Long ago, an object the size of Mars hurtled through space and struck the Earth, ejecting large volumes of matter. A ring of orbiting material was formed, which eventually condensed into a big, roughly spherical chunk of silicates--what we now call the moon.
That's the most popular theory, anyway, of how the moon was formed. Sound interesting? There are many other theories, as well as a million cool facts about the moon, that are yours for the learning at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory's next Lunar Adventure event. You can find out all about the moon's phases, features and origin, do some hands-on activities and look at the moon in all its dramatic detail through an 8-inch telescope.
"Not only is the moon our nearest celestial neighbor; it is the only world beyond Earth upon which we have set foot," Robert Wilson, NOAO's senior program manager, reminds us. "And it might be the one to which we return in the not-too-distant future." So we'd better pay attention to it!
While the program presents some pretty complex information, it's great for kids, because the hands-on activities make grasping concepts easier (and more fun). At the same time, it's not too boring for adults--according to Wilson, the grown-ups get really into it and have some pretty intense discussions. Besides, knowing about the moon makes for great conversation at outdoor parties.
Admission is $25, or $23 for seniors, students, children and military personnel. The cost includes two free software programs, "Virtual Moon Atlas" and "Sky Charts," so you can keep learning at home. Call 318-8440 to make reservations. --A.M.
If you think all housewives do is cook, clean, eat bon-bons and watch soaps on TV, think again. They also make art. At least that's what Kristin Skees and Angela Harden Wilson have been doing, as you can see in their new exhibition Disturbed Domestic: Housewife 2006, a collection of photographs, video and sculptural installations inspired by the modern housewife.
Actually, while the featured artists are indeed married, neither is really a "housewife"--at least not in the traditional sense. And they're not ultra-feminists, either. Their work is about the tension between conventional and more modern beliefs about female roles, and the effect these tensions can have on individuals.
"I'm not a housewife, but sometimes I wish I were," says Skees. "When I got married, I found myself harboring a fair amount guilt for the fact that I enjoyed some of the more domestic roles of being a wife. ... At the same time, I feel inadequate in my domestic abilities. The societal expectations I sometimes feel and contradictions within me are the driving forces behind this work."
"I was scared of the word 'housewife,'" adds Wilson, speaking of the time when she first got married. "It has so much baggage attached to it. ... Just thinking about the word 'wife' gave me many reasons to make art."
Both women know their experiences aren't isolated, and they'd like to use this exhibition to start a dialogue about societal functions. If you'd like to join them, go see their art. You can also attend their free artists' talk at 1 p.m., Friday, Sept. 8. --A.M.
Puppets are creepy. But not always in a bad way.
Just take a look at the puppets made and brought to life by the folks at Tucson Puppet Works, a local group that's been fostering creativity through puppetry since 1995. You might have glimpsed some of their giant, bizarre and beautiful creations in past All Souls' Day Processions. If you have, you know their characters aren't anything Shari Lewis would have touched with a 10-foot pole. But that's definitely a good thing.
This weekend, you'll be able to see their smaller puppets in action, when the group puts on a production based on a series of Japanese folktales including The Case of the Stolen Smell, The Barbered Beast and The Case of the Missing Pickle Jar. Presiding over the show will be the wise Judge Ooka, one of Tucson Puppet Works' greatest characters, and live music will be provided by Haji Banjovi, a bluegrass banjo player with very unconventional musical techniques.
Whether puppets are creepy or not, kids will love this show's quirky protagonists and their silly antics. But the event is not for kids only: "We try to create productions that are family-friendly more than just kids' shows," says Charles Swanson, co-director of Tucson Puppet Works. "Especially in the Ooka stories, you'll find some complicated plot twists that surely go over the heads of the children. But we try to make sure there's plenty of physical comedy to keep the kids' attention."
If you go, be sure to eat first, because the show's smells might make you hungry--one of the puppets will actually be cooking a little stir-fry. Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for kids. --A.M.
"It was clear that night in 1887, in the barn / and so when Mrs. Almira Masterson found / this giant yellow dog in the corner / devouring a calf, she dissuaded it / mightily with her broom ..."
Welcome to the warped world of author Albert Goldbarth, where "fuzzy ducklings," a "mottled tangle of blood" and " Al-Méllikah, the Planetary Spirit of the Seventh Realm" coexist in a single poem. Goldbarth's methods might seem random at first, but each piece manages to convey a certain touching, twisted kind of meaning. And while this writer isn't all that popular in academic circles, he's gotten plenty of critical praise and has won numerous awards for both poetry and prose.
"Albert Goldbarth is a poet who observes the world around him and is able to draw inspiration from sources as disparate as the circus, art and science," says Jean Michalski, assistant librarian at the UA Poetry Center. "His forays into multiple genres enable Goldbarth to reach multiple audiences. ... But it is also surely his witty and graceful balance of broad scope and meditative conversational style that made Judith Kitchen call him ' the American poet of his generation for the ages.'"
In other words: Goldbarth is deep, intelligent and funny. Next Thursday, as part of the Poetry Center's Visiting Poets and Writers Reading Series, he'll share his pithy poems with the Tucson public. Featuring works with titles like "Rembrandt/Panties," and "You Might Notice Blood in Your Urine for a Couple of Weeks / and Scenes From an American Revolution," this reading is bound to entertain even the least literary among us.
In addition, Goldbarth will give a lecture entitled "Poems Past, Poems Present" at noon, Friday, Sept. 8, at the Himmel Park Library (1035 N. Treat Ave.). Both the reading and the lecture are free. --A.M.