Writer and poet Marlene Tova Fineberg channels her thoughts and opinions in her new book, Elephants, Alligators, Umbrellas: A Book of Poems for a Fast-Paced World.
Fineberg has written for publications in Boston. She has also worked on short stories and novels, but Elephants, Alligators, Umbrellas became her first published book in March.
"The book is a compilation of my experiences. I want to have a voice, and I wanted to it to be different," she says. "So I wrote a book with no purpose but to voice my opinion on things."
Some of Fineberg's poems reflect her thoughts on consumerism, materialism, celebrities, family members and emotional occurrences in her life, she says. One such poem, titled "Burgers and Fries," discusses the effect of a fast-food lifestyle.
"My commentary on today's world and society has to be mass-market-(focused), because that is what people are into," Fineberg says. "I hope people do get something out of the book."
Fineberg says the book carries heavy messages, especially about her belief in reincarnation and her personal struggle with in vitro fertilization.
"I'm trying to start a new genre," Fineberg says.
Fineberg is looking forward to people's reactions to the book, and hopes to write more published books and poems in the future. She is currently working on her second book, which focuses her opinions on the absurdities of life. She also hopes to write a self-help book.
Fineberg will read from and sign copies of Elephants, Alligators, Umbrellas. She also hopes to answer questions and discuss relevant topics from the book.
Tickets are $7. For more information, call 624-4800.
Edgar Rice Burroughs' well-known vine-swinger, Tarzan, stars in the newest children's production from Live Theatre Workshop, featuring an original script, music and choreography.
The quirky cast of lions, zebras and gorillas will be entertaining for kids and adults, says LTW executive director Kristi Loera. Adapted for the stage by director Megan Patno, and with original music by David Ragland, the performance is sure to have kids and parents clapping and singing along, says Loera.
"The show is amazing," she says. "We really have taken our children's theater up quite a level."
The characters come across many challenges, including escaping poachers and the difficulties separating the primitive and modern worlds. Loera is also part of the cast. She plays the part of Lyonitae, a leopard who, with a zebra named Zebunindi, travels with Tarzan and Jane through their many adventures in the jungle in search of Tarzan's gorilla mother.
"My character and the zebra are partners in crime. They add a sense of comic relief that adults will appreciate," she says. "The two have some crazy antics."
The music, Loera says, features incredible orchestration and vocals.
"It is definitely musical theater," Loera says. "It's a really hyperactive, exciting comedy with wonderful music and dance."
Live Theatre Workshop receives some funds from the Tucson Pima Arts Council and the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and participates in outreach programs by performing at schools across Tucson, Loera says.
Rumble in the Jungle: A Tarzan Tale will run through Nov. 4. Ticket prices range from $5 to $8. For more information, call 327-4242 or visit www.livetheatreworkshop.org.
Teens have the chance to give back to their community in a way that will teach them to be lifelong philanthropists, says Abigail Foss, coordinator of B'nai Tzedek, a philanthropy program geared toward teaching the value of charity.
With help from the Coalition for Jewish Education of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, B'nai Tzedek provides teens with the opportunity to create an endowment fund for a charity of their choice, Foss says.
"Our slogan is, 'Give a Little, Change a Lot,'" Foss says.
The year-old program helps eighth-graders and high school students set aside $500, with the help of donors and financial subsidies. The program itself consists of four events, during which teens are able to volunteer, hear from speakers and receive guidance in identifying charitable organizations.
"Based on their values, the teens decide at the end of one year which organization they wish to donate their money to," Foss says. "In Judaism, Tzedekah teaches the teens to support and help others."
High school students Ariella Faitelson and Josh Landau say their involvement with B'nai Tzedek in the past year has helped them learn the importance of giving back to their community.
"I feel really good about donating," Faitelson says. "There is always something you can do in a small way that will help people."
Landau agrees that the experience is rewarding.
"It's really fun to get involved," he says.
Foss says the kickoff event requires no commitment, but will instead be a social and educational gathering that will inspire teens to get involved with B'nai Tzedek and with the community.
For more information, call 577-9393, ext. 125.
Tucson musician Tim Wiedenkeller, who performs as Tim Weed, has earned international acclaim for his acoustic and five-string banjo works and has been featured on National Public Radio.
Weed says his musical family inspired him to pick up a guitar. He has since taught himself to play many instruments, including the banjo and mandolin.
"I was a surfer kid in Southern California who listened to bluegrass," he says. "Living in California exposed me to a melting pot of music; jazz, classical and world music were all big influences."
As a teen, Weed traveled with a bluegrass band, but later focused on vocals and guitar. Weed has worked as a film-score composer, where he composed music based on the actions in the film. His recordings include Milagros, a collection of virtuoso classical works for the banjo.
"I've never had a lack of fear as far as making mistakes with the creative process," Weed says of his writing and arranging. "I will sit down with an instrument, and I won't be aware that I am writing a song."
Weed has been working on new material, including "The New Old Pueblo," a song that ties in Tucson's past, present and future. Following his performance at Tucson Yoga, Weed will tour in California.
"I enjoy the spontaneity of live shows. I am very privileged to be on this adventure that allows me to be a professional musician."
Weed will be performing with vocalist, guitarist and percussionist Debbie Daly. Tickets for the concert are $8 at the door. Call 795-4058 for more information.