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THANKFUL THAT HOTEL CONGRESS CARES

Hotel Congress' proverbial heart is in a good place this week with two events it is hosting, on two consecutive days.

According to UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, it is estimated that 33.2 million people around the world are currently living with HIV, 2.5 million of which are children. According to the same estimates, during 2007 alone, some 2.5 million people became newly infected by the virus. And around half of all people who become infected with HIV do so before the age of 25 and are killed by AIDS before they reach 35.

With the goal of raising money for research, increasing awareness, improving education and fighting prejudice, World AIDS Day was founded in 1988. To celebrate the event's 20th anniversary, Hotel Congress and the Tucson World AIDS Committee--which includes members of the Southern Arizona Aids Foundation, Tucson Interfaith HIV/AIDS Network, COPE, Positively Beautiful, Native Images, El Rio and the Pima County Health Department--are pulling out all the stops.

From 2 to 10 p.m., Monday, Dec. 1, just about every corner of the hotel--from an outdoor stage to Copper Hall, from Club Congress and the hotel lobby to the Tap Room patio--will be devoted to some aspect of World AIDS Day.

There will be live music from a number of acts, including the Key Ingredients of African Soul, Tom Walbank, Marianne Dissard, AIDS Free, Garboski and Taiko drumming by Odaiko Sonora; dance performances from hip-hop dance company The Human Project and Ballet Folklorico Destino; burlesque from the drag kings of Boys R Us; a variety show from the Vaudeville troupe Cabaret Boheme; a green, live graffiti-art demonstration by students using recycled materials; visual art by local artists affected by HIV/AIDS, and Dinnerware Artspace; and information booths and speakers.

To top it all off, in honor of the founding year of the event--1988--attendees are encouraged to don '80s duds for the celebration. Might I suggest renting the John Hughes canon as inspiration?

Admission to the event is free and open to those of all ages.

The very next night, Congress will host its Annual Camp Wildcat Benefit. If you're not familiar with the charitable organization, here's the lowdown from its Web site: "Camp Wildcat is a student-run, nonprofit organization at the UA devoted to improving the lives of Tucson's financially, mentally and physically disadvantaged youth. (More than) 100 dedicated volunteers work each year to facilitate cost-free activities for fun, friendship and to portray college as an attainable goal for everyone.

"Activities include weekend-long camps, a week-long summer camp, day activities, mock camps in the University Medical Center Pediatrics Ward, backpacking trips for middle school students and other special events for children."

Head over to Congress at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 2, to help 'em reach their goal of doubling last year's take, while soaking in live performances from Arizona bands Feel Good Revolution, AV (from Phoenix), Evil Fudd, Alaska and Me (from Show Low), The Shkanks and Vine St. Admission is a suggested donation of $5, and the show is open to all ages.

Hotel Congress is located at 311 E. Congress St. For more information about Camp Wildcat, head to the Camp Web site. For further details about either event, call 622-8848.


ALL YOU NEED IS DOUGH

Is it just us, or is the tribute-band phenomenon reaching epic proportions lately?

Tucson's got its share of such acts, paying homage to everyone from Led Zeppelin and Kiss to the Stones and the J. Geils Band. Local annual charity event The Great Cover-Up is just a couple of weeks away. It was Tribute Band Week on the Late Show With David Letterman last week, with the show giving airtime to acts emulating and performing the music of artists such as Prince, Neil Diamond and James Brown.

And this week marks the beginning of eight performances over six days from Rain--A Tribute to the Beatles.

The nationally touring tribute act performs tunes from throughout the Beatles' entire career, and does it without the benefit of prerecorded tracks--and with the benefit of surround sound. To enhance the vibe, the show integrates historical footage and commercials from the '60s into the performance. Ticket prices, however, will cost you considerably more dough than it cost to see the actual Beatles back in 1965--from $25 to $65. (Student tickets are half-price, and there's a $5 discount for seniors and military.)

Nighttime shows run from Tuesday, Dec. 2, to Sunday, Dec. 7, with matinee shows on Saturday and Sunday. For a full schedule or to order tickets, head to the Broadway in Tucson Web site. Tickets may also be ordered through Ticketmaster at 321-1000. For more information, call 903-2929, ext. 6.


A GREEN CHRISTMAS

In what's sure to be the first of a slew of Christmas-themed musical events this holiday season, just two short days after Thanksgiving, the Fox Tucson Theatre will host Irish Christmas in America. The touring show, currently in its fourth year, will include headlining heavyweights Téada and Cara Dillon, Irish harp and pipes from Gráinne Hambly and Tommy Martin, and Irish dance by Brian Cunningham.

Irish Christmas in America makes its only Arizona stop this year at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 29. The Fox Tucson Theatre is located at 17 W. Congress St. Tickets are $23 and $25, with $10 student balcony tickets available. To order, head to the Fox Web site, or call 547-3040.


SUBTLE YET BUSY

Although Oakland, Calif.'s Subtle doesn't record for the experimental hip-hop label Anticon, the group includes two members of its crew, Adam Drucker (aka Doseone) and Jeffrey Logan (aka Jel), and its music certainly wouldn't sound out of place on the imprint.

Anticon specializes in hip-hop that's so sonically busy that it can sometimes be downright claustrophobic. Subtle, on the other hand, while certainly not mainstream, perform slightly more traditional music than the bulk of the Anticon roster--busy, yes; claustrophobic, no. The lyrics, however, fly at you from a number of voices, often from several different directions at once. On its latest album, ExcitingARM (Lex, 2008), the group makes room for a gorgeously mellow slice of atmosphere called "The Arm."

The band will perform at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Friday, Nov. 28, headlining a bill that also includes Hella's Zach Hill, whose most recent solo album, Astrological Straits (Ipecac, 2008), features guest spots from Les Claypool, Marnie Stern and members of No Age, Deftones and !!!. Locals Mostly Bears and R'Cougar will also perform. Things get rolling at 9 p.m., and tickets are quite a bargain at $5 in advance, or $7 on the day of the show. That number again is 622-8848.


NOW WITH BONUS SPINNING!

Instead of merely performing consecutive sets, when the InStereo Tour 2008 hits the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., this week, headliners DJ Dan and Donald Glaude will also include a 2x4 DJ set--both spinning simultaneously on two mixers and four turntables. While we're a bit math-challenged, by our calculation, that's double the grooves to which you can shake that thang. Opening the show at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 28, is Loose Cut, a local keyboards/computers/turntables duo. Tickets for this 18-and-over show are $15 in advance, or $20 on the day of the show. For tickets or more info, head to the Rialto Web site, or call 740-1000.


SHORT TAKES

If you missed Fertile Crescent's appearance at The Red Room at Grill a few weeks back, your second chance comes this week, as they return to town to perform at a brand-new performance space, Bsnsns Sawmills, 657 W. St. Mary's Road. Local music maven Mullarkey (who played a role in setting up the show), who did catch the Red Room performance, reports: "Now that I've seen them live, I can say it's totally different than what they've recorded so far. It was all guitar and drums, with both the boy and girl singing. It was beautiful." Doors at the all-ages show open at 8 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 30, and cover is $4. Openers are locals Stephen Steinbrink (formerly French Quarter) and Low Ones.

Roots-rocker Dave Alvin, a veteran of X and The Blasters, performs this week at a space rarely used for music, the intimate Zuzi's Theatre in the old YWCA building at 738 N. Fifth Ave. Tickets are $23 for the 8 p.m. show on Saturday, Nov. 29, and you can call 882-6574 for further info.

Elsewhere: Rapper Aceyalone headlines a show at The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave., on Saturday, Nov. 29; '80s SoCal punks Agent Orange return to O'Malley's, 247 N. Fourth Ave., on Friday, Nov. 28; My American Heart, Danger Radio and others perform at The Rock on Wednesday, Nov. 3; Chango Malo, Garboski and Mascaron perform at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Saturday, Nov. 29; former Kottonmouth Kings member Saint Dog, DGAF and Woodpile play at Sharks, 256 E. Congress St., on Wednesday, Dec. 3.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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