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Pride events fill October calendar

Pride events fill October calendar

Compiled by Miki Jennings

While June is the official lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride month, the city of Tucson tends to hold more pride events in October.

The milder weather creates a more inviting environment for Tucson’s LGBTQ (the “Q” stands for “questioning”) community and allies.

Scheduled events include:


Multifaith Pride Service: “Love Wins”

Oct. 11

Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, , 2331 E. Adams St., will host an LGBTQ-friendly religious service from 7-9 p.m. This year’s theme is “Love Wins.”

The Multifaith Pride Service is a collaboration between the church, the Wingspan Multifaith Working Group and the LGBT Jewish Inclusion Project.

Doors open at 6 p.m. A reception will follow the service.

For more information, call 577-8383, extension 218, or email


Pride on Parade, Pride in the Desert

Oct. 13

Tucson’s 35th annual pride events Oct. 11-13 will feature all-local business venders and stage performers.

Standard admission is free, but VIP tent passes are available. A pass costs $25 for Saturday or $30 for the entire weekend.

The Oct. 13 Pride on Parade will start at 11 a.m. on Sixth Avenue at 18th Street, and move north to Armory Park. This year’s theme is “Pride Links Us Together.”

Pride in the Desert festivities begin Oct. 13 at noon at Armory Park, 220 S. Fifth Ave.

Entertainment from 2-8 p.m. will include Flight School, Leila Lopez, Jaime J, Grite Leon, Janee Starr, Cirque Roots, Courtney Robbins and Black Cherry Burlesque.

A multifaith group commitment ceremony will be held in the Armory Park Senior Center at 6:30 p.m.

Other weekend events include a Queertopia pool party on Oct. 12 and an after-party at Hotel Congress on Oct. 13.

For details, visit or


All-inclusive yoga with YOGA(y)

Fluxx Studios is hosting a new YOGA(y) yoga and meditation class on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. The instructors stress an all-inclusive attitude and welcoming space.

The studio, located at 414 E. Ninth St. near Fourth Avenue, is open to people of all backgrounds and sexual orientations looking for a safe and accepting yoga studio.

There is a suggested donation of $5 to $10, but no one will be turned away. The instructors welcome yoga newbies as well as yogis needing special accommodations.

Bring your water bottle and a yoga mat if you have one. A select number of mats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information, visit

Miki Jennings/Aztec Press 2010 photo

BEST BETS: Geeks flock to Congress Nintendo Party; beer and wine tasting

BEST BETS: Geeks flock to Congress Nintendo Party; beer and wine tasting


Compiled by Bruce Hardt

Sept. 15:

Nintendo Party featuring Minibosses at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. 9 p.m. $3. 21 and up. Details:

Engage in some wholesome, affordable nerdiness at a Nintendo Party at Club Congress. In celebration of 1980s and ‘90s culture, this event will tickle your nostalgia with an eclectic assortment of activities.

Old-school video game aficionados can prove their go-kart, evil wizard-defeating abilities in a Nintendo-platform tournament.

Those unlearned in the skills of noob decimation will have the options of pizza decorating, vintage toy showcases, an ‘80s and ‘90s costume contest and an art exhibition.

Music lovers will also be treated to the music of Minibosses, a Chandler-based stoner metal band whose nerd-inspired music is appropriate for such an event.

Come out, geek out and, most importantly, have fun.

Sept. 22:

Suicidal Tendencies at The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave. 7 p.m. $25. All ages. Details:

Thrash and hardcore punk legends Suicidal Tendencies will grace Tucson with their presence, providing fans with possibly one of the best live heavy-music performances in southern Arizona this year.

Mike Muir is Suicidal Tendencies’ continuous maestro. Since forming the Venice Beach, Calif., band in 1981, Muir has worked with a pantheon of talented musicians to create a superior brand of thrash-infused hardcore.

Their sound is replete with ferocity, angst and potent commentary, augmented with breakneck speed and sweeping riffs.

Hillbilly Bo and Flying Donkey Punch will support the headliners.

For any professed fan of metal and general brutality, Suicidal Tendencies is a performance not to be missed.



Compiled by Miki Jennings

Tastings are a great way to develop a more discerning palate and figure out what kinds of drinks you like. Check out tastings at these local businesses and try something new.


Beer tastings are held every Wednesday and Friday from 4-7 p.m. and Saturday from noon-4 p.m. Tastings extend to 7 p.m. during Second Saturdays celebrations.

Pints range from $4-$5.

Borderlands’ beers have a great taste. Names worthy of Arizona include Ol’ Loco (an India pale ale), Santa Rita (amber ale), La Morena (nutty brown ale) and Prickly Pear Wheat beer. My favorite is their Noche Dulce, a refreshing vanilla porter.

Food trucks are on-site Wednesdays and Fridays. Live music plays every Friday.


Borderlands Brewing Company

Address: 119 E. Toole Ave.

Phone: 261-8773


Beer tasting hours:

Wednesdays and Fridays: 4-7 p.m.

Saturdays: noon-4 p.m. (noon-7 p.m. during Second Saturdays)

Cost: $4-$5 per pint.



Pastiche is a more upscale establishment on Campbell Avenue, just north of the University of Arizona. The restaurant offers wine tastings every Friday from 5-6:30 p.m. Cost is $5.05 per person.



Address: 3025 N. Campbell Ave.

Phone: 325-3333


Wine tasting hours: Fridays: 5-6:30 p.m.

Cost: $5.05


DESTINATIONS: Hat’s Games: a store for role-play

DESTINATIONS: Hat’s Games: a store for role-play



Racks of books, glass cases filled with “Warhammer” miniatures and a barrel of dice greet customers who step inside Hat’s Games.

Insignia from “Magic the Gathering” and “Warhammer 40000” adorn walls of the store, which caters to tabletop role-playing, war, board and card games.

A custom “Warhammer” robot stands more than 2 feet tall, towering over miniatures that measure less than 5 inches.

The front counter contains a plethora of snacks for sale. Tables for playing games crowd a vast back room.

Patrons can expect to always find at least one or two people playing games of every kind. Dozens of gamers attend on the most packed nights.

Gamer David Spirack, who plays in a Generic Universal Role-Playing System every Tuesday, said he works across the street from Hat’s and decided to check it out.

“It was sort of an accident,” he said.

When he saw the wide, sprawling back room, he knew the store was the place for him.

Manager Dave Hat started the store by taking out a loan to buy the remnants of a long-gone business called “Things for Thinkers.” The salvaged items had been stored in an old train car.

Hat’s advice on how to get into gaming: “Check out the local community. If you like the community, then buy the starter.”

First you must find a gaming group to join.

“There are some groups who meet every day, and some that only meet once a month,” Hat said. “Depends on what suits you.”

The store dedicates lots of shelf space to “Pathfinder,” a spinoff/competitor to “Dungeons & Dragons.”

Hat suggested that interested gamers visit the store on days the Pathfinder Society meets.

The group’s next gathering will be May 20.

Tuesdays are usually the best night for getting a game going at Hat’s, Spirack said.

Searching for games online via the website is another option.

Spirack has noticed a decline in gamer turnout over the last few months. He speculated it could be because of a temporary lull, or because several game masters were not able to continue their games.

Other top Hat’s sellers include role-playing games that are spinoffs of “Warhammer 40000,” such as “Dark Heresy,” “Deathwatch” and “Rogue Trader.”

The store does not carry the “World of Darkness” and “Dungeons & Dragons” games, Hat said, because of their move to online-exclusive content and because their parent companies don’t provide support for small game store owners like him.

Things might change with the advent of an upcoming fifth edition of “Dungeons & Dragons,” he added.

Hat, who doesn’t have time to game as often as he would like, said his favorites are sci-fi, board games, card games and historical games.

He said the weirdest thing that has happened in his store was when a ringtail cat lived on the roof. The critter snuck in at night and ate snacks.

In the future, Hat wants to expand by acquiring several other entertainment-oriented stores. A comic store currently occupies a separate section of his floor space.

However, games will remain his main focus.

Gamers gather on a Tuesday night to play a Generic Universal Role-Playing System, or GURPS, campaign. Photo by Thomas Johnson.

FOODIE FINDS: Coffee shops and study places

FOODIE FINDS: Coffee shops and study places


As the semester comes to a close, many of us spend long days and late nights writing essays and studying for finals.

Whether it be a loud roommate or distracting electronics, home might not be the best study place.

To keep from losing time to video games or hanging out with friends, many students go to designated study areas.

And what better commodity to have at your study space than coffee to keep you energized while you work?

Here’s a list of coffee shops around the different Pima campuses to check out for study purposes as well as the caffeine.



Address: 3191 E. Valencia Road Phone: 294-4995

Hours: Daily, 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m.


If you don’t actually like the taste of coffee, you’re in luck.

CaffeNation offers a huge selection of specialty-flavored mochas that can come hot, iced or blended.

For less than $4, you can get a 16-ounce mocha in just about any flavor you can think of, including chocolate cherry, orange, peppermint, caramel, French silk and peanut butter.

Every menu item is moderately priced. A small hot chocolate costs less than $2. For under $3, you can get a muffin, scone or bagel with cream cheese.


Epic Cafe

Address: 745 N. Fourth Ave.

Phone: 624-6844

Hours: Daily, 6 a.m.-midnight


Less than a mile from Downtown Campus, Epic is conveniently located on the north end of Fourth Avenue and offers a great menu of drip coffee, espresso and blended drinks.

I recommend the blended brownie mocha. For about $4.50, you get a big cup full of brownie-flavored coffee slush. Doesn’t sound amazing? Try it. Get it with whipped cream. Study. Be happy.

The Wi-Fi  can get slow during peak hours, so try to visit when it’s not too busy.


Crave Coffee Bar

Address: 4530 E. Broadway Blvd.

Phone: 445-6665

Hours: Daily, 6 a.m.-11 p.m.

It’s a bit of a drive from East Campus, but unfortunately there’s not much of coffee selection nearby. There are plenty of Starbucks in the area, but Crave has an atmosphere only a local cafe can offer.

It offers a full menu of assorted hot and cold beverages, plus delicious pastries and desserts such as fresh-baked muffins, apple strudel and tiramisu.


Glass Onion Cafe

Address: 1990 W. River Road

Phone: 293-6050

Hours: Vary daily. See website.


The Glass Onion Cafe might be the most unusual coffee shop in town. The place is fun, with a long drink menu offering coffee, hot chocolate and even milkshakes.

The food menu includes soup and salads, vegetarian and vegan options and Beatles-themed sandwiches like “Why Don’t We Do It in the Roast?”

The Glass Onion hosts music and open mic nights at week’s end, so keep that in mind if you’re hoping for a quiet spot.

The cafe opens at 7 a.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. on weekends. It closes between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. during the week.



Address: 245 E. Congress St.

Phone: 272-8949

Hours: Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m.


West Campus also lacks a decent selection of nearby businesses.

For something different, head a few miles east to downtown to Sparkroot, an artsy little space with unique decor and a tasty menu.

Sparkroot has drip coffee for about $3. Lattes and great hot chocolate cost about $4. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the specialty “Nola” coffee drink for $3. The menu also offers pressed panini sandwiches.


A cup of hot chocolate from artsy Sparkroot costs about $4. Photo by Miki Jennings.

G&L Import offers cornucopia of exotic items

G&L Import offers cornucopia of exotic items


G&L Import is a truly unique shopping destination that every Tucsonan should explore.

Foreign brands line the shelves of this large Asian market. Oriental pottery, fans and incense appear at the front. Oddly-shaped fruits adorn the produce section. The deeper in you go, the more wondrously exotic the items get.

The produce section contains staples such as peas, tomatoes and carrots mixed in with oddities like bitter melons, fuzzy melons, lychees and longans. The latter two fruits are delicious, and a must-buy.

It gets more interesting from there.

Each item carried is distinctly skewed toward Asian cuisine, with one aisle dedicated to tea alone. Various dumplings fill an entire freezer.

The store carries so many exotic sauces that the lone Western brand, Hunts Barbecue, seemed wildly out of place.

Aisles are organized by type of staple, such as confections, starch, beans, sugar and Asian spices. They’re also organized by country of origin.

The market sells cookware, furniture and tacky Western knick knacks. More unusual trinkets include scrolls, ceramic stamps, small Buddha and Bhudai statues, cash swords for Chinese exorcisms and hell money (fake money meant to be burned so the departed can use it in the afterlife).

There’s a large, $2,000 stone statue that would not look out of place in some ancient temple.

The dessert aisle contains pineapple cake, egg crackers, cookie balls, apple pudding and mochi (rice flour dumplings with a sweet filling).

Vinegar bags that resemble Capri Sun drinks list flavors such as apple, grape, peach and plum. I didn’t try one, so cannot judge the taste.

The staff was courteous, even as I walked around the store scribbling notes on the giant bags of MSG for sale. Staffers seemed slightly bemused when I mentioned plans to write an article.

The store’s out-of-the-ordinary selection may leave some browsers asking, “What am I supposed to do with a giant jug of banana sauce?”

But G&L Import is perfect for anyone seeking ingredients for out-there recipes. You know, the ones that make us ask, “Where am I supposed to find a jar of hoisin sauce?”



G&L Import

Address: 4828 E. 22nd St.

Phone: 790-9016

PCC students Mike Lambert and Andrew Westhoven shop at G&L with Lambert's daughter, Mariah.

Spring Festivals


It’s starting to get hot out, but that’s no excuse to skip these spring festivals.
They’re sure to keep you entertained and remind you that Tucson has more to offer than scorching weather.

Festival en el Barrio
April 7
Festival en el Barrio will feature Calexico, Grupo Fantasma and Megafaun on April 7 from 2-8 p.m.
There will be two stages as well as crafts and food. The festival will be held in the streets of El Presidio neighborhood near the Tucson Museum of Art, 166 W. Alameda St.
Tickets are available at the Rialto box office and Bookmans.
For more information, visit

Spring Fling
April 12-15
Associated Students of the University of Arizona’s Spring Fling is back again from April 12-15.
The carnival is the largest student-run carnival in the nation, providing more than 25 rides and games. At least 20 different food booths offer a wide variety ranging from corn dogs to crab puffs.
Spring Fling is organized and planned by student directors and UA student volunteers to bring fun and excitement to the Tucson community, while raising money for their clubs and organizations.
Admission is $5 each day, and free with CatCard or military ID. Parking is $5. Ride ticket prices vary.
The Spring Fling will be held at Rillito Downs, First Avenue at River Road. There will be a free UA shuttle for transportation.
Visit or call 621-5610 for more information. 

Arizona International Film Festival
April 13-29
More than 100 films representing 18 countries will be featured in Arizona’s longest running film festival, April 13-29.
The films will be featured at venues such as Reel Arts 6, The Screening Room, Crossroads Festival, Desert View Theatre and other theaters throughout Southern Arizona.
For a schedule of films and more information, visit or call 882-0204.

Chalk Art Festival
April 14-15
Southern Arizona Arts and cultural Alliance will present a kaleidoscope of colors at Park Place Mall.
Professional and amateur artists, students, children and attendees will all participate in the festival to collaborate on colorful works of art.
The Chalk Art Festival will also feature a kid zone, where children ages 3-12 will be able to create their own chalk art.
The event will take place at Park Place Mall, 5870 E. Broadway Blvd. For more information call 797-3959 or visit

Best Bets

Best Bets


April 17:

St. Vincent with tUnE-yArDs at Rialto Theatre, 311 E. Congress St. Doors open 7 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m. $19 in advance/$22 day of show, all ages. Details:

OK, kids. Grab your v-necks and cut-off shorts and make your way to the Rialto Theatre on Tuesday, April 17, for St. Vincent with tUnE-yArDs.

If you spend half as much time as I do paddling through the latest indie “hits” on YouTube, you’ve probably come across these acts.

Annie Erin Clark is an American singer-songwriter who previously played with the Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens before kickstarting St. Vincent.

Honestly, Clark has a beautiful voice but nothing far from what you hear from Beach House’s Victoria Legrand or even the indie-chic collective Warpaint.

Don’t get it twisted – the music is still a refreshingly pop-infused, dance party, hell of a time.

Opening for Clark is the only interesting thing to come out of New England lately – the tUnE-yArDs.

Prepare for live drum track loops and an eloquent blend of guitar, xylophone and upbeat vocals.


Annie Erin Clark of St. Vincent


Mars Volta – “Noctourniquet”
Released: March 27

Mars Volta recently announced its return to Indio, Calif., only to grace Coachella’s stage as their previous act, “At The Drive-In.” Volta has dropped its sixth studio album, “Noctourniquet,” since deeming ATDI a musical difference amongst members.

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (guitar, production) and Cedric Bixler-Zavala (vocals, lyrics) are for the most part, the creative force behind the sound. Most would label Volta as simply progressive, psychedelic or experimental rock.

“Noctourniquet” is an experiment of the experiment, if that makes any sense. For as long as I have been a fan, Mars Volta has stitched together 12-minute acid-based montages, usually riddled half the time with incomprehensible instrumentals.

This album is far from the usual fast-paced, youthfully weird stuff.

If you’re a newbie looking for copycats of “De-loused in the Comatorium” or “Bedlam in Goliath,” stay far from “Noctourniquet.” It’s a much more evolved, toned-down sound. That is, compared to when Thomas Pridgen was drumming.

Overall, I believe it to be an average album – not worth spending $15 on. Wait for someone to sell it back at ZIA, or burn mine.

-Compiled By Kyle R. Wasson

Over the years, plenty of storybooks have inspired cinematic works. Some great, some cheesy, some that are worth going back and reading (or rereading) the book before catching it in the theater. So get your library cards ready and check out these titles!

The Lorax:
(Out: now)
This childhood classic written by Dr. Seuss illustrated the effects of deforestation in a colorful and kid-friendly way, 41 years ago. Readers got to watch the struggle between the mustachioed, earth-conscious Lorax and the faceless, money-driven Once-ler. As the Lorax tries to convince the Once-ler to stop tearing down truffula trees to sell his thneeds (a fluffy tree by-product of Seuss’ imagination), the air gets smoggy, water gets polluted and nature overall suffers. Now the story’s back and on the big screen and hopefully it’s not as depressing as the last sentence made it sound.

The Hunger Games:
(Out: now)
“The Hunger Games,” written by Suzanne Collins, is about a post-apocalyptic world that holds annual fights-to-the-death between children and young adults from neighboring districts. Twenty-four 12-18-year olds enter a forest where they use their wits and whatever supplies they can find to survive the three-day battle that ensues. Suspenseful, compelling and visually pleasing, the film is worth checking out.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter:
(Out: June 22)
If the title isn’t enough to draw you in, I’m not sure what will get your attention. Originally written by Seth Grahame-Smith, the story chronicles the life of an early Abraham Lincoln. Prior to his presidency, Lincoln was kicking undead ass and taking names more than a century before Buffy came into the picture. At the very least, the storyline has novelty value and puts an original spin on the uninspired vampire genre that we’ve seen so much of lately.

-Compiled by Miki Jennings

Gem Show a Tucson Treasure

Gem Show a Tucson Treasure

The Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase began in 1955 as a small exhibition held at a local school. Now, more than 4,500 vendors bring some of the world’s finest gemstones, minerals, meteorites, fossils, beads and jewelry to the city each February.

Exhibits will be on display through Feb. 12 at the downtown Convention Center and at dozens of other sites throughout Tucson. Most offer free admission.

This year’s show spotlights Arizona minerals, in honor of the state’s centennial celebration.

For additional information, go to

–By Celeste Orendain

Crystals are on display at the 22nd Street gem show.

The white tents are a signature sign of the gem show, seen here at the show set up at Kino Stadium.

The Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show is best known for selling jewelry but it also showcases fossils, such as this dinosaur at 22nd Street show.

BEST BETS: Catch White Denim or comedy routine

BEST BETS: Catch White Denim or comedy routine


Feb. 15:

White Denim with My Empty Phantom at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. 21+. $8 in advance/$10 at door. Details:

Thus far, February hasn’t offered much as far as live music gems go. However, White Denim should break that trend Feb. 15 at Plush.

To pin the group down in one classification would be a crime. Often the trio weaves a web of psychedelic and blues, then slaps together some bouncy and progressive riffs for good measure.

White Denim has the attitude and stage presence of a ‘60s garage jam band while remaining progressive with their lyrics and overall sound. Tracks range from lackadaisical acoustics rivaling Bon Iver to fast-paced, bass-ruffled ballads mimicking the surf-rock stoners Wavves.

They have the potential to creep in among your favorites.

Jesse Beaman makes up My Empty Phantom, a one-man exploration into post-rock ambience with heavy drums and catchy melodies. Don’t miss a decent night of new wave jams.

If you’re smart, pencil Lindy’s in after the show.

-Compiled by Kyle Wasson



Whether you’re looking for the stand-up routine variety of humor or the kind that comes with setting music to inebriated warbles, we have you covered.


Laffs Comedy Cafe

2900 E. Broadway Blvd.

Laffs will host four upcoming nights of comedy performances.

Freddy Charles, who calls himself the “chameleon of comedy,” comes to Tucson Feb. 10 and 11.

Jose Sarduy and Tyler Boeh will co-headline on Feb. 17 and 18. Sarduy, a former Air Force officer, and Boeh, a beat boxing comic, have both won comedy competitions around the country.

Tickets for both sets are $10 for normal seating or $15 for preferred seating.

Want to take part in the action? Laffs offers an amateur night on Thursdays at 8 p.m. It’s free to sign up.

Check out their website at


Sky Bar

536 N. Fourth Ave.

If you’re hoping for a musical microphone experience, Sky Bar offers Wednesday Night Wonder, an open mic night every Wednesday from 6 p.m. to midnight. Watch what could be Tucson’s upcoming talent, and golf clap for the not-so-talented.

Sky Bar claims to have “all styles, all sounds” during these events. Their website boasts about a full PA system that enables the utmost in musical expression.

Bands are welcome, as are individual performers. Each participant is allotted 15 minutes. Sign up by calling 622-4300 or walk in to snag an empty time slot.

Check out the website at




For those seeking a more casual musical experience, an assortment of Tucson bars and restaurants offer karaoke nearly every evening. Locations include May’s Counter, the Biz, Redline Sports Grill, the Bashful Bandit and Famous Sam’s.

YNot Entertainment lists songs, dates and locations at its website,

-Compiled by Miki Jennings

SPRING FESTIVALS: History, art, rodeo await


 History, renaissance fun, native art and rodeo traditions lead the list of upcoming festivities.

Fort Lowell Day

Feb. 11

Arizona’s centennial celebration takes on special importance at this year’s Fort Lowell Day, held annually to commemorate the 19th century fort’s importance to Tucson history.

Park free at Fort Lowell Park, 2900 N. Craycroft Road, to enjoy events from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Highlights include a vintage baseball game at 10 a.m. and walking tours of historic neighborhoods from noon to 4 p.m. The Old Arizona Brass Band will perform songs from the 1800s at 2 p.m.

Visitors can watch cavalry drills, make adobe bricks or discuss history with re-enactors. A Sibley Army tent will be displayed.

For details, visit


The Arizona Renaissance Festival

Feb. 11-April 1

The 24th annual Arizona Renaissance Festival just outside of Phoenix bills itself as a 30-acre medieval amusement park with 12 stages, a jousting tournament and craft booths.

The festival will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday from Feb. 11 through April 1. It will also be open on Monday, Feb. 20, the President’s Day holiday.

Parking is free. Admission is $22 with discounts available.

From Tucson, take Highway 70 to Florence Junction. Go west seven miles on Highway 60 to Festival Village. For more information, visit


Southwest Indian Art Fair

Feb. 18-19

The Arizona State Museum, 1013 E. University Blvd., hosts “Southern Arizona’s premier American Indian art show and market” with 200 native artists and their wares, a rug auction, performances, demonstrations and food. For more information, call 626-8381 or visit


La Fiesta de los Vaqueros

Rodeo Parade – Feb. 23

Rodeo – Feb. 18-21 and Feb. 23-26

The 87th annual La Fiesta de los Vaqueros parade will start at 9 a.m. on Feb. 23. The parade begins at Park Avenue and Ajo Way, and proceeds south on Park to Irvington Road. Tickets for the Irvington Road grandstand cost $7 for adults and $4 for children under 13.

The rodeo will take place Feb. 18-21 and Feb. 23-26. Ticket prices range from $12 to $22. For details, visit or call 741-2233.

Pima Community College will cancel classes Feb. 23-26 due to the rodeo holiday.

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From gems to art, festivals abound


Every spring, a variety of Tucson-area festivals and celebrations fill the calendar. From a massive gem show to art festivals, there are events that appeal to everyone’s interests and schedule.

Arizona SciTech Festival – Jan. 25 – March 14

From Jan. 25 to March 14, numerous science and technology displays will take center stage at the statewide Arizona SciTech Festival. Events are free and are located in several areas. For more information, visit

Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase – Jan. 28 – Feb.12

The largest gem show in the United States takes place Jan. 28 through Feb. 13 with more than 40 sites around town featuring mineral, gemstone, jewelry and fossil retailers. Most exhibits are free to the public and hours vary. See details at

Horse Racing at Rillito Park Race Track – Jan. 28 – March 25

Tucson’s landmark Rillito Park Race Track is the scene of live Quarter Horse and thoroughbred horse racing on weekends through March 25, excluding Feb. 4-5. Gates open at 11 a.m. and racing begins at 1 p.m. Rillito Park is located at 4502 N. First Ave. Admission to the clubhouse is $800, grandstand is $5 and children under 12 are free. For more details call 293-5011 or visit

Lunar New Year – Feb. 4

The Tucson Chinese Cultural Center will ring in the Year of the Dragon with a family festival featuring traditional Chinese arts, crafts, performances and food. Festivities will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Cultural Center, 1288 W. River Road. Admission is $1. For details, visit or call 292-6900.

Tubac Festival of the Arts – Feb. 8-12

The 53rd annual Festival of the Arts will bring hundreds of artists, crafters and musicians to Tubac. Activities include horse-drawn trolleys, roving entertainment and a food court. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Tubac, an artist community, is located south of Tucson off Interstate-19. For more information, visit

Arizona Centennial Celebration – Feb. 10-12

This celebration marking the 10th anniversary of Arizona’s statehood on Feb. 14, 1912 will include free concerts, firework displays, street musicians, food vendors, rides and a historical re-enactment in downtown Tucson. Events will take place on West Congress Street. For details, visit

See Aztec Press Issue 2 for additional spring festivals.

Pima County Fair opens April 14

Pima County Fair opens April 14


The Pima County Fair will hold its centennial celebration April 14-24 at the Pima County Fairgrounds.

Eight concerts will be featured during the 10-day event. Bands playing are Neon Trees, Anberlin, Cheap Trick, Boyz II Men, Foghat, Michael Salgado, Easton Corbin and Los Tigres Del Norte.

All concerts are included with fair admission.

General admission costs $8, and parking is $5.

For the attendee on a tight budget, tickets will be sold for $2 on April 18. On April 20, one free admission will be available for people arriving between noon and 3 p.m. with any Wendy’s combo meal receipt.

Admission presale tickets can be purchased online at and at Fry’s through April 13.

Weekly discount coupons are also on sale. The coupons, good Monday through Friday, cost $10 and may be exchanged for 10 rides.

Popular acts include Ambassador of Good Wheel, Asian Elephants, Petting Zoo and Pony Rides, Wild About Monkeys and Live Shark Encounter.

On April 22 and 23, 4/H, FFA and horse shows will be held.

Monday through Friday, gates open at noon and carnival activities begin at 3 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, gates open at 10 a.m. and carnival activities begin at 11 a.m.

Fair officials say Thursdays through Sundays have highest attendance. There can be traffic delays both coming in and going out of the fairgrounds.

For additional information, visit


Carnaval gets Tucsonans ‘Dancing in the Streets’

Carnaval gets Tucsonans ‘Dancing in the Streets’


Many Tucsonans spent Feb. 19 at the fourth annual Tucson Carnaval atop stilts, listening to steel drums and participating in capoeira circles.

The theme of the event, held at Armory Park, was “Dancing in the Streets.”

The entertainment began at 1 p.m. on a main stage with an “opening spoken word groove” led by To-Ree-Nee, followed by folk, Latin and Reggae performances.

The final performance group was Batucaxé, the non-profit drum and dance ensemble that founded Tucson Carnaval in 2008.

Across the street, the Tucson Children’s Museum set up booths for kids to make masks and crowns.

A “Dancing in the Streets” stage on Sixth Avenue between the Children’s Museum and the park hosted belly dancing, hip hop, zumba and contra dance groups. Many performances welcomed audience members to join the dancing.

At 2 p.m., participants lined streets to watch a parade. Batucaxé lead the procession, but members of the community were also invited to take part.

The parade included performances by a steel drum band, belly dancers, samba bands and capoeira groups.

The event also offered free workshops, such as lessons with Ecstatic Dance Tucson, a ZaBoomBa community drum jam and a modern dance theater. At 7:30 p.m., Flam Chen, a circus and fire theater group closed the event.

Pima Community College student Matt Stanley participated in the event with Capoeira Brasil, the studio where he trains in capoeira and samba.

Stanley got involved with capoeira after meeting studio owner Junior Btalha at work. Stanley had done jujitsu before meeting Btalha, and decided to try capoeira.

After going on a trip to San Diego with Capoeira Brasil, and seeing people who had been doing capoeira their entire lives, Stanley decided it was something he wants to stick with.

“It’s not just a martial art, it’s a healthy lifestyle,” Stanley said. “It’s something I’m probably going to do for the rest of my life.”

PCC student Violeta Coronado, who is engaged to Btalha, said Capoeira Brasil offers classes for children and teens.

The group’s inviting community is one reason people should get involved, Coronado said.

She listed the fitness benefits of capoeira as another reason. “It’s fun, not like pumping iron at the gym.”

For more information about becoming a part of a group that performed at the event, see the websites below, or visit

Photo by Chelo Grubb, Aztec Press

Tucson Carnaval


Capoeira Brasil:

Capoeira Mandinga Tucson:

Kathryn Ferguson Belly Dancing:

Tucson West and Central African Dance Class:

Lunar new year: event offers ‘Taste of China’

Lunar new year: event offers ‘Taste of China’


During February, Tucsonans can indulge themselves in an assortment of holidays.

One celebration comes from the eastern hemisphere, China, which celebrates its new year.

The Tucson Chinese Cultural Center rang in the new year Feb. 5 by offering activities for the entire family.

Unlike western celebrations, China celebrates its new year for 15 days, due to the lunisolar calendar.

The calendar is divided into 12 signs, similar to zodiac signs, each represented by a different animal. This year marks the year of the rabbit.

“People who share this sign are entertaining, wise and carefree,” emcee Tina Liao said.

During the two-week celebration, red clothing is a fashionable color because it brings good luck and fortune.

At the Feb. 5 celebration, volunteers greeted visitors entering the cultural center, ready to guide them through each activity.

Some activities were mainly for children, such as arts and crafts, jumping castles and interactive games.

Children playing games filled a center room. Along a wall, vendors sold authentic Chinese goods such as jewelry. Food for sale included shrimp-flavored chips.

Grown-ups weren’t left out of the fun. Crowds enjoyed outdoor stage performances despite

cold conditions that afternoon.

Students from the Cultural Center performed a traditional Lion and Dragon dance.

A Chinese drum sounded as beginner and intermediate classes opened the dance. The advanced class performed a “drunken lion” dance, jumping off the stage and stumbling around to portray a lion that drank too much sake.

Liao said the event’s popularity continues to grow.

“When we first started this celebration five years ago, we were not very known but each year the crowds keep growing,” she said. “Many people who come are interested in Chinese culture, and we offer classes here at the Center to learn more.”

Liao believes food is a main attraction. Tents sold Chinese cuisine including Pork Mapo Tofu, Mu Shu Pork and Salt and Pepper Chicken.

“American people love to eat Chinese food and we make sure that we have different food from all over China,” Liao said with a laugh. “The people enjoy all the performances, but they love to come for the food.”

'Me Day' options abound

‘Me Day’ options abound


Valentine’s Day is a funny time of year.

For those in relationships, Feb. 14 is a time when men battle to fulfill long-established romantic ideals for their loved ones.

For those who know love, have been well acquainted with loneliness and always seem to be somewhere in between the two, Valentine’s Day garners more spite than spirited celebration.

Anti-Valentine’s Tasting

A perfect way to savor being single might be “I Love You but I’ve Chosen Cocktails: An Anti-Valentine’s Tasting” at Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St.

The event will be held Saturday, Feb. 12, from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Copper Hall foyer.

Mixologist Aaron DeFeo will serve “the perfect antidote to pre-Valentine’s anxiety” featuring “three amazing original cocktails guaranteed to make you forget about any amorous misadventures.”

Tickets cost $15 and attendees will receive discounts toward future tastings. See details at

Valentine Four Miler

Conversely, if you’d prefer to spend your time focusing on physical fitness while keeping an eye out for someone to spend a future V-Day with, perhaps “A Fine Valentine Four Miler” is more your speed.

The Feb. 12 run starts at 4 p.m. from Main Gate Square, on University Avenue between Euclid and Tyndall avenues.

The entrance fee of $25 provides an opportunity to run the four miles as an individual. For no extra charge, University of Arizona business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi will pair you with a blind-date running partner.

Other running options and more information can be found at

Ritz-Carlton Ignite

Any woman could salve her V-Day woes by relaxing at the Dove Mountain Ritz-Carlton’s Ignite lounge, sampling goodies such as chocolate-dipped strawberries, Mexican hot chocolate and coconut-chocolate ganache cake.

Ignite will offer this chocolate goodness Feb. 12-14 for $12 per person.

All pertinent information, along with an extended listing of delicacies offered, can be found at

Boycott bike ride

Men usually try to avoid an evening of chocolate-dipped this-and-that on Valentine’s Day. Tucson Sport Bikes recognizes this by offering a “Valentine’s Day Boycott Ride” to Arivaca.

“Instead of buying candy and flowers for your significant other, wax and polish your bike,” reads a posting by host Brian Baldwin.

Riders will meet on Feb. 12 at 10 a.m. at a Shell station on West Ajo Way, and take a pre-determined route. After eating lunch, participants can head home at their own convenience. They’re encouraged to go at their own pace, as the road can be tricky.

For details on enjoying an adrenaline-filled Valentine’s Day, visit

Keep options open

Regardless of how you decide to celebrate, remember to keep your heart and mind open.

You never know when you’ll find love sitting right in front of you, running beside you or soundly outdoing you on an afternoon ride.