Ninth Annual Fiesta Grande Street Fair
9:30 a.m. to dusk, Saturday, May 7; noon to dusk, Sunday, May 8
Grande Avenue, between Speedway Boulevard and Saint Mary's Road
For Margaret McKenna, the Fiesta Grande Street Fair brings a strong sense of nostalgia—of a time long ago that somehow still seems within reach.
During each year's street fair, a community stage is set up, and anyone who wishes is free to perform, from mariachis to dancers to musicians. And the spectators? They dance in the middle of an empty dirt lot. Young or old, casual or dressed up, they dance with abandon.
"You would think people wouldn't want to dance in the dirt," said McKenna, a co-founder of the fair. "But, oh, no. You'd be wrong. It's like the old times."
When McKenna started the Fiesta Grande Street Fair, it was a simple mix of music, food and vendors. It has since spawned into a full-fledged Hollywood Barrio experience, with a car show, carnival rides and arts and crafts.
"This isn't a block party," McKenna said. "This is an event for the entire community."
All Tucsonans are encouraged to head over to Grande Avenue on May 7 and 8 to take part in the fun and free gathering, all for a good cause, McKenna said.
That cause comes in the form of the Fiesta Grande board giving back to the community, whether it's through $1,000 scholarships for local high school students or funding summer youth basketball camps in the Hollywood Barrio area.
"Everyone comes together," McKenna said. "It's like a reunion for the entire city."
She doesn't know exactly what the future will hold for the street fair, but McKenna said she expects much of the same—good food, good people and a place to bring it all together.
And, of course, more dancing in the dirt. —S.B.
Author Terry Greene Sterling
7 p.m., Friday, May 6
411 N. Fourth Ave.
Terry Greene Sterling will be reading from her book Illegal: Life and Death in Arizona's Immigration War Zone at Antigone Books on Friday.
While growing up on a border-area cattle ranch, Greene Sterling crossed the border numerous times to visit family, she said. She learned both Spanish and English, and being fluent in both languages helped her find work as a journalist as an adult.
Her book chronicles the lives of immigrants living illegally in Phoenix. "This nonfiction book is the only one, I think, that profiles undocumented immigrants living in Phoenix in the months leading up to and during the SB 1070 hurricane."
Greene Sterling said she interviewed from six to 10 immigrants for the book, and that the stories she heard were all "incredibly intimate."
She mentioned the story of one family, with a father who owned a carwash and a mother who worked there. One day, all of a sudden, sheriff's deputies surrounded the business, and both parents were arrested for living in the country without proper documentation. Their little girl watched her two parents being shoved into cop cars on the local news.
Greene Sterling said hearing all of the stories was both a privilege and an honor. "I felt like I was in the middle of history being made."
She mentioned that part of her reason for writing Illegal was that these stories had not been told before. "What about the people in the center of the debate?" she asked. "Their stories are absent from the immigration reform debate."
On Friday, Greene Sterling will read from her book and recount some of these important true stories. The event is free. —A.G.
Free Comic-Book Day
10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, May 7
Heroes and Villains
4533 E. Broadway Blvd.
Every year on the first Saturday in May, comic-book shops across the world give out free comics to anyone who wants them.
According to Eric Esquivel, marketing specialist at Heroes and Villains, 2011 will mark Free Comic-Book Day's 10th anniversary.
Esquivel said he's excited for this year's celebration, because he is so passionate about comic books. He said he started reading them at a young age. "I grew up with no father figure. ... Superheroes were role models (for me)."
Some of the titles that will be distributed on Saturday feature characters including the Green Lantern, Captain America, Thor, Batman and Young Justice, all of whom have recently appeared on the big screen.
Esquivel said that superheroes are making a comeback in mainstream culture; after all, superhero stories are so much fun that the ideas within them are made into films. "Comics are a medium," he said.
In addition to the distribution of free comics, the Star Wars costuming group 501st Legion will be present all day, along with the Arizona Ghostbusters. There will also be a Magic: The Gathering tournament featuring brand-new cards that aren't yet available for purchase.
As if the free comic books and Star Wars photo-ops weren't enough, Heroes and Villains is teaming up with the 501st Legion and Arizona Ghostbusters to raise money for the American Cancer Society, through participation in the Relay for Life.
"Heroes and Villains strives to be more than a comic-book store," said Esquivel. "We want to have a positive impact in our community."
Free comics, card games and other festivities—all for a good cause. It will definitely be pretty super. —A.G.
World premiere of High Crimes
7:30 p.m., next Thursday, May 12; 10:30 p.m., next Friday, May 13
Live Theatre Workshop
5317 E. Speedway Blvd.
The group of UA theater students had a problem: After developing their own original musical, the students were told that the UA could not support their play.
They were rogues without a venue, players without a stage.
"It was going to happen regardless," said Danielle Hecht, "whether on the sidewalk or in a theater."
Etcetera at Live Theatre Workshop eventually swooped in to save the day, inviting the students to use their venue.
This is the story of High Crimes, a musical conceived, written and composed by UA senior Damian Hudson, and brought to life by some of his closest friends at the university.
"It was extremely difficult," Hudson said. "But we stuck with it. Everyone is there because of our appreciation and love of theater."
Holding a modern feel while still containing hints of an old, classic aura, High Crimes is done in film-noir style, with a jazzy accompaniment, Hudson said.
The story features the classic noir setup—a femme fatale, murder and a detective searching for the truth.
"There's a lot of sex and violence and lies," Hudson said.
Said Hecht, the play's director: "It's sexy and cool and slick and tense. It's all about crime drama."
The story follows a detective investigating a brutal murder in the South, all while dealing with deception, darkness and a dangerous woman.
Running 50 minutes with no intermission, High Crimes is a triumph of showing audiences a different side of musical theater, Hudson said.
"I'm trying to make musical theater cool again," he said. "The audience, they're going to see some theater unlike anything they've seen before."
Tickets are $10. To make reservations, call 327-4242. —S.B.