City Week

Contemporary Western Art Show, Star Party at Saguaro National Park, "Money for the Funny", Tribute to Nowhere Man and Whiskey Girl

Wild, Wild, Western Art

Contemporary Western Art Show and Sale

3 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 24

Mountain Oyster Club

6400 E. El Dorado Circle


In 1947, a group of cattlemen created a club that met in a basement in downtown Tucson. Sixty-six years later, the Mountain Oyster Club is still thriving by promoting ranching and farming and Southwest art and culture (and members now meet in a mansion instead of a basement).

For the past 44 years, the club has hosted a contemporary Western art show that is one of the largest such shows in the area. What started as a modest event with a couple of dozen pieces in now a 400-piece extravaganza. "It's not like going to a gallery," says Karen Young, chairwoman of the art show committee. "We have 200 artists participating at one time so you see a wide array of art and styles."

From bronze sculptures to oil paintings, the show encompasses all styles of artwork, from both established and new Southwestern artists.

"That is one of the hallmarks of the show, that we try to introduce new artists to the Southwest community," Young says. 

Young, who has been on the art show committee for 34 years, and other club members judge works to see which are suitable for the show. Once in, the artists set the prices for their works. On the day of the show, patrons are invited to view the pieces and can offer to buy them through a fixed-price lottery system. It is not an auction, Young says. The pieces remain in the club until January, when they are shipped to their new owners.

To attend the show, you must call or email the club for reservations. Tickets will not be sold at the door.


The Universe—Up Close

Star Party at Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park-East

3693 S. Old Spanish Trail

7 to 9 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 21


You can get a step closer to understanding the layout of the universe at a Star Party hosted by national park rangers. The Orion nebula, the Andromeda galaxy and the Pleiades, also known as the Seven Sisters star cluster, are just a few of the heavenly bodies that visitors at Saguaro National Park will be able to see in the desert night sky (provided it's not cloudy, of course).

The Star Party has been a regular event at the park for more than five years. According to Jeff Wallner, a park guide, it is "a gathering of amateur astronomers who bring their telescopes and share their knowledge and their equipment with the public."

The astronomers are from the Tucson Amateur Astronomers Association. A park ranger aids the astronomers as they guide visitors through an introductory presentation held indoors that will give the visitors some astronomy basics to prepare them for what to look for once outside. During the viewing, visitors will be able to use the astronomers' telescopes to see star clusters invisible to the naked eye.

"It's a real treat to get to see something out of a really nice telescope," says Melanie Florez, a park spokeswoman.

Night-sky visibility is usually exceptionally good at the park, which sits on the far-east side of the Tucson metro area.

The Star Party gives Tucsonans and visitors an opportunity to experience the desert in a different light, and to get that humble feeling that comes while gazing into the expanse of the night sky. Attendance is limited and you must reserve a spot by calling Saguaro National Park-East. Admission to the Star Party is free.


Building a Foundation

"Money for the Funny"

Loft Cinema

3233 E. Speedway Blvd.

6 p.m. Thursday, November 23

Tucson is getting its first theater dedicated to the art of improv.

"After 11 years, we are finally going off the road," said Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed troupe creative director and Unscrewed Theatre executive director Michael Vietinghoff. Known for performing at locales across town like Monterey Court, Revolutionary Grounds and others, the comedy troupe and theater groups banded together to form a nonprofit group, and purchased a building to host a permanent space for improv comedy and theater.

The space is located on 3244 E. Speedway Blvd., with a grand opening scheduled for January 2014. The black box theater will be used to host weekly family-friendly shows and a training center for improv classes.

"There will be other teams and opportunities with the focus on improving [their skills]," Vietinghoff said. Eventually, long form, musical, and one act play improv groups will be welcomed to host their shows there. "[Not Burnt Out...] are the founders, but won't be the only team playing on this stage," Vietinghoff said.

The troupe is presenting the fundraiser Money for the Funny to pull together money to complete the theater at The Loft Cinema this Saturday, Nov. 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. In addition to NBOJU, there will be multiple improv groups performing including Phoenix troupe Mail Order Bride and local make-it-up-as-they-go-alongers Tucson Improv Movement. In addition to the hilarity, attendees can also expect a raffle, a live auction, and merchandise for sale. Plus, if you stick around after the show, a tour of the new space (conveniently located across the street) will be offered.


Music and Memories

A Celebration of Love: A Musical Celebration of the Love and Talents of Amy and Derrick Ross

8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 23


340 E. 6th St.

In the hours and days following the unfortunate deaths of Amy and Derrick Ross, known as Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl, it didn't take long to see that the married couple meant more to Tucson, to Bisbee, to Arizona as a whole, than your average regular-gigging musical act.

Online comment sections were filled with remembrances of the duo, anecdotes were shared, photos were posted. The Weekly had its tribute, written by Mel Mason ("Gone Too Soon," Oct. 24). Some of the grief was certainly due to the tragic too-soon circumstances of their deaths, but also it was clear that Amy and Derrick had a memorable effect on nearly everyone they met.

As Mel Mason wrote in our pages, "[The] unwavering and honest-to-goodness connection with their audience is why the collective grief in Tucson and beyond is too large to measure. Music was their life. They made weddings more meaningful and birthday parties more memorable. They selflessly played charity events, and they made new, ardent fans at every single gig."

Logically, there would be some sort of musical event to honor their memories, and the lineup for Saturday's show reflects the impact Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl had in this state, with artists such as Jim Adkins (of Jimmy Eat World), Lonna Kelly, Carlos Arzate and The Tryst scheduled to both play their favorite songs by the couple and share stories and memories.

The cover is only $5 and there will also be a silent art auction. One-hundred precent of the proceeds will go to the Lupus Foundation of Southern Arizona.


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