City Week

Retro Road Trip

Mercury Portal

11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to late, Saturday, Jan. 28; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 29

Monterey Court Studio Galleries and Café

505 W. Miracle Mile


Monterey Court Studio Galleries is revving up for its first major event, a fusion of art and music called Mercury Portal.

Monterey was once a motel with casitas and carports for travelers who took to the open road when the popularity of the automobile surged in the mid-20th century.

"We just wanted to evoke the era of the motor court, which was from about the '30s until the late-'60s, early-'70s, before the interstate really started to impose," said Morrighan Clinco, the event director. "People used their cars as a mode of exploration, and traveling by car was as much a part of the adventure as the destination."

The two-day Mercury Portal, hosted by the Parasol Project, features everything from a piano bar with singer Jim Allen of New York City, who claims a repertoire of 20,000 songs from memory, to vaudeville-style variety shows and exhibits of Gila monsters and rattlesnakes. The court's 11 art galleries and retail shops will be open, as will its café and bar, where the menu includes tacos and margaritas.

Guests are invited to dress to impress, with the theme being Southwestern road trips from the 1930s to the 1960s. Think country kitsch meets auto-adventurism for a "vintage vision of the future."

On Saturday night, a dance floor will open, and DJ Camilo Lara of the Mexican Institute of Sound will take the stage.

"Sometimes, it's way more fun (when you DJ) to have a smaller crowd and to play more crazy things and to get more wild with your selection," Lara said, adding that he loves to play in Tucson, because it's a magical place.

Daytime tickets are $6; Evening tickets are $16 (age 21 and older). Tickets are available at Bookmans or at the door. —A.N.

Sprouting Soon!

Seed Library Grand Opening

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28

Joel D. Valdez Main Library

101 N. Stone Ave.


Is your garden looking lame? Spruce it up before the harsh summer months by checking out seeds from the new seed library at Pima County's public libraries.

Seed libraries are sprouting up in many areas on the West Coast and have made their way to Tucson, with a grand opening at the downtown Joel D. Valdez Main Library on Saturday.

Seeds for more than 100 different varieties of vegetables, flowers and other plants are available, all of which have been donated by seed companies and community members. The idea is that library patrons who check out seeds will return even more seeds after harvesting their plants.

"We want to establish a community of gardeners and seed-savers," said Justine Hernandez, a librarian who is coordinating the event. "We encourage people to share their stories about growing the seeds, and we want people to let us know how well they do."

After a few generations, the seeds will become "super seeds" that have acclimated to the Arizona climate. Each packet of seeds can be checked out like any of the library's other materials.

If you're out of touch with your green thumb, you may want to check out the opening's gardening presentations or seed-harvesting demonstrations. At 3 p.m., there will be a screening of the movie Forks Over Knives, which explores the benefits of a plant-based diet.

Hernandez said this is one of the first seed libraries she knows of that is integrated into a public library. Others are headed by community groups.

"We're hoping that members of the community will ... be active in the operations of it by helping do classes, mentoring people and just helping maintain the collection," she said. —A.N.

Planes as Canvases

Round Trip: Art From the Boneyard Project

Opening party from 6 to 11 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 28

On display 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily, through Thursday, May 31

Pima Air and Space Museum

6000 E. Valencia Road


Tucson is home to the largest U.S. collection of unused and obsolete military aircraft, which can be seen near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in the vast storage area often referred to as the "boneyard."

Newcomers look at these rows and rows of planes in awe, although most Tucsonans have become used to them. Yet others see the thousands of aircraft as art waiting to happen.

Eric Firestone is the creator of Round Trip: Art From the Boneyard Project, with Carlo McCormick as curator. The project involved transforming rusting aircraft into works of art. More than 30 artists participated, using the war machines as canvases.

The project includes five planes, about 35 nose cones and a couple of wings and tails, Firestone said.

"Art on transportation has really been played out," Firestone said, referring to painted subways, buses and railroad cars. "This has never been done before. It's the largest scale of airplane art since World War II."

Because of the volume of aircraft here, and the many residents with military ties, "I couldn't think of a much better place than Tucson for this," Firestone said.

The public can get its first peek at an opening party at the Pima Air and Space Museum from 6 to 11 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 28.

Admission to the opening-night party is $5. (For more information, see Soundbites.) Regular admission to the Pima Air and Space Museum is $15.50; $12.75 for seniors and Pima County residents; $9 for kids older than 6; and free for kids 6 and younger. —R.K.

Poetry Off the Page

BeMine: Collaborations Between Writers and Artists

On display Wednesday, Feb. 1, through Friday, March 30

Exhibition reception: 5:30 to 7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 13

University of Arizona Poetry Center

1508 E. Helen St.


Love comes in all forms, shapes and sizes—and so does poetry.

Have doubts? Then check out the UA Poetry Center's BeMine: Collaborations Between Writers and Artists, which paired writers with other artists to create unique views of love.

While some of the artists paired up are strangers to each other, some are married; yet others are old friends, said exhibit curator Annie Guthrie.

"I am really proud of how the community responded. A lot of the pairs were strangers and had to break through barriers and work in new ways that they haven't thought about," Guthrie said.

"One of the pairs is a photographer paired with a poet. Together, they have come up with a conceptual stalker. As far as I understand, they are leaving objects that a stalker left, showing love at the extreme."

Some pairs tapped into intensely personal experiences for inspiration.

Andy Rush, 80, a local printmaker, paired up with fiction writer Kristen Nelson. Rush said he is "working on a project involving my wife, who is dying of dementia.

"Our (theme) is our lifelong love of each other" said Rush, who has been with his wife for 42 years.

Projects like this one break new ground for writers and artists working together, Rush said. "I'm a little nervous, because it's my private life and partner of all these years."

Admission to the exhibit, which opens Wednesday, Feb. 1, is free; a reception will be held on Monday, Feb. 13. Visit the website for Poetry Center hours and more information. —R.K.

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