City Week

Politics Translated Into English

"The Politics of Science, Health and Education: What You Should Know Before the Election"

5 p.m., next Thursday, Oct. 18

Keating Bioresearch Building
1657 E. Helen St., Room 103


The election is less than a month away. For many, it is hard to keep up with all of the information that's coming their way—and with political jargon tossed around so freely, it's sometimes hard for voters to grasp what the candidates are actually talking about.

Members of the University of Arizona Undergraduate Biology Research Program, or UBRP, came up with an idea to host a panel where people can hear clear-cut explanations of current issues from experts in fields such as science, health care and education.

Last May, Carol Bender, the director of UBRP, invited representatives from the state and federal governments to speak at an orientation for UBRP members about the effects of politics and government on funding for science research and education. The presentations triggered a stronger interest in politics among the students.

"They began to understand the impacts of politics and government in our lives," Bender said. "It is not enough to just vote. We have to be informed voters."

Bender approached students with an idea for a panel that would enlighten people on the major issues. With the help of Shaina Hasan, a sophomore at the UA and a member of UBRP, Bender was able to pull the event together.

Panelists next Thursday will discuss everything from the Affordable Care Act to the country's educational system and the economy. Panelists will also take questions from the audience.

"When people leave the panel, I want them to have the feeling that they are better informed," Hasan said. "I want them to be confident about their vote."

The event is free. Parking is available at the Highland Avenue garage, at Highland Avenue and Helen Street. —I.T.

The King of Pop Goes Classical

Tucson Symphony Orchestra's For Michael: The Music of Michael Jackson

8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 12

Fox Tucson Theatre
17 W. Congress St.


Michael Jackson's music has had an impact on people in every corner of the globe, and even after his passing, the King of Pop's fans are intensely devoted.

Keitaro Harada, an assistant conductor for Arizona Opera, was in elementary school when he went to his first Michael Jackson concert, in Tokyo. During the show, Harada and his classmates were pulled onstage during "We Are One" to dance alongside Jackson.

"I don't have much recollection, but I have seen all the photos my mom took that night," Harada said. "His music has always been a part of me."

When Harada was invited to conduct the Tucson Symphony Orchestra's new series, TSO Rocks the Fox, and he heard that the TSO would open the season with a tribute to Jackson, Harada jumped in headfirst.

The TSO will perform hits from across Jackson's musical phases, from "Billie Jean" and "Thriller" to "Man in the Mirror." The orchestra also will cover songs from his early days with the Jackson 5, such as "ABC."

"When I flipped through the music book, and I saw the songs, they all brought back so many memories," Harada said. "I wish the audience could see me from the orchestra's perspective, because I will be singing every single song."

The TSO teamed up with Canadian singer Gavin Hope for the vocal portion of the performance. Hope has performed in musicals such as Rent and The Lion King.

"For people who have never seen a symphony orchestra live, this is a great way to break into the genre," Harada said. "Everyone knows Michael Jackson's music, and they are going to leave this show saying, 'Wow, that was awesome!'"

Tickets are $30 to $50. —I.T.

For Cinema Buffs Who Love Music

Eighth annual Tucson Film and Music Festival

Through Sunday, Oct. 14

Various locations

The eighth annual Tucson Film and Music Festival offers a grand mix of documentaries, short films and indie narratives that should satisfy just about any film fan's craving for meaningful movies in which music plays a big role.

This year, the four-day festival includes rock-documentary premieres, music-video premieres and short films featuring A-list names.

"A lot of these films and documentaries, people may not be able to see anywhere else," said Michael Toubassi, the festival director. "We have a lot of high-quality stuff this year."

The official opening-night feature is the Southwest premiere of Strutter, a comedy about an aspiring musician. The festival's centerpiece film is The History of Future Folk, an indie sci-fi comedy about two musicians from outer space. And on closing night, filmgoers will see the Arizona premiere of Bad Brains: A Band in DC, a rock documentary about the legendary punk-reggae band Bad Brains.

Toubassi said this year's short-films program includes pieces featuring internationally known actors such as Michael Fassbender and Elijah Wood. "It is very rare to see actors of that scale and caliber doing short films," Toubassi said. "It is great to be able to show these short films in Tucson."

This year, the focus is on local talent. Toubassi said Tucson artists will be showcased through live shows and in music-video premieres.

Directors, producers and actors from many of the films also will be in attendance to talk about their work and take questions.

"The festival has grown a lot over the years," Toubassi said. "I absolutely love all the films we are showing, and I am excited for the Tucson audience to experience them."

Tickets are $7 per film; $50 all-access badges are also available. —I.T.

An Undead Affair

Tucson Zombie Walk

6 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 13

Starts at MLK Apartments parking lot
55 N. Fifth Ave.

The streets of downtown will echo with morbid moans and grotesque groans, and unsteady figures in ragged clothing will shamble down sidewalks in search of brains.

It's not the apocalypse; it's just the beginning of the seventh annual Tucson Zombie Walk.

The parade drew 3,900 animated corpses and a handful of zombie-hunters in 2011, according to Curt Booth, aka Bob the Zombie. This will be his second year as an emcee at the event, but dressing up as a zombie is an annual indulgence for the 6-foot-8, self-described "big scary guy."

"October is my revenge month. This is when I can basically be proud of being huge," Booth said.

The transformation from mild-mannered engineering secretary to deceased sanitation worker can take up to 3 1/2 hours. His flesh disappears under layers of makeup and prosthetic pieces.

Booth's job is to entertain between comedy acts, the costume contest and sing-alongs like the "Monster Mash" and the "Zombie Road Kill Chicken Dance." And as the biggest zombie, it's his job to corral the masses.

Participants in the Zombie Walk, in addition to their quest for sustenance, also donate nonperishables to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

"We found out a long time ago that if we had a mission statement, it helps them not shoot at us," Booth said. "It's in our best interest to be law-abiding zombies."

Last year, one ton of food was collected, Booth said.

Families with children and those looking to release their inner child are invited to come and thumb their nose at death. The event is free, but walkers are encouraged to bring two nonperishable food items or make a cash donation to the Community Food Bank. —M.D.

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