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CASH OUT?

Hopefully by the time you read this, U.S. dollars will still be a viable means for gaining entry to the many musical options this week. And to be honest, this week is one of the slower ones in an awfully busy concert season, so you might want to bear that in mind and save a few ducats for upcoming weeks.

But on the other hand ... what better way is there to get your mind off the crumbling of our economy as we know it than by immersing yourself in a live music experience? Read on, friends.


SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL WRITERS

Thanks in part to a top-notch creative-writing program at the UA, Tucson boasts a fine literary tradition. But what does a writer--especially one of limited means--do if he or she doesn't attend the university, or has already graduated from it, in order to have a nice, quiet place to create, research and discuss writing?

Have you heard of Casa Libre?

Founded in 2003 by two writers, Kristen Nelson and Ann Fine, Casa Libre en la Solana is a year-round writer's-residency center located on Fourth Avenue. (You've probably walked past it a million and two times, and probably didn't even notice it.) After navigating the red tape to establish the center, Nelson and Fine officially opened the doors to Casa Libre in May 2005 (nonprofit status was officially gained just more than a year later). These days, the compound features five fully furnished writing suites that play host to writers-in-residence, a nonlending library of resources, facilities to host readings and classes, and several private courtyards. The site is set up with Wi-Fi so writers can peck away at their laptops just about anywhere on the grounds.

According to its mission statement, Casa Libre's goal is "to contribute to the development of a more cohesive literary culture in Tucson by acting as a physical hub where smaller groups may find refuge and connections. We aim to build symbiotic relationships with individuals and local established literary and nonprofit groups in order to facilitate connections between these groups and the public."

Sounds worthwhile, no? Well, even if you don't think so, you might find yourself making a small donation to the center this week in the name of great live music. Five great local acts--Golden Boots, Tom Walbank, Fourkiller Flats, the Fell City Shouts and Naim Amor--will perform at a benefit show for Casa Libre at 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 3, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Admission is a suggested donation of $5. For more information about the show, call 622-8848; for further info about Casa Libre, head to the Casa Libre Web site.


PUT DOWN THAT PIPE!

If you've recently been trying to forget your woes by hitting the bong, chances are you may have missed this late addition to this week's entertainment calendar--and that would be a shame, since you're the target audience.

The comedy duo of Cheech and Chong, who pretty much single-handedly invented stoner humor via a string of wildly successful comedy albums (remember those?) and movies in the '70s and '80s, have reunited for their first tour in more than 25 years, and will make a local stop this week.

The pair, who broke up in the late '80s amid much rancor, had attempted to reunite previously, but things always fell apart when they began fighting all over again. Since the breakup, Cheech Marin has had a successful acting career, while Tommy Chong's work output has remained a bit more spotty--and wasn't helped by a rather ridiculous eight-month prison sentence he served in 2003 and 2004 for selling drug paraphernalia over the Internet. Reportedly, Cheech and Chong were discussing making a reunion movie prior to Chong's sentencing, and now plan to do so once the current tour is finished.

The duo's reunion was announced in June. Addressing the conflict between the two, Marin told The Associated Press, "It takes about three minutes for that to happen. There's this veiled hatred. We've kind of resolved that. We've gotten to the age where we don't feel like fighting anymore, because the end is a lot closer than the beginning."

And they must be getting along pretty well: The tour, which was originally booked in about 25 cities in the U.S., has been consistently adding dates as it has progressed, including the show here.

Cheech and Chong's Light Up America tour hits AVA at Casino del Sol, 5655 W. Valencia Road, at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 5. Advance tickets are available for $30 to $85 at the AVA Web site. For further details, call (877) 840-0457.


MORE GOOD STUFF

Here are some quick takes on some other musical options this week.

UApresents kicks off its 2008-2009 season this week with a performance by former Supreme Mary Wilson, but the biggest draw for the show just might be her backing band--the Funk Brothers, who, as house band for Motown Records, played on virtually every hit song from the label's golden era. Mary Wilson and the Funk Brothers perform at 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 3, at the UA's Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd. Adult ticket prices range from $25 to $65, with discounts. For more information, head to the UApresents Web site.

Hawaiian acoustic guitar-and-vocals duo Hapa hit the Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St., at 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 3. Tickets are $23 and $25 and are available at the venue's box office, at the Fox Web site or by phone at 547-3040. Use the same number for further info.

And now for something completely different: San Diego grind-core/death-metal purveyors Cattle Decapitation pillage their way into Tucson for a show at The Living Room, 413 E. Fifth St., at 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 3. Details were spotty at press time, but you can head to the Living Room Web site for updates.

Another Hawaiian act, Pepper, who merge pop, punk and reggae, will perform at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., next Thursday, Oct. 9. Opening the all-ages show at 7:30 p.m. are The Supervillains and Passafire. $18 gets you in the door. Call 740-1000 for additional details.

Tucson's own Salvador Duran will share a bill with Mariachi Luz de Luna at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave., at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 4. Admission to the all-ages show is $10. For more details, call 884-0874.

Fronted by singer Carah Faye, Los Angeles synth-pop outfit Shiny Toy Guns return to Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., for an early, all-ages show on Sunday, Oct. 5. The show starts at 6:30 p.m. with openers Jonezetta and The Delta Fiasco. Admission is 15 ducats. 622-8848 is the number to call for more info.

Also at Congress this week: Soul-drenched singer-songwriter Marc Broussard performs in support of his recent album/Atlantic Records debut, Keep Coming Back, at 8 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 7. Advance tix are $15; they'll be $2 more at the door. That number again is 622-8848.

Canadian Celtic-tinged folk-rockers Great Big Sea navigate their way to the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., for a show on Tuesday, Oct. 7. The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets are $23 in advance, or $26 on the day of the show. Call 740-1000 for more information.

Accurately described by Pitchfork as "potty-mouthed organ-based party music," the New Orleans duo of Quintron and Miss Pussycat will perform at an 18-and-up show at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Wednesday, Oct. 8. Opening the show at 8 p.m. are The Golden Triangle and Milk:Blood. Tickets are $7 in advance, or $9 the day of. Call 622-8848 for details.

Merging punk, industrial and hip hop for the past 10 years, New York City's Mindless Self Indulgence will arrive at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., for an all-ages show at 7 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 5. Advance tickets are $19.50; they'll be $21 on the day of the show. 740-1000 is the number to call for further info.

Finally, local acts The Jons and The Hounds will be, according to an e-mail we received, "putting on a live video shoot" at a joint performance at 9:45 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 4, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Admission is a fiver, and you can call 798-1298 for more details.

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