Trying to Pray the Gay Away
"Ted Cox: What I Learned at Straight Camp"
10 a.m., Sunday, Sept. 18
UMC, DuVal Auditorium
1501 N. Campbell Ave.
Sacramento, Calif.-based journalist Ted Cox—a straight man—has been infiltrating camps designed to turn gay men straight. Along the way, he's learned the ins and outs of the destructive therapies used in these camps.
After he went to one camp, called "Journey Into Manhood," and wrote an exposé, he hit the road to talk about his experiences.
To learn about the "Journey Into Manhood" camp, he signed up for a 48-hour retreat. Cox was holed up in a ranch lodge two hours outside of Phoenix with 30-some other campers and 15 staff members for a weekend aimed at ridding him of "gayness" through bizarre therapies. It cost him $650.
"I felt really guilty. I felt like I was betraying them. I lied to them and pretended to be something I was not, and that was hard to do," he said in a phone interview.
Cox said that the men enrolling in these camps are often engaged in deeply personal struggles.
"They have to reconcile two very different identities: They have to reconcile their faith—their religious identity—with their sexual identity. That's a struggle that a lot of straight people can never understand."
Jerry Karches is the co-founder of the Center for Inquiry of Southern Arizona, the group that is hosting Cox.
"Putting light on these issues helps people understand a little more of what they really are all about, and how (people) can better appreciate people who are not exactly like them," Karches said.
Cox said that he hopes people will leave his presentation knowing a little more about something that he thinks most people only know about from South Park.
Admission is free. —D.H.
Break Out Your Lederhosen!
Oktoberfest at Café Passe
Saturday, Sept 17, through Saturday, Oct. 1
415 N. Fourth Ave.
Café Passé will host its first Oktoberfest this year, complete with live music, traditional German cuisine and—of course—beer.
"You can't do Oktoberfest without beer," said Sabine Blaese, the owner of Café Passé. The café just acquired a liquor license in May, and after new renovations, has become Tucson's first self-proclaimed beer garden.
Modeling this Oktoberfest after the traditional Munich celebration, Café Passé will serve traditional foods like bratwurst, weisswurst—a sweet onion pie known as zwiebelkuchen—and pretzels. Oktoberfest beer will also be served on tap.
"It's really a celebration of all things good—good food, good beer," Blaese said. "If you're on a diet ... just celebrate good food and enjoy it."
People who wear traditional German costumes can get a free beer, Blaese said, and staff members will be decked out in Oktoberfest threads—including lederhosen for men and dirndls for women.
"We're just going to try to make it as authentic as possible," Blaese said.
Added to the mix are The Bouncing Czechs, a local German polka band, who are playing on the first and last day of the celebration (Saturdays, Sept. 17 and Oct. 1, at 6:30 p.m.), as well as local folksters Jimmy Carr and the Awkward Moments, who will play at 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 24 and 25.
For Blaese, Oktoberfest has been a long-awaited event—she's dreamed of having a beer-garden atmosphere for a while now.
"A beer garden is somewhere you can unwind, settle down and not work," Blaese said. And now, at her renovated Café Passe, "finally, I can do Oktoberfest," she said. —K.M.
Spain Meets the Old Pueblo
Doors at 8 p.m., next Thursday, Sept. 22, through Sunday, Sept. 25
375 S. Stone Ave.
On a scenic outdoor stage, the joy of flamenco will be on full display during the third annual Tucson Spanish and Flamenco Festival.
"It very much replicates the way you'd experience an outdoor flamenco event in Spain," said Marita Gomez, wife of Casa Vicente owner Vicente Sanchez.
Each night brings a multitude of performers, one after another, leading up to the headliner, who will perform toward the end of the evening—which may well last after midnight.
The festival will include wine-tastings and tapas booths too, said Gomez.
"There is also a natural chemistry between the audience and performers. It's not something you have to be quiet at and watch. You can give energy back to the stage."
The festival is set up to pay tribute to the three elements of flamenco—the "Cante," or singing; the "Baile," or dance; and the "Toque," or guitar.
"The performers may have talked about some steps ahead of time, but a lot of it is (improvised) live—they get moved by the music and add on and contribute to each other," Gomez said.
Gomez's husband is from Spain, and one of the goals of Casa Vicente was to share the Spanish culture. After the restaurant came the idea for the festival.
"We thought we'd give it a try, and people have loved it. A woman who came last year is coming back and bringing 60 of her friends."
Tickets for the Thursday or Sunday performances are $25; tickets for performances on Friday or Saturday cost $30. Visit the website for information on ticket packages and the event's workshops and lectures. —D.H.
Where'd That Come From?
10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, through Friday, Sept. 30
Roy Place Building
44 N. Stone Ave.
UA College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture has assembled a new exhibit, Food, Paper, and Alcohol: An Exhibit on Downtown Tucson, that is different from typical art fare.
Using interactive maps and checklists, the exhibit puts downtown Tucson in a local, national and global context by examining three key ingredients.
"We created a bunch of items that document how food, paper and alcohol relate to downtown: how those three ingredients come into downtown, and how they leave," said UA instructor Bill Mackey, whose students helped him create the exhibit.
The exhibit even includes odd checklists that, for example, meticulously list smoking spots, alleys and trash bins.
"Those are the types of materials that we wash over," Mackey said. "But they're very much a part of our landscape, and they're things architects have to deal with spatially. It's telling a story very much about personal choice and how you're part of a larger system."
The exhibit can lead to interesting discoveries for a Tucson native like architecture master's student Jenny Ryan.
"We're kind of pulling the curtain back for people," Ryan said. "You might think that you know where your food, paper and alcohol come from, but you might be surprised."
For Mexico City native Sandra Bernal, a master's student in planning, getting to know Tucson was a key for her.
"Being from a different place and getting deeper to the meaning of a specific place, it was a discovery," Bernal said.
Bernal created a checklist of all the alleys downtown, which she said helped her understand "the tissues and the inners of a city."
The exhibit is part a new downtown presence by the UA in the Roy Place Building. Admission is free. —K.M.