When I call the Earth First! Journal to find out about the all-you-can-eat pie party, Turtle, an editor at EF!J, only offers her reptilian nom de plume and tells me about her collective role in the editorship of the Tucson-based environmental-movement journal.
"OK," I say slowly, "then tell me about the pies ..."
While I've never interviewed anyone not-for-attribution about baked goods, Turtle tells me that four years ago, she and a friend decided it would be a "really wonderful thing to come together to share pie with one another." Initially, the pie party just involved EF! folks, but has since grown into a public pie party to benefit the Journal's mission to defend Mother Earth.
While not many Tucsonans are familiar with the Journal, Turtle says they do know about the pie party. "It's outreach for us," Turtle says.
This year's party features about 40 different flavors of more than 100 pies baked by the EF!J staff. And if you think pie is just for dessert or animal-product lovers, think again. A third of the all-vegan pies will be fruit creations, with a third creamy and the last third miscellaneous, or, as Turtle puts it, "really out-there pies."
"Such as?" I ask. Turtle cites "funeral pie," whose ingredients were not disclosed. Other odd pies include hillbilly pie (oatmeal chocolate chip), zapple pie (zucchini flavored as apple), piña colada pie, mango ginger pie and, one of Turtle's favorites, strawberry or blueberry sour-cream pie.
Last year's event reportedly drew 200 people, but Turtle's not sure about that. "I don't know," she says, "I was busy serving pie." She expects more folks at this year's new and bigger location. Bring $7 to $10 for the sliding-scale admission, and expect a lot of pie-themed and classical-guitar music as you guide your fork to your mouth. --M.H.
Admittedly, I have a weak place in my heart, or perhaps ears, for tuba.
And luckily for tuba-lovers like me, Dr. Mark Nelson, performing arts chair at Pima Community College and a tubist whose performance with Symphonia--America's leading professional tuba and euphonium ensemble--earned him and his fellow musicians two Grammy nominations in 2001, will serve up a well-rounded repertoire of tuba music from baroque to 20th-century compositions.
Like most musicians, Nelson remembers how his instrument became his own. In fourth grade, as one of the tallest kids, he was assigned string bass. Three grades later, Nelson was persuaded to try tuba.
Years and a master's in tuba performance later, Nelson brings Tucsonans a diverse play list that includes Rodger Vaugh's "Three Songs for Tuba and Soprano," accompanied by soprano/PCC voice faculty member Stella Markou; Martin Ellerby's "Tuba Concerto"; Michel Blaket's "Sonata Number Four," a six-movement baroque piece traditionally played by flute and harpsichord; Shostakovich's Adagio from "Limpid Stream"; and James Grant's "Three Furies," as written for Nelson when he taught at the University of Vermont. The latter is now used, Nelson says, as a common audition piece for symphonies across the nation. Pianist Marie Sierra accompanies Nelson during the recital.
So what should folks expect of Nelson's sound?
"It's a solo sound playing S tuba instead of the C or B-flat tuba," Nelson says of his CDs New England Reveries and Aboriginal Voices. "It's more lyrical than you might expect from a large ensemble or a marching band. It's quite facile and as fast as a flute, in addition to being large and projecting."
Versatile, in other words, Maybe that's why I love the tuba. --M.H.
It's hard to remember the 11 million lives lost in the Holocaust if you didn't learn about them in the first place. That's why the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) has made education key in its planning of the Yom Hashoah Community Holocaust Commemoration scheduled for Sunday, April 23, at the Jewish Community Center, 3800 E. River Road.
"The generation of survivors is shrinking quickly," says Josh Protas, director of the JCRC, who also coordinates a survivors speakers' bureau for schools and community organizations. "It's a pretty unique situation to hear the stories of survivors firsthand, and it's an opportunity we won't have much longer."
Sunday's Yom Hashoah event is free and open to the public, and the commemoration will feature a processional of survivors escorted by high school and middle school teachers. The event will also include shared memories and reflections, the traditional candle-lighting ceremony, and music.
The event's featured speaker, Dr. Severin Hochberg, is a historian at the Center for Advanced Studies at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Hochberg will give a speech on "The Role of Anti-Semitism and Nazi Policies, 1933-1941" on Monday, April 24, at the JCC.
Additional campaigns, such as the Remember the Eleven Million Pennies and Lance Armstrong-inspired-bracelet projects, will supplement the Sunday ceremonies. These events are especially timely given that this year marks the 60th anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials.
"What happened in the Holocaust can't be isolated from the events we face today," Protas says. "Education ... keeps the memory alive." --M.H.
What do you say about a musician who clearly rocks his instrument, has devoted listeners and has earned his country's highest cultural and musical praise? Oh yeah, he has won the Scottish National Fiddle Championship twice.
This is the question I've struggled to answer about Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser, who takes the stage at the Berger Performing Arts Center on Friday, April 21, at 8 p.m., with pianist Paul Machlis.
Many of you probably already know the music of Alasdair Fraser, aka "Scotland's most renowned fiddler." And if you don't, that's OK. You've probably heard Fraser's music on major movie soundtracks.
Fraser's traditional Scottish fiddle has appeared on the BBC, NPR's Morning Edition, PRI's A Prairie Home Companion, The Thistle and the Shamrock and the Kennedy Center Honors. His film soundtrack work includes Titanic, Braveheart and The Last of the Mohicans. And if you're a fan of The Chieftans or the Waterboys, chances are you have heard Fraser accompany them as well.
Now that Fraser's name is hopefully aligned with his impressive discography and performances, you might consider checking out his performance with Machlis, who is a Californian of Irish, Scottish and Eastern European extraction who also plays trumpet when he's not tickling the ivory on Celtic-inspired compositions.
Reserved seating is $18 in advance or $16 for seniors 60 and older. Add $2 if you purchase tickets at the door. You can get tickets at Antigone Books, 411 N. Fourth Ave., or CD City, 2890 N. Campbell Ave.; online at inconcerttucson.com; or for a fee at (800) 595-4849. --M.H.