Dead Heads (Not Really)
7 to 9 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 20
422 N. Fourth Ave.
The mounted "vegetarian taxidermy" heads created by local artist Sharon Thwing are like a brainchild that Henry Selick (Coraline, James and the Giant Peach) and Wes Anderson (Fantastic Mr. Fox) never had.
They're a mix of tapestries you could find in your great aunt's home, antlers (made of tree branches) and wire whiskers. Thwing's animal heads have a homemade, nostalgic feeling—although the button eyes and the missing bodies add a subtle eeriness, like something you would see in a creepy woodland dream.
Thwing, aka Fidget—a therapist and mother by day—is a longtime vegetarian. She describes her youngest son as a "militant vegetarian."
"I have always wanted an animal trophy for my home; I grew up in Alaska, where that is a very common decorating theme," Thwing said in an e-mail. "But my son would have flipped out and run away if I ever brought one home, so I had to make one that was acceptable to him."
Thwing originally provided homemade purses to Pop-Cycle, but Thwing's inventory at the store took a turn for the wildly creative with the presentation of the "taxidermy" heads.
"She brings us this deer head, and we were like, 'What is that?' The first one didn't even make it onto the wall. ... It's at our house," said Shannon Riggs, one of the shop's owners. "We bought it the minute it came in the door."
The stuffed heads are made almost completely of secondhand or found materials. Each creature also comes with a name and a small story written by Thwing.
On Saturday, Pop-Cycle will be presenting Thwing's new work—and will serve refreshments! The creatures will be available for purchase, probably as fast as Thwing can make them. —E.A.
Cool Weather, Hot Classics
Tucson Symphony Orchestra: Tchaikovsky and Friends
8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 19; 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 21
Tucson Music Hall
260 S. Church Ave.
With a romantic chill in the Tucson air, a trip to the symphony could make for a perfect November evening (or, um, November Sunday afternoon).
The Tucson Symphony Orchestra, featuring violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky, is presenting its November Classic Series program: Tchaikovsky and Friends. The performance will open with the orchestra performing "blue cathedral," a composition by Pulitzer Prize-winner Jennifer Higdon, who wrote the piece in memory of her late brother.
Sitkovetsky, 27, has been performing since the age of 8, and has earned high regards for both his solo work and his collaborations with some of the world's top orchestras, including the Moscow Chamber Orchestra and the English Chamber Orchestra.
"(Sitkovetsky) is a protégé of Yehudi Menuhin, who is like a superstar of classical music in the 20th century," said Terry Marshall, director of marketing for the TSO.
Sitkovetsky and the orchestra will be performing popular works by Tchaikovsky, including "Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasy" and "Capriccio Italien," as well as Max Bruch's "Scottish Fantasy," which Marshall describes as "whimsical and romantic—one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written."
Whether or not you are familiar with the names of these classical compositions and performers, the symphony can provide the perfect opportunity to escape the routine of everyday life.
"It'll be an evening of really extraordinarily beautiful music—plus the work of this year's Pulitzer Prize winner (Higdon)," said Marshall. "There are lots of memorable melodies, and it'll expose you to some of today's best music."
Tickets are available online or at the TSO box office, and start at $20. —E.A.
Battles on Skates
Tucson Roller Derby and the Arizona State Conference
6 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 20
Tucson Convention Center
260 S. Church Ave.
Thanks to depictions such as in the movie Whip It, most people have seen or at least heard of roller derby. Think skirt-wearing or spandex-wearing ladies, on roller skates, moving at high speeds—both forward and into each other—around an oval shaped track. That's what you'll see at this weekend's Arizona State Conference roller derby bouts.
This leg of the Arizona State Conference will feature two games, each one featuring a Tucson Roller Derby team. Our very own Copper Queens will battle the Northern Arizona Roller Derby Whiskey Rollers, and Tucson's Furious Truck Stop Waitresses will take on the El Paso Tex Pistols.
The conference, which started Sept. 25, is a collaborative effort by the four Arizona leagues. Games are held in Tucson, Prescott, Phoenix and Cottonwood.
Amy Shapiro has been playing derby for six years. "I got into it through a friend who is an announcer for derby. I went to a game to check it out, and I joined the next day," she explained.
Shapiro plays for the Vice Squad, one of the four local teams, under the name Polly Graf. She said the conference provides a way for local/non-travel teams to play outside of their city.
"It's to give them an opportunity to play other girls from other leagues, and the purpose, I guess, is to find the top home teams in Arizona, whether they are from Tucson, Phoenix, Prescott or Verde Valley."
Tickets are $10 in advance, or $15 on the day of the bouts. Kids 10 and younger get in free with purchase of an adult ticket. —E.B.
A Girl Thing
1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 21
Old Town Artisans
201 N. Court Ave.
The Tucson community is chock-full of women doing great things. From business to art, the ladies are kicking ass and taking names.
To celebrate these estrogen-packed successes, Marie Hancock formed Every Woman, an event that brings together women to show off each other's talents. She got the idea after she and others put on a special trunk show for a local designer.
"It was such a great success that it really made me think that there is just something to this," Hancock said. "... So it has grown in a really organic way, and it continues to. I am the only one putting it on, yet the community's voice is really present."
The event series is kicking off its second season. Every Woman started during the fall of 2009, with events held in November, January, March and May.
This event will feature vendors showcasing their talents—including Amber Mortensen, owner of painfullyhip.com—along with mini-facials, art, manicures, fashion and crafts. Courtney Robbins will provide music. There will also be a 1950s fashion show, called "Expression of Femininity," by Sydney Ballesteros, along with dancing by the Sassy Ponies.
With La Cocina at Old Town Artisans under new management, visitors can expect a new menu filled with lots of fresh food options.
"(Every Woman's) sole purpose is to really bring exposure, awareness and a sense of community to the wonderful women we have here in Tucson—particularly women involved in the arts, business, entrepreneurial activities, performance, poetry and all kinds of things," Hancock said.
Admission is free, and kids and gentlemen are welcome. —E.B.