City Week

Reporting the Conflict Within

"Caught in The Crossfire: The Iraqis' Iraq"
2 p.m., Saturday, April 15
The Friends Meeting House, 931 N. Fifth Ave.

How do you train people to be journalists when their lives have been preserved by saying nothing?

This is the question that Maggy Zanger struggled to answer while working for the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting. IWPR trains journalists in post-authoritative, post-conflict societies such as Bosnia, Afghanistan and Chechnya, Zanger says.

Zanger trained Iraqi journalists in 2003 and 2004. Before the war, Zanger conducted research in Kurdistan. During the war, she reported for the Cairo Times and for NBC as a news analyst. She also serves as an associate professor of journalism at the UA.

"We used to laugh in Iraq that our organization was called the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, but we weren't yet to the peace part," Zanger says of her challenging role as an educator of the Iraqi fourth estate.

"People tend to imitate what they see, and in the Arab press, the media was completely controlled by the party leaders," Zanger says. "You'd see headlines such as 'President Saddam Hussein, Our Glorious Leader, blah blah blah.' Adjective-laden language was all they had seen. ... The lead would always be the last sentence. And when you think about storytelling, much of Iraq is still rooted in an oral tradition, so of course, they're not going to give away the punch line in the first sentence; it's at the end. We really had to turn this around and try to teach people who, by and large, had never been taught to be critical. If you think about it, they survived by keeping their mouths shut. It was very hard for them to overcome that; they had a huge sense of deference to authority. As Americans we take that for granted; we're taught to be skeptical of authority, to challenge it ... ."

For details on Zanger's lecture, please call 791-9535. --M.H.

Video Games Killed the Pyrotechnic Stars

Flam Chen Benefit for Radio Electra
Doors open at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 15
Nimbus Brewing Company Taproom, 3850 E. 44th St.

Paul Weir, technical director of Flam Chen, Tucson's one-of-a-kind pyrotechnic theater troupe, puts it best when explaining his newest community collaboration, KABOOM.

"This is also about techno-activism," Weir says of the evening of live electronica, video art and fire combat. "It's a lot about what are games, and why do we play them? The show is essentially three actors on a couch, looking at a TV monitor, and the audience will connect through the narrative that is happening (in the video game) as three high-power projectors are projected on backdrops we've worked on for about 200 hours. ... This is, like so many of our projects, a community-building event

"This is a true multimedia event," Weir says. "There will be a live fire circus, live music (and) live video feeds all being manipulated and mixed on the fly. It's really live." Fellow pyro-performers Elemental Artistry join Flam Chen, as will the electronica stylings of Bark Bark Bark, Genetic, Not Breathing and Metrognome. There will also be a fire-sculpture garden by Greathouse Labs and Antralhead Media Video Art.

KABOOM benefits Radio Electra, one of the radio stations that broadcasts at the annual Burning Man festival in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. Radio Electra has established a radio station for Native American children at the STAR School, a charter elementary located 30 miles east of Flagstaff. KABOOM benefits this project.

Doors open at 8 p.m.; performers take the stage at 10:30 p.m., Weir says. Tickets cost $10 to those who dress up as their favorite superhero, warrior or zentai, or $12 for the less whimsical street-clothes wearers. --M.H.

It Is Easy Being Green

Tucson Organic Gardeners Monthly Meeting
7:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 18
St. Mark's Presbyterian Church, 3809 E. Third St.

While I am compost-challenged, I know a good number of you are not. You have green thumbs and even greener ways of growing fruits, vegetables and flowers than I.

Tucson Organic Gardeners is no exception. The nonprofit organization started 20 years ago and now counts almost 200 members attending frequent organic-gardening lectures, classes and potlucks, plus receiving hands-on advice in its monthly newsletter, The Composter.

I should probably subscribe to The Composter for its modest $10 annual fee. But if you want the right to vote and a TOG window sticker, you need to ante up another $2 to get the newsletter and membership rights. The highest level of membership is only $25 a year and comes with a canvas tote bag with a "limited edition design." Ooh.

Also, every third Tuesday, organic gardeners gather around to listen to a free guest speaker, such as local chef Robert Oser, who this month will speak on "Harvesting and Cooking for the Summer." The author of Chili! Mouth-Watering Meatless Recipes and Smoothie Power begins his lecture at 7:30 p.m.

If you show up 30 minutes prior to Oser's presentation, you may visit displays and a mini-market, speak with gardening experts and enjoy refreshments. I'm guessing those goodies are also organic.

Meetings are held from September through April and are free and open to the public. Meet in the Knox Room on the southwest corner of the church complex to attend the last monthly meeting until September.

For more information, call 670-9158, or visit the lovely green, and very informative, Tucson Organic Gardeners' Web site. --M.H.

The Wine-Dark Desert

Women for WineSense presents "The Road to Connoisseur"
6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 19
58 Degrees and Holding Co., 5340 E. Broadway Blvd.

The Homeric phrase "wine-dark sea" may need an update after the first event of Tucson's chapter of Women for WineSense ends. While the desert may be dry, the glasses raised at 58 Degrees and Holding Co. on Wednesday, April 19, at 6:30 p.m. will not be.

So far, the national nonprofit corporation Women for WineSense counts 13 chapters, from Mobile, Ala., to the founding Napa/Sonoma, Calif., chapter. Tucson joins the growing movement thanks in part to Donna Prescott, president of the newly formed Southern Arizona chapter.

Prescott saw an opportunity to gather fellow wine-lovers when she moved to Tucson from the Bay Area. She soon discovered she needed new tasting buddies. Prescott had no problems finding fellow tasters in Napa Valley, but the Sonoran Desert's dearth of women at local wine-tasting events was disappointing.

"I kept running into women who seemed to be very shy about asking questions about wine in such a wine-savvy area," Prescott says. "I just decided that this place needed a Women for WineSense chapter."

"The Road to Connoisseur" panel features three wine-industry pioneers--Joan Mueller of Canelo Hills Vineyard and Winery and vice president of the Arizona Winegrowers Association; Ann Roncone of Lightning Ridge Cellars and treasurer for the Arizona Winegrowers Association; and Patricia Kaleff, owner and general manager of Alta Terra Distributing Inc. The panel tells stories of their wine-industry ascents and leads a tasting of their favorite wines.

Admission to the inaugural event is $15 for members and $25 for nonmembers. Reservations preferred. To register, visit For more info, e-mail --M.H.

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