If You Give an Activist a Camera ...
Maquilapolis: City of Factories
1 to 3 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 8
Sam Lena-South Tucson Branch Library
1607 S. Sixth Ave.
Maquilapolis, a documentary about a group of female factory workers who become activists, filmmakers and ultimately victors, kicks off the fall semester for the Borderlands Community Film Series.
Maquilapolis was first shown in 2006 and details the lives of promotoras (community activists) working in a Tijuana factory.
As the workers began to address the environmental issues in their community, the filmmakers decided to take a new approach to record their story: The factory workers "are not only the subject of the film; they helped make the film," said producer and director Vicky Funari.
The film crew trained the workers to wield their own cameras in a six-week workshop before filming began. Though many environmental stories have a bleak outlook, the ultimate message of Maquilapolis is one of optimism, Funari said.
"If everyday people get together and work for change, they actually can make it happen," Funari said.
The screening will also feature a presentation by Community Assist of Southern Arizona, a group that focuses on helping communities address local environmental dangers.
"For this fall, we were really deliberate in finding a local connection for each film so people can learn about a service in Tucson," said Michelle Kuhns, outreach director for the University of Arizona's Center for Latin American Studies.
The center started the screenings almost a year ago, after receiving a grant from the Arizona Humanities Council.
"We're really hoping for all the films, this one included, to open up dialogue in a safe and interesting way," Kuhns said.
Admission is free. The film is in Spanish with English subtitles. The presentation will also be bilingual. —M.D.
Shakespeare in the Comics
8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 8
Temple Lounge, Temple of Music and Art
330 S. Scott Ave.
No previous knowledge of William Shakespeare—or any of his plays—is necessary to enjoy the live stage reading of Kill Shakespeare. But fans of the Bard will definitely get a bigger kick out of this twist on Shakespeare and his most-famous characters.
Kill Shakespeare: The Live Stage Reading kicks off Arizona Theatre Company's second season of Café Bohemia. Kill Shakespeare started out as a comic book—now in its 12th issue—and the creators, Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery, adapted it into a script that would fit the world of theater.
The comic book and play alike illustrate the lives and adventures of characters such as Juliet, Puck, Hamlet and Othello, and their quest to find Shakespeare, a wizard who may be able to help them fight against Richard III, Lady Macbeth and Iago. The stage reading is developed from the first issue of the comic book.
The reading will be "presented in partnership with slides from the actual comic book," said Stephen Wrentmore, associate artistic director at Arizona Theatre Company. "You will get these visual journeys. The audience will see images at the same time the story is told."
Tucson is the first city in the United States to host Kill Shakespeare. It debuted in Toronto last November.
"It is great to see the words that Conor and I have written brought to life by professional actors," Del Col said. "It is very rewarding for us to see these characters jump off the pages and come to life."
Also: Del Col will do a signing from 5 to 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 7, at Heroes and Villains, 4533 E. Broadway Blvd.
Tickets to the live reading are $5. —I.T.
Lit Lovers Unite!
International Day of Literacy
10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 8
Rudy Garcia Park
Irvington Road and South Sixth Avenue
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Do you want to take your family on a worldwide tour, but hate packing? Not enough time in your weekend for a global getaway?
No problem. The Sunnyside Literacy Council is bringing the world to Tucson for the International Day of Literacy.
UNESCO first celebrated the day in 1966, and the Sunnyside Literacy Council has hosted Tucson festivities since 2009. The theme for this year's celebration is "Peace and Understanding Through Literacy," with an emphasis on literature from around the world.
"When you are exposed to different types of literature, you are exposed to different types of cultures," said Ada Adams, the Sunnyside Literacy Council chair. "When you understand different people, you are not afraid of them. You are more open to who they are."
The Tucson International Alliance of Refugee Communities will have booths representing the Middle East, Russia, Latin America and other regions to showcase the literature and spirit of the area.
"A lot of times, we don't think there is illiteracy," Adams said. But one in five adults in Arizona does not possess the reading or writing skills to fill out a job application, according to a study by National Assessment of Adult Literacy in 2003.
"Everyone in the community has a responsibility to make sure we achieve 100 percent literacy," Adams said.
The Pima County Public Library's Bookbike will be at the event, and foods and crafts representing various cultures will be for sale. Students from Toltecalli Academy and other schools will perform dance routines. And kids who are feeling inspired can visit the poetry booth to compose their own masterpiece and perform at an open mic.
The event is free. —M.D.
Touring Tucson's Hidden Oases
9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 8 and 9
"Tour Central": Tucson Koi and Water Gardens
3372 N. Dodge Blvd.
When JoAn Stolley retired to Tucson, her backyard was barren. Now it's a thriving water garden with five ponds, two bogs and a red-eared slider turtle named Torgs.
Stolley's garden is one stop on the Tucson Watergardeners' annual public tour, "Watergardening Possibilities." The circuit features eight unique gardens scattered throughout the Old Pueblo.
The tours are self-guided, and a brochure with a description and the location of each garden can be picked up at Tucson Koi and Water Gardens or downloaded online.
The gardens' stewards will be available to answer questions about the flora and fauna.
"One of our goals is to introduce people to ponding in the desert and to show them responsible water-gardening practices," said Stolley, the club president.
Tucson Watergardeners was founded in 1999 and now has 120 members, Stolley said. The tours have attracted more than 600 people in past years.
"Each pond is its own ecosystem. It attracts insects, dragonflies, birds and animals," Stolley said.
The gardens are named to reflect the main features. The In Town Oasis is a modest backyard creation, while the Drama of Water and Vistas is an 8,000-gallon installment with a waterfall and separate koi pond.
Stolley's garden, dubbed the Fun of Re-Purposing, demonstrates a creative approach to using salvage in a garden design. She and her husband used old sliding glass doors, picture windows and other abandoned items.
"We've made junk into art, if you will," Stolley said.
The tour is free, but donations will be accepted. —M.D.