WRIGHT WORK. Get close and personal with dramatic readings and new plays by local playwrights at the Old Pueblo Playwrights New Play Festival, settling on the stage at the Tucson Center for the Performing Arts today through Sunday.
This is the sixth year that OPP has used the "open book" style for presenting works in progress. What this means, according to OPP member Rich Amada, is that after each work you get to grab the author's ear (not his/her shirt thank you), and discuss your response to the play.
At 7 tonight Pat Mencke's Warehouse will be read. Jonathan Lawson directs this full-length play about an elderly woman who escapes from a nursing home and returns to her former warehouse digs.
The festival continues tomorrow at 7 p.m. with 3 Cents and Still More Due, by Chris Stern, a mini-play of love between grandparents, and Rescue the Pershing, Judy Pringles's full-length work about an open marriage.
Admission is $5 per performance or $19 for the 11-play festival. TCPA is at South Sixth Avenue and 14th Street. For more information and a complete list of plays, call 884-4877.
CONANT AND VANDENBERG. Former head of the UA Art Department and chair of New York University's Department of Art for 20 years, Howard Conant, is featured along with David Johnson Vandenberg at a new show at the Tucson Jewish Community Center continuing through February 14.
Conant's geometrical work is described by gallery coordinator Lori Lantz as "intricate, yet symmetrical combinations of interlaced designs reflecting the influence of 14th and 15th century Islamic artists." Vandenberg's work is in oil with a three-dimensional appearance and "reflects events of the classical past."
The show is currently on display, with an opening reception from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, January 8. The TJCC is at the corner of Dodge Boulevard and River Road. For more information call 299-3000.
DANCE JAM. They're at it again. The wild and dance-crazed folk at Major Knucklehead Productions and KXCI community radio team up to put on this free style dance event without the billowing bar smoke your pink lungs can't swim in anymore. The dance jam is happening all over the nation in places as diverse as gymnasiums and art studios. Club Rhythm, as Tucson's jam is called, takes place beginning at 8 tonight. It's an all-ages, come-as-you-are, dance-as-you-must, get down monthly event.
Knuckleheads and dance music wizards Jeff Rodgers and Jim Lipson spin Third World-and-beyond tunes like African, Jamaican, techno, funk and some blues to twist to. If you haven't experienced the immaculate and giving wooden floor at the Southwest Center, you're in for a knee-inspiring adventure. You can dance as long as you used to in those groovy church basement dances.
There's juice and beer and for a small donation you can get--yes!--childcare. Love it.
Tickets are a wallet-easy $4, $3 for KXCI members. Buy them at Hear's Music or at the door of the Center, 2175 N. Sixth Ave. For more information call 623-8123.
PEOPLE WHO DO THAT. The People Who Do That, a sketch comedy group with the meat and balls to say whatever the hell they want to, will charm you tonight doing what they refer to as "performing their filth and lies," in a slam-bam, wild show guaranteed to set your new year off with a blazing grin. a.k.a. Theatre's Meg Nolan says this group does everything from poke fun at Shakespeare to political stuff. They've even got a routine spoofing the "Trix are for kids" commercial that's not to be missed.
You don't need reservations. This witty, often raw group plays at 11 tonight and tomorrow at a.k.a. Theatre, 125 E. Congress St. Tickets are $5. For more information call 623-7852.
CELESTIAL EVENTS. Look up and thank the stars--the American Astronomical Society is in town, and that means some great free events for the rest of us. Tonight at 7, Dr. Edwin C. Krupp, of Los Angeles' Griffith Observatory, presents "Celestial Seasonings: Astronomy and Rock Art in the American Southwest," a public lecture on archaeoastronomy.
Dan Brocious, of the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory and A.A.S. events coordinator, says archaeoastronomy means more than seeing an ancient sun spiral drawing and assuming prehistoric people were recording a celestial body or event. "You can't just go on what the symbol is. It doesn't count unless the culture associated with it finds these things important."
To that end, Brocious says anthropologists and astronomers have been teaming up to piece dates and cultural justification together. Members of different tribes, like the Hopi and other Pueblo people, for example, can be consulted concerning ancient Anasazi symbols.
Brocious says Krupp, an internationally recognized expert on prehistoric and traditional astronomy, is a dynamic speaker who never shows up with fewer than two slide projectors and a host of slides featuring examples of rock art from the Four Corners area and California, including some that may or may not depict the Crab Nebula supernova explosion of 1054 A.D. There have been several drawings found that may indicate ancient people observed this event that was bright enough to be visible during daylight hours for 23 days.
Following the lecture will be one of the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Associations' excellent Star Parties on the UA mall, where you can get your celestial body positioned to look at the stars and the sky through telescopes they so generously set up.
Take advantage of Krupp's free, mind-expanding lecture at 7 p.m. in the Steward Observatory, Room N210, on the University of Arizona campus. For more information call 670-5706.
DDDDOWNTOWN. First Saturday of the month, nay first Saturday of the year, means you've got a hootenanny going on downtown this whole day and night.
Start your morning off with some of the best baked goods and fresh flowers around, not to mention fruits and veggies right off the plot, at the true farmer's market, The Tucson Public Market, 135 S. Sixth Ave. It starts at 8 a.m. and runs until noon. Take a walk around after that on one of the many guided tours that prance through the layered avenues of historical districts that make up downtown's gifted soul. The Owo-Oye Fiesta at the Children's Museum will uncoil Mexican and African stories and present mask-making for your kids to glue themselves to.
Nighttime is the right time to hear gospel music at the Ronstadt Transit Center, Sixth Avenue and Congress Street. The Gospel Music Workshop of America lends its collective voice to the new year with freedom songs and contemporary gospel pieces, from 7 to 10 p.m. Singing Mexican ballads in her compelling voice, Maria Romero warms up Arizona Alley from 8 to 9:30 p.m.
With more than 60 restaurants and cafes downtown we're sure you'll be able to find a bagel or mocha to fill any void. For more information on walking tours and other activities call 624-9977.
TUCSON MARATHON. The Tucson Marathon, starting at 8 a.m., boasts one of the fastest downhill courses in the United States, winding from Biosphere 2 to Allied Signal.
For a little fun walk/run for the rest of us, plus a T-shirt and a free lunch, take in the 5K event on a beautiful desert path behind Allied. There will be live country music for the post-race party. You can buy a non-runner's special meal for $2 and the rest of the party is free. Around 1,000 people are expected to turn out, so it's going to be one big party all day.
Fees for running are $25 for the marathon, $20 for half-marathon and $12 for the 5K Fun Run. Marathon participants get a free admission to the Biosphere. Register from 6 to 8:30 a.m. at Allied Signal, 11100 N. Oracle Road. Call 325-2736 for more information.
MAJOROS AS IVES. For much of his life, the unconventional music of American composer Charles E. Ives was never performed. Although he went on to become--eegads--an insurance executive, he continued to compose a body of music which includes four symphonies, including the Concord Sonata written in 1921. Ives experimented heavily with poly-tonality, using two or more keys simultaneously. His professors at Yale in the late 1800s never quite "got" what he was doing.
Baritone David Majoros and pianist Rex Woods will bring some biography, history and, of course, music to the stage with their performance Charles E. Ives, American Composer: A Musical/Dramatic Portrait at 3 p.m. at the Southwest Center for Music and Dance, 2175 N. Sixth Ave. Majoros is well-known in Tucson for his performances with Arizona Opera, and Woods has performed all over the world and is currently professor of piano at the University of Arizona.
Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Call 884-0811 for tickets and more information.
SCIENCE CRISIS. Would you be alarmed if you knew half of all adult Americans could not correctly explain that the Earth revolves around the sun during the course of a year? You should be, and tonight Andrew Fraknoi, winner of the Annenberg Foundation Award given for outstanding achievement in astronomy education, will tell you about the consequences of lousy science education.
"Frankly," says Dan Brocious of the Smithsonian's Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory in Amado, "Fraknoi is concerned. Astronomy education and science literacy in general is really declining." Fraknoi's lecture "The Committee of Ten, Nancy Reagan's Astrologer, and the Growth of Science Anxiety: A Guide to the State of Astronomy Education," is surely required attendance for every science educator, parent and citizen.
This lecture is part of the American Astronomical Society's Tucson meeting. Teachers can take advantage of the many fine workshops taking place through January 13. For more information call 6705706.
THE OLD MATADOR. Tucson is the place where hot, contemporary playwright Milcha Sanchez-Scott's The Old Matador will premiere. Peter C. Brosius, from L.A.'s Mark Taper Forum, directs this mid-life dream, glazed with humor and a bit of magical realism.
Enrique decides to spend his family's savings to travel to Spain to become what he has always wanted to be: a bullfighter. He's the only one who thinks this is a grand scheme, and when a visitor lands in the backyard of his Southwestern home, things begin to change in possibly unexplained ways.
See The Old Matador at Arizona Theatre Company's home, the gracious Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave., through January 28. Tonight's show begins at 7:30. For ticket information call 622-2823.
WORKING WOMEN. Tonight at 7, as part of the YWCA's Women's Lecture Series, social worker Wendy Weiss will discuss "Women in the Workplace: Creating New Models for Old Problems." She'll identify the problems women face, personally and professionally, and offer some proposals for change. Hope you can get off work or away from your family to go; desserts and drinks will be served.
The free lecture is at Tucson Medical Center's Marshall Auditorium, 5301 E. Grant Road. Call 324-2000 to make reservations.
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