Far-Away Patterns and Illuminated Spirals
Landings: Stephen Strom/Stu Jenks
Reception: 6 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 1
On display 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, through Thursday, Feb. 14
ArtsEye, 3550 E. Grant Road
Photographers Stephen Strom and Stu Jenks work in a variety of mediums, from film to iPhones. They traverse deserts and mountains in California, Arizona, Utah and beyond in hopes of finding intriguing images.
Together, their works constitute the Landings show at ArtsEye, the gallery that is the fine-art arm of Photographic Works.
Strom was an astronomy researcher for 40 years, and his work often led him to mountaintops like Kitt Peak, where he saw a sparse landscape spread out below him. He became interested in photography in the 1970s and took classes at the University of Arizona. He soon returned to the summits with a new purpose—to document the views from above.
"I can see not only patterns that are spread out before me without interruption by intervening foliage. ... I can see history unfold before me," Strom said.
Strom said he seeks out patterns in the landscape that prompt an emotional reaction in him and, hopefully, the viewers.
Jenks also incorporates patterns into his photography. But instead of seeking patterns in the land, he creates his own swirls and spirals using lighters and Christmas lights combined with long exposures.
Jenks said that at one show featuring his trademark lighted spirals, a woman told him, "I am so glad you were there when they came." Though he's not quite sure who "they" are, he assumes she found his work otherworldly.
"I like spirals and circles and things like that, because they tend to be universal mysterious imagery," Jenks said.
Though he has done cityscapes before, Jenks said he is partial to the natural environment. "An empty landscape lends itself more to a sense of mystery," he said.
Admission is free. —M.D.
A Native American Perspective
Native Eyes Film Showcase
6 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 1
Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd.
How does someone choose between family and heritage, and money and fame?
That's one question the annual Native Eyes Film Showcase hopes to answer. Started by the Arizona State Museum nine years ago, the showcase has "continued as a vehicle since then to bring the native voice and perspective to Tucson," said Lisa Falk, the museum's director of education.
This year's showcase features two movies: California Indian and Dead Man. Gary Farmer and the Troublemakers will play a set of Native American blues music between the screenings.
Farmer, who also acts in both films, will answer questions with fellow actor and director Tim Ramos before and after each show.
California Indian is Ramos' first feature-length film. He refined his technique in the American Indian studies and film programs at UCLA. After graduating, Ramos began making documentaries to preserve native culture and language in Northern California. But after eight years, he still had dreams of seeing his own screenplay come to life.
California Indian tells the story of a Pomo Indian man who leaves a blossoming radio career in Los Angeles to return to his reservation, where questionable casino investors threaten the tribe's sovereignty. The goal is to depict Native Americans as "real people" who don't always have to be linked with traditional regalia and heavy spirituality, Ramos said.
"I wanted to tell a story that kind of weaves in contemporary society with us Native Americans," Ramos said.
Dead Man is a 1995 film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch that stars Johnny Depp as a young man on an odyssey through the 19th-century West.
Tickets for the screenings and musical performance range from $6 to $15. A combo ticket for all three events is $20. —M.D.
Tea With a Twist
The Tucson Steampunk Society's Dickens Afternoon Tea Party
2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 1
First United Methodist Church, 915 E. Fourth St.
Steampunk is the result of the unlikely marriage of 19th-century culture and technology from the 21st century and beyond.
"You can think of it in short terms as being Victorian science fiction reimagined and brought to life," said Tucson Steampunk Society organizer Jocelynne Weathers.
Steampunk aficionados range from literature lovers to graphic-novel readers to fans of Victorian costumes. At steampunk gatherings, it's not unusual to see corsets and spats mixed with mechanical gears and flight goggles.
Weathers took the helm at the Tucson Steampunk Society in May and, with co-organizer Jenn Lopez, immediately set to work replenishing the calendar of events with trips to period movies, balls and conventions.
This is the first year for the Dickens tea, an afternoon of light refreshments, cider, cocoa and tea-dueling.
The latter is a standard steampunk competition. It's based around the attempt to eat a soaked biscuit without dropping any of it. A successful hand-to-mouth transfer is called a "nom."
"I like to think of it as drinking tea with intent and aggression," Weathers said.
Though costumes are not required, there will be no lack of people showing off handmade attire with hopes of winning the costume contest. And there is no age limit for enjoying the festive dress and atmosphere of steampunk culture.
"The 6-year-old who wants to make a rocket pack out of a cardboard box is at home with the 65-year-old who's been a machinist all his life and can actually make that rocket pack look real," Weathers said.
Admission is $15, or free for children younger than 12. Tickets must be purchased in advance, and a limited number are available. —M.D.
25th Anniversary of World AIDS Day
4 to 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 1
Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St.
Eazy-E was one of the most influential members of the gangster-rap group N.W.A. News of his death from AIDS-related illness in the mid-1990s sent a shockwave through audiences around the world. At this year's World AIDS Day, he gets a tribute.
Eazy-E "never apologized for his lifestyle, but his dying wish was for people to learn what had happened to him because of his choices," said Heather Moroso, founder of Positively Beautiful, an organization that empowers people living with HIV/AIDS through fashion, music, photography and other art forms.
Local hip-hop artists, such as Jivin Scientists, will perform some of N.W.A's and Eazy-E's biggest hits to celebrate the rapper's life and influence. Various organizations will also honor the 30 million people who have died of AIDS, and provide information on how to treat the disease and to prevent acquiring HIV.
The 25th anniversary of World AIDS Day will be a celebration of how much HIV/AIDS research, treatment and awareness have evolved. In the early days, when people were diagnosed with AIDS, it was considered a death sentence.
Nowadays, Moroso and other doctors who treat people with HIV/AIDS have more options to help people live an asymptomatic life. However, the most important thing is to educate people on how to prevent becoming infected, Moroso said.
"I want people to leave this event knowing that HIV/AIDS is not (a reason) for discrimination, and people shouldn't be judged because of it," Moroso said.
A $5 or $10 donation is suggested for the night events; daytime events are free, but a donation is encouraged. —I.T.