In A Touch of Spice, the life of Dr. Fanis Iakovides (George Corraface) is placed at a crossroads upon the death of his grandfather. He must return to Istanbul, the city where he spent his first years until his family, along with most other Greek citizens living in Turkey in 1965, was forced out of the nation.
The mass deportation came five years after the nation went through a military coup d'etat.
A Touch of Spice is an award-winning film released in Greece in 2003. This historical-fiction movie focuses on Fanis, who has to return to Turkey after living most of his life feeling disconnected from his grandfather, who stayed in Turkey.
"The Greeks saw us as Turks, and the Turks saw us as Greeks" is a saying that applies to the situation that the deported Turkish Greeks faced.
"There aren't many films about Greeks going to Turkey," event organizer Carrie Brown says. Brown works as the outreach coordinator for the Arizona Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the UA.
The center runs a variety of film series throughout the year, and sometimes has lectures. The center also has a large Middle Eastern film library that offers a free rental service, Brown says. A Touch of Spice is one of the films now available for rental.
The film is done in Turkish and Greek, with English subtitles. There is brief nudity due to scenes of breastfeeding.
Professor Linda Darling of the UA's history department will do a brief presentation before the film starts. This event is free. --M.W.
Go on a journey of imagination with Little Frida and Her Magic Paintbrush, debuting this Sunday.
Little Frida is a bilingual musical loosely based on the life of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. Kahlo, who died in 1954, was best known as the surrealist painter who often exaggerated her looks in self-portraits to emphasize a unibrow and thin moustache.
The inspiration for the play came from visiting Kahlo's home on the outskirts of Mexico City, says author Michael Martinez. Visiting Kahlo's house, which was opened to the public as a museum in 1958, was "impactful," he says. The musical was written right afterward.
"I wanted to create a story about her," Martinez says. "The play is a reconstructionist piece ... that tells how Frida first picks up a paintbrush."
12-year-old Savannah Rae Linz and adult Holli Henderson both don the unibrow and share the main role. Martinez plays an evil warlock in the Imagination Land. The show is largely meant as a comedy.
The play takes place mostly in her imagination, says Martinez, who is also the director of music for Live Theatre Workshop and handles music direction for the All Together Theatre series.
Watermelons are one of the objects featured in the musical, which relates to Kahlo's final piece of art, a still-life painting involving watermelons. Kahlo was married to fellow painter Diego Rivera and overcame not only a bout with polio but also a life-threatening automobile accident in 1925.
Tickets for Little Frida cost $7 for adults and $5 for those less than 18 years old; for reservations, call the theater's box office. The play runs 45 minutes. --M.W.
Bisbee may be best known as a mining town that hit its stride in the first half of the 20th century--or it may be best known for the deportation of the "Wobblies," roughly 1,000 suspected members of the International Workers of the World, by the mining company there in 1917.
However, this Saturday, the town will for the day be the largest place for blues music in Arizona. The Bisbee Blues Festival is set to feature seven bands, along with lots of food and fun.
Scheduled performers include the Bad News Blues Band, Train Wreck, Bisbee's own Buzz and the Soul Senders, Patrick Gahn, Tom Walbank and the Ambassadors and the Kat Crosby Band. For the Bad News Blues Band, from Tucson, it is one of the stops on their American tour.
The music is not just limited to hard blues, as the bands also sway into genres including folk and rock and roll.
Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the day of the festival. The tickets are sold through the festival's Web site and places including the Bisbee Chamber of Commerce, the Bisbee Visitor Center and Atalanta's Music and Books.
To get to the hilly town of Bisbee, follow Interstate 10 east toward El Paso and go southbound at Exit 303, which is State Highway 80. Bisbee is roughly 90 miles from Tucson, but the trip to see the town is worth it. --M.W.
Concert promoter and social activist Ted Warmbrand says he likes to get people singing together. As the force behind the 26-year-old Itzaboutime Productions, Warmbrand is in the right business. He's presented more than 100 concerts throughout the years, including performances by Pete Seeger, Joan Baez and Guardabarranco. But once a month, he also coordinates free "community sings" for the Tucson public.
For two hours, interested singers gather in a circle to sing "songs that have hope in them, songs that look at the world in realistic ways," says Warmbrand. "There are goofy songs, hopeful songs, sad songs ... hopefully, we go through all the emotions."
Warmbrand started the community sings about three years ago, because he found people wanted to get together and sing. There was a recent hiatus for six months, but Warmbrand is getting things started once again and plans to have the sings once a month. After this Saturday, the next one is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 24.
"I wouldn't call myself a professional singer, but more a song collector and purveyor. I collect singable songs," says Warmbrand. With a repertoire of more than 1,000 songs, he enjoys the chance to "keep songs in circulation."
Singers can expect a variety of songs, from zipper songs--"a repetitive piece where you zip in a new word or phrase"--to responders, where a phrase is sung and people respond to it. But no instruments are required, as Warmbrand brings an instrument only to "help line up harmonies."
Billed as an improvisational experience, Warmbrand's community sings are designed to get people signing together. He believes that singing is one of the oldest things around that can change our moods. "I think there is a need for it," he says. --I.M.