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CULTURAL RICHES. It seems an historical fluke that Harlem's greatest moment was set against the national angst of the Great Depression. Arizona Theatre Company plumbs this deep contrast in Blues for an Alabama Sky, by Pearl Cleage. (See this week's Arts section for a full review.)
The drama centers around a remarkable cadre of friends striving to keep their hopes and dreams alive, even as their world is beginning to crash. Angel and Guy, both struggling artists at the Cotton Club, pursue fame and fortune in the image of Josephine Baker, while Delia, a social worker at a family planning clinic, and Sam, a Harlem doctor, fight to improve the lives of those around them. Ultimately, Blues for an Alabama Sky explores the frailties of human ties and the rapture of dreams, set against Harlem's brief, glorious renaissance.
Show time is 7:30 p.m. in the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. Matinee and evening performances continue through January 30. Tickets range from $22 to $28, and are available at the ATC box office, Dillard's, or by calling 622-2823. Half-price adult and $10 student rush tickets are available one hour before curtain at the ATC box office.
ABUNDANT ARBOR. Check out northern Mexico's incredible trees tonight, when the Sky Island Alliance and Sonoran botanist and author Richard Felger team up to host a slide presentation on the subject. Felger will discuss everything from the one-time magnificent riverine gallery forests of the Rio Colorado to the tropical figs, burseras and 30-foot-tall avocados in the Rio Mayo's orchid-and-palm laden valleys.
The free presentation begins at
KING OF THE ROAD. Ranked among America's favorite folkies, Charlie King has brought his warm, and sometimes biting, musical humor to Tucson for more than 20 years. Tonight, the man Pete Seeger calls "one of the finest and most agile" singer/songwriters around, keeps up that tradition with an appearance following a dinner in honor of Stan Stefancic, one man instrumental in the passage of the Cleaner Elections ballot proposition.
Dinner is at 6:30 p.m. in the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4831 E. 22nd St. King performs at 8 p.m. Single tickets are $8, $15 per couple, and are available by calling 623-1688.
CELESTIAL DREAMS. Huracán has found himself among thousands of children forced to return to Mexico during the dark days of America's depression. Separated from his mother on the train journey, and abruptly alone, he follows the path of a monarch butterfly on a haunting search for his past and future in The Highest Heaven, by José Cruz Gonzalez.
Produced by the acclaimed Childsplay theater troupe, in conjunction with Borderlands Theater, the drama is recommend for children ages 7 and older.
Show time is 7:30 p.m. in the Tucson Center for the Performing
Arts, 408 S. Sixth Ave. Performances continue at
FOOT FRENZY. For the fifth year in a row, Southwest Dance will present the creativity, talent and downright "zaniness" of local dancers with the Arizona Contemporary Dance Festival.
Nine small, Arizona-based dance companies--including Tenth Street Danceworks, ORTS Theatre of Dance, and the Canyon Movement Company--will strut their stuff in this stunning celebration of movement.
Show time is 8 p.m. in the PCC Center for the Arts, 2202 W. Anklam Road. Tickets are $12, $9 for seniors, $7 for children and students, and are available at all Dillard's ticket outlets. Call (602) 482-6410 for more information.
HAPPY SLACKERS. The big island sound arrives in Tucson via the Rialto Theater, in an evening of Hawaiian slack-key guitar virtuosity.
For the uninitiated, this Hawaiian playing style is one of the world's greatest--and least known--acoustic guitar traditions. Long relegated to South Pacific isolation, the finger-picked style uses "slacked" strings to produce beautifully unique tunings. Tonight, three slack-key masters--Cyril Pahinui, George Kahumoku Jr. and Rev. Dennis Kamakahi--will be featured, along with luscious Hawaiian dancing.
Show time is 8 p.m. in the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Advance tickets are $16, available at Hear's Music, The Book Mark, Antigone Books, or by calling 529-0356. Tickets are $18 at the door.
HAUNTED HIGHLANDS. Yungchen Lhamo is considered Tibet's most exquisite voice in exile. Tonight she brings her haunting sound to Tucson, as part of a tour benefiting the Tibetan Children's Village and Tibetan Refugee Relief.
She became a breakthrough success in 1997 with the release of her debut album, Tibet, Tibet, called a "stunning record" by the New York Daily News. Since then, the a cappella singer has garnered acclaim across the globe for her spellbinding vocals, and for speaking out on behalf of the oppressed Tibetan people. Her Tucson appearance follows her second release, Coming Home.
Lhamo performs at 7 p.m. in the UA Social Sciences Auditorium, located on campus south of the Old Main building. Tickets are $10, $5 for students and seniors, and available at the door. For information, call 885-6527.
HIGH AND TIGHT. Join an army of well-groomed warblers at the annual barbershop quartet extravaganza, hosted by the Tucson Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society.
This year's timeless gathering features the Tucson "Sunshine" Chorus and Quartets, along with Freestyle, a guest comedy quartet from Sacramento.
Performances are at 2 and 8 p.m. in the TCC Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. Tickets are $10 for the matinee, $12.75 for the evening show, available at the TCC and Dillard's box offices. For details, call 747-1215.
HOW SWEET IT IS. Acclaimed vocal ensemble Sweet Honey in The Rock returns to Tucson for another dazzling performance. The Grammy Award-winning group dishes up an exhilarating mix of African, gospel, blues, jazz and traditional music, passionately singing about justice, struggle and love. According to Bonnie Rait, "The depth of where they're singing from, politically and personally, is just unmatched."
Sweet Honey in the Rock performs at 7:30 p.m. in UA Centennial Hall, located inside the main gate east of Park Avenue. Tickets are $23, available at the Centennial Hall box office, Dillard's, or by calling 621-3341.
ARID SOULS. Pain and redemption take center stage when Indigo Playworks presents a staged reading of Stray Parts Like Theez, by Mary Caroline Rogers.
This full-length drama examines the internal journey of four people whose paths cross near the Mexican border. A Border Patrol agent, a troubled and abused boy, an itinerant musician and a haunted smuggler collectively face their own demons in a land accustomed to little mercy. Stray Parts stars Clark Andreas Ray, Hal Melfi, William A. Gallo and Ted Parks. Music will be provided by Larry Redhouse.
Show time is 7 p.m. in the Café Sweetwater, 340 E. Sixth St. The bar opens at 6 p.m. Admission is $3. For information, call 740-1975.
AUDIBLE HANKERINGS. According to author Gregg Levoy, callings "are articulations of the soul's uncensored needs, messages that tell us what it will take to make our lives 'come true.' "
Levoy should know. A former reporter and freelance writer, he's put his notions together in a new book, Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life. Now he brings his message to Tucson in a workshop running from 2 to 5 p.m. in St. Francis in the Foothills, 4625 E. River Road. Tickets are $20, available at Rainbow Moods Bookstore, Antigone Books and The Book Mark. Call 529-2686 for information.
ILLUSIVE QUALITIES. Tucson's finest sleight-handers dish up their best tricks in It's Magic. The illusive action begins with close-up magic performed tableside by strolling magicians, and continues with a stage show featuring Norm Marini, Gene Collins, and a special guest performance by The Laramores, from Hollywood's Magic Castle.
Doors open at 6 p.m., followed by the stage show at 7 p.m., at The Gaslight Theater, 7010 E. Broadway. Tickets are $8, available at Williams Magic and Novelties. Call 790-4060 for more information.
ALL TANGOED UP. Since its founding in the '80s by Osvaldo Requena, Tango Buenos Aires has performed to great acclaim all over the planet. Now the troupe arrives in Tucson as part of their first coast-to-coast United States tour.
Arising from African and Spanish dance traditions, and strongly influenced from milongas sung by Argentinean gauchos, the tango's mesmerizing rhythms present a passion that writer Jorge Luis Borges calls, "That deviltry...that wind gust." Of Tango Buenos Aires, The New York Times has called the Brazilian dancers "a revelation" of "sensuality and sexual energy."
Show time is 8 p.m. in the TCC Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. Tickets range from $28 to $36, with discounts for seniors, students and children. They're available at all Dillard's ticket outlets, or by calling 791-4836.
PRAIRIE SLAUGHTER. Pound for pound, the prairie dog has generated more controversy in the American West than nearly any other creature, with ranchers claiming it competes with cows for forage. Some states even eradicate the critters by law. As a result, prairie dogs have been reduced to less than two percent of their historic range.
The slaughter of these humble creatures has been graphically documented in Varmints, a documentary from director Doug Hawes-Davis. Tucson-based Wildlife Damage Review will present a local screening of this film The Coloradoan newspaper calls "the Schindler's List of wildlife documentaries." A discussion with Hawes-Davis will follow.
Show time is 7 p.m. in the PCC Proscenium Theatre, 2202 W. Anklam Road. Admission is $5. Call 884-0883 for information.
NOTED CHORDS. The Old Pueblo will encounter one of opera's most electrifying new stars with appearances by mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, and accompanist Warren Jones.
Graves' stunning portrayal of Carmen (opposite Plácido Domingo) at the Metropolitan Opera in 1996 won her immediate stardom. Since then, she's performed in such demanding leading roles as Baba the Turk in The Rake's Progress, Charlotte in Werther, and Dalila in Samson et Dalila. In a recent review, The Washington Post called her "terrific and elegant, singing with a freedom and passion that seems to get richer and more lustrous as the years go by."
The San Francisco Examiner likewise labeled Jones "the single finest accompanist now working."
Graves and Jones perform at
WRITE ON. The UA Women's Studies Advisory Council unites a trio of rising mystery authors for its fifth annual women writers gathering.
Writers Journeys: Real and Imagined will feature Sharon Kahn, whose 31 years as a rabbi's wife are reflected in her book, Fax Me a Bagel; Miriam Grace Monfredo, an historian and former librarian whose most recent novel, The Stalking Horse, is based on historical events on the eve of the Civil War; and Carolina Garcia-Aguilera, who, after 10 years as a private detective, debuted on the mystery scene in 1996 with her critically acclaimed Bloody Waters.
City Week includes events selected by Calendar Editor Tim Vanderpool. Event information is accurate as of press time. The Weekly recommends calling event organizers to check for last-minute changes in location, time, price, etc. To have material considered, please send complete information at least 11 days prior to the Thursday issue date to: Tucson Weekly, P.O. Box 2429, Tucson, Arizona 85702, or fax information to 792-2096, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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