It's time for the annual OUToberFEST--a 10-hour-long celebration that includes a variety of live music, comedy and the "Viva La Diva" drag show (emceed by Bunny Fu Fu, Miss Gay Arizona 2004), plus approximately 100 food, retail and nonprofit vendors.
"From the point of view of the LGBT community," says Bob Bowers, secretary of Tucson Pride, "it's kind of a tradition to have a pride festival, and to basically celebrate unity, pride in ourselves and the fact that we're here. Having a festival allows the general community to come and find out that LGBT people are just people. And it's a family-oriented event; it's been going on for 29 years. We've had this large-scale event in Reid Park for about 10 years, and it's been basically successful and incident-free event for that whole time. It's just been a nice day of friendship and companionship and people and families meeting."
From entertainment headliner Paul Lekakis (best know for his Top 10 hit, "Boom Boom Boom--Let's Go Back to My Room") to Lee Anne Savage, Mark Weilgle, Yvonne Perea, Lisa Otey, Tammy West and Namoli Brennet, there's a performer for every musical taste; and there's nothing to complain about on the food front, either, with everything from Thai to Italian and Mexican being served up on festival grounds.
Agencies and organizations serving the LGBT community will offer literature and information. If you need additional information ahead of time, call the Pride Line at the number above, or log on to their Web site.
Admission to OUToberFEST is $7 (coupons for $2 off admission are available at Wingspan, Desert Pride, Antigone Books, IBT's, Woody's and Howl at the Moon); children 7 and younger will be admitted free.
As a child, I never met an instrument I couldn't play. From flute to soprano saxophone to lap harp--I played them not because I loved them (although there were moments), but because it required very little work to play them better than the rest of the kids did, and it garnered me a lot of attention.
I got my comeuppance on the day of my first piano lesson. Sitting outside a closed door, waiting for the previous student to finish a fast, complicated piece of music, I wondered how many years that student had studied--five? Ten? And then a 3-year-old Japanese girl walked out, holding the teacher's hand.
I lasted four months before ceding the piano to people who loved it and were willing to do the work.
I can't be the only person who had this experience--batches of incredibly young, incredibly talented pianists were popping up all over my town in those days (thanks mostly to devotees of the Suzuki method of teaching), which wasn't exactly a hotbed of culture.
Japanese pianist Junko Ueno Garret knows something about starting young; she, too, was a 3-year-old when she first began to study. She trained at the prestigious Toho Gakuen School of Music, and was already a well-known performer in Japan before moving to the United States in 1989.
On Saturday, Garret will present 100 Years of Japanese Piano Music, introducing Japanese piano pieces composed prior to World War II--by such composers as Rentaro Taki and Kosaku Yamada--as well as contemporary pieces, including works by Toru Takemitsu. The concert is free and open to the public.
If the phrase "textile arts" makes you (like me) run for cover in fear of ratty hemp squares with the occasional bead or animal bone woven in, relax. Peruvian artist Máximo Laura creates tapestries that overflow with almost-liquid color, inviting viewers to refer to them as paintings rather than weavings, while rendering--in the words of the director of Boston's Equator Gallery--"his own gods, his own ghosts ... voices in the wind, fiery sunsets and horizons made of a thousand colored fibers. ...
"Máximo has many stories to reveal. War cries, brave felines and birds and mountain songs live in his mind ever since his questions unraveled in history books, and in the myths and tales in his grandparents' voices. He is an inborn rebel; nothing stops his creative fever."
Laura is a fifth-generation master weaver who inherited from his parents and grandparents--all master weavers from Ayacucho--the traditional style of ancient weavers called cumbimayocs. But while he is ultimately respectful of the iconography and colors of the ancient Wari culture (which predates the Inca culture), it is his juxtaposition of those traditions with his own design elements and narrative that have earned him many international awards, distinctions and exhibits.
Silver Llama gallery owner Tom Findley will present a three-day exhibition of Laura's tapestries Oct. 8-10; the exhibition will features three appearances by Laura himself, from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Laura will speak informally about the pieces on display, and Peruvian food and drink will be served.
Free and open to the public; call the number above for more information.
Tucsonans accustomed to swatting any insect within reach as a defense against West Nile virus will have to stifle that impulse when visiting the Tucson Botanical Gardens' new exhibit, Butterfly Magic.
In what's being billed as "the first live tropical butterfly exhibit to ever take flight in Arizona," more than 500 butterflies in an indoor, tropical setting will "sip nectar from hundreds of flowers and plants while they flitter and dance through the air, and even softly land on visitors."
(Smack! No, no, no.)
Besides the hundreds of live butterflies, you'll be surrounded by orchids and other nectar-bearing plants, be able to witness the life cycle of a queen butterfly, pose with a larger-than-life butterfly, learn how to create butterfly gardens on your own property and--of course--visit the "butterfly kiosk" to purchase butterfly gifts.
Butterfly Magic is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and runs through Jan. 20, 2005. Admission is $8 for adults, $3.50 for kids age 6 to 12 (includes admission to the rest of the gardens, open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily) and free for those younger than 6. All proceeds benefit the TGB, a private nonprofit designed to promote botanical, horticultural and ecological education and--on a mid-summer afternoon--the advantages of wearing sunscreen.
Call the number above for additional information.