Love Thy Neighbor
Second Annual Neighborfest
1 to 4:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 25
Fourth Avenue and University Boulevard
When it comes to reppin' the 'hood, Tucsonans aren't the best. But if so many rappers sing about the 'hood, then it must be important.
Get to know your neighborhood and the people who live in it at the second annual Neighborfest, where the theme is "Bringing Greater Downtown Neighborhoods Together."
"Sometimes people get stuck in their own little niche and it's great to get out and meet the people who live around you," says Teresa Vasquez, a planner with the Downtown Tucson Partnership
The Partnership will sponsor the event, along with the Fourth Avenue Merchants' Association, Main Gate Square, the University of Arizona and other nearby organizations.
Participating neighborhoods include Sam Hughes, Blenman-Elm, Barrio Anita, Catalina Vista, Dunbar/Spring, Feldman's and more. Each neighborhood will set up a booth to offer information about what each neighborhood does for the community and how residents can participate.
Vasquez, who lives in West University, says this is an opportunity for old-timers to mingle with college students and for young families to meet the professionals next door.
"It is great to build community with residents, businesses and merchants all coming together," says Vasquez.
If neighborly love is not your thing, then at least take advantage of the free hot air balloon rides. Yes, free. Also free are Old Pueblo Trolley rides, face painting, balloon art, a jumping castle and rock wall. Food will be available for purchase.
If all of that is not enough incentive, there will be live music throughout the afternoon, including the University of Arizona Pep Band.
Entrance to the festival is free and open to all.—E.N.
Hear Travelers' Tales
Morning Coffee With Guatemala Project Teams
9 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 24
St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church
602 N. Wilmot Road
When 10 trained volunteers ship out to Guatemala to work alongside local health leaders in rural communities, the experience is a transforming one. Coordinator Ila Abernathy insists that it is a fun time, too, except when volunteers are left to carry all their belongings uphill on a mountain trek.
"Lord help us when the mules don't show up!" she says.
Volunteers invite you to hear tales of their adventures over organic Guatemalan coffee, grown in two of the communities that the team serves. Tucson's own Raging Sage will roast the beans, and St. Michael's social action committee, Maya Quetzal and others will offer breakfast treats.
Abernathy says her "informal little project," which the Mayan people call a "colaboración," sends out small groups for two- to three-week periods to help sustain health services in the poor towns of the CPR (Communities of Population in Resistance of the Sierra).
Carondelet St. Mary's Hospital and other Tucson organizations donate supplies.
This year, the team set up a trip journal that rotated among all the volunteers. One team member named Audrey wrote the following:
"A family came out with flowers for us. ... I felt like a celebrity. It is amazing how strangers here can appear to be more excited to see me than people I know."
Attendees can expect excerpts of this sort and photos from the trip, as the team will show the cheer that they spread to Mayan people.
"They say it gives them spirit to keep going and keep working," says Abernathy.
The storytellers will be of all ages, including a mother-daughter team. "The age range on our first group (this summer)was a 50-year span between the youngest and the oldest volunteer," says Abernathy.
This event is free. Donations are suggested.—E.N.
Less Boo, More Zoo
Howl-o-ween at Reid Park Zoo
6 to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Oct. 23 and 24
5 to 7 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 25
Reid Park Zoo
1100 S. Randolph Way
The weather might still be fairly warm out, but Halloween really is just around the corner. It's time to start costume shopping and pumpkin carving. Then it'll be time to head over to the zoo!
The 13th annual Howl-o-ween event is back at Reid Park Zoo. It's a little different this year without the scary area, but there will still be costumes, treats and animals.
Vivian VanPeenen, the zoo's education curator, said the zoo looks "spectacular" during the Howl-o-ween weekend.
"The entire zoo is decorated with vignettes and themes," says VanPeenen.
One of the areas will have a special Star Wars theme this year, she says. Zookeepers and educators decorate the zoo, and places around Tucson provide trick-or-treat stops. The scary area will be absent this year because of zoo furloughs, so the help just wasn't available.
Kids (well, all guests) are encouraged to be in costume and bring bags to fill up with goodies. The elephants enjoy watching costumed characters roam around the zoo, says VanPeenen. Sometimes polar bears and rhinos like to check out the Howl-o-ween hubbub, too.
The event does create quite a line outside the zoo, but VanPeenen doesn't want that to deter trick-or-treaters. Sun Tran has a spooky bus for some pre-trick-or-treating while people wait to go inside. In the past there have been jugglers and other entertainment for everyone.
The Diamond Children's Medical Center at UMC is helping sponsor the family-friendly event this year. Tickets cost $5 for all ages and $4 for zoo members. They're available at the zoo's front admission gate in advance or when you go.—A.P.
Save the Music
Before the Music Dies
6:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 24
The Atrium at Avalon Organic Gardens, Farm and Ranch
2074 Pendleton Drive, Tumacacori
Every time Mattel puts out a new Barbie, they give her a "Malibu beach babe" outfit or "smart businesswoman" disguise, but she's still the same plastic prototype—and she is still driven by corporate profits. Mycenay Plyler would say the same about the "cookie-cutter packaged artists" that the music biz churns out endlessly.
Plyler is the marketing manager for Global Change Multimedia, an organization sponsoring the screening of Before the Music Dies, a film by Andrew Shapter and Joel Rasmussen that gives an in-depth look at the modern music industry.
"Clear Channel has got in there and made music a mass-produced industry rather than an art," says Plyler.
The film explores mainstream music's ability to silence innovation by spoon-feeding repetitive sounds to the masses.
Independent artists and big names alike share their passionate responses to the growing distortion of their art form and the grassroots movement to bring about change. Artists speaking out include Erykah Badu, Dave Matthews, Eric Clapton and Elvis Costello.
The documentary will be screened as part of a three-day music and eco-festival weekend. Plyler says the festival aims to bring about positive change to create sustainability for our planet. Promoting organic farming, recycled materials and activist arts all contribute to the goal.
"We really feel like global change needs to happen on all levels because of the power of music," says Plyler. "It can affect people in a good way or a negative way."
Before the Music Dies will give attendees insight into how to discover music that breaks the Barbie mold.
The screening costs $5.—E.N.