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Remembering a Tucson Legend

Domingo DeGrazia honors Ted DeGrazia

7 to 9 p.m., Saturday, June 11

DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, 6300 N. Swan Road

299-9191; degrazia.org

Although Ted DeGrazia—a world- renowned artist and musician, and the founder of the DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun—passed away in 1982, his legacy lives on.

"Ted had an amazing personality. People just wanted to be around him," said Lance Laber, executive director of DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun.

Laber said that Ted's artwork and joie de vivre bring 50,000 to 80,000 people from around the world to the gallery each year.

To celebrate what would have been Ted's 102nd birthday, DeGrazia's son—accomplished musician Domingo DeGrazia—and the folks at DeGrazia Gallery will host a celebration in his honor. Fresh from a sold-out performance with The Temptations, "Domingo leads his popular five-piece band in performances that blend Spanish-guitar passion with the flair of flamenco music," according to the gallery's website.

The event will also showcase a new CD, Please Remember Me, which features recordings based on Ted DeGrazia's recently discovered sheet music, written way back in the 1930s and 1940s. The songs were arranged and performed by local Tucson musicians, including Domingo DeGrazia himself. The CD will be on sale at the event.

It's safe to say that Ted DeGrazia would approve of his upcoming birthday bash.

"Some say that if my dad were alive, he would be having a big birthday celebration and be causing a ruckus," said Domingo DeGrazia in an e-mail.

Domingo DeGrazia also said that the Gallery in the Sun is the perfect venue for this event.

"(Dad's) artwork is everywhere in the gallery both inside and out. It is on the fences and trees, and in the look and feel of the buildings."

Admission is free.


Got a Mint?

Fourth Annual Garlic and Onion Festival

4 to 9 p.m., Friday, June 10, through Sunday, June 12

Agua Linda Farm, 2643 E. Frontage Road, off Interstate 19 exit 42

891-5532; www.agualindafarm.net

Here's an event that's sure to make you cry: Agua Linda Farm will host a three-day Garlic and Onion Festival.

Why onions and garlic, you ask? Because: It's the time of the season. Local farmers begin tending these crops in the fall, patiently weeding and watering the plants throughout the winter and spring.

"Then, in the early summer, the bulbs signal harvest time when their green tops, once reaching for the sky, give up and flop over in the heat," said Agua Linda co-owner Laurel Loew in an e-mail.

Onions and garlic fall under the umbrella of alliums, an onion genus with about 1,250 species, including scallions, chives and leeks. The bulbous beauties will be for sale for $6 per pound (garlic) and $2 per pound (onions).

Sunflowers, a spring mix, beets, baby carrots and fava beans will also be for sale. And from onion rings to caramelized onion burgers, and from baked garlic to garlic-flavored potato chips, you can expect to find lots of good 'ol kettle-fried food.

This event will not only please your nose and mouth, but your ears, too. Agua Linda has a series of local musicians performing each night: Salvador Duran, as well as Sweet Pea and the Bean on Friday; Sweet Pea and the Bean, followed by Crosscut Saw on Saturday; and Chuck Wagon and the Same Old Band on Sunday.

For the kiddos (and the young at heart), there will be hayrides, a petting zoo and $5 pony rides. Yes, pony rides!

"The event is family-centric, food-centric. It's a good local event," said co-owner Stuart Loew. So come on down to the farm—but be sure to grab a jacket; it gets chilly there at night.

Admission is $5 per car.


A Chinese Tradition—With Tamales!

Dragonboat Festival

11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, June 11

Tucson Chinese Cultural Center, 1288 W. River Road

292-6900; tucsonchinese.org

This weekend, the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center will host the 2,000th annual dragonboat festival.

All right: It's only the fifth festival for the center. But the event—which includes a model-boat race and a lunch featuring Chinese tamales—is steeped in a tradition that goes back to about 278 B.C.

As legend has it, that's the year celebrated Chinese poet and statesman Qu Yuan drowned himself in the Milo River. People rushed out onto the river in boats, dropping Chinese tamales, called zongzi, into the water to stop fish from eating the poet's body.

Today, the festival is an international celebration, with people from Hong Kong to Seattle racing elaborate canoes. Because of Tucson's less-than-ideal boating climate, the festival here centers on a children's model-boat race indoors.

"It's a village event, so we make it a family event," said Tucson Chinese Association president Patsy Lee.

Children take boat kits home to assemble and decorate. Then they bring the wooden boats to compete in the race, which takes place in a 10-foot-long trough.

"It's propelled by a balloon," Lee said of the boats. "Each child has to blow up the balloon."

With their families cheering them on, the children compete for gift certificates and other prizes. For lunch, the cultural center prepared 625 Chinese tamales.

"Instead of using corn ... they use rice," said Mike Lee, who works at the Cultural Center. Instead of cornhusks, the tamales are wrapped in bamboo leaves; and contain various types of meat.

Proceeds from the festival will benefit the center's seniors' program, a day-long program each Thursday that includes exercise, as well as games.

Lunch is $15, or $10 for members.


Tragedy Into Hope

Live Music for a Good Reason: Kelly Pardi

11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, June 11

Bookmans, 6230 E. Speedway Blvd.

748-9555; www.bookmans.com/events

After the Jan. 8 shooting, 26 Tucson musical groups contributed songs to an album to help the community heal.

The album, Can We Get Together?, is being sold to raise money for the Tucson Together Fund, which assists victims and witnesses of the shooting, as well as their families.

Kelly Pardi, who wrote the title track, will perform at Bookmans to promote the album. He said the artists who contributed to the album are an eclectic mix of folk, big band, punk and reggae artists.

"It's a statement that all these people came together," Pardi said. "Everybody's heart was in this."

When Pardi's neighbors in Amado couldn't pay their adjustable-rate mortgages during the recession, he contacted Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' office for help. Pardi worked closely with Gabe Zimmerman, Giffords' community outreach director, who was killed in the shooting.

"He was a wonderful guy and had an effervescent personality," Pardi said.

On Saturday, Pardi will perform the song "Puddles," which he wrote to honor Christina-Taylor Green, the 9-year-old who died in the Jan. 8 shooting. Green appeared in Faces of Hope, a book that highlighted 50 children born on Sept. 11, 2001. One of the three wishes written next to Green's picture was, "I hope you jump in rain puddles."

The song imagines the story surrounding the wish, Pardi said, and is performed by the Tucson Girls Chorus on the album.

Pardi said he was moved by the words of Carol Gaxiola, who represented Homicide Survivors at the April release of the album.

"What you see behind me is a representation of Tucson," Gaxiola said of the musicians. "We are turning tragedy into hope and into love and kindness."

The event is free; the album is $15.

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