SINGLE-BREASTED AMAZONS. From the Ivory Coast comes a dance troupe that has emerged as a symbol of the power and passion of women. Tchétché, which means "eagle" in the Bete language of West Africa, aims to show that women are not the weaker sex.
The four-woman ensemble moves energetically across the stage, kinetically illuminating the harsh realities of life and survival in their home country. Led by choreographer Beatrice Kombé, Tchétché gives emotion a powerful abstracted treatment. (So says The New York Times.)
Founded in 1997, Tchétché's mission is to renew African choreography, infusing contemporary movement into traditional dance such as the temate of Facobly (an homage to the spirits for an abundant rice harvest) or the Gouah dance (a collective gesture of young people addressed to the beneficial gods).
Tchétché lands in Tucson for one of only two scheduled U.S. performances today at 7:30 p.m. and tomorrow at 8 p.m. at Crowder Hall, 1017 N. Olive Road at the UA School of Music. All reserved seats cost $30 or $15 for students. Call 621-3341 to get yours.
THIS STOP, TUCSON. I chuckle every time I see the "Now Under Renovation" banner sprawled across the Tucson Train Depot downtown and think about how Amtrak may be cutting service to this area.
But we still have a glorious old depot and should be thankful they're not tearing it down to make room for a highway or shopping mall.
The Tucson Downtown Alliance's weekly series, Downtown at Dusk, toasts the grand old railway station at 400 N. Toole Ave. today from 5 to 7 p.m. Come see the holiday display, listen to carolers and other live entertainment and join the TDA, the City of Tucson and Rio Nuevo folks for an old-fashioned holiday celebration. It's free and you're invited. Call 547-3338 for details.
PAINTINGS AND STORIES. Two renowned American Indian artists tell their own stories in the third program of Arizona State Museum's visiting artist lecture series. It's part of the current exhibit, Connections Across Generations--a show that includes work by David Dawangyumptewa and Shonto Begay.
Dawangyumptewa was raised on the Hopi and Navajo reservations. He attended schools that shaped the direction of American Indian art today--the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, the Haskell Institute in Kansas and Northern Arizona University. He's won numerous awards for his work as a painter. But he's also a stonemason, exhibition designer and arts advocate.
Begay's work has been shown in more than 50 galleries and museums. He too attended the Institute of American Indian Arts. His acrylics are bittersweet commentaries on a changing native world that tries to incorporate traditional ways amidst encroaching modern technology.
Both artists offer a slide presentation of their work tonight at 7:30 p.m. Afterwards, they'll mingle with audience members during a reception and book signing.
The museum is located on University Boulevard just east of Main Gate at Park Avenue. Admission costs $5 for ASM members and $8 for non-members. Students get in for free. Call 626-2973 with questions.
PERCHANCE TO DREAM. John Patrick Shanley's new play begins with Donna and Tommy grappling with unresolved issues of their failed relationship. Confusion reigns. Tommy wallows in a squalid basement apartment. Donna's chaotic energy spins out of control. Even her reclusive artist father is no help to his adult daughter. Growing up sucks.
It's just the good, dysfunctional stuff to fill the intermezzo between one family holiday and another this season.
Taking turns that are comic then serious then surreal then rhythmic, the dreamer examines his pillow is described by New York Magazine as "pungent, thought provoking, original, poetic and leading by stylized fantastical ways to genuinely startling illuminations."
Catch the dream-comedy beginning tonight at 8 p.m. and showing Fridays and Saturdays through December 21 at the Temple of Music and Art Cabaret Theater, 330 S. Scott Ave. You be the judge of ticket prices with your donation. Call SilverGirl Productions at 245-2456 for more information.
CANYON AS CONCERT HALL. There's nothing like music performed outdoors under fading sunlight. The nighttime sky grows into a cathedral of stars echoing back sounds and silence.
Music in the Canyon eases us into the night beginning at 4 p.m. today with a concert featuring a variety of performers: the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus, Desert Sons, Ronstadt Philharmonico, the Shadz Utterback Alumni Band. Santa and Smokey Bear are typically in attendance. Some 600 luminarias line the quarter-mile path to the stage area at the Lowell Complex at Sabino Canyon. The silent auction gift items include spa renewal days at Canyon Ranch Health Resort, a vacation in a Durango vacation home, a weekend at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort and more cushy stuff.
Bring a flashlight as the park gets dark quickly after sunset. The concert is free but donations are appreciated, especially a couple of non-perishable food items for the Community Food Bank. Drive north on Sabino Canyon Road past Sunrise Drive to the park. Questions? Call 749-8700.
TAKE IT HOME NOW. Ordinarily, if you want to buy the art in a gallery show, they stick a tiny red dot on the wall next to the work. The show ends, buyers come to collect their art. Artists and gallery staff are happy.
The Museum of Contemporary Art bucks tradition with its third annual No Red Dots holiday fundraiser. They're happy to have the gaping space on the wall. No sense waiting until the show is over. Just take the art as you buy it.
Here's the catch: the show lasts one week only and, they hope, by the end, there will be just blank walls. The fund-raiser benefits MOCA, the artists and the Tucson Community Food Bank. Continuing the tradition, all work is priced at less than $400. Participating artists include Pasqualina Azzarello, Matt Cotton, Catherine Eyde, Al Foul, Esteban Michel, Rosanna Salonia and many others. Tonight's opening reception goes from 7 to 10 p.m. with DJ Lucas Mosely spinning the discs and other live entertainment, too.
MOCA's HazMat Gallery is located at 191 E. Toole Ave. Suggested donation is $3 or bring two non-perishable food items. Holiday gallery hours are extended for the week, noon to 5 p.m., Monday to Saturday. Call 624-5019 for information.
DECK THE HALLS. There's a lot of that going around this month.
Tucson's classical flute and guitar ensemble, Silverwood Duo, performs a holiday concert with music by Bach and Tchaikovsky, traditional Christmas carols from around the world and a few surprises.
In 1999, Renee Bond and Paige Jackson joined artistic forces to form the duo that's getting noticed. Critics praise the duo for their passion for the music, their nuanced performances and their ravishing tones.
At 7 p.m., they step on stage at Grace St. Paul's Church at 2331 E. Adams to play a repertoire of traditional holiday music including Deck the Halls, O Holy Night, Greensleeves, Tchaikovsky's Russian Dance and Silent Night. Tickets cost $10. Call 624-3744 for details.
HEY DUDE, IT'S RUDOLPH. In disguise, St. Nick takes a much-needed holiday at the Jingle Jangle Dude Ranch in Tucson. He deserves it what with all the work he does this time of year.
Much to his chagrin, he's joined by a few others: There's Carmine, a grouchy, young boy, Ma and her daughter Ginger who run the ranch and Candy, the ever-faithful singing cowhand. Oh, and of course, Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer who helps the grouchy boy find the true meaning of Christmas.
Live Theater Workshop's Rudolph and the Jingle Jangle Dude Ranch is responsible for this musical tale starring Mike Kirwin as Nick, Sean Marbry as the grouchy kid, Janet Lynn Henderson and Nicole Scott as mom and daughter and Matt Walley as Candy. Allegra Breedlove plays the dear deer.
Shows begin at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sundays through December 29. The theater is located at 5317 E. Speedway Blvd. Tickets cost $5. Call for reservations at 327-4242.
TALL, DARK AND POETIC. I have no idea what Ron Botticini looks like, but he's the featured writer in the Make a Date with a Poet series that Sharky's Urban Sports Grill hosts.
Botticini is a retired UA science professor with a dark humor that is expressed through his poetry. He mixes religion, science, myth and life experiences as if to research the nature of humankind with the microscope of words. He draws on his experiences in Italy, the military, marriage and school. All of it winds up on the page.
Peek into his world as he reads from his work today from 6 to 8 p.m. Sharky's is located at 800 E. University Blvd. at Euclid Avenue. Open reading follows. Call for more information at 360-5269.
REALLY, REALLY OLD POTTERY. In northern Mexico, the Casas Grandes civilization of Chihuahua existed nearly 3,500 years ago. If they were in contact with our ancestors of the American Southwest--the Anasazi, Mimbres and Hohokam--they could be called their contemporaries.
There's a lot of detailed information about the early inhabitants of the American Southwest. But an accident of geography and arbitrary borders has left the Casas Grandes civilization largely unknown to us until recently.
The Tucson Museum of Art's new exhibit, Talking Birds, Plumed Serpents and Painted Women reveals some new findings. Curated by Joanne Stuhr, it's the first exhibition to focus on the aesthetic contributions of the ancient culture of Mexico. The rich artistic and commercial center produced some of the most beautiful prehistoric ceramics. Ollas and effigy vessels with distinctive animal and human iconography are decorated in striking geometric polychrome. Drawn from private and public collections, the exhibit consists of unusual forms of pottery displayed along with related mural-sized photographs of the area where the remnants were found.
The show opens this week on Saturday and continues through February 16. Museum hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. TMA is located at 140 N. Main Ave. Call 624-2333 for details.
NETWORKING AT ITS FINEST. The Arizona Small Business Association's reason for being, it seems, is to help people connect with resources that help them in their businesses.
Breakfast Networking Mania starts bright and early, from 7:30 to 9:15 a.m. today. They promise fun, entertainment and an exciting way to grow your business with other small business owners. Bring the business cards and your best "one-minute elevator speech" to the ballroom at the Viscount Suites, 4855 E. Broadway Blvd. It costs $10 for ASBA members and $15 for non-members. If you don't make reservations, it costs $20. Call 327-0222 to register.
A GOOD FILM HITS THE STAGE. It doesn't usually happen this way, but The Full Monty, the 1997 film hit, has now come to the American stage.
In 2000, Tony Award-winning writer Terrence McNally adapted the film to Broadway, adding his own brand of American comedy to the story of six unemployed steelworks who go to great lengths to make some quick cash to help out a friend in trouble. They go the full Monty, stripping down to their skivvies--a hit with the local women.
Ending its Broadway run a few months ago, it's now touring with a stop in Tucson. Composer and lyricist David Yazbek says, "The Full Monty is a sports story. It's not about stripping. It's a bunch of guys who get together and form a team." Adds McNally, "It's also about an image-obsessed society that says you have to look like Brad Pitt. This show says quite the opposite, celebrating everybody for exactly who they are."
Shows start today at Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd., and continue through December 22. Show times are 7:30 p.m. through Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets cost $20 to $54 with discounts for students on the weekday performances. Call 621-3341 for reservations or information.
WHAT WAS IT USED FOR? It's a curious thing to think about how the land was perceived and actually used by our ancestors.
Archaeologist Doug Craig shares the results of surveys and limited excavations on the Rancho Vistoso properties to paint a fairly accurate picture of prehistoric land-use in Oro Valley. The surveys were carried out prior to the urban sprawl of the late 1980s and they identified close to six dozen sites, spanning back 3,000 to 4,000 years. Detailed maps included two Hohokam ballcourt villages--Honey Bee and Sleeping Snake.
For 25 years, Craig's been digging in the Southern Arizona ground, mainly working at prehistoric Hohokam and Salado sites. Come hear what he has to say at noon today at the Western National Parks Association Store located at 12880 N. Vistoso Village Drive in Oro Valley. Drive north on Oracle Road to Rancho Vistoso Boulevard. Make a left and then another left at Innovation Park Drive to Vistoso Village Drive. His presentation is free, but call for reservations at 622-6014.