City Week

Calling All Citizens

Community Forum On Hate Crimes
6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 27
300 E. Sixth St.

You could probably think of some-thing happier to do next Thursday night, but can you think of anything more important than discussing ways to make members of your own community feel physically safe and emotionally supported?

Hate crimes have robbed Americans of all ethnicities, sexual orientations, religions and classes of that kind of security, and though we think of the perpetrators of these crimes as individuals--and shake our heads at their actions--if we, as a society, fail to get appropriately outraged by occurrences such as the murder of Tucsonan Philip Walsted, only 24, we are in effect saying that small doses of evil are somehow acceptable.

The Wingspan Anti-Violence Project's Thursday community forum will reflect on the outcome of the David Higdon trial (the man who stands accused of Walsted's murder) and discuss community responses to hate crimes in general. Confirmed panel members include Teresa Godoy, county prosecutor in the Higdon case; Det. Tim Rupel of the Tucson Police Department's Special Investigations Section, who investigates hate crimes in the Tucson area; Echo Magazine reporter Matt Heil, who has covered hate crimes and bias acts extensively; Josh Protas, director of the Jewish Community Relations Council; and NAACP-AZ President Clarence Boykins.

"Wingspan is committed to advocating for individuals and working on local and state levels to respond to hate violence," says Wingspan Anti-Violence Project Coordinator Lori Girshick; join Wingspan in that resolution by attending the Thursday forum, which is free and open to all. Call for more information.

Bang--You're History

Dillinger Days Street Festival
10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 22
Various downtown locations

The West has a history like no other part of the country--we've got the kind of stories that have been drawing adventurers from all over the continent for hundreds of years, and tourists from all over the world in more recent times. And though Tucson proudly lays claim to being a high-tech city whose residents concern themselves with lasers and spacecraft, we'll still cheerfully shut down our streets for a real, old-fashioned outlaw.

"The capture of outlaw John Dillinger at the historic Hotel Congress in downtown Tucson is one true tale that is celebrated every year," reads the press release submitted by Rio Productions, the company coordinating Tucson's annual Dillinger Days festival. "Some folks still remember the fire that broke out in the historic Hotel Congress, and the famous outlaw who was holed up in the old City Hall, sitting quietly in his cell for all impromptu visitors to see."

The Saturday event will feature a re-enactment of the 1934 capture of the Dillinger gang by Action Unlimited Entertainment, a street festival, antique car and truck show, photo opportunities with Tucson Fire Department personnel dressed in period uniforms, an exhibit of photos of the Dillinger gang, the Dillinger gang's arsenal (confiscated by the Tucson police), walking tours, lectures by noted authors and historians, and more. Even Hotel Congress' Cup Café is getting in on the fun, offering highlights of the original 1934 menu, including chicken fricassee--Dillinger's favorite.

Activities take place inside and outside Hotel Congress, and at the Downtown Tucson Library, the Arizona Historical Museum on Stone Avenue and the historic train depot. Call for a complete schedule of events.

Nasty Little Germ

Tucson Walkout Events
Thursday, Jan. 20, and Saturday, Jan. 22
Various locations

Feeling a little under the weather recently? Stuffy head, watery eyes, heavy heart? It could be something in the air, or it could be a little something in Washington. "If the war makes you ill," reads the Food Not Bombs press release, "call in sick on Inauguration Day. Walk out of work or school; take your classmates and co-workers with you!"

Tucson is one of nine cities across the country participating in Walk Out Day; the local event begins at 10 a.m. with a Memorial for Democracy in De Anza Park (at the intersection of Speedway Boulevard and Stone Avenue).

"We start out with the memorial to mourn the fact that we've lost democracy, that it has died in America," says Keith McHenry, co-founder of the Food Not Bombs movement. Much like a memorial for a person we once knew, Memorial for Democracy participants will be "speaking about how much they miss democracy, and how they hope that maybe democracy will return."

"After that," says McHenry, "there's a march going from Old Main at the University of Arizona to the Federal building, basically with the message that we're against the entire agenda for which the Bush administration stands; we're against attacks on the environment, attacks on human rights, the support of torture and of indefinite detention without trial or charges, and its (the administration's) belief that war is a way to solve problems."

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22, the Counter-Inaugural Ball (also at De Anza Park) will feature music, poetry, information tables and "speakers talking about ... how it's our duty as Americans to resist the horrible atrocities that the United States is involved in," says McHenry.

Record-Breaking Fun

Harlem Globetrotters Game
2 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 23
Tucson Convention Center
260 S. Church Ave.

Few things make me happier than the Harlem Globetrotters' theme song, and few professional sports teams are themselves as happy or fun as the Globetrotters themselves.

When the nucleus of the Globetrotters formed back in 1926 (originally called the "Savoy Big Five"), the mission of the team had nothing to do with the tricks and feats for which the Globetrotters later became famous. The talented team wanted simply to win games, and that's what they did, traveling the country and racking up an impressive record. It wasn't until 1939--on a night that the New York Harlem Globetrotters were leading a local opponent 112-5--that the players began clowning around. The crowd loved it, and Globetrotter founder and coach Abe Saperstein told his team that the clowning was fine, as long as they had a comfortable lead. Thus was an American institution born, an institution that celebrated its 20,000th game back in 1998--a number that no other professional sports team has matched.

In addition to pioneering the antics that have won them hard-core fans for almost eight decades, the Globetrotters were also instrumental in developing key components of the game itself, such as the fast-break offense, the slam dunk, the figure-eight "weave" offense and even the scouting system. Globetrotters Michael "Wild Thing" Wilson and Fred "Preacher" Smith set a new world record (recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records) for the vertical jump--11 feet, 11 inches--in 1997, and both have cleared 12'2", though not in official attempts.

Tickets to the Globetrotters' Sunday night game against the New York Nationals start at $13, and are available at the TCC box office or by calling Ticketmaster at 321-1000.

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