10 Years of Making Stuff Up
Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed's 10th Anniversary Show
7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 10
Pima Community College West Campus
2202 W. Anklam Road
The local comedy-improv group Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed is inspired by the idea that laughter re-energizes people. For the past 10 years, members have been getting onstage to recharge their Tucson audiences.
NBOJU started as an experiment. It was a mix of experienced and beginning comedians of all ages who got together for improv. Today, NBOJU has grown into a nonprofit theater group that hosts workshops to teach locals the art of improv. The 10th-anniversary show is a fundraiser to help the group open its own theater.
The anniversary show will rely on audience participation. Attendees will be encouraged to yell out suggestions that will then be shaped into comedic sketches.
"Our mission as an improv group is to make the audience have the best time of their lives," said Michael Pierce, NBOJU's creative director.
Pierce joined the group in 2003. He has seen countless members come and go while experiencing the group's evolution firsthand. Pierce said that the more time group members spend together, the better the comedy gets. Over the years, the members have learned to understand each other, and the camaraderie reflects on the improv.
"We have become a tighter group," Pierce said. "There is a longevity that obviously wasn't there in the beginning."
Pierce said he can't think of a better way to share the positive energy of laughter than through improv comedy.
"With the group, I have had the greatest chapters of my life," Pierce said. "It is so fascinating to be a part of this, and I hope that people will come out and see the value of what we do, and help us move into the next chapter."
Admission is $20. —I.T.
A Kinky Night
8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 10
136 N. Park Ave.
(623) 428-9331; devious-minds.com
The fetish community is not clandestine anymore: Thanks to books such as Fifty Shades of Grey, BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism) is infiltrating the mainstream.
Arizona is often seen as an uptight, conservative state. Politically, yes. Sexually, no.
"This state has about 20 fetish events every year," said Mitch Palmer, of Devious Minds, a production group that organizes erotic events. "Tucson, a blue dot in a big, red state, is a place that is very sexually liberated. People are into these events. They just don't know where to find them."
He and others at Devious Minds wanted to create an intimate atmosphere where like-minded people can get to know each other, and participate in different BDSM activities.
"Participation is what makes the show exciting," Palmer said. "If they want to be tied up, they will be tied up. If they want to do whips and chains, there will be a crew there happy to help them." Onstage, there will be fire-spinning and fire-breathing performances, as well as a performance by Scandalesque, a Phoenix-based burlesque group.
Palmer wants people who have been afraid to explore their fetishes to come to Exotica. Devious Minds' goal is to have Exotica be a sexually liberating experience.
Palmer said there are lots of misconceptions about fetishes. Many people automatically associate them with perversion. But with more information, and with exposure to fetish events, people will realize that fetishes are not as taboo as they're portrayed, Palmer said.
"We created an event that will be very rewarding to the erotic community, and Exotica will also be the perfect setting for those who are new to the fetish world," Palmer said.
Admission to the 21-and-older event is $20. —I.T.
Alice in Wonderland...With a Twist
Puppets Amongus' Hatter's Hollow
4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 10, and Sunday, Nov. 11
Puppets Amongus Playhouse
657 W. St. Mary's Road
Lewis Carroll was way ahead of his time. When Alice in Wonderland was published, it introduced some of the most-outrageous characters ever to emerge from an author's psyche, with the Mad Hatter topping the list.
Hatter's Hollow is a puppet play based on the trippy novel—told from the point of view of the infamous Mad Hatter. "It is a deeper exploration of who he is," said Matt Cotten, one of the owners of the Puppets Amongus Playhouse and artistic director of Puppets Amongus. "He is a very interesting character, and over the years, people have been very intrigued by him."
Cotton took parts of the novel and blended them with his own elements and dialogue.
Cotten has been part of the local puppetry scene for years. But it wasn't until last summer that he and his wife, Sarah, started preparing their own play space. After months of renovations, they are eager to present Hatter's Hollow as the Playhouse's grand-opening show.
"Going to someone else's space, and having a couple of hours to prepare, was just too limiting," Cotten said. "With our own space, we can plan months ahead and have more-elaborate productions."
The play will be presented with strong elements of shadow puppetry. "It requires more imagination from the audience," Cotten said. "Children, and everyone, will enjoy that level of mystery."
The Cottens are passionate about puppet theater. They see it as a re-emerging art form that both adults and children can enjoy. The two plan to present a total of seven shows in the Playhouse's first season.
"This type of live theater is very exciting," Cotten said. "We are very excited to share this with people."
Admission is $8 for adults, and $6 for children. —I.T.
Festival of the Unreal
TusCon 39: A Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror Convention
4 to 11 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9; 9 a.m. to midnight, Saturday, Nov. 10; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 11
Hotel Tucson City Center
475 N. Granada Ave.
For lovers of science fiction, fantasy and horror, fan conventions are a chance to escape reality for a weekend.
"It's kind of like stepping into another world a little bit, where everybody starts by liking each other, and you can just geek out a little bit," said Eric Schumacher, a self-proclaimed sci-fi geek and a panelist at TusCon.
The Southern Arizona convention is in its 39th year, but still limits the number of participants to 500, unlike other conventions.
"We really like having what we in Southern Arizona are famous for: a friendly, intimate environment," Schumacher said.
Best-selling author S.M. Stirling is this year's guest of honor. He will speak on a variety of topics, from how procrastinators will survive the end of the world, to British science fiction and steampunk. Other speakers include authors Ed Bryant and David Lee Summers.
In addition to panels and lectures, there is a costume contest Saturday afternoon. The contest has a Hunger Games theme, and prizes will be awarded for the best steampunk, children's, anime, fantasy and sci-fi costumes.
Those looking for an interactive experience can join the LAN Party each day of the convention. Gamers who are pre-registered can bring their own computers, but there will also be sponsor-provided consoles for games like Counter-Strike and Star Wars: Battlefront.
One-day tickets range from $15 to $35 at the door. For an up-to-date schedule, go to tusconscificon.com. —M.D.