International Museum Day
9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday, May 18
International Wildlife Museum
4800 W. Gates Pass Road
One of the latest fads for rich pet owners is stuffing a beloved pooch or kitty after death. To the International Wildlife Museum, it's neither new nor a fad: It's a way of preserving and conserving life.
Giant desert cats, giant flightless birds and giant prehistoric mammals line the museum, which opened in Tucson in 1988. If glass eyes beating down on you from, say, a "man-eating Tiger from Northern India" make you nervous, just think of the good your cost of admission this Monday—a donation to the Tucson Community Food Bank—will do for hungry people, if not hungry tigers.
The museum is home to animals from every continent, according to Amy Anderson, the museum exhibit specialist. Some 400 of these animals are taxidermied species, and four are live, endangered arthropods, which the museum is working to preserve.
All of the stuffed animals are donated, not killed for the museum, she says, and those donations allow people to learn about animals from all over the world, get close to them and even pet a few.
"When (the animals) are taxidermied," Anderson says, "you can get an up-close view of what they look like. When you go to a zoo, you're not always guaranteed to see animals; in the museum here, they're in their natural habitat, so you can see what it looks like where they're from.
"The museum is really focused on educating the public on wildlife conservation," she says, "through promoting sustainable use management of wildlife conservation."
A single can of food will get you into the museum, but considering that regular adult admission is $7, donate as much as you can. —H.S.
Bad Bugs Bunny
7 p.m., next Thursday, May 21
3233 E. Speedway Blvd.
Racism and sexism aren't words commonly associated with children's cartoons.
However, film curator and collector Dennis Nyback will be at the Loft Cinema on Thursday, May 21, to present his show Bad Bugs Bunny, which features 10 Warner Bros. cartoons that include heavy racism and sexism—which he says were fairly common in animated shorts of the early 20th century.
"Growing up in the '60s and '70s, I was very much aware of racism, sexism and violence in America. Seeing these cartoons gave me the idea that I could show the evidence of those things," says Nyback, who began his show in 1990 and has taken it to Asia, Europe and most recently New York and San Francisco.
Nyback's first encounter with these cartoons came when he was a jazz singer in Seattle. He says he was searching through old cartoons for jazz performers, and he found that many depictions were heavily stereotyped.
Nyback decided to start the show after a Warner Bros. cartoon screening in Seattle.
"The cartoon Wholly Smoke was in the show," he says. "In one scene, a caricature of Cab Calloway, made out of pipe cleaners, appears. He puts his head into the bowl of a pipe and comes out black. Many people in the audience hissed. My thought was that there were things 10 times as offensive as that in cartoons I had which people apparently had no idea existed," says Nyback.
He hopes that by viewing these cartoons, the audience will begin to think more actively about American history.
"These old animators had no agenda other than to entertain. To do that, they had to understand what the public wanted and would laugh at. ... With old cartoons, you get an unvarnished view into the American psyche," he says.
Admission is $8, or $6 for Loft Cinema members. —L.A.
I Dream in Widescreen
7:30 p.m., Friday, May 15
Tucson Music Hall
260 S. Church Ave.
If you were unable to make it to the Sundance Film Festival in January and won't be flying out to France for Cannes this week, don't worry. The UA's School of Media Arts has got you covered.
Student-film showcase I Dream in Widescreen is back with its latest installment of film shorts, music videos and commercials that were written, produced and directed by some of the brightest minds in the Media Arts bachelor's degree program.
"This is a great opportunity for film students to showcase their work for their friends and family," says Meg Askey, of the UA School of Media Arts. "There are very few film schools in the country that do this, and we're proud to be one of them."
One standout film in this year's showcase is The Inheritance, by Ariela Stern. It's an engaging mix of fiction, based on historical documents. The protagonist, Rob, uncovers mysterious clues about his family's past and heritage in his father's apartment after he passes away.
Previous student work that debuted at I Dream in Widescreen includes 2006 alumnus Jonathan Pulley's film Move Me, which was later shown at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.
Due to the progressively large crowds that have attended the event each year since its inception in 2003, the student film showcase this year will be held at the Tucson Music Hall, something that's exciting to those at the school, says Lisanne Skyler, producer of the screening and an assistant professor at the school.
Admission is free and open to the general public. —A.C.
Pima Community College Digital Video and Film Arts Screening
7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, May 16 and 17
Pima Community College West Campus2202 W. Anklam Road
Tucson's vibrant Southwest landscape and culture serve as the backdrop of two productions by the film classes at Pima Community College which will be screened this weekend.
The screening's two main features are 8-minute-long shorts: Estaban's Ride and Todas Almas.
"Using our environment was extremely important to us and was one of the parameters," says PCC digital video and film arts faculty member David Wing.
Estaban's Ride written by Wing and deals with a son who must come to terms with his proud yet sick vaquero father; Todas Almas is about a young wife dealing with the death of her military husband who served in the Middle East.
Wing says one challenge for students involved is shooting at a live event. The All Souls Procession was included in a scene featured in Todas Almas.
"We had to shoot our actors in a live event with scripted material; we couldn't afford to re-create that moment," says Wing. "(The students) very creatively worked the action; it comes off almost as a documentary."
Roughly 65 students produced the work entirely with PCC equipment, except for a high-definition camera flown in from California.
"There was some trepidation there," Wing says about the new camera. "(But) we got beautiful imagery, and (the students) did a terrific job."
Around 75 other short films will also be shown at the screening, which Wing says has become a popular film event for the Tucson community.
"It's a great opportunity for students to get feedback and for the community to meet our students," he says. "The students did exceptional work ... (and) the films are indicative of independent film work in Tucson."
This event is free. —L.A.