A Night of Bright
7:30 to 10 p.m., Saturday, May 26
Pop-up gallery at 4648 E. Speedway Blvd.
The typical gallery show is given a twist at the Blackout Tucson charity event.
People of all ages are invited to a night of food, music, live performances and, of course, art. The twist: Everyone and everything will glow in the dark.
This gallery show will include black lights set up to make both visitors and art by local artists glow like neon, bringing a new perspective to a common event.
All proceeds will go to Arts for All, a nonprofit group that provides art education to local children with disabilities.
Nina Corella, an event coordinator of Blackout Tucson, looks forward to the unique take on experiencing art in a gallery setting.
"It's for charity and for local students to help create a better art community and bring a different art to Tucson," Corella said. "(It's) something Tucson hasn't really seen before."
Corella and her three co-coordinators are students at the Art Institute of Tucson.
The food and drink at Blackout Tucson will include cupcakes, appetizers, snacks and punch. Music will be provided by a DJ, but it will be on the mellow side so as not to create a dance-club atmosphere at an art show, Corella said.
Local artists participating in Blackout Tucson include Dock Reese, whose art ranges from cubism to surrealism; and Alejandra Niebla, who integrates plenty of color into her pieces.
Another attraction at the event will be a room in which visitors can paint whatever they want on the walls as a way to mark their attendance.
Tickets are $5, or $3 for students with ID. —S.V.
Mexican-American Studies Book-Discussion Club
6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, May 30
Joel D. Valdez Main Library
101 N. Stone Ave.
Unless you've been living under a rock, you've heard about the heated debate over the Tucson Unified School District's Mexican-American studies program.
However, you may not be so familiar with the books that were used in the program. Here's an opportunity to get beyond the headlines and see for yourself what the fuss is all about.
A new Mexican-American Studies Book-Discussion Club had its first meeting on May 16 and will continue to meet every other Wednesday through Aug. 8 at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library.
The discussions are intended as a venue for community members to talk about the books that were part of the school district's now-shuttered Mexican-American studies program, and to do so without fear of censorship.
"It's a place where we come together, and we share ideas; we share insights; we share perspectives; and we learn together," said Marissa M. Juarez, a doctoral candidate at the University of Arizona. She said that people are free to "disagree respectfully," but that "we're trying to come to an understanding."
On May 30, members of the book club will discuss Chicano! The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement by Francisco Rosales. The book centers on the Chicano movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and examines defining issues of Mexican-American history, as well as famous Mexican Americans.
Juarez, who facilitated the first discussion on May 16, said a diverse group of about 20 people attended. She set parameters to ensure the discussions remained respectful.
"We decided that people wouldn't speak over each other; people would have to have read the books and would be respectful of others when they speak," Juarez said. "It was really awesome to hear people's different opinions."
Participation is free. —H.M.
Broadway Like You've Never Seen
7 to 9:30 p.m., Sunday, May 27
Colors Food and Spirits
5305 E. Speedway Blvd.
Whether you're a Broadway fanatic, or the mere thought of show tunes makes you want to hurl, you should find something to like at Musical Mayhem Tucson's take on the Great White Way.
The Tucson branch of Musical Mayhem Cabaret, which was founded in Phoenix, is a musical-comedy troupe ready to dazzle the Tucson community with its twist on Broadway shows including Avenue Q, The Music Man and Chicago.
Dana Cianciotto, creator of MMT and the Tucson group Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed, looks forward to the debut, especially after the Phoenix branch's success.
"I feel like I can definitely fill a void that Tucson theater (has) right now," Cianciotto said. "This is a completely brand-new animal."
The Tucson cast features different actors from the Phoenix group, although Cianciotto plans guest appearances by the Phoenix group in the future.
A Musical Mayhem show has a cabaret atmosphere. The audience is encouraged to drink up while cast members are busy cracking jokes and bantering with audience members during the two-act show.
Act 1 features classic Broadway tunes, such as numbers from The Music Man, which should appeal to older audience members. The younger set will be served with tunes from modern musicals such as Rent.
Spontaneity is at the heart of Musical Mayhem's humor, Cianciotto said.
"We want the audience to feel like they are seeing a joke for the first time, as opposed to a show that's been rehearsed and beaten into the ground. (Cast members) have free will and come up with stuff on their own. And it will be absolutely hilarious. If an audience is seeing a joke for the first time, we are, too."
Tickets are $5. The show is aimed at people 15 and older. —S.V.
Murder for Dinner
6:30 p.m., Friday, May 25, and Saturday, May 26
311 E. Congress St.
If you have an appetite for solving crimes and enjoying gourmet food, a show at the historic Hotel Congress may satisfy both of these desires.
Local acting troupe Murder Mayhem will perform The Dillinger Diamonds, an interactive murder-mystery set in modern times, with Hotel Congress as the setting.
The show begins with a dead guest on the floor, a $500,000 diamond necklace missing, and suspects everywhere. As the mystery unfolds, a three-course meal, prizes and party favors will be offered. Guests will have a chance to select who they think is guilty of murder, and prizes include dinner for two at the Cup Café.
The show also includes a Best-Dressed Contest, and guests are encouraged to wear their most-stylish 1930s attire as a tribute to the capture of gangster John Dillinger in Tucson in 1934.
"It's just pure escapism," said the Sheldon Metz, co-writer and a cast member. "And a lot of fun. This one has a little bit of a twist at the end."
The 21-and-older show starts at 6:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception in the hotel lobby. Cast members will mingle with the guests. Dinner begins at 7:30 in the hotel's Copper Hall, and the play will last about two hours.
This will be the first murder-mystery dinner at Hotel Congress, and Metz said he hopes many more are to come.
"I thought that Congress would be a great location for a murder-mystery," Metz said. "I can't imagine a better place."
Tickets are $40 per person, or $350 for a table of 10. —H.M.