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A Fireside on the Fourth

Fireside Chats with FDR
1 p.m., Friday, July 4
Top Hat Theatre Club
3110 E. Fort Lowell Road
326-6800; tophattheatreclub.com

If you're looking to get out of the heat and maybe even brush up on some U.S. history, stop by the Top Hat Theatre Club to celebrate Independence Day with a one-showing-only look at President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's famous "fireside chats."

Using quotes and material from records of FDR's famous radio sit-downs, producing director James Gooden created the two-act play last year, and only performs it in full on the Fourth of July.

"It's something historical and patriotic to do on the Fourth," Gooden said.

Gooden, reprising his role as FDR, will be joined onstage by his wife, Elizabeth Gooden, who will play famed first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

"Eleanor acts as a segue in the play, telling the audience background information, her perspective and where we're headed," Gooden said. "Since last year, I've added more Eleanor, so I had to take some FDR out."

While the roughly 90-minute play is based on actual speeches, Gooden grouped the texts according to subject matter and warns that the play is not chronological. The first act focuses on the Depression and the New Deal, while the second act looks at World War II.

"FDR used these ... chats to discuss what was on his mind and what was on the minds of the American people," Gooden said. "He talked a lot about the economy and restoring faith and prosperity to the country."

The show is appropriate for all ages. Tickets are $10. The theater holds 100 people, and reservations are encouraged; call 326-6800. --C.E.


Art in the Great Wide Open

Public Art in Tucson Talk
Noon, Thursday, July 10
Joel D. Valdez Main Library
101 N. Stone Ave.
791-4010; library.pima.gov

Based solely on television, a person can learn that all museums and art galleries are filled with snooty men speaking in exaggerated French accents, wearing berets and raising their chins just so they can look down on the common person.

The obvious solution to this predicament is to view art outside of the confines of this pretension--and the Joel D. Valdez Main Library may have a way to help you do just that (though you will have to enter the library to learn about it).

As a part of their Change Your Life ... series of lunch talks, the library is hosting a discussion of public art in the Tucson area. Carol Lehrman, a Tucson Museum of Art docent, is the host.

"What I really want to come out of this is I want people to go, 'Wow, where is that? I want to go see that.' Or, 'I think I've seen that, but now I have to look at it again,'" says Lehrman.

Lehrman says that as she did the research for this talk, she gained a new appreciation for the myriad public art around town.

For me, I sort of fell in love with all the pieces, and they became my little children," says Lehrman, "even the ones I didn't like at first. ... There are things out there that are really unexpected, and the materials used can be very surprising."

The 45-minute discussion is free, and people are invited to bring a lunch. --J.G.


Jazz Lives in Tucson!

Local jazz bands perform at Tucson eateries
Various times, dates and locations
203-7901; tucsonjazzradio.org

Tony Frank wants people to stop complaining about the lack of summer activities in Tucson, particularly regarding the local jazz scene.

"Everyone gets this attitude like there's nothing to do," Frank said. "But there are 14 different (jazz) shows going on in any given week."

Frank, founder and director of Tucson Jazz Radio and a member of the Night Bird Trio, has compiled a list of the jazz bands he recommends to friends, listeners and jazz enthusiasts. The list includes a performance nearly every night of the week.

"I just want people to keep being involved on the jazz scene," Frank said. "You don't have to go out and spend $100 per person for a show."

Whether or not you choose to see Night Bird Trio, Frank just wants you to leave the comforts of your home and support the local jazz scene.

• Mondays: The Night Bird Trio at the Armitage Wine Lounge and Café, 2905 E. Skyline Drive, 7 to 10 p.m.

• Wednesdays: Lamont Arthur at Enoteca, 58 W. Congress St., 6 to 9 p.m.

Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays: The John Einweck Trio at Sullivan's Steak House, 1785 E. River Road, 5 to 10 p.m.

• Fridays: Various groups from 7 to 10 p.m. at Cuvée, 3352 E. Speedway Blvd.; Ric's Café, 5605 E. River Road; Hacienda del Sol, 5601 N. Hacienda Del Sol Road; and McMahon's, 2959 N. Swan Road

• Saturdays: Various Groups at Kingfisher, 2564 E. Grant Road, 9 p.m. to midnight; Bluefin, 7053 N. Oracle Road, 8 to 11 p.m.; and the Cushing Street Café and Bar, 198 W. Cushing St., 7 to 10 p.m.

• Sundays: Tony Frank and Sly at the Armitage, 3 to 7 p.m.; and the S.P.S. Jamm at Old Pueblo Grille, 60 N. Alvernon Way, 7 to 10 p.m. --C.E.


Explosions of Freedom

Fourth of July
Independence Day Celebration and Fireworks Spectacular
4:30 to 10 P.M., Friday, July 4
Riverfront Park
551 W. Lambert Lane, Oro Valley
797-3959; govac.org

The Fourth of July is this Friday, and as a patriotic American, it is your duty to go out and watch some stuff get blown up. One such event based around explosions is the Greater Oro Valley Arts Council's 10th Annual Fourth of July Celebration.

The Independence Day celebration will feature a wide variety of music throughout the day, ranging from jazz to pop to brass bands to a choir. At 9:10 p.m., the fireworks display at the neighboring Hilton El Conquistador begins, and there will be a patriotic mix of music accompanying it, which should be enough to make you feel like you just watched Rocky IV (that's the one where Rocky defeats Communism).

Kate Marquez, GOVAC's executive director, said that one of the strongest selling points for this Independence Day event, compared to others, is the cost--or lack thereof.

"I think there's something for everyone," said Marquez. "It's really family-oriented, and it's free. Most of the things around town cost admission to get in, and this is free."

There are a number of activities for kids at the event, including carnival games, face-painting and dog adoptions, courtesy of the Human Society of Southern Arizona. Food vendors will be there, though picnics are welcome, too. Alcohol isn't welcome, however, reinforcing the family aspect of the event.

"There's a lot for children, a lot for adults, a lot of things to do once you get there," said Marquez.

The event itself is free, but there is a $1 donation to use one of the shuttles to get to the event. They start running at 4:30 p.m. from the Mercado del Rio Center (on Pusch View Lane) and Ace Hardware's parking lot (at Lambert Lane and La Cañada Drive). --J.G.

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