From Class to Crafts
9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 26 and 27
Near 22nd Street and Country Club Road
In the area just west of the DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center (aka the Reid Park bandshell), the Tucson Parks and Recreation Department is hosting its 20th year of vendors offering handmade goods for purchase right in time for the holidays.
More than 125 artists and crafts-makers from across the Western United States will be on hand at Reid Park for the annual sale.
Susan Orrico, who is in charge of the event, said she asks all exhibitors how their products are made, to ensure originality.
"Then it becomes unique," she said. "(At the fair), we have the people who avoid the malls, but they know they'll find something that's unique and that supports small businesses and local artisans."
In some cases, the participating artisans learned their crafts at Parks and Recreation classes, Orrico said.
"Classes that teach art, photo, watercolors, that kind of thing—the fair is the next step for a student. You take your jewelry you just learned how to make in your class and display it," she said.
Holiday decorations, rocking horses, puzzles, puppets and dolls will also be among the items available.
"These people tend not to have stores, maybe just an online presence on Etsy—but they really travel through craft shows during the winter. The fair is sometimes their only stop," Orrico said about the exhibitors.
Food vendors will be on hand serving grub such as pulled-pork and tri-tip sandwiches, ranch beans and kettle corn.
"Sam's Fry Bread comes down from the Phoenix area every year," Orrico said. "People will come out just to try the famous Navajo taco."
Admission is free. —D.H.
Resiliency of Kids
7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 25
Tanque Verde Lutheran Church
8625 E. Tanque Verde Road
The resiliency of children shines through with the African Children's Choir.
Despite war, disease, poverty and the deaths of family members, a group of Ugandan children will take the stage for a night of song and dance to raise awareness about the millions of orphaned and abandoned children in Africa.
Part of the Music for Life Institute, the African Children's Choir was created in 1984 to raise funds for the education, development and care of needy African children. The program immediately impressed audiences and donors, and the choir has become internationally renowned.
"It's a lot of fun and excitement," said tour leader Sarah Jordan. "The kids are boiling over with energy."
Jordan, 25, got involved with the African Children's Choir when the group came to her town. Four months into her first tour, she now knows that working with the children "is exactly what I was waiting for."
Children are selected for the choir through Music for Life centers and day camps established throughout Africa. They attend school, learn songs and dances, eat meals together and interact with the many volunteers who run the camps. After approximately five months of training and rehearsals, the children tour the U.S.
Now in its 38th year, the African Children's Choir has helped more than 1,000 children from Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana and South Sudan.
The choir members on this tour are all from Uganda. They will perform classic folk songs such as "This Little Light of Mine," as well as African songs performed in their native language, Luganda.
The concert will be held in the church's Nausin Family Life Center. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are accepted; all proceeds benefit Music for Life. —J.B.
Examining 'the Dirty T'
You Are Here: Downtown and UA
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m., next Thursday and Friday, Dec. 1 and 2
Main Gate Square
825 E. University Blvd.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
What do University of Arizona students think about downtown Tucson? Students in a UA class have spent the past semester trying to find out.
"Urban Exhibition" is a course taught by architect Bill Mackey, an adjunct professor. "We spend half the semester studying the city, and the second half creating an exhibit to creatively present the findings," Mackey said.
Students take the course through the Honors College, so rather than having a class full of artists and architects, Mackey found himself with students including English and computer-science majors.
After exploring downtown, the students created a survey to compare the attitudes of students and nonstudents about the area. "Small," "dirty," "urban," "interesting," "historic," "sketchy" and "unique" were some of the more-frequent responses.
The students in the class sent the surveys to people who have lived in Tucson for at least a year, "so they have some flavor of what Tucson is," Mackey said.
"A common term used (for downtown) is 'the dirty T.' Students generally think downtown is a grungy, dirty place for hipsters and drinkers, or for nice places to eat at that (they) can't afford," Mackey said.
Students will show videos at the exhibit that illustrate different ways to get downtown, such as by bus, bike or CatTran. The exhibit also will include an interactive map that allows people to trace routes from downtown to the UA, as well as other downtown-related items.
"Hopefully, at the end of the exhibit, we'll have this really cool art piece," Mackey said.
The exhibition/event is free. —D.H.
Wait for the Talking Cow
7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Nov. 25 and 26
Beowulf Alley Theatre Company
11 S. Sixth Ave.
Beowulf Alley Theatre presents Eyes of the Bicycle Horse, a folk-rock musical from the imaginative mind of Greg Loumeau, a local musician and multimedia artist. With music, magic, adventure and a talking cow, there's (cliché alert!) something for the whole family.
Loumeau describes the performance as family-friendly and comparable to Alice in Wonderland or Pinocchio—but with music, which makes up about half of the show.
The story revolves around the character Tom Forgeus, who is on a quest to save the beautiful Sabrina Anyway. With the help of a magical bicycle horse, he is transported to a nonsensical world of talking animals, monsters and crazy villains.
Loumeau's creation began as a script inspired by a drawing he created while attending the University of Arizona. But with the help of his present co-workers at Dreamco, an award-winning media company, the concept grew into a fully illustrated comic. Later, Loumeau's band Smallvox put music to the story—and the play was born.
"I love writing music, performing and digital artwork," Loumeau said. "It's been an incredible blast."
The 90-minute musical is presented on a set with all-original artwork. The cast includes several local actors, as well as the members of Smallvox.
"I think it's a great place to bring kids on Thanksgiving weekend," Loumeau said. "It's half the cost of a movie and more fun."
Admission is $5. To hear songs from Eyes of the Bicycle Horse or to learn more about the cast, visit www.eotbh.com. —J.B.