City Week

Surviving the Summer

Move Your Meetings

8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday, June 21

Various locations downtown and Fourth Avenue

Get out of the board room and head to a local coffee shop this summer to make meetings less tedious and, more importantly, to help keep those businesses afloat through the fall.

Miguel Ortega, the man behind the Move Your Meetings campaign, recalls stale conferences over stale coffee. Then, last summer, he had an idea.

"I was walking downtown in the fall and I saw what the streetcar construction was doing to small businesses," Miguel Ortega said.

Summer is a slow, rough time for local businesses in Tucson every year, but the construction has made it extra challenging for places downtown and on Fourth Avenue.

"We have long time mom-and-pops with pretty small budgets that might not make it through the summer."

With that inspiration, Ortega kicked off a campaign asking people to have some of their meetings at local businesses this summer.

"We're not saying everyone should move all of their meetings to a restaurant, that would get expensive," Ortega said. "But they can do one or two."

On June 21, the first official day of summer, the campaign's volunteers will settle in at local businesses and encourage people to pledge to have one of their meetings at a locally owned spot.

The campaign will stop at four businesses for two hours each: from 8 to 10 a.m., the Chocolate Iguana (500 N. Fourth Ave.) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Hopyard (210 N. Fourth Ave.), from 2 to 5 p.m.; Caffe Luce (943 E. University Blvd.) and finally, from 5 to 7 p.m., The District Tavern (260 E. Congress St.).

There will be a raffle and music.

"As Tucsonans, we get through the summer together," Ortega said.


Acting Out Equality


7:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 25

Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave.

"8," the play detailing the demise of California's Proposition 8, is coming to Tucson.

Fred DuVal, the executive producer (and Democratic candidate for governor in 2014), saw the play in Phoenix a few weeks ago and immediately decided it needed to be brought to Tucson.

"I was completely moved by it," DuVal said. "More people need to see it and Tucson is a city that celebrates diversity."

The play is from transcripts of the closing arguments from Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the federal trial which led to the overturn of Proposition 8, the act that took away the rights of same-sex couples to marry in California.

"The case was closed to the media, but some people thought it should be heard," DuVal said.

This isn't a theatrical play. The "actors" (made up of local celebrities and politicians, including Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Councilman Steve Kozachik and former TV personality Martha Vazquez) will have the script in their hands and will read while seated on a stool.

"It's all about the words," DuVal said.

The Supreme Court is expected to announce their decision on same-sex marriage the day before the play, which is why Duval says the play is being put together so quickly.

Tickets can be purchased online through ticketmaster or through the Arizona Theatre Company box office, at 622-2823. VIP tickets are priced at $95 and include a post-performance reception with the cast. Other tickets are available for $45 and $20.

The money raised will benefit the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which owns the rights to the play, as well as local groups Wingspan, Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation, the Alliance Fund and the University of Arizona Office of LGBTQ Affairs.


Our Winged Heroes

Celebrate P.A.U.S.E. and National Pollinator Week Wings of Life Documentary Screening

10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 4 p.m.

Saturday, June 22

Tohono Chul Park Education Center, 7366 N. Paseo Del Norte

Free with park admission

As pollinator populations continue to decline, various groups are stepping up to spread awareness and appreciation for the winged critters.

In October 2012, Tohono Chul Park joined forces with the St. Louis Zoo, the National Museums of Kenya in Nairobi and a group of students ages 17 to 22. Through a project called P.A.U.S.E. (Pollinators/Art/Urban Agricultural/Society/and the Environment), they set out to "plant pollinator-friendly vegetable gardens, create pollinator habitat sculptures and share with residents the importance of pollinators, improved pollinator habitat and sustainable gardening," according to a media release.

Now that the year-long project is coming to a close, Tohono Chul Park will be offering a free showing of the Disneynature documentary, Wings of Life, narrated by Meryl Streep and directed by Louis Schwartzberg, in celebration of both P.A.U.S.E. and National Pollinator Week.

The film will be screened three different times throughout the day, each introduced by Dr. Stephen Buchmann, head of research and chief scientist for the documentary project.

"The bottom line is that every one of us depends every single day on pollinators," Buchmann said, adding that around 35 percent of global food, as well as things like beverages and medicines are produced by the activities of pollinators.

"The next step," said Jo Falls, director of education and visitor services for Tohono Chul Park, "would be for each of them (attendees) to look at how they can attract pollinators to their own yards, and make the world a little friendlier for these vital partners in food production around the world."


Efficiency = Savings

Reduce Your Energy Wasteline Workshop

10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, June 22

Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way

Free with gardens admission; pre-registration required.

As the hot temperatures continue to rise, so might your utility bill. For the first time this Saturday, Tucson Botanical Gardens will be offering a workshop for homeowners to help find ways to save energy and make your home more comfortable, as well as save you money.

Presented by volunteer energy coaches, the workshop is sponsored by Tucson Electric Power, Metropolitan Energy Commission and the city of Tucson. Those who attend the class will receive a free goodie bag with $40 worth of energy saving devices, from low-flow shower heads to caulk.

"In the case of energy efficiency, I think the mission of the Gardens here is to teach people about responsible living in the desert basically," said Christine Hoekenga, director of education and volunteer coordinator at Tucson Botanical Gardens. "We usually talk about that in the form of water or plants, you know, planting natives or using water-wise landscape, but it also goes into what we do inside our home."

If people use excess energy in their homes, there's a sustainability cost to that, she added.

"It's kind of doing good and doing well at the same time," said Robert Bulechek, vice-chair of the Tucson-Pima County Metropolitan Energy Commission, and an instructor of the workshops. "They (attendees) do well because they're lowering their utility bills, and they're doing good because they're also reducing their CO2 emissions and helping do something about climate change."

"The mission is to kind of give people an introduction to the soil, the water, the climate here," Hoekenga said. "The idea is to give them an overview of things that will help them succeed at home."


About The Authors

Chelo Grubb

Bookworm, cat lady, journalism enthusiast.
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