City Week

Mindful Walking

Inaugural National Alliance on Mental Illness Walk
7:30 a.m., Saturday, March 31
Kino Veterans Memorial Park
2805 E. Ajo Way

One in four families is affected by mental illness, according to Susan Moreno of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. NAMI, the largest grassroots advocacy group for people with mental illness, began holding sponsored walks for mental illness six years ago at only 12 sites. This year, NAMI has 70 walk sites and has already raised $70 million.

NAMI's Campaign for the Mind of America works to raise awareness about the need to develop a treatment and recovery system for the many people in the country who suffer from mental illness.

This is the third year a NAMI walk will be held in Phoenix, and the first year one will be held in Tucson. Moreno says donations in Tucson already range around $70,000.

"Mental illness is not just a serious case like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder," says Moreno. "It also includes depression and anxiety and other brain disorders."

Tucson's NAMI Walk is a 5K walk, and anyone can participate. Moreno says that walkers are encouraged to get people to sponsor them.

The walk will kick off with former Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona leading the walkers in warm-up stretches. The Davis-Monthan Color Guard will also be there to perform, and former University of Arizona president Peter Likins, Dr. Thomas Insel, Dr. Don Rosenstein and Dr. O. Ray Fitzgerald of the National Institute of Mental Health will greet participants.

Following the walk, food will be provided by Papagayo Mexican Restaurant and eegee's. Mariachi music, a magician and face painting will be featured.

Moreno anticipates 1,200 to 1,500 people will attend.

Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., and the walk starts at 9 a.m. For more information, visit the NAMI Web site. --K.H.

Jazz Out!

Second Annual Tubac Jazz and Blues Festival
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, March 31
Tubac Parque De Anza

There really isn't a more soulful form of music than good old jazz. The Tubac Chamber of Commerce, the Tucson Jazz Society and Brasher Real Estate are presenting a lively lineup of talented jazz musicians in the Second Annual Tubac Jazz and Blues Festival.

This year's festival promises to surpass the success of last year's event. Festival coordinator Diane Frisch says there will be a different lineup from last year, including many bluesy-jazzy acts from Arizona.

"Our one main goal this year is to promote music, especially jazz music, to more young people in Arizona," says Frisch.

The festival will do just that by featuring talented young jazz musicians from the Rio Rico High School Jazz Band--who won a national contest and need the festival's promotion to follow up on an invitation to Washington, D.C.

Speaking of new additions to the festival, Frisch says there is excitement building for a performance by the lovely sounds of Lisa Otey and the Desert Divas.

"They are just really fun and fabulous," says Frisch.

Other artists who will perform include Tucson's own JAZZWERX, the Grammy-nominated Les Baxter Factor, Soundscape Sedona, Joe Bourne and the Tucson All-Stars and the Phoenix Jazz Divas.

"This is just a fun way to spend the day in a beautiful setting and hear some great jazz music," says Frisch.

Beer, wine and food will be sold at the festival. Frisch says to be sure to bring a blanket, though, because the festival is being held at an outdoor venue.

Tickets are $28 for adults and $14 for children, and are available through the Tucson Jazz Society. Visit the Jazz Festival Web site for more information. --K.H.

Just for Phun

Physics Phun Nite
6:30 to 8 p.m., Friday, March 30
Pcc Campus Center for the Arts
2202 W. Anklam Road

Most people looking for fun this Friday night will go to the movies, have a nice dinner or maybe sing some karaoke. But those who want to have phun--and learn about the wonders of our physical universe at the same time--will go to Pima Community College's Physics Phun Nite.

Physics Phun Nite (or PPN for short) is an evening of interesting--and definitely wild--activities demonstrating all kinds of scientific phenomena, from light and sound to mechanics. You can experience the jaw-dropping effects of a Tesla coil's 100,000 volts of electricity, see what happens when air pressure is combined with rotation to create a "flame tornado" and even learn a quick and easy recipe for liquid-nitrogen ice cream. Usually, the night is concluded with a dramatic demonstration, like one they call The Bed of Nails, in which a Pima Community College faculty member is sandwiched between two wooden slabs full of hundreds of very sharp nails, while a cinder block, placed on top of the upper slab, is smashed with a sledgehammer. Thanks to the miracles of science, not a single participant has died.

"The intent of the event, "says Physics Department Chair Anthony Pitucco, "is to bring to the general public, particularly school children, the things we do in our physics classes to demonstrate very interesting and exciting ideas. Since these types of experiments often don't work (as in many class experiments), there is quite a bit of humor attached to it as well. ... All in all, we try to make it as much fun as we can."

This year's PPN will be especially good, because physics demonstration team the Physics Factory will be there with a mobile laboratory and lots of hands-on experiments that are great for kids. The event is free. --A.M.

Justice for Judas

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot
7 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m., Sundays through April 8
Preview performance at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 29
Art Fare
55 N. Sixth Ave.

If God is so merciful, then why did he condemn Judas to hell for all eternity? Shouldn't Judas have at least gotten a fair trial?

That's the basic premise of Stephen Adly Guirgis' The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, a satirical play set in a courtroom in downtown Purgatory, where an ironically agnostic defense lawyer has just obtained a writ from God granting Judas a retrial. What ensues is some very entertaining testimony given by all kinds of witnesses--including real-life figures like Sigmund Freud and Mother Teresa, Biblical characters like Simon the Zealot and Pontius Pilate, a flock of foul-mouthed saints ... and a Gucci-clad mob boss by the name of Satan. As the trial goes on, the testimony paints a picture of Judas' childhood, his relationships with Jesus and the apostles and, of course, the big betrayal.

So what happens to Judas? Well, you can see for yourself if you attend the play, which opens in Tucson this week thanks to a collaboration between Art Fare and Stark Naked Productions. But don't expect a straightforward moral message.

"The way I see it," said Stark Naked's producer and director, Eugenia Woods, in an e-mail, "Guirgis developed a piece that reflects the play of guilt and despair on the human psyche. His work walks the line between the sacred and the secular and never really lets us off the hook or offers any pat resolution. ... The most surprising thing about this piece is that it delivers such a profound message with such outrageous humor."

Tickets are $16, or $14 for students. And even if you're religious, don't worry much about being offended: No member of the play's cast--whether Catholic, Jewish or Pagan--has ever had a problem with any of it. However, warns Woods, it "does contain a good deal of strong language." --A.M.

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