DEMING DELIGHTS. Alison Hawthorne Deming is one woman writer who knows the perils and pitfalls of the creative process. The award-winning poet and essayist says her heritage (as the great-great granddaughter of Nathaniel Hawthorne) was a huge obstacle to overcome. "There was a (self-imposed) sense of 'How can you dare?' What could I possibly have to say?" She says finally it became empowering, as she found she had her own account of experience to tell. "That heritage became something honorable I could build on."
Deming empathizes with the internal censorship that many women writers face. "I'd like to help create an environment that helps women who want to accomplish something as writers. I'd like to help them find the energy and feel the rewards of the enterprise (of writing) itself--of painting a self-portrait, and believing in yourself as an artist."
In honor of National Feminist Bookstore Week, Deming will read from published and unpublished works, including the soon-to-be released Girls in the Jungle: What Does it Take for a Woman to Survive as an Artist? (from Tucson-based Kore Press). Reading begins at 7:30 p.m. at Antigone Books, 600 N. Fourth Ave., and will be followed by a booksigning. Call 792-3715 for information.
GRONK! "Work in a factory. Take auto shop, take the basic things--art is not for you," his instructors advised. Soon after, the young man dropped out of high school...and years later, was recognized as one of the most creative, highly acclaimed artists of his time, one of the tenacious few to define his own kind of art. So much for sage advice from the establishment. For 25 years, Chicano artist Glugio Gronk Nicandro has challenged audiences with distinctive painting and performance art whose satirical nature demands a response. Whether you love his work or hate it, as is likely going to be the case, you can't help feeling uplifted by the testimony of one individual's decision to meet adversity with humor and conviction.
This weekend is your last opportunity to see Gronk! A Living Survey, a retrospective featuring 10 years of the Los Angeles artist's large, thickly painted canvasses. The show continues through May 21 at the Tucson Museum of Art, 140 N. Stone Ave. Call 624-2333 for information.
VOORTEX. The vibrant voice of Martie Van der Voort has graced more coffee house and festival stages nationwide than the artist can even remember. But those who've witnessed her versatile guitar playing and fits of a cappella abandon won't soon forget her dedicated stage presence. The self-described political feminist musician has been writing songs of "celebration and survival" since 1978. Her songs aim to "raise eyebrows, consciousness and spirits," and often succeed thanks to her tremendous talent and sense of humor. Well recovered from health problems that kept her off stage for an extended period, Van der Voort is re-energized and anxious to perform a host of topical originals to her home-town audience. Her performance will be American Sign Language interpreted.
Get swept up in the whirling blend of country, blues, folk and jazz (with an occasional rap) at 8 p.m. at the Southwest Center for Music, 2175 N. Sixth Ave. Tickets are $6 in advance from the box office and Antigone Books, 600 N. Fourth Ave.; or pay $7 at the door. Call 884-1220 for information.
ZYDECO HO! Queen Ida & the Bon Temps return to Tucson after a two-year absence, for a "Houserockin' Dance Party Under the Stars" at St. Philip's Plaza, 4300 N. Campbell Ave. She is said to be the Queen of Zydeco "by virtue of talent first and gender second." The Lake Charles, Louisiana, native grew up with French patois, two steps, waltzes and Mardi Gras songs as part of the daily routine, but it wasn't until after her children were grown and had left their San Francisco home that Ida Guillory took her accordion back out of the closet and starting playing Creole community dances. She has since toured internationally, won a Grammy in 1983 for her On Tour album, and won the WC Handy Female Blues Artist Award in 1989.
Zydeco is a Louisiana Creole blend of Cajun music and New Orleans rhythm and blues, with Latin, '50s rock and roll, jump blues and country influences. Free Cajun and zydeco dance lessons begin at 7:15 p.m., with Tucson band Pulse opening the show at 8 p.m. Advance tickets are $20, $15 for KXCI members, available at Hear's Music, Piney Hollow, Loco Records and Zip's. Charge by phone at 623-1000. Tickets will be $3 more at the door.
HOT PACHANGA IN THE PUEBLO. You may remember the Derechos Humanos Coalition from their widely supported demonstration against Proposition 187 last January. The local human rights organization works alongside the Arizona Border Rights Coalition in educating the public about immigrant rights and contributions to the community. Meet the organizers and join in the pursuit of happiness tonight, with an evening of hot salsa provided by Rafael Moreno and Descarga, and other guest musicians. Sample the salsa, Tex-Mex and mariachi marinade, and enjoy catered delights from the ovens at Casa Maria and local bakeries. Tonight's raffle is even a hot deal, with prizes donated by Fourth Avenue merchants.
Advance tickets are $8 per person or $15 per couple, available at Yoly's Music Shop in the Southgate Shopping Center, and Last Wax Records, 402 N. Fourth Ave. Single tickets are $10 at the door, $5 for low income individuals and students. Call 882-0138 for information. Derechos Humanos meets at 5:30 p.m. every Thursday, at Sam Lena Library, 1601 S. Sixth Ave.
DESERT MUSEUM GALA. Some of us love the Desert Museum for its sensitive habitats and imaginative programming; others for its distant location to send out-of-towners on a day trip. Whatever the reason, tonight's gala at the Museum's Ironwood Gallery and Restaurant will only add to your pleasure. Festivities begin at 5 p.m. and include a sumptuous dinner, presentation of the Museum's Luminaria Awards and Tucson's most unusual live and silent auctions, with items ranging from rare fossils to exotic compost material. Natural history adventures guided by Museum professionals and home garden consultations are also up for grabs. Tickets to the festivities aren't cheap, but proceeds help the Museum fulfill its ongoing mission to tell the evolving story of the Sonoran Desert region. Call 883-3019 for reservations and information.
ENCORE! Tonight's benefit concert with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and maestro Bob Bernhardt promises to be humorous and entertaining; but unfortunately, you won't hear a sound if you ask them to reveal what's on the program. We have no doubt that their sixth annual fundraising effort will be full of pleasant surprises, though. Our best guess is to expect classical renditions, with a wide variety of musical compositions and unusual instrumentations. Rumor has it Homero Ceron has promised "eight minutes of jazz" on the vibes, accompanied by bassist Geoff Hamilton. A silent auction will follow, with gifts from the Tucson Jazz Society, TSO season tickets, restaurant gift certificates, performances and lessons by TSO musicians and artwork from local galleries among the spoils.
Festivities begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. Tickets are only $14, and are available at the TSO box office, 443 S. Stone Ave. Call 882-8585 for information.
GATE OPENS. "Mom, I'm going to the laser show," sounds like something straight out of a Jetson's cartoon. And although the space age hasn't delivered on those nifty hovercrafts yet, it did bring us lasers, and they are at Flandrau Science Center, a pedestrian jaunt down to the east side of the UA mall. Along with the Science Center's ongoing planetarium theater programs, Miramar Production's traveling cybertech fantasy, "The Gate to the Mind's Eye," opens with an 8 p.m. screening tonight. "The Gate" is the third installment in the award-winning Mind's Eye series, combining spell-binding computer animation and imagery with an original score by Thomas Dolby ("She Blinded Me with Science"). Information on the show says Mind's Eye titles are "certified multi-Platinum," which we assume has little to do with the show, but sounds really cool.
If you've got more time than money, KKLD is giving away free tickets to opening night; or call 621-STAR for information. "The Gate" run will include screenings on Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 3:30 p.m. throughout the summer.
PARENTAL GUIDANCE DIGESTED. Playwright Christopher Durang is well-known in theatre circles for his dark comedies, and METAtheatre's latest production is no exception. "It's the lightest shade of dark," says META's Managing Director Neil Racioppo. "It's a dark comedy with a happy ending." Protagonists John and Helen have always wanted a baby, but now that they have one, they turn it over to a lunatic nanny, confuse it with the laundry, and are too embarrassed to find out what sex it is. Says Racioppo with a laugh, "The play has a lot to do with the faults of parents and how we blame them...but this one is really about getting on with your life." We strongly recommend this play for all inner children.
Baby With the Bathwater opens tonight at 8 p.m. at the Historic Y Theatre, 738 N. Fifth Ave. Production continues with performances Wednesday through Sunday, through June 11. Tickets are $10, with discounts for seniors and students. Call 882-8446 for reservations and information.
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