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Best Foot Forward

Fashion Show
5:30 p.m., Friday, March 6
Stems a Shoe Boutique
4340 N. Campbell Ave., No. 109
615-1404
stemsashoeboutique.com

This Friday, Stems a Shoe Boutique is hosting a fashion show offering an evening of drinks, tunes, glamour and more.

"We want everyone to have a great time with cocktails, music and great shoes!" says Stems' Natasha Holstine. "All shoes during the fashion show will be from our spring selection."

And about those shoes: From the daring 5-inch Report Signature heels to the sultry Stuart Weitzman black patent leather heels, the boutique's array of shoes promises to satisfy any fashionista's craving.

Holstine says that the event will feature tunes from shopping-related films like Confessions of a Shopaholic and Sex and the City, spun by local DJ Ruckuss.

"It will be a cocktail-and-mingle type of hour," Holstine explains.

While Stems a Shoe Boutique will be displaying its shoe collection, other local boutiques will also be showing off their fine-clothing collections.

"We are a major supporter of local businesses," says Holstine. Participants will include Pour Moi, AK Jensen, W Boutique, Limited Additions.

If you're feeling guilty about spending your hard-earned dollars on fashions right now, take note: Ten percent of the night's sales will benefit Youth on Their Own, a nonprofit organization that supports Tucson's homeless teens so they can make it to their high school graduation. Guests can also enjoy a special one-night-only 25 percent discount and goodie bags packed with items.

"We like to give back to the community, and therefore hope to help out other local organizations," Holstine says.

The event is free and open to all; please RSVP at 615-1404. --L.L.


Art Against the Machine

The Art of Now: LOWBROW
Opening reception: 4 to 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 6
On display 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday, through May 2
Holy Joe Studio
1124 N. Stone Ave.
624-7099

Twelve wide-mouth canning jars are locked inside a cabinet at Holy Joe Studio. Each jar holds some liquid and a penis.

This is lowbrow art.

The penises, of course, aren't flesh--they're ceramic pieces made by the curator, Marc David Leviton, in response to his experience in the UA's Master of Fine Arts program.

"This was, in particular, about them trying to castrate me," Leviton says. "I came in as a professional, and they don't like that to begin with. Once you have real ideas about the real world, you can't accept their fantasies, and if someone doesn't know what they're doing, and they're teaching, that's even more grotesque. That's called sophistry. A sophist is a teacher that's full of shit."

Lowbrow art offers a subversive, animated attack on religious and political ideology, consumerism and corporatism, according to gallery owner Steve Murray.

"This is the art of now," says Murray. "They're not getting help from the establishment. It's about anti-establishment."

The show comes at a time when the lowbrow-art scene is getting some overdue national attention. The Oceanside Museum of Art San Diego is currently hosting a major lowbrow-art exhibition. While it's still considered outside of the mainstream, Murray says, the lowbrow-art movement is gaining notice and, establishment be damned, is here to stay.

The struggle of new artists to make a living and earn respect from their peers is an old, told story, says Murray.

"The art community always resists the new," he says. "Van Gogh went through the same thing in his day." --H.S.


Plays Not Just for Play

Old Pueblo Playwrights' 18th Annual New Play Festival
7:30 p.m., Friday, March 6, and Saturday, March 7; 1:30 p.m., Sunday, March 8
Temple of Music and Art
Cabaret Theater
330 S. Scott Ave.
318-0559
oldpuebloplaywrights.org

Calling all armchair critics: Have you ever seen a play so good that you wanted to thank the playwright? Or one so bad that you felt the need to tell the writer why it sucked? This weekend, you can do just that during the Old Pueblo Playwrights' 18th Annual New Play Festival--which will hopefully offer more of the former than the latter.

The plays are written by local playwrights, directed by local directors and performed by local actors, according to Jerry Elias, the vice president of Old Pueblo Playwrights, a nonprofit organization of Tucsonans with Broadway aspirations.

"These performances are script-in-hand," Elias says, "and they're intended to be developmental. It's to bring these plays to a larger audience. "

There will be a moderated Q&A session and discussion after each play, according to Elias, and the audience will be encouraged to give feedback.

The festival includes a play by Elias, Greensboro, based on a civil rights sit-in held by four young men at a lunch counter in North Carolina. It will close the festival on Sunday afternoon.

"I think it relates to the moment greatly," Elias says. "We have a 47-year-old president, (and) 48 years ago, this happened."

Other plays range in topics from the strange--like It Ain't Easy Being Green, a short monologue about a lime-green dildo looking for an owner--to the serious--like Frozen Heart, about a woman trying to reconnect with her father after 15 years.

You can catch the whole festival of seven plays for $10, or you can attend one of the three sessions for $5--but keep the criticism constructive.

"Every play in a festival like this is the writer's child," says Elias. "They're all significant; they're all important to the person who's writing it." --H.S.


Children Rock!

Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players
Noon, Saturday, March 7
Rialto Theatre
318 E. Congress St.
740-1000
rialtotheatre.com

When you visit Justin Roberts' colorful Web site, an array of curious faces introduces you to Roberts' music.

One of Roberts' albums, Pop Fly, was selected as a top children's-music release of 2008 by USA Today; a 2005 release, Why Not Sea Monsters?: Songs From the Hebrew Scriptures, features works inspired by the Old Testament. On these and his other albums, Roberts always offers a uniquely bouncy, fresh approach to children's music--and Tucsonans will get a chance to see Roberts live in concert at the Rialto Theatre this weekend.

"The concert is an indie-rock dream for the little-kid set and their parents," says Doug Biggers, executive director of the Rialto Theatre Foundation (and, it should be noted, this newspaper's former owner), in an e-mail.

Roberts' sweet and inviting tunes may just get your young ones in a dancing mood--and Biggers says that's no problem.

"The Rialto Theatre has plenty of room for little fans to move and dance and have a great time bopping to the upbeat sounds," Biggers writes in the e-mail.

Another great aspect of the concert, says Biggers, is the fact that ticket-holders can get into the nearby Tucson Children's Museum on Saturday after the show for free.

General-admission tickets are $16, or $48 for a family four-pack, and can be purchased at the theater or online. Children younger than 3 get in for free, provided the toddlers sit on Mom or Dad's lap. --L.L.

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