Friday, October 6-Sunday, October 8 — Geek out on films from all over
Jazz, punk and the music of Senegal are featured in films at the upcoming Tucson Film and Music Festival.
There’s more: silent film star Buster Keaton, infidelity and even a Western with female gunslingers.
The festival, now in its 13th year, will present more than 25 movies — shorts, feature length, dramas, comedies — over three days. Among the highlights:
Everything Beautiful is Far Away — The festival opens with this futuristic fable about a trio who cross a cruel desert planet in search of a mythical water basin. Joseph Cross and Julia Garner star in this Pete Ohs- and Andrea Sisson- directed film. It won the U.S. Fiction Best Cinematography Award at the 2017 LA Film Festival. It screens at 8 p.m. Oct. 5 at the Gallagher Theater on the University of Arizona campus.
The Song of Sway Lake — A shy young man whose father has committed suicide heads for the family estate with the intent of stealing a valuable record, but the arrival of the family matriarch puts a crimp in his plans. Directed by Ari Gold, it stars Rory Culkin, Robert Sheehan and Mary Beth Peil. Composer Ethan Gold wrote the music for it and the movie features performances by Brian Dennehy, John Grant and The Staves. There will be a discussion with the composer after the film. It’s at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 6 at Century El Con.
Zen Dog — Mud (Kyle Gallner) is haunted by recurring nightmares, which makes working at a virtual reality startup difficult. Then he is introduced to the power of lucid dreaming, which sends him off on a road trip across the country in a psychedelic Volkswagen. Rick Darge directs the comedy. The movie snagged the top prize at London’s Raindance Film Festival. It’s at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7 at Century El Con.
Cortez — When a tour is cancelled, a struggling musician (Arron Shiver) decides to look up an old love in a small New Mexico town. The soundtrack is by Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek and songwriters Bethany Towes and Taylor Rice of Local Natives. Cheryl Nichols directs the comedy. She and the star, Shiver, will participate in a Q-and-A after the film, which closes out the festival. It’s 7:30 p.m. Oct. 8 at The Loft Cinema.
- Kathleen Allen
What: Tucson Film & Music Festival
When: Oct. 5-8.
Cost: $8 per screening; the Oct. 5 film at the Gallagher is $3. Discounts available.
Venues: Gallagher Theater, 1303 E University Blvd. in the University of Arizona Student Union; Century El Con 20, 3601 E Broadway; The Loft Cinema, 3233 E Speedway.
Friday, October 6-Saturday, October 7 — Dance at Dusk
It started as a whisper among friends: “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could put on a music festival that crossed genres and appealed to music fans of all ages, and do it here in Tucson.”
Eighteen months later, it became a plan: Bring in one, maybe two moderately known national acts supported by a handful of local acts performing everything from pop and punk to EDM and hip-hop for a daylong music festival.
Hence the birth last October of the Dusk Music Festival.
The second annual Dusk festival this weekend is bigger and bolder: Two days, two stages, 18 artists and headliners with big national reputations: Rapper Big Sean, electro-house DJ/musician Steve Aoki, DJ Jazzy Jeff (“For Da Love of Da Game”), EDM duo Louis the Child, R&B singer Madison Beer and the Minneapolis synth-pop band Poliça.
“We upped the ante,” said Page Repp, a Tucson contractor and architectural designer who conceived of the festival with friends and fellow University of Arizona graduates John Rallis and Steve Stratigouleas, and Illegal Pete’s owner Pete Turner. “We were able to do that through a lot of hard work.”
“This isn’t any of our businesses. This isn’t what we do” for a living, added Rallis, whose day job is in real estate financing. “We all kind of wore every hat last year. In the long run it will be a good thing because we were all able to learn every part of this.”
Dusk kicks off at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6, at Rillito Park, 4502 N. First Ave. Doors open an hour earlier for day two on Saturday, Oct. 7. Concerts run until around 11 p.m. each day.
Repp, 43, said the intention from the beginning was to create a festival that would grow each year and rival events in the Phoenix area that draw music fans away from Tucson.
“When we did it last year we planned it and we set it all up and organized it so that it would be the first year of a decades run,” he said. “We set it up as an institution that Tucson could be proud of. We wanted something great to keep people here, to keep them excited.”
The first year was not without its hiccups. Some neighbors of the park complained about the noise, which Repp said shouldn’t be a problem this year with an improved sound system.
“We hope it grows and we hope to add bigger and better names every year,” said Rallis, 37. “Getting people together kind of in the sun, having fun, just having an experience with people where there is good energy all day is priceless.”
Last year’s inaugural festival brought in just over 4,000 people, a number that Repp anticipates will jump to about 6,000 a day this weekend.
At least a quarter of that audience will likely come from the Phoenix area, he said, based on early ticket sales.
- Cathalena E. Burch
What: Second annual Dusk Music Festival.
When: Friday, Oct. 6, and Saturday, Oct. 7.
Where: Rillito Park, 4502 N. First Ave.
Tickets: Start at $49 general admission, $79 for two-day GA pass at ticketfly.com
Friday, October 6 — Sample yummy margaritas from Tucson restaurants
One of Tucson's most popular regional drinks is returning with its own championship competition this Friday night.
The World Margarita Championship will showcase margaritas made by restaurants from all over the city.
Samples will be poured for paying guests. A panel of judges will then decide whose margarita tastes best.
The $55 price tag for the 21-and-older event includes drink and food. The event starts at 6 p.m. at the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Resort, 10000 N. Oracle Road.
Friday, October 6 — Freak out in the corn fields of Buckelew Farm
The haunted horrors of Buckelew Farm, 17000 W Ajo Way, return this Friday with Terror in the Corn 2017, a Halloween event set to run through November 1.
The annual fright-fest's website promises a haunted corn field that will "scare the pants off your average haunted house," whatever that means!
In addition to regular activities, Terror in the Corn will hold different themed events throughout the month, including a zombie run and and paintball shootout.
Locally crafted food and beer will be available for purchase.
Saturday, October 7 — Enjoy Oktoberfest beers and brats in Sonoita
Arizona Hops & Vines in Sonoita is putting on its lederhosen and cranking up the accordion for some blasting oompah tunes to celebrate Oktoberfest.
And what would an Oktoberfest party be without German food, German beer, German music and Arizona wine?
The Oktoberfest on Saturday, Oct. 7, also benefits a good cause.
The winery is partnering with the YWCA to benefit its Your Sister’s Closet program.
Oktoberfest attendees also are asked to bring clothing donations — workplace-ready, gently used or new — that also will go to the program.
The party starts at 11 a.m. and runs through 5 p.m. at Arizona Hops & VInes, 3450 Highway 82. Tickets are $20 in advance through azhopsandvines.ticketleap.com or $25 at the door, which includes a souvenir beer stein, six tasting tickets and a food ticket.
- Cathalena E. Burch
Other Oktoberfest options this weekend:
Three Canyon Beer and Wine Garden at 4999 N. Sabino Canyon Road. Join the Oktoberfest festivities Thursday, Oct. 5 from 5 to 9 p.m. with multiple German beers on tap, German food and music. The cost is $20 for a brat and side with two pints of German beer or one flight. Get a free Spaten Stein with purchase (while supplies last).
Oktoberfest at Copper Mine, 3455 S. Palo Verde Road. Haus of Brats will be serving up her delicious, authentic German brats and pretzels and be tapping into Mocktoberfest. Festivities run from 3-9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6.
Trail Dust Town, 6541 E. Tanque Verde Road. Local beer from Iron John’s Brewing Company, Thunder Canyon Brewery, Sentinel Peak Brewing Company and Uncle Bear’s Brewery. Dance to polka music from The Bouncing Czechs and enjoy German inspired food. 3-9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7. A la carte prices for food and beer ranging from $2-$10. 296-4551.
Mount Lemmon Ski Valley, 10300 Ski Run Road. Celebrating Oktoberfest with German beers, brats and music, along with activities for the kids each weekend through Oct. 15. Jackets are recommended as the weather has cooled and it’s a bit chillier at higher altitudes that actually look like you could be somewhere in the Bavarian Alps. German beer and food for sale.
Saturday, October 7 — See Rex Allen Jr. perform live for the last time
Rex Allen Jr. had just crossed over the Arkansas state line last Friday afternoon and was a good two days from his final destination: Willcox, Arizona.
But the 70-year-old country singer was already thinking ahead to Saturday, Oct. 7, the day when he will perform the final two concerts in a career that has occupied his entire adult life.
“This is it,” said Allen, son of Willcox native and Silver Screen legend Rex Allen. “I’ve done it for 50 years; that’s long enough.”
“It’s going to be bittersweet, joyful and sad all at the same time. The first place I ever walked on stage, I was 6 years old and that was during Rex Allen Days in Willcox.”
Allen Jr. has been a regular on Southern Arizona stages throughout his career, including headlining Western Music Association concerts and festivals and playing shows in Willcox as his career took him to Hollywood, Nashville and Vegas.
He said that although he is retiring from live performances, he will continue recording and releasing new music. He runs a pair of internet radio stations and is working with a Hollywood documentary film company on a project about his family. Between him and his father, an Allen has been performing for audiences for 80 years.
The streak won’t end with Rex Jr. On Saturday in Willcox, he is bringing his 7-year-old granddaughter Mary Fletcher Allen on stage.
“She wrote her first song when she was 5,” Allen said, and you could sense the pride beaming in his voice as he spoke. “She said that maybe they will rename the Rex Allen Days the Mary Fletcher Days.”
Mary Fletcher’s path in her grandfather’s footsteps includes singing the very first song he ever sang, Lead Belly’s “Cotton Fields (The Cotton Song).”
- Cathalena E. Burch
What: Rex Allen Days
When: Friday, October 6-Sunday, October 8
Where: Keiller Park and Recreation Center, 500 N. Bisbee Ave., Willcox
Saturday, October 7 — Hear New Orleans with Irma Thomas, Preservation Hall
The Fox Tucson Theatre is slated to host a couple of well-known, New Orleans-based musical acts this Saturday.
Singer Irma Thomas, known as the "Soul Queen of New Orleans," will headline the show. She'll be joined by Preservation Hall, also from the Big Easy, and the Blind Boys of Alabama, a (mostly) a cappella group that hails from, well, Alabama.
The evening promises to be both fun and funky. The show starts at 7 p.m.
Saturday, October 7 — Get lost in Loudon Wainwright III's music
Loudon Wainwright III has a career as a singer-songwriter spanning decades, yet tends to remain under the radar for most mainstream music fans.
His upcoming Rialto-booked show, for example, will be taking place at the smaller, more intimate 191 Toole venue downtown this Saturday, while comedian Jim Norton takes the main stage at the Rialto Theatre.
That's fine by us. Wainwright's music is perfectly suited for smaller venues. The close quarters allow for easier access to every note and every story that Wainwright has to share.
The show begins at 8 p.m. More information here.
Sunday, October 8 — Swing through the mercado for sweet, sweet antiques
After a fairly successful first attempt last month, the Mercado Flea returns to Mercado San Agustín, 100 South Avenida del Convento, downtown this Sunday, October 8.
Dealers will be offering a wide range of unique antique and vintage items (things like the cameras above photographed at the Tanque Verde Antique Fair).
The monthly event runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. More information here.
Saturday, October 7-Sunday, October 15 — Delve into Tucson's Modernist past
Another full week of events, including films, lectures and other historic programs, are slated to take place Saturday through Sunday, Oct. 15 for Tucson Modernism Week 2017.
The annual celebration of Tucson's modernist past will include a vintage trailer show, a home tour, a marketplace and talks on everything from Casa Grande midcentury imagery to Cele Peterson (above), a local businesswoman and fashion icon in town for decades.
Events range in price. Find out more on the Tucson Modernism Week website.