City Week

Music, Poetry, Funding

Po'Tree Salo(o)n: Benefit for Casa Libre and Sonora Review

7 p.m., Wednesday, April 29

Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St.


When it comes to federal funding, artists don't get the respect they deserve. This is especially true when the economy is in a recession.

Therefore, two outlets for creative writing decided to come together to support the Old Pueblo's literary community with a fundraiser at one of downtown Tucson's most popular clubs.

Casa Libre en la Solana and University of Arizona's Sonora Review, along with Spork Press, are sponsoring the first Po'Tree Salo(o)n at Club Congress, showcasing some of the best writers, poets and musicians Tucson has to offer.

"This year, we haven't received much in the way of federal grants for the arts," said Jake Levine of the Sonora Review. "So we've teamed up to raise the funding we need to continue these programs."

The Po'Tree Salo(o)n has two different facets. From 7 to 9:30 p.m., the event will feature nine local poets and songwriters performing in an intimate environment. Wordsmiths such as Richard Siken, Maggie Golston and Naim Amor, who all have a knack for transforming words into writing that speaks from the soul, will be showcasing their work.

After 9:30 p.m., the event features live music from talented groups like Chris Black, Tom Walbank and the Ambassadors, and others.

"We hope that the Po'Tree Salo(o)n will become an annual event that is more like a festival for writing instead of a fundraiser," said Levine.

Organizers are asking for a $5 donation. The Po'Tree Salo(o)n will also include a 50/50 raffle in which participants have an opportunity to win a cash prize. Commemorative T-shirts, stickers and books will also be on sale. All proceeds support Casa Libre and Sonora Review. —A.C.

The Stories of Refugee Kids

Digital Stories by Youth From Across the Globe: From Tucson to the Townships of South Africa

10 a.m., Saturday, April 25

Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd.


As a mentor for refugee youth in Tucson, Pamela Asherah discovered a personal form of artistic expression.

While assisting refugees in the Owl and Panther Project with their digital documentaries about their lives, Asherah started creating her own mini-documentary about her father, an Eastern European refugee.

"After my dad died, I got all these records and photographs, and through the Owl and Panther Project, I discovered multimedia is a great outlet," she said.

Asherah's seven-minute documentary, Remembering Father, will premiere at the Loft, along with 12 other documentaries made by the refugees of the project, as part of the Arizona International Film Festival.

The Owl and Panther Project is an expressive arts program that assists those affected by traumatic dislocation through counseling and art.

There are roughly 12 children in the program, and they meet at the UA every Tuesday evening. Mentors work along with the attendees in a variety of art projects.

"It's really helping them (the children) adjust; it's giving them a place to really express what's going on inside," said Asherah, who has been working with the project for two years. "It's a very loving, supportive environment. ... It's like a little community bonded together to support them."

This year, the Owl and Panther Project decided to go digital, and all of the children were able to create their own documentaries about their lives. The films come from children refugees Iraq, Central America and Tibet, to name a few places. Asherah said isolation was a common theme found in many of the documentaries.

"It's going to be moving to see these films made by children from across the world," said Asherah.

Admission is free. —L.A.

Swingin' Service

Third Annual Justicepalooza

5:30 p.m. to midnight, Sunday, April 26

The Hut, 305 N. Fourth Ave.


Let's break down this word: "Justicepalooza."

Anything ending in "palooza" is bound to include some sort of hip, swinging music, accompanied by laughter and entertainment.

Now, about the "justice" part: Justicepalooza is a fundraiser being hosted by the Quaker-based American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).

"We are a nonprofit that works for a variety of issues," explained AFSC member Caroline Isaacs. "We work to reduce prison populations, as well as improve conditions for those who are incarcerated. We also have an immigration program that focuses on helping immigrant workers. Finally, we provide a clinic for low-wage women workers, where we try to help them in any way we can."

As for Justicepalooza itself: "It will be a super-fun night, with six incredible local bands," Isaacs said.

At 5:30 p.m., Space Over Desert will kick off the night with what Isaacs described as "ambient sounds," setting the mood for a spectacular night of jams. The Tangelos will then take the stage with what Isaacs referred to as "mellow and super-kick-ass music."

The night will continue with tunes from Courtney Robbins, whose music, Isaacs said, is rock-folk stuff such as guitar ballads. Leila Lopez will continue the acoustic sound with folk and soul.

Michael P. will perform with an eight-piece rock group which includes Isaacs, and then the night will end with a bang, thanks to The Infernal Racket, who promise to drive audiences to the dance floor with funk and edge.

Admission costs a suggested donation of $8. There is no doubt that a nonprofit like AFSC that works hard will play just as hard! —L.L.

The Ultimate Boxed-Lunch Carriers

12th Annual Urban Picnic and Art Auction

10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday, April 24

Tucson Museum of Art, 140 N. Main St


Lunch could be considered the most important meal of the day—except for breakfast and dinner, of course—but did you know that you can also use lunch to support Tucson art institutions?

The 12th Annual Urban Picnic and Art Auction will promote the arts by including an auction of handcrafted lunch boxes made by some of the finest artists the Southwest has to offer.

Sponsored by the Tucson Museum of Art and Ballet Tucson, this unique live auction has only two simple rules regarding the creations: They each have to be a box of some sort, and they each need a hinge.

"When you give an artist two little parameters, you get interesting work," said Cynthia Hansen, an event organizer.

Past lunch-box submissions included artist Barbara Jo McLaughlin's red-and-green, cask-shaped box that held two martini glasses, appropriately named "Two Martini Lunch." Other artists loosely interpret the rules, offering sculpted works that don't resemble a lunch box but adhere to the submission guidelines.

"It doesn't have to be an actual lunch box." said Hansen. "We receive many submissions of sculptures that are truly one-of-a-kind."

Previous bids on these lunch boxes have ranged all the way up to $800. This year, artist William Skiles' "No Time for Lunch," a sculpture made from steel, aluminum and sterling silver, is valued at $1,850.

The event will also include a silent auction of non-lunch-box-related artwork, and entertainment from the Ed DeLucia Trio and Ballet Tucson performers.

The 12th Annual Urban Picnic will be held in the courtyard of the Tucson Museum of Art. Tickets can be reserved for $45 through Ballet Tucson or purchased at the door (if any of the 350 tickets remain). Proceeds support the Tucson Museum of Art and Ballet Tucson. —A.C.