City Week for January 2-8, 2014

Conrad Wilde Gallery fundraiser; Petanque in the Park; Just for Kids at the Tucson Symphony Orchestra; Downtown Abbey Tea Party

Paying the Plumber

Conrad Wilde Gallery Fundraiser Auction

6 to 9 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 4

Steinfeld Warehouse

101 W. Sixth St., Suite 300


Artists Miles Conrad and Ryan Wilde have had their gallery in various locations since 2005, but now they've found what they hope is a permanent location in the historic Steinfeld Warehouse on Sixth Street.

But before the Conrad Wilde Gallery can open for regular business, they need some help getting the building up to code.

"For us to open our doors to the public on a regular basis, the city requires electrical, plumbing and HVAC," Conrad said. "Right now we're running off a generator in the back of the building. It's very primitive; it's like we're camping."

The Warehouse Arts Management Organization, which owns the warehouse, spent $1 million renovating it and other buildings in the downtown warehouse district, but most of that work was structural. In order for the gallery to get a certificate of occupancy, Conrad said they need to get the utilities installed.

The hope is that Saturday night's fundraising auction will raise between $5,000 and $10,000 for plumbing and electrical work, with the HVAC stuff to come later. The event features a modified silent auction format for the artwork on display, allowing patrons to choose an eBay-style "Buy It Now" option on a piece they desire.

Conrad said the gallery focuses on contemporary art and emerging artists. Once the remodeling is complete and the building is ready for regular use, the plan is to offer classes and programming, such as film screenings.

New Game for a New Year

Petanque in the Park

2 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 5

Reid Park

900 S. Randolph Way (near the band shell)

(703) 470-2427;

If one of your New Year's resolutions was to try new things, it might be time to check out petanque. For those not familiar with the 100-year-old French game, it's similar to bocce in its use of balls and a goal of landing those balls as close to a target as possible. However, petanque balls, known as boules, are made of hollow steel and weigh less than 2 pounds, compared to the large, heavier balls used in bocce. There are other differences between the games, such as the ideal playing surface, number of participants and throwing styles. But rather than go into too much detail here, your best bet is to take in one of the Tucson Petanque Club's weekly gatherings at Reid Park. "We have some people in town who maybe have played it all their life, or might have picked it up somewhere," said club organizer Steve Ferg, who estimates there is "a small but non-zero number of people in Tucson" who could benefit from the club. "Basically, we'd just like to get people to come down and try it out." Ferg said the club had its first-ever meeting a week before Christmas, with seven players showing up to play on a swath of dirt near the Reid Park band shell. His goal is to get 20 members, with at least 10 showing up each week in order to allow for singles and doubles matches, possibly even some tournaments. "Even with eight people, which could make for four doubles teams, that would make for a nice afternoon," said Ferg, who added the club has boules available for first-time participants to use.

Performances for the Pint-Sized

January Just for Kids Programs

10 and 11:15 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 4

Tucson Symphony Center (2175 N. Sixth Ave.) and Oro Valley Town Hall (11000 N. La Cañada Drive)


Who says the symphony is just for adults? Certainly not the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, which for the past 20 years has offered kid-friendly versions of its concerts. The first batch of Just for Kids shows is on tap this Saturday at two locations, with two performances of The Princess and the Frog at the Tucson Symphony Center (at 10 and 11:15 a.m.) and a satellite performance of Gerald McBoing-Boing at 10 a.m. in Oro Valley. The Just for Kids series has been very popular among families with young children, said Shawn Campbell, vice president for artistic engagement and education at TSO. "The TSO is committed to serving our diverse audiences, so we create programs that serve unique interests," Campbell said in an email. "The (Just for Kids series) was designed for young children and their families. Families and children have grown up on the series and gone on to be inspired by the program to play musical instruments." The Just For Kids shows are shorter than standard symphonic performances, lasting 45 to 50 minutes, Campbell said. They are intended to encourage interest in classical music by introducing orchestral instruments to a young audience in a kid-friendly environment. "Kids can sit at the feet of the musicians, giving them an up-close look at the instruments and the music-making," Campbell said. The Just for Kids shows are usually held on the first Saturday of the month, and in May the "Really Big Just for Kids Grand Finale" is held at the Fox Theatre. Admission to Saturday's shows is free, though a $3 donation to the TSO is suggested.

A Day of Downton

Downton Abbey Sneak Preview Tea Party

2 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 5

Murphy-Wilmot Library

530 N. Wilmot Road


There are many ways to judge the popularity of a television show, some of which involve the lengths that fans will go to be a part of the experience. Downton Abbey, one of the highest-rated PBS shows ever, is on that list of über-fan favorites. Tucson devotees of the Crawley family can get a jump on the fourth season of the period drama at a function put on by the Wilmot-Murphy Library staff and Arizona Public Media. "We did a similar event for our members in December, and then we got a call from the Murphy-Wilmot people," said Susan DeBenedette, Arizona Public Media's marketing manager. "We've wanted to do something interactive, something for the public. We thought this was a great idea." The free two-hour program will include a tea service and a video presentation that will include a behind-the-scenes look at the world of Downton Abbey world and a sneak preview of part of the fourth-season premiere, which will air that night on PBS. "We're just going to show a little bit," DeBenedette said. "We're not going to give it all away." While the event is intended for longtime fans of the show, DeBenedette said she believes newcomers also would enjoy it. "If you've never heard of Downton Abbey ... you're going to want to go back and see the earlier seasons, see how did they get here," she said.

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