City Week

Pucker Up!

Arroyo Chico Neighborhood Association Citrus Celebration
10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, March 25
Reid Park; enter at Picnic Place

Les Pierce wants your extra grapefruits, lemons, limes and oranges. She knows you have them. Or she encourages you to bring your vitamin-C lust to the first annual Arroyo Chico Neighborhood Association Citrus Celebration to stock up on the antioxidant powers of citrus and relieve those whose fruit baskets runneth over.

The inaugural celebration is part of Pierce's masterplan to unite friends and neighbors of the Arroyo Chico Neighborhood.

Pierce has been president of the neighborhood association for two years now. And not long ago, she noticed the boughs of her neighbors' fruit trees and thought folks might spread the bounty.

With the advice of Arroyo Chico resident and "professional tree doctor" Kathryn Hahne, Pierce says, they pieced together an event to not only help Tucsonans get rid of surplus fruit, but also to have neighbors consider the local food supply.

"Maybe this is too much beyond this event," Pierce says, "but part of this is about getting to know what your resources are and exploring neighborhood food security. A lot of seniors who don't get to the grocery store very often still need fresh fruit in their diets. We're trying to get those thoughts going as well. We were going to have a neighborhood-only event, but we decided to share this idea with others in the hopes that they might take the idea to their neighborhoods."

To participate, bring excess fruit or an empty fruit basket and any questions you may have for Hahne about keeping trees healthy. Participants are encouraged to bring copies of favorite fruit-related recipes, from lemonade to mimosas. Be prepared to share, trade or barter for fruit. Everyone is welcome to this free citrus celebration.

For more details, e-mail Pierce at --M.H.

A Spirited Imagination

Fenton Johnson on "Keeping Faith: The Importance Of Imagination And Beauty"
7 to 9 p.m., Friday, March 24
Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 2331 E. Adams St.

The first time I heard Fenton Johnson's voice--a slight, honeyed Kentucky drawl that sneaks out in conversation--was in a Kansas City apartment where I was baby-sitting. He called to welcome me to the UA creative writing graduate program.

I said "groovy" and "cool" too many times. I had read some of his fiction--Scissors, Papers, Rock--and his nonfiction--Geography of the Heart: A Memoir--and was sufficiently star-struck to have little else to say.

I'm still that way, two years later and two months from graduation, when I sit in the UA associate professor of creative writing's office listening intently to his craft advice.

But don't take my word on Fenton Johnson's ability to make one speechless. The award-winning author--to name a few, Johnson has earned a Wallace Stegner and James Michener fellowship, earned National Endowment for the Arts fellowships in fiction and nonfiction, and won two Lambda Literary Awards--on Friday will be reading from his novel-in-progress, The Man Who Loved Birds, and his 2003 memoir, Keeping Faith: A Skeptic's Journey, at Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church for their ongoing lecture series, "Story, Faith and Contemporary Living."

The Man Who Loved Birds concerns itself with the importance of imagination and beauty in spiritual practice. Johnson will also share his thoughts on ordaining openly gay and lesbian priests and on the developing issues surrounding same-gender marriage.

Johnson wrote a cover essay on the latter issue for Harper's Magazine in 1996. He has also contributed to The New York Times Magazine, National Public Radio and leading literary quarterlies and newspapers. Johnson is a volunteer for the Arizona Together, the campaign to protect the rights of unmarried couples in Arizona.

Tickets cost $10, or $2 for students, and may be purchased at the door. --M.H.

Theologians and the Environment

Multi-Faith Forum on Protecting the Endangered Species Act
7 to 9 p.m., Monday, March 27
Lighthouse YMCA, 2900 N. Columbus Blvd.

For 25 years, Susan Kaplan worked in natural-resources management in Washington, D.C.

For 13 of those 25 years, Kaplan worked for the Department of the Interior, then 12 years for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She saw up close how the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 works, which now faces a potential rewrite from Congress.

But there was one glitch with the fast-paced clip of East Coast culture: "When I was working," Kaplan says, "I didn't leave time to do anything for the community and my personal desires."

But now, as the chair of the Southern Arizona Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, Kaplan works on behalf of two of her passions, the environment and Judaism, to bring other faiths to the table to discuss how various theological imperatives relate to protecting the endangered ESA.

The forum, funded by a grant from the Noah Alliance, a collaboration of many faiths and scientists who share a commitment to protecting the environment and biodiversity, includes confirmed speakers Rabbi Thomas Louchheim of Congregation Or Chadash, the Rev. Susan Manker-Seale of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Northwest Tucson, the Rev. Lee Milligan of the Church of the Painted Hills-United Church of Christ, and Scotty Johnson of Defenders of Wildlife. The forum is free, and all are welcome.

"In my opinion," Kaplan says, "faith work has to be interfaith to really make a splash; otherwise, you're just preaching to the choir, and you really have to expand the choir to be more inclusive to actually effect change.

"This is our first interfaith effort," Kaplan says of the forum, "and we believe this is an issue that transcends belief. The more diverse audience we get, the better off it is for all concerned." --M.H.

A Gathering of Nations

Wildcat Pow Wow 2006
5 p.m. to Midnight, Friday, March 24
11 a.m. to Midnight, Saturday, March 25
UA Bear Down Field, Fourth Street and Cherry Avenue

The Wildcat Pow Wow has a way with talent. This year's event continues to bring big names, such as Grammy-nominated Oklahoman drumming sensation Thunder Hill.

Alex E. Smith and Cheevers Toppah were nominated last month at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards for Best Native American Music Album. Smith and Toppah's CD, Intonation: Harmonized Songs From the Southern Plains (Canyon Records), didn't win, but they were among the top four albums, an honor nonetheless.

Thunder Hill isn't the only big name at this year's event. Esteemed classical guitarist Gabriel Ayala, a 2003 NAMMY nominee for Best Independent Recording--that's short for the Native American Music Awards--will serve as the pow wow's arena director, who oversees and coordinates the pow wow's performers.

"I'm excited for the whole thing," admits 23-year-old Tondalia Brown-States, pow wow committee president. "I'm just excited for the outcome."

Brown-States, former Miss Native American University of Arizona 2002-2003 and a UA psychology senior, says part of her excitement stems from anticipating the pow wow's fancydancing. Brown-States, along with the help of 12 other committee members whose heritage collectively represents Navajo, Hopi, Yavapai, San Carlos Apache, Pawnee, Cheyenne and Chumash nations, has worked hard to continue the tradition within city limits.

"You have to go that extra mile to get there," Brown-States says of Tohono O'odham and San Xavier pow wows, "while our pow wow is in the city; there are hotels and accommodations, and it's all within reach."

Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for students and military, and free for elders and kids less than 3 years old. The pow wow is smoke-free, so leave not only the cigs, but also Fido, alcohol, drugs and/or firearms, at home. --M.H.

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