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Tucson International Children's Film Festival

10 a.m., daily, Saturday, July 23, through Sunday, July 31

Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd.

795-0844; www.loftcinema.com

King Kong, Roger Rabbit and Babe the Pig will join forces at the Loft's fifth annual International Children's Film Festival.

The free nine-day festival will feature a mix of live-action and animated movies—including a couple of foreign flicks.

"We always try to get a range of films that are a little off the beaten path," said Loft program director Jeff Yanc.

The films range from decades-old classics like Swiss Family Robinson to the 2009 French film Eleanor's Secret, which has not been widely released in the United States. Though aimed at children, all of the films are palatable to the grown-up set, Yanc said.

"We don't want it to be painful for adults to have to watch these movies," he said.

The festival will also be a last hurrah, of sorts, for sponsor Mrs. Tiggy Winkle's Toys, which closed its doors in June. Before each film, the store's staff will lead activities and games related to the movie. For example, the activity before King Kong will be a paper-airplane battle between teams of "gorillas" and "humans." Before Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, children will dress up as cartoon characters and parade around the theater.

After each movie, there will be free raffles for prizes like passes to Old Tucson Studios and the Children's Museum Tucson.

The festival will also promote literacy: When the film Holes plays, free copies of the book will be given out. Representatives from the Pima County Public Library will sign kids up for library cards, too.

Yanc encourages audience members to arrive early. Doors open at 9:15 a.m., and the events are usually finished by noon.

Admission and popcorn are free. The schedule can be found at www.loftcinema.com. —C.A.


Multilingual Chanteuse

Jessica Fichot

7 p.m., Sunday, July 24

Suite 147 at Plaza Palomino, 2970 N. Swan Road

319-9966; www.rhythmandroots.org

Jessica Fichot's musical style reflects the singer's diversity. Raised in France by a French father and a Chinese mother, Fichot has a style that combines a plethora of cultures and influences.

"I consider myself a citizen of the world," she said. "I like to mix up languages."

Fichot's primary style is French chanson, which simply translates into French song. Fichot said that chanson is acoustic and lyric-driven music.

"I never thought much about French chanson until I moved to L.A.," she said. At that time, the language of her childhood seemed more exotic to her.

When Fichot was struggling to find her own voice, she said, Lhasa de Sela—a Mexican singer who sang in Spanish, English and French—inspired her. "She changed my life," she said. "After I listened to her, I started thinking about writing music in my native tongue, which is French."

Fichot's songs also feature gypsy jazz and international folk music. As a multilingual singer, her music blends various languages, including French, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and English.

As Fichot sings and plays the accordion and toy piano, she's also accompanied by a fiery quartet that includes Robby Marshall on clarinet, sax and flute; Brandon Turner on upright bass; Brian Carmody on drums; and Antoine Salem on guitar and glockenspiel. "They are very talented jazz musicians," said Fichot.

While most of her songs are sung in French, Fichot said that the music is very accessible. "It's really for everyone," she said. "It goes beyond the language barriers."

Tickets are $17 in advance, or $20 at the door. Tickets are available at Antigone Books, all Bookmans locations, the Grey Dog Trading Company. They're also available at www.rhythmandroots.org or by calling (800) 594-8499. —A.L.


Beachy Keen

Vox Urbana at MOCA on La Playa

8 p.m., Saturday, July 23

MOCA Tucson, 265 S. Church Ave.

624-5019; www.moca-tucson.org

If you've been dying for a beach getaway, but can't afford to actually get away, MOCA Tucson is the place for you.

The Museum of Contemporary Art has constructed a beach inside its Great Hall, inviting desert-dwellers to meet up and relax.

This Saturday, the beach—an installation called La Playa—will be the scene of a cumbia dance party with local band Vox Urbana.

Amy Hagemeier, the band's accordion player, said Vox Urbana takes its inspiration from an eclectic mix of musical styles.

"We all come from very different backgrounds," she said, explaining that the members have experience in punk, world, folk and psychedelic-rock music. The styles fuse together to form what the band calls "garage cumbia."

It's festive music that brings people together and makes them want to move, Hagemeier said.

"Cumbia is a very danceable beat," she said. "Every gig we ever go to, there are people dancing. ... I can't think of a better way of celebrating (the summer)."

MOCA's indoor beach will also be home to a concert series, movie screenings and activities for kids.

An architecture collective called DUST came up with the idea of La Playa to celebrate "the heat, the light (and) the atmosphere" of summer, said MOCA assistant curator Candace Moeller.

Acme Sand and Gravel donated almost 100 tons of fine sand to create the indoor beach. "We have beach chairs and assorted furniture up on the dunes for socializing," Moeller said.

Hagemeier encourages people to come and enjoy the show.

"It's summer," she said. "It's a great time to go do something you wouldn't normally do."

Admission is $5 for MOCA members, and $8 for nonmembers. —C.A.


Playing the Classics

The Paloma Winds and Pianist Paula Fan

3 p.m., Sunday, July 24

Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 2331 E. Adams St.

808-2122; www.standrewsbach.org

This weekend, St. Andrew's Bach Society will present Mozart's Piano Quintet in Eb Major, K. 452, and the Sextet for Piano and Winds by Ludwig Thuille.

These classics will be performed by the Paloma Winds, a woodwind quintet featuring Deena Reedy on flute; Sara Fraker on oboe; Andrew Braden on clarinet; Rebecca Cain on bassoon; and Victor Valenzuela on horn.

Playing alongside will be pianist Paula Fan. The classically trained Fan has a passion for both of the pieces. She said that the Mozart piece is interesting because it strikes so many different moods.

"It's classical and clean, but there are all these nuances, too," she said.

While the Thuille piece is not as well-known, Fan said it's challenging and dynamic. "It's very dramatic ... It's a finger-buster!" she exclaimed.

Though Fan is the featured pianist, she and the woodwind quintet work together. "We play chamber music, which essentially means that we're all created equal," she said. Several of the quintet members play with Fan in the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.

"We end up with something really beautiful and communicative that we've crafted with each other," she said.

For those intimidated by classical music, Fan promised that both pieces appeal to everybody. "There are plenty of beautiful melodies," she said.

Fan added that the concert wouldn't be possible without the St. Andrew's Bach Society, which she called "one of Tucson's jewels."

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Tickets are $10 for adults, and $5 for students. They are available at the door (cash or check only) or in advance at the SABS website. —A.L.

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