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In Defense of Weed

AZ4NORML's Worldwide Marijuana March

3:30 p.m., Monday, April 20

Safeway parking lot1940 E. Broadway Blvd.

www.az4norml.com

Strange events have been known to happen on April 20. The date is Adolf Hitler's birthday and the anniversary of the Columbine school shooting.

However, April 20—aka 4/20—also has a special meaning for pot smokers.

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is holding a Worldwide Marijuana March—and as a result, the Arizona chapter of NORML is organizing the first 4/20 March in Tucson, on Monday, April 20.

"We got the idea from the Global Marijuana March, which is a worldwide unified movement," says Beth Freniere, organizer from AZ4NORML's 420 March Committee. "Usually, the (worldwide) march is scheduled for May 2, but we felt that more Tucsonans would come out on 4/20 instead."

The march is intended to promote awareness of the medicinal purposes of marijuana while seeking to end prohibition of the herb. Organizers from AZ4NORML are encouraging march participants to show their support for marijuana—and to use their best judgment when lighting up.

"AZ4NORML is a responsible group of people, and we do not encourage marijuana use in public," Freniere says. "Don't be stupid and put yourself out there unless you are ready to assume the risk."

Marchers will meet in the parking lot at Safeway, 1940 E. Broadway Blvd., at 3:30 p.m. At 4 p.m., the march will begin, travelling north on Campbell Avenue to Cheba Hut on Sixth Street. Cheba Hut will hold a 420 march after-party, featuring local musicians and discounts on food. —A.C.

SPECIAL EVENTS

Happy Birthday, Poe!

Fifth Annual Arizona Cultural Forum: Nevermore: Dreams the Only Reality

10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 18

University of Arizona Poetry Center1508 E. Helen St.

400-5439;www.cmpsouthwest.org/acf08-09schedule.htm

A creepy raven comes to the minds of many when speaking of Edgar Allan Poe. However, there's more to Poe than "The Raven."

"There are so many things people don't know (about) that Poe influenced with his poetry and writings," says Chamber Music PLUS' Harry Clark, who is organizing the Fifth Annual Arizona Cultural Forum, at which Chamber Music PLUS and the UA Poetry Center will examine Poe's influence on literature and music through Nevermore: Dreams the Only Reality.

Saturday's events will start with a lecture by Dr. William A. Fry, a board member of the E.A. Poe Society of Baltimore. Clark says that Fry's lecture will provide an overview of some of Poe's best work, and will be followed by time for questions and comments.

The second session will satisfy readers and musicians alike, with a piano performance by Rex Woods, who will play Debussy's "Preludes" while James Reel (the Weekly's very own arts editor) and Steve McKee recite words by Debussy, Poe and others.

The final two sessions will cover Poe's influence on music and other literature.

"I think it is amazing that a poet who died so long ago was able to influence other artists several decades later," says Clark.

Clark believes that the arts are rarely explored to their full potential.

"There are so many connections with humanities and the arts in general that people are unaware of, which is what makes this event a really neat experience," he says.

The Arizona Cultural Forum is free and open to the public—and as Clark says, "People don't have to be Poe experts enjoy this presentation!"

Call 400-5439 to reserve a seat, and check out the above Web site for more information. —L.L.

THEATER

Beware of Killer Plants!

Little Shop of Horrors

Preview: 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 16

Regular performances: 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m., Sunday, through April 26

Studio Connections9071 E. Old Spanish Trail

731-1559;studioconnections.net

Little Shop of Horrors is about an extraordinary event happening to a not-so-extraordinary man.

That extraordinary event: the arrival of a killer, meat-eating, singing plant named Audrey II, cultivated by a love-struck, inadequate floral assistant named Seymour Krelborn.

"It's a quirky show basically about how this plant changes his life. ... It tends to leave a B-movie impression," says Little Shop of Horrors director Debbie Runge, who adds that the play's appeal lies in the fact that a fanciful situation takes over the life of an ordinary, nice and relatable man.

The Howard Ashman musical has developed a cult-like following after a 1960 movie, an Off-Broadway show in 1982, and a 1986 film version that starred Steve Martin as dentist Orin Scrivello. Scrivello sings an evil-dentist song that may make you never want to get your teeth cleaned again.

The dark comedy features music composed by Alan Menken in the form of 1960s rock, doo-wop and Motown. The combination of fun music and sinister humor, Runge says, has made Little Shop of Horrors a timeless success on both stage and screen.

"It's an old-fashioned musical; it's very '60s, yet you also have a sci-fi, catchy effect," says Runge.

Tickets to Little Shop of Horrors cost $25 for adults, and $20 for students, seniors and military members. Those tickets are available at brownpapertickets.com. —L.A.

SPECIAL EVENTS

Rethinking the Wheels

Clean Air Days and Bike Fest 2009

Through April 30

Various locations

dot.tucsonaz.gov/bikefest

The automobile is the transportation mode of choice for the majority of Tucsonans. If you're one of those auto-driving citizens, ask yourself: Could you live with taking the bus or riding a bike to school, work or the grocery store?

"If (Tucsonans) give other modes of transportation a try, they'll find there are many benefits, and they'll continue this throughout the year; that's our hope," says Beth Gorman, program manager for the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality.

Clean Air Days and the Bike Fest began in 1990, as a one-day bike-to-work event. Now, the celebration spans the entire month of April, with more than 35 different informational events, booths and contests for adults and children throughout Tucson.

"(We're trying) to get people to incorporate life changes," says Gorman, a regular bus rider who says taking the bus on a daily basis has given her a greater connection to the community. "We want people to understand they have a choice in transportation, and the choices they make will affect the quality of life in the community."

While one goal of the "fest" is to persuade Tucsonans to use alternative forms of transportation in an effort to clean the air and help the environment, bicyclists and bus riders can see a financial benefit as well.

"(Tucsonans) will save money and resources ... (and) taking transit will increase the amount of exercise you get. ... It's enriched my life," Gorman says.

For a full list of Clean Air Days and Bike Fest 2009 events, visit dot.ci.tucson.az.us/bikefest/calendar.php. For the list of commuter stations offering free bike tune-ups and breakfast for the Bike to Work event that concludes on Friday, April 17, visit dot.ci.tucson.az.us/bikefest/b2wtrp.php. —L.A.

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