Honoring Good Deeds
Ninth Annual Corazón de Justicia Awards Dinner
6 p.m., next Thursday, Nov. 29
Casino del Sol Event Center, 5655 W. Valencia Road
People like Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Gov. Jan Brewer haven't exactly given Arizona a reputation as a friendly, caring state. But groups such as Coalición de Derechos Humanos are filled with people who are trying to remind the nation that humanitarianism is alive and well in our part of the Southwest.
Over the years, Derechos Humanos has brought attention to the abuse of migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as attention to other threats to the rights of both U.S. and non-U.S. citizens. However, Derechos Humanos is not fighting alone in the struggle for social justice. There are hundreds of other helping hands defending causes, from LGBT and African-American issues to the rights of indigenous people. To honor their work, Derechos Humanos created the Corazón de Justicia Awards Dinner.
"A lot of these nonprofit organizations tend to do a lot of social work that is not often recognized," said Kat Rodriguez, program director at Derechos Humanos. "There needed to be a night where people got to hear about these amazing individuals and celebrate the work they do within their community."
The ninth annual Corazón de Justicia Awards Dinner will bring together contributors from various communities. "It is a wonderful evening, because we recognize those who volunteer because their hearts are truly involved with these causes," Rodriguez said.
The event is also a fundraiser for Derechos Humanos. The keynote speaker this year is Rob Williams, an author and a professor of law and American Indian studies at the University of Arizona.
"Yes, we do a lot of work with immigration, but Derechos Humanos also branches out into other communities," Rodriguez said. "We have made many different allies, and during this event, we get to honor them."
Tickets are $40. —I.T.
Glamour and Jazz
The 1017 Club: A 1930s Revue
7:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 26
UA Crowder Hall, 1017 N. Olive Road
Keith Pawlak's office has several rooms. Instead of having officemates, the UA music-archive curator shares his space with thousands of musical artifacts. File cabinet upon file cabinet is filled with meticulously organized music and other remnants of 20th-century musical culture.
The UA Archive Ensemble, under Pawlak's direction, has pulled songs exclusively from the archives for its jazz showcase. Pawlak's goal was to re-create an evening in a big-city cabaret in the 1930s.
"It's a showcase of modernity, sophistication and the diverse elements of our societies," Pawlak said. "There's something very special about what was happening at this point in our culture."
He knew it would take more than music to give the audience a feel for the era. So Bunny Boom Boom, a dancer with the local Black Cherry Burlesque troupe, will bring the burgeoning sexuality of the era to the stage.
The shows of the era would often advertise a "house full" of gorgeous girls. "My organization skills didn't allow that," Pawlak joked. "I'm hoping (Bunny Boom Boom) can be all of them."
The show also features guitarist Skip Heller, and Michael Howell will add to the mystique with magic acts.
Johnny Crawford, a singer and Emmy-nominated actor (for his role in the 1950s TV series
The Rifleman), will also take the stage to perform songs from the era. Since 1992, Crawford has led a 1930s-style dance band.
Pawlak hopes to also give the audience a glimpse of the values and ideals of the 1930s.
"It's not just notes flying around in the air," Pawlak says. "Music is art and art is culture."
Admission is $15; $12 for UA employees and seniors 65 and older; and $10 for students. The performance contains adult themes and some nudity. —M.D.
Never Before Seen
DeGrazia's Unseen Treasures
10 a.m. to 4 p.m., daily, through Tuesday, Jan. 15
DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, 6300 N. Swan Road
Lance Laber grew up with Ted DeGrazia's grandchildren, and he remembers going to DeGrazia's Gallery in the Sun ever since he was a little boy.
At first, he was too young to appreciate the artist's pieces. But as he grew older and began to understand DeGrazia's work, Laber became impressed with the artist's talent.
"I was very much amazed by him," said Laber, now the executive director of DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun. "He was an amazing painter. But he also designed and built this gallery. So he was an architect and a businessman as well. DeGrazia had many different phases."
Laber, who has worked at the gallery for about 30 years, was one of the lucky people who had the opportunity to interact with the local legend and get to know him on a personal level. When Laber speaks of the artist's work, you hear the enthusiasm in his voice.
During his career, DeGrazia created thousands of paintings—enough to have a new exhibit every month for 15 years, Laber said. Therefore, a couple of months ago, he decided to create an exhibit of DeGrazia's never-before-displayed works. Laber said that a huge portion of the gallery's 15,000 paintings have never been exhibited.
"These paintings have never seen the light of day," Laber said. "This was the perfect opportunity to put out this work, and give people the opportunity to see something different."
Laber hopes older generations will help expose the work of DeGrazia, who died in 1982, to a new generation of art enthusiasts.
"DeGrazia is a very special legend in this state," Laber said. "People would be, really, missing out if they didn't get a chance to experience his work."
Admission is free. —I.T.
A Multicultural Bash
Heritage and Harvest Festival
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, Nov. 23, to Sunday, Nov. 25
Old Tucson Studios, 201 S. Kinney Road
The history of the Southwest has been shaped by a variety of cultures—and celebrating and understanding these cultures is vital to keeping them alive.
The Heritage and Harvest Festival at Old Tucson Studios celebrates the Southwest's Native American and Mexican heritage, while also celebrating the other cultures that helped shape the Southwest. The event is intended to be a learning experience for those who don't know much about this area's traditions, foods and music.
"It is a festival that gives people a better understanding of the role Native Americans, Mexicans and other cultures had, and still have, in our history," said Joe Camarillo, group sales manager at Old Tucson Studios.
Native Americans have a special spot in Old Tucson's figurative heart. When Columbia Pictures came to Tucson in the late 1930s to film the movie Arizona, it hired men from the Tohono O'odham Nation to help build the set, which became the forerunner of Old Tucson.
"Our roots are very deep with the Tohono O'odham," said Marie Demarais, marketing manager at Old Tucson. "We really enjoy our working relations with them, and enjoy teaching people about the Tohono O'odham people."
It wasn't until last year that Old Tucson started the Heritage and Harvest Festival. Old Tucson teamed up with Ha:san Preparatory and Leadership School, a public high school for Tohono O'odham youth. Ha:san students will perform traditional O'odham songs and dances, and will sell traditional O'odham foods. Las Florecitas del Desierto, an all-woman Mexican equestrian group, will also perform.
"Old Tucson is a great place to showcase our heritage," Camarillo said.
Admission is $16.95 for adults; and $10.95 for children 4 to 11 years old. —I.T.