The season of giving is rapidly approaching, and the Society of Southwestern Authors wants to help you beat the rush.
The SSA has invited more than 50 local authors to gather for a book fair, offering those writers an opportunity to personalize their work--and create the perfect holiday gift.
"This society was started in 1972 and includes many authors and writing professionals from here in Tucson and southeast Arizona," said Monica Surfaro Spigelman, a member of the society.
The fourth annual book fair will feature authors Rhys Bowen and Virginia Nosky.
"They're award winning, and they're pretty significant as writers," Spigelman said.
Bowen's original mystery series received the Agatha, Anthony and Macavity awards, and her recent mystery series, Her Royal Spyness, is another award-winner.
Nosky's Blue Turquoise, White Shell won the 2008 Independent Publisher Gold Medal for Multicultural Fiction, as well as a first-place Glyph trophy at the Arizona Book Publishing Association's 2008 Competition.
"Whether they're historical nonfiction or mysteries set in Tucson, there is just a great assortment of interesting books to choose from," Spigelman said. "Or it's just a good time to go meet some local authors if you're not into holiday gift-giving."
Among the many authors featured in the book fair are professional, published authors, as well as writers who have been self-published.
"It's a fun event, and we're trying to push, too, that it's family-friendly," Spigelman said. "We'll have cookies and juice or coffee, so if you have kids, and you want them to pick out a book for a friend or something, it will make for a really nice Sunday afternoon." --T.A.
Tucson's rich cultural past is being brought back to life in an international festival that will commemorate Father Eusebio Francisco Kino.
The festival will look back on Father Kino's life as a missionary from Italy who brought many resources to our area, some of which we still use today. Kino is also credited for helping forge a sense of community and peace among the natives.
"He is recognized as an explorer, a photographer and a husbandry expert, because he brought horses, cattle, wheat, figs and other fruits from Europe and introduced them into the way of life here," said Vicente Lopez, executive director of Patronato de Kino.
The festival includes a re-enactment of Father Kino's entrance into Tucson. He will be accompanied by members of the Tohono O'odham and Pascua Yaqui tribes. The festival will also include vendors, paintings, poets, an art exhibit, music and dancing.
"He treated the natives with respect, learned their language and charted the first map of these areas so that by 1705, Europe began to understand that California was not an island--it was a part of the continent," Lopez said.
The festival will include presentations on Father Kino's life, and the natural and political environment during his life.
"It's going to be a coming together of people who have come to know Kino through different walks of life," said Gloria Alvillar, who will give a presentation on where the Kino family is today.
The presentations will be given in English and Spanish and will feature local and international anthropologists and historians from Magdalena de Kino and Hermosillo, Sonora.
"It is, in a very real sense, the acknowledgement that borders are pieces of paper and that people can reach across those borders and be with each other in celebration of this incredible man of peace," Alvillar said. --T.A.
Remember the flick Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, in which a wacky scientist creates a miniaturizing device and inadvertently makes his children smaller than ants?
Well, the Junior League of Tucson has applied this shrinking concept to their annual Holiday Houses event.
In comparison to Tyco's lineup of plastic kitchens, the miniaturized houses the Junior League will feature as prizes in their Holiday Houses raffle look as though they've been designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Yes, these upscale playhouses are reminiscent of your dream home, complete with a wraparound porch and a bay window overlooking your front lawn.
Don't have a use for a playhouse? What about a doghouse? The Junior League has teamed up with the Humane Society of Southern Arizona to adopt out animals in need of a home. With an adoption, you can buy a raffle ticket that could land you a brand-new doghouse.
Don't have a dog? Event coordinator Melinda McNeilus offered up another example.
"For adults, our Pampered House Package includes a handbag, a gift certificate and a spa package," she said.
In total, the Junior League will raffle off nine packages, with prizes ranging from an overnight stay at Westward Look Resort to a Tucson Zoological Society family membership.
Even without the raffles, the culinary lineup and free entertainment may be reasons enough to attend.
"Our culinary showcase features 10 restaurants in the Tucson community that are sponsoring food booths," McNeilus said. "Each food item only costs one activity ticket, or $1."
Raffle tickets cost $10. Proceeds will go toward the Junior League of Tucson's community-service focus: providing services to Tucson's elderly community. --M.N.
Naomi Caraballo, co-founder of From One Mother to Another, attributes the start of the nonprofit organization to a slip of the tongue last April.
"I was interviewing for this family-health thing, and this newspaper reporter asked if I knew of anything new and interesting happening around town," Caraballo said. "I looked at her and said, 'Oh yeah, my sister and I are a starting a not-for-profit.' It was a complete lie."
That lie turned into an organization that has provided aid to more than 300 families and 350 children in the past six months.
"(My sister and I) have personally delivered over 5,000 parcels of clothing, probably close to 350 pairs of shoes, and I would say 200 packages of diapers," Caraballo said.
On Sunday, From One Mother to Another will celebrate with a "fashion feast" that features collections from seven designers.
"We will have close to 80 looks going on up there," said co-founder Elizabeth Caraballo, Naomi's sister. "That's why we thought 'Fashion Feast,' because we want it to be over the top, way too much fashion for anybody."
While the runway show does not begin until 2 p.m., AVA will open its doors at 1 p.m. for those interested in shopping at local vendors' booths.
"Toque de Pasion (a local vendor) is going to feature an artist who paints on dresses," Elizabeth said. "The ones I've seen are all black dresses, and he has this crazy painting on an angle, this really abstract stuff."
General admission costs $15 in advance, or $20 at the door. Senior and student tickets will cost $10 in advance and $15 at the door. For a $5 discount, bring a donation of diapers or a used car seat to the event. --M.N.