City Week

Gone Fishin'

Free Family Fishing Get-Together
9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 11
Chuck Ford-Lakeside Park, Ramada No. 29, Stella Road and Sarnoff Drive

Southern Arizona may not be known as a fishing paradise because of that pesky climatic thing known as the desert, but who's to say that Tucson families can't experience the thrill of reeling in a big catch? Not the Arizona Game and Fish Department. The AZGFD sponsors numerous public-fishing programs in the cooler months to expose Tucsonans to rods and reels. One hundred rods and reels, in fact, will be available for free to Tucson families on Saturday, Feb. 11, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lakeside Lake, Ramada No. 29, at the northeast corner of Chuck Ford Park. No fishing license is required for this noncompetitive event, says Ti Piper, sport-fishing educator, but beginning fishing instruction is available.

"We caught big trout there last week," Piper says about one of the department's late-January family-fish days at Lakeside Lake. "We stock the lake with small largemouth bass, which is not a contradiction in terms. We've just got small ones, those predators who keep the lake in check. And there are goldfish in there, too, but that's illegal; folks aren't supposed to be dumping their pets, but they're in there. We also have rainbow trout from spring-fresh hatcheries in the White Mountains and catfish from gorgeous, clean-water hatcheries in Arkansas."

While Lakeside Lake is no river running through rural Montana, the small, 10-acre pond does provide an urban fishing opportunity, Piper says. Normally, if you're more than 14 years old, you have to buy an urban fishing license, but not for a public fishing event like this one.

For more information or to sign up, call Ti Piper at 609-0657 or visit the Game and Fish Web site under the categories of "information and education" and "sport fishing education." --M.H.

Me and Poetry Down by the Schoolyard

ArtsReach's Annual Native American Student Poetry Reading
7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 15
UA Modern Languages Auditorium, Second Street near Mountain Avenue

Araceli Laborin, 13, and Miguel Zarate, 14, sit at a table in the back of Ms. Belen Olmedo's eighth-grade classroom at Hohokam Middle School. It's second period in the heart of the Pascua Yaqui Nation. Laborin and Zarate are explaining how they wrote poetry with the help of award-winning poet Sherwin Bitsui and ArtsReach, a nonprofit organization that sends published writers like Bitsui into 11 Southeastern Arizona schools with large native populations to facilitate creative-writing workshops.

"It took a long time to think of the words," admits Laborin, who's been writing poetry since fourth grade.

"We looked at a picture and just chose what we saw," adds Zarate, who had never written a poem before. "(What we'd experience) if we were the kid in the picture."

The "kid" Zarate speaks of is a young metalworker from India photographed for the book Stolen Dreams: Portraits of Working Children. Last year, Ms. Olmedo's class studied child labor for two quarters. They even raised $418 to sponsor a child. So, when Bitsui visited in December, students were ready to reflect on what they'd read.

Laborin wrote about brickworkers in Katmandu. Patsy Gutierrez, 14, wrote about a goat herd in Rajasthan. And, of the seven students I interviewed, all wrote about issues they felt passionately about, from child labor to one girl's reflection on her parents' recent divorce.

"I think (poetry) could (make a difference) if people understand what others--even children our age--think," says Jorge Leon, 13, about child slavery.

Laborin, Leon and other students from ArtsReach schools will read their poetry at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night at the UA Modern Languages Auditorium. To learn more about ArtsReach, visit --M.H.

An Alternative to Sappy Love Songs

Canadian Klezmer Band Beyond the Pale
7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 14
Temple Emanu-el, 225 N. Country Club Road

One of the best times I've ever had involved an outdoor klezmer concert on the muddy shores of the Missouri River. And while I can't vouch for the visiting Canadian klezmer troupe, Beyond the Pale, I can vouch for the genre of music they play--Jewish folk music traditionally played by small, troubadour-like bands. Beyond the Pale's cross-cultural influences include North American folk, roots and world music. The group was even nominated for the Best World Music Album at the Canadian Independent Music Awards in 2002.

"Essentially, we lucked out," says Marjorie Hochberg, the local cantorial soloist who will also perform with Beyond the Pale, about how the temple landed the well-known band. "They're on tour and have gigs in Austin and Los Angeles, and so they asked us if they could perform in between stops."

Beyond the Pale's performance marks Temple Emanu-El's week-long celebration of Shabbat Shirah, which starts Friday, Feb. 10. The "sabbath of song" commemorates the story of the Israelites' trek across the Sea of Reeds. After crossing the sea and narrowly averting death, Moses and company spontaneously burst into song. Beyond the Pale's performance honors this triumph on Tuesday.

And while klezmer has firm, sustaining roots in Jewish culture and tradition, the music isn't just for temple attendees: "Because this group is so eclectic in its style and its combination of Yiddish, klezmer, jazz, blues and rock 'n' roll," Hochberg says, "it's a musical style and presentation that provides an interesting opportunity for a wide audience."

For more information or to buy tickets, call Temple Emanu-El at 327-4501. Tickets are $18 for adults and $8 for students and children 12 and younger, and may be purchased at the door. --M.H.

Eye of the Chihuahua

International Chihuahua Championship
6 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 11
Tucson Greyhound Park, 2601 S. Third Ave.

Last year, I went to a reading where a writer was introduced as having taken his friend to Chihuahua races. I wondered how on earth you got tickets to see one of the world's smallest dogs race other mini-mutts.

I now know.

The Tucson Greyhound Park is hosting its second or third International Chihuahua Championship; no one's really sure, since new management took over late last year. Last year's winner, Cha-Cha, retired, so the first-place title is up for grabs. Wannabe contestants must turn in their entries to the park's main office by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 9. One entry per Chihuahua is allowed.

From those entry forms, 32 "tiny racers" will be selected through a random lottery on Friday, Feb. 10. Contestants will be notified on Friday. The first of the four heats begins at 6 p.m., with the finals taking place around 8:45 p.m. There is no time to beat, says Hal Wafer, marketing director of the park, since the Chihuahuas are not timed like greyhounds. Many of the Chihuahuas don't even come out of the box, Wafer says, and some just sniff each other or run around in circles. "A race like that," Wafer says of the 10-foot sprint, "could last like a minute."

Last year, Cha-Cha's triumph drew about 900 people, Wafer says. To add to the surrealism, the track is also sponsoring a Chihuahua pageant with categories ranging from cutest to ugliest and smallest to fattest, a hot-chili-pepper-eating contest, bags of candy for the kids, a Texas hold 'em poker tournament and The Diablitos Mariachi Band from Sunnyside High School.

Entry forms and rules may be downloaded from the park's Web site. --M.H.

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