DESIGNING MINDS. If you could make Tucson's downtown the ideal urban center, how would it look?
Get some ideas from the professionals--the folks who bring locals out of the burbs and into the center of town to create a vibrant living and working neighborhood. From 7 to 9:30 p.m., hear about national case studies from several California architects--designers of functional and aesthetically pleasing housing options for their downtowns. The interactive presentation is designed for residents, developers, homebuilders, architects, investors and business owners.
"This housing symposium is just a first step in Tucson's efforts to foster private-sector, residential development in downtown, which is very important to Downtown and to Rio Nuevo," says Karen Thoreson, assistant city manager. "Our goal is that in five years, 1,000 homes will be built here."
The free presentation happens at the Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave. For more information, call 791-4123.
A ROCKIN' OPERA. The "rock" in this instance is our esteemed planet gone haywire. Sparrow and Cicada Theater Works presents Twitch: A Rock Opera From the Earth, written by local screenwriter John Paul Marchand. It's a multi-media spectacle about a planet on the verge of destroying itself. (And this is supposedly fiction?) All the Earth Spirits have decided to give up on us poor lost humans except one.
That would be Twitch herself. She still has hope. She decides to become human and spread the message that we need to start taking better care of our planet. In addition to Twitch, meet a 15-foot Stone God puppet, a shaman and showgirls while watching full-motion video, a rock band by the name of Sun Zoom Spark and even an art show called The Evolution of Flight.
Shows start tonight at 8 p.m. and continue Thursdays to Sundays
through September 29 at Muse, 516 N. Fifth Ave. Doors open at 7 for the art show. Tickets cost $10 in advance at Hear's Music, Antigone Books and Muse or $13 at the door. Call 272-7722 for details.
THREE IN ONE. Here's what you get when three downtown arts organizations team up: Maripol: Downtown '81. It's an art exhibit. It's a film screening. It's an opening reception.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, the Hotel Congress and the Screening Room have ganged up to present an exhibit of photographs by film producer Maripol. The film stills from Maripol's film, Downtown '81, grace the walls of the Hotel Congress lobby through November 1 at 311 E. Congress St. The film itself is screened today and tomorrow at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. at the Screening Room, 127 E. Congress St. It stars Jean Michel Basquiat, then an unknown, un-exhibited 19-year-old painter and graffitist who went by the tag, "SAMO" and burned with intensity in his short life. Other performers include Deborah Harry, members of Blondie, Fab Five Freddy, Lee and a host of colorful characters from the New York art scene of the early '80s. Tickets cost $5.
Maripol shows up for a reception of his work tonight and tomorrow from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Hotel Congress lobby. Then everyone can scoot over to the screening down the street.
Call 624-5019 for details.
IT'S A BIG, BAD, BEAUTIFUL WORLD. Susan Lang's new novel, Small Rocks Rising, captures the experiences of a determined woman who homesteads her own plot of land in the California wilderness of 1929.
It's based on the author's own homesteading mother who faced numerous challenges in her struggle to survive. Through her experiences with rock and water, with deer and bear and with even grislier men and society, Ruth comes to a deeper understanding of the ruthlessness of the world, but also of the inevitable beauty of it and of the potential for rebirth.
Come hear the story from the woman who wrote it at 7 p.m. tonight at Antigone Books, 411 N. Fourth Ave. The reading is followed by a question and answer period and refreshments. Call 792-3715 for details.
FROM VENEZUELA, WITH LOVE. Irene Farrera sings in a rich, husky voice. She's been described as a mix of Joan Armatrading's sultry singing and Albita's energy and presence.
But she's not a solo act. Farrera heads Venezuela Viva, a quartet beating out Latin rhythms on the cuatro, guitar, bass and, of course, varied percussion instruments with band mates Aguiles Baez, Omar Ledezma and Pedro Giraudo. Together they mine musical treasures of Afro-Venezuelan traditions.
Farrera has shared stages with Cesaria Evora, Susanna Baca and Barbarito Torres. Her fourth CD is Seranata. The soulful vocalist and her virtuoso ensemble perform tonight at 8 p.m. at UA's School of Music in Crowder Hall at the southeast corner of Speedway Boulevard and Park Avenue (note the concert venue has changed from the Berger Performing Arts Center due to flooding). Park in the lot on the northeast corner and walk through the pedestrian underpass to the School of Music. Tickets cost $15 general and $13 for seniors and In Concert! members and can be purchased in advance at Antigone Books, CD City or charged by phone. Call 327-4809 for information.
THE OLD ENVIRONMENT VS. ECONOMY DIATRIBE. What's the connection between the economy and resource conservation? Find out at a public forum today from 9 a.m. to noon.
The Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection and the Environmental Law Society host the confab. Speakers include Ernie Niemi from ECONorthwest, talking about the Economic Third Wave, John Carruthers from the UA School of Planning addressing public service costs and Dennis Cory, UA Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, talking about the connections between economics and natural environments. Come find out why we're in big trouble and how to do something about it.
It takes place at the UA School of Law in the Ares Auditorium, Room 146, located at 1201 E. Speedway Blvd. It's free but call 388-9925 for reservations so you can get a seat.
ARTFUL URBANITES. Mark Lakeman of City Repair in Portland, Ore., visits Tucson to share his community-powered urban design. He's hosted by the Development Center for Appropriate Technology (DCAT), PRO Neighborhoods and the Youth Opportunity Movement/Art in Reality program in a public workshop and networking day.
Lakeman's non-profit group facilitates artistic and ecologically oriented placemeaking through projects that honor the interconnection of human communities and the natural world. He'll explore what that means for us in Tucson--how communities can create sustainable urban landscapes that reflect local identity and emerging culture. Local neighborhood and community groups, artists, youth and everyone else are invited to share ideas. The presentation goes from 10 a.m. to noon and networking lasts until 2 p.m. at The Muse, 516 N. Fifth Ave. Light refreshments are served. It's free but a $3 donation helps. Call 624-6628 for reservations or more information.
SWISH THIS WAY. I can hear the whoosh of big skirts and sleek gabardine.
It's time for Dancing in the Park. The U.S. Amateur Ballroom Dancers and Armory Park's Senior Center host the fete at 8 p.m. at 220 S. Fifth Ave. Performers include some of Tucson's and Arizona's top professional and amateur dancers in American Ballroom, Country, Argentine Tango, Nightclub and Modern Cuban Salsa as well as traditional Scottish dance and Salsa Rueda dance. Plus there's the USABDA performance team and live musicians.
Open dancing starts before the show and during intermission, if you're so inclined. The whole night benefits the ballroom facilities at the Senior Center and helps the Performance Team.
Tickets cost $15 to $25 and can be purchased by calling 770-9549. Reservations are a must.
WHAT CAUSES DARKNESS? You have to go back to African folk tales to find the answer. Or at least suspend disbelief for an afternoon.
Live Theater Workshop presents Abi Yo Yo, an interactive African folktale. The children of the King and Queen embark on a magical journey through the middle of Africa in search of the Tree of Great Hope. Many friendships are made and lessons learned along the way. When they reach their destination, happiness is restored to the King. That makes everyone else happy enough to ask and answer the eternal question, "What is it that covers the sun in daytime and causes darkness?"
Written by and staring mime/actress Joan Van Dyke, the play invites kids from the audience to become characters within the story and travel along on this exciting escapade. Shows are at 1 p.m. on Sundays through October 6. Tickets cost $5. Live Theater Workshop is located at 5317 E. Speedway Blvd. Call 327-4242 for reservations and details.
DESERT BALLADEER. Dolan Ellis has been Arizona's Official State Balladeer since 1966. That's a lot of singing the praises of this state--actually hundreds of songs about its people and places, the best of which are now on a CD titled, Tall Tales, Lost Trails and Heroes. The Arizona Folklore Preserve, in partnership with the University of Arizona South, presents Ellis in a similarly titled performance at 2 p.m. today.
Ellis sings his latest song, Wildfire, a tribute to the firefighter heroes that battled the Rodeo-Chediski fire this summer. Proceeds from sales of the single go to his CDs for New Trees campaign to support reforestation of the Mogollon Rim.
Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for kids under 12. To get to the Arizona Folklore Preserve in Hereford, drive six miles south of Sierra Vista on Highway 92 to Ramsey Canyon Road and the AFP sign. Turn right on Ramsey Canyon and go 3.5 miles into the canyon. The entrance is on the left. Cross the creek and park behind the buildings. For more information, call 378-6165.
PATSY WOULD BE PROUD. And so would all the other divas who've blessed us with their crooning.
TAMMIES Best Female Vocalist and member of the Arizona Blues Hall of Fame, Lisa Otey, and Liz McMahon, star of Invisible Theater's Always, Patsy Cline and the upcoming Sophie Tucker: An American Legend, perform an evening of cabaret and Broadway tunes at 7 p.m.
Stop on by the Gaslight Theater at 7010 E. Broadway Blvd. Advance tickets cost $12 and there are discounts available. Call for reservations at 886-9428.
WALK THE WALK. I think of the Barrio as a neighborhood where many ghosts live--happy ones and some a bit disgruntled. Ghosts have a way of hanging around where there's unfinished business. The changes are happening so fast in Barrio Historico that perhaps the ghosts don't know which corner to hover over, to praise or complain about recent building development, gentrification and good old neighborhood steadfastness.
Come see what's happening down here in a twilight walking tour hosted by KruseArizona Tours. Explore an area of Hispanic cultural and architectural traditions and witness the bizarre contradictions of faux-adobe housing (replete with two-car garages big enough for the SUVs) butting up to 100-year-old casitas and their porch-sitting residents. The tour meets at La Pilita at 420 S. Main Ave., just south of the Tucson Convention Center, at 5 p.m. There's an optional no-host dinner with margaritas that follows at 6:45 p.m. The tour costs $13. Call for reservations at 881-1638.
THE LURE OF DESOLATE PLACES. In his new book, Soul of Nowhere, naturalist, adventurer, desert ecologist Craig Childs answers the call of fierce places. The more desolate the place, the more passionately he's drawn to it. Childs tracks a broad territory: the Sierra Madre mountains in northern Mexico, the canyons of Utah, the White Mountain Apache Reservation, a deserted island in the Sea of Cortez.
His newest book follows on the heels of The Secret Knowledge of Water, winner of the Tucson-Pima Library Southwest Book of the Year in 2001.
Childs signs his new book and discusses his work from 6 to 8 p.m. at Silverbell Trading, located at 7119 N. Oracle Road in the Casas Adobes Plaza. A portion of the proceeds from the book signing benefits the Coalition for the Protection of the Sonoran Desert. Call 797-6852 for information.