This time each year, scooter fanatics get together to celebrate by taking a scenic ride through the desert: It's the annual Tucson-Nogales Fall Classic Scooter Rally.
This is the 21st year of the rally, and Hotel Congress is helping scooter-lovers celebrate by hosting a free outdoor concert to kick off the event.
"We've always been the home for it when it hits Tucson for the first night," said David Slutes, the entertainment director at Hotel Congress.
Hotel Congress' free outdoor concert will feature Eurovox and Pale Young Gentlemen. (Admission to a concert later inside Club Congress, featuring Elf Power with Vic Chesnutt, costs $9.)
"We're kicking it up a notch," Slutes said. "It's going to be a lot of fun."
Registration (for $25) will take place starting at 6 p.m., and participants will receive a patch, a T-shirt and a raffle ticket, said Matthew Noli, an organizer of the rally.
The scooter excursion will begin Saturday morning, traveling 125 miles through Southern Arizona. There will be a pit stop for fuel, and the day will end at the Calabasas campsite in the beautiful Colorado National Forest near Nogales, Ariz.
At the campsite, participants will find a catered barbecue, music, a bonfire and, obviously, alcohol. The campsite will have fire pits, firewood and a restroom, but personal camping gear--such as tents and sleeping bags--will be needed in case of a cold night.
A traditional Mexican breakfast will be provided Sunday morning to help alleviate any hangovers before the long trip back.
"We have an open policy: Want anybody on scooters," Noli said. "We want to support the scooter community and increase awareness, because with gas prices, more and more people are on scooters." --T.A.
One of the great things about living in Tucson is that we live in the midst of the desert. The beauty of the Western United States is something worth protecting, and filmmakers are coming up with creative ways to inspire people to do just that.
Tucsonans will have a chance to be inspired at a screening of seven such films during the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival, hosted by the Center for Biological Diversity.
The subjects of the films range from the lifecycle and environmental impact of a paper coffee cup, to one family's experience of joining a community-supported organic farm, to efforts to rebuild New Orleans to safeguard against future hurricanes.
The festival is an on-tour selection of some of the films shown at the parent film festival, held each January in Nevada City, Calif. This is the third year films have been screened in Tucson.
"This year, we're focusing a lot on habitat issues and the destruction of the land that goes part and parcel with destruction of plants and animals," said Tim Janes, assistant membership director of the Center for Biological Diversity.
The headlining film is A Land Out of Time, produced and directed by Mark Harvey. The film is about the leasing of public land in the Western United States to energy companies over the last eight years, and their search for resources.
"(The land) is being torn apart in the never-ending search for oil and gas," Janes said.
The documentary shows the impacts of the search and spotlights those who are fighting to save the land.
"They're all good films; they're all going to say something," Janes said. "It helps bring us all into a better perspective of what the issues are."
Tickets are $10, or $6 for students with valid ID. --C.C.
Veterans Day is a time to honor the service of those in the military--and two days before Veterans Day, the Tucson Roller Derby will be thanking those at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base by battling it out in an exhibition match.
One of the women on the team, Melissa Work, has a husband in the military and offered up the rink for practice space, Work said.
"The roller derby girls mentioned that they wanted to come and do a thank-you expo to thank them for letting us use the space," Work said. "We thought it would be appropriate to do it (around) Veterans Day since that is a military holiday."
The team has been practicing several times a week for about four months, said Janet Clarke, also known as Helen Wheels.
"We thought it'd be really fun to have a scrimmage opportunity, mix the teams up and do something patriotic to thank the base folk for letting us skate there," Clarke said.
Clarke is excited about mixing up the rosters. Usually, the Tucson Roller Derby has four teams with themes and aliases. For example, one team is called the Iron Curtain, where all skaters are Soviet women bent on bringing back the USSR and taking over the world on skates.
However, for this scrimmage, skaters will be mixed up into the Red and White Stripes versus the Blue and White Stars, Clarke said.
The Derby Brats, a youth roller-derby league, will skate for a halftime show, Work said.
"It's geared as a family event, we're basically trying to get the base and the public aware of us," Work said. "The camaraderie is great."
The scrimmage--open only to those with base access--is free, but donations for the Tucson Community Food Bank and the base will be accepted, Clarke said. --C.C.
The holidays are once again creeping up on us, and let's face it: Most of us haven't done any shopping yet.
Well, Galeria la Sirena wants to help by providing unique paintings and wooden carvings of angels and saints, to be sold as holiday gifts--or to people who just like the works of art.
"I do it every year, and this is my seventh year," said Sherry Teachnor, the owner of Galeria la Sirena." "I wanted to put it up now for those who start their holiday shopping early."
The exhibit will feature paintings of angels and saints done by foreign artists from Latin America and the Caribbean. Some of the artists to be featured include Alicia Gallardo, Lucero Vasquez and Raymundo Gonzalez.
"They're artists I've worked with and represented for 15 years," Teachnor said.
Specialty paintings in the exhibit include Peruvian colonial reproductions and contemporary works depicting angels and saints.
Along with the unique paintings, Guatemalan wooden carvings of saints will also be available.
"The point of the gallery is that everyone should be able to have original art in their home or office, and it has to be affordable," Teachnor said. "The average price varies between $200 to $300."
For the opening reception, Teachnor promises a surprise guest. "She lives in Tucson, is well-known, and her uncle was a well-known artist in Mexico City," Teachnor said.
The show will run through Jan. 17, 2009. --T.A.