Downtown heats up for weekend
In a recent story on KOLD, John Wesley Miller told Bud Foster that, in his view, "the cultural activities whether it be music, art, theater" are the most important things in downtown. Well, there is no shortage of music, art, theater and cultural activities in downtown this weekend.
Friday night, downtown offers magic, musicals, plays and all types of live music. While much of downtown and its fast-moving revitalization can be seen as magical, The Brothers Macabre are bringing their slight of hand and "slight of mind" style of actual magic and mentalism to the Mercado San Agustin, just west of I-10 on Congress Street. A little to the east at the "jewel of downtown," the Fox Tucson Theatre presents "The List: A Musical," which promises to be as entertaining as it is strange.
The historic Temple of Music and Art will have a live play, "All in the Timing," which begins again on Friday and runs through the weekend. And, as always, there is plenty of music across downtown's numerous venues, with live music like a tribute to Daft Punk at the Rialto Theatre and three acts - Acorn Bcorn, Tele Novella, The Resonars - at Hotel Congress, and DJs at La Cocina and several other downtown nightclubs.
Though temperatures are expected to be cooler on Saturday, downtown is just as hot. At Solar Culture, see a Tribal Fashion Show, featuring belly dancing, a DJ, henna, palm readings and more.
Live music is where it's really at on Saturday, with something to engage just about anybody. The Cochise County All Stars will bring their blend of honky-tonk and alt-country music to the shady and overgrown patio of La Cocina, followed by the steel guitar and vocal duo Catfish and Weezie later in the night. At the Fox Tucson Theatre, Primus will perform with their legendary and groundbreaking bassist/singer Les Claypool, guitarist Larry LaLonde and drummer Jay Lane.
The music doesn't stop there. Reyli, the former leader of the band Elefante who has been topping the Mexican charts for years, will perform at Hotel Congress. Right before Reyli, Hotel Congress will hold a bittersweet farewell for the Tucson band Young Hunter, a local Tucson act that says they are taking an "indefinite break". The Modeens, however, show no signs of slowing down! Get at the front of the line to hear their new music at The Modeens CD Release Party at Barrio Brewery.
Be inspired on Sunday while encouraging literacy in local kids. Maria Inés Taracena writes touchingly in the Downtown Tucsonan article "When Literature Comes to Life" about stories that are written by children in Tucson and performed as part of Stories that Soar!, which is an adjunct of Literacy Connects. Organizers have selected their favorite stories from the past year, and will present them at the "Best of Stories that Soar!" on May 19 at the Temple of Music and Art.
It's also easy to do some social good while indulging in the food of chef Janos Wilder and several volunteer chefs at "Primavera Cooks!" at Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails on Sunday at 6 p.m. The event is a fundraiser for the Primavera Foundation, a local non-profit who's mission is to "provides pathways out of poverty through safe, affordable housing, workforce development and neighborhood revitalization".
Sunday is also the premiere of the film Desert Dreams, which uses HD video and more than four years of time-lapse video to show the vibrancy and life of the desert.
The weekend wraps up Sunday night with lots of live music. At La Cocina, the genre-spanning singer/songwriter Kristen Chandler will perform at 6pm, leaving plenty of time to get some rest before the end of the weekend. If an early bedtime isn't in the cards, head over to the Galactic Center to hear flutist Gary Stroutsos, or catch Nive Nielson at Hotel Congress.
A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle calling Tucson a "hip little burg" got its share of attention on local social media this week. The article spoke to the culture, people and businesses - mostly in Downtown, 4th Avenue and nearby locations, and the reporter liked what she saw. In the previously referenced KOLD story, Bud Foster reported that investors that helped revitalize Portland as that city instituted their streetcar recently toured Tucson and the streetcar line and, according to Downtown Tucson Partnership CEO Michael Keith, they were impressed with what they saw. With all of the events this weekend, a seemingly endless stream of new businesses opening, and the attention of San Francisco and Portland, it looks like Downtown Tucson may be the place to be.