City Week

Get a Hunch

"Intuition: Gateway To Self-Understanding"
6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 5
Tucson Medical Center, Marshall Auditorium, 5301 E. Grant Road

My intuition tells me you aren't fully in touch with your intuition. But I could be wrong--I'm not fully in touch with my intuition, either.

According to author, teacher and intuition specialist William Kautz, not many people are. And that's a real shame. "Intuition is an absolutely universal human capacity," he says. "People need it to tune in to situations when their other mental faculties aren't enough. But while it used to be used by everybody, now that science has become so predominant, it's falling into the background."

Dr. Kautz has nothing against science--he used to be a professional scientist himself. But he emphasizes that it's especially important for scientific, rational-minded people to use their intuition, because it enhances creativity. In fact, Kautz declares, intuition is where the greatest scientists get their ideas. And it's important for those in business professions, too. How many times have all you businesspeople out there made bad decisions because you didn't consult with your inner eye?

Of course, intuition is important for all of us--no matter our occupation. It connects our conscious self with our inner being, allowing us to better understand ourselves, as well as the people and circumstances around us. We just need to do a little work to hone our intuitive skills. "It's a bit like swimming, or learning another language," speculates Kautz. "Everybody can do it, but not everybody learns how."

This Friday, Dr. Kautz will talk about what intuition is, how it works and how to activate your inherent intuitive abilities to better your life. He'll also explain how intuition has been useful in fields like science, history and forecasting. After his lecture, there will be a participatory exercise and group discussion. Tucson's Institute of Noetic Science, the group sponsoring the event, requests a $5 donation. --A.M.

A Little More Christmas

Three Kings Day Festival
11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 6
Tucson Children's Museum, 200 S. Sixth Ave.

For most Americans, the holidays are over. But in Mexico, they can't get enough of them. Down there, Christmas can last almost two months.

The Mexican holidays begin on Dec. 16 with the first of a series of posadas--nightly re-enactments of Joseph and Mary's pilgrimage--in which children go from house to house with candles, singing a traditional song requesting lodging. The posadas act as a countdown to Christmas Eve, or Noche Buena, when families attend a midnight mass. Christmas Day is a time for worship--not presents. Instead of writing to Santa Claus, Mexican children write to the baby Jesus or the Three Kings for their gifts, and don't receive them until Three Kings' Day--the Epiphany--which marks the Three Wise Men's arrival in Bethlehem. For Mexicans, the celebration of Jesus' birth doesn't end until Candlemass (Candelaria), which is marked with a big party on Feb. 2. .

However you normally celebrate the holidays, the folks at the Tucson Children's Museum wants you to know that Three Kings Day is coming up this Saturday, and they're hosting a big festival for kids to celebrate it as part of their multicultural Festivals of Friendship series. There will be free admission to the museum all day long, as well as a lot of fun crafts to help children learn about the holiday, like making Magi puppets, Epiphany scenes and camel shadow art. What's more, the Children's Museum coordinates their festival with an annual celebration taking place across the street in Armory Park, where kids can visit and have their picture taken with the Three Kings themselves. And yes--there will be presents.

So if your kids aren't ready for the holidays to end, and you'd like them to learn about other cultures in a really fun way, attend this event. And come early--it's very popular. --A.M.

Figuratively Painting

New Year/New Work Exhibition
10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays; through Sunday, Jan. 28
Rancho Linda Vista Gallery, American Avenue and Linda Vista Road, Oracle

Jan Olsson is great at uniting contrasting things to make art. Her media, her themes and even the locations she incorporates are rarely conventional matches. Nowhere is this more apparent than in her new show.

First of all, the works in the exhibition are all mixed media, pairing the new technology of digital photography with more traditional materials like paint, charcoal and pastels. Second, the works are set in two very different places--Paris, where Olsson currently resides, and here in the Tucson area, where she grew up and still visits. What Olsson's done, essentially, is layered figurative images in paint and pastel over photographs she's taken of her two homes.

The result? Well, the meaning of Olsson's new work often emerges through ancient or poetic-seeming characters (figures painted or drawn in each piece) displayed against a modern setting (the photographic background). A prime example is an underworld diptych called "Euridice's Dance," in which mythical personae are brought to life within a contemporary Paris construction site. In another piece, a photo taken on a local desert hiking trail reminded Olsson of prehistoric petroglyphs, inspiring her to paint a mystical encounter between two shadowy beings. And there's one work in the show that makes simultaneous use of both Paris and Arizona--a photomontage of images from Catalina State Park and Paris' Parc Georges Brassens. You have to see that one for yourself.

Actually, you have to see all of them for yourself, because Olsson's images don't dictate any one interpretation--either for her, or for the observers. "I usually discover the theme of the image or the sense it begins to have for me while I'm working," she says. "... I hope I'm able to sustain this element of surprise enough to intrigue viewers as well."

A free opening reception will occur from 3 to 7 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 6. --A.M.

True Cactophile

David Yetman Presentation and Booksigning
1:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 6
Tucson Audubon Nature Shop, 300 E. University Blvd., No. 120

David Yetman became interested in cactuses even before he set eyes on one in real life. When he was just a little kid in New Jersey, he saw pictures of saguaros in National Geographic, and he's been in love with desert flora ever since.

Today, Yetman is an author, photographer, research social scientist and the host of the KUAT Channel 6 show The Desert Speaks. In the last 10 years, he's spent a lot of time in Mexico studying Sonoran and Sinaloan plants and their use by local and native peoples. He was instrumental in establishing preserves for the Southern Sonoran forests of the organ pipe cactus, an interesting and cool-looking plant resembling the tubes of a pipe organ and reaching heights of up to 30 feet.

"I'm more than a little nuts about columnar cacti," said Yetman in an e-mail. "... I learned a couple of decades ago that the organ pipe cactus is the most important plant for Mayos and Yaquis of Sonora, and very important for Seris and Tohono O'odham as well. It provides them with lumber as well as shade and beauty."

Yetman loves organ pipes so much that his newest book, appropriately entitled The Organ Pipe Cactus, is entirely devoted to them. It explores and celebrates their habitat, ethnobiological uses, required conditions for survival and current status in both Arizona and Mexico. You can learn more about the species and Yetman's writings this weekend, when he'll sign and discuss his new book, as well as talk about the organ pipe itself.

The event is free, and you can buy the book when you get there. --A.M.