City Week

Life Before 'Urban Renewal'

Barrio Memories

11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday, through Saturday, Feb. 12

La Pilita Museum

420 S. Main Ave.


Artifacts and history books can tell you a lot about times gone by, but there is nothing like reading and hearing stories and anecdotes from those who were there to experience those times firsthand.

La Pilita Museum's new exhibit, Barrio Memories, is a compilation of panels that consist of stories and photos from the early days of Tucson. The museum has collected hundreds of oral histories over the years, and the staff created 20 panels using excerpts from the histories alongside donated pictures.

"It's the stories of the elders here," said Joan Daniels, development director at La Pilita. "People from the World War II and World War I eras share their experiences and photos of Tucson."

A common theme of many of the stories is the drastic changes that the "urban renewal" of the '60s had on the historic barrio neighborhoods (including the destruction of the 80-acre neighborhood known as "La Calle"), and how these changes affected residents.

"There are quite a few people who have memories of living in this area before urban renewal," said Daniels. "One man talks about how much they bought out his mother for, and how it wasn't nearly enough money for her to buy another house. There are a lot of really poignant memories from that time."

The exhibit also includes a 1927 aerial map which illustrates where the barrio used to be, as well as photos documenting some Tucson firsts, such as the first Tucson air show, first motion picture and first dog races.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. —E.A.

One-Upping Pop-Up Books

Bringing Literature to Life

1 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 9

Live Theatre Workshop

5317 E Speedway Blvd.


Books like Dr. Seuss' The Lorax and Judi Barrett's Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs would be nowhere near as memorable without the whimsical illustrations that accompany these beloved children's classics.

Well, Live Theatre Workshop's All Together Theatre will be adding yet another dimension to the literary experience with their second annual Bringing Literature to Life event, as children's literature is translated from the page to the stage.

Kids are encouraged to bring a copy of their favorite book, and the director will select a few to be re-enacted as the stories are read aloud. The theater's improv actors will use costumes, props and sets to bring the characters and events to life.

"It's so entertaining," said Michael Martinez, the theater's director of education. "There's even a pianist to put some music along to it, to make it seem like one full, complete production, even though it's being improvised."

Martinez and Amanda Gremel created the event to promote literacy among children by giving them another way to think about books and reading.

"Kids love seeing their book acted out," said Martinez. "And parents love to see the actors on the hot seat, and how they deal with putting the story together off the top of their heads."

With such a plethora of children's books in publication, it is sure to be a spectacle (especially if someone brings Taro Gomi's best-seller Everyone Poops).

Admission is $5 per person. The charades will last for not quite an hour. All Together Theatre, directed by Martinez, puts on productions throughout the year. —E.A.

Nature and Nurture

Family Ties

Reception: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., next Thursday, Jan. 13

On display: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily, Thursday, Jan. 13, through Sunday, April 3

Exhibit Hall at Tohono Chul Park

7366 N. Paseo Del Norte


Imagine an art exhibit through which you could follow the lines of artistry within families. You could see the similarities and the splits through generations—mother to daughter, father to son, husband to wife.

Family Ties at Tohono Chul Park does just that.

Vicki Donkersley, the curator of the show, noticed a pattern with the artists she's worked with in the past. "It seems like over the years that I have worked with a lot of artists, and I have discovered that often, they have family members and their spouses who are artists, too. I was just kind of curious about exploring that dynamic a little bit."

The show combines various mediums including printmaking, painting, drawing, sculpture and photography, all created by a collection of different family units. One such family unit is that of the late artist Charles Littler, who lived in Rancho Linda Vista up in Oracle. His wife, Pat Dolan, as well as his daughter, Selina Littler, will have art in the show. Selina's husband, Imo Baird, will also be featured.

Donkersley said the show, though intended to be based around families, picked up an unexpected theme. "It didn't start out like this, but a lot of the people represented in the show are really interested in environmental themes, and so I think once people see the show, they will be really intrigued by the various approaches that each artist brings to the environmental topic," Donkersley said.

There is no extra cost to visit the galleries at Tohono Chul Park. Admission into the park is $7 for adults; $5 for active military and seniors; $3 for children; and free for park members and children younger than 5. —E.B.

A Tough Act to Follow

Lang Lang Performs With the Tucson Symphony Orchestra

8 p.m., Monday, Jan. 10

Tucson Music Hall

260 S. Church Ave.


The Tucson Symphony Orchestra will be ringing in the second half of the 2010-2011 season with a big name—and I mean big.

With Yo-Yo Ma on the schedule last season, the TSO felt the pressure to bring in an another artist well-known in the classical world—and they delivered with Lang Lang, a Chinese pianist who got his major break at 17 when he was called in at the last minute to play a Tchaikovsky concerto with the Chicago Symphony.

Terry Marshall, the TSO interim director of marketing and public relations, said: "He will play Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2, which is really one of the most popular piano concertos ever. The fact that there is a superstar playing it will make it that much grander, because he really is a very gifted artist at a young age."

Lang Lang started playing piano at 3 and quickly rose to a place among the most talented in the classical world. Now 28, he has played numerous sold-out shows and is the featured soloist in the Golden Globe-winning score for The Painted Veil, among other accomplishments.

Lang Lang played with the New York Philharmonic on New Year's Eve, and within less than two weeks' time, he'll be in Tucson. "He has a couple of stops in between, but it is pretty direct from the New York Philharmonic to the Tucson Symphony," Marshall said.

The first half of the program will feature short pieces by Russian composers, and the second half will feature Lang Lang alongside the TSO. Ticket prices vary; visit for ticket availability and more information. —E.B.