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Remembering the Less Fortunate

Annual Homeless Persons' Memorial
3 to 5 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 21
Evergreen Cemetery, 3015 N. Oracle Road
623-5111, ext. 104

Once in a while, the joking has to stop; certain events deserve reverence. The Annual Homeless Persons' Memorial is one such event.

Hosted by the Primavera Foundation and the Tucson Planning Council for the Homeless, the event is a memorial service for the 231 of those who died in extreme poverty in Pima County this year. This is a staggering number, and organizations like the Primavera Foundation and Tucson Planning Council for the Homeless are striving to forge change--but they cannot do it alone.

According to their Web sites, The Primavera Foundation "promotes economic and social justice while working to build a future in which all people are assured basic human rights, a livable income and safe, affordable housing," while the Tucson Planning Council for the Homeless "is a coalition of organizations and individuals committed to reducing homelessness and addressing issues related to homelessness in the Tucson community."

Attendance at free events like the Annual Homeless Persons' Memorial is a first step you can take toward addressing the issue of poverty. Once there, if you're further interested in how to help, you can speak with officials from both organizations. --M.P.


Kalimba Christmas

Mark Holdaway's Kalimba Christmas and Womansong
7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 17
Synchronicity Center, 1701 E. Lind Road
881-4666

During my youth in Africa, I became quite the accomplished kalimba player until I had an unfortunate kalimba-related mishap in St. Petersburg.

OK, so that's not true, nor is it relevant to the kalimba-related Christmas concert featuring Mark Holdaway and WomanSong happening this Saturday.

Hold on, captain, you say; what's a kalimba? Well, according to the press release, the African instrument has "a voice like something between a bell and a waterfall" and "can take you to places that are both internal and cosmic." So, essentially, it's very much like a pixie. From the looks of a photo of the fantastical instrument, I'd say it's more like a finger harp ... albeit one that, of course, can take you deep inside yourself or out of this world.

All joking aside, Mark Holdaway is the real deal when it comes to kalimba players. The dude has been at it for 19 years, and his release modestly notes he "is one of the best players in the world." He will be performing some choice kalimba Christmas classics, likely plenty from Christmas Kalimba, his recently released CD. However, because it is the season for sharing and giving, Holdaway will also lend some of his spotlight to WomanSong. The nonprofit female choir will have two of its members, Linda Tepper Rothchild and Grace Harris, perform more Christmas tunes, with Holdaway accompanying on guitar and, you guessed it, kalimba.

The event is $10, which I would pay alone to see a kalimba in action (let alone performing Christmas faves). To see what all the fuss is about and enjoy some interesting takes on Christmas music, check it out. --M.P.


O Starry Night

Winter Solstice-Starry Starry Night
6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 21
Cascade Lounge, Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, 7000 N. Resort Drive
529-7936

The winter solstice, for all those astronomy nerds, is the time "when the earth is at a point in its orbit where one hemisphere is most inclined away from the sun" (thanks, Wikipedia). For the rest of us, it's that day when the sun disappears before we know what's hit us, and the night seems to go on and on and on.

For Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, the winter solstice--or at least the eve of the winter solstice--is reason to celebrate. The resort, along with local community members, patrons of the hotel and special guests, like nonprofit organization New Beginnings for Women and Children, will host Starry Starry Night. Don't get the wrong idea, because Starry Starry Night is not your average winter solstice eve celebration. Not by a long shot.

The unique bash will host a variety of entertainment and provide plenty of goodies. According to the resort's press release, the celebration "blends a combination of performances including Chanukah music, traditional Christmas carols performed by Katy and Doug Martin, Mexican Music by Mariachi Tierra del Sol and a full Posada performance departing by candlelight from the Main Lobby." Sure, that sounds great, but where's the free chow? Well, the resort also invites solstice celebrators to "enjoy complimentary, holiday refreshments of spiced apple cider, roasted chestnuts, gingerbread cake and star-shaped cookies."

The event is free and sounds like a good time to be had; check it out for yourself. --M.P.


Wayne's World

Robert Wayne Book Signing
4 to 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 16; 3 to 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 17
The Max Gallery, 3001 E. Skyline Drive
529-7349

Think of all those people who have the ability to say, "I saw them when ...," like those who saw Calexico when they played at a house party, or those who hung with Matt Groening at Club Congress back in the day. Envy them?

Well, then you might want to head over to Robert Wayne's first "official" book signings this Friday and Saturday. Who knows? Someday, people may be shocked to hear you "saw him when ...," consequently bolstering your street cred.

According to the press release, Wayne has just released Partners, his latest novel. The action/romance book is the first in a trilogy "that showcases our great Southwest." Sounds intriguing, but what exactly is an action/romance novel with a Southwestern twist? Well, the book is "loosely based on true events and concerns the lives of two working cowboys who face the ultimate test: adapting to a changing modern world."

Fret not; this isn't a tale about cowboys forced to take jobs at Web-design firms because of modernization. Rather, it is the classic struggle between cowboys and greedy real estate moguls, with fair amounts of suspense, action and romance thrown in for good measure. The Max Gallery and Bill Moomey, who illustrated the front cover and interior illustrations (it's a picture book!) of Partners, will be hosting Wayne's first and second official book signings. All are invited; books are to be signed, and bragging rights remain to be seen. --M.P.

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