Tucson is home to its very own fantasy land--no, seriously!
Located on 2.2 acres at 2544 E. Allen Road, Valley of the Moon is "the world's only historical fantasy land garden and park," whose motto is "dedicated to kindness for all." However, the winding paths and "enchanted stone fairy houses" are in dire need of restoration--and some local bands have stepped in to help, said Randy Van Nostrand, president of the George Phar Legler Society.
Valley of the Moon needs "upward of a half-million dollars" in restoration and other upgrades, like making the park handicap-accessible, Van Nostrand said. While the park is generally free and open to the public, it hosts a twice-yearly fundraiser where admission is charged, and has recently started holding off-site events.
"These events help us spread our mission and raise funds," he said.
The next event on the list is the upcoming concert at Club Congress, which will feature 10 local bands on two stages, raffles, food and a chance for entire families to enjoy music together.
"We had planned to have about four bands, but we ended up with 10, each with their own, local following," Van Nostrand said. "To have that kind of talent donated to us will really help us raise money."
The bands performing are the Bad News Blues Band, Wayback Machine, Kevin Pakulis, Los Hombres, Carlos Solorzano, Cirque Du Sin, Mat Bevel, Cosmic Slop, the Hounds and the Right Thing.
A $5 donation is suggested, and kids 12 and younger are admitted for free. All donations directly benefit Valley of the Moon, founded by George Phar Legler in the 1920s with the purpose of "appealing to the magical imagination of children and of bringing mental health and spiritual relaxation for visitors," according to the Web site. --C.E.
The starving artist cliché exists for a simple reason: It's damn hard to make a living selling art.
To really get a feel for the limitations that artists can fight through, head over to the opening of Ugly Kids at LuLuBell Toy Bodega to see art that was made using recycled and free materials.
"Pretty much, we're all just broke," said Jesse Vasquez, one of the artists in the show. "None of us have money to buy canvases or stretch them, or, you know, build them ourselves. It's a lot cheaper to just find materials in the Dumpster and just take them from somewhere; that's just our mentality. ... None of us have gone to art school or anything. It's more of that 'fuck you' to fine arts and stuff."
Vasquez cited punk rock and graffiti as early influences in his art--one of the reasons for his disdain for authority.
"From a young age, I was exposed to punk rock and stuff, which led me to go more toward graffiti and street art and stuff like that, because, you know, you don't have to go to school, and you don't have to follow any rules or techniques--you just do what you want, and do it how it comes out," said Vasquez. "If you're good, you're good, and if you suck, people will let you know that you're terrible. You don't have to gain acceptance from a bunch of pretentious dilettantes. You just do it."
To get ready for the show, LuLuBell is having graffiti painted on the walls, to create a more street-art-friendly atmosphere.
The show opens this Saturday at 6 p.m., and admission is free. --J.G.
It has been a hot, rainy, soul-crushing summer in Tucson. Everyone's coped in their own way (with a lot of those various ways involving air conditioning).
While the rest of Tucson was waiting for the heat to go away, the Pima County Library was giving some local teens an activity to combat the summer doldrums: making short films about the library. The videos will be on display at the Loft this Saturday during That's My Take 2008: Summer Video Shootout.
"This summer, teens worked with the Pima County Library to produce short films about the library, set in the library, or having something to do with the library," said the library's Matt Landon. "They attended three workshops, and these workshops were set in three separate libraries. ... The total attendance was about 26. They attended workshops on how to write a script, how to operate a camera, how to set up a shot, how to write a storyboard--how to basically direct a movie."
One of the shorts even involves ninja-based intrigue at the library!
The teens were also involved in the editing process, a first for the library's video programs. Landon said there will be an element of competition to the shootout.
"This shootout that's happening on the 6th is when everyone is going to get to see the films for the first time," said Landon. "After the showing, starting on Monday, the films will be on our Web site, and people will have an opportunity to vote on them. Voting will be open for three weeks, and then the winning group each gets a digital camera."
The shootout is free and open to all ages. --J.G.
Paula Poundstone is excited to come back to Tucson, in spite of at least one painful memory: Poundstone recalls burning her leg on a seatbelt due to the scorching temperatures.
However, her most memorable local experience came on an ostrich farm.
"I loved it!" Poundstone said. "They are big, creepy birds."
On this return visit to Tucson, Poundstone will be doing what she does best: a two-hour stand-up routine. Poundstone will also be chatting with the audience, a highlight of her job.
"That's where the energy and the gold is," she said.
Poundstone has been busy since her last visit; she is a regular panelist on the National Public Radio news-quiz show, Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!, and a frequent guest on A Prairie Home Companion. Poundstone has also recently written a book, There's Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say, which she will be signing copies of after her show.
As if that weren't enough, Poundstone, who has "a houseful of children and animals," recently became a national spokesperson for Friends of Libraries U.S.A., which consists of groups who raise money and awareness of their local libraries.
"It's not a very controversial organization," Poundstone said. "I haven't been picketed yet."
A portion of Poundstone's book sales goes to Friends of Libraries U.S.A.
Poundstone was the first woman to perform at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner and to receive her own comedy special on HBO, according to a press release. She was recently named one of Comedy Central's 100 greatest stand-up comedians of all time.
Tickets are between $27-$34, or $20 for students, seniors, groups and military. --C.E.