Pop Culture Reframed
My Eyes Were Fresh: The Life and Photographs of John Gutmann
5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 26
Center for Creative Photography
1030 N. Olive Road
Just before fleeing Nazi Germany, as a Jew, for the United States in 1933, John Gutmann took up photography, with a particular interest in photojournalism. When he arrived and settled in the San Francisco Bay Area, he immediately became fascinated by our country's popular culture—or as he's known to have called it, "all this bad taste here which, of course, I learned to love."
Gutmann is famous for his ability to showcase ambiguities and oddities within the commonplace, as well as for his use of the "worm's-eye view," a view of an object from below, as if the observer were a worm. His photos range from funny to disturbing to surreal, but all are beautiful.
My Eyes Were Fresh: The Life and Photographs of John Gutmann is a short documentary by Jane Levy Reed, narrated by the photographer himself in a series of filmed interviews and commentaries recorded in the year just before his death in 1998. It profiles his art and life, both of which helped link early 20th-century European modernism with the budding San Francisco artistic culture that would entrench itself in the second half of the century.
"Gutmann was to the end an original, fresh yet foreign and always trying to convey the importance of the individual point of view and vision," said the Center for Creative Photography's Sally Stein in an e-mail. "Reed's lively film definitely conveys a vivid sense of the man and his uncompromising commitment to individualism, which was also the basis for his immigrant love of the New World as, ideally at least, a place of great freedom and opportunity."
The screening is free and open to the public. Jennifer Jenkins, a media arts professor who teaches film history at the University of Arizona, will introduce the film.—A.M.
The Demise of Public Enemy No. 1
2010 Dillinger Days
9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 23
Toole Avenue between Fourth and Fifth avenues; Hotel Congress; The Historic Train Depot; and The Arizona Historical Society, 140 N. Stone Ave.
On Jan. 22, 1934, a fire broke out in Tucson's Hotel Congress, where notorious bank robber and killer John Dillinger's gang happened to be staying. Rescued through a window and brought to safety down a ladder, the men were forced to leave their luggage behind. One of the gang members gave a firefighter a generous tip to retrieve the suitcases, meanwhile allowing the other firefighters a good look at the criminals.
After learning who the men were, the firemen informed the police, who promptly arrested them without firing a shot. The men were found in possession of eight submachine and machine guns and more than $23,000 in cash—valuable luggage indeed.
Though Dillinger—known as "Public Enemy Number 1"—later escaped from jail in Indiana, his arrest was a feat no one had accomplished before.
And on Jan. 23, 2010, it will happen all over again. The highlight of Dillinger Days, which has occurred annually downtown since 1994, is a complete re-enactment of Dillinger's capture, as well as his last bank robbery before he got to Tucson and the events that led to his capture. Congress Street, Toole Avenue and Hotel Congress will be transformed into what they looked like in 1934, complete with classic cars (which will be dressed up and displayed in a car "fashion show" later in the day).
The free event will also feature historic walking and trolley tours, a special exhibit at the Arizona Historical Society Downtown History Museum, old-time photography shoots, interactive games and contests and 1930s-themed carnival activities. Attendees can dance to accordion-based folk music by the Awkward Moments and American and Irish tunes by the Dusty Buskers. —A.M.
Shake It For a Cause
ZUZI! Dance Jam Fundraiser: Dance for the Dancers
8 to 11 p.m., Friday, Jan. 22
738 N. Fifth Ave.
The current economic climate doesn't have a lot of nonprofits dancing for joy. But ZUZI! Dance Company is dancing anyway. And you can, too.
If you're looking to do something fun and simultaneously help an important community organization weather these financially stormy days, we suggest checking out ZUZI's "dance jam" fundraiser, Dance for the Dancers. This weekend, the group will open its theater doors—and its stage—to all in Tucson who love to dance (even those who suck at it) for three hours of music by local bands the Wayback Machine and Drama Club.
According to the folks at ZUZI!, jam band the Wayback Machine could show up as anything from an acoustic trio to a nine-piece dance band with a full horn section. Known for its agile improvisations and a repertory of more than 200 songs, the Wayback Machine plays hippie rock, reggae, Latin, blues, zydeco and even ska.
The Drama Club is Tucson's newest cover band, with a soft spot for '60s soul,'70s funk and a lengthy list of rock and country songs. Says "Susie B" Banes, the band's drummer (and a longtime KXCI DJ) in ZUZI's dance jam press release, "Our goal is to make people shake their thang."
And ZUZI! is a great group to support, teaching all kinds of dance to all age groups for all kinds of purposes, from fun to personal healing. ZUZI! also puts on some great performances, as well as renting out its theater and two studios—at reasonable rates—to local groups and individuals who need a space. ZUZI's specialty is aerial dancing, which isn't taught at many dance studios. (Believe it or not, ZUZI! sometimes offers an open trapeze at its dance jams—thought that's not confirmed yet for this year.)
Admission to the event is $10. —A.M.
Omigod, It's a Musical
Legally Blonde The Musical
7:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 21; 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 22; 2 and 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 23; 1 and 6:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 24
Tucson Music Hall
260 S. Church Ave.
Elle Woods was a superficial sorority girl who probably thought the legal term ab initio was some kind of abdominal exercise. But after her boyfriend dumps her for someone "more serious," she vows to leave her vacant ways behind and heads straight to a place no Delta Nu has gone before—Harvard Law School—with her Chihuahua, Bruiser, in tow. "It'll be like senior year," she thinks, "only funner!"
Needless to say, Elle doesn't exactly fit in with the other law students. But that's the point. She emerges from her experience as a better person while at the same time proving that being true to yourself never goes out of style.
This, of course, is the plot of the movie Legally Blonde. But if you thought the movie was silly and fun, imagine it performed—and sung and danced—live.
That's right: Legally Blonde is also a Broadway musical, and since it debuted in 2007, it's won awards and gotten great reviews across the country. And thanks to Broadway in Tucson, it's just opened in our city.
"When we first saw this musical in New York," said Broadway in Tucson Marketing and Sales Manager Marc Viscardi, "we just knew it'd be a huge hit in Tucson. ... The show is just what the public is looking for—to escape through the power of live storytelling. And beyond its bubble-gum surface, the story really has quite a message of empowerment that I feel will resonate with Tucson audiences—moms and daughters, girls and women, and really just anyone."
Tickets cost $30-$75 and are available online, by phone or at the TCC ticket office, 260 S. Church Ave. Discounts are available for students, seniors and the military.—A.M.