The Zeffirelli 8 Dance Company's latest concert isn't called Get Out Your Handkerchief for nothing. In fact, according to the group's artistic director, Lucia Zeffirelli, the show is so moving that when the dancers first did a full rehearsal, those who hadn't seen the whole thing before were actually in tears. And that was just a run-through for the lighting guy.
The performance, which portrays the consequences of war in the form of modern dance, consists of six stories showing war from very different points of view, interspersed with readings from such authors as Howard Zinn, George Orwell and Francis Fitzgerald. One piece shows an American family man going off to war, while another features a quartet of dancers playing Iraqi women dealing with the death of a child. Perhaps the most disturbing of all the dances--and certainly the most surreal--is a metaphorical piece taking place in the depths of hell. Needless to say, it's all pretty heavy stuff.
But the concert ends on an uplifting note, depicting people of three monotheistic faiths coming together. "It's pretty idealistic," says Zeffirelli, "but it's a hope!"
The idea for this show has been percolating in Zeffirelli's head since the start of the Iraq war, and she just had to get it out. But it's not meant to create a political stir. "It's not Bush-bashing," insists Zeffirelli. "It's not really political in that sense, but it is anti-war. It raises into question our conduct, our actions and our motivations for engaging in war."
Featuring music by artists from Mozart to Nine Inch Nails, this show is perfect for anyone who likes to be stimulated and educated through art. Admission is $12 general, or $10 for seniors and students. But you probably shouldn't bring very small children--while it would probably make them anti-war for life, it might also be a little scary. --A.M.
Linda Avenue, a little road to the west of Interstate 10 and just north of Congress Street, has long been known as the "crazy street" of the Menlo Park Neighborhood. Like a lot of westside barrios, it's faced challenging issues like homelessness, drugs and crime, and some of the buildings there have deteriorated long past the point of aesthetic appeal.
But things are looking up for Linda Avenue, thanks to the many dedicated folks behind the Linda Avenue Project, who've worked with Pima County to restore some historically significant buildings in the vicinity that will, with any luck, soon become the home of a neighborhood art center and permaculture demonstration site. In addition, the project has worked with celebrated muralist and Menlo Park resident David Tineo--plus 42 kids from Menlo Park Elementary and Maxwell Middle schools--to create a beautiful mural on a wall near a currently vacant lot.
The 1,000-square-foot mural depicts big, colorful images of local heroes and ancient symbols, telling the story of Menlo Park and giving the neighborhood a new sense of community pride. According to Gigi Rodriguez of Chicanos por la Causa, one of the organizations facilitating the project, the kids gained a lot of historical and cultural understanding (while having a lot of fun).
"It's a collaborative community process, which means it's magic." says Menlo Park president Mac Hudson. "Linda Avenue ... is already a safer, more beautiful, inspiring little nook of our neighborhood, a place where people feel represented and, therefore, are invested and engaged."
The completion of the mural and building restoration will be commemorated this weekend with a celebration featuring live entertainment and music, refreshments and speeches by community leaders like Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias. It'll be a regular "barrio block party"--and it's free and open to everyone. --A.M.
Are the holidays stressful or what? Whether it's related to your family coming over, all those presents you have to buy or just the pressure of staying in the holiday spirit, stress is pretty unavoidable this time of year. So you may have seen a few new gray hairs. But have you noticed any back pain?
Even if you haven't noticed, chances are that all that stress is negatively affecting your spine. "It just so happens," says local chiropractor Dr. Carol Shochat, "that your central nervous system is housed in your spine, and that's hooked to your brain. ... When you're under emotional stress, signals sent from the brain to the rest of the body can't get through very well, resulting in ill health. And stress makes your muscles tighten, moving the spine out of alignment." A lot of the time, Dr. Shochat warns, you won't feel the damage--only 20 percent of nerves actually make you feel pain. But harm's being done nonetheless.
If this worries you, don't stress out--just attend the lecture of Carol Shochat's fellow chiropractor, Dr. Wayne Shochat, next Thursday. He'll talk all about different techniques of taking care of your spine that can offset the damage caused by stress. Here's a preview of some of the great tips he'll offer: Sleep on one pillow. Don't hold the phone between your ear and shoulder. If you're a man, don't keep your wallet in your back pocket. If you're a woman, don't wear your purse on your shoulder. And, of course--lift with your legs, not your back!
The lecture is free, and backs are important, so if you care about your health, make some time to go. Sabino Canyon Chiropractic will also offer free computerized spinal screening throughout December and January. Call 299-0100 for details about either the lecture or the screenings. --A.M.
Dec. 25 is almost here, so if you celebrate Christmas, it's time to make sure you see at least one pastoral Christmas play--if only to remind yourself of the holiday's true origin. But that doesn't mean the play you see has to be traditional, predictable or boring.
Borderlands Theater's A Tucson Pastorela is none of the above. Written by local playwright Toni Press-Coffman, it's a hilarious production following the adventures of a bunch of sheep, dogs and shepherds as they journey to Bethlehem to see the birth of Jesus. On the way, they're visited by devils and led astray by evil (represented by modern-day temptations like payday loan centers and high-end credit card spending). A few of God's archangels, who've warned the characters of their upcoming danger, must fight the devils to win back the souls of the shepherds and their charges.
The play has a soundtrack of beautiful carols sung in both Spanish and English, in addition to live music ranging from hip hop to waila performed by local band Gertie and the T.O. Boys. And while it doesn't exactly have a traditional storyline, A Tucson Pastorela is practically a Borderlands institution--it's been performed every December for more than a decade.
This production is, as you might guess, great for kids. But it includes plenty of sophisticated ideas that make it meaningful for everyone. "It has politics, life, music and funny characters," says Eva Tessler, Borderlands' artistic associate, who also co-directed the play. "And piñatas!" (The piñatas are free for kids after every performance.) Admission is $7 to $18.75, with various discounts available; visit borderlandstheater.org for info about student matinees. --A.M.