It sounds like something straight from The Twilight Zone: Tucson: A group of rich, pro-Bush supporters arrives at Antigone to perform and to promote their newest book, Billionaires for Bush: How to Rule the World for Fun and Profit. Barnes & Noble, maybe ... but Antigone?
"They're doing their tour through (Southwestern) swing states, promoting the concerns of the hugely rich," says Antigone co-owner Kate Randall, completely out of context.
Well, fear not; the vast right-wing conspiracy has not infected our left-leaning friends on Fourth Avenue. As many of you know, the Billionaires for Bush (billionairesforbush.com) are a satire performance group--based in New York City with more than 85 chapters across the country, including one here in Tucson--that shows up at various events to protest Bush and his economic policies by assuming the identities pro-Bush billionaire characters. You may recall a Guest Commentary in this very newspaper by a local B4B, Tex Shelters (aka Joe Callahan) on Aug. 19, in which Shelters argued that "we need to expand corporate influence in our schools and universities to make sure that all available resources go to those who need them the least--the richest 1 percent."
Well, a group of B4Bs, both local and national, will show up at Antigone, in a limo, to "promote" their president. In addition to performing and reading from the new book, they'll take questions from the audience. And don't tell the B4B elites this, but the show/reading is free.
Except for the events with those goofy Billionaires and those insane, sleep-deprived playwrights, you may be noticing a City Week theme this week: The weather's getting not-as-hot, so we're heading outside, baby.
And some of us are celebrating by dancing.
Talented folks come to us from FUNHOUSE movement theater, who--with the help of Tucson Parks and Recreation and some guests from Flagstaff--will be dancing for us under the stars for the second straight year for Dance in the Park. For three nights at Reid Park, they'll perform two of their most popular pieces--and it's free for all who care to attend.
With a lil' help from the Canyon Movement Company from Flagstaff, 19 dancers will perform in Lee Anne Hartley's "As Time Goes By," and Thom Lewis' "Circus Americus." Hartley's dance, which Lewis describes as "beautifully reminiscent and nostalgic," was inspired by her parents' relationship, how they met and how it progressed through the years. The dance includes music from Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong and--in a bit of a twist--the theme from The Lone Ranger. "It has a lot of beautiful moments," Lewis says.
On a different note (beat? step?) is Lewis' "Circus Americus." He performs as a ringmaster on stilts, and is joined by a juggler, a "scary clown brigade" and a two-headed (and thus two-faced) politician. "Like a lot of my work, it has a political side," says Lewis.
Oh--Lewis says his dance also includes "a slightly twisted ménage a trois tango." I just thought you'd like to know that.
Staying with the multicultural theme, let's head east toward the UA, where we'll be able to find more than a bit of Hispanic culture, in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month.
It's actually a three-pronged celebration, thanks to the good folks at the Arizona State Museum. Prong one is an exhibition by a Tucson muralist, TIEMPO: The Art of Gonzalo Espinosa, on display at the museum through Oct. 15. Prong two is Gran Tardeada, a party on Friday, Oct. 1, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. featuring Mexican masks and other rarely seen tidbits from the museum's collection, as well as information on plans for Rio Nuevo's West Side Cultural Plaza. (Admission is $15 for museum nonmembers, $10 for members; RSVP to 621-6278.)
But it's the third prong that has us excited: a mercado on Saturday Oct. 2, on the museum's west lawn. Under decreasingly hot, yet still sunny skies (we hope), some 30 artists and artisans from the Southwest and Latin America will be selling their wares, including Freddy Acuna Acuna and his Costa Rican bas-relief sculptures; Luis Blanco and his signature black clay ceramics; and Antonio Mendoza and his textiles. Of course, music performers and food vendors will be on hand, too.
Admission to the mercado is $4 for nonmembers, $3 for museum members. Kids age 13-16 get in for a buck; the wee ones 12 and below get in gratis.
One of the things that the most rabid right-wingers like to snivel about most is multiculturalism. The act of celebrating and embracing different cultures, they say, leads to divisions and chaos and all-around bad mojo.
Excuse me while I pronounce such assertions to be hogwash.
As example No. 1, I give you the Third Annual Children's Social Powwow--and all its events are free. A joint project of the Tucson Children's Museum and the Tucson Indian Center, the powwow's goal is to allow children and their families to learn about the varying cultural traditions of the local Native American community. And what better way is there to learn than to have a powwow, described by one reliable source (i.e., this here press release) as "social gatherings of Native peoples from different tribes. The ... end goal is to come together to celebrate in one another's diverse traditions"?
Amen to that.
The powwow's main events will take place in Armory Park, where attendees will get to see (and, obviously, learn about) the different types of Native American powwow dances, with their differing song styles and regalia. The Tucson Indian Center's Wellness Department will run some fine healthy activities, meant to work out both body and mind. There will also be the requisite arts and crafts vendors and food vendors. Across the street at the museum, at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., there will be activities, too--kids can make their own dreamcatchers and Guatemalan worry dolls, according to museum spokeswoman Peggy Solís.