For 24 years, the Tucson Peace Center has organized the annual Peace Fair and Music Festival. In fact, the festival takes pride in being the largest gathering of its kind in Southern Arizona, says Linda Rothchild, a longtime Tucson Peace Center board member, environmental activist, musician and part-time publicist for the event.
"It's a celebration of peace, social justice, environmental and labor issues, too," Rothchild says. "And it's a great way to network. Next year will be the 25th annual Peace Fair and Music Festival, and that will be a biggie for us."
Before the quarter-of-a-century celebration happens, Rothchild says the Raging Grannies, the Spirit Familia with Jomo, Don Simpson, Ted Warmbrand and the Echo Hawk Dance Theatre, among others, will perform in the free celebration. Although this year's performers may not be as well-known last year's headliners--Lisa Otey and Kathleen Williamson--Rothchild says this year's lineup is sure to complement the festival's purpose.
"Basically, it's a gorgeous day of food, music, sunshine, peace, meeting other progressives and getting involved," Rothchild explains. "It's family-oriented; there are children's activities, so it's a great thing for the whole family. And, for the first time, we are actually beginning to get serious about looking to find a way to have a Peace House, a gathering place to gather and disseminate information and to have meetings and events in the Peace House."
If, or more likely when, the Peace House idea gets off the ground, Rothchild says the festival will probably remain at Reid Park. It's often too nice of a day not to grab an old blanket, spread out and listen to the music and messages of peace.
Last year, two days before Christmas, 84-year-old Jack K. Lee died of Alzheimer's disease in suburban Phoenix.
Before his death, Lee accomplished many things, including the composition of UA's fight song and taking the UA band to the Super Bowl in 1967. In 1951, Lee had just finished interviewing for the band director position and was on a plane back to Ohio. As he flew over Bear Down Gym, Lee penned "Bear Down, Arizona" on a barf bag. Sounds like the stuff myths are made of, but it's true, says Shirlee Bertolini, longtime friend and UA baton-twirling coach.
To celebrate not only the fight song, but also the man who arranged more than 80 published works for band, choir and orchestra, the UA Band Department, under the direction of Gregg Hanson, is presenting a free, memorial concert. Featuring the UA Wind Ensemble and Wind Symphony, the concert will be a Sousa-style affair highlighting music by Lee and others.
Bertolini's life was profoundly affected by Lee, who "discovered" her after finding out that she helped a high school drum major in Michigan win a band competition with her suggested routine. She was only 16 or 17 when that suggestion changed her life. Bertolini ended up on a train from Detroit to Tucson and, under Lee's support and guidance, started the UA's baton-twirling program.
"I think the whole concert is going to be fantastic, and my twirlers will be there," Bertolini says. "It's my 51st year of coaching, can you believe it?
"I just love helping kids because he helped me; I'm carrying it on."
After Hurricane Katrina and the public-policy disaster that followed, New Orleans will still host Mardi Gras. Survivors in the ravaged city hope the event will bring people back to the spared French Quarter. But for those who are not old enough to drive or fly to New Orleans without adult supervision--let alone drink bourbon or Hurricanes--the Tucson Children's Museum will host a Mardi Gras mask-making event on Feb. 28 to show local children what Carnival masks are all about.
The event is open to children ages 2 to 16. All children must be accompanied and supervised by an adult when visiting the museum. Admission is $3.50 for children, $4.50 for seniors and $5.50 for adults. The admission price covers the cost of mask-making supplies.
"There are two styles of masks they can choose from," says Peggy Solís, director of public relations and marketing for the museum. "They may choose a full mask or one for the eyes. There will be samples to look at, and all the glitter and feathers they may need."
While Solis says museum personnel can't go into great detail about the history of Carnival culture and Mardi Gras due to the wide age range of participants, she does say the museum will give a brief background about the cultural significance of the masks. Solís says the event is one of the scheduled activities the museum holds every Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. She also notes that the museum, in addition to glitter, beads, stickers and feathers, provides pre-cut masks so that children may spend more time decorating than using scissors.
For more information, or to find out about other activities the Tucson Children's Museum hosts, visit www.tucsonchildrensmuseum.org.
The subject of tequila often produces tired clichés of worms in the bottle or pop songs. Tequila has influenced a wide continuum of musicians, from The Champs, The Eagles and Jimmy Buffett to Sammy Hagar, Phish and country singer Joe Nichols.
So, tequila's inspired a lot of musical artists. But the Tucson Museum of Art wants you to consider a different image of tequila and its role in the arts with its first "Taste of Mexico" tequila-tasting fundraiser. The event costs $50 per person and highlights blanco, reposado and anejo tequilas. The ticket price also includes food and music. Sophia Partida, president of Partida Tequila, joins tasters to discuss her family's business.
"Most people, when they first start thinking of tequila, they think of their college days, of Jose Cuervo, of the worm in the bottle, but tequila has grown up from there," says Meredith Hayes, director of public relations and marketing for the museum. "In this vibrant arts community is a visual art museum that likes to support community members, to let them know that they are a part of this arts organization, and that we're more than this dusty, little, elitist organization off in the corner."
Surely tequila dispels dust and might just loosen museum donors' purse strings. The Feb. 23 event benefits the museum's year-long exhibit, Vistas of the Frontera, which began last November and showcases the work of six artists of Latino/a and Chicano/a heritage. Claudia Bernardi's art is currently featured.
For tickets, call 624-2333, ext. 109, or purchase them at the door on the night of the event.