Tucson Lindy Hop
7 p.m., Saturday, May 23
220 S. Sixth Ave.
For more than 10 years, Armory Park has been the place to get your lindy on at the Tucson Lindy Hop, and this Saturday, that monthly tradition continues with big-band grooves provided by Tucson Swings!, a 14-piece band.
According to Tucson Lindy Hop member Alex Sanchez, a group of swing dancers got together to take lessons in the mid-1990s. Once everyone in the class improved, the group decided to rent Armory Park's ballroom one Saturday per month.
"We've just kept our monthly slot since then," he says.
Sanchez says it's difficult to pinpoint an average age of attending dancers. He used to teach middle school and taught his sixth-grade students the jitterbug; he gave them extra credit for attending the swing dance. Over the years, high school dance clubs have attended, too, he says.
"The UA has a swing-dance club that also supports the Armory Park dance. At the other end of the spectrum, we had one couple in attendance in their 90s who were visiting from out of state," Sanchez says.
The monthly dances will continue through the summer, with live bands at every dance. Sanchez adds that if you're feeling shy, the group teaches a beginner jitterbug lesson before the dance "so that everyone who attends the dance can do some basic steps for the night."
"Once in a while, we get some outside dance instructors who come and teach a lindy-hop lesson for those who have mastered the jitterbug and want to move on into the more complicated steps," Sanchez says.
This month's live band, Tucson Swings!, is led by Frank Guldseth. Sanchez says Guldseth only put together the band a few years ago.
"But it is one of the best big bands in Arizona, re-creating the dance music of the '30s and '40s," Sanchez says.
Admission is $15. —M.H.
"Paint Your Fashion"
11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday, May 26
1991 E. Ajo Way, Suite 161
About eight months ago, illustrator/fashion designer Mariko Burton opened a studio and shop with her mother, sculptor Hazel Colditz, and her sister, artist Laurel Burton, to showcase and sell their work.
The location, near Tucson Electric Park, is in an area that Mariko Burton describes as "developing"—and an event is the works that Burton hopes will bring new people to Kuzu, called "Paint Your Fashion."
The public is invited to bring fabric to the store and color it, using spray paint, acrylics and dyes. (If you don't have fabric to bring, some will be available at the event.) Eventually, the painted fabric will be turned into dresses, skirts and bags for Mariko Burton's fall fashion line.
Mariko Burton studied screen printing, weaving and fiber arts at Pima Community College, and eventually figured out how to combine her illustrations with her fiber-arts creations.
"I do a lot of screen printing on fabrics making my own patterns. I like to make my own garments. I'm making my own weavings, and eventually I want to weave my own garments," she says. "But my work is varied. ... I've been sewing for a few years now, and I'm just trying to combine all the different skills to come up with something different in fashion."
Using donated fabric goes with the name: "kuzu" is Japanese for rubbish.
Mariko Burton says there is a current trend in fashion of designers using hand-painted fabrics.
"In the fall, we're planning on having a fashion show, and everyone can come back and see the cool painting they did as a dress," she says.
The event is free, but those who donate fabric will receive a 10 percent discount off items currently on sale. —M.H.
6 p.m., next Thursday, May 28
Tucson Museum of Art
140 N. Main Ave.
Post-apocalyptic landscapes, repetitious faceless industrial workers and total environmental annihilation are subjects that Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky—with his large-scale landscape shots illustrating the strange and changing relationship between industry, man and nature—is famous for capturing.
The Tucson Museum of Art is showing a free screening of Manufactured Landscapes, a documentary by Jennifer Baichwal, which follows Burtynsky through China as his lenses capture the country's industrial revolution and the landscapes it has created.
Two of Burtynsky's photographs are currently showing at the Tucson Museum of Art as part of the Trouble in Paradise exhibit, which looks at nature-based and human-caused disasters, according to Meredith Hayes, the museum's public relations director.
"These images are meant as metaphors to the dilemma of our modern existence," Burtynsky wrote in a statement to accompany the film. "They search for a dialogue between attraction and repulsion, seduction and fear. We are drawn by desire—a chance at good living, yet we are consciously or unconsciously aware that the world is suffering for our success."
From miles of yellow, cookie-cutter buildings lined by miles of yellow-shirted workers in cookie-cutter formations, to dusty, barren roads carved from a gray hillside dam project, Burtynsky's work captures the magnitude of environmental impact and the industrial revolution's significance for man and nature.
The 90-minute film, first released in 2006, won Best Canadian Feature at the Toronto Film Festival.
Hayes says Tucson Museum of Art felt it was important to show both his work and the film. "We all live in the same world, and we're examining things that can happen to us if we don't take care of our environment." —H.S.
National Tap Dance Day: "Sounds of the Soles of the Southwest"
7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 23; 3 p.m., Sunday, May 24
PCC Proscenium Theatre
2202 W. Anklam Road
Tucson's got too much sole for National Tap Dance Day: Tapping gets a whole weekend here.
National Tap Dance Day, which started in 1990, is a way to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of tap, according to Krystyna Parafinczuk, a Pima Community College dance teacher and organizer of Tucson's National Tap Dance Day festivities.
On Saturday, Pima Community College hosts a tap and percussive footwork performance titled Made in the U.S.A., which will showcase the best tapping Tucson has to offer—and Tucson is home to a few world-class tap celebrities, she says.
On Sunday, check out a free community performance with some of the best professional and amateur dance talent in Tucson showing off various cultures' versions of tap.
"The groups that are out there working professionally—the Mexican groups, Irish as well, cultural groups that have percussive footwork: That's the roots of tap," says Parafinczuk. "... It's all a part of development of tap—the Irish, the black slaves when they were freed mingling with jazz musicians, and it all just kind of evolved. I wanted to make sure that component of the program was included in the 'Soles of the Southwest.'"
On Monday, bring the kids to Tucson Children's Museum (200 S. Sixth Ave.) between 1 and 4 p.m. to learn the history of tap, and to learn a few tap steps. Monday night, head down to Club Congress (311 E. Congress St.) for a Tap Jam. Everyone is welcome to tap, Parafinczuk says. Beyond having great tap dancers getting down in the club, organizers hope to have a tap contest.
Saturday's show costs $15 in advance or $20 at the door, with discounts. Sunday's performance requires an RSVP. —H.S.