SPARKS IN HEAVEN. The flash of lightning can be an awe-inspiring sight, especially in Tucson, during the monsoon season's dramatic shows.
Ralph Wetmore is a psychologist who has built a second career capturing those atmospheric events on film. In fact, he is among the most published lightning shooters in the world.
Wetmore's exciting work is on display beginning today at Framed to Perfection, 6328 E. Broadway Blvd. (in El Mercado). An artist reception is from 7 to 9 tonight. The show runs through October 27. For more information, call 571-1963.
SKILLFUL SATIRE. When Bernard Shaw rolled out one of his most distinguished plays and his first comedy, Arms and the Man was met with some controversy.
That was more than 100 years ago. The play was recently revived in February 2000 at the Gramercy Theatre in New York.
"This is a play that lives by stripping away illusions," the New York Post's Donald Lyons wrote in review of the play that's been much better received this time around.
It is a satire infused with Shaw's wit and smarts.
Arms takes place during the Serbo-Bulgarian War of 1885 and centers on Raina, played by Valerie R. Feingold; her betrothed, Sergius, played by Cliff Madison; other household members including such talent as Cynthia Jeffery, Bruce Bieszki, Jeffery Scotland and Holli Trenhaus; and the "Chocolate Cream Solider" Bluntschli, played by Jeremy Thompson.
An unexpected bedchamber meeting between Raina and Bluntschli begins the action of the play, and romance and comedy follow.
The play runs through October 21. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with 3 p.m. Sunday matinees. All shows are at 5317 E. Speedway Blvd. For more information, call 327-4242.
OPERA'S SOLID BASE. Rigoletto boasts some of opera's most recognizable arias.
Little wonder it's the first of five operas scheduled for Arizona Opera's 31st season, See What the Heart Can Feel.
Critics have called this story of a lascivious Duke who sets his sights on the sheltered daughter of his court jester a "must-see" with a healthy dose of "spine-tingling excitement."
Two extraordinary baritones, Donnie Rae Albert and Gordon Hawkins, return to Arizona Opera tonight as the tortured jester.
Madama Butterfly, The Merry Widow, Don Giovanni and Dialogues of the Carmelites follow Rigoletto in a schedule that lays bare human emotions at their most extreme.
Rigoletto plays at 7:30 p.m. tonight and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets cost $25 to $72. Student discounts are offered with a valid photo I.D. Tickets are available through the Tucson Convention Center Music Hall at 260 S. Church Ave., Ticketmaster at 321-1000 or the opera at 293-4336. Tickets are also available for purchase online at www.azopera.com. For more information, call Liz Warren at 293-4336 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
DINNER AND A MURDER. In 1931, Winnie Ruth Judd hacked up some people and packed them in trunks.
Or did she? Perhaps she was railroaded and framed to protect others, then declared insane by her defense attorneys to keep her out of the electric chair.
Arizonan W. Lane Rogers wrote about the case in Crimes and Misdeeds: Headlines from Arizona's Past.
He'll explore the infamous alleged killings of the so-called "Trunk Murderess" in a two-part event tonight that begins at 6 with a wine and cheese reception at Clues Unlimited bookstore, 123 S. Eastbourne.
A dinner and lecture follow at Olde Pueblo Grille, 60 N. Alvernon Way. Tickets cost $50 per person. For more information, or to make reservations, call 621-9359.
THE RIGHT TYPES. Four authors, 45 books. How's that for prolific?
Mystery fans should make plans to meet Lee Harris, Jonnie Jacobs, Lora Roberts and Vaterie Wolzien. The writers, who hail from New Jersey, New York and California, have written more than 45 books, which have been published in 11 countries and included in numerous short-story anthologies.
The women are touring Arizona and New Mexico, sharing their insights and tips for aspiring writers. They'll discuss how to research and write a mystery, the ins and outs of getting published and what they've got in the works.
The authors will be at the Tucson Pima Library's River Center branch at 2 p.m. today and at 3 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call Harris at 219-6948 or Jacobs at 510-658-8774. Also check out www.nmommysteries.com.
A LITTLE MORE SUNSHINE. Al Lewis and Willie Clark were a vaudeville team for 43 years, but the past 11 years have been marked by a separation of mutual dislike.
Now CBS wants the men to appear in a History of Comedy special, and the Lewis and Clark reunion is something to behold.
Desert Players tackles Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys in a run that continues through Sunday. Remaining performances are at 8 p.m. tonight and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Cabaret Theatre at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. Tickets cost $11 general admission and $10 seniors, students and military. For reservations, call 733-1076.
THIS DOESN'T SUCK. Leave it to Bisbee Rep to deliver a Dracula Baby that doesn't suck.
It's not supposed to; it's a funny and not very bloodthirsty version of Bram Stoker's novel that will have you laughing all the way back to Tucson.
Dracula Baby has lyrics by John Jakes, book by Bruce Ronald and music by Claire Strauch. It's directed by Douglas Wayman, and its talented cast of veterans and new faces began rehearsal August 22.
So these guys are ready to open Bisbee Repertory Theatre's seventh season with flair.
Performances of the comic musical are at 7:30 p.m. tonight and Saturday and October 12, 13, 19, 20, 26 and 27 and on November 2 and 3. There will be three Sunday matinees at 3 p.m., on October 7, 21 and 29 and November 4. Advance tickets cost $10 at Atalanta's Music & Books and the Chamber of Commerce in Bisbee. Tickets cost $12 at the door for adults and $5 for students through college. For more information, call 520-432-3786.
STREET SHOOTER. "The game of trying to state photographic problems is, for me, absolutely fascinating," says Garry Winogrand.
The works of Winogrand, whose influential street photography, often of his native New York City, brought a new visual order to the chaos of modern street life, have made their way to Tucson.
Featuring more than 300 prints, many of them unknown, culled from its massive and extraordinary Winogrand archive, the UA Center for Creative Photography's two-part exhibition, The Garry Winogrand Game of Photography, is not to be missed.
Part 1: The Known, which opens today and runs through November 9, surveys some of his most recognized, published and exhibited prints.
Part 2: The New, which opens November 11 and runs through January 6, is the center's major celebration of one of its richest and most complex archives. Distinguished curators have worked independently to uncover pictures that further illuminate a photographer whose contributions and approach to his field are landmark.
The exhibition is free. The center is located at 1030 N. Olive Road, in the UA fine arts complex at the southeast corner of Park Avenue and Speedway Boulevard. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, call 621-7968 or visit www.creativephotography.org.
GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY. It may not seem like it, but it's fall, and it's time to get out in the garden.
Fall is the time to plant in the Sonoran Desert, and an event at Tucson Botanical Gardens will get you going in the right direction.
The annual plant sale features many low-water use landscape plants, trees, cacti, herbs, succulents and wildflowers. Docents will be available all day today and Sunday to answer your questions.
Want to pot a few plants, but don't have anything to pot them in? Terracotta and handmade concrete pots, soil mixes and soil probes also will be available in the free event that runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.
The gardens are located at 2150 N. Alvernon Way. For more information, call 326-9686 or visit www.tucsonbotanical.org.
VERY HOT LIPS. If the name of your band is the Red Hot Skillet Lickers, you better deliver.
Sultry, seductive and swinging, Lavay Smith probably isn't going to let you down; she really understands the value of classic swing-era jazz. Add several parts sex appeal, hip vocals, a driving rhythm section and fiery horns and you've got one of the hottest retro swing bands to take a stage.
Lavay Smith and her Red Hot Skillet Lickers have been the big ticket item on the jazz festival circuit this summer. They are also considered one of the top swing and jump blues bands in the country.
Their performances of classics by Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Louis Jordan are an instant recipe for good times. From classic big band standards such as Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You, boogie woogie inspired blues classics such as Busy Woman's Blues and struttin' New Orleans grooves on Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans, Lavay and her band know how to take you back to the era when swing was the thing. Lindy hoppers, be sure to dust off your dancing shoes. When this eight-piece Bay area swing band starts roaring, toes will be tappin'. Show up early to get the best view of the band and all of the dancers who really know who to cut a rug.
The show starts at 6 tonight at La Placita Village on the corner of Broadway Boulevard and Church Avenue. Tickets cost $9 for Tucson Jazz Society members, $16 for non-members. For more information, visit www.tucsonjazz.org.
EXPLORE YOUR BODY. What's happening to your body when you're doing the funky chicken?
It ain't pretty. Or maybe it really is. Find out more at Flandrau Science Center's Bodies in Motion, a new interactive exhibit for all ages that includes 1,500 square feet of exploration stations with interpretive information that invites children and adults to check out how their bodies really work.
The show has three main themed areas: Structure of the Human Body, which teaches visitors how the human body works as a mechanical system; Forces, in which visitors can experience Newton's Laws of Motion and learn about inertia; and Physics of Dance, which juxtaposes a discussion of physics principles with a demonstration by dancer Amy Filpin.
Tickets to Bodies in Motion cost $3 for adults and $2 for children. The show runs through December 31. Exhibits are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
Information on exhibits and programs is available on both the 621-STAR information line and the Center's Web site, www.flandrau.org.
THOUGHTS FROM A TROUBLED PRESENT. If you still want to check out an exhibit of art created by homeless children, you better do it now.
Through the Eyes of a Child: The Art Room, an exhibition resulting from an expressive arts program for homeless children, closes Wednesday. The therapeutic act of producing art celebrates the creativity of children.
View this interesting and moving display by children who often are unable to express their feelings with words at the Temple Gallery, 330 S. Scott Ave., in the Temple of Music and Art. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. For more information, call 624-7370.
STRANDS OF HISTORY. History doesn't get much more interesting than this.
A leather and braided horsehair bag crafted in 1988 by inmates at the Arizona State Prison in Florence is among more than 100 interesting and unusual purses and bags on display now.
The cons' gift was presented to former Gov. Rose Mofford. Other offerings at the Arizona Historical Society Museum include bags made with steel mesh, beads, crochet, leather and fabrics.
The exhibit, From Pocket to Purse: Hand in Hand with Fashion, also shows off coin purses, puzzle bags and luggage from the 1880s to 1950. The items are presented in re-creations of early 20th-century storefronts and showcases.
The museum is located at 949 E. Second St. There is no cost for admission to the show, which runs through February. Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 628-5774.