TRIBUTE TO A BLACK BOY. Young Richard Wright's father abandoned him and his mother died.
But what Wright remembers most vividly about his childhood in racist Mississippi is hunger.
Wright penned Black Boy, an enduring story bound with the thread of hunger--hunger for food, then education, then tolerance and justice. Wynn Handman's adaptation of Black Boy takes the stage as a one-act play by the same name.
Walter Belcher stars in Invisible Theatre's one-man show. Belcher will portray 20 characters--young and old, women and men, black and white--who were a part of Wright's life.
The play is constructed of monologues, but is largely a conversational dialogue between characters. Time is not linear in the production, requiring Belcher to jump in and out of time, as well as in and out of character.
See this interesting take on the great author's life as the play opens at 7:30 tonight at Invisible Theatre, 1400 N. First Ave. at Drachman. Other shows are 7:30 p.m. October 12 and 13 and 2 p.m. October 14. Tickets cost $12 adults, $8 students. For tickets and more information, call 882-9721.
TOOTING THEIR OWN HORNS. Mia Michaels, whose work has included choreography for Prince, Ricky Martin and Madonna, will help Arizona Jazz Dance Showcase celebrate its 10th anniversary.
Jazz in AZ promises a riveting evening filled with talent and fantastic fantasy. Michaels' Against the Current, set to an original score, exhibits explosive physicality balanced with emotional and spiritual power.
Returning guest artist Richard Harvey and UA dance faculty choreographers will join Michaels for the performance, which begins at 7:30 tonight in Crowder Hall, in the UA music building of the fine arts complex at Park Avenue and Speedway Boulevard. Tickets cost $10 general admission and $8 students and seniors. Tickets are available through the fine arts box office, 621-1162. For more information, call 621-8030 or 621-2604.
CARVING UP AN OLD FAVORITE. Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and a cast of other Disney stars will lace up their skates this weekend for a magical treat.
Beauty and the Beast slides into a very cool dimension as Disney on Ice, featuring international figure skating champions, arrives in Tucson for a four-day engagement.
The show at the Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave., starts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Additional shows begin at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets cost $12.25 to $35 and are available at the TCC and through Ticketmaster, 321-1000. For more information, visit www.disneyonice.com.
GREAT FOLKS. Andrew McKnight was an engineer when his passion for music sent him off in another direction.
McKnight, a singer, guitarist and poet who hails from Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, along with Chesapeake Bay singer/songwriter Mary Byrd Brown, bring their flair for folk to Tucson.
Songs from America's rural roots mark McKnight's music while Brown's unique style has been described as "Billie Holiday having coffee with Joni Mitchell."
Check out this interesting mix of the American soul, lyric poetry and old-school balladeering in a concert at 7:30 tonight at Hazy Dayz Lounge and Cafe, 187 N. Park Ave. For more information, call 884-0272.
TAKE A LOOK IN THE MIRROR. If you're itching for a bit of self-discovery, make plans to head downtown this weekend.
Tucson Meet Yourself today through Sunday at El Presidio Park, between the Old County Courthouse and City Hall, is a great chance to explore the many cultures of Southern Arizona through food, music, dance and art.
For more than 25 years, the annual event has celebrated the diversity of Southern Arizona's folk and ethnic communities. In 1996, following the retirement of its founder, Jim Griffith, the name of the annual event was changed to the Tucson Heritage Experience Festival.
With a renewed sense of purpose, organizers this year decided to return to the original name. Whatever the name, the happening was born of the desire to showcase and celebrate the city's special diversity.
Tucson Meet Yourself continues to offer unique learning experiences for the entire family, and the festival is absolutely free. The artists and performers are carefully selected and are all from the Tucson area. It is the only time of the year when you can eat a Thai egg roll, watch a Ukrainian-American Easter egg decoration and listen to a Tohono O'Odham polka band at the same celebration.
Dance, music, food and more than 30 cultural organizations are part of the three-day party.
It all starts at noon today with a lunch. Entertainment tonight starts at 6. Tucson Meet Yourself continues from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 784-7075 or 670-7060.
ONE OF A KIND. Some 40 years of performing have taken Dave Van Ronk from coffee houses to festivals to concerts.
How he found time to record 24 albums is a mystery. One of the most influential musicians to come out of the American folk revival of the early '60s, Van Ronk is at the top of his game, as his recent Grammy nominations and ASCAP Lifetime Achievement Award attest.
Within the scope of American folk and acoustic blues, it's impossible to understand the music without first understanding Van Ronk's contribution to it. He was an established Greenwich Village musician as early as 1957, gaining legendary status as an early blues assimilator. He appeared at the historic Newport Folk Festival that gave rise to Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Phil Ochs and Joan Baez.
It was Dave Van Ronk who gave young Dylan fingerpicking guitar lessons. Today, Van Ronk remains a guitar master known for a fingerpicking style that leaves seasoned musicians in awe.
So, just how good is this guy?
Here's what a Boston Globe critic had to say: "Van Ronk affirms belief in the richness of American music. There are too few voices like his left."
Van Ronk performs at 8 tonight at the Unitarian Church, 4831 E 22nd St. Tickets cost $17 advance, $20 at the door. Tickets are available at Hear's Music, Antigone Books, Brew and Vine, City Grill and Enchanted Earthworks in Plaza Palomino. Also, tickets may be charged by phone at 297-9133.
AN UNUSUAL HAUNT. Ghosts is a transfixing family drama about a mother's love, a father's sins and a son's terrible inheritance.
Little wonder Henrik Ibsen's play caused quite a stir, outraging audiences of the late 1800s with his bold attack on traditional family values.
Arizona Theatre Company has brought together two of the country's premiere theater artists to re-imagine Ibsen's most shocking and contemporary play.
Marshall W. Mason, director of ATC's acclaimed production of Long Day's Journey Into Night, will direct, and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lanford Wilson has written a new translation of the story of a woman haunted by her husband's disreputable past and the toll their secret lives take on the innocent and wicked alike.
ATC artistic director David Ira Goldstein says he's been waiting for the chance to do this production.
"Ghosts is a play I've wanted ATC to do for years," he said. "Now the stars have aligned to bring us one of America's greatest directors and one of America's most honored writers to collaborate on this gripping masterpiece. It's sure to be a towering highlight of the theatrical season."
Ghosts previews at 8 tonight for a run through November 3 at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. Tickets cost $28-$30. Tickets are available by phone at 622-2823 and online at www.arizonatheatre.org. For more information, call 884-8210.
KEYS TO CREATIVITY. Eclectic doesn't even begin to describe pianist Jeffrey Haskell's musical dexterity.
The co-founder of the Tucson Jazz Orchestra and director of jazz studies at the UA, Haskell also is a multifaceted contributor to the Tucson Symphony who at times fills the role of pianist, conductor, arranger, orchestrator and vocalist.
When he sits down at the piano, something simply inventive and inspired happens.
Hear Haskell's sweet music in a concert billed as An Afternoon of Jazz Piano at 3 p.m. today at San Pedro Chapel, 5230 E. Fort Lowell Road. Tickets cost $12. For more information and to reserve tickets, call Jeanne Turner at 326-6042.
GOOD TO THE BONE. This blues-inspired "little big band" features one of the most prolific jazz guitarists playing today.
No stranger to blues-inspired jazz, Dave Stryker has toured with Stanley Turrentine and Hammond B-3 legend Jack McDuff and taken part in late-night Harlem jam sessions with both Lonnie and Jimmie Smith.
These experiences, plus an undying love for Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson and T-Bone Walker, are reflected in Stryker's playing when he breaks out his "Blues to the Bone" book.
During a sold-out performance of "Blues to the Bone" this spring at New York City's Birdland, Stryker skillfully guided his eight-piece ensemble through a series of breathtaking arrangements that defied conventional blues and jazz parameters.
Tonight, Stryker will be backed by a Tucson version of the "Blues to the Bone" band with Greg Armstrong on alto and tenor saxophone; Dale Norris on baritone saxophone; Rick Perone, trumpet; Rob Boone, trombone; Ed Friedland, bass; and Fred Hayes on drums.
The show is part of a Plaza Suite series of six jazz performances organized by the Tucson Jazz Society.
Dave Stryker and the Tucson Blues to the Bone take the stage at 6 tonight at La Placita Village, on the corner of Broadway Boulevard and Church Avenue. Tickets cost $7 members, $14 non-members. For more information, visit www.tucsonjazz.org.
GET COOKING. Stop singing in the shower and take your act to the kitchen.
Andy Lo Russo, the "Singing Italian Chef," will provide all the inspiration you need, and you'll learn a lot about the great culinary feats you could be accomplishing in your kitchen as the charismatic chef-teacher conducts two classes at Culinary Concepts.
Lo Russo, a professional singer who was trained by renowned vocal coach Giovanna d'Onofrio in the love songs and arias of the great Italian composers, entertains with music while he teaches Italian cooking he learned from his Sicilian family.
Tonight's class, which begins at 6 p.m., will include lessons on how to create crostini with caramelized onions, sautéed eggplant and cracked green peppers and prosciutto-wrapped halibut in porcini mushroom ragu.
At 9:30 a.m. Tuesday Lo Russo tunes up again, this time with Sicilian swordfish steaks with toasted almond pesto over wilted baby spinach and banana-ricotta mouse and crescent pine nut cookies.
The classes cost $60 each at Culinary Concepts in Palomino Plaza, at the southeast corner of Swan and Fort Lowell roads. For more information, call Judith Berger at 321-0968.
AN ARTIST'S TOUCH. Joan and Robert Bleakly create beautiful art you can touch and feel and even curl up in.
Joan's handcrafted quilts, dolls, painted terra cotta and wood and Robert's hand-woven table linens, throws and wall hangings are in an exhibit at Saguaro Artisans Gallery.
The show runs through October 31 at the gallery, 215 N. Court Ave. Gallery hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 792-3466.
DISTINGUISHED CHAMBER. They may be new to Tucson, but the Peabody Trio, with Charles Neidich, clarinet, isn't new to classical music aficionados.
Easily surmised, Peabody refers to the prestigious conservatory in Baltimore where these young musicians teach and perform. Now into a second decade together, the ensemble, assisted by Neidich, visits the Old Pueblo for the first time, guests of Arizona Friends of Chamber Music.
The performers will present selections by Beethoven, Brahms and Bartók in a concert that starts at 8 p.m. at the Leo Rich Theater at the Tucson Convention Center. Tickets cost $15 general admission. Students can enjoy the show for $5. For more information, call 577-3769 or visit www.arizonachambermusic.org.