program requires a year-long commitment not only to the performance schedule, but to undergo group therapy and remain drug- and alcohol-free.

While pointing out that cast members are paid both to rehearse and perform, "The kids involved have to be really motivated and committed," says Community Outreach Coordinator Cynthia Klein. "They miss school for the performances (one to three times per week) and have to make up the work, and the group therapy is important, because they're not just performing this stuff; they also have to deal with the pieces and feelings of their actual experience."

If you think you or someone you know would benefit from being involved with the program, contact Artistic Director Susan Arnold at 237-1303.


Cool Charity

Christmas in July Toy Drive
Friday, July 16
Polar Ice Skate Rink
7333 E. Rosewood St.
818-1871; tucsonmiracle.org

I generally don't approve of Christmas decorations, music or references prior to the actual month of December, but this is an exception. Beat the heat with warm gesture: Bring a new, unwrapped toy to Polar Ice on Friday, July 16, and you'll receive free admission and skate rental for all of the day's public sessions (5:30 to 9 a.m.; 1:30 to 5 p.m.; 7:30 to 10 p.m.).

Miracle on Church Street--the recipient and distributor of the toy donations--started in 1995. At their first Children's Christmas Party, 300 low-income kids visited with Mr. and Mrs. Claus and received presents in a festive atmosphere in which popcorn balls, tangerines and ice cream flowed freely. Last year, more than 3,000 kids ages 1-12--whose parents were referred to the event by local nonprofit shelters, social service agencies, youth neighborhoods, schools and faith-based organizations--attended the group's ninth annual Christmas Party; this year, founder Lorraine Anderson expects more than 4,000.

Bobby Rich and Brad Behan--hosts of 94.9 Mix FM's The Good Clean Fun Morning Show--will broadcast live from the event from 5:30 to 9 a.m.; cash donations to Miracle on Church Street will be accepted, and toys of all kinds and age-levels are needed. (Toys that depict weapons of any kind will not be accepted.)

Donations for the 10th Annual Free Children's Holiday Party--scheduled for Dec. 18--are also needed, particularly from companies that can offer sponsorship, gift certificates or more substantial items for auction. Log onto the Web site above to learn more about the organization, and to view their wish-list for the December event.


Folklorico Fever

Festival Folklorico Extravaganza
2 p.m., Sunday, July 18
Tucson Convention Center Music Hall
260 S. Church Ave.
544-9543

The Center for Hispanic Performing Arts (CHISPA) is a one-stop shop for Mexican folklorico experience. Home to both Ballet Folklorico San Juan--an international touring company of more than 100 dancers--and the Mariachi De Tucson Academy, a festival folklorico hosted by CHISPA is not to be missed. This, their 17th annual festival, will also feature the CHISPA Hip Hop Dance Team.

CHISPA and Ballet Folklorico founder Julie Gallo has been involved with Mexican folklorico for more than 28 years; her knowledge allows the studio to offer lessons in dance forms specific to regions such as Sinaloa, Jalisco, Nuevo Leon, Yucatan, Chiapas and others. Dance classes in folklorico, hip-hop and pre-jazz are available at CHISPA for kids of all ages and abilities, and the Mariachi De Tucson Academy offers violin, guitar, vihuela, guitarron and trumpet classes for kids ages 8 through 18, keeping the traditions of mariachi alive by building an appreciation for it among the newest generation of musicians.

Although smaller festivals grace Tucson throughout the year, the Folklorico Festival Extravaganza is the biggest and best opportunity for CHISPA to show off their talents, and an excellent, air-conditioned way for Tucson audiences to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Tickets for the event are $8-$12, available at the TCC box office or through Ticketmaster at 791-4101.


Second-Half Swing

Tucson Sidewinders Baseball
July 15-18
Tucson Electric Park
2500 E. Ajo Way
434-1021; tucsonsidewinders.com

There are some things you won't see at Bank One Ballpark (besides a win by the home team). Like, for example, the izzy-dizzy bat race, in which a couple of fans spin in circles with their heads on a bat and then race for the plate. Or a little buggy running along the sidelines firing T-shirts into the audience from a cannon. Or a player who drops to his knees and kisses the plate after rounding the bases on a home run, as wacky prospect Luis Terrero recently did. (Actually, he's now with the Diamondbacks, so that last one could happen at the BOB.)

But you'll see all that and more at down here in the farm leagues. The All-Star break is over, and the Tucson Sidewinders are starting the second half of the Pacific Coast League season. The 'Winders got off to a great start during the first half, but lost a bunch of talent to the struggling Arizona Diamondbacks and finished 45-45. Can they make a run for a postseason berth between now and Labor Day weekend? We'll find out starting tonight, as the Sidewinders take on the division leaders, the Sacramento River Cats, AAA affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. (So it's also a chance to see the oddball talent Billy Beane has waiting in the wings.) The four-game homestand continues through Sunday, July 18, at Tucson Electric Park. Tonight is Thirsty Thursday, with all domestic beer and soft drinks on sale for a mere buck between the first pitch and 9 p.m. On Saturday, they'll be giving away glow-in-the-dark baseballs, and on Sunday, fans will get free trading cards and hot dogs for just $1.

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