City Week

Glass Class

Sonoran Glass Art Academy Annual Auction
5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 27
Windmill Suites, 4250 N. Campbell Ave.

You have to respect any artist who braves 2,000-degree temperatures for the sake of creation. That's what glass artists do every time they use a glass-melting furnace. And that's not even mentioning the dangers of the blowtorch.

Students at Tucson's Sonoran Glass Art Academy don't let the fear of a little scorching get in the way of their art. In fact, they seem to enjoy the risks.

"We have a hot shop, a warm shop, a flame shop, a cold shop and a sandblasting shop," says Sally Krommes, the school's executive director. "It's very wild! The place is all fire, steel, heat (and) spontaneous creation. ... We love it!" But relax: Safety is always a top priority. "We instruct all students on the proper clothing, movements and eyewear to avoid hazards," Krommes assures the public. "We discourage flowing chiffon dresses, beehive do's, wigs, polyester and high-heeled sandals. And of course, we have groovy eyewear props!"

All such precautions are totally worth it when you consider the end results of the glass artists' labors, which you'll be able to see--and bid on--this Friday at the Sonoran Glass Art Academy's annual auction. There will be a diverse array of about 100 pieces, including glass-bead jewelry, bowls, vases, candelabras, sculptural pieces, abstract glass works and much more, by artists from all over Arizona and beyond. Gift certificates for glass-art classes will also be available.

A $25 donation is requested at the door, and all proceeds will go toward educating underserved youth. Both silent and live auctions will take place. And yes, there will be an open bar--just don't get tipsy and break the art. --A.M.

Ghosts, Goblins and Other Wildlife

International Wildlife Museum Halloween Party
4 to 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 28
International Wildlife Museum, 4800 W. Gates Pass Road

Lots of children like to dress up as animals for Halloween. But how much do they know about the creatures they're impersonating?

This Halloween weekend, whether they choose to be a monkey, a black cat or a nun, your kids can play dress-up and learn at the same time--all you have to do is take them to the International Wildlife Museum's Halloween bash. There will be lots of creative amusements like "ghost bowling," a glow-in-the-dark cave tour, a costume contest and Halloween-themed games and crafts--but there'll also be educational activities, including live animal demonstrations of crawling, slithery guests, thanks to the Tucson Herpetological Society. And while you're there, make sure to show your kids the museum's realistic dioramas and wild-animal exhibits, all part of the museum's goal to promote wildlife appreciation and conservation.

"Our museum provides a safe, fun and educational setting for families to enjoy the Halloween holiday," said education curator Kristine Massey in a press release. "We've struck a great balance between conservation, education and entertainment, which appeals to our members and the community."

The event will be geared toward kids between the ages of 2 and 12, but adults can participate, too--even in the costume contest. There will also be several screenings of the classic film The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and everybody's old favorite, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. And don't worry about your kids getting too spooked.

"The festivities are family-oriented, and aren't meant to be scary like many events typically found around Halloween time," asserts Katie Olson, the museum's education specialist. Unless, of course, anyone in your family is bothered by the Herpetological Society's snakes.

Admission is $7 for adults, $2.50 for kids 4 to 12 and free for children 3 and younger. Wear a costume, and bring your brain. --A.M.

Helping Hands Needed

Make A Difference Day
8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 28
House of Neighborly Service, 243 W. 33rd St.
881-3300, Ext. 120

What kinds of things do you do that really make a difference in our community? Huh? Nothing? Am I making you feel guilty?

Sorry. I didn't mean to. I just wanted to do a little promotion for Make a Difference Day, the national "day of doing good" that takes place the fourth Saturday of every October. With participation from corporations, community organizations and selfless individuals, it all boils down to a day of neighbors helping neighbors. And Tucson's own House of Neighborly Service (HNS) is giving you an easy way to take part.

HNS is a valuable community center that provides underserved South Tucson residents with a safe and welcoming space, offering food, companionship and skill-building activities to meet the needs of community youth. And it just so happens that HNS has needs, too--they're currently trying to enrich their grounds, so they're asking people from throughout Tucson to come help them paint, weed, build things and clean up the neighborhood. There will be a lot of interesting projects, like designing and painting a big mural, as well as some indoor activities like labeling donated books. As an extra incentive, HNS will host a luncheon celebration--complete with reflection activities--at noon, and there are rumors of a DJ.

In any case, HNS volunteer Stephanie Wacha promises that the event will be fun: "Make a Difference Day is an opportunity for families and friends to meet new people and have a good time while (changing) our Tucson community for the better." So if you'd like to do a little neighborly service for the organization that specializes in it, come spend a few hours in South Tucson. The event is free (including the lunch), and if nothing else, it's sure to make you feel good. --A.M.

Runaway Inflation

Fred Garbo Inflatable Theater Company
2 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 29
UA Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd.

Want to see a man blow himself up onstage? No, I don't mean with dynamite. I mean with air.

Fred Garbo loves to inflate himself. So does his sidekick, ballerina Daielma Santos. These two are the main performers for the Fred Garbo Inflatable Theater Company, a performance troupe that uses blow-up costumes and props--along with lots of acrobatics, juggling, mime tricks and dancing--to amaze and entertain audiences. They've performed on The Late Show With David Letterman, at the Kennedy Center and on stage and television in Chile, Japan, Ireland and Brazil. And this Sunday, you'll have a chance to see them right here in Tucson.

According to the press release, the show begins with an air-filled, 10-foot snakelike object slithering across the stage, eventually imploding and sending giant inflatable shapes into the audience. Props like these, made of colorful parachute silk and taking the form of cubes, squares, cylinders and wheels, are the main attraction. With or without someone inside, they can roll, float, wiggle, tumble, glide, slide and even contort to resemble facial expressions.

The show also includes a bunch of special characters, including a darling dog called Puff the Air-Dale and a hugely bloated man with a disproportionately tiny head by the name of Fred Zeppelin (played by Fred Garbo himself). Santos adds to the show with a variety of dances, from ballet moves to the can-can, and apparently has a very entertaining inflatable skirt. She can juggle, too.

Fred Garbo's colorful and often silly show is, as you might guess, great for kids. But I'm assured that it's actually ideal for any age group. Admission is $8 to $15 for both kids and adults. --A.M.

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