Steps in the Right Direction
Jewish-Muslim PeaceWalk Tucson
Starts at 1:15 p.m., Sunday, March 6
Starts at Congregation Or Chadash
3939 N. Alvernon Way
The timing of the eighth annual Jewish-Muslim PeaceWalk Tucson couldn't be better this year.
"Peace is always relevant," said Dina Afek, a coordinator of the walk, "but this time is especially opportune."
While much of the world is caught in times of struggle, Jews and Muslims in the Tucson area have chosen not only to take a stand for peace and cooperation, but to also walk to promote activism and acceptance.
In past years, as many as 300 people have walked together. Participants alternate starting points each year, walking from a synagogue to a mosque (or vice versa) while embracing the chance to gain insight into other cultures and religions.
"This is really an experience for everyone," Afek said. "The idea is not to exclude anyone. We are minority communities, and this offers us the chance to rally together for a great cause."
Afek explained that the walk is open to all faiths and ages, and that children's activities will be scattered throughout.
"I've seen many new friendships fostered here," Afek said, "and it's a great opportunity to expose yourself to different things."
According to Afek, if not for an event like this, many Jews would never see the inside of a mosque, and many Muslims would never see the inside of a synagogue.
This year's theme is "Weaving Peace," aimed at sparking conversations and interactions that can weave families and communities together.
The walk starts at Congregation Or Chadash and goes for 2 miles before concluding around 4:30 p.m. at Al Huda Islamic School, 2800 E. River Road. At 6 p.m., participants can enjoy a meal and multi-faith prayers.
The walk is free; bring water to stay hydrated. Transportation will be provided for those who need it. —T.K.
18th Annual Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival
Various times, Sunday, March 6, through Sunday, March 13
Tucson Convention Center
Leo Rich Theater
260 S. Church Ave.
Chamber music is quite different from large-scale orchestra music; it is played in a smaller setting. That's one reason why Randy Spalding, a board member of the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, is excited about this year's annual festival.
"It makes it intimate," said Spalding. "I am particularly a fan of chamber music because of that smallness; one is able to get a sense of peace."
This year's festival will mark the world premiere of the 47th and 48th pieces commissioned by the AFCM.
Most classical music performed today was written before the 20th century, and AFCM raises money to commission new music. What's unique about AFCM's commissioning program is that the audience is invited to participate in the process—and that has produced amazing results.
The newly commissioned works are by Joseph Lin and Finnish composer Olli Mustonen. "Trio for Friends," by Lin, will be performed on Friday, March 11, and Mustonen's "Quartet for Piano, Violin, Viola, Oboe" will premiere on Sunday, March 13.
Beyond the premieres, the festival includes numerous other events, like professional rehearsals.
"We bring in some of the finest musicians in the world," Spalding said. He explained that many of the musicians who fly in for the festival have never met one another, so they spend a lot of time practicing for their concerts. These rehearsals are free and open to the public, and anyone can watch the masters at work.
"I hope people will see how alive the music is," said Spalding. "A lot of work goes into the festival. ... We would love to share it with everyone."
For a full schedule and ticket prices, call 577-3769, or visit the AFCM website. —A.G.
Mexicans on SB 1070
Arizona Between Nosotros: Artists From Mexico Respond in Performance and Video
7 p.m., Friday, March 4
311 E. Congress St.
Throughout its history, Tucson has had a rooted relationship with Mexican culture.
Then came SB 1070. Echoing the new dynamic created by the controversial legislation, Hotel Congress will host Arizona Between Nosotros: Artists From Mexico Respond in Performance and Video.
This night aims to address the changes in a multidimensional approach featuring Mexican video, as well as performance art, music and dance from both Arizona and Mexico.
"This will definitely be a cultural night," said Daniel Hernandez, of Hotel Congress. "This will embrace our culture and that of our southern neighbors, and form a response to the political climate."
According to Hernandez, the event is a stepping stone to what organizers hope will be even larger performances in Tucson, Phoenix and Nogales, Sonora, later this year. Proceeds raised Friday night will go toward travel expenses to help Mexican artists come to the upcoming shows.
Hotel Congress hosts an array of performances, but Hernandez is excited about this event in particular.
"We have many performers here, but this event will really find interesting ways for people to interact ... by means of video and other performance art," he said. "I feel like here in (this) part of Arizona, we have a very different relationship than the rest of the state. Here, we really embrace Mexican culture."
The border is a line of separation, but participating artists hope to look beyond the border to address issues.
"We're hoping people can come and interact with these performances to gain better insight," Hernandez said.
Admission to the 21-and-older event costs $5. Visit the Hotel Congress website for a complete schedule and more information. —T.K.
A Conversation With Edith Head
7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 3; 8 p.m., Friday, March 4; 3 and 8 p.m., Saturday, March 5
1400 N. First Ave.
Edith Head was one of the most prominent Hollywood fashion designers from the 1930s through her death in 1981. She was nominated for 35 Academy Awards and won eight of them—more than any other woman.
Head was an interesting character, known for her short black hair and her trademark dark, round sunglasses.
Susan Claassen, managing artistic director at the Invisible Theatre, recently returned from a sold-out five-week tour of A Conversation With Edith Head. Written by Claassen and Paddy Calistro, the popular play is based on the book Edith Head's Hollywood and details the unique, quirky life and style of Head.
Though technically a solo performance, Claassen said that it doesn't feel like one. There is a definite script that Claassen follows, but the play is interactive; she takes questions from the audience to help tell Head's story. Every performance is different, depending on what people ask.
Audiences have been hugely receptive to the play and Claassen's performance. During the tour, many people who knew Head or worked with her came to see the play, and they were impressed with Claassen's portrayal of the famed designer, Claassen said.
"The most challenging thing (about the role) is seeing the world through her eyes," said Claassen. "You must be so focused and present."
With the Oscars happening last weekend, Head has been coming up a lot lately. Claassen said a big part of what inspired her to create the play was her desire to keep Head's legacy alive.
"I think that so many times, people think fashion is of the moment," reflected Claassen. "But when you hear Edith's story, you realize fashion is timeless."
Tickets are $30. —A.G.