The Students Show Off
4 to 7 p.m., Friday, April 20
Downtown Tucson, along Pennington Street
City High School is hosting the fourth annual Pennington Street Block Party, a celebration created to highlight youth creativity, learning and the community.
The first block party was organized by a group of CHS ninth-grade students to demonstrate the work they had done within the community, according to Julie Richelson, the school's outreach and development coordinator. "As we've grown the event, we realized that (students) were able to showcase more of their work if we planned it, and they were able to put more of their work and demonstrations into it."
The event features performances and workshops by organizations such as Capoeira Cordao de Ouro, Flight School Acrobatics, Stories That Soar! and the Tucson Youth Poetry Slam. Richelson is especially excited to have the Youth Poetry Slam at this year's party.
"They address so many things that are happy in the world and the community in a way that's not exactly controversial, but very real, and to the core, while also performing more-personal work," Richelson said, noting that members of the Tucson Youth Poetry Slam will help attendees write poetry of their own.
Attendees can also look forward to live music from local bands, jumping castles, carnival games, art installations and interactive booths from community organizations such as The Drawing Studio, BICAS and the Nonviolence Legacy Projects.
The block party is also partnering with the Food Truck Roundup, which will have vendors lined up along Pennington from Church Avenue to Scott Avenue.
The event is for people of all ages, Richelson said. "We'll have indoor drama and poetry performances, and we'll be screening documentaries about issues along the border."
The event is free. —D.M.
Jam Session: America's Jazz Ambassadors Embrace the World
8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, through Friday, May 25
Pima Community College Downtown Campus
Second-floor lobby of the Campus Center building
1255 N. Stone Ave.
Pima Community College's Downtown Campus is hosting a month-long photography exhibit featuring some of the giants of jazz.
Jam Session: American's Jazz Ambassadors Embrace the World showcases musicians such as Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie as they brought their style of jazz to international audiences.
Drawn from collections around the United States, the exhibit contains more than 100 images, capturing memorable moments from jazz tours to 35 countries and four continents.
Priya Doshi, of the Meridian International Center, which put the exhibit together in collaboration with the U.S. State Department, said the photos show musicians on tours in the 1950s, '60s and '70s that were organized by the State Department to "show other cultures the truest American art form, jazz."
But the photos are about more than jazz, Doshi said. "Jazz is the focus, but it's really about how people can connect across cultures in a very informal way."
For instance, one photo shows Benny Goodman entertaining children in Moscow's Red Square, and another shows Gillespie straddling a motorcycle with a well-known Yugoslav musician.
Doshi said many of the images show the musicians having a good time—for example, sitting on camels as they play their instruments. The photographs show the jazz musicians fostering friendly relations between cultures through jazz.
The exhibit is a way of "reliving those same positive messages to convey to a new generation that this was ... a great way to spread American culture," Doshi said.
The exhibit, which opened in Washington, D.C., in 2008, heads to Beijing's National Centre for the Performing Arts when its Tucson run ends. —A.N.
Houses With a History
1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 21
Broadway Boulevard and Country Club Road area
The residents of six homes in Tucson's El Encanto Neighborhood will open their doors to the public as part of an effort to raise funds for historic preservation in Tucson.
The tour, organized by the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation, will showcase homes built as early as the 1920s, when home-design trends in Tucson began to borrow more from Hispanic styles, according to Suzy Gershman, a foundation board member.
"It's when things moved from an East Coast style to a Spanish Colonial revival, and a Pueblo revival," Gershman said, noting that the neighborhood was built around a central park.
"This neighborhood was designed for a communal space, away from the hustle and bustle of the city," she said. "Of course, now, it's smack-dab in the middle of the city, but we continue to maintain a tranquil feel."
Gershman, a resident of the neighborhood for seven years, said she was drawn to El Encanto by the neighborhood's beauty and convenience. "It's just a magnificent area. It's quiet; we love the architecture. It's close to the park, and we're able to walk to the University of Arizona for basketball games."
According to Demion Clinco, president of the Historic Preservation Foundation, El Encanto contains the essence of Tucson's style. "This is a rare opportunity to see a collection of the finest historic homes in El Encanto that capture the spirit of Tucson's glamorous early 20th century," he said.
The Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation is hosting the tour to raise funds to preserve Tucson landmarks, including a set of historic neon signs from motels and other businesses that will soon be installed near Drachman Street and Stone Avenue.
Home-tour tickets are $35. —D.M.
Love Where You Live
9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, April 21
Country Club Road and 22nd Street
The 18th annual Tucson Earth Day Festival will include food, fun and plenty of exhibits to help Tucsonans of all ages learn how to do their part to protect our desert environment.
Flo Wooters, the festival coordinator, said Tucson's Earth Day Festival has grown from a small event in a neighborhood park. She said 3,500 to 4,000 people turned out last year for the festival, and she expects the number to grow to about 4,500 this year. A total of 85 exhibitors have registered, compared with 65 last year.
"The awareness is building citywide," Wooters said.
Attendees can learn things such as how household chemicals affect the environment, how "green" contractors can help build houses with eco-friendly building materials, and how to get clothes clean without using detergent.
Wooters said people really enjoy learning "whatever they can find out as far as what they can do individually (to help the environment), whether it's cutting back on plastic bags when they go to the grocery store ... or how you can replace your windows to keep the heat out—anything that can help them personally."
The festival also includes music, an eco-friendly parade, solar projects designed by students, and free admission to Reid Park Zoo for those who ride their bikes to the festival and show their helmets.
"I think it's a really important event, simply because we live in a desert, so we have to learn how to conserve not only the water, but everything that consumes the water ... to make living in a desert more livable and less expensive, and create a good life," Wooters said.
Admission is free. —A.N.