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Sophistication in a Bottle

Tucson Culinary Festival
Thursday, Oct. 23, through Sunday, Oct. 26
Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
7000 N. Resort Drive
488-8601; tucsonculinaryfestival.com

This Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the prestigious Copper Chef competition will take place to determine the best chef in Tucson.

After another year of hard work, the Tucson Originals have pulled it off again with this year's 6th annual Tucson Culinary Festival.

"It's a good time to get to know the owners and the chefs," said public relations coordinator Norma Gentry.

Last year's winner, Jonathan Landeen, owner of Jonathan's Tucson Cork, will go head to head with Jim Murphy, owner of Bluefin and Kingfisher Bar and Grill, with one hour to incorporate an undisclosed ingredient into three gourmet dishes for the judges.

Other festival attractions include a reserve tasting, which will host a variety of boutique, seldom offered wines and complementary foods.

The culinary festival kicks off with the third annual World Margarita Championship on the patio of the newly renovated Train Depot on Thursday, Oct. 23. Guests will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite cocktail concoction.

"We do this to showcase the locally owned, original restaurants of Tucson and to express the flavors of the community," Gentry said.

A grand tasting will take place on Saturday, Oct. 25, offering tastings of more than 100 wines from all over the world along with signature dishes prepared by all of the Tucson Original restaurants with guest appearances by Master Mixologists Tony Abou-Ganim and Erin Williams.

Proceeds from the festival will benefit New Beginnings for Women and Children, the Community Food Bank and the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation, an organization seeking a cure for the deadly children's affliction Niemann-Pick disease. --T.A.


Politically Charged

Work O' the Weavers
7:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 25
Temple Emanuel
225 N. Country Club Road
327-4501; workotheweavers.com

For all those who envision cartoon animals from Disney's version of The Lion King when the word "wimoweh" is uttered, David Bernz, the banjo player for Work O' the Weavers, is here to set the record straight.

It was 1951 when Pete Seeger, lead singer of the Weavers, first recorded Solomon Linda's song "Wimoweh." According to Bernz, Seeger, who was suffering from a cold at the time, misheard the song's chorus. Rather than singing the original chorus "uyimbube," Seeger sang "wimoweh."

One Disney movie and a Broadway musical later, the song "Wimoweh" remains forever engrained into the musical repetoire of Americans.

This Saturday, Work O' the Weavers will perform an array of songs, including "Wimoweh," in honor of the "pioneering quartet that first brought folk music to mass audiences," Bernz said.

Bernz is of course referring to the Weavers, a '50s group that's best known for its catchy tunes and sometimes politically charged songs.

"They became the singing arm of the left wing," Bernz said. "So when people like Pete Seeger were on the radio, the right-wingers were very bothered."

Seeger, who spoke out against World War II early in his career, was investigated and blacklisted during the McCarthy era.

But that didn't stop the Weavers. In 1955 the quartet played a sold-out concert at Carnegie Hall, Bernz said.

For Bernz, the Weavers' biggest accomplishment was prevailing in a time when political dissatisfaction could cost a person his or her reputation.

Bernz says that the American government had a similarly repressive attitude toward war protesters after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Tickets for this event cost $25 for adults and $10 for students.--M.N.


Flash Mob Shuffle

Zombie Walk and Food Drive
Club Congress and downtown
311 E. Congress St.
6 p.m., Friday, Oct. 24
tucsonzombies.com

Natalia Lopez, co-coordinator of Zombie Walk and Food Drive, has the answers to all life's pressing questions, including how to create your very own fake blood.

Step one: Begin by pouring excessive amounts of Karo syrup into a bowl. Step two: Add the slightest bit of water. Step three: Add red, blue and yellow food coloring (but mostly red). Step four: Stir thoroughly until dye is evenly distributed throughout. Step five: "Zombify" yourself.

Or, if you're incompetent in the way of recipes, head down to Club Congress Friday night and have Lopez transform you into a zombie herself. There's one catch--you'll have to walk in a zombie parade, compete in a costume contest and watch a performance by local band The Mission Creeps, all for free (with the donation of a can of food).

The best part is that if you win the grand prize in the costume contest, you'll receive a gift basket with $200 worth of merchandise from Silver Sea.

Terrified of zombies? According to Rosie Zwaduk, the event's co-coordinator, there's no better way to overcome your fear than to embrace it.

"If you are one of the monsters, they don't come after you," Zwaduk said.

Lopez and Zwaduk encourage people of all ages to participate in the event, including children.

"Last year some of the first people who showed up had their kids dressed up as zombies," Lopez said. "The mother came up to me and I had a squirt bottle full of fake blood and she told me to cover her kids."

For those who don't want to dress, but are still interested in watching the parade or donating food, feel free to camp out along the one-mile route (a map can be found at tucsonzombies.com).

All canned food will be donated to the Community Food Bank.--M.N.


Slap-Stick Stunt Show

Sam and Latch's Haunted Halloween
7 p.m.; show runs nightly through Halloween
Pinnacle Peak/Trail Dust Town
6541 E. Tanque Verde Road
296-4551; traildusttown.com

A woman dangles from a rope screaming for help, when suddenly a cowboy swoops in on his stallion, pistol in hand, and shoots down the rope to rescue her.

If this reminds you of when Dudley Do-Right rescues Nell from the terrifying train tracks, then you're in the right decade. This is a scene from Sam and Latch's Haunted Halloween out at Pinnacle Peak at Trail Dust Town.

Every night, Sam and Latch's Haunted Halloween stunt show takes place, featuring an explosive gun show with pyrotechnics and heroic stunts, along with theatrical characters who will have you shouting yee-haw all the way back to the saloon.

"It's Western meets Halloween," said Jerry Woods, who occasionally plays Latch.

The loony characters of this little-known, year-round Western show like to spice things up during the holiday season. During October, wacky and newfangled deputies Sam and Latch must brave the terrifying phantom of Ghost Town to catch the infamous outlaw "Black Jack" Gruesome.

"It's very accessible and inexpensive," Woods said. "It's a great spectacle and kid friendly."

The show hosts a variety of stunts, which include high falls and bouncing off buildings along with flips and "nifty rigging," says Woods.

Before the show, visitors can enjoy traditional Western attractions such as whip cracking, rope twirling and Native American dancing.

The 20-minute show runs from 7 to 8 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and from 7 to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Other Trail Dust Town attractions include an antique carousel, museum, panning for gold and a narrow-gauge track train ride. Admission is free but donations are appreciated.--T.A.

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