It's now 2008, and the Tucson metro area's population is a million and counting. But do you ever wonder about the people who made this city possible in the first place?
The folks at Arizona State Genealogical Society (ASGS) don't wonder--they know. And since they want you to know, too, this winter, they're publishing Tucson's Territorial Pioneers, a book profiling more than 150 of Tucson's most important early residents--miners, bankers, cowboys, politicians, stagecoach drivers and many more. This isn't boring scholarly drivel: From renowned partiers to Apache-abduction survivors, the people in this book prove that historical fact can be stranger than fiction.
The ASGS will be celebrating and promoting the book this Tuesday with a presentation that promises entertainment, including a skit about the founding of our darling University of Arizona, the first university established in the state. Did you know that, when Tucson first received money to start the UA, nobody wanted it here? Most residents actually wanted an insane asylum or a prison instead.
"There weren't a whole lot of educated people back then," says ASGS cemetery coordinator Betty Cook, "and they thought there was no value to having a university in Tucson. They thought we got the worst thing of all the things that were given out by the Legislature. Saloon keepers said: 'What professors are gonna want to come and have a beer?'"
Now, of course, we know better. But it's fascinating to think that the UA has gone from a dozen or fewer students to more than 36,000. And the ASGS will share a lot more fascinating tidbits at the presentation. It's free and open to all ages. --A.M.
Recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other types of major anxiety can be difficult, to say the least. Medication, therapy and other solutions are necessary--but are not always enough. And let's face it: Anxiety-afflicted people have enough to worry about without stressing out over stress treatment.
Luckily, says Tucson healer Della Estrada, there's at least one simple, inexpensive option with no side effects: acupuncture. Estrada, a local acupuncturist, is also the director of the nonprofit Acupuncture International Brigade, a Tucson-based humanitarian group that's been providing free acupuncture treatment to traumatized populations in Central America since 1998's Hurricane Mitch. Now, the group has decided to reach out to a different group of people: American war veterans. This week, Estrada and her league of licensed needle-wielders will offer their healing services to all local war vets who would like to give acupuncture a try.
"There's no term for PTSD in Chinese medicine," says Estrada, "but all the commonly associated symptoms have been treated with acupuncture for centuries. It has a very good effect on insomnia, irritability, addictions, headaches--the list goes on and on. ... There are so many things that people give up on in Western medicine, not knowing that acupuncture is effective and will probably help."
War veterans attending this week's acupuncture session will get to lounge in a chair for about a half-hour in a peaceful community setting. Only the ears will be poked, and it's really not a painful experience. "Every time anybody's nervous," Estrada assures us, "as soon as the needles are in, they say, 'Oh, is that all?' A little while later, it's not unusual to hear little snores coming out of the room."
The event is free for all war vets, and significant others can get treated, too. --A.M.
What is it about Vienna that's fostered and inspired so many classical-music giants? Something about the climate? Something in the water?
Nobody knows for sure why, but many supremely talented classical composers--from Mozart to Brahms to Schubert--hailed from Vienna. And Tucson's own George Hanson, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra's conductor and music director, has spent quite a bit of time there himself--in fact, he considers it his second home.
"(Studying in Vienna) really changed George's whole approach to music," says Terry Marshall, the orchestra's public relations manager. "He often tells a story about walking past great musical landmarks on his way to study and what an impact that had on him. I don't know what it is, but there's just a community that forms when people are there working, and there's a sort of camaraderie that stimulates a lot of creation."
That's why this winter, the TSO decided to celebrate Vienna's musical legacy with their first-ever Viennese Festival. In "Hanson Conducts Hanson," the first installment of the festival starting next Thursday, Jan. 10, Hanson will conduct Mozart's "Piano Concerto No. 17" while simultaneously performing it on the piano--a difficult feat for any composer, and this is the first time Hanson will attempt it with a full orchestra at a large venue. Hanson will also lead his orchestra in what's sure to be a superior performance of Brahms' "Symphony No. 4."
Single ticket prices for this first concert start at $18, and passes to the entire festival, which cover admission to four concerts, start at $83. According to Marshall: "You'll hear some of the greatest classical music performed brilliantly. That's why you should come." --A.M.
What could go together better than movies and food? We're not talking Hollywood action flicks or bad sci-fi, but interesting, original films about heritage and humanity. And we're not talking pizza, popcorn or candy, but gourmet cuisine with local origins and cultural relevance. Sound appetizing?
If it does, check out the Tucson Slow Food Film Festival, which uses both food and film to teach about cultures from around the world. First, attendees can enjoy authentic cuisine from places like Thailand and Mexico, and later, they can learn about world culture through acclaimed international movies and discussions led by film, food and people experts.
The festival's opening-night film, to be screened next Thursday, Jan. 10, will present two foreign cultures at once. Ever wondered what it's like to be an Asian immigrant moving to a country other than the United States? Cheuk Kwan's documentary Chinese Restaurants: Latin Passions offers a look into the lives of Chinese families who've relocated to South America and are making ends meet running their own eating establishments. After the film, at the Pima Community College Center for the Arts, Kwan will talk about his work and host a question-and-answer session. And as for food, well, there won't be a Chinese dinner this Thursday--sorry. But the lack of foreign cuisine will be made up for with some tasty appetizers and lots of wine at a pre-movie opening-night reception at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort.
"Our purpose in having this event," says Linda Murray Berzok, the group's vice president "is to raise funds for local organizations that also represent those principles." So proceeds will benefit groups like Native Seeds/SEARCH, Desert Harvesters and the Community Food Bank.
Admission for the opening-night activities is $70; visit Slow Food's Web site for festival-pass prices. --A.M.