A Smooth Holiday Weekend
Brian Simpson and Jackiem Joyner in concert
7:30 p.m., Saturday, July 2
Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, 7000 N. Resort Drive
(800) 234-5117 (Loews); 903-1265 (Jazz Society)www.tucsonjazz.org
Tucson's smooth-jazz fans are encouraged to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend with a good time and good music, courtesy of the Tucson Jazz Society.
Founded in 1977, the Tucson Jazz Society began as a venue for local jazz musicians and listeners. It has grown to include more than 2,000 members, with the goal of promoting a music born right here in America.
The Tucson Jazz Society continues its annual four-part summer series of concerts. The upcoming concert is the third in the "Desert Heat With a Jazz Beat series," and will feature a mix of different styles, with acclaimed keyboardist Brian Simpson and saxophonist Jackiem Joyner.
Simpson has toured with well-known jazz artists such as George Duke, Larry Carlton and Jonathan Butler.
Joyner has had songs on the jazz charts since 2007 and was nominated for the American Smooth Jazz Awards Song of the Year in 2010.
The summer concerts are just some of the many performances arranged by the Tucson Jazz Society.
"We have about 15 to 22 concerts a year," said Sandy Riser, marketing director for the Tucson Jazz Society. "We are one of the oldest and largest jazz societies in the country."
Because the concerts are well-organized, the Tucson Jazz Society attracts a lot of talent, both local and from outside of the area, according to Riser.
For those hoping to make the show part of a weekend trip, the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort is offering two different room packages with a two-night minimum stay, including two tickets and a meet-and-greet with the artists; call Loews for prices and information.
Tickets for just the concert are $35 for nonmembers; $25 for TJS members
and active military members; and $20 for students. —A.F.
The Fireside Chats With FDR
7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, July 1 and 2; 3 p.m., Sunday and Monday, July 3 and 4
The Comedy Playhouse, 3620 N. First Ave.
History fans and theater lovers looking for something different this Independence Day weekend can enjoy a witty, humorous and insightful take on President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his progressive policies.
Part history lesson and part patriotic nostalgia, the show is the brainchild of James Mitchell Gooden, who plays FDR in The Fireside Chats With FDR. Gooden was inspired by Roosevelt's series of radio "Fireside Chats" in the '30s and '40s.
The chats began during the banking crisis of the 1930s, when FDR addressed Americans directly, asking them to have faith in the banks and his New Deal policies. As America struggled with the Great Depression and World War II, Roosevelt continued the chats.
Gooden wanted to bring attention to Roosevelt's idea that the government could have an active, positive role in people's lives and the nation.
Gooden first came up with the idea as the U.S. was heavily involved in the latest Iraq war, and Gooden wanted to do something patriotic and uplifting.
"We progressives are patriotic, too," said Gooden. "I think we have, in a lot of ways, turned our backs on what FDR said—his common sense—and we're paying for it."
While The Fireside Chats With FDR has been going strong since 2007, something new is added each year. Gooden said he always goes back to the source material and other information about Roosevelt to find new things, including elements of the former president's odd quirks.
"(Roosevelt) would hold press in his office and always called the press 'boys and girls,'" said Gooden.
Tickets are $18, or $16 for seniors. Call ahead for reservations. —A.F.
Starship, Kids and Lasers!
Red, White and Boom
5 p.m., Sunday, July 3
Pima County Fairgrounds, 11300 S. Houghton Road
The Red, White and Boom! celebration at the Pima County Fairgrounds is back for a second year on Sunday, July 3.
Tucson College is hosting the event along with the Arizona Lotus Corp., which includes KFMA FM 92.1, KLPX FM 96.1, KCMT FM 102.1 and KTKT AM 990.
Steve Groesbeck, general manager of Arizona Lotus, said the event will include an exciting laser show. The hosts will also offer food vendors, merchandise vendors, live music and a Kids Zone.
"This is an opportunity to reach out to our listeners," Groesbeck said.
The festivities will kick off at 5 p.m., with music beginning at 6 p.m. Bands in different genres will perform, including Starship featuring Mickey Thomas, local greats Calexico, and Savor (a Santana tribute band).
At 10 p.m., set your sights on the sky, as the laser show begins, set to patriotic music.
"We won't have fireworks this year because of the fires, but the laser show does some neat things," Groesbeck said.
With the smells of food from a large variety of vendors filling the air, your belly can stay full throughout the performances and laser show. Let the kids be kids with activities at the Kids Zone, which will include a bouncing castle, pony rides and different games.
This event is free, but a ticket is needed to enter. Tickets are available at Tucson College, Cricket Wireless, Barbecue World, Dulceria Mis 3 Cochitas, Famous Sam's, Los Portales, Naughton's Plumbing and the Tinder box.
"It's a lot of fun. You have to get out there," said Groesbeck. —K.C.
Head South for the Fourth
Independence Day in Tubac
Old-Fashioned Celebration: 10 a.m. to noon, Monday, July 4Tubac Presidio State Historic Park, 1 Burruel St., in Tubac Village
Evening events: 4 p.m., Monday, July 4
Tubac Golf Resort and Spa, 1 Avenue de Otero Road, off Interstate 19 Exit 40
Let Tubac take you back to the way Independence Day used to be celebrated with an Old Fashioned Independence Day Celebration.
The daytime activities are hosted by the Tubac Chamber of Commerce and area nonprofit organizations. There will be a dunk tank with "notable" local volunteers sitting in the wet seat, free hot dogs and watermelon, and games for kids including a water-balloon toss, a coin guess and hula-hooping. At 11:30 a.m., the Tubac Fire Department will turn on their hoses to give the crowd a "squirt-down."
Following the old-fashioned celebration, the Tubac Golf Resort and Spa will host a fireworks show and more festivities. The fun will begin at 4 p.m., leading up to the fireworks show at 8:45 p.m. Patti Todd, marketing and communications manager for the Tubac Golf Resort and Spa, said the event has been held for at least 10 years.
"We've hired a DJ, and he will be engaging kids and families in games on the golf course," Todd said.
There is also a VIP package available for purchase. (Reservations must be made by Friday, July 1; call Diana Cruz at 520-398-3531.) The package includes a dinner buffet and VIP parking. VIP tickets are $55 for adults, and $15 for kids 12 and younger. For non-VIP-goers, parking is $7 per car with the rest of the activities being free.
There will be vendors on the golf course, and the resort's restaurant will be open.
"The fireworks are beautiful, and we're really excited for the event," Todd said. —K.C.
Staying in shape doesn't always take priority in our lives. While watching Netflix, sitting in the breeze of the swamp cooler, it's easy to ponder, "If only there were a way I could make working out more like a party." On Saturday, May 30, downtown Tucson will be transformed into a runner's block party with the Meet Me Downtown 5k Run.
Hailed as the lost member of Monty Python by none other than John Cleese, British comedian Eddie Izzard has made his own unique place in stand-up comedy.