ERICA WHEELER. We're not sure if Erica Wheeler found folk music or if it found her, but they were made for each other and her fans are growing as she gets more and more air time from radio stations west of her native New England.
Take the opportunity to hear her tender, enduring songwriting which is, as she has said, "about what I see." And lucky for us, her words and music help bring us right into her heart and halfway back. In "Car With No Brakes," the Appalachian fiddle tune speaks to an incest survivor: I can show you doors but I cannot push you through/ I can throw you the ropes but the holding, the holding's up to you.. Wheeler put out the exceedingly well-received From That Far on her own label, Blue Pie Music, in 1993 and has plans to release a new CD this year.
Catch this rising star at our own Southwest Center for Music, 2175 N. Sixth Ave. Tickets are a bargain at $7, $6 for KXCI, TFTM and TKMA members, $2 more at the door. Buy them at Hear's Music, Antigone Books or the Southwest Center. Call 884-1220 to charge by phone or for more information.
ALL THAT GOSPEL. Time for a major dose of soul-rising, body-swaying inspiration at the second annual Gospel Music Festival, brought to you by the ever-inspirational KXCI Community Radio gang.
Tucson's own Ada Redd-Austin, along with Glenn Coleman and Carl Hawkins, open the 8 p.m. show, and that means everybody after them has to live up to their almighty standards. "Everybody" includes Willie Neal Johnson and the New Gospel Keynotes doing what KXCI's Michael Hyatt says is "good, old-fashioned, foot-stompin' "revival kind of stuff," led by a "soul-stirring, aisle-walking preacher." Winners of gospel music's highest honor, The Stellar Award, The Keynotes have been recording legendary music since 1964. Go get your soul saved, you who forgot to go to church Sunday last. It won't hurt a bit.
Elder Tommy Smith and Sister Shirley Moore, hosts of KXCI's gospel shows, will emcee, and look for Tucson's exciting Gospel Workshop of America to make an appearance as well.
Do the gospel thing at the Southwest Center for Music, 2175 N. Sixth Ave. Tickets are $10 for KXCI members, $12 for the rest of you, $3 more at the door. Ticket outlets are Craig's Salon, Al's Barber Shop, Hear's Music, Gospel Supplies, Hopkin's Barber Shop, Posse's Salon and KXCI. For more information call 623-1000.
LADY TREK. She was Christine Chapel in the original Star Trek series, until a studio executive decided the public wasn't ready for a female science officer, so Dr. Spock stepped in. More recently Majel Barrett Roddenberry has been seen as Lwuxana Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Besides acting in Star Trek though, Mount Hopkins' Dan Brocious says she is a committed supporter of space exploration and an advocate of portraying advanced technology correctly in films and television. Her lecture, "Exploration," will address the educational stimulation that those portrayals provide, along with the importance of exploration in space.
As Brocious, who always watches for correct science in movies, says, "When you stop exploring, you decompose. If we don't continue to explore the universe, we're going to be stuck here and it isn't going to be pretty." Get the picture?
Roddenberry, who, by the way, was married to the producer of Star Trek, the late Gene Roddenberry, will speak at 7 tonight in the Student Union, Arizona Ballroom on the University of Arizona campus. The free, public lecture is part of the American Astronomical Society's Tucson meeting. For more information call 670-5707.
PREJEAN SPEAKS. At 7:30 tonight Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking, the acclaimed Pulitzer-nominated book on the death penalty, will speak at a benefit for SOLPAE, Sanctity of Life: People Against Executions. Sister Prejean's book tells the story of death row inmate Patrick Sonnier, the families of his victims and the men scheduled to put him to death.
Tonight's benefit will also feature authors Byrd Baylor and Adolfo Quezada and musicians Darwin, Susan Foster and Bruce Phillips.
A $5 donation is requested to benefit SOLPAE, which is working to abolish Arizona's death penalty. The event is in the parish hall at St. Cyril's Church, corner of Pima Street and Swan Road.
THE LAZY EIGHTS. Music producer Carol Anderson says don't miss the man known as "King of the Banjo," Ross Nickerson, when he goes on a wild ride with his band The Lazy Eights tonight at 8. If you dig bluegrass music, you've probably heard Nickerson around these parts with his wildly successful bluegrass bands like Blitz Creek and The Titan Valley Warheads.
For unknown reasons Nickerson deserted us and moved to Reno, but Anderson says he still adores Tucson and its dedicated bluegrass fanatics.
Opening the show at the Southwest Center for Music, 2175 N. Sixth Ave., will be The Rowdies, playing oldies and roots rock.
Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door and are available at The Folk Shop, Loco Records, Hear's Music and the Center. For more information, call 884-1220.
RUSSIAN DANCE. UA Balalaika Orchestra director Mia Bulgarin Gay says that they are very fortunate to have professional musician Charley Rappaport, "the most qualified domra player in America," joining them for their concert at 8 tonight and 3 p.m. tomorrow in the TCC Leo Rich Theatre.
Gay says the rounded domra is the cousin of the mandolin. It comes in four voices and those, joined with the five voices of the balalaika, create a truly marvelous sound. The triangular-shaped balalaika is a Russian instrument that was probably brought by the Mongols to Russia and was popular in the countryside.
"It became popular with 19th century Romanticism when everybody went back to peasant roots and the desire to emulate the peasant." Gay says a nobleman was responsible for perfecting the instrument and forming balalaika orchestras among Russian immigrants all over the world. For this performance you'll have the opportunity to experience the work of the talented Evgeny Tsigankov, a young Russian student studying in the U.S., who excels at the balalaika. At 19, he's won many competitions, including the prestigious all-Russian competition for juniors, when he was just 15-years-old.
Performing with the orchestra are the Kalinka Russian Dancers, who perform character dance, "which is not folk dancing," says Gay. "Character dance is based on ballet and is choreographed for the stage." Gay says this type of dance is filled with leaps and gets quite strenuous. Three new dances by choreographer Richard Holden will be included along with the traditional "kharavod," a line dance, and a Gypsy dance known as the Ukrainian Hopak.
This is a very popular group, so we recommend you get your tickets ASAP at the TCC box office or any Dillard's outlets. Tickets are $7. For more information call the TCC at
VINT AT MELIORA. When a lot of other architects are talking about developments and malls and building bigger, preservation architect Bob Vint says take a look at what your city is and see if that's what you want. In his new show at Meliora Architectural Gallery, Vint asks "Can we envision an alternative future of community planning, environmental design and historic preservation?" To answer that, he says his show "presents a collage of images of the emerging city--the good, the bad and the ugly." These are photographs he's been taking for some time of everything from the barrio at the heart of the city to the veins of northwest side schlock.
Vint, who is the architect for the restoration of San Xavier Mission, bluntly points out that "really dreadful stuff is being built," in the form of stucco tract houses with lousy insulation and no sense of the desert climate. Long a proponent of development that envelops a community focus, Vint questions the frenzied haphazard movement of building in this city.
Also on display will be some of his own work, including his work at the Mission, public art projects like the welcoming mosaic lizards on Irvington Road and a bunch of just plain "weird Tucson things," as he says.
Meliora is located at 178 E. Broadway. Tucson: An Architect's Perspective will be on display through March 3. For more information, call 792-9544.
MLK DAY. Tell your employer you're taking the day off to celebrate the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr., a national holiday that's been around since 1983, but only for the past few years in our slightly off-road state.
With a fight going on over who should get the proceeds from tours of the King birthplace in Atlanta--the National Park Service or the King family--maybe it's time to aim higher and celebrate his fight for equality and non-violence. We doubt "I had a dream," meant how much money somebody would make over his childhood home.
Events today in Tucson include some gospel music and Hebrew melodies at the 10th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Commemoration at Temple Emanu-El, 225 N. Country Club Road. The free holiday celebration takes place at 7 p.m. For more information call 577-9393. Pima Community College East Campus, 8181 E. Irvington Road will hold a 6:30 p.m. celebration with speakers, refreshments and music by local choirs. Featured speakers include Dr. Saundra Lawson Taylor from the UA and Dr. Susanne Miles and Michael Engs from PCC speaking on "The Meaning of the Dream." The free birthday party will be held in the Student Union Community Room. For more information, call 722-7601.
GLOBETROTTERS. If you haven't got a prayer to see any live basketball in this town this winter, and we know you don't, you can still see these world-famous comedians when they take on the Washington Generals in a game beginning at 7:30 tonight.
The Globetrotters started their court craziness in 1927 and have kept their roster filled with terrific players and ball handlers performing slam dunks and seemingly magical ball moves. With their "the-joke's-on-you" attitude aimed at the other team, they're a blast to watch, and the kids love the show. Also for the kids, the 'trotters new team mascot, Globie, will be on hand to help them "shake their sillies out."
The game is at the Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave. Tickets are $9 to $17, with $2 discounts for dunkers under 12 and senior fans over 55. Order tickets by phone at 791-4266 or 1-800-638-4253, or pick them up at the TCC.
JELLY'S LAST JAM. The life of Ferdinand Joseph La Menthe, a.k.a. Jelly Roll Morton, with all its nicks and scratches, is profiled in the Broadway musical Jelly's Last Jam , showing tonight and tomorrow at the UA's Centennial Hall.
The musical portrays jazz musician Morton, who was born in New Orleans in 1885, as a man who denied his Creole origins while promoting himself as the sole originator of jazz, which was pushing it just a roll, to say the least. He is remembered for his "colorful lifestyle" while his jazz contributions, like the arrangements Jelly Roll Blues and Mournful Serenade are sometimes overlooked.
Maurice Hines and Nora Cole star in the show and tap dancers Hines and Savion Glover do a battle of the toes that has critics talking from coast to coast.
Tickets to the 8 p.m. show are $20 to $28 and are available by calling the Centennial Hall box office at 621-3341.
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