City Week

Home depot, it ain't. I once knew a woman who was passionate about hardware stores. She would regale all the gadgets that caught her eye, excited by the smell of freshly sawed wood mingling with the cacophony of loose bolts and screws in the nail bins.

Mike Keller probably has spent his fair share of time at Bimsco (one of the few original hardware stores in Tucson that still smells like a hardware store, but I digress). He's created a new installation, The Match Game, out of paint chips. Augmenting the display strips with characters from world alphabets, he's built 36 color prints.

Like many artists, he's exploring the place of art in culture and the nature of meaning and experience. He takes original digital photographs, scanned material and Web images and manipulates them in an online canvas in Photoshop. Then he prints them onto archival paper or canvases. But he doesn't put them under glass or on mats or in frames. And where do the paint chips come in? Well, Keller invites you to bring fabric or other material from your home or workplace and see if it matches the colors in the prints. He puts a new spin on trying to match the art with the couch.

The installation opens with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, May 30, at the gallery at Muse, located at 516 N. Fifth Ave. The show stays up through July 11. Regular gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Questions? Call 903-0918.

Exhibit Barrio Anita. A girl imagines herself with a brightly colored cyclone for a face. A young man pictures a mountain sunset on his forehead. These are some of the images produced by 20 young people from around Tucson, created during a six-week photo workshop sponsored by the Barrio Anita Community Mural Project (aka BAMP). Their photographs and imaginative artwork go on display this week at BAMP's headquarters in the little neighborhood tucked behind the railroad tracks west of St. Mary's Road and south of Speedway Boulevard. The exhibit also features interviews of elders who've lived in Barrio Anita, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Tucson.

BAMP is an 18-month-long public art project, the largest in the city's history. The goal is to visually enhance the neighborhood that was sliced in half and isolated with the building of Interstate 10 years ago. It's not just a beautification project. BAMP hopes to improve neighborhood life through job skills training and community organizing.

The mainstay of the project is the production of three permanent murals measuring 7,300 square feet, fabricated from glass and ceramic mosaic, cast concrete and metal, and will integrate design elements from the community workshops.

The mammoth project is directed by Joshua Sarantitis and William Wilson. Sarantitis is a nationally known public artist with murals in cities including San Francisco, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Wilson is an artist and educator from Tuba City, Ariz., who has taught and exhibited nationally.

Come see the first stage of the mural project--the exhibit of photos from kids who took the workshop--at the opening reception and awards ceremony held from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 30. It takes place at the Old Fire Station No. 4, located at 1008 N. Contzen Ave, The show continues through June 20.

For more information, call 770-0629.

BUILD YOUR OWN. Select three stage props and one line of dialogue. That's the easy part.

Play in a Day comes around for its second annual playwriting and performance event. It's a collaboration between the resident theater company, NAThalia Stage Ensemble, at Muse, and Old Pueblo Playwrights.

Sixteen playwrights get paired randomly to write eight short plays overnight. Nothing like a little pressure to get the creative juices flowing. On Friday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m., the marathon kicks off with three short stage readings by OPP members as a prequel to the resulting playwright pairings. By early Saturday morning, directors will begin casting and rehearsing each play. On Saturday, May 31, at 7:30 p.m., you can be part of the audience that witnesses the stage readings of the short plays. And you get to vote the favorite play to be performed.

If you'd like to write, direct or act in the performances, hurry up and e-mail OPP at

Shows take place at Muse, located at 516 N. Fifth Ave. Tickets for the whole shebang cost $8 and include the performances on both nights. Get yours by calling 325-5915.

SHORT, ODD, WEIRD AND JUST PLAIN DIFFERENT. I breathe a sigh of relief as summer hits Tucson. Events grind pretty much to a halt, so City Week gets to stretch out, yawn and go a bit more slowly through the few events that are happening in Tucson between Memorial and Labor Day. Sometimes, though, I have to get creative about how to present them.

Here's a smattering of the briefest information offered about a handful of events taking place this week. How did I choose them? Criteria consisted mostly of quirkiness and almost no details in the press release--sometimes both. Think of it as a grab bag sale: You don't know what's in the sack but you know it'll be fun and fairly cheap. And in the case of these events, the number seven figures prominently.

Namoli Brennet wins the prize for the greatest name--both his given one and his alias, Boy in a Dress. On Friday, May 30, at 8 p.m., Brennet performs a bon voyage concert at Mat Bevel Institute, 530 N. Stone Ave., to launch his summer tour. Aside from the basic details, there's a brief quote on his press release. Alice Mays of San Francisco's Tiny Lily Press says of Brennet that whether he's "... in a dress, a bikini or tight pig tails, (his) musical talents are undeniable." You be the judge. Tickets to hear his original songs cost that magic number, $7, at the door. Call 622-0192 with questions.

The bumper sticker on my car (one of more than seven that adorns my pick-up) that elicits the most response is "Beef: It's What's Rotting in Your Colon." Graphic, I know. As a long-time vegetarian, I do my best to recruit--oh, I mean to offer those on the cusp a gentle push over the edge.

Here's your chance to get some FAQs and How-To's (that's what the press release calls them) about vegetarianism. In an informal discussion and food demo about the lifestyle, the Vegetarian Resource Group of Tucson provides details on what it takes to love animals and not eat them. On Saturday, May 31, from 1 to 3 p.m., stop by Bookman's at 6230 E. Speedway Blvd. It's free. Call for more information at 682-0075.

Also on Saturday, at 3 and at 8 p.m., are two theatrical performances of a Tibetan folk tale. The Donkey and the Rock is offered by a collaboration of folks: choreographer Sarah Lewin Cotton, musician Jeremy Nasta and the Tucson Puppet Works. It combines puppetry, masks and dance and takes place at Zuzi's Little Theater in the Historic YWCA, located at 738 N. Fifth Ave. Each show costs $7 for adults or $4 for the kids. This one got in City Week because the e-mail included the word "please." (It goes a long way--Mom was right.) Call 770-1533 if you have questions.

I'm a closet fan of the Von Trapp Family singers. OK. I'm out of the closet now. You, too, can join fellow fans by booing the Nazis, hissing the baroness and cheering for Maria. And you can sing to your hearts content without embarrassment on Sunday, June 1, at 2 p.m., at the Loft's sing-a-long to the classic 1965 movie, The Sound of Music. Compete for prizes in the costume contest, too.

It's a benefit for the Reel Fun at The Loft family film series that starts on June 7 with The Wizard of Oz. (I know bashful fans are out there clicking their heels.) The theater is located at 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. Tickets for the sing-a-long cost $12 for Tucson Film Society members, seniors and students, $18 for general admission and (that magic number) $7 for children 12 and under. Call 529-0764 for details.

Enjoy the grab bag.

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