Olga Broumas might very well be called a modern-day Sappho. Not only is she a lesbian lyric poet, writing often on the concept of eros, but she's actually from Greece. She loves to make allusions to Greek myth and history, and she often uses poetry to explore love, sex and desire from a feminist perspective. You can't get much more Sapphic than that, can you? Then again, warns Teresa Driver of the Tucson Poetry Festival, we'd better not classify her.
"Olga Broumas' poetry transcends any specific genre, because she has such a wide range of styles, has written on such expansive subjects, and we continue to find originality, innovation and surprise in her books. ... She definitely has a strong following among women, in the LGBTQ community, and among feminists. ... (But) I would say her work chooses not to be classified by its very nature. Her audience is composed of men and women, poets and nonwriters alike."
In fact, Broumas has written and published seven books of poetry, collected in Rave: Poems 1975-1999, which contain everything from elegies, epiphanic fragments, collaborative works and narrative poems to passionate--often sexually graphic--lyrics. Some poems are brief, capturing a single moment or emotional locale within a few lines, while others are drawn out, taking up pages as she plays with language, tears apart syntax and makes up her own rules for narrative. Her subject matter, besides love, sex and desire, also includes death, political torture and the hope for peace and forgiveness.
Obviously, you'll have to actually read Broumas' poetry to truly know what she's about. Even better, though, you can hear her read it live this Saturday at an event hosted by the Tucson Poetry Festival. General admission is $10, and students get in for $5. Proceeds will go toward Tucson Poetry Festival XXV, to take place in April 2007.
Young Don Baker grew up under the wing of a domineering mother who sheltered and home-schooled him. Now an aspiring folk musician, he's finally living on his own in a New York City studio apartment, having received a promise from his mother that she won't visit him until he's lived for two months by himself. But after he meets his attractive young neighbor, Jill, and the two hop into bed together, Mrs. Baker shows up uninvited and surprises them in their underwear.
This is the opening of Butterflies Are Free, a witty, touching and Tony-Award-winning play by Leonard Gershe written in 1969 and now being performed by the Red Barn Theater. The play follows Don and Jill as they meet, fall in love and discover what growing up and being independent is all about. Jill, an off-the-wall and liberal young actress, teaches Don about all the things his mother has been protecting him from. And Don gives Jill a whole new perspective on life.
Did I mention that Don has been blind since birth?
Everyone at Red Barn Theater is very excited about this play. "It's a classic show and is well-loved by those in theater," said publicity director Rachel Dajches in an e-mail. "It's a small cast, only four characters, but it really takes a lot of talent to fill these roles--especially that of a blind person. This show is unique, not only because it has a small, close cast, but it also deals with topics like blindness, and living in the world and dealing with a disability."
Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and children.
How does traditional Native American dancing go with flamenco-rock fusion music? Well, it doesn't--at least, not in any particularly logical way. But the idea of cultural diversity appeals to Bonnie Brooks, the media director of the 17th Street Market. So she booked the Redhouse Dancers and Tesoro to perform back-to-back this weekend, right in the market's aisles.
The Redhouse Dancers are a local performing arts ensemble from the Navajo tribe that plays music and dances in a traditional Native American style. The group, led by Rex Redhouse, is made up of him and his six multitalented adult children--Mary, Charlotte, Vince, Tony, Lenny and Larry--who've each developed a name for themselves in the Tucson community (and beyond). The family has been singing, dancing and playing music together all their lives, so by now, they're pretty good at it.
Tesoro, who will be performing after the Redhouse Dancers, is a Tucson-bred musical group that mixes traditional flamenco guitar with contemporary jazz and rock rhythms. If you haven't heard of them, Brooks says, it's time you did. "We've had them several times with an unbelievable response, and we get numerous requests for them to come back. ... They're charismatic, energetic young guys with perfect timing, and they really give to their audience. You feel a part of it, and you want to dance."
So if you happen to need groceries, head down to the 17th Street Market this Saturday for some free shopping entertainment. "Everybody has to go grocery shopping," says Brooks, "but if you go and it's fun and you share cultures, you come away a step up from where you came in."
Got a bike? Need a bike? Need stuff for your bike? Want to meet bike people? You're in luck, because it's time once again for the biggest and best bicycle swap meet in the state. Put on by the Greater Arizona Bicycling Association (GABA), this weekend's event has been dubbed "El Bike Swap de Tucson" in honor of the upcoming El Tour de Tucson. But by no means must you be a competitive rider to get a lot out of this swap. All you need is a liking for bikes and incredible deals.
Since the bike swap is free--both for shoppers and sellers--it attracts pretty much everyone who has anything bike-related to sell. There will be more than 100 booths and vendors from throughout the Southwest hawking road bikes, mountain bikes, tandems, clothing and accessories, tools and a million different kinds of parts.
Event organizer Greg Yares can't even remember when the bike swap started, but estimates it's been around at least since 1991. Actually, it first took place in the parking lot of an apartment complex. But for the last six or seven years, since it started being held on Fourth Avenue, it's become a lot more popular. "There's lots to do on Fourth," Yares says. "Families definitely won't get bored." So if you're not so into bikes, you can check out the shops while your Lance Armstrong-wannabe boyfriend or your bicycle-commuting mom peruses the booths.
"It's free; it's fun, and if you have any interest in bikes at all, it's the place to go," Yares declares. "If you know what you want, you can't do much better."