Filler City Week
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Thursday 28

TEA TIME. If you're one of those who subscribe to Robert Fulgham's notion that the world would be a better place if we all took time out for milk and cookies, grab your copy of Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten and head over to the Tucson Botanical Gardens for snack time. The Gardens' Prima Donna Café serves a traditional English tea in a relaxing setting from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. every Thursday, with a three-course buffet including flavored scones and jams, a selection of finger sandwiches, mini desserts and a variety of English teas. Cost is $8, and reservations are required. For reservations and information call the café at 293-2424.

The Tucson Botanical Gardens are located at 2150 N. Alvernon Way. Admission is $3. Café hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday; and reservations are still available for Easter brunch on Sunday, April 6. For information on the gardens call 326-9255.

Friday 29

UA DANCE. Ben Vereen, Tony Award-winning artist and veteran of stage and screen, joins the UA Dance Ensemble for the annual UA faculty dance concert at 8 tonight at UA Centennial Hall, east of the main entrance on Park Avenue and University Boulevard. Program includes seven pieces choreographed by faculty members Amy Ernst, Nina Janik, Jory Hancock, Melissa Lowe, Susan Quinn, Michael Williams and John M. Wilson, drawing on inspirations as diverse as the unforgiving Nebraskan plains in Horizons and classical Chinese folk tales in How Seas and Sun Made Earth A Place to Walk Upon.

The concert promises an evening of stellar dance, from Hancock and Lowe's capricious performance in L'Anniversaire, set to music by Rossini performed live by pianist Susan Knosp and singer Grayson Hirst, on through the Scottish Highland-inspired ballet English Suite; lyrical jazz based on balancing rock formations in Texas Canyon; Scat, a nod to Scatman John, Mark Bruglar, Ella Fitzgerald and Mel Torme creating a percussive texture of sound and movement; and a "very female" exploration of womanhood based on impressions of Art Deco drawings and Egyptian bas reliefs in Emerald Emergence.

Image Celebrate Dance begins at 8 p.m. at UA Centennial Hall. Tickets range form $7 to $18. Call 621-3341 for reservations and information.

REVEILLE REVUE. Reveille Gay Men's Chorus is joined in the second concert of its inaugural season by the comedic antics of pianist Roxanna Ward, who takes her stand-up act sitting down (at the Steinway) with an engaging cabaret style she says was born out of necessity: "I didn't know enough material, so I had to be funny to fill time." Together they present Viva La Diva!, a celebration of song ranging from the operatic Carmen to immortalized favorites by the likes of Judy Garland and Barbara Streisand. Show time is 8 p.m. at the Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door, with discounts for children under 12, students and seniors. Outlets include Antigone Books and Tucson Trunk. Call 795-7156 for reservations and information.

THE GRANT STREET BAND. Back in the 1970s, Laurie Lewis put her classical violin training on a shelf in favor of the American rural music traditions of bluegrass and old-time fiddle. It was a transition which suited her well, earning her championship titles for her fiddle playing and a loyal following for the Grant Street Band she formed in 1979. But when mandolinist Tom Rozum joined the band in 1987, the final piece fell into place. The pair's exquisite blend of vocals and instrumental interplay immediately became part of Grant Street's trademark sound. Tonight's performance celebrates their recent Grammy-nominated release The Oak and the Laurel, which the band calls "the culmination of a longtime dream," featuring special guests Mike Marshall, Nina Gerber and Craig Smith.

Tonight's intimate celebration of rural music opens at 8 p.m. at the Southwest Center for Music, 2175 N. Sixth Ave., with an acoustic set by up-and-coming Irish singer/songwriter Maireid Sullivan. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 day of show. Call 884-1220 for reservations and information.

Saturday 30

Image HOME GARDEN TOUR. See how the other half digs at the Tucson Botanical Gardens' annual Home Garden Tour this weekend. The self-guided tour covers seven sites, from the Catalina foothills area out to Saguaro National Park East. Private residences encompass a range of tastes and styles, from a park-like yard enhanced by flowering perennials, mature trees and metal sculptures, to exotic xeriscape and lush floral creations (including an extravagant bloom of more than 300 irises at one residence). Harvest ideas for drought-tolerant selections for your own garden, or just indulge your voyeuristic urges. Be sure to allow time for a stroll through the TBG grounds, now at peak bloom. A special display of orchids graces Porter Hall this weekend only.

Tour hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, starting at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way. Cost is $10, $6 for members, and includes TBG admission. Call 326-9686 for reservations and information.

TAJ MAHAL. The seventh wonder of the musical world graces the Rialto stage tonight, as the mellifluous Taj Mahal comes to Tucson with band in tow. His African-rooted music embraces the world culture of which he is a learned scholar and on-fire enthusiast. Rare to find the musician who's like the best teacher you could ever hope for, imparting colorful narratives, mesmerizing images and sage reflection along the way. Rarer still to find such a teacher in the body of a passionate roots-music guitar master. You'll get a healthy dose of smoky blues and slinky jazz, but that, my friends, just scratches the surface.

Doors open at 8 for 9 p.m. show time at the Rialto Theater, 318 E. Congress St. Tickets are $10 in advance from Hear's Music and all Zia Records locations. They'll cost $12 at the door. Call 740-1986 for information.

A TASTE OF MURDER. Tonight's benefit for the Tucson AIDS Project is a murder mystery dinner theatre surrounding the untimely demise of Bebe LeBlanc, the world-famous food critic apparently poisoned to death while sampling four chefs' specialties from the Kane Culinary Institute. As the plot thickens--or sickens--groaning puns, musical interludes and clues-for-purchase all become part of the investigation. A Taste of Murder features Stuart Molton as the blonde bombshell Marla Kane and Citizen food critic Kathleen Allen as LeBlanc.

Image Performance is preceded at 6:30 p.m. by a perfectly palatable spread provided by Presidio Grill, B&B Café, Fuego and Café Terra Cotta in the spacious Southwest Center for Music, 2175 N. Sixth Ave. Tickets are $35, available at the ATC box office. Call 622-2823 for reservations and information.

Sunday 31

BACH IN ACTION. The Tucson Masterworks Chorale performs The Passion According to St. John in the original German version. Soloists for this Palm Sunday feast include Grayson Hirst, Larry Day, Jay Regan, Harlan Hokin, Kory Myrick and Lydia Easley, with instrumental accompaniment by members of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. Today's matinee performance is at 3 o'clock at Grace St. Paul's, 2331 E. Adams St. There will also be an evening performance at 7 p.m. Friday, April 5. Tickets are available at the door for $8 general, $5 students and seniors, and $2 children. Call 884-3506 for reservations and information.

QUEST FOR THE WEST. This is definitely the week for cowboy music in the Old Pueblo. With the dust from Ranger Doug and Riders in the Sky still settling (see this week's Music feature for details), Marie Rhines strings up her bow over at the Proscenium Theatre for an evening of "original songs of the west." The versatile singer/songwriter combines traditional classical violin with her own cowboy poetry to create "arrangements that explore the lore of the American West." Among her many musical accomplishments, Rhine is known to audiences nationwide for her weekly NPR program, The Folk Heritage.

Image An Evening of Americana begins at 7:30 p.m. at PCC West Campus Center for the Arts, 2202 W. Anklam Road. Tickets range from $5 to $12, available in advance or at the door. Call 884-6988 for reservations and information.

EARTH VOYAGE.s No time to take that trip to Prague you've been talking about for years? Maybe the nostalgic Earth Voyage to Yesteryears will jolt that travel bug out of hibernation. Nine perfectly preserved 1930s "FitzPatrick TravelTalks" include Rio, Prague, Mazatlan, Capetown, Cairo, Honolulu and Hong Kong in 35 mm Technicolor. Program is hosted in person by James FitzPatrick, Jr., who recently presented these extraordinary films to a standing-room-only audience at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Show time is 1:30 to 3 p.m. at The Loft cinema, 3233 E. Speedway. Advance tickets are $5. They jump to $10 at the door. Proceeds benefit the American Red Cross. Call 321-4470 for information.

Monday 1

EAT, EAT, EAT! Dr. Rodger Smersh, an expert on fat metabolisim and author of the new book Eat Like A Pig And Grow Thin! will be participating in a booksigning at the Self-Improvement Shop, 2382 E. Piffle Way, from 3 to 6:30 p.m. today. Dr. Smersh, a board-certified avdropodlogist from New Orleans, pioneered the field of "junkfood bulk-loading" during the 1980s. His theories, since borne out by live-animal research at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and other grant-oriented research institutions, indicate that some 30 percent of overweight people could actually loose weight if they only ate more french fries, burgers and shakes. Dr. Smersh's original research was funded by the McDonald's Corporation. He recently developed a simple test to determine who these genetically lucky overweight folks are. Unfortunately, the test cost $45,000 and involves riding naked in the backseat of a Yugo. You can find out more by attending the booksigning. No foolin'.

Tuesday 2

UNDER WRAPS. Would you be surprised to learn some women living in the Middle East feel sorry for women forced to live in American society? Sensational and often shocking stories attract attention on both sides of the cross-cultural divides. Anthropologist Anne Betteridge lived in Iran from 1974 to 1979, conducting research on pilgrimages to local shrines in Shiraz. Through her research on women and ritual in the Islamic world, as well as her personal experiences as a western woman living in the Middle East, Betteridge offers an illustrated lecture entitled Under Wraps: Barriers to Understanding Muslim Women in the Middle East at 7:30 p.m. in UMC DuVal Auditorium, 1501 N. Campbell Ave. Admission and parking are free.

Wednesday 3

Image FRANKIE STARLIGHT. Along the lines of 1989's My Left Foot, this is the story of Frank, an Irish-born French immigrant and a dwarf besides, who develops a mystical obsession with the cosmos that's right in line with the film's idyllic setting in rural Ireland. Based on the novel by Chet Raymo, Frankie Starlight is a warm, witty tale dusted with magical realism, as Frank is confronted with sudden celebrity and an enduring love that seems as unattainable as the distant stars. Matt Dillon, Gabriel Byrne (who recently appeared in The Usual Suspects) and Anne Parillaud star.

Frankie Starlight screens at 3 and 7:05 p.m. weekdays through April 4 at The Loft cinema, 3233 E. Speedway. Call 795-7777 for information. Also, check out The Loft's cool new web page for clips on current and upcoming screenings, movie stills and more.

City Week includes events selected by Calendar Editor Mari Wadsworth. Event information is accurate as of press time. The Weekly recommends calling event organizers to check for last-minute changes in location, time, price, etc.

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