New Burlesque Divas
Fanny's Fresh Meat V
8 and 10 p.m., Friday, July 26
Fluxx Studio and Gallery, 414 E. Ninth St.
Fanny Galore had been performing burlesque since 2008 and is a founding member of the Tucson troupe Don't Blink Burlesque.
After taking a workshop, Galore realized that because she had a teaching background she could combine that with her love of burlesque. So she began teaching at various spots around town as she made a name for herself. She eventually settled at Fanny's Fox Den, 215 N. Hoff Ave., Suite 207, where she offers burlesque, dance and fitness classes.
"Tucson has been really receptive to burlesque, especially at Fanny's Fresh Meat" where all the performers are students, Galore said. "For most of them, it is their first time on stage ... and the audience is really supportive."
The fresh meat consists of students completing Burlesque Performance 101 — a six-week workshop where they learn how to create and perform a solo burlesque act complete with a stage name and costume; and Burlesque Performance 202 — a five-week course for people who have been performing burlesque for at least six months. They perform burlesque together as a final project before graduation.
During Fresh Meat, Galore interacts with the audiences and talks about each performance. At the beginning of the show there is a group performance in which everyone is introduced.
At the end of the show, Galore holds a graduation ceremony that is probably unlike any other grad ceremony you have attended. The students strut across the stage in outfts they have picked out for the occasion. But instead of receiving a diploma, they're given a pair of pasties.
The show is for ages 21 and older. Tickets are $10 and $15.
Friends With Eight Legs
American Tarantula Society's 15th Annual Conference
Thursday, July 25, through Sunday, July 28
The Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Resort, 10000 N. Oracle Road
They may be creepy. They may be crawly. And yes, they may even be hairy.
But for some people, a tarantula might just make the perfect pet.
"They're ... extremely low-maintenance pets," said Joey Mugleston, owner of JMugleston Exotics. "Dogs and cats need constant daily attention, but a spider is quite content to be sitting in its cage. They'll make a little burrow, you feed it once a week, you water it once a week and that's all they require."
Tarantulas and spiders also take care of pesky bugs that people don't like around the house. Their main food sources are other invertebrates or arthropods, he added.
Mugleston currently cares for more than 200 species of reptiles, amphibians, arachnids and other invertebrates, and is one of the many vendors (and speakers) who will be participating in the American Tarantula Society's 15th annual conference this weekend.
It's a "fun and educational event with activities and lectures geared for both amateur enthusiasts as well as professional researchers" according to the event website.
The full conference is $85, but on Saturday the "Spider Mall" will be free. Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., it offers attendees a chance to check out these eight-legged critters, and even take one home.
"They're very easy to take care of, they live a very long time, and they don't take up a lot of space," said Wade Harrell, vice president of Harrell House of Natural Oddities, a conference vendor.
Along with bug-related toys, jewelry and gifts, Harrell will also be selling live creatures such as tarantulas, millipedes and scorpions.
Keeping Upper Lips Stiff
7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 3 p.m., Sunday, through Sunday, Aug. 18
The Comedy Playhouse, 3620 N. First Ave.
In the summer of 1996, James Gooden was teaching an acting class at Pima Community College and Bruce Bieszki, founder of the Comedy Playhouse, was one of his students.
About five years ago, Gooden began writing plays, and so far has written at least a dozen. His most recent work, Uptown Abbey, will be performed for the first time at the Comedy Playhouse. Gooden will also direct the nine-member cast, which is large for a Playhouse production.
It took Gooden about three years to write Uptown Abbey, said Bieszki, who, with Gooden, did several read-throughs with an audience to gauge reactions. Gooden would then continue to edit.
Uptown Abbey is about an aristocratic British family with many problems; the ancient manor has fallen into disrepair and there's no money to fix it; the eldest son has romantic issues; the local Girl Guide troop wants to build a trailhead on the property for their hiking path; and the butler has recently resigned. Enter Giles, a new butler played by Bieszki. It's up to Giles to help the Upton family, but is he up to the challenge?
Uptown Abbey is suitable for all ages. Tickets are $18, with discounts available. The show runs two hours, with one intermission.—N.H-G.
Friday, July 26, 7:30 p.m.
La Estrella Bakery, 5266 S. 12th Ave.
Gabriela Durán and Heather Gray met in 2011, after Gray had organized a festival called Arizona Between Nosotros, which brought Mexican artists to Tucson, Phoenix and Nogales to perform.
Ever since that festival, Durán and Gray have wanted to collaborate on a project. Both use video as their medium as well as live video mixing. What makes their work stand out is their interest in community-based projects.
The result of their collaboration is Dulce Tucson, a video about the history and traditions of pan dulce, Mexican sweet bread. Duran and Gray's video also takes a look at La Estrella, a Tucson bakery that makes pan dulce. The video will introduce you to two generations of the family of bakers at La Estrella.
"Pan dulce has an interesting history that is not really known, with French influence," Gray said. "We will tell the story in the project; it is almost always overlooked," said Gray.
The video will be shown outdoors, projected onto one of the walls of the bakery. And, yes, pan dulce will be for sale.
In the fall, Durán and Gray hope to take the video to Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, where Durán is from, and project the video onto the walls of an empty bakery there in hopes of reminding residents of the tradition of pan dulce.
Gray also hopes that Tucsonans will appreciate what a local business like La Estrella contributes to the community as well as the history of pan dulce.
"I am honored to be invited into a space ... and be able to record people's stories," Gray said. "I feel responsible for sharing it in a way that they would appreciate."