The Border Project
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Saturday, Friday, Sept. 11, through Friday, Nov. 6
Arizona State Museum
1013 E. University Blvd.
The Tohono O'odham people lived in the Sonoran Desert countless centuries before it was divided into Arizona and Mexico. When the U.S.-Mexico border came, it sliced through these traditional lands, separating friends and family.
We've heard plenty of debate about border policies and immigration issues, but in a new exhibit at the Arizona State Museum, we can get a new perspective—from art by young people living on borders, including Tohono O'odham youths whose families have been ripped apart.
The Border Project, directed by teacher and artist Morgana Wallace, is a mixed-media art installation highlighting the perspectives of high school students living on the border dividing Arizona and Mexico, as well as the border between the Tohono O'odham reservation and the town of Ajo.
Art for the exhibit was started back in October 2007, when Morgana led students at Ajo High School, Tohono O'odham High School (in Sells) and Cobach High School (in Sonoyta, Sonora) in generating discussion, drawings, writings and sculpture on their views of the border. Artist Jewel Fraser Clearwater captured the essence of students and their art in photographs of the young artists posing with their pieces, with lines drawn across their faces as a powerful metaphor.
Working with the students, Wallace saw that "youth had empathy for other youth. The pictures drawn, the sculptures made, and the words written were very telling—footprints, bags of money, fences, people crying, the Border Patrol, skulls, drugs. ... I feel (the students) are the most likely generation to give a raw and honest reaction to what's going on."
Though Wallace directed the project, she stresses that it's the result of an incredible collaboration between numerous skilled and dedicated students, artists and community members.
Admission to the museum is free, but donations are requested. —A.M.
Blood Moon Rising screening
7:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 12
Tower Theatres at Arizona Pavilions
8031 N. Business Park Drive
Ron Jeremy hopes to prove his skill set involves more than just sex positions in Blood Moon Rising, a comedy-horror movie produced by Phoenix-based filmmakers Brian Skiba and Laurie Love.
Gabriele Andres, a local filmmaker who's helping publicize the event, says Jeremy will be present at the Saturday night northwest-side screening, glad-handing and waving to the crowd.
"Doing what he does best," she says.
Well, that point can be argued.
The adult-film legend appears in the 90-minute film for about 15 minutes. Some of the film's cast and crew—including Jeremy—are slated to appear at Zen Rock (121 E. Congress St.) afterward, around 10 p.m.
"Ron Jeremy was ecstatic at the fact that he was going to be treated like VIP," Andres says.
Skiba, a Tucson native, describes his movie as a grind-house horror film. The idea for the film sprung up around Halloween, which proved to be a source of inspiration.
"Werewolves, hippies, zombies, 1965," Skiba says. "It's really about lost love and vengeance."
About halfway through the film, local bar and grill Joe and Vicky's Place gets some time in the spotlight. He says to look for Joe and Vicky's "when the werewolves leave the bar on motorcycles. Yeah, we have motorcycle werewolves. ... They can walk and talk and party."
Tucson is getting the screening for several reasons. One: Many of the investors are residents. Another, says Skiba, is Tucson's attitude toward the arts. It's easier for art projects to fall by the wayside in Scottsdale, where he lives, he says.
Filmmakers will be seeking feedback from the audience so they can tweak any weak points before the next premiere, on Oct. 16 in Tempe.
Admission is $9. —N.M.
Bat Night 2009
5:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 12
Rillito River, just east of the Campbell Avenue bridge
The Rillito River Project invites Tucsonans to join in the festivities of Bat Night 2009, an evening of performing arts, education and 40,000 bats filling the sky.
Flam Chen, a local pyrotechnic performing-arts group, will be on hand. Writer/poet Logan Phillips will be reading selections from his work, and bat expert Yar Petryszyn will offer an introductory talk about the bat population, which is one of the largest in the Southwest.
Extra parking is available at the UA farm on the corner of Campbell Avenue and Roger Road.
The Mexican free-tailed bats are nomadic and migrate here for mating season in May. About 20,000 arrive, and by the time they leave in September, they have doubled in number. They leave the cave nightly to search for food.
Ellen Skotheim, the founder and creative director of the Rillito River Project, says the group's goal is to raise awareness of environmental issues facing the Southwest.
"We give (event-goers) an experience that changes their consciousness," she says. "When you're there, and the moon is coming out, and the bats come out, it is really special."
Those in attendance should bring blankets, flashlights and water. St. Philip's Plaza and Campbell Avenue businesses will be open for events, too. Those happenings include a film screening of a man fishing the river during rush hour traffic, and info about the work of Patmore Lewis, a violinist who produced a song about the river.
If the rain happens to come down on Saturday, the event will shift to the next evening, Sunday, Sept. 13.
For more information, visit rillitoriverproject.org. —N.M.
Phil Villarreal reading
7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 11
Barnes and Noble
5130 E. Broadway Blvd.
Phil Villarreal, a journalist for the Arizona Daily Star, has written a book about what it takes to keep from going broke. Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel, Villarreal's second book, was released Sept. 1, and he will host a reading at the eastside Barnes and Noble this Friday.
Villarreal is a UA graduate who started writing a humor column for the Arizona Daily Wildcat when he was a freshman. After working as a general assignment reporter for several years, he became the Star's film critic, a gig he held until this year. He has won several awards, including the Arizona Press Club's award for best film video and television criticism. He also wrote Stormin' Mormin, a novel about a people trying to escape torturously boring marriages. Becauseitoldyouso.com is the place Villarreal's unfiltered spouting can be found.
Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel is a humorous look at how to be a cheapskate. The cover of the book features George Washington's face with drawn-on red horns, eyes, a mustache and goatee.
The book, which is broken up into "100 dirty little money-grabbing secrets," has section titles like "Don't Poop on Coupons" and "Tipping is Just a City in China."
In "The Legend of the Cubic Zirconium Heirloom," tip no. 84, he argues why diamonds should be replaced by much-cheaper cubic zirconia when proposing. His reasoning is that the value of diamonds is a trick played on consumers by profiteers. He writes: "I can announce with trembling pleasure that this idea is a pure stroke of unadulterated genius sent down to me directly from the highest heaven. ... It really is something Gandhi, Einstein or Mr. Wizard should have thought of first."
The signing is free. —N.M.