Thursday 7

OFFSPRING SPRINGBOARD. Just how safe are our kids? Where can children go to stay off the streets after school? How can we ensure the availability of good child care, and what kind of jobs are available to ease teens into adulthood?

City Council and mayoral candidates will meet such queries head-on in a forum hosted by the Children's Action Alliance. The contenders will opine on current policies regarding kids, as well as how the policies should be tweaked. "The quality of our day-to-day lives hinges to a great extent on the policies set forth at the local level," says Penelope Jacks, Southern Arizona director for the Children's Action Alliance. "That's why it's so important for the public to hold our mayoral and Council candidates accountable for how they will make children and families a priority if elected."

The free forum runs from 7 to 9:30 p.m. in UA McClelland Hall, 1130 E. Helen St. For information, call 795-4199.

Friday 8

HERITAGE AND HEDONISM. Revel in tradition and pure animal pleasure at the 26th annual Tucson Heritage Experience Festival.

This party is the successor to the long-running Tucson Meet Yourself event. But the idea is the same -- tons of great ethnic food, music and dancing from across the globe, and plenty of hometown shoulder-rubbing.

More than 40 folk artists, musicians, dancers, storytellers and performing groups will be on hand for the three day festival. This year's theme is "Sharing Traditions." We'd prefer to call it "Sharing Forks" over steaming shish-kabobs, plump sausages, rotund egg rolls, gigantic get the point.

The festival runs from 6 to 11 p.m. today, noon to 11 p.m. tomorrow, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday in downtown El Presidio Park, west of the old County Courthouse at 115 N. Church Ave. Admission is free. Call 795-1156 for details.

LONG-RUNNING RESISTANCE. This much we know: Columbus sailed the ocean blue in the seminal year 1492. Beyond that, the Spaniard's legacy is a mishmash of competing views, rampant disinformation and outright genocide.

That river of tears isn't forgotten when the three-day Brigada Juvenil conference addresses Columbus' arrival and its effects on latter-day Chicano and indigenous youths. The gathering will include workshops on reclaiming ancient identities, with speakers on everything from community development and education to political action.

Tonight, there will also be entertainment with break dancers and DJs, followed tomorrow evening with a performance by Danza Azteca Huehuecoyotzin and a temescal (sweatlodge).

For its part, Brigada Juvenil, or Youth Brigade, is affiliated with the Arizona Border Rights Project, and brings young people together to address issues facing indigenous and Mexicano peoples.

The conference is at 12:30 p.m. today, 9 a.m. tomorrow and 10 a.m. Sunday in the Fred Archer Center, 1665 S. La Cholla Boulevard. Call 770-7455 for information.

PROGRESS RENDERED. The Isis Theatre Dance Company taps an evolutionary vein with We're All Works in Progress.

Four new members join the company in performing four new works, all built upon modern and jazz dance styles. And as always, the troupe will present a theater piece exploring gender issues. Saturday's matinee performance includes a premiere featuring two young yo-yo-ists.

Show time is 8 tonight in the Tucson Center for Performing Arts, 403 S. Sixth Ave. Shows continue tomorrow with a children's matinee at 2 p.m. and a regular performance at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $3 to $8, and are available at the door or by calling 323-8437.

Saturday 9

COOPERATION CELEBRATION. Imagine buying your grub in a store that's not grubbing for profits, doesn't consider you merely a marketing niche, or play Muzak versions of "Mandy" night and day.

It's no fantasy here in the Hungry Pueblo. The Food Conspiracy Co-op has been on the digestive scene for decades, selling great food at reasonable prices, and with an increasingly rare human touch.

In celebration of their position on the local food chain, the co-op folks are throwing a big 'ol bash, complete with speakers galore, free veggie chow, natural food demonstrations and products, loads of fun stuff for the kids, and even a little dancing to work off those organic calories.

The third annual Community Co-op Party runs from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at St. Mark's Presbyterian Church, 3809 E. Third St. For details, call 881-9427.

CONTINENTAL DIVIDE. In Japanese, sankai juku means "the studio between the mountains and the sea." For Tucson audiences, it means a performance by one of the world's top dance-theatre groups.

The Sankai Juku dance troupe is a leading exponent of the Japanese postwar performance style known as Butoh. Founded by visionary dancer Tatsumi Hijikata, Butoh rejects traditional forms of Eastern and Western dance. Instead, it embodies new forms of dramatic expression, encompassing Japan's postwar humanitarian spirit, and its pain and outrage at the horror of war.

The Sankai Juku troupe takes this style to new levels of dramatic poignancy with such pieces as Hiyomeki, which means "within a gentle vibration and agitation." The work is a haunting ritual performed by six dancers with whitened faces, on a bare stage covered with sand. This mood is highlighted with a score exploring the interplay between light, object and the human body.

Such explorations have drawn wide acclaim: Anna Kisselgoff, dance critic for The New York Times, calls Sankai Juku "one of the most original and startling dance theater groups I have seen."

Sankai Juku performs at 8 p.m. in UA Centennial Hall, inside the main gate east of Park Avenue. Tickets, available at the Centennial Hall box office, range from $16 to $28, with discounts for students, UA faculty and staff. Call 621-3341 for details.

Sunday 10

CREATIVE PASSAGE. Artist of the Month Gallery's latest exhibit fondly recalls nationally acclaimed painter Gertrude Harbart.

Harbart, who died in June at age 100, learned her chops at the Art Institute of Chicago, The Art Students League of New York, the University of California and Ohio University. Her pieces have won a slew of awards, and appeared in many permanent collections, including those at Indiana University, Indiana State, Purdue and Valparaiso universities, to name just a few. Her friends and admirers note the passing of this fine talent with a final show and sale.

The exhibit, on display through November 7, opens with a reception from noon to 2 p.m. today at the Artist of the Month Gallery in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson, 4831 E. 22nd St. Regular gallery hours are 9 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For information, call 748-1551.

CREATIVE JUICES. Fruit of the vine and the fruit of human endeavor cross paths at the Dance Gallery benefit reception for the New ARTiculations modern dance company.

Happening club Heart-five sponsors this gala evening featuring fine jazz by the Pete Swan Group, trapeze work by Nathan Dryden, and the "rope feats" of Paul Weir and Greg Colburn. New ARTiculations will perform excerpts from their 1997 production Liquortaxed, along with a rendition of the Broadway showpiece Production Code.

Dance Gallery: A Benefit Reception begins at 7 p.m. at Heart-five, 61 E. Congress St. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Call 622-5018 for information.

TIMELESS TUNES. Tap into chords of ancient eras with a performance by Piffaro, sponsored by the Arizona Early Music Society.

Modeled after the official civic, chapel and court bands popular from the 14th to 17th centuries, the group also plays the music of the peasantry, frequently combining the two milieus to great dramatic effect.

Instruments used by the Philadelphia-based ensemble might sound more appropriate to a birder's holiday, including shawms, sackbuts, krumhorns and hurdy gurdies. Of course, Piffaro also regales crowds with more modern bagpipes, flutes and guitars. Altogether, this instrumental force weaves a tapestry of Spanish, Portuguese and Central American compositions from the Medieval, Renaissance and early Baroque periods.

The effect can be spellbinding. "They huff and puff and blow the house down," says Esquire, "with a gale of good-time instrumental songs and dances."

Piffaro performs at 3 p.m. today at St. Philip's In The Hills Episcopal Church, 4440 N. Campbell Ave. Tickets are $15, $12 for seniors, $5 for students, and available by calling 889-4310.

Monday 11

BILLIONS AND BILLIONS. Carl Olson expertly dissects insects and their crucial role in the desert ecosystem in a lecture hosted by the Tucson Audubon Society.

Olson, associate curator of the UA's entomology department, is a tireless bug booster. Passionate about changing perceptions about the wee critters, he'll focus his talk on the positive side of insects in the desert Southwest. A faithful devotee of Aldo Leopold's "Land Ethic," which encourages those who take something from the earth to give something back, Olson considers the world of bugs a perfect example of the concept.

The gathering begins with "Six Billion People," a discussion about managing the number of humanoids traipsing about our over-burdened planet.

The free event begins at 7 p.m. in the UMC Duval Auditorium, 1501 N. Campbell Ave. Attendees are asked to bring their own mugs for the break, in an effort to save both costs and waste. Call 629-0510 for information.

BLUE NOTES. Bring out the hankies and get low down when the Tucson Blues Society kicks off its 15th annual Blues Week.

The gut-wrenching blow-out warms up with a free brown-bag lunchtime performance series. Today's show features the Boogieman Blues Band from noon to 1 p.m. in the Tucson/Pima Main Library plaza, 101 N. Stone Ave. The Conrads continue the show tomorrow -- same time, same place -- followed by Mitzi Cowell and Friends on Wednesday, and the Lisa Otey Band on Thursday. Also on Thursday, Stillwagon & Offret play from noon to 1 p.m. in the UMC Duval Auditorium, 1501 N. Campbell Ave. Tony and the Torpedoes round out the series from noon to 1 p.m. Friday at the Main Library.

Stay tuned next week for more blues events. Call the TBS for details at 617-4617.

Tuesday 12

FINAL RECALL. Catch lost moments while you can as Jazz Memories, featuring black and white photography by Herman Leonard, winds down at the Etherton Temple Gallery.

Leonard's stunning images illuminate the jazz, blues and bebop eras from 1945 to 1960. His shots of the great icons -- Stan Getz, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Lena Horne, Frank Sinatra, Charlie Bird and Miles Davis -- are a bench mark for that time.

The artist's signature backdrops are the recording sessions where musical masterpieces took shape. In his book, Leonard recalls how "the arrangement, gradually began to take form, much as a painting evolves...finally emerging as a brilliant musical tapestry."

He also took photographs in French clubs while working for Nicole Barclay, one of the first overseas producers to recognize the echelon of American jazz talent. The results are fantastic backlit, smoky images -- as much a jazz legacy as the music itself.

Jazz Memories closes tomorrow in the Etherton Temple Gallery of the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. For information, call 624-7370.

Wednesday 13

REFUGEE STATUS. Picture this: You're single in a place married to tradition. In this case, that means the Old World of Armenia, circa 1921. Such is the unfortunate predicament facing the bachelor Aram in Richard Kalinoski's play Beast on the Moon, presented by Borderlands Theatre.

Our unhappy camper manages to come up with one rather clever path out of disgrace: order a picture bride. When the dearly beloved arrives, however, reality quickly clashes with expectations. But as the two struggle to emerge from the shadows of the Armenian Holocaust, Aram and his new bride discover a love deeper than they'd ever imagined, in a drama The New York Times calls "a triumph."

Preview performances are 8 tonight and tomorrow in the Tucson Center for the Performing Arts, 408 S. Sixth Ave. The opening celebration is at 8 p.m. Friday, October 15. Regular performances continue at 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets range from $8 to $18, and are available by calling 882-7406.

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