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Dance Away the Pain

Belly Dance Benefit for Lucy Lipschitz
4 to 6 p.m., Saturday, April 1
Heart-Five, 61 E. Congress St.
250-8523; www.midriffcrisis.com

If there were such a thing as a godmother of belly dance, Lucy Lipschitz might be Tucson's.

Dubbed a "driving force behind the Tucson belly-dance scene" by Beth Biller, a member of the tribal belly-dance troupe Midriff Crisis, Lipschitz has recently been diagnosed with a rare form of melanoma in her left eye.

As a result, Biller and others are banding together to show their love and support for Lucy, a self-proclaimed "dancer, diva and dreamer." The benefit features the moves of Midriff Crisis, Veils of Mystery, Makibi, Susan Tiss, Ziva B of Phoenix and others.

"Lucy has been instrumental to this community and in helping bring it together," Biller says. "Different groups of dancers didn't interact before, but now they interact more, because she's organized events and brought everyone together."

Lipschitz has written about the healing effects of belly dance on her Web site. Biller hopes to extend that circle of healing.

Why is it that belly dancing is so life affirming?

"I think three things," Biller says in response. "One, it's a very supportive community. People are equally supportive of dancers of all ages, shapes and sizes. Two, the dance moves themselves are very therapeutic. For someone coming back from illness, it's an entryway, but even for people who are in very good shape, there are challenging dances. Three, I think belly dance allows for self-expression. We don't have a lot of outlets in our society beyond the arts where self-expression is encouraged. With belly dance, there are a lot of community venues and opportunities to perform."

All proceeds go toward Lipschitz's medical expenses. Suggested donations of $3 to $7 may be made at the door; however, no one will be turned away. --M.H.


Grade-A Meat

Shadow Rock: From the Secret Files of Max Cannon
9 p.m., Friday, March 31
Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd.
322-5638; www.loftcinema.org; www.redmeat.com

My first and only valentine from Paul L. Underwood--who now writes for New York City's Paper Magazine--was a "Red Meat" comic strip glued to an oddly shaped piece of purple construction paper.

That was six years ago, but I still have Paul's card. And now, every time I see a Max Cannon comic, I think of my funny, alternative valentine.

With that "nostalgic" past in mind, I couldn't wait to see Cannon's "latest unholy creation"--that's what the Loft Cinema's press release says about Shadow Rock: From the Secret Files of Max Cannon, a 10-part animated film series created for Comedy Central's Web site, featuring theme music from Calexico.

After I viewed the animated shorts on Comedy Central's Web site, I was nauseated--and simultaneously psyched about the opportunity to see Cannon's decaying clowns, psychotic camping dad and an amateur TV puppeteer-turned-albino killer on the big screen this Friday.

"You never know what Max is going to do, exactly," says Jeff Yanc, program director of the Loft, "which is kind of the exciting part, actually. We know he'll talk between the films, try to help people understand what they've just seen, or see if anyone's been traumatized."

Yanc hopes Cannon's "world theatrical premiere" of Shadow Rock will bring in more than the 300 people Cannon draws when he hosts the Loft's monthly short-film contests. Cannon's animation partners will also join in on the Q&A fun. A book-signing will follow the screening.

"People need to come to this, because everyone's going to be talking about it," Yanc says. "And if you don't come, then you won't know what they're talking about."

Tickets cost $5 at the door. --M.H.


Littlest Byrds Sing the Prettiest Songs

A Byrd Once Told Me
6:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 4
Golf Links Branch, Tucson-Pima Public Library, 9640 E. Golf Links Road
621-1162; web.cfa.arizona.edu/theatre

Let's get one thing straight: Award-winning Arizona writer Byrd Baylor doesn't consider herself a children's author. "She says she just happens to write in short sentences," says Bobbi McKean, UA assistant professor in theatre education and outreach and director of the Stories on Stage original production, A Byrd Once Told Me.

When McKean decided to adapt four of Baylor's books for her collaborative play-development class, she knew that while the primary audience may be children, the artistic intent behind Baylor's books was intended for a much larger audience--an audience who may appreciate the poetic language and visual imagery Baylor is known for in Southwest-centric works such as The Way to Start a Day, Desert Voices, The Table Where Rich People Sit and Everybody Needs a Rock.

"I had picked the (above) books in the fall, because I had written Byrd Baylor a letter where I said, 'You don't know me, and I can't tell you what we're going to do, but we will stay true to your words," McKean says. "That is the most important thing to me. There isn't anything in the play that's not Byrd Baylor's words."

And Baylor's response?

"She called me on the phone and said, 'Sure, that's great.' She's been terrific. I send her e-mail updates and gave her the rehearsal schedule."

And while McKean doesn't know if Baylor will be in the audience, McKean knows her collaborative play-development class and company has worked together to make sure Baylor's natural world is re-enacted through simple, fluid staging and attention to the author's words.

See the theatre's Web site for additional shows and details. --M.H.


Bike Swap Meet Built for Thousands

Greater Arizona Bicycle Association Bike Swap Meet
7 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, April 1
Fourth Avenue, between Sixth and Ninth Streets
www.bikegaba.org

If Google's code of conduct is: "Don't be evil," then the Greater Arizona Bicycle Association Bike Swap Meet's code might read: "Sell bike stuff and be courteous."

Or at least that's what Greg Yares, swap meet coordinator, says of the grassroots, biannual gathering of bicycle enthusiasts, the largest in the state.

In fact, GABA does so well with its "cycle and let live" approach that the organization is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

While bigger bike swap meets may be better-attended, Yares says, you have to pay for booth space. The GABA swap meet lets any and all swap for free, as long as what folks sell is bike-related, be it bike parts, bike art or anything in between. More than 100 booths and vendors will be at this year's event.

"It's a huge, fun event," Yares says. "We have people coming in from Nevada, San Diego, the Bay Area and New Mexico. I think this event is growing in popularity, partially because it's free, and because it's laid back."

And while the Fourth Avenue Merchants Association's press release says last year's event drew more than 15,000 people, Yares says that number may involve "a little puffery." Or perhaps it combines the biannual event's attendance figures, which Yares puts at 5,000 to 6,000 attendees during each swap meet.

GABA hosts a fall swap the weekend before El Tour and a spring swap the weekend after the Fourth Avenue Street Fair.

"This is really a homegrown event, and we're trying to keep it that way," Yares says. "We used to charge shop vendors, but we don't anymore. If people want to donate to the club, they can; there's a jug at the GABA table."

For details, visit the GABA Web site. --M.H.

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