Tucson World RefugeeFEST
5 to 9 p.m., Saturday, June 19
El Presidio Park
115 N. Church Ave.
Celebrate World Refugee Day this Saturday at Tucson World RefugeeFEST 2010.
This is the second annual World RefugeeFEST in Tucson (following several years of smaller local events marking World Refugee Day). The festival is a tribute to the courage of millions of refugees uprooted by war and violence.
"On June 20 of every year, (World Refugee Day) celebrates the courage of those who have survived and also those that have not," said event spokesperson Melissa Wieters.
The festival—being held on the eve of the official World Refugee Day—is free and family-friendly, featuring live performances, ethnic food, arts and crafts and fun activities for children.
"There will be a lot more food this year," Wieters said with a chuckle. "I know that was a problem last year. We'll have Guinean food, South African food, Asian food and even more than that."
Tucson has an estimated refugee population of 11,000 people from all around the world. Festival organizers hope to create an environment that shows off those diverse and unique cultures—and in the process, reaches out to people within the community to spread the word about the refugees' cause.
Ten different performances will represent eight different countries. The acts range from youth groups to professional music ensembles.
Wieters hopes people will also take the time to talk to the refugees about their amazing stories.
"These people have been through amazing struggles," she said. "I hope people can appreciate that." —A.L.
50th Anniversary "Screaming" of Psycho
7 p.m., Wednesday, June 23
3233 E. Speedway Blvd.
The goal of horror films, of course, is to frighten audiences out of their seats, and embed sadistic images in audiences' minds.
One horror picture that has undeniably met those goals is Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.
Psycho has influenced countless horror films with its unpredictable plot and its unforgettable scenes. From its deranged yet sympathetic psychopath, Norman Bates, to its infamous shower scene, Psycho created a perfect blend of suspense and horror that few, if any, films in the genre have matched.
"It's interesting how the film shifts to a completely new plot," said Jeff Yanc, program director at the Loft Cinema "... It gives a sense that anything can happen from this point on, and makes the audience feel unsafe while watching the film."
Fans of the horror classic can enjoy the film on the Loft's big screen during the 50th Anniversary "Screaming." Yanc said he's pleased the Loft will be hosting the screening, because he feels Psycho was meant to be viewed on the big screen.
"The screening will be on the same week when the film was released in New York City 50 years ago," Yanc said. "Psycho is a film that is much more enjoyable to watch in a dark theater, because the loud speakers and pitch-black room create a frightening atmosphere for the audience."
Along with the screening, the event will include a free raffle of movie memorabilia. Prizes will include showering supplies, a Psycho shower curtain, and Hitchcock's books and films.
The "Screaming" will also include a montage of trailers from other Hitchcock films, such as The Birds and Vertigo.
General admission is $8; Loft members get in for $6. —D.O.
Cosy Sheridan, TR Ritchie and Shaun Cromwell in concert
7 p.m., Saturday, June 19
Abounding Grace Church
2450 S. Kolb Road
Cosy Sheridan will join kindred folk spirits TR Ritchie and Shaun Cromwell at a performance in Tucson this weekend.
Sheridan is promoting her new album, Eros, and said she is looking forward to playing for a Tucson crowd.
"I love Tucson," she said, "It's really beautiful there."
Sheridan has been a recording and touring musician for 20 years. She is a truly American folk singer/songwriter; her song topics include themes such as AIDS, prostitution, women's body image and environmentalism. Her songs are often humorous, and Tom Lehrer influences shine through in her lyrics' subtle wit.
She has released a slew of records since 1990, some live and some recorded. Her Tucson show will showcase songs from her entire career—with a bit of a lean toward the new album she's touring to promote, of course. Sheridan also will be playing songs from her one-woman show, The Pomegranate Seed—An Exploration of Appetite, Body Image and Myth in Modern Culture.
Sheridan said her one-woman show is "an exploration of how we descend into the underworld. It's based on the myth of Persephone."
TR Ritchie is one of the opening acts. His spontaneous and spirited performances have earned him headlining spots at shows including the Snowbird Mountain Music Festival in Utah. His lyrics are described as being witty, yet philosophical.
The music of guitar aficionado Shaun Cromwell, the other opener, is based in the tradition of folk and Americana.
Tickets to the concert are $15 at the door (payable by cash or check). Visit the website for more information. —A.L.
Grace St. Paul's Summer Film Series: Departures
6:30 p.m., Friday, June 18
Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church
2331 E. Adams St.
Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church will be showing three different films as part of its Summer Film Series—and all deal with questions regarding the dead, heaven and angels.
"All of these films are meant to arouse the audience to think about death and what potentially comes after death," said event spokesperson Terry Shreve.
First, this Friday, June 18, Grace St. Paul's will show Departures, the Japanese film that won the Best Foreign Language Oscar last year. Director Yojiro Takita tells the story of an out-of-work cellist who returns to his hometown to work at a funeral home. The film deals with how people respond to death and tragedy.
The Japanese film After Life will be shown on July 16. Released in 1999 and directed by noted Japanese filmmaker Koreeda Hirokazu, the film explores the human need to discover meaning in everyday life. The film takes place at a way station between Heaven and Earth, where guides take the newly dead through their memories so they can choose their most important memory, and take it with them to Heaven. The film is noted for its dense and philosophical storyline.
On Aug. 20, the 1987 classic Wings of Desire, directed by German filmmaker Wim Wenders, will hit the screen. The film follows two angels, Damiel and Cassiel, as they roam Berlin and observe humans—but they cannot intervene. Aside from the obvious religious themes, the film also explores Berlin's past, present and future.
About a year ago, Shreve and a friend both lost parents—and that, in part, led to the series' theme.
"Through the grieving process, we both started to think about the afterlife," said Shreve. "These movies are meant to get people to consider what comes next."
Admission is free. —A.L.