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The Human Stain

Sierra Club meeting on border policy impact
7-9 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 9
Tucson Botanical Gardens
2150 N. Alvernon Road
795-6028

The Sierra Club, as part of their commitment to reach out to Latino communities at risk from environmental assault, has released a national report--in conjunction with Coalicion de Derechos Humanos/Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras and Defenders of Wildlife--that identifies 10 at-risk communities. Among problems that have been identified are Philadelphia's respiratory ailments due to pollution; the methyl bromide poisoning of migrant workers in Salinas, Calif.; and a rash of problems in Southern Arizona that are the result of border policy.

"They've built these 15-foot-high double walls," says Linda Rothchild, chair of the Tucson Sierra Club, "with tall lights at the border. The wildlife corridors are impeded, so some species are threatened (such as the Sonoran pronghorn), and then as the border crossers are pushed more into the desert and the Border Patrol chases them, the land gets tamped down and some of it is permanently damaged; it's a delicate ecosystem down there. Also, the border crossers themselves, innocent or no, are leaving things behind, many not biodegradable. And of course the people themselves are at risk, because they're out in the heat without food or water, in many cases."

Congressman Raúl Grijalva is one of the signers of the report, which is 20 pages long and written in both English and Spanish. Grijalva has applauded the Sierra Club's efforts, and says he "joins the call for environmental protection for all communities."

Representatives from the Coalicion de Derechos Humanos/Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras and Defenders of Wildlife will join the Sierra Club's Keith Bagwell to speak about the issues during the Sept. 9 event, which is free and open to the public.


Happy Days are Here Again

Rendezvous on Fourth Festival
4-9 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 4
Fourth Avenue
624-5004; www.fourthavenue.org

Someone decided it had been too long since I'd seen an I-swear-I'm-a-hippie's dirty feet, or smelled patchouli wafting on the September breeze, or contended with overly friendly boys who have dogs named Buddha. Someone decided to call the UA back into session.

And so, Fourth Avenue is having a "welcome back revenue party"--I'm sorry, make that a "welcome back students party"--on Saturday, Sept. 4, between University Boulevard and Ninth Street.

The Winsett Outdoor Performance Center (316 N. Fourth. Ave.) will host the Phantom DJ at 4 p.m.; La Cerca at 5 p.m. (they'll also perform at 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 5); and the Fourth Avenue Fashion Show at 6 p.m. The Arizona Jazz Academy will play the Chocolate Iguana (500 N. Fourth Ave.) at 5 p.m.; the Nick Luca Trio will perform on the Delectables Restaurant and Catering patio at 6 p.m.; the Arizona Sessions DJs can be found at Magpie's (509 N. Fourth Ave.) at 5 p.m.; and the Sharazad Middle Eastern Dance Troupe will perform on the Casbah patio (628 N. Fourth Ave.) at 5 p.m.

A sidewalk sale--the happiest part of every street fair--will line the avenue (vendors begin hawking their wares at 4 p.m.); KXCI 91.3 FM will broadcast live from the event between 4 and 9 p.m.; and scattered up and down the Ave., you'll find art, face painting, chair massages and tarot readings. The trolley will run all evening, and attendees are reminded that "the fun will continue in most of the nightclubs, bars and cafés along Fourth Avenue until the new closing time of 2 a.m.!"


Something Creepy This Way Comes

Tony's Creepy Crawly Zoo
Noon, Monday, Sept. 6
Bookman's
3733 W. Ina Road
579-0303

Tony, of Tony's Creepy Crawly Zoo, is pictured riding a giant, bucking scorpion on the calendar page of his Web site; as soon as he tames that arachnid, he's going to tell you all about it in one of his infamous 45-minute sessions.

Back in 1995, Tony was in his last semester at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, sitting around talking--as we all do--to a bunch of other entomology students. The consensus was that while all of them had been interested in bugs as kids, they had all later grown out of it because no one had told them that insects were a viable career choice. "Could you imagine," they said to each other, "if someone had gone to our schools and told us we could do this?"

"For myself," says Tony, "it would have saved me several previous majors."

So Tony took to the road, and has been bringing stink beetles, hissing cockroaches, walking sticks, African assassin bugs, praying mantises, black widows, trap door spiders, wolf spiders, whip scorpions, millipedes, centipedes and more to kids all over the country for more than nine years. He visits classrooms, libraries and festivals, allowing children to meet and handle insects they would otherwise never see, or--in my case--insects they'd be likely to run from (while shrieking).

The Sept. 6 Bookman's presentation is free, and if your kids' appetites aren't satisfied, there's a wealth of information on Tony's Web site: www.creepycrawlyzoo.com. If that's still not enough, you can take them to visit my mom's house in the Dragoons, where, every night, tarantulas wait patiently on your doorstop for you to return home.


Fair and Balanced

Screening of Outfoxed
7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 5
Wilde Playhouse
135 E. Congress St.
770-1000

I have to admit; I've been watching Fox News. I watch it because I find it so outrageously far from actual news that I actually get stuck in this place where I forget it's not just a sort of Mad TV-version of The Daily Show. I can't watch it for very long, but I've seen enough to know that what I call "truth" is what Fox commentator Bill O'Reilly calls "rank propaganda."

And that's what O'Reilly labeled Outfoxed, a 77-minute documentary by director/producer Robert Greenwald, who also directed Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War, Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election and will produce the upcoming Unconstitutional. Greenwald's projects have garnered 25 Emmy nominations, four Cable ACE Award nominations, two Golden Globe nominations, the Peabody Award, the Robert Wood Johnson Award and eight Awards of Excellence from the Film Advisory Board. He was also awarded the 2002 Producer of the Year Award by the American Film Institute.

Outfoxed examines Rupert Murdoch's Fox News empire, and includes commentary by former Fox News producers, reporters, bookers and writers, as well as media experts from groups like FAIR, Free Press and Media Matters. Called "a third-rate hack job" by Fox News correspondent Brian Wilson; "a cheesy little so-called documentary" by Fox News anchor John Gibson; and an "unfair ... slanted ... hit job" by Fox News Reporter Eric Shawn (who added, "and I haven't even seen it yet"), you can see what's got Fox's proverbial panties in a twist for only $3, thanks to Wilde Playhouse.

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