City Week

Tucson Flamenco Festival, "Papers Please," Chinese Culture Festival, Arizona Insect Festival

Flavor of Spain

5th Annual Tucson Flamenco Festival

8:30 to 10:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 19; 8 p.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday, Sept. 20 and 21; 2 to 4 p.m. and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 22

Casa Vicente

375 S. Stone Ave.


"Flamenco is a folk music that comes from inside; it's kind of poetic and romantic and expresses the inside of everyday people," says Vicente Sanchez, owner of Casa Vicente restaurant in downtown Tucson. "The singing and the playing of flamenco runs in families and is passed from generation to generation. You can do anything in your life but you will always have the flamenco with you." Sanchez, who was born in a small town near Madrid, said he started the Flamenco Festival so Tucsonans could share in the Spanish tradition of flamenco. It began five years ago, when the only other large-scale flamenco festival in the Southwest was held in Albuquerque. Sanchez said the event was an immediate hit. Now, with a growing fan base and co-sponsors such as Flamenco del Pueblo Viejo and Club de España de Tucson, this year's festival has the means for an extensive celebration of all three of the critical aspects of flamenco: singing, guitar and dance. "We decided to do it the way that it would be done in Spain. Late-night tapas, fine-wine tastings, music and dancing done in an outdoor, festival setting." said Marita Gomez, co-owner of Casa Vicente. Flamenco dancers from Spain perform on an outdoor stage in front of the restaurant, and will hold workshops. Finalists from a local flamenco guitar competition will also take the stage to demonstrate their skills and compete for first place. Models will show off the classic, colorful flamenco dress in fashion shows. "Each year we try to bring new ideas and artists," Sanchez said. "The goal is to promote the music and culture of Spain." Tickets for performances range from $20 to $35. Workshops cost from $40 to $70.—T.T.

Rhetoric of Ranting?

"Papers, Please": Theorizing Border Discourses after Arizona House Bill 2281 & Senate Bill 1070

8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 13

University of Arizona Student Union, South Ballroom, 1303 E. University Blvd.

Arizona has been at the forefront of the national border discussion since our Legislature passed HB 2281 and SB 1070 three years ago, setting off protests locally and prompting anyone and everyone – regardless of how informed – to toss in their opinion on immigration and border security. But where the discussion is happening has just as much to do with the tone and scope of what's being said as the issue itself, says Sonia Arellano, a UA graduate student.

"When I first moved to Arizona I had heard about (SB 1070) on the news, but I thought no one was doing anything about it," said Arellano, who was living in Texas at the time of the legislation's passing. "But then I saw all of the protests, and that's not what was being covered on the (Texas) news. I wasn't aware of that until I moved here. People here are very passionate about it."

Arellano, along with fellow RCTE (Rhetoric, Composition and the Teaching of English) grad students Ana Ribero and Jose Cortez, decided to put together the symposium as a way of discussing not the issues themselves, per se, but how they're talked about and what effect that has on public opinion. Especially as you move farther away from the border.

The all-day event, which is free and open to the public, includes a series of discussion panels featuring leading rhetoric scholars from throughout the country as well as a lunchtime speech from keynote speaker Victor Villanueva. Villanueva is a Washington State University professor who has taught courses on rhetoric at numerous schools for more than 30 years, and has been involved in the writing or editing of six books on rhetoric.

– B.J.P.

West Meets East

Chinese Culture Festival

Wednesday, Sept. 18, through Saturday, Sept. 28

Multiple locations and times

Before last year, Tucsonans looking to gain insight into Chinese culture had limited options. The first Chinese Culture Festival changed that.

"We heard a lot from the local community wanting more opportunity to learn Chinese and experience Chinese culture," said Zhao Chen, co-director of the UA's Confucius Institute. "We knew that for the majority of local residents it would not be possible for them to go to China to experience the special culture there, so we decided to bring it here and add to the multicultural environment that already exists in Tucson."

More than 3,000 Arizonans turned out for last year's festival. This year, the UA's Confucius Institute is at it again, bringing an expanded festival to Tucson. It includes performances of traditional Chinese music plus movies, poetry, lectures and discussions and demonstrations of Chinese health and wellness techniques.

The Moon Festival Concert is one of the musical events. Larry Lang, a Beijing-born musician with a doctorate in music from the UA, is behind this presentation of the ancient Chinese piece, "Dream of the Red Chamber." It will include members of the Arizona Symphony Orchestra, the Tucson Sino Choir, the Arizona Choir and the Arizona Boys Choir.

"As a Chinese person ... I am so glad that I can do something to inform of Chinese culture, Lang said.

The concert will be held Friday and Saturday, Sept. 20 and 21, at UA's Crowder Hall.

At the festival's closing event, Health Day, activities at Reid Park will include "interactive activities, tai chi with the master, playing games, talking to experts in Chinese medicine and tasting Chinese food," Chen said.

Chinese Culture Festival events are free unless otherwise indicated.


Bug Lovers Unite!

Arizona Insect Festival

11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 15

Grand Ballroom, University of Arizona Student Union; 1303 E. University Blvd.


For most people, the reaction to discovering some sort of creepy, crawly, many-legged (or -winged) entity in your house is one involving some amalgam of fear, disgust and uncertainty. But did you know that nearly every insect you might come across in these parts has its own vital role in keeping our delicate ecosystem in balance?

Facts such as those, and plenty more, can be examined ad nauseum at the third annual Arizona Insect Festival, which for five hours this weekend will turn part of the UA Student Union into a giant — albeit much less freaky and slithery — version of the bug infestation scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

"Insects aren't something to be fearful of," said Cara Gibson, who handles outreach for the UA's Department of Entomology. "They're an important part of biodiversity, particularly here in the Sonoran Desert. I think there's a lot of people that don't know about a lot of the insects we have here."

To that end, the festival will provide numerous opportunities to see (and, if you're brave enough, feel) some of the many insects that call Southern Arizona home, especially in the aptly-named Arthropod Zoo. Gibson said "pretty much every booth" will have some sort of hands-on display of a bug, including ones you didn't even know existed.

"I think it's guaranteed that there will be something no one has seen before," she said.

As an added bonus: If you're brave enough to visit at least 10 booths, and get the stamp to prove it, you get a nifty prize!

– B.J.P.