ROCK REVIVAL. All those white tents that have mushroomed in the downtown area signal a revival of sorts--it's time again for striated rocks and raw gems and everything that goes along with them.
The Gem and Mineral Showcase is big in these parts and worth a look, even if the only rocks you normally care about are the ones sprayed green in your front yard. This has been called "the world's largest show of precious gems, minerals and fossils," with 21 shows taking place around town for dealers, rock junkies, tourists and browsers of all breeds to take in.
Some of the tents are for wholesalers and dealers only, but point your gold-finder in the direction of the Tucson Community Center, 260 S. Church Ave., because that's where the big public show takes place, including guest lectures, tables for the kids and the must-have T-shirts, jewelry and rock-grinding machines. The show runs daily through February 12. Admission is $3, gems 14 and under are in for free with an adult. For more information call 770-2143.
TESTIMONIES. "When my children and grandchildren ask me, 'What did you do in the Army?' I won't be proud of what I did. I didn't kill terrorists or fight a war...I gave beatings and chased kids through alleyways," is what one sergeant in the controversial film documentary Testimonies: Israeli Soldiers in the Intifada, says.
The film was made by Israeli volunteers and relies on interviews with Israeli soldiers from 1990-93 who discuss their role in suppressing the Palestinian uprising on the West Bank. Called "frankly brutal," by the Guardian, be forewarned there are some very violent scenes in the picture. It's being shown locally at 7 tonight at the Northwest Neighborhood Center, 2160 N. Sixth Ave. Veterans for Peace is sponsoring the film and forum afterward and asks for a donation at the door. For more information call 323-2851.
THRILLVILLE. You've got just two nights to get down to Sam Taylor's House of Swing in the Santa Rita Ballroom, Broadway Boulevard and Sixth Avenue, to hear Chicago Blues star Eddie Burks. Burks shouts his way into town tonight and tomorrow, his harmonica howling. He's got a baritone growl that has kept Chicago and points east and west interested in blues for a good long time. Catch him along with the Sonny Antone Trio as part of The House of Swing's Gem Show Blues-A-Rama. Tickets are $7.50 in advance or $9.50 at the door. Gem show badge holders get in two for $10, and that's a howlin' good price for this top-ranked blues gig. Sam's also got a gourmet prime-rib buffet on for $7.95.
Advance tickets are available at Dillard's, TCC box office, Zia and Hear's Music. For more information call the House Hotline at 882-0755.
FORT LOWELL FOOTSTEPS. The Old Fort Lowell Neighborhood is a place where history rests as deep as a century-old irrigation ditch and as obvious as the ruins of the old Fort at Fort Lowell Park.
The fine folks from the neighborhood association band together every year to put on El Reunión de El Fuerte, a neighborhood tour and celebration. Self-guided tours of this terrific Tucson neighborhood run continuously from 1 to 4 p.m. today. This area has been home to the Hohokam Indians, Mormon farmers and soldiers of Fort Lowell as well as Mexican settlers.
Tour the 19 sites on foot or by shuttle beginning at the east parking lot at Fort Lowell Park, Glenn Street and Craycroft Road, or at the San Pedro Chapel, Beverly Boulevard and East Fort Lowell Road. Kids will like the cavalry drills beginning at 2:30 p.m. at the park parade grounds. Admission is free, but donations would be wonderful to support this neighborhood that is working hard to complete the restoration of the chapel, which, by the way, is available for weddings, meetings or art exhibits. For more information call 2932338
THROAT SONG. There's a small republic in the former Soviet Union, north of Mongolia called Tuva, "land of the Great Khans and horsemen," says Don Gest of Tucson Friends of Traditional Music, "where a style of singing called khoomei developed and is handed down from father to son." Tonight, in a rare Tucson performance, you can hear Huun-Huur-Tu, the Throat Singers of Tuva, at the Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway. These singers, notes Gest, "are the only singers in the world known to articulate two or three contrasting tones at the same time." The quartet's ancient music is their response to the beauty of the vertical light rays seen over the grasslands just after sunrise or before sunset.
When have you had a chance to hear music from near Mongolia lately, accompanied, we might add, by traditional instruments as ancient in sound as a conch shell, sheep bones and bull testicles? Get yourself a ticket for this major musical event at Hear's Music, Piney Hollow, or Peace of Mind or by calling 881-3947. Tickets are $17, $15 for TFTM members, $1 more at the door. Call 327-4809 for more information.
DRESHER REFRESHER. Expert composer/ guitarist/keyboardist Paul Dresher presents Looking West to the East, a new musical work at 8 tonight in the UA Centennial Hall. It's an appropriate venue for Dresher and his Electro-Acoustic Band, because the UA was one of the commissioners of this new work by the multi-talented artist.
Dresher has pulled together musicians with huge talents from the fields of classical chamber and orchestral music, contemporary electronic jazz, country, and rock and roll to make this a diverse, exciting work with styles negotiating the map from, well, west to east. New work by Dresher and composers John Adams and Jay Cloidt will be featured.
Tickets at Dillard's and the box office are $10 to $16, with $6 student rush tickets available 45 minutes before the concert takes off. Call 621-3341 for tickets and information.
BLUES CITY. You can get all the blues you want at O'Malley's on Fourth from 5 to 11 today, says Jonathan Holden of the Tucson Blues Society. Today's event is a big-time fundraiser to help get the always entertaining annual Blues Festival rolling. Performers include George Howard and the Roadhouse Hounds doing their straight-ahead Chicago blues stuff, rock and blues guy Sam Taylor, Denis Ofret, and Walking Cane Mark from Phoenix.
Boogie-woogie piano wonder and Tucson prodigy Arthur Migliazza and his band the Blue Cats will also help crank up the blues-saturated night. And there's food, fab T-shirts and a silent auction of rare glossy photographs of national blues stars. O'Malley's is at 247 N. Fourth Ave., and admission is just a five-spot at the door. The best blues jam in town will end the evening. Call 327-5593 for more information.
GROSS HOSTS BEVEL. Artist Ned Schaper, a.k.a. Mat Bevel, is on display in a big way this time around. The found-object sculptor will have his kinetic works at the UA Joseph Gross Gallery beginning today and continuing through February 24.
Schaper was seen on the streets of New York City performing with his sculptures as NedNed for three years before landing back in Tucson, where he has established the Mat Bevel Institute, home to performance, workshops and classes. What other people call junk, this artist sees as foundlings, and he helps find them a home in costumes, headdresses, musical instruments and moving art.
Enjoy the show with some small movable objects called children, who'll undoubtedly help explain what this work is all about. Gross is located at Speedway Boulevard and Park Avenue just beyond the pedestrian underpass. At noon and 1 p.m. Tuesday, February 21, Schaper presents Mat Bevel in a "live demotainment step-backular" at the gallery. It's a must. For more information call 621-1251.
BOOK BLAST. Take this to heart: A book is a great last-minute Valentine's gift, and we know where to get it--The Friends of Tucson/Pima Library Book Sale is the book fest of the year. The Friends make up the volunteer arm of the library, supporting many special programs and new equipment you see in your branch libraries.
Open your book bags at noon today when the sale commences. But keep going back, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday through February 19, because new books are added to the tables throughout the sale. There will be 200,000 books to choose from, and the best part is some are as cheap as 20 cents. Great hardback copies are available for $1 and we don't even want to talk about the kid's books for fear we'll have to fight you off.
The sale is booked at El Con Mall, near the Pavilion. Bring something to schlep your books home in, too, Valentine.
MOVIE QUEENS. It's your favorite romantic comedy movie stuff come to life: legendary stars, glitter, oscar-winning movies, feuds and women in love--with each other. And that's where playwright Claudia Allen puts the heart of her play, in the relationship between two famous actresses who were great movie stars of the 1930s, says One In Ten Theatre director Kim Lowry. "They have a tempestuous affair, but one is so afraid to be discovered as a homosexual she can't take the pressure." That and a bit of competition between the two separates them for 50 years, until they find themselves on Broadway, quite changed, says Lowry, "although one is still very much afraid." This very funny play, she adds, is threaded with Allen's ongoing theme of the price we pay for dishonesty in ourselves.
Four women will share the stage in Movie Queens, playing Wednesday through Sunday through February 25 at the Historic Y Theatre, 738 N. Fifth Ave. Tickets are $9, $8 for students and seniors. For reservations call 770-9279.
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