REEL ROOTS. Ten days of film, more than 100 films for this year's event. From its humble beginnings a decade ago, the success of the Arizona International Film Festival reads like a movie script.
The festival was a small four-day event in 1990. Last year, the festival showcased 88 works--including 52 Arizona premieres and 20 world premieres--from 13 countries. Not surprising to festival director Giulio Scalinger, who says diversity has been the driving force.
"The longevity of the festival is due to its diversity of programs, which allows us to reach all segments of the community," he said of the event that begins today and runs through April 29.
This year, more than 100 films representing the best independent efforts around the world will be shown at venues around Tucson.
Diversity is reflected in the Premiere Showcase with Buried Country, the story of Aboriginal music; Kalama Sutta, a meditation on Burmese human rights and media; Maangamizi--The Ancient One, an African journey of spiritual awakening; and Mutant Aliens, a far-flung animated trip from outer space.
A record number of entries will compete for the best-in-category awards of the Reel Frontier film and video competition. The program includes independent features, documentaries, animation, experimental works and short films from the United States, Canada, Ireland, Australia, Germany, Poland and Italy.
Programs also include a special presentation by the Chiapas Media Project, which provides video and computer equipment and training to indigenous communities in Chiapas, Mexico.
Festival passes, from $20 to $175, are available. For more information and festival scheduling, call 623-4567 or visit www.azfilmfest.com.
ARABIANS AT RILLITO. Dressage, cutting and reining for a good cause starts today at Rillito Downs Race Park.
Riders will compete for cash prizes, custom-made saddles and silver belt buckles in the Tucson Arabian Classic, an all-Arabian horse show. The event is held in cooperation with the Sabbar Shrine, a group noted for its support of the national Shrine hospitals, which provide care for young patients at no cost.
A benefit dinner-dance with live music is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday in the clubhouse. After dinner, the Black Stallion Literacy Project will present an "equestrian extravaganza," featuring Walter Farley's famous Arabian, the Black Stallion. The late Farley was an author of magical children's tales, including Little Black, A Pony and The Black Stallion.
The horse show, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily through Saturday, is free. The dinner costs $18 per person. Tickets are available by calling 624-2509 or 760-0682.
SKIRT-SWIRLING, BOOT-STOMPING PARTY. If it's sporting a name like Hot Club of Cowtown, you know you're in for something a bit different.
Actually, what you're about to hear is a mix of jazz and Western swing.
Hot Club of Cowtown is a band a writer for CMJ New Music Report called a "skirt-twirling, boot-stomping Texas swing party that doesn't let up."
The Austin-based trio is a blaze of fiddle, guitar and percussive upright bass. Hot Club draws inspiration from the acoustical jazz pioneered by guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli, members of the original Hot Club de France in the 1930s. Throw in a healthy dose of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys and there you have it.
This Hot Club deftly performs intelligent interpretations of Western swing, hot jazz, traditional fiddle tunes, rags and Tin Pan Alley standards.
Tucson swing band Kings of Pleasure opens for Hot Club of Cowtown in an all-ages concert that begins at 8 tonight at the International Arts Center, 516 E. Fifth Ave., at Sixth Street. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Kids under 12 are free. Tickets are available at Antigone Books, 411 N. Fourth Ave.; Brew and Vine, 6435 N. Oracle Road; Hear's Music, 2508 N. Campbell Ave.; and Enchanted Earthworks, Fort Lowell and Swan. For more information, or to charge tickets by phone, call 297-9133.
MAFIA IN THE WINGS. A New England university professor and playwright seeking funding for a new production turns to the "family" of a former student.
The results are hilarious as the underworld of the Mafia and the world of theater clash in Breaking Legs by Tom Dulack.
The "family" turns out to be Mafia godfathers who are willing to underwrite the play--as long as they never have to read it.
"Break a leg," the traditional good-luck wish actors give one another on opening night, becomes a phrase full of many meanings and multiple laughs.
Breaking Legs opens at 8 tonight at the Cabaret Theatre at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. Additional performances are at 8 p.m. April 21, 27 and 28, and at 2 p.m. April 22 and 29. Tickets are $10 general admission, $9 students, seniors and military. Reservations are recommended. For tickets and more information, call 733-1076.
BIKEAPALLOOZA! You owe it to Nervous Dwaine to check out a benefit at one of Tucson's most unusual non-profits.
Nervous Dwaine and other Tucson bands, including Gritos de Rabia, will be cranked up for a benefit at Bicycle Inter-Community Art and Salvage. BICAS is a non-profit bike co-op and metalworks studio.
True to unique form, Tucson Puppet Works will perform, too. A raffle during the event puts a private puppet show and a custom bicycle up for grabs.
Also, you're encouraged to bring a suggested donation of $5 and some food to share for the pot-luck dinner.
It all takes place at 8 tonight at the shop at 44 W. Sixth Street, at the corner of Sixth Street and Ninth Avenue. For more information, call 628-7950.
NIGHT OF THE STARS. Mariachi and folklorico groups representing schools around the state promise an awesome Noche de las Estrellas.
The 10th annual event at Sunnyside High School tonight features music, dancing, food and specialty booths and the crowning of the Reina de las Estrellas. The grand finale puts all the groups on stage together.
Tickets cost $7 per person; children under 5 get in free. The event is 6:30 to 10 p.m. at Sunnyside High, 1725 E. Bilby Road, on Campbell between Drexel and Valencia. Proceeds fund scholarships for Sunnyside students. For more information, call 545-2093.
READY TO RACE. Want to see some grown-ups dressed up like A.J. Foyt, driving around in go-karts?
Zoom down to the Ronstadt Transit Center today for the Honeywell Mini Nascart Race.
The event, now in its seventh year, is a lively fund-raiser for Easter Seals, which runs programs for children and adults with disabilities.
Last year, the race in Tucson raised $45,000, said spokeswoman Linda Goode, adding that similar competitions take place throughout the state.
Here's how it works: Teams buy a kart from Easter Seals Arizona, paint and decorate it, then compete for honors such as fastest pit crew time, best decorated pit area and, of course, best decorated mini naskart.
There is one other prize ... the championship trophy, which is tough to come by, Goode said.
"There will be four heats, then the championship race," she said.
The scale-to-size minis are powered by 3.5-horsepower engines and are capable of reaching 30 mph.
The competition from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. is free to spectators. Just show up at the transit center at Sixth Avenue and Pennington Street. For more information, call Goode at 745-5222.
PHOTO-FINISHER. Audrey Flack was the first photo-realist to have a work of art purchased by the Museum of Modern Art.
Originally an abstract expressionist, Flack developed the style that catapulted her into the country's art scene and into the public eye.
Flack has made such a splash that her paintings (which look exactly like photographs) are included in collections of New York's four major museums.
In recent years Flack has worked as a sculptor, becoming known for mythic female figures of Amazonian proportions. It was her desire to create "substantial touchable art" that led her to work in bronze sculpture. Flack creates her work based on classic themes with a contemporary twist.
To learn more about Flack and her work, plan to attend a lecture at 4:30 p.m. today at the Tucson Museum of Art, where the artist is guest speaker. The museum is located at 140 N. Main Ave. The event is free. Seating is limited. Make reservations by calling 624-2333, ext. 108.
JUST SINGIN' IN THE SAGEBRUSH. Miss Crystal, the "Songstress of the Sagebrush," makes a return engagement to Hidden Valley Inn.
The Crystal Palace Revue brings back its old favorite, How the West Was Sung, for a run today through July 22.
For this Western dinner theatre revue, Miss Crystal is joined by a leather-legged singing cowboy, beautiful saloon gals and the bartender who put the "wahoo!" in whiskey.
Admission is $13.95 adults, $8.95 children 12 and under. An optional show menu is available with entrées starting at $7.95. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for dinner and cocktails with the show beginning at 7 p.m. Show dates and times vary. Call 299-4941 for performance information. Hidden Valley Inn is located at 4825 N. Sabino Canyon Road.
A FAIRLY GOOD TIME. If you didn't make it out to the Pima County Fair over the weekend, be sure to make time this week.
The fair, in its 91st year, runs through April 29. One of Tucson's biggest events, it's a combination of carnival, livestock, displays, foods and concerts at the fairgrounds.
Admission is $6; children under 10 are free. Parking is $3. Gates open daily at 9 a.m., with exhibition halls open at 10 and the midway open at 2. For more information, call 762-9100.
FIGURATIVELY SPEAKING. Enigmatic figures can express a love of Southwestern folklore.
Just ask artist Mary Bohan, whose clay sculptural pieces are on display at Obsidian Gallery through June 1. Bohan's work reflects a passion for the region's rich culture.
The new exhibit also features the work of Thelma Smith, Christopher Hentz and Barbara Minor.
Smith's efforts are channeled into creating contemporary, ingenious quilted wall hangings.
Hentz and Minor are jewelers. Hentz is well known for his intricate chain work while Minor is a premier enamelist.
Obsidian is located at St. Philips Plaza, Suite 90, 4340 N. Campbell Ave. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 577-3598.
Season finale. New York's Emerson String Quartet is in Tucson to wrap up the 53rd season of the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music.
The group, established as one of the world's preeminent string quartets, will perform the works of Joseph Haydn, Dmitri Shostakovich and Felix Mendelssohn.
The concert starts at 8 tonight in the Leo Rich Theater at the Tucson Convention Center, 280 S. Church Ave. Tickets are $15 general admission, $5 students. For more information, call 577-3769 or visit www.arizonachambermusic.org.