City Week

Changing Minds About Climate Change

"Global Warming: How Serious Is It?"

7 p.m., next Thursday, Jan. 19

UA Kuiper Space Sciences Building

1629 E. University Blvd., Room 308


What do you think about climate change? There sure is a lot to think about—sea levels rising, polar bears dying, shortages of clean water ... all dim prospects indeed.

What's causing these things to happen? About 97 percent of climatologists believe that it's us: humans. The carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted from our power plants, cars and even cattle are building up in our atmosphere and causing global warming, as well as ocean acidification, as CO2 is absorbed by our seas.

Still, not everyone accepts the concept of climate change as caused by humans—in fact, the number of people who don't see humans at fault has increased in the past few years.

Enter Robert Strom, author of the book Hothouse: Global Climate Change and the Human Condition, who will speak at the UA next Thursday. Strom is not a climate scientist, but a planetary scientist. He examines global warming as a planetary phenomenon, giving his audience a different point of view.

And this man has credentials: He's professor emeritus of planetary sciences at the Department of Planetary Sciences and the Lunar and Planetary Lab at the UA, and he was a member of the working groups on missions to the moon, Venus and Mercury, as well as the Voyager mission to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. He's been active in planetary exploration, research and teaching for 50 years, during which he's written more than 100 scientific papers and two books, and earned six NASA awards.

Said Al Anzaldua, the coordinator for the Space Exploration Special Interest Group (which is helping this talk happen), "Whatever your beliefs are about whether or not humans are causing climate change, you'll come away from this presentation with more facts than you've ever had."

The event is free.

76 Years of Life and Country

Halley's Comet

8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 14; 3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 15

Berger Performing Arts Center

1200 W. Speedway Blvd.


One night while watching Halley's Comet streak across the sky in 1986, actor and playwright John Amos looked over and saw an old man doing the same thing—while laughing, as if he'd found a long-lost friend.

Amos wondered about the old man's life and the happy memories the comet was bringing him as the old man thought about his experiences since the comet last made an appearance back in 1910.

Then, Amos decided to make a play about it—which is coming to Tucson this weekend.

In Halley's Comet, Amos plays an 87-year-old man looking back on when he saw the comet as an 11-year-old—and on the myriad events and adventures he's experienced since then. It's a one-man play focused on narrative, as Amos draws the audience into his character's life and tells the history of the United States during his lifetime—including tales of world wars, romance, fast-food restaurants, the golden age of radio and the Civil Rights Movement.

Amos can pull off a one-man play, because he's a tremendous actor. He was in the groundbreaking TV miniseries Roots, and appeared in numerous TV shows and movies, from The West Wing to Die Hard 2 to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Over the years, he's also become an advocate for underprivileged youth. His Halley's Comet Foundation provides positive pursuits for young people through nautical and maritime programs.

"John Amos has done it all," said Susan Claassen, the managing artistic director of the Invisible Theatre, which is bringing Amos' show to town. "He's been on the stage, on TV, in films—and above all, he's a true humanitarian and educator, so it's very important for him to tell history in a way that's inclusive."

Tickets are $42.

Regular Guys Playing Music

Titan Valley Warheads' 30th anniversary party and concert

7:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 14

Suite 147 in Plaza Palomino

2970 N. Swan Road

319-9966 (info); (800) 594-8499 (tickets)

The Titan Valley Warheads sprang up 30 years ago as a fun band—a band made up of people who just wanted to have fun together by playing music. Thirty years later, despite itself, the band has become quite famous, even earning the title of Best Bluegrass Band at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.

Part of the reason this band has been around so long is its versatility: Not only does it play bluegrass, but it also performs Western swing and classic Western (à la the Sons of the Pioneers)—and even sometimes some '50s a cappella numbers and humorous tunes.

"We like to surprise people," said the band's guitarist, Earl Edmonson. "I think part of the fun of the music is trying to keep things fresh, working on new material and challenging ourselves and throwing in new things."

You bet that 30 years of practice has had a good effect on the band's sound. "'Cause we've played together a long time, we have really good harmonies and a lot of instrumentation," said Edmonson.

But the band is far from egotistical, said Jonathan Holden, of Rhythm and Roots, which will present the band in concert this Saturday. "They're kind of a Tucson treasure, and yet after all these years, as they continue to play major bluegrass festivals in the state and region, they stay very humble."

Maybe that's because the band continues for the sake of fun. "We like to have a lot of fun onstage," said Edmonson, "and generally, the people we're playing for have a good time, too. ... But we're just a few regular guys playing some music."

Tickets are $17 in advance, and $20 at the door. Advance tickets are available at Antigone Books, Bookmans and Dark Star Leather.

For the Record!

The Great Paper Airplane Fly Off

11 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 14

Pima Air and Space Museum 6000 E. Valencia Road


Airplanes—isn't it amazing that we can fly around the world in these huge, heavy-winged machines that seem to completely defy gravity?

It's not quite so mind-blowing, however, when an airplane made out of feather-light paper flies through the air. Still, paper airplanes help kids understand the physics of flight—and, boy, are paper airplanes fun.

This weekend, kids ages 6 to 14 can enter their own paper airplanes in the Pima Air and Space Museum's Great Paper Airplane Fly Off—and whoever's airplane flies the farthest will win the title of guest engineer on the team that's challenging the Guinness World Records' largest-paper-airplane honors.

This massive paper airplane—with the guest engineer's name emblazoned on it—will eventually fly from a height of 5,000 feet over the Arizona desert, literally flying in the face of all record-breaking paper airplanes before it.

Actually, the current biggest-paper-airplane Guinness World Records honoree is hosting the event, in which as many as 300 kids can enter their paper airplanes, built with an 8.5-by-11-inch sheet of paper. Pre-registration has been extended until noon, Friday, Jan. 13—and there may be a chance for non-registered kids to enter on the day of the event if they arrive by 10 a.m. Participants and up to four family members can come for free.

As a museum, the Pima Air and Space Museum is a repository for the past, but, according to Yvonne Morris, executive director of the museum and the Arizona Aerospace Foundation, "We'd like to work with local communities to inspire the future."

Said Morris: "I think participating kids are gonna have a lot of fun. And they can see that something as simple as a paper airplane can evolve into a large-scale engineering project."

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