Big doings in Tucson this week.

City Week 

Calling All Women

Third Annual Women's Health Expo
9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, April 16
McCLelland Hall, 1130 E. Helen St. (UA Campus)
pharmacy.arizona.edu/organizations/asp/whe

In this age of the mighty HMOs and their propensity to say "not covered," it's great to see a free health fair. At this third annual women's expo, women are invited to a day of free health screenings, presentations and information.

College of Pharmacy and UA College of Medicine students will be on hand to offer screenings for diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, osteoporosis and depression. According to the press release, the Pima County Health Department will do HIV/AIDS testing, and the American Lung Association and Pima Community College will provide pulmonary function tests. Vision tests will be offered, and more than 50 health organizations and local businesses will provide information as exhibitors.

There will also be presentations on women's health issues throughout the day. At 9:30 a.m., Dr. Lane P. Johnson presents "Discussing Herbal Remedies With Your Health Practioner." At 10:30 a.m., Sandra Leal discusses "La Diabetes" (in Spanish). At 11:30 a.m., Dr. Kathy Reed discusses "What Do Women Want in Health?" At 1 p.m., Patricia Harmon, CEO of Sunstone Health Center, presents "Mind and Body and Soul: The Connection for Cancer Survivors." At 2 p.m., Liz Barta offers information about "Desert Dangers: Venomous Creatures of the Desert."

Even though the speakers focus on women's health issues, admission is open to anyone.

Free parking for the event will be available in the Park Avenue garage on the northeast corner of Speedway Boulevard and Park Avenue. --I.M.


Second Chance

Cannibal: The Musical
8 p.m., Friday, April 15; 3 p.m., 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., Saturday, April 16
Zuzi's Theater, 738 N. Fifth Ave.
www.arizonaonstage.org

High school student Zach Singer had a wish. He wanted to perform South Park co-creator Trey Parker's Cannibal: The Musical at his school. To increase his chances, Singer edited out profanity and potentially offensive religious references.

That didn't persuade Ironwood Ridge High School's administration; they banned the performance of the play.

Zinger went to the press, and a story ran in the Northwest Explorer about his experience. Local resident Oksana Sparks read the story and agreed to support an off-campus production of the play. Sparks heads the Matlou Ranch Foundation, which supports community service programs in Botswana. A second chance was born.

"All proceeds go to benefit the foundation, which is exciting for all of us," says Cannibal's producer and licensor, Jason McHugh. "This has turned a negative into a positive."

Cannibal: The Musical was written by Parker about 10 years ago. It tells the true story of a convicted cannibal, Alferd Packer, with dance and singing mixed in. The film has gained a cult following, with costumed fans acting out the scenes in Rocky Horror fashion. The film version was adapted to the stage, and according to McHugh, was first performed in 1998 and then in 2000 off-off-Broadway. "There's been an explosion of theater groups around the world who want to perform it."

Out of the confines of his high school, student director Zach Singer will have more creative freedom at the Zuzi's Theater performance. "He's brave enough to want to do something off campus," says McHugh.

Tickets for the play are $15; $12 for students and seniors and can be purchased online at arizonaonstage.org. --I.M.


Spring Has Sprung

Art Al Fresco Public Exhibition and Silent Auction
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, April 16
5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m, Wednesday, May 11
Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way
326-9686, Ext. 10

In a city with few April showers, what better way is there to accent a spring garden at its peak than a diverse mix of artwork? Tucson Botanical Gardens will present its 13th annual Art al Fresco exhibit, with about 100 pieces of garden art inspired by the theme of birds.

"It's totally eclectic. It's a very unusual event," says Michelle Conklin, the director of development for the TBG.

The bird theme will bring a variety of art pieces, including beautiful tiled birdbaths and a four-panel iron screen, Conklin says.

"From funky to elegant, these unique creations are sure to enchant and delight visitors," a press release chirps.

For this year's exhibit, the Botanical Gardens invited past artists back to participate, while also calling on new artists through three Arizona arts organizations. Each artist will receive 30 percent of the of the auction price for his or her piece.

"The garden in the spring is spectacular. When you (take) the beauty of the garden and put in art, it's just magical," Conklin says. Event co-chairs are Nancy Lutz and Lee Karpiscak, best known for their work on the Ponies del Pueblo project, a 2003 art exhibit and auction that benefited 35 nonprofit organizations and artists.

"Lee and I look forward to a long relationship with the Tucson Botanical Gardens on projects that combine art and nature," Lutz said. The exhibit culminates with a closing reception party with musical entertainment, giving the audience one last chance to bid on the artwork. Proceeds will go to the TBG's educational programs.

Cost of the exhibit is free with admission to the Botanical Gardens: $5 for adults, $2.50 for children ages 6-12, free for children under 5. Cost for the closing reception party is $25. --A.L.


Fate of the Family

Gian Carlo Menotti's The Consul
7:30 p.m., Friday, April 15, and Saturday, April 16; 2 p.m., Sunday, April 17
TCC Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave.
293-4336/321-1000, www.azopera.org

The Pulitzer Prize-winning opera The Consul portrays the life of a family in Europe fighting to escape a dictatorial government. Inspired by a true story, The Consul tells the tale of the Sorel family's struggles during the Cold War. The secret police pursue John Sorel, a freedom fighter, forcing him to flee to the mountains and wait for his wife to get visas for the rest of the family. In her attempts to find a way out of the country, the wife and other citizens are denied the opportunity to even meet with the Consul. The red tape of bureaucracy drives her to take desperate measures in securing the fate of her family.

The New York Times deemed The Consul "an opera of eloquence, momentousness and intensity of expression unequalled by any native composer," according to a press release. This performance is Gian Carlo Menotti's first full-length work and won the New York Drama Critics Circle award as the best musical play of the year in 1954.

The opera is sung in English and will include English surtitles projected on a screen above the stage. This, along with the fact that it is so infrequently performed, makes it a very distinctive opera, says Liz Warren, a spokeswoman for Arizona Opera.

"It is a really unique opportunity to see something that's rarely performed and yet widely regarded as the composer Menotti's greatest work. It's a very tragic and extraordinarily dramatic piece."

The Consul is the fifth and final performance of Arizona Opera's 2004-2005 season. Bus transportation from Green Valley is available on Friday and Sunday. Tickets range from $26 to $96. --A.L.

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