THE OLDEST PROFESSION. Do you know where Gay Alley is? Back in territorial times--between 1891 and 1917--the "strip" was a little breezeway that ran between Meyer and Convent avenues south of Camp Street, which is now Broadway Boulevard.
Soiled Doves: Women of Business in Territorial Tucson is a show that takes that word "business" seriously. It's a new exhibit at the Sosa-Carrillo-Frémont House Museum featuring women prostitutes who "worked" in Gay Alley. The exhibit includes artifacts like business licenses and health certificates (doesn't that take all the fun out of sleaze?) and photographs of the women who worked in Tucson's original red-light district.
The old days weren't much different than today in terms of prostitution. Women have always gotten into that line of work, very often due to getting caught in a situation they couldn't control. Employment belonged predominantly to the male population. Women were expected to take the most menial jobs, regardless of their education. Prostitution has always offered women higher paying wages, despite the dangers and illegalities.
Most prostitutes had off-color reputations. But many were also contributors to local charities, hospitals and churches, as well as willing to help out in a disaster. Most of all, prostitutes were good for the Western economy and helped support the community. (No change there.) They spent money locally, paid for their licenses and forked over fines when they were arrested.
The exhibit opens with a reception on Friday, May 16, from 5 to 7 p.m. The show continues through May 2004. The museum is located at 151 S. Granada Ave. tucked behind the Tucson Convention Center. Free parking is available in Lot C. Museum admission costs $3 for adults, $2 for seniors and students and free to children under 12. Museum hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For details, call 622-0956.
HOW TO RAISE A WITCH. We're not talking Tabitha, here.
Local Wiccan priestess Ashleen O'Gaea has authored two new books. One of them offers advice on child rearing different from the conventional options.
Raising Witches: Teaching the Wiccan Faith to Children talks about age-appropriate Wiccan activities for children and looks at the safety of raising kids in neo-Pagan religions. It even helps you answer such questions as, "What happens when we die?" Hey, you could give them the old, "We all go to heaven" line, or talk about worms and dried up bones--or see what the Wiccans have to say about the end game.
O'Gaea has also written In the Service of Life: A Wiccan Perspective on Death. She'll answer the hard questions in a reading and discussion of her work and faith on Friday, May 16, at 7 p.m., at Antigone Books, located at 411 N. Fourth Ave.
The reading and discussion are free. Call 792-3715 for details.
WE'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO LIVE HERE. Whenever I think of water issues and the desert, I'm reminded that, really, we humans were not meant to live here in any kind of permanent way.
Douglas Kupel has been tracing water development in Arizona for a long time. He's worked for the city of Phoenix law department since the late '80s, conducting historical research for water rights litigation. His new book, Fuel for Growth: Water and Arizona's Urban Environment, offers a different perspective from the traditional treatments of water and the environment by looking at the development of municipal water infrastructure in different parts of the state.
The three urban areas that he's researched could hardly be more diverse: Phoenix is a growth-oriented metropolis; Tucson is an environmentally conscious city with deep cultural roots; Flagstaff is an outdoor-friendly mountain town. Despite water usage differences, community leaders and public officials of these metropolises have taken similar approaches to developing water resources with varying degrees of success.
From the era of private water service to municipal ownership of water utilities, Kupel talks about all the struggles between growth and environmentalism. Plus, he has some ideas on how we can sustain our water future here in Arizona.
Kupel reads from his new book on Saturday, May 17, at 2 p.m., at Reader's Oasis, 3400 E. Speedway Blvd. The reading and discussion are both free. Questions? Call 319-7887.
A RECOGNIZABLE VOICE. You may have heard Tierney Sutton's unique singing voice in movies or TV soundtracks or, if you're lucky, in performance. But did you know the voice peddling such products as Coca-Cola, J.C. Penney and cars made by BMW and Dodge is also Sutton's?
An artist's got to make a living.
It seems she just loves to sing. Jazz vocalist Sutton is a prolific performer and recording artist on the Telarc jazz label. A singer from an early age, she spent her childhood in Milwaukee performing with conservatory choirs and musical theater. As her career blossomed, she opened for jazz notables such as Max Roach and the Billy Taylor Trio. In 1998, Sutton was a semi-finalist in the Thelonius Monk Jazz Vocal Competition. Her first solo recording, Introducing Tierney Sutton, was nominated for an Indie Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album in 1999. She's since recorded two more albums. Jazziz called her one of the best new jazz singers on the scene in 2001.
She performs in the very last concert of the Tucson Jazz Society's Plaza Suite Spring Series on Sunday, May 18, at 6 p.m., along with the Jeff Haskell Trio--that's Haskell on piano, Ed Friedland on bass and Fred Hayes on drums. Tickets cost $12 for general admission, $8 for TJS members and $5 for students. St. Philip's Plaza is located at Campbell Avenue and River Road.
Call 903-1265 for reservations or information.
KIDS NEED TO KNOW. A blind guy, in a recent animal-abuse case near Philadelphia, was convicted for kicking his seeing-eye dog to death. How ironic to do such a thing to a creature who just wants to be obedient, helpful and most of all, loved.
When I hear awful stories like this one about adults maiming animals, I'm convinced that maybe, just maybe, if someone had educated them as children about the sanctity of all living creatures, that no more animals would die so violently.
Local children's authors take a moment out of their busy schedules for Authors and Artists for Animals on Sunday, May 18, from 2 to 4 p.m. They'll try to raise awareness about homeless, neglected and abused animals in a benefit book sale for the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.
Featured authors include Marianne Mitchell (Gullywasher Gulch and Joe Cinders), Jennifer Ward (Way Out in the Desert and Over in the Garden), Jennifer J. Stewart (If That Breathes Fire, We're Toast) and others. Musician Patty Horn provides the tunes. Books and Horn's CDs are on sale, and all proceeds benefit HSSA's Education and Community Outreach Department, which goes out to schools to reach kids, we hope, before they grow up thinking it's cool to throw kittens out with the garbage.
Authors and Artists for Animals takes place at Reader's Oasis, 3400 E. Speedway Blvd. For details, call 321-3704, ext. 168.
FERAL, FLESHY COMPUTING. Over the last century, and particularly in the last 20 years, we've witnessed an explosion of concern on matters relating to the body. Maybe it has to do with the explosion of technology all around us pretending to do things our bodies won't or can't.
From the arts and humanities to computer science, there's been a shift from a focus on the body as abstract object to one that stresses our experience of our bodies as subjects.
Diane Gromala is a designer, artist, theorist and curator whose work focuses on cultural interventions in emerging technologies. She talks on Monday, May 19, at 3:30 p.m., about how the work of artists and designers reflects larger cultural concerns and intervenes in the process of technological development. Her talk is part of the summer-long UA Distinguished Lecturer and Arts Series. Tucson may slow to a crawl in the summer months, but the series proves that our brains don't have to fry.
Gromala is author, with Jay David Bolter, of Windows and Mirrors: Electronic Art, Design and the Myth of Transparency. In 2000, she was chair of SIGGRAPH's Art Gallery and in 2001, along with collaborator Lily Shirvanee, she was a finalist for Discover magazine's Award for Technological Innovation. A Fulbright fellow, Gromala is currently on the faculty of Georgia Tech. In a former life, she worked as a designer in the corporate realm, including Apple Computer. (See, they do have smart people working there.)
Her lecture is free and held in the Architecture Building auditorium, located in the Fine Arts courtyard east of Speedway Boulevard and Park Avenue. Call the School of Art with questions at 621-7570.