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Rock the Block

Fox Fiesta Community Block Party
11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 7
Fox Theatre and surrounding block, 17 W. Congress St.
624-1515

Catch a classic flick in a classic theater, with the first movie showings at downtown's Fox Theatre in more than three decades. Another option: Rock out to some free music and jump around at the block party happening outside.

The films are The Wizard of Oz at 4 p.m., and the Humphrey Bogart classic Casablanca at 8 p.m. Film tickets are $7 each.

This will be the second event at the Fox as part of its re-opening ceremonies; it held a gala opening on New Year's Eve. Except for the films, this event is free to attend, and the theater is offering an open house from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The outdoor block party encompasses an area from Broadway Boulevard to Pennington Street, and from Church Avenue to Scott Avenue. The corner of Stone Avenue and Congress Street marks the block party's centerpoint.

There will be two music stages set up outdoors and bands set to play include The Wayback Machine, The Desert Cadillacs, the Brazilian Percussion Ensemble named Batucaxe and girl rockers Sara Bellum.

There also will be vintage car displays and jumping castles.

The resurrection of the Fox marks the culmination of a six-year restoration project for the theater, one of only nine listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Fox opened its doors in 1930 and was closed for more than three decades. The $13 million restoration project included recreating the lobby and other parts of the theater.

As an aside, according to the theater, more than 5,000 parking spaces are available within a three block radius of the Fox, and many are free for the weekends. --M.W.


Shining a Modern Spotlight

Songs of the South: Musical Performances and Film Screening
2:30 to 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 8
Zuzi's Theater, 738 N. Fifth Ave.
270-3332

The Disney film Song of the South cannot be found on home video. Indeed, the film, which first came out in 1946, last was seen in theaters in 1986 as a re-release. However, you probably know songs from Song of the South, like "Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah," which is still used to promote Disney's theme parks.

Disney chose not to release the film due to its portrayals of African-American slaves after the Civil War as living idealized, happy lives.

"Even by the trailer, I knew it was a crock," To-Ree'-Nee' McArdle said of Song of the South. For Sunday's event, she, accompanied by other musicians, will be performing music from the film and the era, but with each song given a twist.

The event also features a rare screening of the film itself, made possible by a private film collector, said Kevin Johnson, artistic director for Arizona Onstage Productions. The live action/animated film will be shown in its entirety, including the often-removed "Tar Baby" scene.

McArdle, nee Keiser, said the film is an example of something being hidden from public view, which stifles potential dialogue about greater issues in America.

"There's still so much we don't talk about," she said, adding, "If you sweep things away, you don't learn."

The film was based on the Uncle Remus set of stories written by Joel Chandler Harris, featuring Brer Rabbit and other characters. Incidentally, the film won two Academy Awards.

Tickets to this event can be bought at the door for $15 for general admission and $12 for students and teachers. The show is rated G, but discretion regarding the film is advised. --M.W


Ask the Experts

There's a Bobcat in My Backyard! How to Live with and Enjoy Urban Wildlife: Slide Presentation, Q&A and Book Signing
7 to 8:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 9
Duval Auditorium, University Medical Center, 1501 N. Campbell Ave.
www.tucsonaudubon.org

Whether you're new to town or have some desert experience, this free presentation will shed light on questions like how to attract hummingbirds, how to deal with rodents and, if you live near coyotes, what may have happened to your lost cat.

Tucson native Jonathan Hanson, author of the desert primer There's a Bobcat in My Backyard!, will conduct a slide presentation before opening the event into a Q&A session. He and Elissa Ostergaard, an urban wildlife biologist for the Arizona Game and Fish Department, will answer any questions or concerns about living with local wildlife.

"The line where urban Tucson ends and the surrounding desert begins is impossible to pinpoint," Hanson writes in his book's introduction. This event should give insight on how to make living amidst the desert's creatures a pleasant experience.

The book acquaints the reader to various desert animal species and how to handle the troublesome ones in a conversational tone.

In addition to There's a Bobcat in My Backyard!, released in 2004, the husband-and-wife pair of Jonathan and Roseann Hanson, combined, have written more than a dozen books about the local region, animal biology and outdoor sports.

This event is one of many part of an effort set up by the Tucson Audubon Society, the Arizona Game and Fish Department and Tucson Botanical Gardens to give people knowledge on how to deal with certain issues that arise from living with urban wildlife.

After the question-and-answer session, Jonathan Hanson will be available during a post-presentation book signing. --M.W


Music With a Cause

Arizona Together Benefit Concert
8 P.m., Friday, Jan. 6
Historic "Y" Building, 738 N. Fifth Ave.
275-4790; Arizona Together

Enjoy a toe-tapping time with an award-winning songstress while supporting one side's efforts in what will be one of Arizona's prime fights for 2006.

The Arizona Together Benefit Concert will feature songwriter Kathleen Williamson, a local musician who performs her own politically oriented songs that use elements of folk, jazz, soul and rock.

"Kathleen reaches across a wide audience," says Jess Knutson, the event's organizer and also a field campaign coordinator for Arizona Together.

Williamson headlined at the Tucson Folk Festival in 1986 and co-founded the local, independent record label Owl's Nest Productions with Lisa Otey in 1987. Williamson has toured Europe, North America and Asia.

Her latest CD, The Sacred Spud, was released in August 2005 and is available via CDbaby.com. It features songs including "My Hometown," about the effects the Iraq war has had on Tucson.

"She's a neat, fun performer," Knutson says.

The benefit concert will support Arizona Together, a broad-based coalition of groups against the proposed "Protect Marriage Arizona" amendment, which would further restrict domestic partnership rights for both straight and homosexual couples. The amendment, primarily supported by the Center for Arizona Policy, is not yet on the ballot.

The amendment will not affect the legality of same-sex marriage one way or the other--it is currently banned in Arizona--but instead would affect other legal rights currently given to non-married couples, including medical benefits and domestic-abuse rights, according to the Web site of Arizona Together.

The concert tickets sell for a $25 minimum donation to Arizona Together. They are available at Antigone Books (411 N. Fourth Ave.). Seating is limited. --M.W

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