City Week


Thursday, Dec. 4, 7:30 p.m.
Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Auditorium
Speedway Boulevard and Mountain Avenue

The local avant-garde film series wraps up its monthly barrage of scopophilic overload this week. Thanks to its curator Jen Nowak, we get these hard-to-find gems. Sometimes the artists responsible for hurting our heads even show up to explain why they do what they do.

The screening features four videos that masochistically mess in the muck of love triangles and the shame of drug abuse. Canadian-born filmmakers Emelie Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby, who live, love and work in the hollers of Chicago, are self-styled and extroverted subjects of their own films. This pairing, much akin to a train wreck, is fascinating for all the wrong reasons.

The on-the-fly feel to the work is part of its alluring quality, as if we are sharing intimate moments of the filmmakers' lives. Fine Arts, in which Duke stands nude in front of the camera, speaking only French, is one of the funnier portraits of modern relations which never betrays an audience's attachment to the reality of its situation. Fucked Up begs for appeasement from a shameful exhibition that is rooted in everything but reality. Duke demonstrates a homemade process of reaching the titular climax, which involves a hash pipe and plastic bag.

All this nastiness and reality are sponsored, believe it or not, by the UA's Media Arts Visiting Filmmakers Program, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the Medici Scholarship and the Media Arts Department. Thanks to them, the films are free to viewers.


Friday, Dec. 5, 8 p.m.
Museum of Contemporary Art
191 E. Toole Ave.

Come hear what a self-hating telemarketer, the Jewish mother of a popular savior, a woman raped by a pit bull, a yogi named Roberta and a few others have to say about Cap'n Crunch, feminine hygiene, modern dance and the search for spiritual enlightenment. (What, you couldn't find a nice girl apostle?)

Monolog Cabin is a first-person review of narratives and essays with attitude, written and performed by local and visiting humorists. It features the work of screenwriter Steve Barancik (The Last Seduction, No Good Deed), artist Carrie Seid Barancik (her show at Tucson Museum of Art opens next week), writer/journalist/critic-at-large Charlotte Lowe-Bailey, actress Sybille Bruun (currently appearing in Later Life at Invisible Theatre), medievalist/sulky shopgirl Faitha Lowe-Bailey, erstwhile society humor columnist Margo Taylor and former actor/comedian/script supervisor Lillian MacNeill.

The organizers of Monolog Cabin also accept submissions from the audience to be considered for future performances. That means you.

Five bucks gets you in the door and includes drinks and refreshments. MOCA members, because they're so cool, get in free. Space is limited so reserve a seat by e-mail at or pick up the phone and dial the old-fashioned way.


Friday, Dec. 5, 8 p.m.
PCC's Proscenium Theater
2202 W. Anklam Road

Spin Magazine called Alix Dobkin, "a women's musical legend." She began her career singing folk and protest songs in the 1950s in Greenwich Village. Her songs changed their tune when, in the '70s, lo and behold, she fell in love with a woman.

For 30 years, Dobkin has personified women's music. A tireless advocate for developing feminist cultural networks, the singer has seven albums and a songbook to her credit. She was twice voted Hot Wire's all-time favorite performer. She performs, she lectures, she writes a column for the Windy City Times in Chicago. She's been described by the FBI as a troublemaker. Now there's a good name.

Dobkin swirls into town in a rare double-bill with former Tucsonan Jaime Anderson. Another legendary musician, Holly Near says, "Folk music tells a story about folks É that invites the listener to lean into the larger circle of life. Jamie is in that circle."

When she's not touring to various festivals, Jamie teaches songwriting at Duke University and writes for Acoustic Guitar Magazine.

Sounds like a double-bill of legends. Get your tickets at the door for $18 or in advance for $15 at Antigone Books, Brew & Vine, Enchanted Earthworks, Hear's Music, the PCC Center for the Arts Box office or online at


Friday to Sunday, Dec. 5-7, 5:30 to 8 p.m.
Tucson Botanical Gardens
2150 N. Alvernon Way
326-9686, ext. 10

'Tis the season to light up the crisp, night sky with thousands of twinkling and glowing luminarias.

Garden pathways are lit up during the 17th annual Luminaria Nights. Musicians, including the Good Time Singers, Sonora Winds and the Tucson Men's Holiday Chorus, perform holiday-related tunes. Grab a cup of hot cider or cocoa and stroll around the gardens at night by light.

Holidays on Rails features an elaborate model railroad, chugging its way through miniature towns and garden foliage each evening. This is a rare sighting as usually these model railroads, costing up to $15,000 each, sit inside the museum. Here's a chance to enjoy them out in a natural garden setting.

You can also take a trip back in time with the re-creation of the historic Porter House Living Room. Porter Hall originally stood where the gardens are today. Peer back into vintage, post-war Arizona lifestyles.

Admission costs $6 for adults, $2.50 for kids 3 to 12 and free to children under 3. Call in advance for ticket discounts.


Sunday, Dec. 7, 2 p.m.
Stone Avenue Temple
564 S. Stone Ave.

You sit down next to someone on a plane. Small talk ensues. Within minutes, you sense this person is related, ever so distantly, to someone in your family. You go through the familiar game. It's called Jewish Geography.

I don't know if this happens in other cultures, but it's almost a joke in mine. There can be millions of inhabitants in a city, and somehow, you know someone who knows someone who's related to their long-dead Aunt Sadie, twice removed.

So why is genealogy so important to Jews? Maybe it has something to do with a history of nomadism. Mike Karsen offers some answers in this introductory lecture.

Karsen has been actively researching all branches of his and his wife's families, tracing relatives all the way back to the 1760s in Zhitomir, Ukraine. He's published four family histories to date. He's a member of the National Genealogical Society, on the board of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois and is active in two other local groups.

Connect with your own roots and explore why this genealogy is different from all others. Or just find out how to get started climbing up that family tree.

Admission costs $8 or $5 for Stone Avenue Temple members.


Bed and Breakfast Tour
Sunday, Dec. 7, noon to 5 p.m.
Various locations

If you've ever wanted to be a guest at a Bed and Breakfast but were too cheap (or too bohemian, or too impoverished) to do so, this is your chance to check out nine fancy inns in Tucson.

The annual holiday open house tour kicks off this weekend. All B&Bs are east of Stone Avenue. They include Adobe Rose (Olsen Avenue and Second Street), Alta Vista (Broadway Boulevard and Houghton Road), Hacienda del Desierto (Irvington Road and Old Spanish Trail) and Suncatcher (Broadway Boulevard and Avenida Javelina), among others.

Each B&B is decorated for the holiday season. Drinks and hors d'oeuvres are offered. Tickets cost $20 for the tour and you can start anywhere you like, but call to R.S.V.P. Proceeds benefit Casa de los Niños. If you want to take the shuttle van, call 887-9487 for reservations (there's an additional $20 fee).