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Emergency Circus, Iron Maidens and Missile Fun for kids

EMERGENCY CIRCUS BENEFIT GALA

In a voice that sounds like a narrator in a superhero movie, we hear a telling premise: "In a world ruled by depression, poverty and isolation, a handful of exceptional individuals have taken it upon themselves to save the human race—using only the transformative power of circus."

Enter the Emergency Circus, a nonprofit that offers workshops and entertainment to "undercircussed" communities, including hospitals, homeless shelters, nursing homes, prisons, children's homes, and even the street. The narrator, heard and seen on a video at emergencycircus.com, is Clay "Mazing" Letson, a native Tucsonan who founded Emergency Circus.

"I have been involved in circus for about 10 years," says Letson. "I was in another group, the New Old Time Chautauqua. They take 70 performers on tour for one month of the year in one regional area. I wanted to start something with fewer performers ... that could exist year round."

Letson says Emergency Circus started on Mother's Day last year. They have traveled around the country and are currently on a five-week, 6,000-mile tour where they are visiting more than 25 facilities from coast to coast. Entertainment includes music, magic, hooping, juggling, mime work and more.

Letson has even traveled to Jordan, the West Bank and Cairo where he clowned for locals. He also met Patch Adams six years ago and took his clown training class. Emergency Circus is a division of The Gesundheit! Institute, founded by Adams.

There are four standing performers in Emergency Circus, but the group grows in each town they go to. "In every city we visit, we contact local performers in the area and they join us for the show. It's a revolving cast of performers from all over the country who hop on and off the tour," says Letson. In Tucson, Emergency Circus will stop at TMC's Pediatric Unit and Casa de los Niños Children's Crisis Center.

At Hotel Congress (311 E. Congress St.), the cast of performers includes America's Got Talent Finalist Special Head (the levitating magician), Cirque Roots, Tucson Variety Society, DJ Carl Hanni, Dr. Drea Lusion, The Wonderfools, Circus Amperean's Towering Tesla Coil, Letson and more. They aim to transform the patio of Hotel Congress into a superhero-themed circus extravaganza. Attendees are encouraged to dress up; there will be a costume contest for best original superhero outfit.

The suggested donation for Emergency Circus is $5-$25. Proceeds help fund their current tour. More info at emergencycircus.com.

THE IRON MAIDENS

The hair, the leather, the guitars, the heavy metal riffs—it's not just for the guys anymore. There's a bevy of female tribute metal bands who rock just as hard as the boys. Misstallica, Lez Zeppelin, Judas Priestess, Priss and Hell's Belles are a few, but according to Guitar World, The Iron Maidens are "the cream of the all-female tribute band crop."

The Iron Maidens, scheduled to play Casino del Sol's Paradiso Bar & Lounge on Thursday, June 12 at 8 p.m., perform Iron Maiden hits and fan favorites. The Southern California band formed in 2001 and is reportedly the most downloaded tribute band. They've played around the world—Brazil, Venezuela, Japan, Guam, Bahrain and Iraq to name a few. The Iron Maidens have shared the stage with KISS, Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill, Motorhead and others.

While their looks garner plenty of attention, The Iron Maidens do possess talent, with "pedal to the metal rock and pro-level chops," reports Guitar World. Their show offers "fog-laden appearances by Maiden mascot Eddie, the grim reaper, the devil and other classic Maiden icons." Best of all, there is no cover charge.

MOONLIGHT MADNESS

During the long, hot summer, when your kids are looking for something to do, sending them into space hasn't been an option—until now. OK, we're talking in name only, but it's still a cool opportunity.

The Titan Missile Museum (1580 W. Duval Mine Road) is teaming up with NASA for its first Saturday evening program this year from 5 – 9 p.m. on June 14. Called Moonlight MADness, the event gives wannabe astronauts a chance to have their name sent into space as virtual crew members of the Orion Exploration Flight Test (EFT-1). Kids need to complete the Educational Design Challenge run by Titan volunteers and then their moniker will blast into space in December from Cape Canaveral.

The unmanned Orion capsule will orbit the Earth twice and will fly 3,600 miles above us, which is 15 times higher than the International Space Station, according to a NASA press release. The craft will then re-enter the Earth's atmosphere at 20,000 miles per hour, which is several thousand mph more than the space shuttle. The flight test is part of NASA's goal to launch astronauts into deep space.

Back on Earth at Moonlight MADness, kids can launch seltzer rockets, sample space food and take an astronaut test. The Titan II missile will be lit up with green lights and kids can explore the missile's launch control room.

The Titan Missile Museum is the only Titan II site that's open to the public. The Titan II was capable of launching in 58 seconds and could deliver a 9 megaton thermonuclear warhead to a target more than 5,500 miles away, all in less than 30 minutes.

Tours of the underground facility start at 5 p.m. and the last tour is at 8 p.m. Tickets are $13 for adults, free for children 12 and younger and for museum members. Reservations are required for the event. Call 625-7736 or email info@titanmissilemuseum.org.

More by Irene Messina

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