City Week 

Taking the Center Ring

"Join the Circus"

7 to 10 p.m., Saturday, June 13

Rhythm Industry Performance Factory

1013 S. Tyndall Ave.

481-8003; rhythmindustry.org

If you've ever wanted to run away and join the circus, summer might be the perfect time to do so. But before you pack up, come and see what you're in for at the "Join the Circus" event this Saturday, featuring performances from the kids in the summer Rhythm Industry Circus Camp.

After two weeks of arts-intensive training, the kids are ready to show off what they've learned. After practicing four hours a day, the kids have new skills: using stilts, twirling poi, banging on taiko drums (larger than the kids are), creative ballet moves and acrobatic stunts using aerial silk.

Karen Falkenstrom, a staff member at Rhythm Industry, sees this performance as "a culmination of the kids' very hard work." She explains that the groups at Rhythm Industry put on a revue show every quarter, and that this show is dedicated to the kids who have been working so hard.

The camp's instructors will show off a bit, too. Members of Tucson favorites Flam Chen and Odaiko Sonora teach at the camp, and will join fellow Rhythm Industry performers including Butacaxé, Movement Salon, Theatrical Mime Theatre and several others to put on the show.

However, this is no formal dance recital, says Falkenstrom. By the final act, everyone is usually running to the stage and dancing. "It's an informal kind of party," she says.

A $10 donation is suggested. If you think you might want to join the circus, too, you can check out tucsoncircusarts.com to see the classes available from experienced performers—and find out which act you'd like to master! —S.J.

Trail-Dust Twang

Slaid Cleaves in concert

8 p.m., Saturday, June 13

Old Town Artisans

201 N. Court Ave.

319-9966; rhythmandroots.org

If you're in need of some kind of rockabilly-infused emotional release, then you're in luck. This weekend, Slaid Cleaves will be performing songs from his new album, Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away, right here in Tucson.

Cleaves—a man who has been writing and performing songs for more than a decade now—sums up everything you really need to know about him in 19 words on his Web site: "Slaid Cleaves. Grew up in Maine. Lives in Texas. Writes songs. Makes records. Travels around. Tries to be good." His songs clearly descend from a life on the road, a few lost chances and a love of Bruce Springsteen.

Cleaves has always been known for his songs' country aesthetic and his ability to create compact stories within those songs, but this latest album can be seen as a slight departure from his last album of original songs, Wishbones (2004), and his breakthrough album, Broke Down (2000).

Although Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away, released in April, maintains the solid songwriting and twangy guitar dedicated fans will expect, Cleaves said in a recent press release that he "was very concerned with the possibility of inducing yawns if (he) were to just put out the same kind of record." As a result, he approached songwriting for this album a bit differently. The melodies for a few songs on the album came to him in a dream, and several lines for the song "Temporary" were lifted from tombstones in the cemetery near his house.

It seems there is clearly a place for the macabre and the surreal in Cleaves' heart, and the show on Saturday will be a great chance to see that live. Advance tickets cost $17, and can be purchased through rhythmandroots.org; tickets at the door will cost $20. —S.J.

No Strings Attached

New Kiva Motions Puppet Theatre presents Metamorphosis

1:30 p.m., Sunday, through July 12

Red Barn Theater

948 N. Main Ave.


"I don't do a lot of fluff," proclaims Barbara Mocking—a bold statement for someone who runs a puppet theater.

Mocking has been in charge of the local nonprofit New Kiva Motion Puppet Theatre for more than 30 years. She says her puppeteering tries to focus on the lessons that wise, 12-inch, handmade friends can teach to children and adults alike.

New Kiva Motions' latest show, Metamorphosis, discusses life's changes through the intertwined stories of a butterfly and a little boy with a new sibling. While the butterfly undergoes changes thanks to his biological life cycle, the boy experiences a more fundamental, emotional change associated with growing up.

Mocking says the show, which she originally wrote for the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, appeals to audiences of all ages, because it's "something that everybody has experienced, or will experience in their life. It's about trying to grapple with changes in your life that you have no control over."

Her approach to puppetry, which focuses more on content than perfect puppet dance routines, comes from her theater background. She worked in Chicago at the start of her career, and that early theater involvement got her interested in puppetry. She learned early on that puppets were the perfect vehicles for her to tell stories.

"The puppets for me are the actors; they are the means by which to tell the story," she says. What emerges is the most "fluff-free" story possible, given the medium, Mocking explains.

Tickets to see Metamorphosis are $5; $3 tickets are available to those with low-income bus passes or AHCCCS cards. —A.B.

Life Is but a Dream

Opening reception for Dream

6 to 9 p.m., Saturday, June 13

Exhibit on display through Saturday, Aug. 22

Zoë Boutique

735 N. Fourth Ave.

740-1201; zoestyle.com

Ever had a dream that was so pleasant, you didn't want it to end? Well, this Saturday just might offer a similar experience.

Zoë Boutique will be opening a new art exhibit featuring work from six local female artists, all of which is centered on the theme of dreams and the surrealism created within them.

One of the artists, Andrea Peterson, recently moved to Tucson from New York and uses a wide variety of materials (including oil, acrylic, collage, pencil and encaustics) to create works that suggest a constant vacillation between waking and dreaming. "We're very excited about it," says Lissa Marinaro, the owner of Zoë. "This is one of her first shows here."

Other artists featured are locals Elizabeth Albert, Ella Alvarez, KoKo Bellows, Kristy Lynn and Sylvia Sewell, whose works in different mediums all echo the dream-like quality of Peterson's. While most of the featured artists work with paintings, others, like Sewell, use photography to create that dreamy feeling. Despite, or perhaps because of the differences in styles, Marinaro says she "really felt all the artists would complement each other well."

"Surreal would be the way to describe the art," Marinaro adds, explaining that most of the works on display have an obvious abstract quality to them, and often include female subjects. Of Elizabeth Albert's work in particular, Marinaro says, "It's pop; it's fun; it's girly."

The exhibit, continuing a six-year tradition at Zoë, will give audiences a chance to see art with local ties and a surrealistic flair. Marinaro insists the opening event will be informal and fun. "It'll be very laid-back," she says, "not like a stuffy art opening. It'll be a nice way to start off your Saturday evening." —S.J.


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