City Week

Help From Hogs

Bikes For Sight--SAAVI Motorcycle Show
6 to 10 p.m., Friday, July 8
Southern Arizona Association for the Visually Impaired Campus, 3767 E. Grant Road

Although a mental picture of a souped-up motorcycle may not automatically trigger an association with philanthropy and helping others, the Bikes for Sight--Southern Arizona Association for the Visually-Impaired (SAAVI) Motorcycle Show may change that for people.

SAAVI helps the visually-impaired with all aspects of their lives, from demonstrating how to walk with a cane to teaching them how to cook. Diana Vargas-Vila, the development director for SAAVI, says that since most visually-impaired people don't start out that way, it's essential that there is an organization like SAAVI to help with their transition. One time, a woman came to SAAVI for a class, and was so upset about losing her sight that she could barely introduce herself before breaking down in tears. However, after getting help from SAAVI and learning how to function with her impairment, she has regained her independence and recently took a two-month trip to the eastern United States.

The people at SAAVI wanted to a fundraiser that was "outside of the box," and since there were no motorcycle shows actively going on in the area, they thought that they could fill that niche by having a bike-show fundraiser. The show will feature all sorts of motorcycles, and there are 12 different categories for judging, including the "rat bike" category for the most beat-up motorcycle.

In addition to all the bikes, there will be a band, food and door prizes for attendees to enjoy. Vargas-Vila hopes that they can help get the word out about her organization through having the show.

"We feel that SAAVI is Tucson's best-kept secret, and we're trying to change that," Vargas-Vila says.

Admission is a $2 donation at the door, and all proceeds go to SAAVI. --S.B.

Emotion and Verse

Poetry Readings: Eric Abbott and Megan Johnson
7 p.m., Friday, July 8
UA Poetry Center, 1600 E. First St.

Two new poets are in town, and this is your chance to meet them.

Eric Abbott and Megan Johnson will be reading their poetry for the first time in Tucson at the UA Poetry Center this Friday evening.

Johnson, one of two winners of the 2004 Iowa Poetry Prize, is newly transplanted to Tucson. Her first book, The Waiting, was published by the Iowa Press this year. Her poetry is described by reviewers as emotionally intense, lyrical and just plain good.

Johnson most recently spent time in the spring as a visiting professor of poetry at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. She will teach a UA course in poetry this autumn.

Abbott is this year's winner of the summer residency program at the Poetry Center, beating 126 others. Abbott's work is free verse, and he has been published in various journals. While Abbott's poetry is hard to pigeonhole, his work utilizes what John Keats described as "negative capability" for empowerment, said UA Poetry Center Events Coordinator Michael Rerick.

"Negative capability" is described as "a labor that aims not to overcome the negative or indeterminate but to stay within it as long as is necessary," according to an essay by Marxist writer Barbara Foley.

The month-long residency program "spotlights less-known poets" and "lets them develop their work," Rerick said.

Both Abbott and Johnson are "lively" and should be enjoyable to listen to, Rerick said.

A copy of Johnson's book is available to read at the center. This event is free. --M.W.

Paddling People

Southern Arizona Paddlers Club General Meeting
7 p.m., Monday, July 11
Arizona Game and Fish Building, 555 N. Greasewood Road

When Chip Arnberg's late wife expressed an interest in canoeing, he gladly went on a canoe ride with her. However, in the middle of their first canoeing attempt on a large Wyoming lake, a bad storm blew in, and they paddled through the rough, choppy waters for an hour and a half. When they finally made it to dry land, Arnberg's wife commented that he'd probably never go canoeing with her again.

That was not the case. He now owns eight different boats, all of which are powered by paddling.

The Southern Arizona Paddlers Club encompasses all sorts of paddle-powered boating sports, such as kayaking, canoeing and whitewater rafting. Although the club does not offer any sort of lessons, it's a networking club, so if you are interested in getting involved in the sport, there are people there who could show a newbie the ropes.

The upcoming meeting will feature an extreme kayaking video presentation by Hut Wade. Extreme kayakers go over waterfalls and through whitewater, doing things in their kayaks that many others in the sport wouldn't dare try.

"That's out on the edge, and most are not into that. But it makes for good videos," says Arnberg, the current vice president of the club.

Arnberg says this past year has been spectacular for the group, and they've been able to get out on the water quite a bit. In addition to the extreme kayaking video, there will also be a slideshow of the club's recent trip to the Rio Grande at the meeting.

Arnberg says he thinks the best reason to get involved in paddling sports is that you are truly in charge of what's going to happen to you.

"You can feel like you have control of your own destiny," Arnberg says. --S.B.

Classical Guitar Sampling

St. Andrew's Bach Society Summer Series: Michael Lich
3 p.m., Sunday, July 10
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 545 S. Fifth Ave.

Guitarist and banjo player Michael Lich will be performing works by Johann Sebastian Bach and other musicians at the St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, as part of the St. Andrew's Bach Society's annual Summer Concert Series.

Lich, who has traveled the globe and performed in such random places as Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Farmington, N.M., currently calls Tucson home.

He will perform pieces from such various contemporary musicians as Brazilian classical guitarists Sergio and Odair Assad, and guitar composers Roland Dyens and Agustin Barrios-Mangore. Of course, for this event, he'll also perform works from J.S. Bach, traditionally the most-revered of the Bach family of composers.

Lich's self-released debut CD, Uraka, is available via It features classical guitar work and original compositions for both guitar and banjo. Uraka was released in 2000.

His next CD, Hillbilly's Dream, is currently in progress.

A self-described "musical eclectic," Lich has performed in a wide variety of styles including Middle Eastern, bluegrass and jazz. He is currently on the faculty for the PRIME School of Music, the Music Academy of Tucson Suzuki Institute and at Pima Community College. He previously taught master's classes in Brazil.

The St. Andrew's Bach Society, founded in 1989, conducts many musical events yearly. Previous events have included hosting virtuosos and the Tool and Drum Group. The summer concert series is more than six years old.

The admission fees for this concert are $10 for general and $8 for seniors and students. Tickets are sold at the door. --M.W.