'Getting' the Transgendered
7:30 p.m., tonight, Thursday, Oct. 13
Pima Community College West Campus
2202 W. Anklam Road
Martie van der Voort is a therapist by day and an actor by night—and this Thursday night, she'll be performing 11 roles in a play she considers "a work in progress."
The setting of TransFormations is a transgender support group. Seven members and three of their family members have gathered to discuss transitions to another gender, with the help of a facilitator.
"One is supportive, while another is sort of, 'What the hell is happening?' and, 'I don't know what this means for me," said Van der Voort of her characters.
Van der Voort has been a longtime volunteer at Wingspan, Southern Arizona's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community center, where she said she first got the idea for the play.
"I'm sort of preaching to the choir, or choir-members-to-be. To a lot of people, this is Transgender 101. Instead of workshop information, it's more real-life—real people talking about their real lives. It's a little easier to take in," she said.
Van der Voort said she hopes to give people information about transgender folks without coming off as "preachy." She considers the characters in the show to be quirky—not lovable, "just gettable."
One of the characters—a kid who's just coming out—is sort of neurotic. "He is an awkward teenager guy that we've all been. It's not that you love him; you just know him."
She said that most of these characters have hilarious moments, as well as tender moments.
"I hope I invite people in with humor, and get them with the anger, and (show them), 'Here's how it's hard for trans folks,' in a more-palatable way than preaching," she said.
Admission is free, but donations are accepted. —D.H.
Purchase With a Purpose
6 to 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 14; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 15, and Sunday, Oct. 16
283 N. Stone Ave.
Ladies, picture this: You're perusing overstocked rooms of designer clothing, shoes and purses while sipping champagne and nibbling on chocolate. The prices are unbelievably inexpensive—and you're helping improve the education of children.
You're not in heaven; you're at Shop Your Girlfriend's Closet.
Voices for Education is hosting its eighth-annual fundraiser at the Bates Mansion (the old Mountain Oyster Club) this weekend. The local organization, which advocates for improvements in public education, has filled four rooms with new clothes donated by boutiques and stores, and lightly worn apparel from local fashionistas.
The money raised will go toward Voices for Education's parent-leader programs, which teach advocacy for public education.
"We couldn't do it without this event," said Robin Hiller, executive director of Voices for Education. "It's a hard thing to raise money for."
The organization is kicking things off with an exclusive preview reception on Friday that will include a designer-purse sale, a silent auction, drinks, hors d'oeuvres and first dibs on the name-brand clothing.
Admission on Friday is $50 and includes free admission on Saturday. Tickets are $20 on Saturday, and gratis champagne and chocolate for shoppers are included. Admission on Sunday is free. If there are leftover clothes after the weekend, Hiller said there will be "cheap steals" during an everything-must-go sale, which is tentatively scheduled from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday.
For more information on how to donate or become involved with Voices for Education, call or visit the website. —J.B.
Healthy Culture Galore!
11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Oct. 14 and 15; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 16
Various downtown locations around El Presidio Park
The festival affectionately known as "Tucson Eat Yourself"—due to the exorbitant amount of ethnic food that is available throughout the largest folk festival in Arizona—is featuring new offerings this year ... including smaller portions.
"What better place to emphasize moderation than at a festival where you can sample a lot of different delicious tastes of different ethnic foods?" said Mia Hansen, Tucson Meet Yourself's executive director.
For the first time, participating food vendors will offer a "smart-choices menu," which will include eats that are lower in calories, fat content and sodium.
"But they're still delicious," Hansen said while noting that 90 percent of Tucson Meet Yourself vendors' offerings are original, homemade goods.
After eating, you can enjoy watching Swedish folk dancing, listening to Chinese music, and dancing to salsa music, said Hansen, who added that the festival is offering more activities this year—to emphasize keeping fit as well as eating right.
Stickers will be placed on the ground along the 3,000 steps that it takes to get through the whole festival. "It'll be like following the yellow brick road," Hansen said. "While you're eating your Polish sausage or small piece of fry bread, you can walk it off."
With a "Passport to the World," children can enjoy their own personal guidebook to the festival. They can collect stamps from vendors and performers along the way. Hansen said the point is to promote education about various cultures.
"We believe that after 30 years, Tucson Meet Yourself has really made our community a better self—if only because all of the people we've brought together understand each other a little bit more."
Admission is free. —D.H.
Very Fair Chairs
5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 14
Armory Park Center
220 S. Fifth Ave.
Going once ... going twice ... sold! You now own an artistically hand-painted chair.
Now, go grab yourself a free appetizer.
"Take a Taste, Take a Seat" is one of the largest fundraisers of the year for La Pilita Museum. The event showcases an auction of antique and vintage chairs that have been hand-painted by artists from around the state. Other auction items include gift certificates, folk art, jewelry and original art.
This year, more than 70 chairs have been donated, the most ever. Thirty chairs will be up for bidding during a live auction, while the others will be a part of the silent auction.
Most of the artists involved have donated art to the museum in the past and play a crucial role in keeping La Pilita afloat. Virginia Olivares, one of the featured chair-painting-artists, from Gilbert, is donating two chairs to the auction. Olivarez, a Tucson native and self-proclaimed "proud Mexican American," has been working with the La Pilita Museum for more than three years now.
"This is for a good cause," said Olivares. "I really applaud work they do with the creative school."
Proceeds will benefit the various educational and cultural programs hosted by La Pilita. The museum preserves and teaches the history of the Southwest region and early Tucson through workshops, lectures, activities and tours.
Guests will enjoy free appetizers offered by eateries including El Minuto, The Cup Café, Cup Quequitos, Time Market, La Cocina, Red Sky/Luna Bella and others. A no-host bar will also be available.
"It's good, because (the event) is commemorating a part of Tucson, and draws artists and their art to it," said another featured artist, Barbara Peabody.
Admission is free. —J.B.