Artist Valarie James sees art in the desert environment of Southern Arizona--not in the sunsets or cactus flowers, but in the trash left by migrants.
James, working in collaboration with artist Antonia Gallegos and Many Mouths One Stomach (of All Souls Procession fame), have used this litter to create a mixed-media work that seeks to explore the lives of migrants.
"Everything that is in this installation is made from what is found here on the land, within what people often regard as migrant trash," James said. "It's really the stuff of people's lives,"
The exhibit features an octagon-shaped central column with eight panels featuring found materials illustrating the different stages and aspects of the lives of migrants.
One panel is dedicated to the mothers of migrants. It features a cast of a mother created from khaki found in the desert, using sand and prickly-pear fluids as a binder. Under the sculpture are candles with images of Catholic saints.
Other panels are dedicated to areas of migrants' lives such as children, medicine, drug-smuggling, love and marriage. Some panels reflect joy, and others sorrow.
"You have this sense of celebration at the same time you're seeing the suffering," James said.
Visitors to the gallery will be able to write the names of deceased loved ones on slips of paper and put them in burlap bags to be burned by the Many Mouths One Stomach collective at the All Souls Procession.
James is working with the gallery to put together a proposal to have the exhibit travel.
"What we're showing is kind of a snapshot of our area with these materials," James said.
Entrance to the gallery is free; hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday; and noon to 3 p.m., Saturday. --C.C.
Looking for something different this weekend--something that will get your heart pounding and your feet stomping?
Well, check out the UA School of Music, which this weekend is presenting "Musical Mystics of the 20th Century" in honor of two modern composers, Olivier Messiaen and George Crumb.
"They're from our world, our time--what could be better than that?" said Daniel Asia, a UA professor and director of the festival.
The festival will kick off Saturday at 2 p.m. with an introductory symposium on the lives and musical influences of Messiaen and Crumb, which will be followed by an organ recital at 4 p.m. and an ensembles' concert at 7 p.m. The university's major ensembles--including the Arizona Symphony Orchestra, the UA Wind Ensemble and the Arizona Contemporary Ensemble--will participate.
"We wanted to have most of the UA ensembles represented," Asia said. "It allows everybody to learn some music they haven't played before."
Although vastly different, the composers both bring flair to the world of modern music. The late Messiaen wanted people to be overwhelmed by his music, while Crumb, now 78, writes in soft pitches with occasional loud bursts.
Asia describes Messiaen's music as a precursor to rock music and said Crumb likes to quote other composers.
"His music is as if you are in the midst of a revelation or an emphatic confrontation with God," Asia said of Messiaen.
Sunday will offer more opportunities to hear their music, with a chamber-music recital beginning at 4 p.m., followed by another chamber-music recital at 7 p.m.
"My hope is that people will go, 'Damn, this is better than sitting around and watching Friends for the fourth time' maybe I'll go to a concert,'" Asia said.
For a complete schedule and exact locations, visit the Web site. --T.A.
Many people will agree that an ideal Saturday should include the taste of craft beer, the sound of good music and the smell of great food.
If you're one of those people, stop by this year's Great Tucson Beer Festival at Hi Corbett Field. The festival will include more than 200 types of specialty and microbrewed beers, along with celebrated Latin jazz band Descarga and delicious food.
All proceeds from the festival will benefit Sun Sounds for Arizona, a nonprofit information-distributing organization helping those who cannot read print.
"You call us and fill out information to prove you're disabled, and then we send you a radio," said Mitzi Tharin, director of Sun Sounds of Arizona. "We offer readings on 256 publications."
All-inclusive admission to the festival costs $40 in advance, or $50 at the gate. Admission with VIP seating is $80 in advance and $90 at the gate. Designated-driver admission is $25 in advance and $35 at the gate.
Participants must be 21 or older with valid ID.
Worried about being the designated driver and not having as much fun? No need to fret--the festival will offer exciting activities such as a pie-eating contest sponsored by Marie Callender's, poker and blackjack tables courtesy of Desert Diamond Casino, and a silent auction.
"There will be a lot of food to keep people from over-drinking, and we have a ton of nonalcoholic drinks, too," Tharin said. "We also hire a shuttle company and get special room rates to promote safety." --T.A.
If the local-food movement had a musical counterpart, this weekend's Tucson Musicians Museum fundraiser would be it.
The Tucson Musicians Museum, established to celebrate, preserve and perpetuate Tucson's musical heritage, is raising money for its mentorship program. The program will match professional Tucson musicians with kids so the children can learn how to play instruments and about the music business, said Susan French, vice president and co-founder of the TMM.
"It benefits both the musician who is mentoring and the kids, because instead of asking the musicians to be a mentor for free, we pay the musicians," French said. "We want to be able to compensate them for their time, yet encourage them to continue participating with these kids so they build a lasting mentorship."
Partnerships with local schools, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tucson and musicians are already in place so the program can begin after the fundraiser.
Sunday's multi-genre fundraiser is slated to include 10 acts performing 20-minute sets. Opening with the Tucson Junior Strings in the lobby, the show will feature everything from the headlining R. Carlos Nakai Quartet's Native American fusion to Ronstadt family members to Dean Armstrong's country/Western music, French said.
In between sets, 14 musicians will be inducted into the Tucson Musicians Museum, which honors local artists who have contributed to the music scene in Tucson, French said.
Bud Foster of KOLD Channel 13 will be emceeing the event, which will also include food from 10 local restaurants, a silent auction and a raffle.
Tickets are $27; $25 will be donated to the TMM mentorship program, and $2 will go toward the Fox Tucson Theatre. --C.C.