If it's been a while since you were truly titillated by art, then you need to meet Rand Carlson.
Carlson is a local artist (and a regular Tucson Weekly contributor; he drew this week's cover, as a matter of fact) who creates exotic pieces of art using recycled scraps of tin metal, vibrant colors and wordplay.
"He's a sarcastic kind of a guy who tends to lighten the mood with humor in his pieces," said Tana Kelch, the director of Bohemia.
Carlson, who has worked as a magazine designer and a graphics editor, among other things, began incorporating tin into his pieces about six years ago.
"It was totally by accident when I was looking to do some 3-D art," Carlson said. "There isn't anybody doing anything like this, and I'm really having fun with it."
Each month, Bohemia features an artist by showing a giant wall of their work, salon-style. Starting Saturday, Oct. 18, it is Carlson's turn.
"He has 30 new pieces for this show, so people can get a great piece for the holiday season," Kelch said.
Carlson is known for taking dull pieces of tin and transforming them into surprising and colorful creations.
"It's like playing jazz: It's exciting, because I never know how it's going to look until I'm finished with it," Carlson said.
Before Carlson discovered tin, he said, he was an unsuccessful painter who had a hard time letting go of his pieces.
"I still illustrate, draw cartoons and paint, but tin is really what put me on the map," Carlson said. "I have so much fun, and I love them so much, but I have no problem letting them go."
Serpe and the Silver Thread Trio will provide live entertainment during the opening reception. --T.A.
Tucsonans can get a head start on their holiday shopping while listening to live music and enjoying local wines this weekend.
ArtsFest 2008, sponsored by the Greater Oro Valley Arts Council (GOVAC), will bring together more than 150 exhibitors at the La Encantada shopping center, said Kate Marquez, executive director of GOVAC.
"This is the first time that La Encantada has ever had the scale of a large arts festival," Marquez said. "It's a beautiful, beautiful place. It's a perfect setting for an arts and crafts festival."
Money from the sale of exhibit space, a silent auction and alcohol sales will benefit GOVAC's arts programs for local schools, Marquez said.
"Our programs in the schools, such as Musicians in the Classroom, Musical Gold in the Morning and our visual arts and scholarship developments all ensure the equal, yet permanent access to the arts for all children," Marquez said in an e-mail message. "Many of our programs complement the existing curriculum in the local schools."
Art featured at the festival will range from high-end pieces to works in the $10 range; numerous different media and styles will be represented.
Each day, visitors can enjoy three different music performances in genres ranging from jazz to country/Western to French songs à la Edith Piaf.
Child-friendly activities like face-painting, craft demonstrations and balloon artistry will make this a good weekend activity for families.
In the past, GOVAC has sponsored juried art shows, but this is the first time the organization will be holding a festival like this, Marquez said.
"It's going to be a really great day," Marquez promised.
Admission is free. --C.C.
PowerPoint presentations are often used to create horribly boring presentations about quarterly sales figures for work meetings, or to spice up Italian 201 reports on the history of Rome.
But what if PowerPoint presentations could be funny, or clever, or inspiring, rather than gosh-I-wish-there-could-be-a-fire-drill-right-now boring? That's the idea behind the Ignite Tucson events, which are a project of Dinnerware Artspace.
Ignite, which purportedly started in Seattle in 2006, invites participants to present an idea--any idea--in five minutes, using 20 images for 15 seconds each.
Ignite events are popping up around the world in places like New York City, Paris and Portland, Ore., according to ignite.oreilly.com.
Confused about what an Ignite presentation might focus on? Well, presentations from previous Ignite Portland events have included "Boiling Water in Five Easy Steps" and "Open-Source Rockets."
Next Thursday, The Screening Room will host the second Ignite Tucson event, which is slated to consist of 15 presentations. Admission will be $5.
"It's something like The New York Times Tuesday science section, where you don't really know what's going to happen or what kind of information or interesting articles are going to pop up, but you know it's going to be interesting," said David Aguirre, director of Dinnerware Artspace.
Tucson's first Ignite Tucson event was held in July, Aguirre said. "We were packed," said Aguirre. "There was cheering and hooting and hollering going on, and lots and lots of beer-drinking."
Maybe Ignite Tucson will prove to skeptical locals (such as me) that PowerPoint can be used for something other than leadership-seminar presentations. --C.C.
Many people say they're skeptical about the existence of a higher power and an afterlife--but well-known skeptic D.J. Grothe takes the cake.
Grothe is the vice president and director of outreach for the Center of Inquiry, an international organization that caters to a growing number of nonbelievers who challenge the spiritual viewpoints of the world and seek to provide rational support for a secular and humanistic worldview.
"We promote making decisions based on evidence, and not on dogma," said Jerry Karches, the program chairman and co-founder for Center for Inquiry of Southern Arizona. "Science is our Bible, and evidence is the vehicle we ride on."
The CFI has invited Grothe to give a lecture on how people can be fooled by irrational ideas about the paranormal and the supernatural. Grothe aims to dispel beliefs in many conspiracy theories and plans to coach people on how to avoid getting trapped by "trends of unreason within society."
"It's fun to talk about these issues, because the rationalist worldview is life-affirming and exciting," Grothe said.
Grothe is also an associate editor for Free Inquiry magazine, a frequent contributor to Skeptical Inquirer magazine and the host of a radio show/podcast called Point of Inquiry.
"These issues wake me up early and keep me awake at night," Grothe said.
Grothe feels that he and others who share his beliefs have a duty to educate people so that everyone can make better decisions.
"We're not know-it-alls talking down to people; we're doing it for the good of the people," Grothe said.
The lecture is free and will be followed by a social hour beginning at 3:30. Free parking is available in Zone 1 lots at the UA on Saturday. --T.A.