Christiane Kubrick wouldn't let her husband buy cigarettes, says Dan Richter. "So Stanley Kubrick would bum cigarettes off of me," Richter says in a phone interview from Southern California, where he works as a film-industry executive.
But how does Richter know about the late, legendary filmmaker's nicotine habits?
Arthur C. Clarke, the 88-year-old sci-fi author who collaborated with Kubrick on the classic 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, called Richter the "most famous unknown actor." But chances are Clarke's clue doesn't help you.
Remember the opening 18-minute scene in 2001? The one where the camera zooms in on Kubrick's "ape-men" pondering the appearance of a black monolith? Yeah, that one. Well, remember that feisty ape-man front and center who threw the first bone? That's Dan Richter.
"The music is played everywhere; they've done cartoons about it, commercials and comedy skits or whatever," Richter says of the famous "dawn of man" montage he and Kubrick planned for one year, "but very few people know that it was me who choreographed that scene."
Initially, Richter didn't even want the job. Kubrick had to convince him to leave his life in London as a struggling mime teacher. Richter loved the stage and wasn't keen on leaving. But when Richter acquiesced, he said he got to know a brilliant man.
"Sure, we would do 42 takes, but it was a wonderful experience," Richter says of his former smoke buddy Kubrick. "He had a great sense of humor, and he loved what he was doing, and if you loved it, too, it was so much fun to work with him."
Tickets to see 2001 on the big screen and to hear Richter speak are $5. --M.H.
Local writer Patricia Preciado Martin thought for the longest time that Eduardo "Lalo" Guerrero, a native of Barrio Libre and "father of Chicano music," would live forever. But a year ago, the 88-year-old Guerrero died, leaving Preciado Martin and many others to reflect on his legacy as a musician and farm-workers activist. Guerrero, Preciado Martin says, knew the value of a good laugh and how humor could motivate people to consider their actions and ideas.
To honor the work of artists such as Guerrero, the Tucson-Pima Public Library, the Friends of the Tucson-Pima Public Library and the Tucson chapter of REFORMA--an organization that works on improving information services for almost 30 million Spanish-speaking library users in the United States--presents the third annual Nuestras Raíces Literary Arts Festival. The three-day event not only celebrates "our roots" in terms of Mexican-American authors, arts and culture, but also commemorates the life of Guerrero at the Fox Theatre on Friday, March 3, at 7 p.m.
Featured author and activist Demetria Martinez echoes the importance of humor in her work. Martinez is a featured author on Saturday, March 4, at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library, and will read from her most recent work, Confessions of a Bertlitz-Tape Chicana.
"If activists can't laugh at themselves, they'll implode," Martinez says from her home in Albuquerque, N.M. "Sometimes we can take ourselves too seriously, which is a form of hubris, which is not healthy. But if you look at some of the great activists--Lupe Castillo, Isabel Garcia--what has inspired me is their ability to laugh at themselves and to laugh and keep on fighting good fight."
For details on where to find the laughter and additional events, visit www.tppl.org/nuestrasraices. --M.H.
At the 17th Street Market, the smells of Ecuadorian butterfish and Pacific sea bass mix with the sounds of an angklong, a Japanese musical instrument that sounds a little like a bamboo xylophone, and a rosewood drum table from Pakistan. A toddler bangs on the drum as her father waits.
Shoppers such as these might throw mango chutney, wild octopus or garnet yams into their carts. And on Saturday, shoppers will find two other sounds and sights: the music of the Utterback Middle School Jazz Ensemble and the performance art of Flam Chen, minus the pyrotechnics, says Bonnie Brooks, media director for the market.
"My thought (for this event) was again going back to the concept of family grocery shopping," Brooks says, "having a great weekend buying groceries and coming with your kids."
The remarkable thing about the 17th Street Market is all that it houses: a musical instrument store within the market known as the Guitar and World Music Store, a refrigerated produce section with goodies from kumquats to sunburst squash, aisles upon aisles of world foods from somen noodles to eggplant relish, and an open, airy warehouse environment replete with polished, concrete floors, sturdy shelving and high, open ceilings.
Once I familiarized myself with the store, it didn't seem so odd to have a middle school jazz band jamming out, with Flam Chen performing theatrics in the aisles. This world market is better than the national chain of the same name, albeit smaller and locally owned by Tucson Food Services, its parent company.
For details about Saturday's free festivities, which run from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., or to find out more, call 624-8821. --M.H.
First the bad news: Rhythm and Roots' concert on wheels--train wheels, that is--"Roots on the Rails" is sold out. A lot of us won't be the lucky 65 who get to ride with big-time singer-songwriters--Tom Russell, Andrew Hardin, Peter Rowan, Eliza Gilkyson and Steve Young--on the Sierra Madre Express, a restored vintage streamliner. The sold-out train ride takes passengers and their musical captains through Mexico's scenic Copper Canyon. Good for the lucky 65; bummer for the rest of us.
But the good news is that tickets to a farewell-before-the-rails concert are still available before the crew heads on down to Mexico.
Dubbed a "mini folk festival" by concert organizers Rhythm and Roots, this night at the Berger Performing Arts Center really does showcase some of the best folk and roots musicians. Tom Russell's work has been covered by Iris DeMent, k.d. lang and the late Johnny Cash, and he's even been called "the John Steinbeck of Western song." Peter Rowan's repertoire lassos bluegrass, folk, Tex-Mex and "Reggaebilly." Rowan's diverse discography explains why he's performed for almost 40 years. Eliza Gilkyson, my personal favorite, is often referenced as the daughter of well-known folksinger Terry Gilkyson, but Ms. Gilkyson deserves her own note. Gilkyson's gritty poetry and honeyed voice have appeared on NPR, Austin City Limits and on tribute albums to Bob Dylan and Greg Brown. Steve Young fuses Georgia-roots with California country-rock. Young has written some badass country songs, such as "Lonesome Orn'ry and Mean" and "Montgomery in the Rain."
Advance tickets may be purchased from Antigone Books, CD City, Enchanted Earthworks or online at www.rhythmandroots.org, for $27. They're $30 at the door. --M.H.