Cienega Creek Nature Walk
7 a.m., Friday, July 15
Cienega Creek Nature Walk, 16000 E. Marsh Station Road
Geological History of the Catalina and Rincon Mountains
10 a.m., Saturday, July 16
Brandi Fenton Park Visitor Center, 3482 E. River Road
With temperatures in the triple-digits, the idea of being outside does not have a lot of appeal. Yet there are ways of enjoying the richness of Tucson's desert beauty and wildlife without baking in the summer heat.
Pima County will be hosting free events throughout the month of July as part of the Environmental Education Program. The goal is to encourage people to explore and appreciate the unique qualities of the local environment through presentations, classes and fieldtrips.
One event is a guided morning nature walk through Cienega Creek Natural Preserve, open to everyone 8 and older.
"This hike is one you wouldn't want to miss," said Wendy Burroughs, the county's Environment Education Program manager. "It is one of the few places (in Southern Arizona) where you can see free-flowing water."
This is a unique chance to experience the preserve with a professional guide; one normally needs a permit to enjoy the area.
Another event offers participants 12 and older the chance to learn about the geological history of the Tucson Basin with geologist Bill Peachey. Peachey hopes to shed light on little-known facts about the Tucson area, like the ancient volcano that shaped the Santa Rita Mountains and the unusual nature of the Catalina and Rincon mountains.
"People knew that these mountains approached 100 million years old," said Peachey, "but they were not eroding."
According to Peachey, few are aware that a new geological model was discovered and developed right here in Arizona.
Reservations are required; Burroughs recommends calling at least a few days in advance. —A.F.
Go See a Historic Church!
Free Guided Tours at Mission San Xavier del Bac
9, 10:30 and 11:30 a.m., Monday through Saturday, during the summer
Mission San Xavier de Bac, 1950 W. San Xavier Road
Mission San Xavier de Bac is 214 years old—and for the first time ever, volunteers will be conducting tours through the church for free.
The San Xavier Mission was founded by Father Eusebio Kino in 1692. Father Juan Bautista Velderrain, a Franciscan missionary, led the start of church construction in 1783; it was completed in 1797.
Today, the church is being restored to preserve its history and beauty. To help, a nonprofit organization, Patronato San Xavier, was created. Vern Lamplot, the Patronato's executive director, said the restoration is a "work in progress."
"We have one major project right now: to complete the exterior," Lamplot said.
Although construction is ongoing in certain areas of the mission, it remains open and functional—and now the tours are being offered through the church. The hope for the tours is that visitors and church-goers will be able to learn about the church and what the future holds.
"People have said, 'This is the first time I really understand what I'm looking at,'" Lamplot said.
The tour begins in the museum and moves on to objects throughout the church, with explanations about the restoration process and the architecture; the tour concludes inside the church. Jonathan Bass, a volunteer docent with Patronato San Xavier, said the tours have gotten a lot of positive feedback.
"People are quite happy about it, because the tours are not going on during Mass," Bass said.
There are three tours on most Mondays through Saturdays, at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Call or e-mail Vern Lamplot at 407-6130 or patronatoSX@earthlink.net for group tours. Be sure to check the Patronato's website for last-minute schedule changes. —K.C.
Go Outside—and See a Film!
Return of the Drive-in Movie
6:30 p.m., Saturday, July 16
Just south of Mercado San Agustín100 S. Avenida del Convento
Tucson may soon see the return of a classic bit of Americana: For the first time since the DeAnza Drive-in closed in 2009, Tucsonans will have the chance to enjoy a drive-in movie—and with the support of the community, this could become a permanent arrangement.
The Cactus Drive-In Theater Foundation, now a nonprofit corporation, will be having its first fundraiser to bring the drive-in back to Tucson.
Born after World War II, the drive-in experienced a golden age in the 1950s before a rise in property values and other factors contributed to their decline in the '70s and '80s. However, the tides have turned, and drive-ins are experiencing a comeback, according to Cactus Drive-In treasurer George Cohn.
"A lot of it has to do with (the fact) that it's a family venue," said Cohn.
Cactus Drive-In Theater president Charles Spillar agrees. Rather than dealing with baby sitters and stiff seats to go to see a film, the whole family can pile into the car, and small children who would fuss in the theater are not a public issue.
"With a drive-in, you can just put the kid in its pajamas and wait for it to fall asleep," said Spillar.
When the time came to pick the movie that the Cactus Drive-in folks would show at the fundraiser, they decided to pick something the whole family could enjoy. The foundation will be showing Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, along with a classic cartoon and a short documentary detailing their efforts to bring the drive-in back.
"That's what this whole drive-in thing is about: being together," said Spillar.
There is no set amount for donations, but the suggested price is $4 per person, or $10 per car. —A.F.
Go Do the Time Warp—Again!
The Rocky Horror Picture Show with a shadow cast
Midnight, Saturday, July 16, and the third Saturday of each month
Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a cult-classic movie that is being screened at the Loft Cinema every third Saturday of the month.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show will leave you singing, dancing and entertained. Audience participation is highly recommended. Prior to the show, you will be greeted outside by people in outrageous costumes. Upon entrance, you will be de-virginized if you have never been to the show. Devirginization includes having a red lipstick "V" drawn on your forehead; you'll also be required to perform in some fashion prior to the movie.
Jeff Yanc, the program director at the Loft, said the audience is a huge part of the experience.
"The whole devirginization process will always be a part of the show," Yanc said.
The traditions are performed with the help of the cast members of Heavy Petting, the shadow cast that performs onstage during the movie. Ruben Ruiz, the cast director, has been a part of the production for 14 1/2 years.
"I enjoy all the people you get to meet who come to the show," Ruiz said.
When the movie begins, the cast keeps the audience engaged with every scene. You are encouraged to yell and throw toast at the screen—and you really, really should sing and dance along.
"People get out of their comfort zone at the shows," Ruiz said. "... People can expect people who aren't afraid to show who they are."
It's nowhere near as fun to stay home and watch this movie (unless you have your own Rocky Horror shadow cast—and we doubt that you do).
Admission is $6 for general admission, and $5 for Loft members.
"Come to expect a pretty wild show," Yanc said. —K.C.