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Amazing Arthropods

SASI Community Day: Ready for Rain--Cicadas and Silkworms
9 A.m. To 3 P.m., Saturday, June 24
Sonoran Arthropod Suites Institute, 7798 W. Gates Pass Road, near the intersection of Gates Pass and Kinney Roads
883-3945; www.sasionline.com

The hunt for butterflies, cicadas and other arthropods is on at the monthly community day at the Sonoran Arthropod Suites Institute. SASI, a nonprofit organization for science and educational research, is normally open only to members, but community days are a chance for everyone to come and explore the world of arthropods. Arthropods include insects, arachnids and crustaceans; scorpions and tarantulas are examples commonly found in the Sonoran Desert.

The day will begin at 9:15 a.m. with a butterfly walk and a cicada search around the facility led by Doug Mullins and Carol Madeheim. The walk will last about an hour, and will be informative, with discussions about the natural habitats and habits of these insects, says Emily Francis, assistant director of the facility.

"There will be kind of a Q and A session," Francis says. "Any questions anyone has, I'm sure Doug and Carol will be able to answer."

A slide show and discussion about cicadas will be held from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., followed by a potluck lunch from noon to 1 p.m. Activity tables with live caterpillars, butterfly eggs, face painting and arts and crafts will be open for the kids from noon until 3 p.m.

At the end of the day, participants will create a silkworm habitat, and they'll learn how to care for silkworms and produce silk at home, Francis says.

The gate to SASI opens at 9 a.m., and admission to community days is free, but donations are always welcome, Francis says. Memberships to SASI will be available at the community day, with prices starting at $25 and ranging to $500. Visitors are welcome to explore the nature trails and the butterfly garden. --J.K.


Adagio, Allegro, Andante, Aria!

"Great Moments in Opera" Gala Concert
7:30 p.m., Friday, June 23; 3 p.m., Sunday, June 25
UA Crowder Hall, Speedway Boulevard and Park Avenue
621-1162

Who needs an MTV or VH1 "Greatest moments in ..." countdown when the greatest moments in opera are being highlighted at the UA's summer gala concert, "Great Moments in Opera"? The performances will take place at the UA School of Music's Crowder Hall on Friday, June 23, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, June 25 at 3 p.m.

The concert will include selections from: Charles Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Don Giovanni, Léo Delibes' Lakmé, Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata and Rigoletto, Gioachino Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Jacques Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Domenico Cimarosa's Il Matrimonio Segreto, Gustave Charpentier's Louise, Georges Bizet's Les Pêcheurs de Perles and Antonin Dvorák's Rusalka.

There will be an array of operas in several different languages, says Ingvi Kallen of the UA School of Music. It's not going to be your typical opera scenario, complete with costumes and staged performances, but instead, each performer will sing arias, duets, trios and/or quartets, with a full orchestra conducted by Gregg Hanson, director of bands at the UA.

Each opera selection will be performed in its original language with supertitles for the audience. Director of UA Opera Charles Roe will also preface each performance with a short narrative. Roe has performed with more than 20 different operas around the country.

Tickets should be available at the door, and prices are $10 for UA students with identification, $12 for seniors and UA employees with identification and $15 general admission. Kallen says in previous years, lines have been very long, so guests are encouraged to arrive early or pre-purchase tickets by calling the box office at 621-1162. --J.K.


Get Down in Honor of Rain!

Ninth Annual El Dia de San Juan Fiesta
4 to 10 p.m., Saturday, June 24
West Congress Street, at the Santa Cruz River
791-4040

A party in honor of rain? Are you kidding me? I'm originally from Seattle, where the only time we celebrate the weather is when we get our three-month-long break from wearing Gore-Tex.

But that is exactly what the yearly Dia de San Juan Fiesta celebrates--rain. Specifically, the beginning of the monsoon season. Tucson's modern-day Dia de San Jaun Fiesta, which is hosted by the city of Tucson, was started in 1998 to help the community remember the importance of water in the desert.

The festival began along the banks of the Santa Cruz River more than 100 years ago and has been revived to enrich the life and culture of Tucson, said Maritza Broce, an aide to City Council member José Ibarra.

The day was originally a religious festival to honor St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of water, and ask that the crops be plentiful, but the newest incarnation will feature all sorts of entertainment for the expected 6,000 attendees.

Those who attend will be able to enjoy charros and escaramuzas performing different types of horseback riding, as well as family entertainment, live music, dance groups and children's games. All entertainment will begin at 5 p.m. There will also be a traditional procession, ceremony and blessing honoring St. John at 6:30 p.m.

"This fiesta is a wonderful example of neighborhood volunteers dedicated to preserving cultural traditions and bringing together friends and families for free music, entertainment and wonderful foods," said Broce in an e-mail.

Attendance is free, and food and refreshments will be sold on site. As it is a family event, no alcohol is permitted. Parking will be available off West Congress Street. --E.R.


You, Too, Could Win a Trip to Albuquerque!

Fastest Fingers Text Messaging Contest
11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, June 24
Cricket, 4605 E. Speedway Blvd.
746-6991

Oldest living person. Longest fingernails. Tallest man. Fastest text messager?

Yes, it's true--Guinness World Records now includes a category for the world's fastest text messager, and the search for a new record-holder is coming to Tucson.

According to this here news release: In 2004, Ben Cook, a 17-year-old dude from the Salt Lake City area, set the record, finishing with a time of 57.75 seconds. That was nearly 10 seconds faster than the former Guinness mark of 67 seconds.

In the very dramatic fashion that one would expect from something like text-messaging, Cook's record was broken just months later by Kimberly Yeo Sue Fern of Singapore.

And she really beat him--the new time to beat for a world record is 42 seconds, according to Teresa Montoya, who is handling the public relations for this event.

Cook remains the country's fastest text messager, and this summer, the top five qualifiers in "Beat Ben" contests held in Albuquerque, NM; El Paso, TX; and Tucson will win an expense-paid trip to Albuquerque to compete in the finals and to attempt to set a new Guinness world record. The contestants will have to beat Ben, because he will be at the finals to try and set a new record, Montoya said.

"We are encouraging people to come out and watch, or if they think they have the fastest fingers, go ahead and compete!" Montoya exclaimed.

The competition will be held in the Cricket store on Speedway Boulevard. Admission is free and open to the public. --E.R.

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