City Week

On Emily

Visions and Versions of Emily Dickinson

Open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday and Thursday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday; and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, through Saturday, Oct. 8

University of Arizona Poetry Center

1508 E. Helen St.


The UA Poetry Center is out to prove that there is a lot more to the mythical figure that is Emily Dickinson than you think.

Including works from the Poetry Center's rare-book collection, along with facsimiles of manuscripts, samples from Dickinson's herbarium, and an artist book by Jen Bervin, Visions and Versions of Emily Dickinson is a wide-ranging collection that unpacks Emily Dickinson's reputation as a poetry giant, said Wendy Burk, senior librarian at the center.

The exhibit was curated by intern Erin Liskiewicz with the help of poetry center staffers, including Burk and Sarah Kortemeier.

"She's sort of a mythical figure as a poet, and there are all different ways that the myth is interpreted," Burk said. "There are a lot of different Emily Dickinsons, and it depends on who you ask."

Bervin's book, The Dickinson Composites, takes Dickinson's work to a whole different level: It contains stitching and embroidery of the poet's punctuation marks and handwriting, and is a reproduction of a large-scale quilted exhibit called The Dickinson Fascicles.

Burk said the exhibit offers a chance to see many rare books that often aren't readily viewable, along with other artistic interpretations, like Bervin's quilting and other artist portraits that re-interpret Dickinson's enigmatic life and work.

The exhibit contains something for everyone—even if poetry isn't a typical interest, Burk said.

"(Dickinson's) work is very vivid, and it manages to put all of that passion in a very small or compressed poetic space," Burk said. "(She) has this intense sharp focus that I think appeals to a lot of readers, independent of your familiarity with poetry."

Admission is free. —K.M.

Bikes and Brews

Biketoberfest: An Urban Excursion for Everyone

9 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 1

Meet at Mountain Avenue and Seneca Street


What do bicycles and watershed management have in common? Biketoberfest!

Don't be fooled by the name, though; this is no tour of German ales. Instead, a group of concerned individuals from the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association is calling for the community to support new storm-water-harvesting projects. The bike ride is free to join and will end downtown at Borderlands Brewing Company, where guests can get a sneak peek of the soon-to-open local microbrewery—and maybe even sample a beer.

The idea was conceived after a neighborhood meeting to discuss how to mitigate the neighborhood's flooding problems. Jefferson Park residents want to implement watershed features to manage drainage and storm runoff.

"The street turns into a lake, so why don't we have a greenway here?" suggested one of the event organizers, Martha Retallick, at the meeting.

Everyone arrived at that meeting via bicycle, so the group pedaled over to see the greenway—and Biketoberfest was born.

The 4.2-mile bike ride starts in the heart of the Jefferson Park Neighbor-hood and continues through the proposed Seneca Street Bicycle Boulevard, the Fourth Avenue Bicycle Boulevard, the Fifth Avenue Greenway and Dunbar/Spring traffic circles. Retallick will lead while also taking breaks to discuss green infrastructure.

Myles Stone, co-founder of Borderlands Brewery Company, is a resident and cyclist in Jefferson Park. "Biketoberfest is the real event; we are just going to house them and have some snacks," he said.

Organizers also want to raise awareness about a water-harvesting launch party/workshop on Oct. 15.

"We want to show how to make something happen, from idea to greenway," said Retallick. —J.B.

Booze + Creativity

Artphag: A Monthly Art Meet-Up

9 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 4, and the first Tuesday of every month

Surly Wench Pub

424 N. Fourth Ave.


Do you like to make art? Do you like to drink? If you answered "yes" to both questions, then you should go to Artphag.

It all started a year and a half ago, when local artist Donovan White and some friends decided to take something they usually did—painting and working over drinks—to a bar.

"We thought, 'Why not take this show on the road?'" White said.

After hosting the event at various places, White settled at the Surly Wench, where on the first Tuesday of each month, artists transform the large, empty dance-floor space into an area where artists perch with their latest works, sipping, talking and working.

Everyone's "just interested in the same thing: sitting down, socializing, doing creative stuff and having a beer," White said.

White said the once-a-month schedule helps "keep it fresh."

"If you do it every week, it can get a little stale," White continued. People often "start something that night, or bring something that they're working on and ask people what they're thinking."

The event started out with 15 to 20 artists and has grown to more than 40 artists on some nights, White said, adding that the event has grown so much in the artistic community that artists from Phoenix are driving down to attend.

"Everyone gets an idea and gets motivated," White said.

As for the name? It's a play on a derogatory name that White and his friends used to be called as kids, he said.

"Back when you used to be able to label people, we were 'art fags,'" White said. "I'm just trying to make something positive about it."

Artists are encouraged to attend with paints, paper and materials in hand. —K.M.

Countering Misconceptions With Laughter

The Muslims Are Coming!

8 p.m., next Thursday, Oct. 6

El Casino Ballroom

437 E. 26th St.


Prepare yourself ... because the Muslims are coming! Some of the nation's funniest Muslim-American comedians are stopping in Tucson as they tour the country. They're defeating misconceptions, hugging strangers, making jokes and filming as they go.

Comedians Dean Obeidallah and Negin Farsad were inspired to create the documentary-comedy tour after recognizing the rise in anti-Muslim sentiment.

"We saw polls that concerned us. People had horrible views of Muslims based on hearsay," said Obeidallah. "50 to 60 percent of Americans have never even met a Muslim."

The documentary will follow Obeidallah, Farsad and guest comedians on the tour, while incorporating "expert" commentary from prominent political journalists and cultural icons. Farsad explained that with stand-up comedy, audiences "go, see the show, and leave," but a film can reach a larger audience and create a more-lasting effect.

"The best way to counter misconceptions is talk," said Obeidallah.

And talk, they do. The comedians set up "Ask a Muslim" and "Hug a Muslim" booths outside of the show and even handout fliers on the streets of each city they visit. During the show, the audience is encouraged to ask tough questions.

It's not all about religion, though. "It's a comedy show at the end of the day. It's not Muslim 101," he said.

Other performers slated to appear in Tucson include Saturday Night Live contributor Preacher Moss, and Kareem Omary, who has been featured on MTV.

"We want to change the stereotype," said Farsad. "Instead of thinking all Muslims are violent, at the end of the show, I want people to think, 'Yeah, all Muslims are hilarious!'"

Admission is free. RSVP by emailing —J.B.

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