A TIME ALMOST LOSTThursday, Dec. 11, 7 p.m.
222 E. Congress St.
Memories of America and Europe of the 1940s and 1950s are slipping away as its cultural icons age. But this twilight is indelibly recalled in prose by a celebrated poet.
Gerald Stern was born in Pittsburgh in 1925. He's published numerous books of poetry and is the winner of the National Book Award for This Time. His most recent book, What I Can't Bear Losing: Notes From a Life, is a series of freewheeling rambles that combine autobiography and meditation.
Stern explores significant and representative events in his life: the dour Sundays of his Calvinist town, punctuated by his parents' weekly battles; glimpses of him as a wilderness camp counselor; and a stint in jail related to his World War II 4-F status. In the 1950s, he savors the romance of Paris. Stern also tells of being shot in Newark--the bullet is still in his neck to prove it. Other scenes include being mistaken for Allen Ginsberg and encounters with Andy Warhol. And in the ineffably tender "The Ring," Stern recalls his mother's second engagement ring, "when they were a bit richer, if a bit broader and a bit more weary."
Stern discovers his subjects as he goes along, relishing that discovery and expanding on it. There is no other voice like Gerald Stern's: funny, reflective and opinionated--and forgiving.
Stern, who now lives in New Jersey, makes a rare appearance in Tucson. Stop in and see him.
The reading is free.
MUSIC ON THE AVENUEFriday-Sunday, Dec. 12-14, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Fourth Avenue Street Fair
Between Ninth Street and University Boulevard
The sheer overwhelm of visual stimulation is what the annual winter street fair is all about. They wouldn't invite artisans, crafters and other vendors back each year for 33 years unless we enjoyed the crush of humans, the kettle corn and everything you can imagine fried to an unnatural hue.
Some of us slip through the crowds and the tacky (oops, I mean artsy) bathroom doo-dads to witness the wealth of local musical and dance talent.
So here's the lineup on three stages.
Main Stage is located at the corner of Seventh Street and Hoff Avenue and kicks off at noon on Friday with the jazz-funk fusion of Bunko Squad. They're followed by the folk blues of Kristy Kruger at 2 p.m. and new music by The Jons from 3-5 p.m.
Come back Saturday at noon, and you can hear rock covers (and some originals) by The Wayback Machine. They're followed by indie rockers The Stellas at 2 p.m. and reggae musicians Spirit Familia from 3-5 p.m.
Sunday's Main Stage dance card features Nowhere Man playing original alternatives from noon-2 p.m. followed by Brown Sugar playing soul and R & B, and original rockers Sunday Afternoon from 3-5 p.m.
Over at the Winsett Stage (316 N. Fourth Ave.), the Tucson High Magnet School's Jovert Steel Drum Band launches Friday's gigs. They perform all day from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and again on Saturday. Ballet Folklorico Tapatio struts from 2-3 p.m. From 4-5 p.m. it's Grupo Folklorico de Roskrudge.
On Saturday at Winsett, a kids' rock band called Spite performs from 12:30-1 p.m., followed by the dancing of A (that's their name). From 2-4 p.m., it's the Old Arizona Brass Band performing authentic pre-World War II rags, cakewalks, marches and gems from the swing era. Rounding out the day is Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed, the improv comedy troupe, performing from 3-5 p.m.
Sunday's Winsett Stage shows begin with Kodenka Yudan Shakan demonstrating their prowess at martial arts from 10-11 a.m. They're followed from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. with performances by Robins Elementary folklorico, the Orange Grove Middle School jazz ensemble and Rincon University High's Ivesia dance troupe. Catacoustic Groove gives us a cappella music from 2-4 p.m., and Hadia Sahara performs ethno-modern dance from 4-5 p.m.
Over at Fifth Street and Hoff Avenue, atop the Tucson Blues Society Stage, there's plenty to hear. Friday's lineup begins with the Dinero Brothers at noon followed by Stefan George at 1:15 p.m. and 3-Legged Dog at 2:30 p.m. Saturday features Gerry Glombecki at noon, Train Wreck at 1:15 p.m. and Ms. Stevie Woods and Company at 2:30 p.m. Hans Olson rounds things out at 3:45 p.m. Finally, on Sunday, the Little Kings kick things off at noon, followed by the Carnivaleros at 1:15 p.m. and Grams and Krieger finish up the music from 4 to 5 p.m.
FESTIVALS OF LIGHTSVarious times and locations
It's the season of light as we approach the shortest day of the year. Luminarias of all kinds dot the landscape. The traditional Mexican Christmas lanterns--the brown paper bag with a lighted candle inside--are just part of the joy. All around town are musical and lighting celebrations, not all Mexican or Christmas-related.
Hundreds of luminaries light the path at Sabino Canyon (5700 N. Sabino Canyon Road) for the Music in the Canyon Concert and Silent Auction on Friday, Dec. 12, from 5-9 p.m. The Tucson Boys Chorus performs a couple of times between 7-9 p.m. along with local musicians at the ninth annual outdoor event. Santa and Smokey Bear greet the kids. Purchases benefit Aspen Fire recovery efforts, canyon enhancement projects and replacement of recreational facilities damaged by flooding and mudslides. Dress warmly and bring a flashlight. Admission is free. For details, call 749-8700.
Saturday launches the Winterhaven Festival of Lights that features horse-drawn wagon rides by Walking Winds Stables on the hour beginning at 6 p.m. Wagon rides take place everyday through Dec. 27, except Dec. 16, 18 and 22, when they allow cars to drive past the illuminated houses. Otherwise, it's wagons and walkers. Rides, at $10 per person, leave from the front gate at Fort Lowell Road between Country Club Road and Tucson Boulevard. It's a good idea to make reservations by calling 742-4200.
Saturday is also the day the Downtown Parade of Lights floats its ninth annual fete. Free entertainment starts at 4 p.m. with Alberto Gallegas and mariachis followed by The Tucson Girls Chorus, Kids Unlimited, the Handbell Choir and a choral show by Desert Voices. The parade begins at 6 p.m. at 16th Street and Sixth Avenue, and at 7:15, the floats wend their way to the main stage at Armory Park (on Sixth Avenue between 13th and 15th streets), where you can ogle up close the decorations or get some warm treats from food vendors. Stay for the Symphonic Winds performing at 8:15 p.m. The arts and crafts fair carries on throughout, from 4-9 p.m. Questions? Call 547-3338.
The Greatest Hanukkah on Earth boasts candle-lighting, singing and celebration for its fifth annual marking of this winter holiday on Sunday, Dec. 14, beginning at 4:30 p.m. Temple Emanu-El (225 N. Country Club Road) hosts menorah lighting with the rabbis sharing Hanukkah stories, followed by the youth choir singing melodies in English, Hebrew, Yiddish and Ladino--a Spanish-tinged ancient language. Bring your own menorah and light it along with hundreds of others. Candles burn all the way down, as tradition would have it, while a Hanukkah feast of latkes and brisket simmers over the steamers. Dinner ranges from $6-$20, depending on your status an adult or a child and if you're a member of the Temple. It's free for kids 3 and younger. The concert is free for all. Call for reservations at 327-4501.
Take a trip down to Tumacácori National Historical Park for the Christmas Concert in the Old Mission Church at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 16. The Tubac Center of the Arts hosts a benefit performance by the Tubac Singers caroling inside the beautiful old church. Luminarias illuminate the walkway and the church interior. The acoustics are what you'd expect from an old church--stellar. The concert benefits the education programs at the park.
Tickets cost $15 per person. Seating is limited, so call 398-2341 to make your reservations and for directions.
Enjoy the lit-up night.