City Week

Eat Pizza, Buy Art

Art for the Heart of Peace Institute

11 a.m. to 9 p.m., daily, through Sunday, Feb. 14

Eclectic Pizza

7065 E. Tanque Verde Road


Does it sound fun to enjoy pizza and admire artwork, all while doing a good deed? That's exactly what folks are doing these days at Eclectic Pizza on the eastside.

The work of local painters Brian Banks and Mary Jane Crich is hanging at Eclectic Pizza now through Feb. 14. If you see something you like while munching on pizzas and salads, you can purchase it.

The best part: 50 percent of the proceeds go to the Heart of Peace Project for Autism, a local nonprofit that works with autistic children.

The Heart of Peace Institute offers programs for parents and children with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental delays. They teach families how to use therapies, nutrition and homeopathy. The ultimate goal is for parents and children to understand one another and to help children through developmental stages.

Banks got to know one of the homeopaths at the institute, and they decided an art exhibit would be good for both the institute and their work. Banks says he has always used watercolors, but for this show, he is using mostly oils.

"I've found in the desert that it's harder to work with watercolors because of the dryness," says Banks, who is originally from England. "I've painted the Tucson Mountains, Fourth Avenue trolleys and some European scenes."

While he now lives in Tucson, Banks has traveled the world and painted in places like Canada, England and Italy. Eight of his pieces are hanging at Eclectic Pizza.

"It's a great thing to sell a few pieces and work with this organization," he says. —A.P.

Save the Mountains!

"What are Sky Islands?"

1 to 3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 3

Colossal Cave Mountain Park

16721 E. Old Spanish Trail, Vail


The term "sky island" sounds like a home for a magical castle in the clouds. But sky islands have little to do with fairy tales and everything to do with our surroundings here in the Southwestern desert.

The mountain "islands" are forested ranges that rise up above vast expanses of desert.

"You have an 8,000 foot mountain right in the middle of the Sonoran Desert," says Lauren Hohl, the education assistant at Colossal Cave Mountain Park. "These are very unique and isolated environments."

The Sky Island Alliance is an organization that seeks to protect these areas, which house many rare plants and mammals that can only survive where the desert meets the forest. According to the alliance Web site, these ecosystems are threatened by land development, climate change and more.

Mike Quigley works with the alliance to educate people on the importance of preserving sky islands and what can be done to help with conservation. He will present a two-hour informational session at the La Posta Quemada Ranch, located inside the park, to give people a chance to learn and ask questions about this unique habitat.

Hohl says people can learn how to keep nearby mountain ranges around for a long time to come.

The series is part of the park's Sunday in the Park series, which features a new environmental topic every month, including an upcoming session on the Hohokam Native American tribe.

The presentation is free, but admission to the park is $5. —E.N.

Wild Western Fun

The Cisco Kid

Various times, next Thursday, Jan. 7, through Saturday, March 27

Gaslight Theatre

7010 E. Broadway Blvd.


Heroism and gunfire are coming to the Gaslight Theatre in a musical stage adaptation of O. Henry's short story The Caballero's Way.

Becky Gilmour, director of public relations at the Gaslight, insists that The Cisco Kid has a definite comedic element, too.

"Westerns are just so fun—they give you so much to work with," says Gilmour.

The play is set in 1810 New Spain—in other words, the Wild, Wild West. Audiences will follow Francisco de la Corazon and his band of outlaws as they fight to reclaim his family's estate and woo his spicy Latina bandita.

Gilmour says that Gaslight crowd favorite David Fanning is making his return after a stay in New York, and he'll play the Cisco Kid himself. Linda Ackermann is in charge of musical direction, while Peter Van Slyke wrote and directed the show.

"(Van Slyke) is so good at bringing out the comedy and the story," says Gilmour. "He really knows what the audience likes."

The Cisco Kid came to the Gaslight about five years ago, and Gilmour says the production was a great success. As always at Gaslight, the atmosphere and the menu (available for chowing down during performances) make it an all-ages-appropriate show.

If you have ever been to the Gaslight, Gilmour assumes that you are familiar with how thrilling the experience can be.

"I can remember when I was 6 years old, and I would walk through those doors, and your life just stops, or really starts, for two hours," she recalls.

Tickets are $17.95 for adults and $7.95 for kids 12 and younger, with discounts available to students, seniors and members of the military. The show is two hours long, with two intermissions and a separate 20-minute olio. Call or visit the Web site for a list of show times. —E.N.

No Weddings ... but a Cake!

Dove of Peace New Year's Concert

2 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 3

Dove of Peace Lutheran Church

665 W. Roller Coaster Road


What's the best part of a wedding (aside from, of course, the pairing/love stuff)? The free booze? The 3-foot-tall cake?

The folks at Dove of Peace Lutheran Church would say that it is the music that makes the ceremony—and the church is putting on a concert of Baroque wedding favorites as part of its classical music showcase, special to ring in the new year. Each year features a new theme, and in 2010, audiences will hear classical songs that are usually performed in the context of a wedding.

To add to the merriment, the Dove of Peace folks will be serving wedding cake and coffee at intermission. (But don't expect an open bar.)

"We've all been to a million weddings," says Eric Holtan, the series' artistic director. "It just so happens that most of these wedding favorites come from the 18th-century Baroque era."

Holtan says that these songs have remained popular for so many years for a reason—it's all good music. Songs like "Canon in D" by Johann Pachelbel and "Trumpet Voluntary" by Jeremiah Clarke will be familiar to audiences, and the program will feature three Italian love duets by G.F. Handel.

The classical favorites will come to life through the string and wind instrumentalists of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, and the voices of Tucson Chamber Artists.

Holtan says they will "pass the hat," and all the donations will go to Interfaith Community Services, an organization that serves the needs of the poor and represents a whole range of faiths.

Apart from donations, the concert is free. —E.N.

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