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Celebrating the Westside

Third Annual Fiesta Grande Street Fair
9:30 a.m. to dusk, Saturday, April 2; Noon to dusk, Sunday, April 3
Grande Avenue between Speedway Boulevard and St. Mary's Road

Deemed "the biggest event on the westside" in a recent news release, the annual Fiesta Grande Street Fair offers a variety of outdoor entertainment, ranging from a classic car show to a historic photo exhibit.

The start of the free event features a kick-off parade with a float designed by UA graduate students. After the parade at 10 a.m., two permanent historic murals will be unveiled and dedicated at Cocio-Estrada American Legion Post 59, 750 N. Grande Ave. The murals were created by Steve Farley and feature old black-and-white photos of neighborhood residents on 9-foot-tall tiles. According to a press release from the Historic Mural Project, the murals were selected from old neighborhood photographs that were previously submitted for the 2003 Fiesta Grande Street Fair. The photographs honor the people, traditions and history of Barrio Hollywood.

Throughout the two days, the multi-block festival features live music, including the music of Hollywood Knights and Los Changitos Feos, Native Thunder, Latino Solido and the Bobby Elias Band. On the community stage, bagpipers, belly dancers, gospel singers and flamenco dancers will entertain the masses. Kids can enjoy dance, arts and crafts, a carnival, Ferris wheel and more. There will be plenty of food, of course, including offerings from Pat's Chili Dog and local Mexican restaurants.

Proceeds from the fair will be used to support the Barrio Hollywood Neighborhood Association, including scholarships for neighborhood students, providing equipment at local schools, supporting programs at El Rio Neighborhood Center and assisting the elderly. --I.M.


All That Jazz

Arizona Jazz-a-thon
7 p.m., Friday, April 1; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, April 2, and Sunday April 3
Muse Community Arts Center
516 N. Fifth Ave.
250-7256

The third annual Jazz-a-thon will not only feature three nights of nationally recognized jazz artists, but will also teach its listeners how to appreciate the music.

Doug Tidaback, the director of the Arizona Jazz academy, calls it America's classical music.

"Popular culture is based on fads. It's constantly changing. (Jazz) is a much more sophisticated way to express the human experience," he says.

Tidaback says the event is meant to bring the jazz community together and give the Jazz Academy a chance to showcase its talent.

The event begins with "Echoes of Ellington," a performance by Ed Peterson, a tenor saxophone player and the director of jazz studies at the University of New Orleans, with the Arizona Jazz Orchestra. Peterson is one of the top 10 jazz musicians in the world, Tidaback says. Saturday features "A Tribute to Basie," a performance in honor of jazz musician Count Basie, who, Tidaback says, set the standard for Big Band music. The tribute will feature Dennis Rowland, a Grammy Award-winning jazz vocalist.

The performances rounds out with the "Big Band Marathon," an eclectic mix of big band music on Sunday evening that gives its audience a chance to dance.

Daytime events include a series of workshops about the importance of jazz and how to be a jazz artist and videos of rare jazz footage, as well as jam sessions from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Tidaback insists that although jazz has lost its popularity over the years, "there will always be an audience for it."

A one-day pass is $15. A two-day "Jazz Pass" is $25, and an all-event "Jazz passport" is $30. Call for tickets and more information. --A.L.


Changing Lives Through Music

Reveille Gay Men's Chorus Spring Concert
8 p.m., Saturday, April 2, and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 3
Crowder Hall
University Of Arizona
617-3100, reveillegmc.com

Artistic director Linus Lerner is clear about the goals for Reveille Gay Men's Chorus. "We are very aware we want to be an artistic group of significance in town. Our chorus is doing very well and has achieved a very interesting artistic result," he says.

But artistic excellence is only part of the mission of Reveille. The group seeks to promote human rights, reduce prejudice against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, and celebrate diversity and individual worth.

The chorus has been performing for 10 years in Tucson and throughout the world. Composed of gay and gay-supportive men, the group will be traveling to Brazil at the end of May. "We are going to Sao Paulo and will open the biggest (gay-rights) parade in the world. From there, we go to Rio de Janeiro, where we open the whole month of gay pride and help them with the creation of the first gay chorus in Brazil," says Lerner.

Closer to home, Lerner says, the group helps the community through outreach programs. The chorus has performed in churches, at AIDS walks, Gay Pride and other events. "We do everything that we can. We are increasing acceptance," he says.

Reveille's next concert emphasizes percussion and rhythm with music from Africa, Brazil, Tahiti and other corners of the globe. The UA's Capoeira group, Mandinga do Sertao, and Brazilian group Sambalanco, will also perform.

Tickets are $12 in advance at Antigone Books and Desert Pride, by calling 617-3100 or visiting reveillegmc.com. Otherwise, tickets are $15 at the door. --I.M.


Project H2O

Water and the Environment: The Role of Ecosystem Restoration
8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 7
Radisson Hotel City Center
181 W. Broadway Blvd.
ag.arizona.edu/azwater/conf2005, 792-9591

The Arizona Water Resources Research Center was founded in 1957 with a goal of

providing the public with expertise on water management and policy issues. In its annual conference next week, the center will focus on environmental enhancement programs throughout Arizona. The conference will bring together various experts to address the topic of ecosystem restoration.

The one-day event will feature a mix of keynote speakers, panel discussions and commentary to make sure the issue receives full and diverse coverage. The speakers, all experienced in the field of environmentalism, will discuss the purposes and benefits of ecosystem restoration and ongoing project implementation.

Panel session topics include: examples of successful ecosystem restoration projects; ongoing efforts in the Verde Watershed; the legal system as a tool for effecting environmental policy; the Colorado River Multispecies Conservation Plan; and funding opportunities for ecosystem restoration.

One topic is the Colorado River, in a drought since 1999. UA researchers have initiated a two-year plan to examine how they can use climate information in improving the water supply of the river.

"Representatives from federal and state agencies, environmental organizations and others will provide insight and a range of views on these topics of broad appeal to water/environmental professionals, lawyers, academics, public officials and the general public," according to the Arizona Water Resource Web site.

"This conference is designed for a broad audience," says WRRC director Sharon Medgal.

Early registration in recommended. Cost is $80 for the general public, and $25 for students. Visit the Web site or call for more information. --A.L.

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