Emerge! is the largest organization of domestic-violence shelters and programs in Southern Arizona, helping 2,500 people a year--including 1,000 children. There are 134 beds, open 24 hours a day, that Emerge! offers to women in an emergency, and they are always filled, according to Emerge! director of development Tana Jones.
"Domestic violence is the No. 1 nonreported crime in the United States," says Jones. "We're fighting the issue that domestic violence is (perceived as) a family and private issue, and that you don't deal with it."
On Saturday, Emerge!--which is bracing for possible cuts due to the state's budget malaise--will get the word out while presenting Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues at the Fox Tucson Theatre. The goal of the show is to raise awareness and funds to support Emerge's services.
"The mission is to stop violence against women and girls ... so it was a natural fit from the mission of both," says Jones of the decision to collaborate with V-Day, a global movement Ensler began to do exactly that--fight violence against women and girls.
Along with helping Emerge!, money from each ticket will also go to the 2009 V-Day Spotlight: ending violence against women in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Emerge! was formed in April 2008 after the merger of the Brewster Center Domestic Violence Services and the Tucson Centers for Women and Children. According to Jones, the formation came out of the desire to enhance the services that both provided.
"It's a matter of life and death," says Jones. "If (an abused woman) doesn't know we exist, it could very well end up in a homicide; that's why getting the word out about Emerge! is so important."
Tickets are $15 to $60. --L.A.
For most Tucson kids, afterschool activities involve arts or ball-dominated sports like baseball, softball or football. However, one group of kids in Tucson has chosen another adventure entirely: horseback-riding.
"A lot of the kids have been practicing all year long," says Mary Jane Overall. "They go to many competitions to qualify for the U.S. nationals."
When the kids are not practicing or competing, they're often raising money. Due to the financial demands of the sport, they need to host bake sales, car washes and other events. However, now they're getting a little help from some fine women performers. Sort of.
On Thursday, Feb. 26--the night this issue officially hits the streets--the young riders will host a night of performances by female impersonators. Last year, China Collins, Lady Ashley and Tempest Dujour took the stage with impersonations of people such as Michael Jackson and Tina Turner; this year, they're back with what promises to be an even bigger show.
"The impersonators have been doing this for the kids for some time, and now they decided to make it an annual event," event organizer Overall explains.
The goal is to raise money for the kids to travel to the Arabian Horse Youth Nationals this summer in Albuquerque, N.M.
"They have a great coach, Scott Scheyli, who does everything he can for those kids," Overall says. "He even sews their costumes, because their outfits can run as much as a grand each."
The family event will be hosted Ajia Simone, aka Tucson's Black Cat. Admission is $5. --L.L.
Major League Baseball's spring training is now in full swing--but the boys of summer aren't the only athletes taking the field in a big way in Tucson: Lincoln Park is the home of the Eighth Annual Tucson Invitational Games collegiate women's softball tournament.
"Teams come from all over so they can practice in our sunny weather and not in the snow," says event organizer Jared Gray. "We started in 2002 with 13 teams, and as we grew, we had as many as 96 teams" from various collegiate divisions and junior colleges.
This year, "there are about 70 teams coming from many different cities. It's a lot of teams, but it is a big drop from last year," he says, citing the economy as a reason for the decrease.
While one purpose of the tournament is to give softball players an opportunity to compete in great weather, Gray says another purpose is to get the Tucson community outside and interested in softball. This year, organizers are hoping to attract more than 4,000 attendees.
"We want more of the community to come out and support the teams!" he says. "It is also a great place to be during this great weather."
Attendees aren't the only thing that organizers hope to attract; they also hope to bring money to town, thanks to the financial boost the tournament offers.
"We hope to bring $4 million into Tucson via hotels, restaurants and entertainment," he says.
All games will take place at Lincoln Park. Tickets are $5 per person; all military personnel with ID will receive free admission on Saturdays and Sundays. For a schedule of games, visit tucsonsoftball.com. --L.L.
Allie Schulz, of Nashville, Tenn., was a contestant on the NBC show Grease: You're the One That I Want. She was only 19 when she competed for the role of Sandy in the Broadway production.
"Looking back on it, it was a trip," says Schulz. "We were kept in a mansion with no cell-phone service and no laptops. It was a very weird experience."
Instead of Sandy, the now-21-year-old is playing Rizzo, the badass Pink Lady of Rydell High School, in the national tour of Grease. "Rizzo is awesome; she's so feisty and funny," says Schulz, who concedes that she now thinks Sandy is kind of boring.
That tour of Grease came to Tucson earlier this week, and will be here with shows through March 1.
If you've been living under a boulder and have never heard of Grease, the musical follows the love story of two high school students, good-girl Sandy and bad-boy Danny. When Sandy does not return home to Australia after the summer break, and instead starts attending high school with her summer love, dancing, singing and heartbreak ensue.
Enter a vivacious gang of Pink Ladies, as well as Danny's T-bird gang, and you have a plotline that has become one of the most well-known and loved American musicals.
For Schulz, who performed Grease on Broadway before touring, traveling across the country and playing Rizzo has become an adventure at her young age.
"It's a time to be introspective for me," she says, adding that she wants to write her own music in her future career. "Being from Nashville, I have this secret passion."
Visit broadwayintucson.com for information. Call Ticketmaster at 321-1000 for tickets --L.A.