BRILLIANT FEVER. If you haven't already seen the current exhibit at the Center for Creative Photography, go see it. It's an amazing show of one man's quest to capture the gritty essence of the 1950s urban landscape.
And even if you haven't seen the show, you'll want to go see videos about the photographer, W. Eugene Smith.
He was a cranky, crabby genius who did things his way and pissed off lots of editors at Life Magazine and produced an enormous body of work that even he was never satisfied with.
Artists like Smith--these feverish geniuses--offer us something whether we're artists ourselves or just admirers of an era that was as depressing and exciting as today's beautiful urban squalor.
Cass Fey, curator of education at the center, introduces two videos about Smith -- a 1976 interview by Casey Allen a few years before his death titled, In and Out of Focus, and Brilliant Fever -- W. Eugene Smith and Pittsburgh, produced and directed by Kenneth Love and written by Sam Stephenson.
Screening starts at 5:30 p.m. and is free. Public parking is available in the Park Avenue garage, just north of Speedway on the UA campus. The Center is inside the courtyard just east of Speedway Boulevard at Park Avenue. The show, Dream Street: W. Eugene Smith's Pittsburgh Photographs, continues through September 29 with weekday gallery hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends noon to 5 p.m. Call 621-7968 for details.
WELL, LA-DI-DA. To test your movie acumen, can you name the film and actor who immortalized these four simple syllables?
Of course, it's Diane Keaton as the goofy, lovable, quirky Annie Hall in the Woody Allen classic by the same name.
Watch it on the big screen outdoors down at La Placita Village tonight, weather permitting. It starts at 7:30 p.m. at 110 S. Church St. just off of Broadway. The screening is free but a $3 donation doesn't hurt. For details, call 326-5282.
THESE FOLKS KNOW THEIR STUFF. Not one, not two, but three writers treat us to more than a cursory glance at the Sonoran Desert and the invasive species and hidden people that inhabit it.
David Yetman and Thomas R. Van Devender co-authored Mayo Ethnobotany: Land, History and Traditional Knowledge in Northwest Mexico. Individually they've written books about the Sonoran Desert: Yetman's newest is The Guarijios of the Sierra Madre and Van Devender's most recent is The Sonoran Desert Tortoise. Tucson water and desert expert Barbara Tellman has penned Invasive Exotic Species in the Sonoran Region.
They'll all be signing their books and reading tonight from 5 to 7 p.m. followed by a reception of light refreshments. The reading is free and open to the public at the Tucson Audubon Society headquartered at 300 E. University Blvd., #120. Call 629-0510 for more information.
THE OK CORRAL STATE. Why don't they put that on our license plates? Seems a more fitting moniker than the one we've got.
Arizona Serenade is full of music and legends about the Grand Canyon state. The Crystal Palace Players strut their western dinner theater revue tonight at 7 p.m. Here's the lineup of Tucson talent: Glenda Young or Liz McMahon as Miss Crystal, the Songstress of the Sagebrush, Erin Booth as Sally, Katherine Byrnes as Pearl, Drew Humphrey as Tex and Jack Neubeck or Monte Ralstin as Sam the bartender.
There's plenty of fiddling and drumming by Elise Ackermann, a young'un herself and piano playin' and guitar strummin' to boot (really, that's what the press release says, full of missing "g's" and replete with extra exclamation points!!).
Friday, Saturday and Sunday shows start at 7 p.m. at the Hidden Valley Inn, 4825 N. Sabino Canyon Road (with a couple of 3 p.m. matinees on October 6 and November 3) and continue through November 15.
Tickets cost $13.95 for adults and $8.95 for kids 12 and under. There's a separate optional show menu.
Bring the whole family, pardner! (That darn press release again.) Call for reservations at 299-4941.
DON'T OFF YOURSELF YET. Tucson author Elizabeth Evans has come up with a handful of stories and a novella that fills her newest book, Suicide's Girlfriend. It's also the title of the novella and it follows the wife of a professor who becomes obsessed with the suicide of one of her husband's students. Titles of her other stories beg even more intrigue: "Voodoo Girls on Ice," is one of them and we can only imagine what that one's about.
If you're familiar with Evans' four previous books (Carter Clay and The Blue Hour, to name just two of them), perhaps you'll agree with the overwhelming critical acclaim showered upon her work--more a deluge of adjectives such as "fearless" or "unique" or "poignant."
You be the judge. Evans gives a reading from her work at 2 p.m. at Reader's Oasis, 3400 E. Speedway Blvd., #114. For details, call 319-7887.
SQUEEZEBOX FAN CLUB. I should be the president if there were such a club. There's nothing like the sound (no amplification necessary!) of an accordion. Here's your opportunity to hear a slew of them playing a wide variety of musical tunes.
Members of the Accordion Club of Tucson are obviously fans of the music as well as skilled players of the aforementioned bellows. Catch them in a free concert from 3 to 5 p.m. at Bookman's Used Books, 1930 E. Grant Road. Questions? Call 325-5767.
HOW'D THEY DO THAT? It's called the art of "prestidigitation." Or more simply, magic.
"They've been doing this show since before I was born," I imagine hearing this year's Stage Magician of the Year boasting. Matthew McArthur's only 12, though.
Still, Stars of Magic 2002, is celebrating its 15th year and in addition to Matthew, the 2002 State of Arizona Stage Magician of the Year Tim Mansfield and pro magician Richard Steele will dazzle you with tricks. You'll go home scratching your head.
Get your tickets early (they always sell out) for either the 2:30 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. show at Williams Magic, 6528 E. 22nd St. Prices are $10 for adults and $8 for kids 12 and under. Or try the box office the day of the show at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. For more information, call 790-4060.
UNABASHED BODYWORK. Robert Henri waxed poetic in the early part of the 20th century when he said, "In all the world there's nothing more beautiful and significant of the laws of the universe than the nude human body."
The associates, faculty, students and open studio participants of The Drawing Studio agree. Join them for their fourth annual Drawing from the Figure show. The opening reception is from 6 to 9 p.m. at 214 N. Fourth Ave. The show closes on September 28. Gallery hours are from noon to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Call 620-0947 for details.
BUGGING OUT. The folks at New Kiva Motions Puppet Theater are into insects this month. It's a Really Bug Show is sure to entertain and teach the kids (and maybe us adults) a thing or two.
"Nobody Likes a Cockroach and That's Why I've Got the I'm a Cockroach Blues," has got to be the best title of a song sung by a puppet accompanied on keyboards by Tucson's blues diva Lisa Otey. After every show kids get up close and personal with the puppets and get a chance to make a simple puppet to take home with them.
What a cool hour. Shows start at 1:30 p.m. every Sunday this month except the last one in August at the Red Barn Theater at 948 N. Main St. Tickets cost $3 per person, $5 for two kids, $2 per person with Ahcccs card or low-income bus pass. No reservations are needed. Call 887-5144 for details.
BEHIND THE MASK. When's the last time you were invited to a masquerade ball? Can't say I've ever been to one.
Live Theater Workshop invites you to The Curtain Call Masquerade Ball. It starts with dinner followed by dramatic selections from the upcoming season. Dancing and a silent auction (items fit for a king, apparently) round out the evening.
Come costumed as your favorite figure from the world of theater: a character, playwright, historical icon--you decide. Costumes are optional, of course, but when's the next time you'll get to dress up (and behave) like Oscar Wilde?
Festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Hilton East Resort at 7600 E. Broadway Blvd. Proceeds support the theater's programming this coming season. Tickets cost $35 and include three raffle tickets or $30 if you don't want to put your name in the hat.
WINE COUNTRY. I love the concept of wine (though, due to a bum stomach, I'm a total teetotaler). I've envied those who can, first-hand, appreciate the subtle bouquet of a liquid that is mashed down by people in their bare feet.
Whether or not your physiology (or psyche) can handle the brew, here's a singular opportunity to sip, smell and learn all about wines. The Fourth Leaf: Expressions in Fine Wine is a trade show but don't let that stop you from chatting with the importers and wine producers who will dazzle you with samples from 5 to 8 p.m. at Westward Look Resort, 245 E. Ina Road. There's also a 15 percent discount on all wines purchased at the show and if you get hungry (or you need to line the belly) there are gourmet appetizers to munch on.
It'll cost you--$55 per person--but that includes all wines and food. Get your tickets at Feast (4122 E. Speedway), Plush (340 E. Sixth St.) or Beverage House (8660 E. Broadway). Or call for ticket information at (623) 581-8081.
WE'RE THAT OLD? How did Tucson reach the ripe age of 227? Well, of course, that's just when the conquistadors started keeping track.
The Ceremony of Flags marks the big birthday bash. Just so you know, flags that have flown over Tucson have been American, Spanish, Mexican, Confederate--and the Arizona flag, as well. All these patriotic pieces of cotton and rayon--plus the Tohono O'Odham and Pascua Yaqui flags--will be presented on horseback for the ceremony that starts at 8 a.m. There's an invocation, reading of proclamations, patriotic music and songs and the flags. It all takes place at the Pima County Courthouse courtyard, west of Church Avenue and south of Alameda Street.
Accurate period costumes are encouraged. Come have a piece of the Tucson birthday cake, too. For more information, call 299-1743.
yum. WHAT'S IN THAT? Are you often wondering what the magic ingredients are that make up a tasty morsel? Here's a chance to find out some secrets.
The Cookbook Group has invited Janos Wilder, premier chef at the Tucson Foothills eatery and author of Janos: Recipes and Tales from a Southwest Restaurant. He'll talk recipes and offer cooking tips at 7 p.m. at the Foothills Mall Barnes and Noble at 7325 N. La Cholla Blvd. Call with questions at 742-6402.
NEEDLING 101. If you've been feeling cranky, run down, depressed, lethargic, have a stomach ulcer, cancer or are a migraine sufferer, acupuncture might help. Barry Brownstein practices the art of using thin needles to move blocked energy through the body for all kinds of ailments or irritations.
It works. But don't take my word for it. Come to a presentation with the apt title, "What You Always Wanted to Know About Acupuncture," at the Cactus Flower Wellness Center at 5813 N. Oracle Road from 7:15 to 8:30 p.m. Five bucks gets you in. Call for reservations at 293-3751.