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Save the Books!

"THE MAIN COURSE: BANNED BOOKS"
NOON TO 1 P.M., THURSDAY, SEPT. 21
JOEL D. VALDEZ MAIN LIBRARY
LL1 MEETING ROOM, 101 N. STONE AVE.
791-4010

Books are meant to be read. Period. But there have been thousands of attempts to remove books from schools and libraries since 1990, and many of these attempts have succeeded. Great books like The Catcher in the Rye, Judy Blume's Forever and The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier have recently been under attack by prudes throughout the country for things like "offensive language," "sexual content" and "being unsuited to age group." For years on end, says Tucson-Pima Public Library Director Nancy Ledeboer, even the Harry Potter books were at the top of the Challenged and Banned Books List. Can anyone say "fascism"?

"Throughout history, there always have been a few people who don't want information to be freely available," says American Library Association (ALA) President Leslie Burger in a press release. "And this is still true. The reason more books aren't banned is because community residents--with librarians, teachers and journalists--stand up and speak out for their freedom to read."

To get out the word about the threats that face our country's books, the ALA has started Banned Books Week, which will take place this year from Sept. 23-30. Next Thursday, the downtown library will go a step further to offer a lunchtime lecture all about banned books, full of information on which books have been banned, which might be banned in the future and what book lovers can do to save their favorite literature from oblivion.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to bring their lunch and "learn as they munch." --A.M.

Voting Matters

"WILL YOUR VOTE REALLY COUNT?"
2 P.M., SATURDAY, SEPT. 16
QUAKER MEETING HOUSE, 931 N. FIFTH AVE.
791-9535

It's that time of year again: election season. But will your vote actually count?

According to John Brakey, leader of the Tucson branch of the Americans United for Democracy, Integrity and Transparency in Elections, maybe not. "We have a big problem in elections in Arizona and nationally," he says. "(Our state) may have been a test lab for many years." And Brakey's ideas don't seem based on speculation or liberal paranoia--he has a lot of convincing statistics to back them up. "I have so much information," he says, "it could be a book."

Here are some facts: Arizona is the hardest state in which to get a recount. It's the second-worst state per capita for abuse of provisional ballots. It ranks third for incidents of election irregularities. Arizonan GOP "Chistocrats" have actually made calls to Democratic voters and tried to get them to vote in the wrong precinct--Brakey knows, because he got one of those calls and has it recorded.

And don't even get him started on Diebold voting machines. They're basically the devil.

If any of this has you a little freaked out, don't worry. There are things we, the people, can do to prevent election fraud, if only we get informed. And we can do so at the next meeting of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, at which Brakey will give all of the above information and more.

The lecture is free and open to voters of all parties. --A.M.

Weekly Meditations

"MEDITATION FOR DRUNKS, ROCKSTARS AND THE REST OF US"
5:30 TO 6:30 P.M., TUESDAYS THROUGH OCT. 3
THREE JEWELS, 314 E. SIXTH ST.
207-9889

If you're not a hippie, yuppie or baby boomer, you might not feel like meditation should be your thing. But it's so good for you! A lot of us are really missing out.

Well, we don't have to anymore, thanks to Will Duncan, a local meditation enthusiast who's been practicing since the age of 14. He's starting up a new meditation class for the not-so-spiritual, which will provide a light-hearted and practical look at what meditation is, how it works and the different ways of doing it. You don't have to follow any belief system or have a mystical worldview to do well in this class--in fact, according to Duncan, people like rock stars and drunks tend to have a clarity of mind that's very helpful in meditation. And who needs the new-age lingo?

"I will not use words such as 'energy vortex,' 'spirit channeling,' or 'radiant angel guide' during the class," says Duncan. "I'm not against that stuff, but some of the great meditation masters of old, I think, would be more comfortable in a mosh pit than in a beginners' meditation class. ... Being a drunk or even a part-time drunk or being able to play Hendrix solos with your earlobes may very possibly be signs of a promising future of a meditator."

The classes will consist of actual meditation as well as dialogue about the three common types of meditation and the nine stages mapped out by the ancient Buddhist masters. There will be lots of diagrams to help participants learn. And while the class is progressive, people are welcome to come to any of the classes in any order. No pre-registration is necessary.

"I also offer a money-back guarantee if you're not fully satisfied," says Duncan. "Which amounts to really nothing, since the classes are free." --A.M.

Fun With Felines

"CAT AND CACTUS" CAT SHOW
9:30 A.M. TO 4:30 P.M., SATURDAY, SEPT. 16, AND SUNDAY, SEPT. 17
RODEWAY INN EVENT CENTER, 1365 W. GRANT ROAD
297-5236

The feline species is one of the cutest in the world. For me, cats are right up there with baby seals.

But what about those cats with no tails, or the really furry ones with the smashed-looking faces? What about the ones with weird, wiry fur? For God's sake, what about those cats with no fur at all?

I have to admit, those aren't the cutest breeds of cat. But they definitely look interesting, which is something. And you can see all kinds of cats--from darling kittens to hairless oddities--showing off their assets at the International Cat Association's upcoming "Cat and Cactus" cat show, put on locally this weekend by the Coatimondi Cat Club.

The event will feature 14 continuous rings full of more than 250 cats from all over the United States being judged on their coats, colors, profiles and personalities. According to the press release, many new breeds will be represented, including the pixie-bob and the munchkin, as well as old favorites like the Siamese and the Maine coon. You can take a look at Persians (the smashed-looking cats) and sphynxes (the ones without fur) and decide for yourself how attractive they are.

In addition, there will be lots of cat-related items for sale and display, like catnip toys, cat trees and even litter pans. A photographer will be there taking "kitty pictures," and pet-food vendors will offer free samples for you to take home. If you don't already have a cat--or if you feel the need for another one--exhibitors will have kittens for sale. And they will definitely be cute (the kittens, not the exhibitors).

Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for kids. (Children younger than 6 are free.) Group discounts are available. --A.M.

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