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Revival of the Fittest: Humanities Edition

Monday to Friday, Oct. 7 to Oct. 11

University of Arizona

626-4319; humanities.arizona.edu

Bookworms and intellectuals, rejoice! The University of Arizona's annual Humanities Week is returning for the sixth year, bringing literature, languages, comedy, poetry and even a fiesta to the UA campus.

In light of the recent scuffles over the value of keeping humanities in the university curriculum, this year's event has been christened "Revival of the Fittest," and the emphasis is on showing how studying liberal arts will always have significance.

"We are excited to offer themes, events, ideas that have endured the test of time," said Helen Bernard, coordinator of Humanities Week, which is hosted by the UA's College of Humanities. Love and laughter resonate with everyone, and that is what we are showcasing during Humanities Week."

With lectures on topics ranging from eroticism and love to Downton Abbey, French comedy and the Mexican Revolution, participants in this year's event will get a big taste of what's offered by UA humanities professors.

The week opens with a festival-like event featuring a lecture in the Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium by UA English professor and writer Christopher Cokinos. He'll be revisiting some of the real-life adventures chronicled in Meteorite Hunting: How to Find Treasure from Space under a canopy of stars and planets covering the planetarium's ceiling.

Wednesday is the night for Downton Abbey fans. The evening begins in proper Brit fashion with tea and crumpets at a free tea party held before a lecture by Jerry Hogle titled "Downton Abbey as Historical Fiction."

On Friday, many of the participating departments will come together for a popular Spanish-themed event titled "Love, Revolution, and a Cracked Skull," which fuses drama, poetry, music and languages. The event will be accompanied by a Mexican fiesta and mariachis. All Humanities Week events are free.

—T.T.

Breaking Down Borders

A Reading of Tierra Del Fuego by Mario Diament

7 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 6

Zuzi's Theatre738 N. Fifth Ave.

882-7406; borderlandstheater.org

For 27 years, Borderlands Theater has been staging unique productions that focus on issues of social justice as they relate to Hispanics, Native Americans and Anglos living in our "borderlands" region. Although the play's subject is the Middle East, a reading of Tierra Del Fuego/Land of Fire by Mario Diament falls within that tradition.

"It is a play that looks at the Palestine-Israeli conflict," says Eva Tessler, associate artistic director for Borderlands Theater and an actress in the play. "It's relevant because the conflict is over the border between Palestine and Israel, much like the issues that we have with the border here between us and Mexico."

Tierra Del Fuego describes what happens when an Israeli woman engages in a dialogue with a Pakistani man who was the perpetrator of a terrorist attack that targeted a bus she had been riding 22 years earlier. The play emphasizes the importance of understanding why people do the things they do—even our enemies—in our quests for peace.

"It is a sad play, but it also offers gleams of hope; it shows the possibility of being able to reach across cultures," Tessler says. " It creates the understanding that war can be avoided and people can learn to live together."

Playwright Diament was born in Argentina, and his plays have won many awards there. Tierra Del Fuego is now playing in Buenos Aires, where it won the Critics Award for best play.

Tessler notes that Borderlands' staging of Tierra Del Fuego is not a full production, but a reading of the play. Tickets are $8; $6 for students and holders of a Flexpass.—T.T.

Immerse Yourself in Art

TAART WALK: Toole Avenue Art Walk

5 to 10 p.m., Friday, Oct. 5th

139 E. Toole Ave.

261-9219;info@wamotucson.org

An evening filled with art, acrobatics, flame dancers and ... beer. That's what you can expect from Tucson's very first TAART Walk: Toole Avenue Art Walk.

Along with the likes of New York City, Seattle and Austin, Tucson has its own thriving, city-recognized arts district—the Warehouse Arts District, centered on Toole Avenue—and the time has come to celebrate it.

"This is something that we have talked about starting up for a long time," said Marvin Shaver, a board member of the Warehouse Arts Management Organization and chairman of the committee putting together TAART Walk. "Now, the time is right for this sort of event."

WAMO is a nonprofit created in 2004 to promote and protect the Historic Warehouse Arts District. Its primary function is to preserve affordable studio space in the district, and has so far has secured more than 80,000 square feet for use by artists.

"I am an artist myself and have watched other places where artists have moved in (to a neighborhood) and then suddenly they have to move out because everyone realizes it's cool and they want to be there, too," Shaver said.

With WAMO's help, businesses such as Solar Culture Gallery, Cirque Roots Studio and Borderlands Brewing Co. have turned Toole Avenue into a home for an eclectic group of artists, artisans and performers, most of whom will open their doors for TAART.

Circus performers and members of the flame acrobatics group Poizen will take to the streets to show their dizzying acts to TAART Walk participants. Food trucks will be out in full force and Borderlands Brewing Co. will be serving the beer.

"It's going to be an immersive art experience," Shaver says. The TAART Walk is free.

—T.T.

Mediterranean Dance Fever

2nd Annual Mediterranean Nights

7 to 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 47:30 to 9:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 5 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 6

Berger Performing Arts Center

1200 W. Speedway Blvd., on the ASDB campus

881-0883;kathrynferguson.net

If you're looking to get loose this weekend, Tucson will see the return of Mediterranean Nights, a three-day extravaganza of dance, dance workshops, parties, music and culture. We're talking copious amounts of dancing here.

"The goal is to bring all this passion and music and dance to the city of Tucson," said Kathryn Ferguson, the event's founder. Ferguson created Mediterranean Nights with the intent of encouraging the audience to get actively immersed in dance and culture.

The Gala Show, on Saturday, including performances by Frank Farinaro, Ava Fleming, the Xanadu Dancers, Troupe HipNautic, Troupe Zahara al Jinan, Barbara La Flamencista, Dr. Eduardo Minozzi Costa, Ashtalea, the Mzekala Balkan Ensemble and the Con Danza Repertory Company. The show offers two opportunities for attendees to shed their role of "onlooker" and get directly involved in the dance.

On Friday night, there's a meet-and-greet party with Frank Farinaro, a male belly dancer, at the Cabaret Theatre in the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet Farinaro and see a performance by him.

Those who attend the meet-and-greet will also be invited to join Farinaro for a dance workshop at BreakOut Studios, 828 N. Stone Ave. Tickets for the Mediterranean Nights Gala Show are $15 ($7 for children 12 and younger) and are available at the Berger Performing Arts Center.

Tickets for the meet-and-greet are $5 and can be purchased from Kathryn Ferguson via PayPal. She can be reached at kathryn.ferguson1@gmail.com.

Tickets for the Farinaro workshop are $70 and can be purchased through Ferguson in the same manner.—I.G.

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