Thursday 18

ROUGH REELS. The UA Extended University celebrates testosterone-laced cinema with Point Blank: Tough Guy Film and Culture.

The three-day conference tackles themes of violence, masculinity and class in cinema, taking specific aim at tough-guy roles in genre filmmaking, the B-film, and relationships between hard-boiled fiction and its onscreen depiction. Panelists include Dana Polan, head of the UCLA Cinema Department; Mike Nevins, biographer of pioneering hard-boiled genre novelist Cornell Woolrich; and Mark Schilling, film critic for the Japanese Times and Premiere magazine's Japanese edition.

In addition, the conference includes screenings of genre films each night. Tonight's features are In a Lonely Place at 7 p.m., and Point Blank at 9 p.m. Admission is $5. Cost for the three-day conference is $95. Conference movies and events take place in UA Social Sciences Room 100, on campus southwest of Old Main. For registration and other information, call 626-9060.

RESCUE THE VENUE. The cinematic gods have spoken, and downtown's lovely old Fox Theatre is now on the mend. Assist the effort--and have a little fun--when the foundation behind Fox's rebirth presents an outdoor series of film classics on Thursdays at La Placita Village.

Tonight's movie is The Philadelphia Story, the 1940s gem starring Kate Hepburn, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart. Show time is 7:30 p.m. in La Placita Village, 110 S. Church Ave. Admission is free, but donations are suggested.

Friday 19

BAYOU BELLE. Zydeco siren Rosie Ledet blasts into town for a firecracker performance tonight.

"If the Allman Brothers went Zydeco they would probably sound like Rosie Ledet," says the New York Times. "Today's premier female zydeco artist," chirps The Wall Street Journal.

A three-time winner of Offbeat magazine's "Best of the Best" awards, Ledet is among the few women on the national scene playing the accordion-laced, rollicking zydeco music native to her southwestern Louisiana homeland. She's also among the few writing in Creole French, achieving a signature style that's been called "blues with an accent."

Cajun chow will be dished up at 6:30 p.m., followed by free Louisiana dance lessons at 7 p.m., and Ledet's performance at 8 p.m. in the International Arts Center, 516 N. Fifth Ave. Advance tickets are $15, available at Hear's Music, Antigone Books, Zip's University, and by calling 297-9133. KXCI members receive a $1 discount. Tickets cost $17 at the door.

MEAN STREETS. A Gotham stage legend heads south when the Theater League presents West Side Story.

On the gritty, teeming streets of New York, two rival teenage gangs fight for turf. But their battle lines are blurred when a boy and a girl from opposing sides fall in love. Their romance sparks the enduring tension of this masterpiece that roared onto Broadway in 1957. The great score by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim ("Somewhere," "Maria" and "Tonight") has been equally etched into our national psyche.

The Theater League production features several of southern California's best singers and dancers, under the direction of Sha Newman, whose staging of Jerome Robbins' choreography garnered L.A.'s Ovation Award last season.

Show time is 8 tonight, 2 and 8 p.m. tomorrow, and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday in the TCC Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. Tickets range from $26.50 to $39.50, and are available at Dillard's outlets, the TCC box office, and by phone at 791-4266.

Saturday 20

ODD BALL. Bundle up your troubled inner children for another performance by the Oddvarks Comedy Improv Troupe.

Tonight the odd ones reprise their greatest hits--in response to growing public clamor, according to a source close to the troupers. "They just feel that, in order to please the throbbing masses, they simply must present their very first 'Best Of' show," the insider relates. "Besides those improv shenanigans we all know and love, these barely evolved homo sapiens will present many of their favorite and most requested riotous sketches from past shows."

Catch the action at 7:30 p.m. at The Hut, 305 N. Fourth Ave. Admission is $3. Call 388-9092 for details.

LITTLE FIDDLER. She may be pint-sized, but her sound is huge. Tonight, hometown fave and Big Apple transplant Heather Hardy packs 'em into the Boondocks Lounge with her fiery fiddling.

Hot on the heels of her new CD, I Believe, Hardy's fervor on the fiddle hasn't diminished a bit since her days with the legendary Sam Taylor Band.

Show time is 9 p.m. at Boondocks Lounge, 3306 N. First Ave. Admission is $8, $7 for TBS members. Call 690-0991 for details.

Sunday 21

ROOTS AND RHYME. Lyric excellence meets floral finery at Poetry in the Gardens.

Hosted by Tucson Botanical Gardens and co-sponsored by the UA Extended University Writing Works Center, this final literary soiree of the season features Simon Ortiz and David Ray.

Ortiz, a noted poet, storyteller, essayist and editor, grew up at New Mexico's Acoma Pueblo. He now lives in Tucson, and is the author of several acclaimed books, including Speaking for the Generations: Native Writers on Writing and After and Before the Lightning, both published by UA Press.

Ray totes a coveted William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, a Maurice English Poetry Award, and a Pulitzer Prize nomination. He has authored more than a dozen books of poetry, including his most recent work, Demons in the Diner.

Gates open at 4:30 p.m., followed by the reading and reception at 6 p.m., in the TBG, 2150 N. Alvernon Way. Tickets are $5, available at Bentley's House of Coffee and Tea, Antigone Books, the Book Stop, and the TBG gift shop. Call 626-2235 for details.

SINGLE STEPS. Singles strut their stuff en masse at a high-step extravaganza featuring music from the '50s through the '80s. These smoke-free mixers promise to mix it up from 7 to 10:30 p.m. each Sunday in the Arizona Ballroom, 5536 E. Grant Road. Admission is $5. For information, call 327-0042.

Monday 22

LITERARY BEAT. Summertime, and the living is...brainy. At least it can be, if kids commit their budding noggins to something more challenging than Nintendo and shopping malls.

That's exactly where the Tucson-Pima Library comes in, with another rendition of its seasonal Reading Rocks! program. Students in middle or high school, ages 12 to 18 years old, can read for "rockin' " prizes--pod pens, Sidewinders tickets or disco ball key chains, just for starters--rewarded after every four hours of reading. At the end of the program there's a grand prize drawing for a mountain bike donated by the Catalina Bike Shop, along with a veritable smorgasbord of other goodies.

Reading Rocks! continues through July 29. For more information, call 791-3213.

Wednesday 24

FOLK FLURRY. Step aside, hip hop. When enduring steps are what you're after, look no further than the Zenith Studio. This charming little outpost of movement off Fourth Avenue hosts a weekly International Folk Dancing series. "The dances come from all across Eastern Europe, including Bulgaria and Romania," says organizer Terry Friedman. "Other dances come from Brittany, Hungary, and Middle Eastern countries like Israel." The gatherings are open to people of all skill levels, with the first hour typically spent on lessons. "The music is usually recorded," Friedman says, "but once in awhile we snag touring international bands coming through town."

International Folk Dancing begins at 8 p.m. Wednesdays in the Zenith Studio, 330 E. Seventh St. Admission is $3. For information, call 325-0073.

BOARD WORK. The Arizona Theatre Company hosts a workshop production of Elaine Romero's Before Death Comes for the Archbishop.

Culminating Romero's two-year residency with the ATC, her work tells the epic, tragic love story of Padre Antonio José Martínez, a 19th-century Taos Mexican priest, whose passionate defense of his faith, his land and his native people converge at an auspicious point in history, and in the journey of his heart.

Show time is 7:30 tonight and tomorrow in the Tucson Center for the Performing Arts, 408 S. Sixth Ave. Tickets are $5 at the door. For details, call 884-8210.

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