Movies to Persuade
Tucson Progressive Film Festival
Friday, Oct. 26, through Sunday, Oct. 28
The Screening Room
127 E. Congress St.
Phil Lopes was in the Arizona House of Representatives for eight years. Over time, Lopes became disenchanted with his position, because as a progressive, he was unable to push any bills relevant to his political ideals.
When he left the House, Lopes searched for a place where he could push those progressive issues. "The Progressive Democrats of America were thinking about opening a chapter here in Tucson," Lopes said. "They asked me to be the coordinator, and I said, 'Of course.'"
With the help of the PDA, Lopes focuses on the issues he is most passionate about: health care for all; public financing of political campaigns; economic and social justice; and finding ways to help the environment.
A couple of months ago, the PDA, the Screening Room, and Tucson MoveOn began preparations for Tucson's first Progressive Film Festival.
"The purpose is to bring people together and ignite good conversations about the progressive issues that are most important to us," Lopes said.
The festival features six films over three days that tackle issues ranging from climate change to gay rights. Opening night kicks off with Heist: Who Stole the American Dream?, a documentary about the economic crisis. Another highlight is the documentary Koch Brothers Exposed, which shines a light on Charles and David Koch, the billionaire brothers who allegedly manipulate the political process with their wealth. Filmmakers and other special guests will lead discussions after each film.
"We invite progressives and nonprogressives to come," Lopes said. "Hopefully, everyone will leave feeling strongly about the issues we will present, become involved and participate."
Admission is $8 per film; $10 for a one-day pass; or $15 for a weekend pass. —I.T.
Sax Under a Streetlight
Crime Scenes: Jazz Noir With Dmitri Matheny
7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 26
Tohono Chul Park
7366 N. Paseo del Norte
As a teenager living in Tucson in the late 1970s, it was hard to nurture dreams of becoming a jazz musician.
"Back then, living in the Sonoran Desert and being 13 or 14 years old and wanting to be a jazz musician was sort of like, you know, being on a desert island," said Dmitri Matheny, who is now an acclaimed flugelhornist.
But when he attended his first Tucson Jazz Society concert in Reid Park as a youngster, Matheny was transfixed by drummer Akira Tana.
"I loved his playing so much that I went to the record store and tried to find as many records with him on it as I could," Matheny said.
Now, after many years of practicing and performing, Matheny is returning to Tucson to headline his own Tucson Jazz Society concert at Tohono Chul Park—and his former idol, Tana, will join him onstage.
"It feels sort of full circle for me," Matheny said. "The Tucson Jazz Society is really special in my heart in the fact that they encouraged me to pursue my dreams as a kid."
Crime Scenes will be the Tucson Jazz Society's last show in its fall series, Jazz Under the Stars. Matheny said that he is enamored with the music of old-school detective shows, crime dramas and spy thrillers.
The show is inspired by the film-noir genre and will feature themes from movies such as Taxi Driver and Chinatown. It also includes original numbers.
"It's real saxophone-under-a-streetlight, in the fog, femme fatale," Matheny said. "That's the vibe."
Tickets are $25 at tucsonjazz.org, or $30 at the door; $20 for military members and Jazz Society members; and $15 for students with ID. —M.D.
Riddles While Riding
The Headless Hunt: Ninth Annual Bicycle Scavenger Hunt
9 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 28
Playground Bar and Lounge
278 E. Congress St.
Lance Armstrong once called Tucson a "cycling mecca." The well-established cycling scene in the Old Pueblo includes organizations such as El Grupo Youth Cycling, a nonprofit team that promotes healthy lifestyles and youth empowerment through the use of bicycles.
Members reach out to at-risk youths of all ages who otherwise wouldn't have access to positive, team-building hobbies.
"Our aim is to reach out to kids who come from low-income families and usually wouldn't have access to a program like ours," said Daniela Diamente, El Grupo's executive director. "Aside from the cycling team, we have after-school biking programs, leadership programs and summer biking programs to keep kids occupied in a positive way."
Shortly after Diamente and her husband founded El Grupo, they began brainstorming ideas on raising money to fund the services they provide. They came up with the concept of a bicycle scavenger hunt.
The Headless Hunt starts and ends at downtown's Playground Bar and Lounge. After teams sign up, they will be given a map with 10 objects to find within a 3-mile radius of downtown. When teams find the required object at a spot, they will find more clues to help them reach the next location. Teams must find all 10 objects before racing back to the finish line.
After the scavenger hunt, a raffle with prizes donated by local businesses will be held.
"Those who participate should know that they will be helping kids become healthier and have the opportunity to be involved in positive activities," Diamente said. "It is a fun, family-friendly event."
Tickets are $30 for individuals, and $45 for families of up to four. —I.T.
Irse Hacia el Norte
7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 27
Southside Presbyterian Church
317 W. 23rd St.
On this side of the border, not many people understand the reasons behind a migrant's decision to leave his home country. Every day, natives of Latin America embark on what can become one of the most dangerous journeys a human can face: coming to the United States.
Murphy Woodhouse was doing field work for his master's thesis in Xela, Guatemala, when he met the members of Artzénico, a small, local theater group. The group had been working with migrants who were en route to El Norte or who had recently been deported from the U.S.
"After talking to a lot of the migrants ... we finally molded those stories into a play," said Bonifaz Canelo Fino, one of the members of Artzénico. "Irse Hacia el Norte is about nationalism, cultural identity and the emotional baggage migrants bring."
Woodhouse became infatuated with the play, and he was determined to bring it to Tucson.
"Aside from marches and protests, art can very much recharge us and make a difference," Woodhouse said
For the past couple of weeks, Canelo Fino and two other members of Artzénico, Jordi Möllering and Guillermo Santillana, have been backpacking their way north, stopping at migrant shelters along the Guatemala-Mexico and U.S.-Mexico borders. They presented the play at these shelters, asking the migrants to act out their own experiences. In Tucson, the play will have incorporated the stories of those migrants.
The play is in Spanish, but Woodhouse said that audience members who don't speak Spanish will be able to understand the main themes.
"People have received us with an open heart, and I hope they do the same when we arrive in Tucson," Canelo Fino said.
Admission is $5. —I.T.