Flamenco-style dancing took a lengthy route to reach Tucson. As the story goes, flamenco dancing originated in Spain, most likely in conjunction with the Moorish invasion in the first century.
The dancing began incorporating different cultures' aspects, including African influences thanks to the slave trade. That intermingling of cultures continued as flamenco spread throughout Europe and the Americas in the 18th and 19th centuries, with the help of nomadic Gypsies.
Somewhere along the way, flamenco became commercially viable and showed up in the Southwest. According to Mele Martinez, the co-director of Flamenco del Pueblo Viejo, New Mexico is the central hub for flamenco in the United States. From this hub, four artists are coming to Tucson to host flamenco workshops and give a tablao-style performance.
"Tablao is a much more intimate experience than a big stage event," Martinez says.
The performance will occur while attendees enjoy Spanish food. The doors for the dance open at 7 p.m., Sunday, May 25, and the prices range from $30 to $68 per person.
There is a less expensive way, however, to get close to the flamenco artists. Casa Vicente is also hosting a new event for the biannual flamenco weekend: a wine and tapas tasting for $15. Martinez says the tasting allows guests to talk with the artists and gives attendees more exposure to the flamenco culture. The event begins at 2 p.m., Sunday.
For more specifics regarding the artists and prices, go to www.tucsoniquete.com/performances.cfm. --M.K.
Ernesto A. Trujillo understands pain--his own pain and that of others. Diagnosed with a chronic-pain disease, Trujillo endures pain regularly. Although Trujillo hesitates to discuss the ailment, he doesn't hide the fact that his physical pain led to his latest series of paintings.
"(The pain) is unique to a physical ailment I have," he says. "But I believe if you have something, more than likely, someone else deals with it, too."
That belief is what led to 16 months of interviews with people who also suffer from physical pain. Trujillo began grouping the responses together, looking for how people defined pain, and their expressions when discussing it. He used the information as a way to supplement his own personal experience and then looked for a way to represent the wealth of information.
"I thought: 'How do you express pain without representation through specific imagery?'" Trujillo says.
Abstraction is how. Varying shades of red splattered across a canvass are typical in his new series. But before the final products were completed, Trujillo went through a very structured process.
Each painting began as a sketch. Using a large, black crayon, Trujillo planned out some of the forms and shapes, and then made the transition to canvass and paint.
Trujillo focused on human anatomy--in particular, the muscles and bones of a human body and what it all looks like when the two become separated. That violent image of muscle tearing away from the bone is Trujillo's inspiration for the explosions of red that, at times, do represent a body part, he says.
Admission to exhibition is free. --M.K.
People love watching movies, and people love swimming. So, by extension, it makes sense that people would love watching movies while in a pool. Right?
This is a thought the good folks at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort must have had, because starting this weekend and continuing through Labor Day, they're again showing poolside movies every Saturday night.
Each movie begins at sundown, starting with Enchanted on May 24. The movies are free, and the event has been going on every summer for five years. However, this year, Loews has also added to their cinematic events by offering a Friday Date Night aimed at couples.
"In a sense, Date Night is an evolution of the Dive-In Movies," says Jennifer Duffy, the public relations manager at Loews. "I would see couples order wine and hang out at the balcony, and that led to the creation of Date Night, because we wanted something especially for couples."
Date Night begins on the hotel's upper terrace this Friday with Sabrina. The event itself is free, but for $38, a couple can purchase a dinner for two including baby-back ribs, tableside guacamole and dessert at the Flying V Bar and Grill.
Of particular interest: The July 4 and 5 showings, which include Casablanca on Friday for Date Night, and Star Wars: Episode 4--A New Hope (that's the original Star Wars flick) at the Dive-In.
"It's a lot of fun. It's a very mellow atmosphere, with kids in the pool and adults lounging beside it," says Duffy. --J.G.
Big Pete Pearson has been active in Phoenix's blues scene for most of his 71 years. Born in Jamaica and raised in Texas, Pearson moved to Phoenix after touring through the area in the 1950s. Pearson, along with the Rhythm Room All-Stars, will play at Old Town Artisans this Sunday.
"Pete is the king of Phoenix blues," says Bob Corritore, the group's harmonica player and founder. "(He) exemplifies everything the blues should be. Not only exemplifies--personifies. He's one of the greatest blues singers alive."
The Rhythm Room All-Stars began in 1991 as the house band for the Rhythm Room, Corritore's club in Phoenix. Since then, the band has gone through many changes; the current lineup was formed four years ago when the group was preparing for a European tour.
Pearson, who had previously toured with his own band, began touring with the All-Stars three years ago during a trip to Italy.
Corritore grew up in Chicago and cites Muddy Waters as helping form his love of the blues. He says he has carried his love of Chicago blues to Arizona, and that has influenced who plays with the All-Stars. He says this incarnation of the Rhythm Room All-Stars is the "créme de la créme of what I love about the blues.
"It's a really powerful unit," says Corritore. "We have maintained Chicago's blues in Phoenix. We're transplanted Chicagoans, and that's where our influence comes from."
Tickets for the show are $12 in advance or $15 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at Antigone Books, Plaza Liquors or Enchanted Earthworks, by calling 760-4135, or by visiting the Rhythm & Roots Web site. --J.G.