Express Yourself

Be Your Own Cheerleader: A Queer Open Mic

Thursday, July 11, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Fluxx Studio and Gallery

414 E. Ninth St.


About two years ago, Em Bowen produced her first art show, called The Tucson Gender Identity Project, where visual and spoken-word artists talked about identity. At the end of the show there was an open mic for audience members to voice their own gender identity.

"People who had never been onstage were getting up there and were being really honest," Bowen said.

This experience resonated with her. After leaving Tucson for a couple years, she returned and participated in other open mics, but she realized there wasn't the same connection: The open mic was the vision of the creators and not of the community.

"If you are going to create art and you are going to speak and share things, I think it should serve a greater purpose," Bowen said.

Bowen wants to get past LGBT issues. She wants to get into human issues, to break boundaries and get rid of labels, and make a more inclusive world for everyone. Why not create an open dialogue through art, storytelling and music instead of competing, the way society says you have to, for your rights, Bowen said.

"I started this open mic with the idea that it would be like a town meeting within the queer community," Bowen said.

Last month's show was called Gender Smash, and every show will have a different title. At each show, Bowen will have a jar available where audience members can leave their suggestions for the next title. Bowen wants the show to be the vision of the community.

Bowen encourages everyone to take part at the open mic; there is no restriction on material or medium, and material won't be prescreened. Her only request is that if material may not be appropriate for younger audience members, please give them a heads-up so they can choose to leave or stay.


Seeking Dharma

Buddhist Teachings with Lama Lodu Rinpoche

Tuesday, July 9, through Sunday, July 14

The Bodhisattva Institute

714 N. Desert Ave.

Whether you're a dedicated Buddhist, or just plain curious, you may want to visit the Bodhisattva Institute next week.

A dharma center of the Dagshang Kagyu tradition, the institute is devoted to the practice and study of Tibetan Buddhism, and to daily meditations and ongoing teachings, according to its website.

A few times a year, Lama Lodu Rinpoche, a dharma teacher who has been teaching for more than 40 years throughout the West and Europe, pays a visit to the institute to share his practice.

On July 9, Lama Lodu Rinpoche will begin a one-week series of teachings designed for practitioners of all levels, discussing relevant topics such as View, Conduct and Meditation (July 11) and Medicine Buddha Empowerment (July 13).

The dharma, essentially "the teaching," of Lama Lodu Rinpoche, is not the usual classroom type of teaching, said Austin Counts, membership director for the institute, but rather a discussion of topics as well as how they are relevant to a person's life.

For example, Lama Lodu Rinpoche's Loving, Kindness and Compassion teaching (July 10) will focus on how to live a positive, compassionate life while being mindful of negative actions.

"It's different for everybody, what a person comes to Buddhism (for) and why they practice Buddhism," Counts said. "For myself it's more of trying to ... gain equanimity, gain balance ... and gain understanding and insight in my own personal life so I can be a better person for others around me."

While the institute asks for a $10 donation per teaching, the teachings are free and available to anyone interested.


Patriotism, Indoors

Fourth of July Movies at the Loft

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, noon; Jaws, 3 p.m.; The Team America: World Police Sing-along and Curse-a-Thon, 6 p.m., Thursday, July 4

Loft Cinema

3233 E. Speedway Blvd.


Because you love America, you are obligated to go see some marionettes have on-screen sex for the Fourth of July holiday. Keep in mind, these are particularly patriotic puppets who are part of an elite paramilitary troop stationed inside Mount Rushmore trying to keep the late Kim Jong-il from destroying civilization as we know it. The particularly depraved acts are perhaps the most notorious moments from the 2004 satire Team America: World Police, which will close out the Loft's day-long celebration of America in film form this July 4.

Hamburgers and hot dogs will be served by the DC Jumble food truck in the parking lot to keep filmgoers nourished, with the Frank Capra classic Mr. Smith Goes to Washington up first at noon. Jimmy Stewart stars in the 1939 tribute to political ideals and the filibuster, with local radio hosts Charles Heller and Emil Franzi hosting, followed by a 3 p.m. screening of Steven Spielberg's tale of an Independence Day at the beach gone horribly wrong, Jaws.

And of course, then there's Team America, which will be presented in sing-along form, meaning that the lyrics to the film's near-legendary musical numbers will be displayed at the bottom of the screen. If the film isn't enough to satisfy your need to sing profanity-filled numbers, a selection of South Park clips will be shown prior to the feature.

Tickets for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Jaws are $6 for the general public and $5 for Loft members and all ages are welcome. The Team America: World Police Sing-along and Curse-a-Thon is $8 with a two dollar discount for members. For what should be somewhat obvious reasons, the Loft advises that Team America is not suitable for children.


The Harvest

Annual Ha:san Bak: Saguaro Harvest Celebration and Workshop

6 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, July 6

Colossal Cave Mountain Park

16721 E. Old Spanish Trail


The harvesting of fruit from the saguaro cactus before the monsoon rains begin is a tradition in the Tohono O'odham culture that is anticipated each year. It is a time to get together and be with family. "Culturally this is our new year, and we acknowledge it by harvesting the fruit and blessing our family, our children and those who are with us," said Lois Liston, an elder in the Tohono O'odham tribe.

The harvesters usually begin early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the harsh sun. The fruit is knocked off the saguaros with a fruit picker, a long polelike instrument usually made from dry saguaro ribs. The gathered fruit is processed and made into jams and syrups. Once the meat of the first picked fruit is cleaned out, it is placed on the ground with the red side facing up to alert the monsoon rain to come.

Liston remembers being very close to her maternal grandmother. It was through her grandmother that she learned how to process the fruit from the harvest. Liston says her grandchildren look forward to the harvest every year and that, for her, it is a time to reconnect and show her grandchildren who they are and where they've come from.

The Saturday celebration and workshop also will feature John Rhodes of Tucson Botanical Gardens and flintknapper Jerry Marcantal. The workshop starts at 6 a.m. Attendees will learn to make a fruit picker, harvest the fruit and make syrup. It will also include a breakfast with O'odham-inspired foods. Tickets for the workshop cost $65 per person or $100 for two people, and registration must be completed by Wednesday, July 3. If you cannot make the workshop, you can join in the celebration, which starts at 10 a.m. The celebration is free but there is a parking fee of $5.



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