Ride, Relay and Relax
9 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 26
Starts at Reid Park
22nd Street and Country Club Road
The New Belgium Urban Assault Ride coasts into town this weekend to prove that a bicycle race can be about more than hustle.
"Think of it as an obstacle race on bicycles," said Dan Coppola, the event manager.
Riders begin and end the funky race at Reid Park. Along the way, they stop at seven checkpoints throughout the city. At each one is a surprise challenge—such as three-legged race, with a teammate riding a child's bike around a small course.
Riders, who register in teams of two, can opt for male, female, co-ed and family categories. The ride caters to bicyclists of all skill levels.
The ride—now in its 10th year, and its fourth in Tucson—began in Austin as a way for people to enjoy a day on their bikes. Now, it's evolved into a way to promote sustainability.
Bikers are told five of the seven checkpoint locations ahead of time—two are a mystery until race day—and must map out their own route. Coppola says the idea is to help participants realize that they can use their bikes to travel from place to place more often.
"We encourage people to show up for the ride on their bicycles if they have the ability to ride to the event," Coppola said. "Most people use a bike as a recreational tool, not a transport tool, and we strive to tie those two aspects together."
Participants don't need to finish first to be eligible to win prizes. Coppola said participants can cover as much ground as they want and participate in as many checkpoint activities as they feel comfortable with.
After the race, a party with prizes and beer awaits. Registration is $30 to $60 per person. —A.N.
Dancin'—The Black Atlantic, Part 1
7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 24; 3 and 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 25
Dunbar Cultural Center
325 W. Second St.
Barbea Williams has been preparing for this show all her life.
Her childhood dance lessons, her travel and her research all play a part in Dancin'—The Black Atlantic, Part 1, which showcases African identity through dance.
Williams, the artistic director of the Barbea Williams Performing Company, employs the Dunham technique, created by dance pioneer Katherine Dunham, who heavily used research in developing choreography. Williams hopes to portray, through dance, the influence of African culture in the Caribbean, South America and Mesoamerica.
"It's a story of migration, even though I feel like people of African descent ... they weren't immigrants; they were people who came here as explorers initially," Williams said.
More than 30 performers from the University of Arizona School of Dance's Afrikana Dance Ensemble and Williams' troupe, among others, will perform dances in three acts as part of a celebration of Black History Month.
Members of the performance group Flight School Acrobatics will play out different scenes of Afro-Brazilian life using capoeira, a Brazilian martial art; acro-yoga; samba; and maculelê, an Afro-Brazilian dance.
Williams said the performance will mimic the natural ocean currents that circulate from Africa to the Caribbean, and to South America.
"What our responsibility is in terms of our research and the authenticity ... is to bring to our audience here in Tucson a glimpse of something that they might never see, places that they might never visit," Williams said.
Prior to the show, everyone is invited to participate in a comparsa dance class for all levels of dancers.
Tickets are $12 in advance, and $15 at the door. —A.N.
Work From Our Neighbor
Wednesday, Feb. 29, through next Sunday, March 4
Various venues and times
Mexican culture has long had a huge impact in Tucson, of course, and to take a look at current life in Mexico—as seen through the eyes of that nation's filmmakers—the UA's Hanson Film Institute is hosting a free, five-day film festival.
Tucson Cine Mexico will feature contemporary Mexican films, said festival director Vicky Westover. In addition to the films, the festival will include Mexican directors, producers and actors who will talk about their work at screenings.
"It's a really rare opportunity to see stellar work coming from our neighbor," Westover said.
The annual festival, which began in 2009, is as diverse as Tucson's community, she said. Filmgoers include members of Tucson's immigrant community, but also non-immigrants of all walks of life, she said.
The movie that Westover is most looking forward to is Miss Bala, which will be screened at 7 p.m., Friday, March 2, at the Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St.
Miss Bala was Mexico's Oscar submission for Best Foreign Language Film, and was an official selection at the Cannes Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival and the New York Film Festival.
The movie is about a Mexican woman who wants to become a beauty queen, but instead gets sucked into the drug war that has claimed thousands of lives. The thriller's lead actress, Stephanie Sigman, will be a special guest at the festival.
The festival also will address changes in the Mexican film industry. One special event will feature female Mexican film directors, who will talk about the rise of women directors in Mexico.
Tickets are free. For a complete schedule, a list of venues and ticket information, visit the festival's website. —R.K.
11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 25
DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center
Near 22nd Street and Country Club Road
Enjoy a peaceful day in the park while enjoying some great tunes with your family and friends at Tucson's 30th Annual Peace Fair and Music Festival.
The fair is Tucson's largest gathering of local peace and social-justice groups. The event will include music and entertainment for young and old, and nonprofits will host information booths, said event chairwoman Mary DeCamp.
Plenty of arts and crafts will be for sale, and there even may be a piñata for children, she said.
About 60 groups have signed up for booths so far, but DeCamp expected that number to grow.
"There is so much negativity in the world, so much dismay over the state of affairs. This is an opportunity to spotlight the positives, and all the things that are right in Tucson," DeCamp said.
Attendees also can enter a raffle, which features prizes worth up to $500 and beyond. The grand prizes range from a dinner-and-movie package to a trip for two to Las Vegas, said Nancy Cohen, who is in charge of the raffle. The money raised will be used to issue a calendar with listings of all peace-oriented events around Tucson, Cohen said.
The Peace Fair and Music Festival should be an entertaining and uplifting day at the park, said Chet Gardiner, chairman of the entertainment committee.
Musicians will include local singer-songwriters and groups such as One Heartbeat, a drumming band, he said. Other scheduled performers include the Raging Grannies, Los Foileros and Planet Jam. Whatever your tastes, you will find music to enjoy while sharing it with people who share a desire for peace, Gardiner said.
"You're not alone," he said. "There are people working for great causes."
Admission is free. —R.K.