Headlocks and Characters
6:30 p.m., Friday, May 18
Dunbar Cultural Center
325 W. Second St.
When you think of professional wrestling, images of Hulk Hogan and his ilk probably come to mind—the tan, baby-oil-soaked bodybuilders who tend to populate WWE. But rarely do those performers truly love wrestling.
Passionate proponents of the squared circle are typically found in the independent circuit, where personality and storytelling often take precedence over muscleheads and flashy moves.
Dangerously Intense Wrestling promoter/commissioner Nick Wilkinson, 33, fell in love with those aspects of wrestling when he was growing up in the late '90s, during pro wrestling's boom time. But WWE—in those days, the WWF—wasn't his focus.
"I grew up in Philadelphia around Ring of Honor, Combat Zone Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling," Wilkinson said. "I was third row for most of the most-famous round-robin challenges they had, or working security, or helping with the ring crew. That sort of 'indie era,' especially in Philadelphia, was just amazing to be a part of."
Wilkinson said he has worked nearly every job in wrestling since he moved here seven years ago. "But it wasn't quite what I wanted to do, so we brought things back from Philadelphia to do it our way," he said.
Wilkinson hopes to blow crowds away with nearly 10 matchups on the evening's card. They feature performers such as the Disco Kid, Shot Saxon, the Nordic Nightmare and the Knome King.
"DIW shows are a little more fast-paced, a little more hard-hitting," he said. "We also really focus on characters. ... It's more than just the athletics—it's a show."
This show is the first in a two-part series. The second, in Phoenix on June 22, will determine the DIW champion.
Tickets are $8; children younger than 10 are admitted for free. —D.M.
Supporting Central America
6 p.m., Saturday, May 19
St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church
602 N. Wilmot Road
For 19 years, St. Michael's Guatemala Project has worked to bring medical supplies and support to people in some of the most-remote mountain locations in Central America. This year, the project will field the largest team in its history, a feat that members want to celebrate with the community.
One of the highlights of the celebration is a reading by noted author Byrd Baylor.
Project coordinator Ila Abernathy began volunteering with St. Michael's in the late '80s and joined a delegation to Guatemala and Nicaragua in 1991.
"A few years later, a national organization related information that people who had become internal refugees were asking for an international visit, which would be the first time people had walked into the mountains where they went into hiding," Abernathy said.
Abernathy helped establish a relationship with those refugees and their organizations during Guatemala's civil war, delivering supplies and maintaining a presence.
"This is a very informal, very small project," Abernathy said. "It's not like a typical group that goes down, does intensive medical work, then leaves. Our primary focus is on supporting existing structures."
Byrd Baylor is a local treasure. A resident of Arivaca, she has written more than 25 children's books, numerous essays and a recently republished novel, Yes Is Better Than No.
"She has been a tremendous friend, not only to the flora and fauna of the desert and the indigenous people of the area, but (has also been) very human in her response to migrants in distress," Abernathy said.
Attendees will also have a chance to speak with Guatemala Project participants and enjoy a build-your-own-tostada bar.
The event is free, although donations are encouraged. —D.M.
4 and 6:30 p.m., Sunday, May 20
Temple of Music and Art
330 S. Scott Ave.
The Best of Stories That Soar! is back for its seventh year of honoring the work of some of the brightest, most-creative minds in our community: Tucson's children.
Stories That Soar! is a literacy-outreach program with a storytelling twist. Instead of prompting students to read and write about predetermined topics, STS! gives kids the opportunity to write their own stories, and feed them to the hungry, story-eating Magic Box. Kids then watch their stories as they're performed by musicians and professional actors.
This year alone, STS! artistic director Sharon O'Brien has received more than 6,000 stories.
"Kids respond to the things around them," she said. "A few years ago, when we got snow in Tucson, we got a ton of stories about snow. When Michael Jackson died, a number of stories were about him. Lately, we've had a lot of stories about Justin Bieber."
O'Brien said "each school has a flavor of its own," with students writing about characters such as evil lunch ladies or rapping dogs. "We've even had a lot of 2012, end-of-the-world stories. Kids are very attuned to the world around them," she said.
"Stories That Soar is about empowering youth by giving voice to their words and ideas," O'Brien said. "Our role is to honor those stories in the most-creative way possible ... to show the depth and the beauty, or the humor or seriousness, of whatever the kids are writing about."
This year's Best of Stories That Soar! features two shows, each with 15 original productions. A "Satellite Celebration" between the shows features food, more Stories That Soar! performances and appearances by Flam Chen, Tucson's circus-and-fire performance troupe.
Tickets for each show are $10 for adults, and $5 for children younger than 12. —D.M.
Benefit Show for LPFM Community Radio
10 p.m., Friday, May 18
La Cocina at Old Town Artisans
201 N. Court Ave.
Tucsonans are lucky—we've got fantastic community-oriented media, ranging from KXCI FM 91.3 to Access Tucson to this very publication. Now, low-power FM radio proponent Jason LeValley hopes to add even more voices to the mix.
The Local Community Radio Act of 2010, signed into law by President Barack Obama last year, is designed to help communities develop more of a voice via the airwaves. LeValley and his partner, Chet Gardiner, have made it their goal to bring low-power, local radio to Tucson.
"You can go from city to city, and most of the radio formats are the same thing," LeValley said. LPFM stations, however, "are really designed to give communities a chance to put issues of concern on the air and create local programming."
According to LeValley, the Tucson area has the capacity to carry as many as six LPFM stations, each with a signal broadcasting within a five-mile radius. He wants the first station to be located in downtown Tucson atop the Access Tucson building.
"It's time to get all of our ducks in a row and be able to submit a good-looking application when the (Federal Communications Commission) opens its window for accepting licenses (this fall), LeValley said. "That means that the station should go on the air in January 2013, we're hoping."
All money raised at Friday's event will go toward equipment for the station, which LeValley hopes will feature community talk radio as well as local music that's "edgier" than what you might find on KXCI.
Headlining the bill is Tucson psychedelic-pop outfit Holy Rolling Empire. They'll be joined by Sacred Machine Gallery owner Daniel Martin Diaz's band Blind Divine, and local power-trio The Wolfgang.
Admission is $5. —D.M.