Jeff Kashiwa in concert
6 to 10 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 6
Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
7000 N. Resort Drive
Why is Jeff Kashiwa headed to Loews Ventana Canyon Resort to perform on Sept. 6?
"To bring people together through the joy of music," he says.
The concert, sponsored by the Tucson Jazz Society, will include a largely Phoenix based-band, plus Gerey Johnson, the well-known Chicago jazz/R&B guitarist. Other band members include jazz musicians Mark Florio, Mel Brown and Rachel Eckroth. Kashiwa says these are all musicians he respects and enjoys playing with.
Those in attendance can expect to hear songs that range from the beginning of Kashiwa's career through now; he's actually taking a break from a reunion tour with the Rippingtons to perform here.
Kashiwa has played Phoenix several times but has never made the venture south.
"I'm delighted to be there," he said. "I haven't played Tucson."
While it might seem that for Kashiwa, another gig would be ... well, just another gig, he says he travels around playing music for a deeper reason: Making plain-old music is something he doesn't do. He prefers thinking of his music as a way to bring people together to celebrate life.
Tickets are $25 for the general public, $20 for Tucson Jazz Society members, and $10 for students. If you want to shell out some money for extra-swanky seating, a table for two can be purchased for $175, or $150 for TJS Members. Tickets can be purchased at all Bookmans; by calling 903-1265; or at the door. —N.M.
7:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 4, and Saturday, Sept. 5
Beowulf Alley Theatre
11 S. Sixth Ave.
Jack and his girlfriend, Pretty, go camping with some friends. In the middle of the night, Pretty wakes up to discover that her friends are missing. Armed with flashlights, Pretty and Jack discover the bloody remnants of their friends' tent. It must've been wild animals, they think, and proceed to a little mountain town to ask for help.
But the town's inhabitants aren't much help—and they don't exactly cherish the lives of campers. Then Pretty learns the value of the phrase, "Keep your friends close, and your enemy's shovel."
That's the plot and the tagline of the new independent slasher film Flicker, opening this weekend in Tucson. We won't give away the meaning of the tagline, but we will say it has to do with bad people, bad things, old-fashioned self-defense techniques and a place called the Creepy Room.
Flicker isn't like most horror flicks, because its characters aren't idiots; they do everything right, and things still go wrong. Also, the movie is self-aware—it's funny at the same time as it's scary and gross. Like many horror films since Psycho, this movie has a shower scene—but instead of a naked chick, it features a practical Pretty, fully clothed, showering to get the dirt and blood off her.
"Flicker's strength comes from its story and from the talented actors playing the characters," says filmmaker Aaron Hendren. "It's art-house horror with dry humor and scares, not car chases or comets falling from the sky. The people who should see Flicker don't care to be spoon-fed plot points, and they enjoy subtlety with their spectacle."
Tickets are $12, and Hendren himself will be present at the Saturday screening to answer questions. —A.M.
Sylvan Street in Concert
7:30 p.m., next Thursday, Sept. 10
UA Centennial Hall
1020 E. University Blvd.
Jay Rees and his band Sylvan Street never set out to be a "nu-jazz" fusion band—they just got labeled that way. The band's music is based in jazz, but when they feel like rocking out, bringing the funk or adding a Latin beat, they do it. And that's what nu-jazz does—it fuses together jazz, rock, Latin music and funk while throwing electronic styles into the mix.
Of course, more important than defining Sylvan Street's music is describing it—and that's not easy to do. This band's output is cutting-edge and aggressive, pretty much the opposite of what the name "nu-jazz" might imply. (The term kind of sounds like it means some genre of new age music, perhaps—not that there's anything wrong with that.)
You probably won't find many jazz musicians better than the Sylvan Street guys. Throwing geographic considerations to the wind, Rees handpicked the band's members from among the very best people he'd played with throughout his 30-year jazz career. He ended up with six partners, including drummer Andrew Hix from Chicago, guitarist Frank Brown from Los Angeles and trumpet player Chad Shoopman from Orlando (who is, according to Rees, arguably the best trumpet player working today).
They'll all converge at Centennial Hall next Thursday to celebrate the release of their debut CD, The Perfect Leaf, with a concert to be enjoyed by anyone who likes good tunes.
"This is fun, upbeat, exciting music—not stuffy," says Rees. "Some people are turned off by jazz, because they think it's high brow, but our music appeals to die-hard jazz fans as well as people who aren't into jazz at all—even high school kids. We have an enormously great time playing this music, and that's what translates to the audience."
Tickets are $5 to $9. —A.M.
13th Annual Labor Day Picnic
9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday, Sept. 7
Broadway Boulevard and Alvernon Way
For some people, Labor Day is the last chance to slack off before school really gets going. For others, it means the beginning of football season. For still others, it's just the day you shove your white shoes to the back of the closet.
But for others, Labor Day, the day to recognize and celebrate workers across the globe, is one of the most meaningful holidays out there—especially in this thorny economy. It's important to support decent-paying jobs, good working conditions, health care and fair employment practices—and it's more important than ever for people to be informed about the politics behind these things.
It's also important to use a day off from work to have fun.
So this Labor Day, the Pima Area Labor Federation (PALF)—the Southern Arizona subsidiary of the AFL-CIO—will make sure its 13th annual Labor Day picnic is the most solidarity-building, information-packed and entertaining Labor Day picnic ever. In light of efforts to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, proposed legislation that union officials believe would incite much-needed and substantial labor reform, the theme for the picnic will be "rebuilding America's middle class."
The event will feature information tables by various union and worker organizations, as well as talks by Rep. Raúl Grijalva, and City Council candidates Richard Fimbres, Karin Uhlich and Nina Trasoff. For entertainment, there'll be a tug-of-war session, a hot-dog-eating contest, a water-balloon toss and a sack-relay race, plus a DJ, dancers, a sing-along and more. Kids can enjoy face-painting, jumping castles, coloring and even a fire truck on site.
Everything's free, including the food—and you don't have to be a union member to attend.
"It's a fun day," said PALF chair Linda Hatfield, "and it's a day to celebrate successes with each other, because we don't get to do that all that often." —A.M.