Wine for a Good Cause
Armitage Wine Lounge and Café Anniversary Party
6 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 10
Armitage Wine Lounge and Cafe, 2905 E. Skyline Drive, No. 168
If you're expecting a formal wine-tasting at the Armitage Wine Lounge and Cafe's fourth-anniversary party, forget it. Instead, the celebration will be more of a "free booze party," Armitage manager Juno Kim said.
For the first two hours, Armitage will offer complimentary wine, cocktails and appetizers. After that, it's reverse happy hour, with numerous drink specials. Bottles of wine will be offered at half-price.
Kim said the wine lounge is expecting between 500 and 600 guests at this year's party.
"Get here early," he said. "There's going to be a line."
Armitage's La Encantada space is small, so guests will likely be standing for most of the night. "It's definitely one of those events where it's at capacity the whole time," Kim said.
He said Armitage has become known for its good food, decent prices and knowledgeable staff. However, the best aspect of the event is the fact that the admission fees will benefit Tu Nidito Children and Family Services.
"We support children when their lives have been impacted by the death of a loved one or a serious illness," said Tu Nidito assistant director Ciara Meyer-Garcia. "Everything has changed in their life, so they need emotional support and guidance."
Last year, Tu Nidito helped 850 local children. Because the agency offers its services for free, it relies on community donations to operate, Meyer-Garcia said.
Meyer-Garcia attended last year's party. She encouraged people to stop by not just to support the charity, but also to enjoy the wine and the range of appetizers.
"It is a fabulous event," she said. "Until you go there, you don't understand."
Admission is $5. —C.A.
Honoring the Duke
John Wayne Movie Festival: Paradise Canyon
7p.m., Saturday, Aug. 6
Coyote Pause Cafe, 2740 S. Kinney Road
Legend has it that John Wayne wanted the Spanish phrase "feo, fuerte y formal," which translates to "ugly, strong and dignified," written on his tombstone.
"What's appealing about Wayne," said Dan Barden, author of John Wayne: A Novel, "is that he became ugly, and there was a dignity about him that was really appealing across the board."
The movies played over at Coyote Pause Café, though, show a younger, more-physically attractive Wayne. The café's summer-long John Wayne movie festival has so far included Wayne's earlier films, like The Trail Beyond, Randy Rides Alone, and this month's Paradise Canyon.
Paradise Canyon, made in 1935, shows Wayne slinging guns and throwing fists as John Wyatt, a government agent who must go undercover in a traveling medicine show to infiltrate a dangerous gang of counterfeiters.
While Wayne was well-known for his sharp shooting, his tremendous acting chops made him a legend. "He had the ability to stare into the camera and let a whole world of emotions pass over his face," said Barden. "There are only a handful of film actors who can do so."
The John Wayne Movie Festival is appropriate for Tucson because of what the films represent about the West. "The West is the entrepreneurial dream," said Barden. "It flatters us by saying that if we risk a lot and work hard enough, we can become anything."
With Southwestern-inspired food, décor and charm, Coyote Pause Café is the perfect backdrop for the John Wayne Movie Festival. Patrons are encouraged to grab a bite from the café, which includes healthy, innovative fare like meatloaf with nopalitos, and coleslaw with prickly pear. There will also be free popcorn to munch on during the movie.
Admission is free. —A.L.
Roll Hard or Roll Home
Tucson Roller Derby Preseason Doubleheader
6 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 6
Bookmans Event Center, 5120 S. Julian Drive
When Iva Coaldheart and Kosma Nauti race down the track on Saturday, it won't be just for show. As part of the Tucson Roller Derby, the women use saucy nicknames and wear themed costumes—but roller derby is a serious sport.
"A really good way to describe it is a full-contact race on skates," said Brooke Lo Turco, known as BAM Bina when she's on the track. "For the hour that we're playing, it's nonstop action."
As a precursor to its ninth season, Tucson Roller Derby will hold two games on Aug. 6. First, the Tucson Saddletramps will play the El Paso Tex Pistols. Then, in a themed exhibition bout, the Rocky Horror Picture Show will face off against Rocky Balboa.
Lo Turco said the costumes for the "Rocky" game are sure to be kitschy.
"I can only imagine what they're going to come up with," she said.
The league will compete in its second state conference later this year. At last year's conference, the Tucson Roller Derby emerged on top of the heap.
"All three of our home teams were in the top four slots," Lo Turco said.
The Bookmans Event Center will host the league's home games this year. The move means fans will have free parking, cheaper beer and a closer view of the action.
All summer, Tucson Roller Derby is accepting donations of new or used books, shoes and clothing for Old Pueblo Children's Services, a group home that helps children in need.
Admission is $8 in advance, or $10 at the door. Kids 12 and younger are admitted for free if an adult purchases tickets. Doors open at 5 p.m. —C.A.
Bryan Dean Trio in concert
4:30 to 7:30 p.m., Friday, Aug. 5
St. Philip's Plaza4280 N. Campbell Ave.
The Bryan Dean Trio is a badass blues group. Not only did they win the Southern Arizona Blues Heritage Foundation Blues Challenge here in Tucson in 2010; they went on to perform in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn., where they made it to the semifinals.
The trio, which consists of Bryan Dean on guitar, Ralph Gilmore on drums and Koko on bass guitar, has an original style. "It is blues with a variation of colors," said Koko. "We have rock, jazz and punk influences."
Not only does the band have musical range; it can please just about any crowd. "We can play at resorts and be really well-behaved, or we can play at biker bars and be crazy," said Bryan Dean.
With song titles "Sobriety Checkpoint" and "Brand New Junk," the songwriting is brutally honest and full humor and irony about everyday life. The band also relies heavily on improv. "It makes everyone listen to each other," said Dean. "We just do what we feel."
On Friday, the band will perform unplugged versions of their songs. "It's a good time," he added. "We need people to support live music, so it works both ways; it won't be a disappointment."
The event will also include wine and food-tastings, dance performances and fun stuff for kids, like a magic show, face-painting and balloon-twisting. It's also a chance for local merchants to sell and display their work.
"St. Philip's Plaza wanted to provide the community with art from local merchants and artisans," said Chelsey Killebrew, communications specialist at Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance. "It's a great cultural opportunity for the community."
Admission is free. —A.L.