FAUSTIAN FETE. Quicksilver Productions revives a classic with its production of Faust, Part 1. Stuart Eugen Bousel's adaptation of Goethe's timeless tragedy focuses upon the unsatisfied Dr. Faust, as he struggles to find the meaning and value of life.
Feeling unworthy of love and recognition, he sells his soul to the devil Mephistopheles (played by Travis Wright), who becomes Faust's slavish companion. The moment Faust feels satisfied, however, his life ends and his soul is lost. Or is it?
Find out when Dean Hepker takes on the fated role. The production also stars Werner James as the young Faust, with Amanda Karam as the good (or not-so-good) doctor's love object, Margaret.
Show time is 8 p.m. in the Tucson Center for the Performing Arts, 408 S. Sixth Ave. Performances continue at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, through August 7, with a 2 o'clock matinee on Sunday, August 1. Tickets are $6, available at the door. For reservations and information, call 797-4792.
REFUSE REFUGE. Garbage -- or at least its transport -- has become high art downtown, with the official unveiling of Harold Gabitzch's latest mural along the otherwise bleak Broadway underpass.
Today, Gabitzch and a host of dignitaries officially unveil the intriguing installation -- an enormous, vintage garbage truck. What better icon of the latter half of our Sonoran century than a machine several stories tall, happily hauling trash to some unknown desert destination?
Since the truck is already on view, all that's left is to celebrate. The unveiling runs from 10 a.m. to noon in the East Side City Hall, 7575 E. Speedway. For information, call 791-4687.
SOFT-SHOE SOIR...E. Ballroom is back in fine style at the Arizona Star Ball competition. This classic dance-fest features professional and amateur exhibitions, along with open dancing throughout the weekend.
The action starts at 6 tonight with dinner, followed by dancing to the Rudy Sudagella Orchestra. Competition gets underway at 9 a.m. Saturday, leading into the evening's soirée featuring Western U.S. Ballroom and Showdance Champions Michael Mead and Toni Redpath. You may recall the talented couple from their stints in the PBS' televised Championship Ballroom Dancing. This marks their first Arizona appearance.
The Arizona Star Ball gathers today and tomorrow at Loew's Ventana Canyon Resort, 7000 N. Resort Drive. Ticket prices vary. For reservations and other information, call 327-3405.
BARGAIN BLAST. Downtown's historic alternative (a.k.a. Club Congress) roars into gear with a trio of duos that promise to rock you into the middle of next week. This "very special show" will feature local faves Calexico, along with Twine and Lush Budget Presents the Les Payne Product.
Doors open at 9 p.m. in the Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Admission is $5. Call 622-8848 for details.
SMITHEREEN SCENE. He blew everybody's socks off at last year's Tucson Folk Festival. And that's quite a feat, considering the Birkenstock-heavy crowd that witnessed Chris Smither's riveting sets.
This acoustic rocker is the real McCoy, with bull's-eye lyrics and a meaty set of chords to match his stinging guitar riffs. Now he's back for a gritty summer gig, in a show hosted by those aficionados of fine sound, The Tucson Blues Society and Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association.
Show time is 8 p.m. in the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4831 E. 22nd St. Tickets are $8 in advance and for TKMA and TBS members, available at Workshop Music and Hear's Music, and $10 at the door.
HACK ATTACK. Had enough gridlock, emotional and otherwise? Wanna take a stab at relinquishing our characteristic, particulate-prompted coughs and hacks?
Help refresh Tucson's increasingly congested roadways with the Community Bike Ride. These leisurely forays take the almighty car to task, proving there's a better way than Galloway.
The free bike rides begin at 4:30 p.m. on the last Friday of each month in the parking lot of Time Market, 444 E. University Blvd. Call 884-7476 for details.
COMEDY FOR A CAUSE. Humor reaches for a higher cause with an appearance by funny-man Chris Fonseca, who helps raise funds tonight for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Lupus Foundation of Southern Arizona. Fonseca's uproarious stand-up work has kept him hopping, from gigs in San Antonia and Vegas on out to Los Angeles. He's also earned plenty of face time on the tube, from the Jerry Lewis telethon to Baywatch (with stints on A&E's Evening at the Improv and Late Night With David Letterman as well).
He makes the leap from frolicking with buxom babes to raising yuks for a good cause tonight at Laff's Comedy Caffé.
Show time is 5 p.m. in Laffs Comedy Caffé, 2900 E. Broadway. Tickets are $10, available in advance at the NMSS or Lupus Foundation offices. For information, call 747-7472.
BRITISH EQUATION. Cityplayers exp. Theatre Company crosses the Atlantic for a good laugh in The Knack.
This '60s-era comedy by Ann Jellicoe focuses on three housemates and a naive young girl, newly arrived in Ol' London Town, who stumbles into their flat while scouting for the nearest Y.W.C.A. Big yuks ensue as the "mates" get the hang of co-habitating. Ranked among the top-10 British theatrical works of all time, the play later became a hit movie starring Michael Crawford and Rita Tushingham.
The Knack stars Joey Mau, Sean Zackson, Richard Trujillo and Lori L. Rogers. Show time is 8 p.m. in the Cityplayers exp. Theatre, 37 W. 33rd St. Performances continue at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday, and 7:30 p.m. Monday, through August 23. Tickets are $11, $10 for students and seniors, available in advance at Keuken Dutch Restaurant, the Emerald City Grille, or by calling 620-8099.
GARDEN PARTY. A garden of creativity takes firm root in the Tucson Museum of Art's latest exhibit, Treasures of Contemporary Art: Recent Acquisitions.
The TMA's permanent collection focuses on art of the New World, in particular 20th-century art from the Americas. The current display focuses on 29 selections from recently acquired photo-realist and surrealist works, along with other pieces from the permanent collection.
Works include those of John Baeder, Robert Bechtle, Arne Besser, Ron Kleeman, Marilyn Levine and Jack Mendenhall.
Baeder is known for his nostalgic renderings of diners, with photography that captures details against a muted palette and painterly brushwork. By contrast, Bechtle takes aim at suburban American life and its deliberate lack of association or meaning.
Besser often uses circus performances or prostitutes as his subjects, portraying them in settings which emphasize the "visual chaos of things as they are." Kleeman prefers cropped, closeup images of engines, race cars and the mechanics of speed to show photography's abstract possibilities. Levine is known for her life-size ceramic shoes, while Medenhall portrays the world of the contemporary nouveau riche. He often works from photographs found in design magazines.
Complimenting these additions are pieces by long-standing favorites Daniel Kriston, Lynn Tabor Borcherdt, Gail Marcus-Orlen, Kevin Sloan and Masourd Yasami.
Treasures of Contemporary Art runs through August 29 in the TMA, 140 N. Main Ave. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Call 624-2333 for information.
INGENIOUS PATHS. Summer is a great time to visit the cool, uncrowded Paths of Life exhibit at the Arizona State Museum.
Hailed by the National Endowment of the Arts as a "ground-breaking exhibition that provides a national model for exhibitions on Native American history and ethnography," it depicts Indian cultures as living societies rather than dusty anachronisms, and vividly captures their struggle to protect ancient traditions against a split-second world.
One photo depicts the Tohono O'odham yucca harvest, while another describes the O'odham's recent battle for water rights. East Central-Arizona Apaches are shown in traditional villages, and at their Sunrise Ski Lodge. A vibrant mural captures the Yaqui creation myth, followed by a photo of Tucson's New Pascua Village.
These tightly woven stories are told from both indigenous and Anglo perspectives, with input from tribal representatives from the beginning. Their participation helps makes Paths unique among permanent exhibits in the United States.
"We wanted their views on their religions, history and lives today," says curator Bruce Hilpert. "And we tried to break stereotypes."
A short orientation discusses this intent, and offers some background about the tribes. Well-lighted hallways first lead to the Seris, whose homeland stretches along the arid eastern coast of Baja, California. Pictures show tribal members fishing and preparing food, while religious objects note their complex blend of Catholic and pagan rituals.
Further along, you'll see life-size Yaqui deer dancers, fashioned by Yaquis themselves, and modeled after authentic participants, many of whom donated their personal clothing and ornaments. An adjacent video shows the dance being taught to younger generations.
And that's just the beginning, in a stunning display that takes you along cultural trails you've probably never traveled in such detail.
Paths of Life is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, in the ASM, on the UA campus inside the main gate east of Park Avenue. Admission is free. For information, call 621-6302.
DINO MIGHT. Seems ye ol' shopping mall is the place to be this summer, at least if you're an overheated tike who doesn't mind cavorting with a noisy band of overgrown reptiles.
This week, a prehistoric contingent of critters arrives at the Tucson Mall, in the form of Mr. Stu and the Dino Drummers. This up-scaled crowd has a habit of roaming the Food Court singing catchy tunes, banging drums and generally creating a wild rumpus. Needless to say, they're "guaranteed to delight kids of all ages."
Club Kidz activities begin at 10:30 a.m. in the Tucson Mall Food Court, on the lower level of the mall at Oracle and Wetmore roads. Admission is free. For details, call 293-7330.
PHANTOM MUSE. Fine talents haunt downtown this month with the Tucson Arts District Partnership's Phantom Gallery program. These eclectic, sometimes temporary galleries pop up wherever space beckons, in empty storefronts, bare offices and big halls. Regardless of the location, they always give Tucsonans a chance to see some of the best in local talent.
Vita Solomon, Jeff Court and Micah Cullen share space in the main lobby and galleria of the Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave. Solomon's realistic portraits convey scenes of domesticity and intimacy. Court's imaginary landscapes of far-away, water-filled worlds engage the viewer with their rich color; and Cullen combines painting and drawing to create active canvases in an abstract-expressionist style. Their work will be on display through January 10.
At 110 S. Church Ave., in La Placita, No. 5132, the plein air oil paintings of Mary Theresa Dietz focus on the immediate environment, including figures, portraits and townscapes. Her work is on display through July 31.
Patrick Dunne's talent for storytelling in visual media comes to life with painted wood sculptures that reveal a deep, folk-art tradition. His pieces are on display through July 31 at 211 N. Court Ave.
In the offices of City Councilman Fred Ronstadt, 2205 E. Speedway, Abigail Gumbiner displays her Barrio in Transition and Mariachi photo series. The first, taken over the last four years, documents changes in Tucson's barrios as buildings change and newcomers move into old residences. Mariachi focuses on visual details swept up in musical tradition.
Finally, the Bank of America Plaza, 33 N. Stone Ave., is the site of the newest Phantom Sculpture installation, featuring two pieces by artist Alex Heveri . The works, Asmodeus and Saint Joan's (of Arc) Pyre, are composed of steel, quartz, crystal and cement.
For individual gallery hours and other information, call 624-9977.