Western Grudge Match
Wild West Days
10 a.m. to 6 p.m., next Thursday, March 25, through Sunday, March 28
Old Tucson Studios
201 S. Kinney Road
Twenty-three years ago, Paula Saletnik was a shy little girl. Today, Pistol Packin' Paula can call herself the first female world-champion gun-twirler, an honor she first earned in 2006.
Thirty years ago, Hot Shot Johnny Tuscadero was learning all about bullwhip artistry, trick shooting and fancy gun-handling: He worked at Old Tucson Studios robbing trains.
The two met in Las Vegas at the Single Action Shooting Society and Wild West Performing Arts Society's World Championship, and both returned as victors—as co-champions in fancy gun-handling.
They will meet to settle the score at Old Tucson Studios to determine: Who is the best gun-twirler in the world?
Paula's training came from stunt school at Rawhide, in Scottsdale. There, she learned everything about bullwhip work and gun-twirling. As one of the only girls doing stunt-shooting and gun-twirling, Paula said she worked to prove the boys wrong.
"Gun-twirling is kind of a man's world," Paula said. "I like to show people that just because it is this way, that doesn't mean that's the way it has to be."
Johnny loves gun-handling for a different reason. "Performers do it for the clap," Johnny said.
Neither performer said they consider the showdown a real competition, but they do see it as an opportunity to get together with old friends and put on a good show.
"It's going to be more fun than watching coyotes at a jackrabbit convention!" Johnny said. "Hopefully, the sheriff won't remember me robbing all those trains."
The showdown is Saturday, March 27, and events are Thursday through Sunday, March 25-28. Admission is $16.95 for adults; and $10.95 for children age 4 to 11. —S.F.
Kids on Canvas
Works by Maja Nostrant
Reception: 6 to 9 p.m., Friday, March 19
On display 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Saturday, through Friday, April 2
3022 E. Broadway Blvd.
Maja Nostrant has been doing oil paintings since she was 17—but having children completely changed her art.
"Now, most of what I paint is of them or of things they do," said Nostrant about her children. "Before I had kids, I wasn't as focused. They gave me focus."
Nostrant has been working on the paintings in this new collection for the past year. She had her third child about 18 months ago and waited until he was 6 months old to return to painting. She rented a space to paint in and was able to take him to work with her.
"We actually worked out quite a schedule. I would work while he was napping," said Nostrant. "I feel like it's a dream life, getting to bring my baby to work with me."
Nostrant doesn't just paint; she also carves frames from wood. She learned both painting and wood-carving from her father, who is also an artist. All of her oil paintings include a wooden frame that she carved.
"It was one of the first jobs I had," said Nostrant about art.
Nostrant said it's hard to explain her paintings because they're all so different. The paintings in this show feature children playing, riding a horse and other various things.
Although she loves doing both painting and carving, she said she prefers painting.
"I really, really enjoy pushing paint around on canvas. Sometimes, I think I might have something to say."
Admission to the exhibit is free. —T.D.
Dirt! The Movie
4 p.m., Friday, March 19
Miller-Golf Links Branch Library
9640 E. Golf Links Road
Bill Benenson and Gene Rosow are taking dirty movies in a new direction with Dirt! The Movie.
The movie is just what it sounds like: a documentary all about the wonders of the brown stuff beneath our soles. The movie is based on the book Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, by William Bryant Logan, and it discusses the effects our society has had on dirt—and how those effects have changed everything from the climate to the water tables below Earth's surface.
In the movie, everyone sounds off on the importance of dirt, from biologists to vintners, from lobbyists to scholars. The film encourages community gardening and more Earth-conscious decision-making, while showing the negative effects of strip-mining and industrialization—including the toll those activities have already taken on dirt and our lives.
The movie premiered on PBS, but will be shown at the Miller-Golf Links Branch Library with a discussion afterward led by Gene Zonge, the president of Community Gardens of Tucson.
The discussion will be aimed at letting Tucsonans know where they can find their own community gardens, and will advocate eating locally grown produce.
"I think (the film has) got a lot of significance with where people are right now," said librarian Beth Petrucci, whose branch will be hosting the screening. "Everyone is about sustainable gardens and using the earth for things that are useful and local."
Admission is free. —S.F.
Treasures of the Queen: The Amazing Minerals and Mystery of Bisbee, Arizona
9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday; noon to 5 p.m., Sunday, through May 30
UA Mineral Museum at the Flandrau Science Center
1601 E. University Blvd.
In the mood to see some cool rocks and minerals, but thought you were out of luck because the Tucson Gem and Mineral show is over? Well, look no further than Treasures of the Queen: The Amazing Minerals and Mystery of Bisbee, Arizona.
Shipherd Reed, the project coordinator for the Miners' Story Project at Flandrau, said the collection in the exhibit is quite impressive.
"The exhibit is special, because it brings together many of the best Bisbee minerals on loan from the top collectors in the country," he said.
Bisbee has mines rich in minerals; they are what brought many people to work and live there. However, the exhibit doesn't only showcase the minerals; it also gives details about Bisbee's history, including video interviews with men who worked in the underground mines.
"Wealthy collectors from the East and West coasts came to Bisbee for the minerals starting in the 1880s." Reed said. "Several collectors have said that this exhibit is the best collection of Bisbee minerals ever assembled. At the same time, the minerals are so spectacular that even the general public that does not know much about minerals will be dazzled."
Reed added: "From the mineral-enthusiast's perspective, this is a once-in-a-lifetime exhibit, because many of the minerals are only very rarely on public display, and a few have never been seen publicly."
Admission to the exhibit is $6 for adults (16 and older); $4 for children; $2 for those with UA CatCards; and free to children younger than 4 years old. —T.D.