City Week

Too Wild to Waste

Presentation of The Last Great Wilderness Project
7-9 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 25
Tucson Botanical Gardens
2150 N. Alvernon Road

What do you call 19 million acres of pristine mountains, forest, tundra and coastal plain that's home to wolves, grizzly bears, polar bears, arctic fox, moose, musk oxen, a 129,000-member herd of caribou, more than 140 species of bird and is the ancestral home of the Gwich'in Indians? If you're George Bush or the oil industry, you call it a dreamy solution to our dependence on foreign oil; if you're the U.S. Geological Survey, you call it a measly six months'-worth of oil; and if you're someone who loves what natural places we have left on Earth, you call it the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The Last Great Wilderness Project is a slide presentation about the refuge, its inhabitants, and the current threats it faces from the petroleum industry and others. Put together in 1987 by nature photographer Lenny Kohn, the show traveled all over the country, introducing people such as Jeff Barrie--its current presenter--to America's last great wilderness. Barrie was so moved by the presentation that he traveled to the refuge in 1995 and made his own documentary--Arctic Quest: Our Search for Truth. Having it broadcast on PBS wasn't enough; in 2000, Barrie pedaled his bicycle 4,600 miles from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., showing Arctic Quest along the way.

At the Wednesday evening event, Barrie will show pictures of development at Prudhoe Bay--a clear illustration of what happens to arctic tundra under the control of the oil industry--alongside Wilderness Project and clips from Arctic Quest.

Admission to this Sierra Club special program is free; call the number above for more information.

Precious Air Guitar

PM Rocks! Tour Stops In Tucson
4-7 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 24
Casey's Hallmark
7250 N. La Cholla Blvd.

Precious Moments--that collection of figurines comprised of children with enlarged heads and wide, leaky eyes--has come up with an all-girl rock band, called--wait for it--PM Rocks! The five members are lead singer "Be You and the Rest Is Cool" (a blond who's "super friendly and always loyal"); electric guitarist "When You Play With Heart, Music Is Art" (a blond who's "known for her intelligence and curiosity"); drummer "Brought Together by the Beat" (a sandy-blond who "knows the importance of compromise"); bass player "Friends Let You Be You" (a strawberry-blond whose "heart stays true to her family, friends and fans"); and keyboard player "Express Who You Are and You'll Be a Star" (a sandy-blond whose "favorite thing to do is laugh").

The PM Rocks! Tour will set up a stage onto which 8- to 12-year-old (blond?) Tucson girls can step for totally unplugged performances. After getting dressed up backstage, they'll be handed a Daisy Rock guitar for air-guitar heshing while lip-synching to "today's hit songs" and having their pictures taken by the PM "paparazzi."

Two figurines will be raffled off during the event; a portion of the proceeds from the tour (PM is careful not to say what portion, exactly, though they emphasize a $35,000 minimum donation) will be donated to the VH1 Save the Music Foundation--dedicated to restoring and preserving music programs in U.S. schools. One of the figurines, as if you weren't already impressed by the weirdness of it all (maybe it's just me), may quite possibly be autographed by Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live regular and writer/director of Mean Girls.

We Don't Need No Supplemental Water

Opening of Sin Agua Garden
Thursday, Aug. 19
Tohono Chul Park
7366 N. Paseo Del Norte

"Sin agua," when applied to Tohono Chul's newest garden, doesn't actually mean "no water." It means doing without humans and their little hoses, and making better use of what water falls naturally in the course of a year.

This method of farming--used by the Tohono O'odham and other Southwestern tribes for centuries--is what Tohono Chul Curator of Plants Russ Buhrow calls "flood farming, or run-off farming.

"Basically, what they (Indians employing traditional methods) would do is divert water onto land from a wash, or plant in a place that had flooded, or find a place where water runs down a mountain and spreads out a bit. Once the water leaves the field, then it's dry enough to work up the soil without compacting it.

"You use your foot to scrape away the dry dirt until you get to the moist soil, poke a planting stick in about two inches deep, drop the seeds in, push just hard enough to push the seeds against the wet dirt, cover it with wet dirt and then use your foot to kick the dry dirt back across, to keep it all from drying out. Then three, four days later, up they come. It works about four out of every five years."

Buhrow should know--for 11 years, beginning in 1980, he diverted water from Columbus Boulevard and grew crops on an acre of land using nothing but rainwater. He applied that experience while designing the Sin Agua garden, which also includes a traditional Tohono O'odham watto (shelter) and a ramada whose ceiling fan is powered by a photovoltaic solar panel.

King of Kings

Valley of the Kings lecture by Geoffrey T. Martin
7 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 24
UA Alumni Association Building
1111 N. Cherry Ave.

Across the street from the Weekly office is a bus stop; kitty corner from said building is a Carl's Jr. That makes me a little different from Egyptologist and University College London professor Geoffrey T. Martin, who--according to Suzanne Onstine, president of the American Research Center in Egypt's Arizona Chapter (ARCE)--"works about 10 steps away from King Tut."

Martin is one of the most recognized names in his field, thanks to a long stint as the Amarna Royal Tombs Project joint field director, as well as his 1992 book, The Hidden Tombs of Memphis: New Discoveries From the Time of Tutankhamun and Ramesses the Great.

The Amarna Royal Tombs Project, which began in 1998, is perhaps the most exciting archaeological project to take place in the Valley of the Kings in recent time, and one of the few new excavation projects allowed in many years. Their mission, according to their Web site, is "to undertake controlled stratigraphic excavation in the Valley of the Kings," the cemetery of the New Kingdom-Pharos. Onstine explains this further by saying, "their goal is to look for Amarna-area material, specifically, caches of artifacts or material left in the building of the tombs from that era." She expects Martin's lecture to cover the history of the Valley of the Kings, as well as provide an overview of what still needs to be done in the Valley, in an archeological sense.

The lecture is free and open to the public.