When you think of tango, you might picture a dark, dashing man with a rose between his teeth dramatically dipping a woman in a tight-fitting red gown. But please don't.
First of all, do not confuse ballroom tango with Argentine tango. Ballroom tango, popularized here in America, is a toned-down, formulaic kind of dancing--think Dancing With the Stars. Authentic Argentine tango, on the other hand, has both drama and history. It first developed at the beginning of the last century in Buenos Aires and Montevideo, where people danced in bars and gambling houses to music with bluesy--and often obscene--lyrics. Since most "reputable" women would have nothing to do with that scene, men usually danced with each other until they got good enough to earn a female partner.
Nowadays, Argentine tango is embraced by millions of both men and women all over the world. And they are devoted to it--one might even say obsessed.
"'Addictive' is the adjective which comes naturally to mind in describing the relationship between dancer and dance ..." says Mara Carlson, a local tango teacher and director of the dance studio Rincón del Tango. "All of (my students) are totally smitten by the tango concept and committed to achieve, someday, the mastering of this incredible dance form, which ... is more a 'way of living' than just a hobby."
If you share Carlson's enthusiasm for tango--or if you'd like to see what incites such passion--you'll want to attend Rincón del Tango's Grand Milonga this Sunday night. You'll be able to dance all evening to what the flier calls "the best tango music of all time," and you can learn a lot by watching exhibitions by Argentine tango master Jorge Torres--he's definitely the real thing.
The cover is $15. Call 887-3777 to make reservations for a table on the floor. --A.M.
You've heard of Warren Jeffs, the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), a group of Mormon extremists that condones and practices plural marriage. Jeffs, arrested in late August, has been wanted in Arizona on criminal charges of sexual misconduct with a minor, and was charged in Utah with rape as an accomplice. He's also accused of arranging marriages between underage girls and older men. Believe it or not, Jeffs is reported to have had more than 90 wives.
What really goes on in FLDS communities? Producer and writer Laurie Allen knows--she was actually raised in polygamous enclaves in Mexico and the Southwest, escaping at the age of 16. And now, in her new film Banking on Heaven, she's using her insider's experience to offer a glimpse of the oppression, mind control and modern-day slavery that women among Jeffs' followers are still enduring.
"FLDS families have been abandoned by the Mormon Church, forgotten by the federal government, kept hidden from the American people and ignored by law enforcement," declares Allen. "In 70 years, there will be 3 million people in the FLDS ... so the cleanup needs to start--we can't wait any longer."
Laurie Allen is doing her part to get the word out, so the least we can do is listen. She will personally discuss her movie and her life at this screening at the Loft, which costs $5. Visit
www.bankingonheaven.com to learn more. --A.M.
Everybody likes butterflies. As far as insects go, they're probably the prettiest--and definitely the least threatening. But have you ever had an intimate butterfly experience?
At the Tucson Botanical Gardens' Butterfly Magic, you can. Through February, the gardens' greenhouse will be filled with more than 500 free-flying tropical butterflies, representing more than 100 different species. October and November will feature Asian and Australian butterflies, including the beautiful peacock butterfly from Southeast Asia and the alpine black swallowtail, which can be found in Russia, China, Japan and Korea, and which can have a wingspan of up to 6 inches.
According to Tana Jones, Tucson Botanical Gardens' director of communications, the exhibit is good for the environment, too. "All of the butterflies in the Butterfly Magic exhibit come from sanctioned butterfly farms," she says. "These commercial ventures in developing countries have been praised as 'conservation on the ground.' In regions where tropical forests are threatened by logging, agriculture and development, butterfly farms offer a way for local people to make a living by using the forest, and the animals and plants in it, instead of cutting it down."
In fact, breeding programs achieve survival rates of up to 90 percent, while in the wild, fewer than 10 percent of butterfly eggs survive to adulthood. So even if you were to visit the far-away countries these butterflies come from, you wouldn't have much of a chance of seeing them--never mind seeing them up close.
The exhibit costs $9 for adults and $5 for kids ages 6 to 12 (it's free for kids 5 and younger). The price includes admission to the gardens. --A.M.
Mary Ellen Palmeri loves and does all types of art, from photography and painting to sculpture and jewelry-making. That makes for a full artistic career. But how can she possibly find enough time and passion to pursue all these interests?
Believe it or not, part of the answer lies in her discovery of yet another creative outlet--the paper arts. She got into bookmaking and found that she could make books that incorporated origami, pop-up designs, painting, photography and pretty much any kind of art she wanted to add.
If this sounds like fun, you might want to check out Palmeri's upcoming bookmaking workshop. She'll teach participants to make accordion books, which open and close by folding and unfolding like a fan; and one-sheet books, which are formed out of a single folded sheet of paper that's been cut to develop pages.
"These little books are used in many ways," says Palmeri. "They can hold a small collection of interesting quotes, favorite poems or drawings, or (they can) become a travel journal. The accordion book can be folded to have self-contained pockets, and the book can hold a collection of photos, mementos or ephemera. ... There is no end to the variety of uses one can find for these fun and creative books."
Why should people attend this class? "To be fun!" exclaims Palmeri. "To be creative! To meet people with similar interests!"
The workshop costs $35, including all supplies and materials. And it's totally worth it when you consider that handmade books make great--and cheap--presents. --A.M.