ZOO NEWS. "I'm afraid you're not going to see any wombats here," Reid Park Zoo Administrator Susan Basford responds to our query about nocturnal animals being visible during the zoos extended summer hours. OK, not all of us have visited the zoo. Apparently wombats are not among the zoo's fine selection of inhabitants. However, the anteaters are pretty spectacular, and the polar bears always draw a big crowd in the summer. "I think they make people feel cooler," says Basford. And if you've been intending to visit baby giraffes Charlie and Mercedes, this may be your last chance to see them together. Charlie's leaving for the big city (exact destination as yet unknown), causing plenty of activity in Reid Park as caretakers try to arrange transportation. "She's six months old now," Basford explains, "we have to move her while she still fits (in a trailer)." That neck's not getting any shorter.
Reid Park Zoo, entrance at Broadway and Country Club Road, is open today from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. These cooler hours will continue on the third Thursday of the month, July 20 and August 17. Admission is $3.50 for adults, $2.50 for seniors, 75 cents for children 5 to 14 and free for children 4 and under.
DESERT VOICES. You have no idea what fun a choral concert can be until you witness Magic. Tonight's showcase concert by Desert Voices, Arizona's premiere gay and lesbian chorus, sounds more like a variety show than musical recital, with live magic acts, special effects and a program of 24 songs, including popular selections from musicals like Grease and Les Miserables, spirituals, children's songs, and a "classical women's barber shop group" among traditional choral works. We use the word "traditional" loosely...one medley includes a gay version of "Glory, Glory Hallelujah" with words cleverly rearranged to create a "celebration that's serious and satiric at the same time."
"We're definitely not a stand-on-risers group," says choralier Sherilyn Forrester. "Our focus is to be more of a visual spectacle." Tonight's program is divided into four sections: the magic of nature, romance, children and the rainbow (symbolic for gay pride). Each section will be introduced by a "live magic event" by magician Craig Kensinger. Numbers include choreography, solo acts and staged ensemble pieces, all enhanced by creative lighting (adding to the element of illusion). "As a mixed chorus, we have a different sound and sense of identity. We hope everyone will come away being entertained, but also knowing what we're all about. That is, solidarity, which will strengthen our voice in the community at large," says Forrester.
Magic opens its bag of tricks at 8 o'clock tonight and Saturday, June 17, at the PCC Center for the Arts, 2202 W. Anklam Road. Tickets range from $6 to $12, available in advance from Antigone Books, Compass Travel and Tucson Trunk. Call 884-6458 for information and student tickets.
PLACES, EVERYONE. Places in the Heart (PG), starring Sally Field, Ed Harris and Lindsay Crouse, screens at 7 tonight in St. Philip's East Gallery, 4440 N. Campbell Ave. Field plays Edna Spalding, a mother of two who is suddenly widowed in the 1930s. Almost immediately she's pressured by the bank to sell her home and surrounding property. So she does the Hollywood thing and becomes a profile of courage, battling racism and poverty to maintain her integrity and make a life for herself and her family. Tonight's program continues until 10 p.m. with a moderated discussion of ethics and spirituality, as part of Tacheria's Religion in Film summer series. Admission is free. Call 529-1206 for information.
MUSICAL GARDENS. Wander over to the Tucson Botanical Gardens Reception Garden for a "musical journey through cultures and eras" with the Andean group Khenany. These versatile musicians use wood, bamboo, clay and even armadillo to create their unique, haunting sound, accompanied by unusual vocal arrangements sung in Spanish, Quechua and English. It's music that belongs outdoors, with the fresh air and cool breeze. Khenany casts its spell of Latin American rhythms from 7:30 to 10 p.m. tonight and Saturday. Tickets are $12, $8 for TBG members, available at the TBG gift shop, 2150 N. Alvernon Way. Call 326-9686 for information.
CULTURE JAM. If you think all reggae sounds alike, think again. A resurgence of its popularity since its peak in the mid-'70s has led to an onslaught of soulless music imitating reggae style without capturing its essence. Along with legends Bob Marley, Toots Hibbert and Jimmy Cliff, think of Joseph Hill, the lead voice in Culture. Hill has one of reggae's most powerful and unique voices, grounded by music that is solidly roots. His musical talents combined with a devout Rastafarian vision infuse Culture's songs with unparalleled sincerity and electricity. Rolling Stone magazine calls the re-released Two Sevens Clash (1977) "one of the best reggae records ever made." The trio has covered a lot of ground since then, with a prolific recording and touring career that has them finely tuned for tonight's epic show.
Succumb to cosmic contemplation at 8 p.m. at The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave. Tickets are $10 in advance from University Postal & Copy, Loco Records, 12 Tribes and Al's Barber Shop. Call 881-1870 for information.
GRAPES OF CRAFT. As the summer heat settles on the Old Pueblo, it's time to search for greener pastures. Cool your heels from noon to 5 p.m. with a fine Southwest Food and Wine Tasting, hosted by R.W. Webb Winery. There will be more tastings and products from specialty food suppliers and craftspeople than you can shake a corkscrew at, not to mention a hearty BBQ lunch with fruit, cheese and homemade bread available for only $3.50. Admission is $10 for a single ticket, $16 per couple, and includes a souvenir wine glass and unlimited tastings of wine and food. Proceeds benefit the Tucson AIDS Project.
From Tucson, take 1-10 to exit 279 (four miles east of Houghton Road), cross over the freeway and head east on the frontage road for about one mile. Call 762-5777 for information.
TIBET WEEK. If world events continue on their present trend, your last chance to "see" Tibet may be in Flagstaff. Tibet Week opens today, launching a cultural celebration of Tibetan music, dance, theatre and humanities in this not-so-far-off forested community. Arrive early for the 1 p.m. processional through downtown on Aspen Street, with opening ceremonies from 2 to 4 p.m. in Wheeler Park (between Aspen and Birch streets). Other events continuing this week include a full Ache Lhamo, a folk opera by premier artists of Tibet, never before presented in the United States; and a two-day outdoor fair June 24 and 25, featuring a Native American/Himalayan craft show. What's a few hours' drive for an event presented with "good humor, pure hearts and for the benefit of all sentient beings?" Call 1-602-774-8108 for information.
DIG THIS. While absorbing more bad news on public lands may not be on your list of most-fun things to do this week, tonight's forum offers an outlet for frustrated desert denizens who'd like to get involved. The Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society sponsors Are The Guys Winning?, a free slide-lecture presentation on the fast-growing problem of illegal excavation of prehistoric archaeology sites. Mary Estes, Program Coordinator for the State Historic Preservation Office's Arizona Site Steward Program, will give an overview of destroyed sites, federal and state antiquity laws and Arizona's strategic defense against site vandals--the 400-plus volunteer Arizona Site Stewards. Sign-ups will be taken for a Society-sponsored field trip to two destroyed sites on Sunday, June 25.
Lecture begins at 7 p.m. at UMC DuVal Auditorium, 1501 N. Campbell Ave. Call 885-6283 for information.
ILLITERATI. Come one, come all to this "poetic, literary fuckall" (James Joyce wouldn't have a problem with Café Magritte's chosen word for this event, so who are we to censor their enthusiasm?) There aren't many urban cafés this side of the Golden Gate Bridge that still delight in the surreal haze of expression with espresso, so don't miss your opportunity for Warhol's promised 15 minutes of fame. Get that work of art out of the shoebox and onto the floor. Café Magritte entreats you, "Come dazzle us with your desire." Sign-ups begin at 7:30, with readings at 8 p.m. at Café Magritte, 254 E. Congress St. Call 884-8004 for information.
SAGUARO HARVEST. If you've driven outside the city limits in the past couple of weeks, you've noticed the tell-tale haloes of white flowers dotting the mountains. The saguaros are in bloom. The harvest of saguaro fruit is a long-standing Tohono O'odham tradition stemming from the fact that, well, it tastes good (hey, not all traditions have deep, spiritual meaning)--and also that the fruit comes at the driest time of the year. "It's a wonderful workshop, even though it's hot," says Tucson Botanical Garden's Meg Quinn, a seasoned veteran of saguaro harvests. "This event is a great opportunity to visit a traditional Tohono O'odham camp, where Stella Tucker (who teaches the workshop) and her family will live during the weeks of the fruit harvest." Participants will collect fruit with long poles made from saguaro ribs, learn about the process of cooking fruit to make syrup at the camp's outdoor kitchen and enjoy an authentic lunch of fry bread, cholla (flower) buds and tepary beans and, of course, samples of the sweet fruits of their labor, the saguaro syrup. Cost is $42, $35 for TBG members. Space is limited. Call 326-9686 for reservations and information.
Photo 2: Command performance: J. Medicinehat, hypnotist, performs Friday through Sunday at Laffs Comedy Caffe, 2900 E. Broadway.
Photo 3: Singing a different tune: Shirley Charles, Steve Minow and Mark Seliga star in Arizona Repertory Theatre's Lend Me A Tenor, continuing through June 18 in the UA Laboratory Theatre. Photo by Mark Levy
Photo 4: Global groove: Roots reggae giants Joseph Hill and his band Culture cross oceans to land at The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave., on Saturday, June 17.
Photo 5: Camera ready: The Video Tensions series continues at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 15, at the UA Modern Languages Building auditorium, with works by Marshall Weber. Photo by Mark Levy
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