Tucson is lucky to have the International Arts Society Film Series, now entering its 51st season. Initially designed to bring "high-brow" films to the UA campus, it's turned into something of monster, combining foreign films, comedies, classics, cult favorites and more. Why are you in this handbasket, and where are you going, you ask? Wait--it gets even less high-brow. This year, the series has something of a theme--food.
But the organizers of this series--mostly from the humanities and English departments at the UA--are plenty smart. They're not about to beat the theme to death; of the 13 films being shown between Aug. 27 and Dec. 3, only five fit the food criteria. Those films are Big Night, the film scheduled for the series' opening night; Satyricon (Sept. 17); Tampopo (Oct. 8); Like Water for Chocolate (Nov. 5); and Titus (Nov. 19). Those with weak stomachs may want to avoid Satyricon and Titus--though really, they're so good it's worth steeling yourself and retching happily along with the rest of the crowd.
The remaining films are Monty Python's Life of Brian (Sept. 3); The Man on the Train (Sept. 10); The Shanghai Triad (Sept. 24); Four Days in September (Oct. 1); The Conversation (Oct. 15); The Rules of the Game (Oct. 22); Diabolique (Oct. 29); My Man Godfrey (Nov. 12); The Third Man (Nov. 26); and The Navigator (Dec. 3).
All screenings in this impressive lineup are free and open to the public; films play at 7:30 p.m. every Friday.
This is the kind of listing that could really make you want to end it all, if you didn't happen to adore all press releases that have to do with agriculture. My favorite, if you want to know, was a July 22 release--currently pinned to my corkboard--from Citizens Against Government Waste, entitled "Consumers Hunger for Fewer Restrictions on Avocado Imports." (I love the name Citizens Against Government Waste; it sound so Kafkaesque.)
This whole corn festival thing isn't nearly as sexy as restricted avocados, but it does involve more than 30 local farmers, bakeries and vendors, all excited about corn. The Farmers' Markets, you see, are "brimming with corn," and offering up freshly baked cornbread, roasted corn, kettle corn, and sweet corn picked just hours before each market.
The Oro Valley Farmers' Market is located at the corner of Naranja and La Cañada drives; on Saturday, Aug. 28, the Oro Valley Parks and Recreation Department will be marking the festival with "Corny Crafts for Kids." (Don't think it takes a corn festival to make press releases corny; they're actually born that way.) On Sunday, Aug. 28, the festivities continue at the Tucson Farmers' Market, located in the St. Philip's Plaza, on the southeast corner of River and Campbell roads.
For more information about either event, call the numbers above.
Think Tank is an offering of narratives from four artists; the story behind the narrative, however, is mostly left to the viewer to decide.
Mike Keller is a Tucson-based artist who work comprises Una Vida Diferente, a series based on Costa Ricans' answers to the question "If I had (blank), I'd be happy," when asked in their native language. The fact that the title of the series was actually one of the responses is somewhat sobering; the exhibit also asks its viewer to wrestle with their own answers.
Nate Lason is interested in the world of the paranormal, as it emerges from both religious and secular cultures. Each of Larson's photographs explores his own paranormal experiences in both verbal and visual images; his style, described as "tongue-in-cheek," also explores the cultural creation of belief.
Randy Simmons's large-scale figurative charcoal drawings grab breaths from the journals and speech of his own children to deal with loss, divorce and relationships; Hadiya Finley says the misshapen forms found in her semi-translucent fiberglass sculptures are connected to her childhood and notions of antiquity.
An artists' reception will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 1; the event will also celebrate the launch of the Proscenium Theatre Gallery and the work of Tucson artist Zak Knudtson. Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For more information, call the number above.
As soon as Jeremy Johnson heard a didgeridoo, he knew he wanted to play one.
"And I thought it might be something I could make," says Johnson. "I made one, and it turned out great; I made a couple more, and before I knew it, people were asking for them left and right.
"They're probably the oldest wind instrument know to man," he continues. "They've been dated back 40-60,000 years, and were the creation of the Aborigine people of Australia, where they were made from eucalyptus tree limbs that had been hollowed out by 'white ants' (termites). They used didgeridoos to tell stories and imitate the sounds of animals or nature, but they didn't consider them an instrument; to them, it was an extension of yourself, because every sound that comes out is a projection of what's inside."
Johnson himself was inspired by Allan Schockley, "the grandfather of the agave didgeridoo. He started making them 40-something years ago in Arizona, and was probably the first didge maker in the United States."
Agave didgeridoos are made from local century plants, after the plants have been dead for 18 months to a year. Johnson, who's partnered up with Kristine Ten Eyck for a joint didge-making venture (he makes them; she paints them), says they take "many hours" to make. While he's sold them for as little as $150, he's heard of other makers selling the instruments for as high as $2,000.
Johnson and Ten Eyck will have a dozen didgeridoos on display during the three-hour Saturday session; those in attendance with also have the opportunity to try the instruments for themselves, under careful supervision.