7 p.m., Tuesday, June 19
The Auld Dubliner
800 E. University Blvd.
If The Daily Show and The Colbert Report make you laugh out loud, there's a comedy showcase in Tucson that may tickle your fancy.
The Laughing Liberally Tucson Comedy Showcase is intended for those who enjoy political comedy. People of all political ideologies are welcome to participate in the political banter.
"Our title is 'Laughing Liberally,' so it attracts a certain group of people," said organizer Phil Gordon about the monthly showcase. "But we're wide-open. We're always hoping we'll get some opposing viewpoints."
At the first show in March, former Republican City Councilman Fred Ronstadt made an appearance and seemed to get a kick out of the performance. A Dick Cheney look-alike surprised the May audience by cracking jokes targeted directly at liberals, Gordon said.
Performers cover typical election topics like the economy and jobs, but also delve into "the social fabric as well," Gordon said. No subject is taboo.
Laughing Liberally is part of the Living Liberally project, an effort to foster progressive thinking in communities across the United States. Drinking Liberally and Reading Liberally are some of the other groups under the Living Liberally umbrella with chapters in Tucson, Gordon said.
The location of Laughing Liberally shows has rotated, but they are always on the third Tuesday of the month. Performances are also available online, so people who can't make it to the show can watch archived performances and live streams of shows by visiting dukeandcat.com and clicking on the Laughing Liberally tab.
And you don't have to remain a spectator: Tucsonans who are interested in performing can visit the Living Liberally website and leave contact information.
Admission is free. —H.M.
Quick on the Draw
Fitzsimmons and Potter Getting Down(town)
7:30 p.m., Friday, June 15
11 S. Sixth Ave.
Combine improvised music and sketches with a heaping cup of political humor from two local icons, and you get a night of knee-slapping.
David Fitzsimmons, editorial columnist and cartoonist at the Arizona Daily Star, and blues-playing comic Tom Potter will team up for an hour and a half of politics, fun and music for one night at the Beowulf Alley Theatre.
Fitzsimmons and Potter have worked together off and on for about 10 years at various benefits and events around the Tucson area, building a relationship that yields shows which get more entertaining as the years pass.
"From the beginning, it was kind of like a fit—kind of like comedy love at first sight. So we do a lot more improv: David with his political cartoons and political humor, and I have comedy music," Potter said. "Working with David is the most fun time I ever have onstage. He's just incredible to work with, and he inspires me."
The show will consist of Fitzsimmons interacting with the audience by drawing his signature sketches fueled by politics, while Potter performs his comedy blues. A new addition to their act is called "Smooth Bluesin' the News," in which Fitzsimmons sketches something while Potter performs a blues song, making up the lyrics as they go.
David Membrila, a local comedian, will be a special guest. Membrila is known not only for his comedy, but also for his teaching at Mansfeld Middle School and the University of Arizona
Tickets are $12, or $10 for students, teachers and military members. Student tickets are $8 —S.V.
Prepare for Potter Puns
Harry Potter and the Obnoxious Voice—The ssSPooF!
7 p.m., daily, through Saturday, June 16
948 N. Main Ave.
If you're a Harry Potter fan, prepare yourself for an evening of mockery and satire involving your hero at the Red Barn Theater's production of Harry Potter and the Obnoxious Voice—The ssSPooF.
The parody promises to poke fun at both the book and film versions of the franchise.
With any film rendition of a book, much is left out or changed in order to create a cohesive cinematic experience that captures the gist of the story within a couple of hours. The Harry Potter movies are no different, which inspired the writing of Harry Potter and the Obnoxious Voice—The ssSPooF. Rosemary Snow, the director of the production and the owner of the Red Barn Theater, said her daughter, Jeannette Jaquish, wrote the play to make fun of the concept—and has found some success.
Jaquish has sold the play over the Internet, and as a result, a production has toured Australia, and the play has been performed in Ohio. Snow felt the show must be brought to Tucson, and after three months of collaborating with her daughter, the Old Pueblo production is good to go.
Harry Potter and the Obnoxious Voice—The ssSPooF is one of four plays Snow usually directs in a typical year. She is more inclined to produce comedies and parodies, while the rest of the Red Barn Theater Company typically puts on Broadway shows.
Audience members do not need to be Harry Potter fans to enjoy the play, but avid readers of the books are expected to appreciate and relate to the shots taken at the book and movie versions.
Tickets are $5.—S.V.
Dragons in the Desert
7 p.m., Thursday and Friday, June 21 and 22; 11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m., Saturday, June 23; 1 and 5 p.m., Sunday, June 24
Tucson Convention Center
260 S. Church Ave.
According to the Chinese zodiac, it's the year of the dragon—so it's appropriate that there's a show coming to the Tucson Convention Center for four days that's a tribute to the mythical beast.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Presents DRAGONS is a circus performance aimed at all ages. Equestrian acrobatics, motorcycle high-wire stunts, trapeze tricks and kung fu are part of the spectacle—and all of the acts are intended to illustrate the traits of dragons.
"We're bringing the spirit of the dragon to Tucson," said Andre McClain, the host of the preshow, who expects the performances to be (cliché alert!) "bigger and better than ever."
McClain, who is an animal trainer, cowboy and rodeo star, said that he loves the thrill of performing and seeing the final product of his work with the animals in the show. He said that it can take as long as a year to perfect a routine and for the animals to "understand exactly what to do."
Lions, tigers, elephants and other creatures are featured in the acts. Ticket-holders who come to each performance an hour early will have an opportunity to meet the animals and stars of the acts at the preshow.
While the show is for all ages and is meant to be a family activity, McClain said he is most excited to perform for "the kids."
"I like making dreams come true," McClain said. "The circus has a magic to it, too. The minute you walk in, your life changes."
Tickets range from $20 to $70. Buy them at Ticketmaster.com; by phone at (800) 745-3000; or at the TCC box office. —H.M.