7:30 p.m., Friday, Aug. 7
9071 E. Old Spanish Trail
For almost five years, the monthly Coffeehouse Jams at Studio Connections have brought poetry, music, personal narratives, comedy and even musical theater to eastsiders who'd rather not make the trek downtown.
"We try to make it a family-friendly entertainment night," explains Maria Alburtus. As part of the artistic team at Studio Connections, she is involved with the acting and dance departments, but on the first Friday of every month, she's the person who will let you know what time your Coffeehouse Jam act starts. Everyone is invited to perform, she says, and she's the one you'll check in with.
She explains that the event offers a great way for newer performers to get their work out there, to practice and to get comfortable with performing.
"There are all different age groups and all ranges of talents," she says. She describes the atmosphere as relaxed and laid-back, but never completely quiet.
All proceeds from the open-mic event will go to Studio Connections' theater troupe, the DaVinci Players. The DaVinci Players are currently working on Alice in Wonderland and Angels in America.
She says that Tucson was sorely in need of an arts organization on the eastside, so in 2002—starting with just a middle school summer camp—Studio Connections was created.
"Downtown is full of it," she says. "We needed something out here."
About to obtain official nonprofit status, Studio Connections has programs in acting, dance and visual arts. Alburtus says that the Coffeehouse Jams event, in particular, is a way for everyone to come together and appreciate each other's talents.
"We're all getting together to enjoy all forms of art as a community," she says.
Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for children and students. —S.J.
Selections from the Tucson Portrait Project
1 to 5 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday, through Aug. 29
Conrad Wilde Gallery
210 N. Fourth Ave.
Over the last six months, more than 7,000 people around Tucson have had their pictures taken as part of the Tucson Portrait Project, which will consist of 6,200 photographs installed in the new Fourth Avenue underpass.
The photographs, which were randomly narrowed and placed by computer, include a diverse group of people shot at varying locations—everywhere from the swap meet to the opera, from La Encantada to the southside—explains Gary Patch, who shot the images and designed the project with Darren Clark.
Though they had only a few moments with each person they photographed, Patch says, they sought to capture more than just a quick snapshot.
"Instead of just doing a mug shot of a person, we were trying to evoke some kind of emotion, whether it was joy or sadness," he says.
Those photographed for the project can find out where their tile is located in the underpass by checking out the project Web site, which will be launched in coming weeks, Patch explains.
Of the thousands of photographs taken for the project, Patch and Clark's 18 favorite snapshots will also be featured in an exhibit at the Conrad Wilde Gallery, on display through Aug. 29.
The reception for the exhibit will be held Aug. 20 (the same day as the underpass opening) from 4 to 8 p.m.
"The great thing about these pieces ... is that as people pass away, you'll be able to take your kid there and say, 'Look, there's Grandpa,' and eventually, the kid will grow up and say, 'There I am, when I was 4 years old,'" Patch says. "Eventually, everyone will be dead, and it will be like kind of a historical document of the city right now." —A.B
A Childlike Sensibility
Eric Osborne art opening
6 to 9 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 9
2920 E. Broadway Blvd.
We're still in the midst of summer, but it's already fall at Bohemia. They're kicking of the season a bit early with featured artist Eric Osborne.
Osborne is a Tucson native, and although he now lives in Seattle, "His heart is still in Tucson," Tana Kelch says.
Kelch is part of the original Bohemia team and is now the owner of the art emporium. She explains that the gallery has had a longstanding relationship with Osborne; she describes his style of outsider art as "inspirational, light and whimsical."
However, she notes that he has delved into his darker side and his past relationships. She explains that he usually stays with these two extremes and avoids the middle.
"There's a childlike sensibility to his art" which makes it accessible to the audience, she says, adding that all of his work, except the lighting he uses, is made from recycled materials.
Since its creation in 2003, Bohemia has featured local art among its myriad items, including clothing, accessories, garden art and, now, local music. "We sit on the fence between a gallery and a gift shop," says Kelch, "which is why we call ourselves an emporium."
She views Bohemia's style as a nontraditional and somewhat more contemporary approach to showing art. "Every day is an exhibit at Bohemia," she says.
Kelch says Osborne will be on hand at the opening of his dream ... reach ... shine exhibit, giving away a few of his original, extremely limited edition T-shirts—there are only nine total!
She says that the opening "will be a nice environment to meet the artist and likeminded art enthusiasts." Local musician Naim Amor will be playing at 7 p.m., and there will be refreshments. Admission is free. —S.J.
Krishna Fest '09
7 p.m. to midnight, next Thursday, Aug. 13
Govinda's Natural Foods711 E. Blacklidge Drive
We may not all be able to get millions of people to celebrate our birthdays, but we can at least be a part of someone else's mammoth celebration. All around the world next week, people will be celebrating Krishna's birthday—and local vegetarian restaurant Govinda's is having its very own party.
There will be a whole variety of free entertainment, says Sandamini, who pretty much runs everything at Govinda's. She says there will be several types of dancers, including the classical Odissi style of dance performed by internationally known Revital; the 25-person local Urvashi Dance Troupe; and fire dancing courtesy of local group Elemental Artistry. There will also be music throughout the evening, including Pete Fine on sitar, and activities for children, including arts and crafts, a jumping castle and face-painting. Everyone can enjoy a free vegetarian feast with birthday cake, courtesy of Govinda's.
Sandamini explains that the god Krishna was born about 5,000 years ago in India, so this festival (called the Janmashtami) could be considered Krishna's birthday. She says that he was born at midnight, which is why the event on Thursday will go so late. The festival falls on a different day every year, because the holiday follows the lunar calendar.
"It's a great free community event that exposes people to different cultures, tastes, colors and sounds," she says in an e-mail.
She understands that not everyone shares her beliefs, but she invites everyone to "come out and experience something different. ... We really like the opportunity to do this, because it brings together every sector of our local community." —S.J.