Monday, September 29, 2008


Further proof that Tucson is home to an extremely creative and active artist community is the annual performance art celebration called GLOW.

What makes GLOW such a unique experience is the fact that it is held in an outdoor field, at night, with several of the pieces being inter-active. How can you see artwork outdoors at night? Simple. Every piece incorporates light of one type or another. LEDs, flashlights, computer projectors, Christmas tree lights, etc. Just about anything that gives off illumination was used to light up the various pieces of art.

GLOW is held each year at the Triangle L Ranch in Oracle, a small town just north of Tucson. This year the event was held on September 12 and 13 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Admission was $10 for adults, $5 for kids.

Fun is the best way to describe the event. Attendees are encouraged to wear lighted clothing, and a glow-stick wrist band is handed out to everyone as they enter the gate.

Glowing eyeMiniature lights are used to light the path that winds through the grounds to take you to the various presentations. Our first stop was in front of an ‘alien’ that lit up when he spoke to the earthlings gathered in front of him. Whenever he wanted to emphasize a particular point in his speech, bubbles would burst forth from metallic openings in his body.

A short walk into a valley revealed a miniature solar system, complete with a flying saucer.

The glow - Solar SystemOne of my favorites was an area set up with a computer projector and sound system that broadcast eerie voices and sounds choreographed with ever-morphing images projected on a large white sheet. Kind of like an other worldly screen saver.

Even more cool technology was used to create an interactive heart monitor. Two large tom-tom drums were lit from inside, and connected to wired handles. When you grabbed the handle, sensors on it translated your heartbeats into drumbeats.

Shadow puppetsFurther down the path was a shadow puppet theater that, while not driven with lots of technology, was just as much fun as any of the high tech presentations.

If you missed The Glow this year, you’ll have to wait approximately 364 nights for the next one. It’s worth the wait. The experience is sure to leave you with a warm, um, glow inside.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Democratic Convention

I write this post under the category of ‘better late than never’. The Democratic Presidential convention was a couple of weeks ago, but was such an historic event I wanted to share the experience I had the night of Barack Obama’s acceptance speech.

In Tucson, the big event was to be held at the Congress Hotel downtown. Tucson is a very progressive city, and the Congress Hotel was sure to be jam packed with Democratic and Independent voters ready to celebrate the first black nominee for president of the United States.

Although the party at the Congress Hotel was guaranteed to be a great time, I decided one of the most emotionally uplifting places to watch Barack Obama’s acceptance speech would be at the Tucson-Southern Arizona Black Chamber of Commerce, which was also hosting an event that was open to the public.

The TBCC is located in a small single story building on Broadway street. Although not as large or as ostentatious as the Congress Hotel, the TCCC offered a warm welcome to visitors that would rival any other venue.

The room was set up with a projector pointed to a sheet on a blank wall, and the place was filled to capacity with like minded Tucsonians anxiously awaiting the arrival of Barack onstage.

When the big moment arrived, the room burst into applause as Barack took the stage. Just as suddenly, the room fell silent as Barack began to speak.

For many people, especially those that have been soured on politics during the past two administrations, comparing Barack Obama’s speeches to other political speakers is like the experience of thirsting in a sea of salt water, and then being handed a bottle of pure spring water. Filtered of political talking points, fear mongering, and obvious pandering. He is an intelligent speaker, reaching out to intelligent listeners.

Barack Obama As Barack made his goals and policies clear, the room would respond with applause and or appreciative remarks such as “Tell it, Barack!” There was a feeling of community in that small room. Of camaraderie. Of family.

The night of Barack Obama’s nomination was not only a historic night for our country, it was one of the best nights I’ve spent in Tucson.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Tucson Music Scene

I love the variety of musical talent and venues available in Tucson. I've already hinted at it in my post on Gaslight Theatre, but I've also enjoyed excellent live music at the Chicago Bar and Boondocks.

This coming Saturday the Retro Rockets will be performing at Lookout Bar and Grill.

With all of this local talent I had planned on creating a post for each of the places I discover here in Tucson. What I soon found out is there are so many places to experience great live music in Tucson, that there could be a Web site dedicated to nothing else but this topic!

And guess what? There is! It's called Tucson Music Scene, and one glance at the home page will give you a good idea of what a musically rich city Tucson is.

I'll still post about live musical events I attend, but for the heads up on when and where they are, check out Tucson Music Scene.