City Week

Geniuses at Work

Tucson Artists' Open Studios

11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, March 13 and 14

At artists' studios citywide

A lot of Tucson venues show off local artists' work. But these galleries and other venues don't allow art-lovers to see the artists in action.

The Tucson Artists' Open Studios tour aims to do just that, by opening up more than 135 artists' workspaces throughout Tucson.

"Some people will sell their work; some will do demonstrations," said Dirk Arnold, an artist and organizer of this weekend's tour. "It's an all-around art experience."

In previous years, the Tucson Pima Arts Council organized both a fall and a spring tour for artists, but the arts agency recently cut that back to once a year—so artists like Arnold have picked up the slack.

"It's important for people to have exposure to these works more than once a year," said Arnold.

The tour is not exclusive, allowing anyone and everyone the opportunity to show their work to the public. If you go, Arnold encourages interaction with the artists, as this is one of the few opportunities that most members of the general public get to interact with artists.

"Lots of people just come in and stand with their arms crossed," Arnold said. "Try to get engaged, and ask lots of questions."

Arnold promises that viewers and artists alike will learn a lot during the experience. After all, creating that connection between the two groups is one of the goals of the tour.

"If people get to see the work, hopefully they will ask questions and learn what went into the work," Arnold said. "Then the artist can learn what resonates with the public."

Admission to the studios is free; visit the Web site for maps and a list of participating studios. —S.F.

Irish Tunes Between the Books

Jamie O'Brien in concert

3 to 4 p.m., Saturday, March 13

Himmel Branch, Pima County Public Library

1035 N. Treat Ave.

594-5305, ext. 3

If you're looking for a way to get into the St. Patrick's Day spirit a little bit early (other than perhaps bracing yourself for an excessive amount of alcohol), look no further than Jamie O'Brien's concert at the Himmel Park Library.

O'Brien comes from an Irish family in London, England. He moved to the United States about 20 years ago.

O'Brien said he grew up listening to his family playing music, and when he grew up, he started playing in public. He plays Irish and Celtic music—and, strangely enough, he also plays Hawaiian music. He plays both the guitar and the ukulele.

He moved to Tucson in 2006 from Pennsylvania. "I can't see myself leaving Tucson. The weather, the food, the people—it's just so cool here," he said.

O'Brien said he likes to talk a lot—and he especially loves to tell stories about the songs he plays, because they have great histories and backgrounds. He said he gets to do a lot of storytelling here in Tucson.

"It's a different audience here than anywhere else. People here really, really love hearing about the songs, along with actually hearing the song itself," he said.

He also likes to stick around after the show to talk with the audience and answer any questions they might have. "No matter how big the audience is, I always end up chatting with them. It's a very personal thing."

O'Brien said he's happy to play at a place like a public library. "(The show) is encouraging people to go to the library, because we really have a great library system here. They are kind of becoming community centers," he said.

Admission to the concert is free. —T.D.

The Madness Continues!

Pop Goes the Loft! The Films of Andy Warhol

8 p.m., every Thursday in March

Loft Cinema

3233 E. Speedway Blvd.


Andy Warhol came to Tucson in the 1960s to film Lonesome Cowboys, a decidedly different kind of Western than, say, John Wayne's Rio Bravo.

Well, folks, Warhol is back. Not back from the dead, but he's here, nonetheless.

Tucson has been taken over by an Andy Warhol renaissance. The Tucson Museum of Art has his artwork on display in a show titled Andy Warhol Portfolios: Life and Legends; the Rialto Theatre hosted dance parties to kick off the celebration. And all month, the Loft Cinema is showing his work, too.

"I've always wanted to do a Warhol series, but we needed to wait until there was an exhibit in town to get the films from the Museum of Modern Art in New York," said Jeff Yanc, the program director at the Loft.

From the moment Yanc saw Vinyl (showing on March 18) years ago, he was hooked. The movie, based on the book A Clockwork Orange, is a quintessential 1960s trip, filled with what the Loft calls "sex, violence and gratuitous dancing."

Yanc said his experience with Warhol films educated him in raw film visuals and documentary styles.

"Warhol's aesthetic influenced some of my favorite films," he said. "Making films that don't look like Hollywood narratives is really exciting to me."

As with many Loft films, Warhol's movies may not necessarily appeal to the mainstream movie-goer.

"The movie may just be good in a different way than you're used to," Yanc said.

"Even if people haven't seen these films, they are important and influential to other films they may have seen."

Tickets to the Thursday showings are $10 for general admission, and $8 for Loft members.


Brown 1, Green 0

Peripheral Visions by Martha Lee McKiernan

Opening reception: 12:15 to 1:30 p.m., Sunday, March 14

On display 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday-Friday; noon to 1 p.m., Sunday, through April 4

Artist of the Month Gallery

Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson

4831 E. 22nd St.


The title of Martha Lee McKiernan's upcoming show, Peripheral Visions, pretty much sums up her inspiration for the pieces on display.

"I like to paint whatever I see. When I see something, I think, 'Oh, that's funny! I wonder if I can get that on paper,'" she said.

McKiernan started painting with watercolors after she took a class in college to learn how to teach watercolors to elementary kids. She was a teacher for 23 years, and when she retired, she decided it was time to try her own hand at watercolors.

"My husband says I'm a happier person when I'm painting, and I think I believe him," McKiernan said.

McKiernan moved to Tucson from Ohio with her husband in 1995. She said they used to go on motorcycle rides through New Mexico and Arizona looking for a place where they could retire.

McKiernan notes that she doesn't really like painting places that are green. "I tried painting the greenery of San Diego. I get lost in that emerald greenery. I can paint these browns of the desert—I was meant to be here."

Another thing unique about McKiernan: She doesn't mind parting with her paintings. "It's the process of painting that makes me happy," she said. "I have no possessiveness over my paintings."

Admission to the exhibit is free.


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