Stop, Look and Learn
10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, May 12
Southern Arizona Transportation Museum
414 N. Toole Ave.
If you're stopped at railroad tracks while a train that seems to stretch on forever rumbles through, you might think of trains as just a nuisance. But a visit to the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum for National Train Day should dispel that notion.
The museum has hosted the annual celebration in each of the past three years so that Tucsonans can learn how the city's growth has been influenced by railroads since the first locomotive arrived here in 1880.
"It is a great, free, family day for folks to come down to the downtown depot and watch mile-long trains, climb aboard Locomotive No. 1673—which was used in the movie Oklahoma!—check out the railroad exhibits in the museum, and visit the gift shop," said Ken Karrels, the museum chairman.
The steam locomotive, which was built in 1900 and is on the National Register of Historic Places, was located for decades at Himmel Park. It was moved to the transportation museum in 2000 and refurbished.
"Now you can see it proudly restored and ring the brass bell," Karrels said. "Knowledgeable docents are on board to point out details and answer your questions."
He said more people are discovering and enjoying the museum as downtown becomes a popular destination again.
The train depot itself is on the historic register. "It was built in 1907, and folks will enjoy the Maynard Dixon artwork in the depot lobby," Karrels said. "This museum is giving history a future."
Again, National Train Day events are free. —A.N.
1:30 to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, May 12
Tucson Symphony Center
2175 N. Sixth Ave.
Johanna Lundy believes music education goes beyond learning how to play an instrument. Lundy, the principal horn player in the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and president of the Tucson Federation of Musicians, equates music with the chance to have a creative experience.
"We all need a creative outlet, and we forget that sometimes. Especially for young people, it's important that they have a positive way to express feelings and explore their creative side," Lundy said.
The free Tucson Youth Music Fair will provide ways to explore creativity and music.
"We'll have an instrument petting zoo ... a youth and movement class, master classes for middle school and high school students, a composition workshop for beginners, (fun with) found sounds—noises such a leaves rustling, water dripping or a car driving by—and a station to create homemade instruments," Lundy said.
Harmonica Pierre from America's Got Talent will perform, and prizes and snacks will be provided.
Lundy and the other members of the Tucson Federation of Musicians, Local 33 of the American Federation of Musicians, want Tucsonans to know they are here. Local 33 has more than 80 members—professional musicians who perform classical, jazz, rock and other styles of music. The federation represents TSO for collective bargaining, provides contacts and support for the freelance community, and offers a referral service, Lundy said. "If people want to find a musician for an event, they can check the profiles of musicians on the website," she said. Students can also find teachers.
The music fair is a way for members to give back. "We wanted to do something for the community ... to share and keep music alive for future generations," Lundy said. —I.M.
A Spectacle With Substance
7:30 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday, May 16 and 17; 8 p.m., Friday, May 18; 2 and 8 p.m., Saturday, May 19; 1 and 6:30 p.m., Sunday, May 20
Tucson Convention Center Music Hall210 S. Church Ave.
The classic story of Mary Poppins is back—this time with live singing, dancing and acting, as the hit Broadway musical comes to Tucson.
The musical version of the Disney movie garnered seven Tony Award nominations. The creators "were able to take the essence of the film and instill it into a different mold," said Michael Dean Morgan, who plays Mr. Banks in the production.
The film's story is brought to life with special stage effects that cannot be done in movies, he said. Iconic songs such as "Spoonful of Sugar" and "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" were turned into a "Broadway-quality production."
"It's a spectacle with substance," Morgan said. "It's a very modern play. It's a very American concept, too: You are in control of your own destiny."
The show still features the storyline of parents and children relating to each other. The story "becomes more emotional, and connections are deeper, especially for dads," Morgan said. "It really strikes a chord with trying to balance work and family."
Morgan's character, Mr. Banks, is happy with his life, although his home is in disarray. His children misbehave—until Mary Poppins comes into their lives "to help them reveal who they really are inside," he said.
"I think (Mr. Banks) is the best character in the show," Morgan said. "He changes the most."
Mr. Banks is "kind of a jerk" in the beginning of the play, but with the help of Mary Poppins, he learns the importance of children and how "his family should come first," Morgan said.
"It's a great show for everybody," he said. "There are these new, fresh and exciting things."
Tickets are $29 to $95. —M.W.
Second Wind: An Evening of Art, Performance and Sweets
6 to 8 p.m., Saturday, May 12
5454 E. Pennington St.
The Café 54 Art Foundation was started about six years ago as a way to provide people recovering from a mental illness with an outlet to express themselves.
Once participants began producing artwork, it was obvious that some of it was gallery-quality art, said Orlando Montes, coordinator for the foundation.
"These works began to adorn our beautiful café, one right after another," he said. "This prompted us to give birth to an art show/gallery-opening event. This was about 2 1/2 years ago; it was a great beginning of something lasting and memorable."
Second Wind is the fourth art show presented by Café 54 and will feature sculptures, jewelry and paintings made by artists benefiting from the Art Foundation Fund—which is supported by the Community Partnership of Southern Arizona and Rehabilitation Services Administration. All works will be for sale, with the artists receiving 100 percent of the proceeds.
"This is really about celebrating the artists and their amazing dedication to recovery," Montes said. "It's a training program for individuals who are recovering from mental illness; it's a great mission to know and be a part of; and its part of your local community."
Montes added, "It's been a wonderful process, and it's been one of the most amazing things I've been part of, to have people produce art and have their work up in the café."
Montes said the event will also feature performance art and music, as well as desserts made at the café, and some of the café's signature beverages.
Donations are welcome but not required. —A.N.