City Week

INGREDIENTS FOR A PERFECT ROMANCE. No, I'm not talking chocolate here.

As You Like It, some say, is Shakespeare's happiest and most entertaining comedy. And where better to see a performance of it than outside? The Tucson Community Theatre performs the classic for its 16th annual Shakespeare Under the Stars program.

The comedy's main ingredients are a beautiful and clever heroine, a strong and upright hero, an unjustly banished duke and a pastoral idyll, plus a plethora of other love affairs. And best of all, it features a bunch of happy endings--even the villains see the error of their ways.

Performances take place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, June 5-7, at 8 p.m., and pick up again next week, June 11-14.

Bring a blanket, a picnic basket and the whole family. The DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center in Reid Park is located at 22nd Street and Alvernon Way.

Call for more information at 791-4663.

WIDEN, RAZE AND CLEAN. It's National Trails Day. Time to don work gloves, sturdy shoes, a straw hat with an extra-large brim and top-shelf sunscreen, then come out to the Mason Audubon Center for the annual work party on the trails.

MAC doesn't offer public visiting hours--just a tour on the first Saturday of each month. And this month, they invite you to help out before the tour to make the trails navigational. Naturalists will then offer a history of the property, a tour of the grounds and a one-mile nature walk.

On Saturday, June 7, the clean-up brigade starts at 6 a.m. (don't forget to bring the water bottle--it's getting hot early), and the two-hour tour follows at 8 a.m. The theme this month is cactus. To many newcomers to the Southwest, cacti often seem bizarre, spectacular and even grotesque. (They are all of the above.) To long-time residents, they're "just cactus." Sublimely adapted to this arid climate, cacti defy description, yet you know one when you see one--or, rather, get pricked by one of their thorns.

MAC is run by the Tucson Audubon Society and is located at 8751 N. Thornydale Road. The tour costs $5 or $3 for members. Children, 12 and younger, get in for free. Call 744-0004 to reserve a spot--the tour is limited to 30 participants.

COMMENCEMENT FOR THE ARTS. This is the time of year when things end and things begin--after all, that's what a commencement is.

Tucson Arts District Partnership celebrates the season's last Downtown Saturday Night on Saturday, June 7, featuring art, music and dance. There's a poetry crawl and some island hopping, too--plus the annual kick-off for the summer season launches it's Summer Art Cruise.

The work of three downtown artists is featured at the Art Square, located at 172 E. Broadway Blvd., a half-block east of Sixth Avenue. Lisa Stotska and William Skiles showcase their whimsical sculpture and chalk pastels. The husband-and-wife team runs Studio 220, a local gallery and artist studio on Congress Street. Some of their zany themes include teapots, hearts and bathrobes.

Jeff Schwartz presents his ink drawings and pastel abstracts depicting café society in his studio in the Julian Drew Complex, just off the Art Square. And Cuadro Arte Latino celebrates its first year with a reception in the same artist studio complex.

While you stroll downtown, you'll get hear riffs emanating from Homero Ceron and Cool Breeze. They provide the music for The Human Project's Urban Dance Theater. The Art Square activities kick off at 6 p.m. and go into the cool night until 10 p.m.

Also starting at 6 p.m. is Tucson's seventh annual Poetry Crawl. Poets and innocent bystanders snake through downtown for incendiary poetry performances at four locations. It's been dubbed a literary conga-line. Participants follow the urban tribal beat of Bamboo Gurus. It starts at the Tucson Museum of Art, (140 N. Main Ave.) and wends its way past the Art Square and The Screening Room (127 E. Congress St.) to its final destination at 9 p.m. at the Hotel Congress (311 E. Congress St.). In addition to Bamboo Guru, there's music by Mariachi Serenata and Cosmic Touch with Jacki Blu. Performance poets include Tucson's Poet Laureate Ofelia Zepeda, retuning readers Simon Ortiz, The FunKtional Adix, Rita Magdaleno, Petey Mesquitey, Cleopache and a gaggle of others.

Over at the Tucson Museum of Art, from 7 to 11 p.m., the lively spirit of the tropics rings with Island Hoppin' at the TMA. It's a fund-raiser for children's programming at the museum. Rumba to the rhythms provided by Apocalypso Steel Drum Band and Descarga's Latin Salsa and nibble on tropical island food. Don't forget your island attire for the courtyard paradise and raffle.

And here's where the "beginning" starts. The Summer Art Cruise launches its season of contemporary art. Seven galleries in the downtown area--Davis Dominguez, Dinnerware, The Drawing Studio, Metroform Ltd., MOCA, Raices Taller and 3Falk--feature fine art photography, painting, sculpture and a small works invitational. Get a map and listings of events at the galleries or call the Arts District Partnership at 624-9977.

All the events are free except for the TMA fund-raiser. Tickets for that event cost $10 at the door. Call the museum at 624-2333 for details.

BACH AND MORE. The St. Andrew's Bach Society begins its 2003 summer concert series with a performance of the grand composer's work and features some other talented musicians.

Guitarist Dieter Hennings, a native of Mexico, began his studies with guitarist and composer Jesus Cota Saaverdra. At 15, Hennings performed on Mexican national television, and at 16, he soloed with the Ojuson Orchesta. He launched his studies in the UA's guitar program in 1999, where he became the second guitarist ever to appear with the university's orchestra. Hennings has won prestigious awards, including his most recent, the Villa de Petrer International Competition in Spain.

On Sunday, June 8, at 3 p.m., Hennings performs work by J.S. Bach as well as Francisco Tarrega, Leo Brower, Sergio Assad and others. The concert takes place at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, located at 545 S. Fifth Ave. Tickets cost $8 for general admission and $7 for seniors and students and are available at the door. For details, call 628-8119.

HERE COMES THE RAIN. A community rain dance kicks off the seven-day Mikveh Festival in the Wild. It's co-sponsored by Spirit of Service and YOE-LIONS (Yeshivat Olam Echad), an eco-spiritual network that draws from Jewish traditions.

Shamans offer ancient Kabbalistic formulas (that's where math and spirit join forces) to figure out just when the rain will start sprinkling. In the meantime, the week-long festival begins on Sunday, June 8, from 5 to 7 p.m., and takes place at Tanque Verde Upper Falls and features bathing and re-birthing rituals each morning of the festival. Bring your playful soul and anything else that might reinforce the earth-based, mystical and spiritual teachings, connecting Mother Earth and Father Sky.

For all the details, call 546-9136.

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