Kitschy Clips and Such
Charles Phoenix Retro Holiday Slide Show
7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 27
The Loft Cinema
3233 E. Speedway Blvd.
There are few things more uncomfortable to sit through than looking at someone else's holiday or vacation pictures. Putting them into slide form and projecting them onto the living room wall just adds to the unease.
But add tongue-in-cheek, off-the-cuff commentary that both pokes fun at and makes light of the strangeness captured within those images, and you've got yourself a night of hilarity.
The Loft's latest venture into the "found footage" genre is the Charles Phoenix Retro Holiday Slide Show, a presentation of slide-show images culled from Middle America and the good ol' days of the 1950s and '60s.
"It's very kitschy-themed," Loft program director Jeff Yanc said. "I've seen (Phoenix) perform on television before, so I kind of know the general vibe. It's going to be very ironic, sort of a retro vibe. It's live comedy, so he sort of comments on the slides as he shows them."
Phoenix, a pop culture humorist and author, among other things, will present slides related to various holidays, not just Christmas, as well as snippets of strange food "test kitchens" and even some jabs at local holiday-themed landmarks, Yanc said.
Yanc said the Retro Holiday Slide Show fits in nicely with the Loft's alternative programming, which includes the monthly First Friday Short Film Festival, the Viva La Viral video clips show and numerous movie sing-along events.
"We always like to utilize the screen for these shows, so this one is perfect," Yanc said. "We're definitely big into the interactive screening."
Tickets are $25, with proceeds benefiting both the Tucson Historic Preservation Society and Tucson Modernism Week.
Laughter, Illusions, Tomfoolery
Shenanigans Comedy and Magic Show
7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 28
Temple of Music and Art
330 S. Scott Ave.
For the past 15 years, Tucsonan Eric Buss has toured the world with his blend of inventive comedy and magic, what he calls being a "comedy imaginator." He's been on The Late Show with David Letterman, competed on America's Got Talent and has entertained troops overseas.
Now he's trying out a new show concept for the hometown crowd.
Buss and a pair of performers from Los Angeles—magician Danny Cole and juggler Ivan Pecel—will showcase their talents in a show Buss is calling Shenanigans, named for the crazy (but still tame) antics the audience will witness on Saturday night.
"It's exactly what the name describes," Buss said. "It's comedy and magic, but we're going to be messing around. It's more than a magic show; it's a magic show that feels more like a party—that's the way I've been describing it."
Buss said he wanted to try the show out in Tucson because of his roots here. And having it at the Temple of Music Art is fitting, he said, because that's where the long-running Stars of Magic has been held for many years.
"It was kind of a natural fit," said Buss, a 1993 Sahuaro High School graduate who performed in the Stars of Magic shows before moving to L.A.
Buss said he hopes to take Shenanigans on the road. He'll use the Tucson performance to gauge what the crowd thinks of the interactions among himself, Cole and Pecel.
"If you can connect with an audience, it doesn't even matter what you do onstage," Buss said. "The humor always gets a better response than the magic itself. The fact that we're all good friends will show itself on the stage."
Tickets are $15, or $10 for children 12 and younger.
Concerto for the Kiddos
Music of the Masters Family Concert
12:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 28
Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church
2331 E. Adams St.
The Tucson Repertory Orchestra's concerts are the kind that can be enjoyed by music lovers of all ages. But conductor Toru Tagawa has noticed that previous editions of his Music of the Masters shows have been attended almost exclusively by adults, or parents with older children.
From this observation, though, came inspiration.
"This is our first attempt," Tagawa said of the Music of the Masters Family Concert, which precedes the regular event and is intended for families who might otherwise not attend a TRO concert. "We have many people with small children, and they want to come but they don't feel comfortable because the baby might cry or whatever."
The main show (at 2 p.m., Saturday) is 90-minutes long, but the family concert will last only 30 minutes and features selections from the longer show's set list.
Tagawa said the intent of the family concert is to provide an alternative for parents if fear of their child disrupting the concert has kept them from attending past shows.
"I have an 18-month-old son, so I meet a lot of parents with little kids," Tagawa said. "I talk about the concert but they say, 'Aww, I wish I could come.'"
Tagawa said both the family concert and the regular performance will involve TRO's different approach to performances, which involves performers rotating in and out of the lineup and to different chairs.
The suggested donation for the family concert is $3 per person. For the main show, it's $10.