City Week

Bless Your Pet

Blessing of the Animals Service
9 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 19
St. Philip's in the Hills Church, 4440 N. Campbell Ave.

Do animals have souls? Their patron saint, St. Francis of Assisi, might have thought so. He wrote a Canticle of the Creatures, expressing thanks for our nonhuman friends: "All praise to you, oh Lord, for all these brother and sister creatures." It's even documented that he and his companions, having taken shelter from the weather in a small hovel, once allowed themselves to be displaced by a donkey.

In celebration of animals and their devoted St. Francis, the folks at St. Philip's in the Hills Episcopal Church will hold a special Blessing of the Animals service this Sunday in their plaza. The first church in town to offer such a service, they've been doing it since 1977, and it's extremely popular among parishioners and nonparishioners alike. "It's just one of those things people really enjoy," says Shirley Felshaw, the parish secretary. "It's a very nice thing to do for your animals."

According to Felshaw, the service will consist of priests going around the plaza to all the animals, blessing each one and making the sign of the cross over them. Afterwards, there will be refreshments--special treats for animals, as well as "people food" for their owners. The service will not include communion.

So if you have a pet--whatever kind of animal it is, and whatever religion it may or may not ascribe to--bring it down to the church to be blessed. "We've had all kinds of creatures here," Felshaw assures me. "Fish in a bowl, hamsters ... twice, we've had horses. You never know what you're going to get." The event is free, but make sure your animal is properly restrained (if not in a bowl).

'1984' in 2006

Screening of Orwell Rolls In His Grave
7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 16
UA College of Law, Room 146, 1201 E. Speedway Blvd.

"You can bet the media won't be promoting this documentary," says a review of Orwell Rolls in His Grave. So, of course, I had to work this movie into City Week. How else would such a film get any attention? Its entire premise is to criticize the companies it would need in order to be advertised.

Essentially, Orwell Rolls in His Grave is a real-life, modern-day film version of 1984, exploring the concepts of "Big Brother," "doublespeak" and "the endless war" as they apply to contemporary mainstream media. Robert Kane Pappas, the filmmaker, does a good job of showing how a handful of large corporations have united with powerful Republicans to achieve one goal: to control the news. The movie examines the media spin behind the 2000 presidential election, uncovers neoconservative political agendas in companies like News Corporation and Clear Channel Communications, and even goes back as far as 1980 to investigate the newspapers' role in the "October Surprise," in which hostages in Iran were held for more than 400 days (until after Reagan won the election). The movie shows famous people like Charles Lewis (founder of the Center for Public Integrity), Michael Moore and even actor Tim Robbins speaking about mass media.

A free screening of Orwell Rolls in His Grave will be offered this Thursday by the UA Law School chapter of the ACLU, as part of a film series aimed at getting people to protect their civil rights. "People should see this movie," says Anna Wright, co-president of the chapter, "because it brings to the forefront things we all know implicitly: that some stories are ignored by the media, and the stories that are done are told with bias and half-truths. ... Hopefully, this film... will serve as a starting point for discussions about our civil liberties."

Buy the Book

Children's Authors Book Fair
Noon to 3 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 19
Bookmans, 6230 E. Speedway Blvd.
881-1744, Ext. 112

As wrong as it might seem, the holiday shopping season is here. And it just so happens that a different, weeklong celebration--Children's Book Week--is also upon us. Does that suggest anything to you? That's right: It's time to buy your kids some books to put under the tree.

To drive this point home, Tucson children's author Charline Profiri has set up a Children's Authors Book Fair to take place this Sunday, at which nine local kids' book writers (including herself) will be present to read from and sign books for young people of all ages--from tykes in preschool to young adults. Readings for toddlers will begin at 12:15 p.m., and a new author will read every 10 minutes throughout the event. There will be face-painting and possibly a balloon artist.

Marge Pellegrino, author of the empowering and entertaining books Too Nice, I Don't Have an Uncle Phil Anymore and My Grandma's the Mayor, can't stress enough how important it is for people to grow up reading. "Books and writing can be transformative for everyone, but especially for kids," she says. "To parents, I'd say: Don't miss out on one of the easiest ways to create the kind of communication you'll want (to) maintain a healthy relationship ... as (your) child takes leaps from one stage to another."

Why buy books for your children over the holidays? Former teacher Profiri "can unequivocally state that exposure to books gives kids an educational advantage. Books take kids places they never imagined." Plus, as Pellegrino adds: "Books seldom break. They don't go out of style. ... They are treasures."

The book fair is free to attend, and each author will handle his or her own sales--so please bring cash or local checks.

Deep Healing

"Trauma, Addiction and Healing from a Depth Perspective"
7:30 to 9:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 17
Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 2331 E. Adams St.

In this day and age, no matter how cushy one's life happens to be, we're all exposed to trauma--even if it's just through watching the news. And most of us have had addictions in some form or other, haven't we? Well, according to psychologist Dr. Johanna O'Flaherty, there's a definite connection.

"The correlation between trauma and addiction is astounding," O'Flaherty writes in an e-mail. "Over the years, I have come to understand that individuals treated for alcoholism and other substance-abuse dependency need to be evaluated for trauma. ... In many cases, the mood-altering substance was used to anesthetize ... psychic pain."

O'Flaherty has been directly involved in disasters like Sept. 11 and the TWA Flight 800 disaster, and she's worked with traumatized people for 25 years, so she knows what she's talking about. And this weekend, she'll share her knowledge in a presentation and discussion about trauma, addiction and how to heal from both. The solution? Depth psychology--a way of looking at an individual's behavior (addiction, for example) as a symptom of unresolved trauma rather than as a personality defect or neurotic defense.

"(O'Flaherty) conducts workshops in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States," says Barbara Hinkley, of the Southern Arizona Friends of Jung (SAFOJ), the organization hosting this lecture. "They have been described as didactic, experiential and inspirational. ... I think the topic is extremely relevant to our lives today, and she's going to help give us some insight into how we can help heal this world we live in."

Even if you haven't experienced an "earthquake of the soul"--as O'Flaherty has been known to describe a major traumatic experience--this lecture can help you draw connections between life disturbances and negative behaviors you or people you know might be dealing with. Admission is $20 for the general public, and $15 for SAFOJ members.