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Eat Your Tofu

World Vegetarian Day Celebration
11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 30
New Life Health Center
4841 E. Speedway Blvd.
795-7862

Supporting a meat-based diet requires seven times more land than supporting a plant-based diet. It requires 10 to 20 times more energy. In other words, eating high on the food chain is a good way to screw up our environment. It's also linked to heart disease, strokes, cancer and ... impotence, according to vegetarian advocates.

I'm not trying to lecture you. Actually, I eat meat myself (and like it). But there's something to be said for awareness about what an overly carnivorous diet does to the Earth and to our bodies. That's why World Vegetarian Day exists--every year, on Oct. 1, it reminds us that there are plenty of healthy, protein-filled foods out there that aren't made of animals.

This Saturday, New Life Health Center will celebrate World Vegetarian Day a little early, with a four-hour event full of food and resources for anyone interested in vegetarianism. There will be cooking demonstrations, recipes, product literature and lots of tasty, meat-free food samples from local companies. In addition, knowledgeable vegetarianism experts will be on hand to answer all your questions--because while cutting meat out of your diet is great on many levels, it does require a little research and planning.

And whether you eat meat or not, you can learn a lot of helpful stuff. "The event will be wonderful for nonvegetarians, too!" declares New Life Health Center sales associate Rebecca Weinstein. "(It's) for anyone interested in learning about new products to help diversify their diet, or looking for ways to get additional protein, learn more about nutrition (or) maybe understand their friends or family members who have chosen to live a vegetarian lifestyle."

At any rate, this food-sampling celebration takes place in the middle of the day, and there's no cost to get in. Free lunch, anyone? --A.M.


Wow! A Powwow!

Children's Powwow
11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 30
Armory Park
220 S. Sixth Ave.
792-9985

There's nothing kids like more than playing, singing and dancing around. And there's nothing parents like more than watching their kids learn.

This weekend, both kids and parents can have their dreams fulfilled in a single afternoon at the fifth annual Children's Powwow, hosted jointly by the Tucson Children's Museum and the Tucson Indian Center. Families can learn all about Native American culture as they watch diverse types of native dances, from the fast turns of a "fancy dance" to the graceful swaying of grass dancing and the precise, meaningful steps of more traditional dances. All this will be performed to a soundtrack of drums, northern- and southern-style songs and the unmistakable tinkling sounds of jingle-dress dancers. Enthusiastic spectators of all ages can even join in on intertribal and round dances. And kids can get firsthand experience of what Native American culture is really about.

"Focusing the powwow on children helps (them) see and maybe even understand the responsibility that these young dancers and singers have taken on to continue these traditions," says Peggy Solís, the public relations and marketing director for the Children's Museum. "For many children, what they know about the Native American community is limited to what they've learned in school, maybe seen in the movies. At a powwow, kids can see that traditions are still alive and enduring. For native children, they also have a chance to learn about other traditions not their own."

In addition to dancing and music, the event will feature hands-on children's activities exploring healthy lifestyles, science and art. The Tucson Children's Museum (across the street from the powwow) will offer free admission all day long. The powwow is free, too. --A.M.


Never Too Old to Dance

Rodeo City Wreckettes at Oktoberfest 2006
2:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 29
Oktoberfest runs Thursday, Sept. 28, through Sunday, Oct. 1
Hi Corbett Field
Reid Park
3400 E. Camino Campestre
760-1883

Who needs the Radio City Rockettes when you have the Rodeo City Wreckettes, Tucson's best-known senior dance troupe? They're older, wiser and have many more years of experience than those high-kicking New York hoofers.

The Wreckettes have been performing jazz and tap dances to country, Broadway, oldies and classic pop music since October 2004. Made up of retired women ranging in age from their mid-50s to their mid-70s, the group is bound to be good, because they practice a lot. In fact, for many of their shows, they make a point of writing and performing personalized songs made especially for the organization they're dancing for. Plus, they give back to the community, donating their earnings to charities like the Arizona Cancer Center, Casa de los Niños and Literacy Volunteers of Tucson.

And while the Wreckettes may be getting up there in years, that doesn't mean they don't know how to have fun. "The public will enjoy our dancing, because the show is fast-paced, with a variety of styles, humor and dazzling costumes," promises Carol Ross, the group's director. In fact, at this weekend's Oktoberfest, the Wreckettes will be the entertainment for lots of drinking Germanophiles, which definitely takes energy--as well as skill, dedication and good health, all of which are fostered through dancing.

"More and more research has shown the benefits of dance as we age, including the mind/body connection," says Ross. "We're maintaining and improving balance, grace and aerobic and skeletal strength. ... We consider ourselves prime examples of seniors living life to the fullest."

Admission to Oktoberfest is $3 for adults and free for kids 12 and younger. Appropriately, the Wreckettes show costs nothing for seniors, who get free admission from noon to 5 p.m. on Friday. --A.M.


Animal Aesthetics

Bestiary by Mary Theresa Dietz
Sunday, Oct. 1, through Saturday, Oct. 28
Shane House Gallery
218 S. Fourth Ave.
623-2577

A lot of artists have day jobs. But few have employment that inspires and contributes to their art as much as Mary Theresa Dietz's job does. A local veterinary assistant, she also happens to have a talent for making art about animals. "I'm immersed in the world of animals at my job," she says."... It also helps me with anatomy. I see them both inside and out."

Dietz's October show Bestiary is a collection of paintings, sculptures and monotypes of animals, people and people as animals. One painting, for example, depicts three perching owls with glaring human faces--a creepy yet strangely beautiful piece. The show will also feature reverse glass paintings and two papier mâché sculptures with real bird feathers and cat whiskers adorning them. (Dietz got the whiskers from work.)

"Why do I do the art I do?" muses Dietz. "It appeals to me. ... It's just what's in my head that needs to come out. When I was a little girl, I loved to do any kind of art, and my subject was nearly always dogs. ... I did dog wire-art, dog ceramics, dog paintings, dog drawings. I guess it's because I always loved animals of all types, but I especially related to the dog, since we had dogs when I was growing up. The ancients created animal/people combinations as well as different animal combinations in their art. In fact, this subject is omnipresent in the history of art and continues to this day. It must be deeply rooted in the human psyche."

Animals are definitely deeply rooted in Dietz's psyche, and it shows in her work. Bestiary will exhibited through October 28. The Shane House Gallery's hours are noon to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday; and noon to 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Call 622-6104 to view the show outside gallery hours. --A.M.

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