City Week

God Bless America

Tucson Pops Orchestra: "Music Under the Stars"
7 p.m., Sunday, May 28
DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center, Reid Park, Country Club Road, North Of 22nd Street

Stretching out on a blanket under the stars to enjoy the wafting sounds of the Tucson Pops Orchestra is one way to cool down, beat the heat and relax with the family on Sunday nights this summer.

Memorial Day will be the theme of the May 28 concert, "John Philip Sousa at the Park," the third of the six-concert spring season, which will end June 18. Featuring William Balentine on the oboe and Michael Walk on the trumpet, the Memorial Day concert will be a fun event for the whole family, says Dottie Spence, executive director.

Free parking will be available at the Randolph Park Golf Course parking lot, and a shuttle will be running from the lot to the bandshell area from 5:30 p.m. until the end of the concert, Spence says.

Conductor László Veres, who recently retired from teaching at local public schools, will lead the orchestra in classics such as "Free Lance March" and "Stars and Stripes Forever," both composed by Sousa, and "A Man Called Rodriguez" by local composer Phil Carlin, as the orchestra celebrates its 51st anniversary.

Upcoming concerts will feature special guests including the Sons of Orpheus male choir on June 4, the Three Royal Tenors from Denmark on June 11 and soprano Nancy Davis Booth on June 18. All concerts are free of charge, and begin at 7 p.m.

Families are welcome to bring blankets, folding chairs, food and nonalcoholic beverages, though no glass containers are permitted in Reid Park, Spence says. --J.K.

Watch Out!

Cartoonist/Author Alison Bechdel
6:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 31
Joel D. Valdez Main Library, Lower Level Meeting Room, 101 N. Stone Ave.

Alison Bechdel recounts horror stories and humorous anecdotes about her dysfunctional family life--including growing up with a closeted gay father--in her new book, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. Bechdel will be previewing the cartoon-like graphic memoir at the Main Library downtown, in celebration of Gay Pride Month in June.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Tucson-Pima Public Library, the free 6:30 p.m. event will not only feature a preview of Fun Home, but Bechdel will also discuss the history of her long-running comic, "Dykes to Watch Out For," the soap-operaesque strip that peers into the everyday lives of six lesbians.

Bechdel has been drawing since 1983, and much of her novel is in cartoon form. But consider yourself warned: Beth Petrucci, co-chair of the GLBT Services Committee at the Tucson-Pima Public Library, warns that these comics aren't for kids.

"It's for anyone in the gay and lesbian community," Petrucci says. "And anyone who's a little bit left politically. It can be a bit critical of the Bush administration."

With her appearance as feature author of this 10th annual event, Bechdel will join the ranks of other well-known authors in the GLBT community, such as Dan Savage, author of Savage Love and several books.

"Before (Showtime TV series) The L-Word, there was "Dykes to Watch Out For," Petrucci says. --J.K.

Critters That Attack!

"The Sonoran Desert from the Ground Up"
7 p.m., Wednesday, May 31
International Wildlife Museum, 4800 W. Gates Pass Road

Horned owls and raptors and Gila monsters, oh my!

As part of a natural history lecture series at the International Wildlife Museum, local wildlife rehabilitator and raptor expert Ben Schwartz will be talking about the creepy-crawlies and misunderstood critters that occasionally roam our backyards here in the Sonoran Desert.

"He'll be talking about creatures that people are most likely to be afraid of," says Katie Cummings, the museum's education specialist.

Raptors, or birds of prey, are a group of birds that includes falcons, owls, eagles, buteos and accipiters, and are common sights in the Tucson area. A great horned owl and a Gila monster will definitely be present at Schwartz's talk, and other creatures may make appearances throughout the evening as well, Cummings says.

The event is mainly geared toward adults, but Cummings says kids would enjoy it, too, since there will be live animals. Questions will be answered during the two-hour lecture.

The lecture will be held in the Wildlife Theater, and admission for nonmembers is $3. Members get in free. If you don't get your fill of the nightmare-inducing critters, be sure to stop by during regular museum hours--9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and until 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays--to check out the newest temporary exhibits "Rodents of the World" and "Bighorn Sheep: Past and Present." --J.K.

The Artist at Work

Louise Serpa Photographs Ted DeGrazia: Opening Reception
5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Friday, May 26
DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, 6300 N. Swan Road

Intimate portraits of Ted DeGrazia are a far cry from photographer Louise Serpa's well-known portrayals of bucking broncos and flying cowboys.

Reportedly the first woman ever allowed into a professional rodeo arena, Serpa, 80, will be displaying her photographs of the late Ted DeGrazia at the opening reception of a new exhibition at DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun.

Serpa, a friend of DeGrazia's, is known mostly for her colorful rodeo photographs, but all of her DeGrazia photos are black-and-white gelatin silver prints. The photos, depicting the artist at work, were taken at the gallery during the 1960s, shortly after the gallery--designed and built by DeGrazia--opened.

Munchies from Casa Molina restaurant will be available at the opening reception, as will wine, water and soft drinks, says Susan Vance, the gallery's marketing director. Kids are welcome, Vance says.

The exhibition will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., through Monday, Sept. 25. Serpa will be at the opening reception to meet and greet guests; prints of all the photos will be available to order. --J.K.