A SEASON OF DANCE. The UA Dance Ensemble leaps into holiday mode with new works by choreographers of various hues and experiences.
In the Season mixes ballet, jazz, tap and modern dance. Resident guest artist James Clouser offers his Leaving Vertical, a contemporary off-balance ballet. In The Oracle, Staci Houser dances Paul Taylor's vision of inner thoughts. Badum Boom is Sam Watson's jazz work set to a driving drum score. These dances and others are performed today and Friday at 8 p.m. On Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., student choreographers take to the stage with In the Season, Student Spotlight. These are the cream of the crop, including Sukie Keita's performance of Ad Interim, her solo piece that blends multi-cultural influences. Clifton Brown's Serpente is a snake-inspired ballet. And Billy Holiday's music croons through Strange Fruit, Jason Rachel's revision of an old story.
Performances take place in the Ina Gittings Dance Theater on the UA campus north of the McKale Center near Sixth Street and Campbell Avenue. (Officially it's 1713 E. University Blvd.) Tickets cost $12 general and $9 students and seniors. Call 621-2604 for details.
MUSICAL COOKS. The Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association cooks are whipping up another holiday music bash in support of next spring's folk festival. The line-up of musicians is astounding: Anna Duff and Jorge Pastrana play hammer dulcimer and guitar; the Privy Tippers provide raucous Old-Timey tunes; Kathleen Williamson features songs from her new CD; Mark Holdaway offers a Kaliba Christmas; WomanSong sings a-plenty; the Stebner-Grecco Combo plays cowboy to swing; and the Bon Ton Roulez Party Band tinges their musical dishes with a dash of New Orleans.
Doors open at 6 p.m. and the music goes until 11 p.m. at the Unitarian Church at 4831 E. 22nd St. The traditional turkey and vegetarian chili and corn muffins are available for purchase as are desserts and beverages. Feel free to bring your own spirits.
Tickets at the door cost $8 or $6 for KXCI members. Children get in for $3. Call 319-8599 for more information.
BORDERING ON ALLIANCE. A mere 60 miles south of Tucson is a tenuous line that divides this country from Mexico--"tenuous" despite the rabid border patrols, ever-tightening immigration legislation and the infamous War on Drugs. Contentious issues will not be disappearing anytime soon.
The UA promises plenty of discussion at their third annual symposium. Saturday's plenary and workshops are launched tonight with films, poetry and an art installation. Performing the Border, Ursula Biemann's 1999 film, explores labor division, prostitution, the entertainment industry and sexual violence. Nora Cadena's 1998 film, Ni Aqui, Ni Alla, follows three undocumented workers through their daily struggles to make ends meet as musicians and street vendors. Jessica Jaramillo and Maria de los Rios read poetry and Pancho Rasquacho offers insight into border issues in his gallery installation. Doors open with a catered reception at 5:30 p.m. Tonight's festivities take place at the Center for Creative Photography, located in the arts courtyard just east of Speedway Boulevard and Park Avenue.
Tomorrow's symposium, Resistance on the Border: Globalization, Militarization, Immigration, offers panels and workshops. The plenary features Martha Ojeda, talking about improvements striking women have made for Mexican workers; Guadalupe Castillo discusses her work with immigrants through activism and theater; and Sandra Soto talks about her efforts to integrate immigrant representation with queer, feminist and sex-positive identities. Saturday's events take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Integrated Learning Center, the underground freshman center, located across from the Main Library on the UA Mall. Parking for both events is free in Zone 1 lots or at street meters.
Sponsors of the two-day event are from the UA, campus organizations as well as the community. It's free. For details, call 626-3431.
IT'S A DRY HEAT. Some say we have only two seasons in Tucson: tolerable and too damn hot. But in reality we have four, maybe five. It has more to do with rainfall than temperature.
Sonoran Seasons is a free tour and presentation by naturalists of the Mason Audubon Center this morning from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Find out when autumn really begins and where the fine line is between spring and summer. MAC naturalists give a brief history of the property, tour the grounds, walk through the nature trails and shed insight into our climatic thresholds.
Space is limited to 30 participants. Call 744-0004 for reservations. The Mason Audubon Center is located at 8751 N. Thornydale Road.
NOT TO CONFUSE YOU, BUT... No, this isn't the Fourth Avenue Fair arriving a week early. It's the monthly Saturday on Fourth.
Local artists display their work. Street vendors hawk their wares. There's a sidewalk bazaar. Here's the live music line-up on the Avenue: from 3 to 8 p.m., The Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association plays folk music in the Magpies Pizza patio, north of Fifth Street; from 4 to 7 p.m., Deacon and Dean perform jazz at the Delectables patio, north of Sixth Street; Eric Hansen sings folk music from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Chocolate Iguana patio, corner of Sixth Street; and at the Winsett stage at 316 N. Fourth Avenue, there's Winelord at 3 p.m., the Stellas at 4 p.m. and the Tucson Blues Society at 5 p.m. For more information, call 624-5004.
ART IN THE FLOOD PLAIN. The Shane House Gallery down on South Fourth Avenue once sheltered railroad workers in the early 20th century. Through many incarnations, this house, built in 1892, has been as susceptible to natural forces as the evolving communities. The old is flushed away for the new. A building reveals its past. Layers of floors replace sediments of earth. Ghosts hang in the crevices.
Installation artist Jason Manley takes this old house and infuses it with his newest work, Flood. His mixed-media works seemingly emerge from the cracks and corners of the floors and walls to confront the history of the house metaphorically. Rooms appear as archaeological excavations. Fluid-like forms distort the stability and order of the square rooms. A natural chaos of the flood takes over the house.
The show continues through December 30. There's a reception tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. Shane House Gallery is located at 218 S. Fourth Ave. Call 624-9085 with questions.
PHOTOGRAPHING THEIR OWN. Carlota Duarte is an American nun, who, for the past decade, has been the vision behind the Center for Research and Studies in Social Anthropology. Tucked in the Southern Mexico town of San Cristobal de las Casas, the center's been offering Mayan people access to the tools and materials of photography to document their lives, both aesthetically and as an archive of memories.
Sister Carlota's vision has created a place to house the work of 200 photographers--amounting to 75,000 images. Coming out of this repository are traveling exhibits and even the publication of a book.
Today from 2 to 4 p.m., catch a slide show and view one of the touring exhibits, Vision Feminina, at Antigua de Mexico, located at 3235 W. Orange Grove Road. The show continues through December 31.
Tomorrow, there's an open house and a repeat of the slide show at a private home (3141 N. Needham Place, southeast of Fort Lowell and Country Club Roads). Sales of folk art, textiles and accessories from Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guatemala and Bali benefit the Photo Archive Project. Donate your 35mm cameras and fresh film to the Project--they'll be ever grateful.
On Wednesday, Sister Carlota presents her slide show at Tohono Chul Park's Desert Discovery Education Center at 7366 N. Paseo del Norte, which features Nuestra Comida/Our Food: Maya Photographers from Chiapas through February 3. For details, call 742-7114.
GENETIC ENGINEERING. Is there such a thing as a Jewish DNA? (In my family there is.) Dr. Michael Hammer, a genetics researcher at the University of Arizona, has made some startling conclusions.
His work has led to the discovery that the genes of ancient Jewish priests are largely duplicated among certain Jews today. Researchers have been able to trace the paths followed by the original people of the Diaspora--pretty amazing for a wondering bunch of nomads. They found that diseases suffered by Ashkenazi Jews left biological markers that revealed where and how they lived. Even the black Lemba tribe of southern Africa, who have long maintained that they are the fabled "Lost Tribe" of Israel, carry the DNA of those ancient Jews.
Hammer's lecture is sponsored by the Jewish Historical Society of Southern Arizona. It starts at 1:30 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El, located on Country Club Road just north of Broadway Boulevard. It's free but come early as it fills up fast. Call for details at 577-9445.
MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE. No caged animals at this circus. Just professionals from the world's best shows of circus artistry.
Neil Goldberg's Cirque is inspired by Broadway theatrics and full of kaleidoscopic color and hold-your-breath acrobatics. Actually, Goldberg's true inspiration goes back to 1874 when Jules Verne built, designed and operated the largest circus in France. In the last decade, Goldberg has collected some of the best circus performers from the Mongolian School of Contortion, the Chinese and Polish Acrobatic Associations and the Moscow State College for Circus and Variety Arts and created the first American company, Cirque Inc. and began touring the country with his shows.
Today is the very last day to catch Cirque in Tucson at 7:30 p.m. at Centennial Hall, located at 1020 E. University Blvd. (This week's other performances are on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.) Tickets cost $16 to $48. Don't miss it. Call 621-3341 for information.
A DOLLAR A BOOK. What a deal. It's your lucky day (or days, since the sale goes through December 18).
At Lucky Books, tucked away inside the cavernous El Con Mall, every single book costs a buck or less. Thousands of kids' books are strewn about (after the little ones get finished with them), and cost three for a buck. Small paperbacks cost two for a buck. Hardcovers and trade paperbacks go for a lanky $1.
They claim there are 100,000 books for sale in the Dollar Book Sale and that inventory is restocked frequently.
Get over there and see if they're lying. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Call 245-1787 for more information. The Mall is still at 3601 E. Broadway Blvd.
HISTORY OF OOMPAH. Dressed in period uniforms and playing original instruments, the 12-member UA band is a spitting replica of the school's first band that tooted 100 years ago.
How can you think of marching bands without hearing the stirring sounds of John Philip Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever? The band is joined by the current 250-member Pride of Arizona Marching Band in a concert that's a musical tribute to the band's early days. The Steel Bands, Wind Ensemble, Wind Symphony and Jazz Ensemble are all descended from the original band that was formed as a military unit, making its debut at a battalion parade on December 9, 1902.
Concert highlights include music by Irving Berlin, David Maslanka and Len "Boogsie" Sharpe.
Century of Pride begins at 7:30 p.m. at Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd. Tickets cost $12 for adults, $10 for UA staff and seniors and $5 for students. Call 621-3341 for details.
HAWAIIAN SANTA. Picturing St. Nick with a lei around his neck, sporting a Hawaiian shirt?
Discover the real traditions in Christmas with Halau Hula O Leina'ala presented by Pima Community College and Green Valley Recreation. The Hula School of Leina'ala presents the history of hula--the dance of Hawaii--as well as regional musical instruments, holiday traditions, decorations and the aforementioned Hawaiian Santa.
The free, one-hour lecture begins at 1:30 p.m. at PCC's East Center, located at 8181 E. Irvington Road. Find out more about the fall and winter lecture series by calling 625-5063.