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Glassblowing and Suds

Fall Fantastic Beer Tasting and Stein Event

4 to 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 19

Sonoran Glass Art Academy

633 W. 18th St.

884-7814;

www.sonoranglass.org

A mug, a glass or a stein—it doesn't matter what you call it as long as it contains beer. Combine that beer with glassblowing (who wouldn't?), and add in a silent auction, and you've got the Sonoran Glass Art Academy's Fall Fantastic Beer Tasting and Stein event.

SGAA is a nonprofit organization specializing in the appreciation and awareness of glass arts. They provide glassblowing classes for everyone to learn different styles and produce one-of-a-kind pieces. Students can attend Hot Shop and learn traditional Italian style of making bowls or vases. Flame Shop, also known as flame-working or torch-working, is where glass beads and pendants are made. Then there is Warm Shop, where you can fuse and cut glass. Student and faculty work displayed in their gallery is on sale, and proceeds go to SGAA.

On Saturday, event-goers can sample microbrews from Barrio Brewing Co. and Thunder Canyon Brewery while live glassblowing demonstrations take place. More specifically, SGAA artists will make beer steins right before your eyes. If you like what you see, you can bid on one during the silent auction. Viewers can also make suggestions regarding the creation of the steins.

"You can ask for a certain color, shape, a thick handle or a curly handle, and then bid on it," says Paul Stout, a former glassblower at SGAA who is now a friendly helper.

Stout says SGAA folks put two and two together while making steins and other glasses, and asked: Why not add actual beer?

Local folk group the Silver Thread Trio will perform, and home-cooked Mexican food will be served.

The event is open to all ages. If you're younger than 21, it's free. Tickets are $20, or $10 for SGAA members. Attendees will receive a commemorative beer stein. —A.P.


Down the Rabbit Hole

Alice in Wonderland

Various times through Oct. 4

Studio Connections

9071 E. Old Spanish Trail

(800) 745-3000;

www.studioconnections.net

The first thing most people think of when it comes to Alice in Wonderland is the blonde cartoon girl, traveling through a mad forest, in the Disney movie classic from 1951.

In the Studio Connections version, Alice takes a slightly different journey.

Adapted by Rincon High School teacher Maryann Green, the play combines both of Lewis Carroll's Alice stories, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. In the latter, Alice is a pawn in a chess game; in the play, the audience watches her move across the chessboard.

The play is geared toward younger audiences and has two messages: First, Alice spends a lot of time wanting to play croquet, but the game doesn't go well. Then she is desperate to go to a tea party, but once there, everyone is rude to her. The message: Be more cautious about what you want, says director John Mussack.

The second message is that Studio Connections wants kids to see that anyone can be in a theatrical performance.

"There's no reason you can't be involved," says Brian Levario, press-relations contact for Studio Connections.

Studio Connections is a local nonprofit organization that teaches visual and theater arts. The focus is on providing classes for children and students, ranging from painting to theater camps. The group's main goal is to provide for students whose arts funding may have been cut at school.

Lesser-known characters from the Alice books will also be making appearances. Audiences can reacquaint themselves with the Duchess, the Cook, and the White and Black Queens of the chessboard.

"The Cheshire Cat and the White Rabbit are there too," reassures Mussack.

Tickets are available at www.brownpapertickets.com or by phone at 731-1559. Admission is $15 for adults; or $10 for children, students, seniors and military members, with scholarships and family discounts available. —A.P.


Monty Python Invades Tucson

Spamalot

Various times, Tuesday, Sept. 22, through Sunday, Sept. 27

Tucson Music Hall

260 S. Church Ave

(800) 745-3000;

broadwayintucson.com

Moments before doing a scene one fateful day, Juilliard-trained actor Patrick Heusinger decided to toss a handful of peanut M&M's in his mouth. Onstage, while face to face with Christopher Gurr, he delivered the line, "Concorde! Concorde! Speak to me."

On the "sp" of "speak," a peanut piece flew directly into Gurr's nostril. The show went on, but Gurr, to this day, remains peeved.

Welcome to the touring version of Spamalot, which has been up and running for more than 3 1/2 years.

"It's 50 theater people traveling the country together," Gurr says. "Of course there is childish drama."

While they might have moments of bickering, Gurr says the Spamalot crew is the happiest traveling group he has ever come across.

"It's so silly," he says. "When you're clip-clopping around with coconuts, you can't take yourselves too seriously."

Spamalot, the winner of multiple Tony Awards, is the highest-profile play in which Gurr has participated, he says. He's been a Monty Python fan since junior high school, and a part in the play was too tempting for him to pass up. Gurr is a character actor who gave his first performance at the age of 6, he says. He fills one of four different roles; he is slated to appear as King Arthur while in Tucson.

However, the traveling troupe's odyssey will soon come to an end, he says. The cast will take their final bow in just a few weeks, on Oct. 18 in Costa Mesa, Calif.

"I'll be a little sad to see the show go," he says. "I'll be exceedingly sad to see the check go."

Tickets to the play are $30 to $70.—N.M.


Women in War

Coming in Hot

7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 24, through Saturday, Sept. 26; 2 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 27

Rhythm Industry Performance Factory

1013 S. Tyndall Ave.

327-2127;

www.korepress.org/powderstage.htm

When you burst on the scene with guns ready to fire, and your body is moving as quickly as possible, you're coming in hot. The term's most often used to describe a soldier in war.

But in this instance, Coming in Hot is a one-woman show bursting on the scene. The play showcases a unique perspective: women in the military. Actress Jeanmarie Simpson will deliver 14 monologues from the writings of military women in different branches, and what it was like for them in a male-dominated field.

Published by Kore Press in 2008, Powder: Writings by Women in the Ranks, From Vietnam to Iraq became the first collection of essays and poems by women who served in the military.

The play adaptation will bring a different experience to the audience, says Lisa Bowden, one of the book's editors and the play's director. The venue is an open space, like a dance floor. The intimate setting will allow everyone a front-row seat.

Why make Powder into a play? "Something happens onstage that doesn't happen in a book," says Bowden.

She says the play will allow conversation and bring a variety of people together, something that can't happen when people read the book alone.

The story topics include a first-time airplane jump, thoughts of suicide, heat exhaustion, an attempted rape and spiritual mediation while preparing bodies of the fallen. The play is graphic and may not be appropriate for minors.

Opening night, Thursday, Sept. 24, is a fundraiser for Kore Press, and tickets are $50. On Thursday, refreshments will be provided by Gallery of Food. All other shows are $15 for general admission, and $10 for students and seniors. Tickets are available online or by phone.

Audience discussions will follow each show. —A.P.

More by Nathan Mitchell

More by Amanda Portillo

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