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Laugh Your Way to Health

Laughter Yoga
3 to 5 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 19
Freedom Inn at Ventana Canyon, 5600 N. Kolb Road
577-6940

According to scientific studies, children laugh between 400 and 600 times a day. Adults, on the other hand, laugh about 15 times a day, and the number goes down to six or eight for seniors.

Does this seem wrong to you?

Thank God for the newly popular "laughter yoga," a fun and therapeutic form of exercise developed by Indian physician Madan Kataria and being pioneered here in Tucson by yoga instructor Patti Wheatley. This kind of yoga isn't just for the young and highly flexible--there are no hard poses or extreme stretches required. Instead, it combines deep, controlled breathing exercises with simple stretching, various types of forced laughter and lots of eye contact. The eye contact, Wheatley stresses, is important. "It inspires you to laugh," she says. "It helps us connect with our inner spirit of laughter."

Besides being entertaining, laughter yoga has health benefits, both physically and psychologically. Proponents claim it tones the digestive system, stimulates the circulatory system and strengthens the respiratory system. In addition, laughter stops the body from secreting stress hormones and combats depression. (And the word on the street is that people who laugh a lot have killer abs.)

If you'd like to learn more about laughter yoga--either by watching it or by trying it out for yourself--go to Patti Wheatley's Laughter Yoga Workshop. It will start with a few stretches, vocal exercises and warm-ups, followed by laughter exercises, breathing and a "giggle cool-down." This particular class is geared toward seniors, but anyone can participate--and it's free. For more information or to RSVP, call 577-6940. --A.M.


Not Your Father's Slasher Film

"Edmond" with Director Stuart Gordon
7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 18
Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd.
795-7777

A repressed businessman leaves his wife and finds himself in the seedy depths of New York City. In his search for sexual freedom, he meets some interesting prostitutes and bums, gets a knife, transcends all morality and pretty much just starts killing people.

That's the basic plot outline of Stuart Gordon's new film, Edmond. While it might sound simple, it's probably one of the most controversial and intense horror films of the year. Adapted from a David Mamet play, the script is literate and complex, and the movie is really more about psychology and ideas than blood and guts. "It's not so much a horror film as it is a psychological study of the main character," says Jeff Yanc, the program director at the Loft. "It's very much about expressing the rage that everyone in society feels." What's more, while it's not really jump-out-of-your-seat scary, "it's more disturbing than a typical horror film, because this guy could be sitting next to you in the theater."

A word of warning to the politically correct--a lot of the main character's rage is blatantly directed at women, minorities and lower-class people. This fact, along with the plethora of violence and sex, is what makes the film so controversial. So it's a good thing that the movie's Tucson screening will include an introduction and question-and-answer session given by the director himself, who can explain the film's intent. What, exactly, is this intent? You'll have to ask Stuart Gordon.

And if you make it through Edmond, be sure to stick around at the Loft for a rare screening of Gordon's 1984 cult classic Re-Animator at 10 p.m. It doesn't get shown theatrically much, so it's not an event to miss.

The Edmond screening is $10 at the door; Re-Animator is $5. For more information, call 795-7777. --A.M.


Girls on Skates

Tucson Roller Derby: Iron Curtain vs. Vice Squad
6:30 to 10 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 19
Bladeworld, 1065 W. Grant Road
390-1454; www.tucsonrollerderby.com

If you're into speed, danger and hip chicks in short skirts knocking each other down, you'll probably want to see the Tucson Roller Derby. Since 2003, this organization of all-women skaters has been ripping up the rink with this entertaining and thrilling sport, getting better and more popular all the time.

Here's how it works: Two teams--each composed of a pack of four girls along with one "jammer"--race against each other in a bout. A bout is divided into three 20-minute periods, which are in turn made up of several two-minute "jams." The object of each team's jammer is to score more points than the other jammer, which she does by passing members of the opposite team. The goal of the pack, on the other hand, is to prevent the opposing jammer from scoring. Needless to say, things can get a little crazy.

"We get a lot of bumps and bruises," says Sloppy Flo, a member of the team they call the Fearless Truckstop Waitresses. "And there's an ongoing problem with knee injuries." But all the girls have health insurance, and they wear protective gear, so serious accidents aren't too common. The biggest inconvenience, it seems, is rink rash. ("We all get it on the same butt cheek," Flo asserts.)

The next bout will be a match between the Iron Curtain and current champions the Vice Squad, who'll be competing for a spot in next month's annual Tucson Roller Derby Championship. Music will be provided by DJ Fire bAAAd and Al Foul, and there will be (cliché alert!) fun for the whole family. Admission is $10, but kids younger than 12 are free with an adult. Call 390-1454 or visit www.tucsonrollerderby.com for more information. --A.M.


Communities on the Line

Public Immigration Hearing
6 to 9 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 17
Armory Park Center Ballroom, 220 S. Fifth Ave.
770-1373

To those of you waiting for the immigration debate to fade away: Don't hold your breath. Immigration issues are as important as ever, and recently, public hearings have been held throughout the country to address them. But unfortunately for migrants and their sympathizers, many of these hearings have been decidedly anti-immigrant.

To bring the debate a little more to the left, some groups here in Tucson are hosting a public hearing of their own. Its purpose is to create meaningful dialogue about the issues communities actually face when enforcement strategies are carried out in their midst--issues like violence, racial profiling, abuse and a tragic increase in border deaths--without a corresponding decrease in illegal immigration.

"It's important that community members be engaged in the discussion about border and immigration reform," says Kat Rodriguez, of Derechos Humanos, one of the organizations behind the hearing.

The hearing will have five panels of individuals giving testimony about border enforcement and its impact on human rights, indigenous peoples, the environment, the economy and structural violence. A listening panel with local figures like U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, County Supervisor Richard Elías and Don Slayman of the AFL-CIO are scheduled to hear the testimonies, and a court reporter will be present to transcribe the proceedings. A few weeks after the hearing, a final report will be issued.

Regardless of politics, most people agree that death is bad. And last year, 282 men, women and children died along the Arizona-Sonora border. How many will it be this year? Come to the hearing on Thursday, Aug. 17--that's tonight if you're picking this up the day the Weekly officially hits the streets--and get informed. For more information, call 770-1373. --A.M.

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