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Hello Kitty!

"Wines and Felines" wine-tasting event

5 to 7 p.m., next Friday, July 24;

advanced reservations preferred

Pastiche

3025 N. Campbell Ave.

571-7839, ext. 3;

hermitagecatshelter.org

A quick visit to the Hermitage Cat Shelter's Web site will offer enough real Lolcats-like photos to draw a sigh from even the most narrow-minded dog person.

The Hermitage is home to up to 200 cats at a time, with 8,000 square feet of living space for the cats to pounce in, explains Monica St. Clare, events and development manager at the nonprofit shelter.

While the space's top priority is adopting out cats, it's also a place for sick cats to "live out their lives without going toward euthanasia," she says.

However, caring for such a large number of cats requires support from the community.

"We rely completely on private donations. ... In order to raise money, we have to do fundraisers," she explains—fundraisers like next week's "Wines and Felines" wine-tasting event, which will be held at Pastiche.

The event will give guests the opportunity to taste five different wines while kicking off the Food for People's Pets program, which runs through Aug. 22 and collects dog food and cat food for those who can't afford it.

"Hopefully, we'll bring about awareness as well, so that people will continually donate food to us, so that we can continue to distribute it to the food pantries," St. Clare says. "We even get calls from people who have been evicted, people who are on their last penny, but want to keep their pets."

Money raised at the fundraiser will also support programs like TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release), which aim to take Tucson off the list of U.S. cities with the largest populations of stray and feral cats.

Tickets to the event are $25, and guests are encouraged to make reservations—and to bring along some pet food to donate to the Food for People's Pets drive. —A.B.


A Pitch for Peace

Swara Sonora Trio's

Love and Variations

3 p.m., Sunday, July 19

Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church

2331 E. Adams St.

240-9853;

swarasonora.com

If such a thing as a "language barrier" exists, the Swara Sonora Trio is certainly doing its part to tear it down.

The group has been performing and perfecting a project for more than a year now: a work written in three different languages featuring poets from five countries. However, this Sunday will offer your last chance to catch the Love and Variations set before the trio embarks on an Indonesian peace tour, during which they will perform the concert for a higher cause. All of the proceeds from the tour will go to support the UNICEF children of Indonesia rights-advocacy programs.

The Love and Variations project consists of work from eight prominent poets throughout history that have been turned into songs by celebrated Spanish-Indonesian composer Ananda Sukarlan. Authors from Walt Whitman and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to Joko Pinurbo (from Indonesia) and Amado Nervo (from Mexico) are included. The work was commissioned in April 2008, but now, says soprano Kathryn Mueller, "it's time to give it its Indonesian premiere."

She explains that because of the incorporation of international poetry and musical styles, it seemed like a logical move to take the work to Indonesia.

"We really want to interact with the people there," she says. The group is hoping that the tour will be able to use music as a common ground for understanding between the United States and Indonesia.

The trio—Nathan Krueger, Aryo Wicaksono and Mueller—are no strangers to the power of music. In fact, the three met while working as teachers through Tucson's Opening Minds Through the Arts project, which is dedicated to the integration of arts education into a school's core curriculum.

Tickets to the event cost $10, or $5 for students. —S.J.


In Synch

2009 U.S. Open Synchronized Swimming Championships

Daily through Saturday, July 18

UA Recreation Center Pool

1400 E. Sixth St.

usasynchro.org

Even though he saved the world, got the girl and discovered he had his mojo all along, Austin Powers did get something wrong in The Spy Who Shagged Me.

The camera shows his feet touching the bottom of the pool in the opening credits' synchronized-swimming scene, which, according to Taylor Payne, media relations director of U.S. Synchronized Swimming, is not part of the sport.

"Much to people's surprise, the athletes are never touching the bottom of the pool, so once you see it in person and realize how difficult it is, people generally have a much bigger appreciation for it," Payne says.

An opportunity for Tucsonans to see synchronized swimming in person floats into town this weekend, as the UA will host the 2009 U.S. Open Synchronized Swimming Championships at the Recreation Center Pool.

The Open, which was held in Cleveland last year, will feature U.S. club teams competing with teams from other countries—like Japan and Canada—in solo, duet, trio, free combination and team events.

The popular free combination event, which Payne describes as seven-minute routines of "10 athletes, kind of switching off, going in and out from a team, to a duet, to a trio, to a solo," will be held on Friday, with finals on Saturday.

And while you won't see a swim-cap-wearing Austin Powers, you will see serious athletes.

"It's a highly visual event." Payne says. "You really have to be in person to appreciate the strength and beauty of the sport."

Tickets are $10 per day for adults; $5 for seniors and kids ages 5-10; and free for kids 5 and under. Multiple-day tickets are also available; visit usasynchro.org for more information and event schedules. —A.B


Honoring Navajo Heroes

Our Fathers, Our Grandfathers, Our Heroes ... the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II

10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Saturday, Friday, July 17, through Saturday, Aug. 15

Arizona State Museum

1013 E. University Blvd.

621-6302;

statemuseum.arizona.edu

Talk about humble beginnings.

The Our Fathers, Our Grandfathers, Our Heroes exhibit didn't begin with historians or World War II experts, but with Navajo-language students from a New Mexico high school.

And what was once just a high school research project focusing on the World War II code talkers has now been seen by more than 350,000 international visitors at various museums in New Mexico and Arizona, explains Michelle Pracy, exhibit curator at the Circle of Light Navajo Educational Project, which produces and circulates the exhibit.

"They were Navajo-language students, and their assignment was to research the Navajo code talkers," Pracy says.

After the project was finished, in conjunction with the Navajo Nation Museum, it was put into a museum-exhibition format. After being on display in Santa Fe, it was commissioned to large-scale, Pracy explains.

Our Fathers, Our Grandfathers, Our Heroes, which consists of more than 20 large-scale historic pictures, maps and versions of the code itself, will be on display at the Arizona State Museum.

"It has really taken on a life of its own, and it's well-received—majorly received—everywhere we've sent it," Pracy says.

In addition to the exhibit, Zonnie Gorman, a Circle of Light program coordinator (and daughter of code talker Carl N. Gorman) will also be giving an illustrated lecture called "Growing Up With Heroes: The Navajo Code Talkers of WWII" on Thursday, July 30, from 6 to 8 p.m. Admission to the lecture is free, but call 626-8381 to RSVP.

Museum admission is donation-based. Visit statemuseum.arizona.edu for more information. —A.B.

More by Aleksa Brown

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