Fun Playing the RTC

Dear Jamie,

Thanks so much for having us at 2nd Saturdays Downtown last month. We had a very good time and really enjoyed seeing so many people out and about and enjoying downtown Tucson and all it has to offer. We got a lot of great feedback this time, and we even got a gig for Club Crawl from the exposure.

We got a lot of great video that is on our Facebook page now from that night. We would love to do it again sometime. 2nd Saturdays is our favorite place to play because we all love the great crowds. The people downtown are wonderfully responsive. I love when they start dancing right there on the sidewalk, or singing along.
I will be there this month supporting my friends, A Son y Sol, and shopping.
We love 2nd Saturdays and want to see them go on forever. ūüôā

Thanks and take care.
Ruth Spies, Widow’s Hill

Odyssey Storytelling at Club Congress

Hear some wild tales at Guess what? Stories of the Unexpected on Thursday, September 1st from 7-9 p.m. at Club Congress. Storytelling can connect you with different people that you might not normally meet in life. The stories are from real life so they may be amazing, messy, enlightening, disturbing, and entertaining . . . and more.

The featured storytellers are Cabaret Boheme performer, Esther Blue Almazan; graphic designer, Martha Retallick; creative writing teacher, Joshua Wheeler; stay-at-home-mom, Jeanne Yordy; program director of Southern AZ Gender Alliance, Erin Russ; and slam poet, Maya Asher.

Doors open at 6:30 and parking is free on the street after 5pm. Admission is $7.

2nd Saturdays Downtown Celebrates Latin Music Month

September‚Äôs 2nd Saturdays Downtown will help celebrate Calle Congresso, an entire month of Latin music and festivities that was created by a number of downtown Tucson event organizers. On September 10, the stages and streets of downtown Tucson will be full of Latin music. Descarga, Tucson’s own 10-piece Latin jazz and salsa band, will fill the Fox Theatre with Latin rhythms, with a free performance at 7:00pm.

Featured on the Scott Avenue Stage:
6:30-7:30pm: Ted Ramirez
Teodoro “Ted” Ramirez is a premier Southwestern folk musician, singer/songwriter, and storyteller intensely committed to presenting the beautiful and powerful stories of his homeland using original and traditional Southwestern music and stories.
7:45-9:00pm: A Son y Sol
Latin American Music with a Twist – From the streets of Tucson, A Son y Sol became one of the most acclaimed bands to dance and shout to. Recently performing in some of the biggest venues here in Tucson: 2nd Saturdays, Club Crawl, Hotel Congress, to name only a few.
9:15-10:30pm: Suerte
Suerte will take you back to yesteryear with the Old School Tejano classics. Suerte offers a wide range of classics as well as new, original material!

Featured at The Rialto Theatre:
11:00pm: Jefferson Starship (Doors open at 10:30pm)
Jefferson Starship with Jefferson Airplane founder Paul Kantner will perform for all ages; cost is $30 for general admission advance purchase.
8:00pm: Comedian Doug Benson (Doors open at 7:00pm)
All ages show, cost is $21/$26.

Featured at the Congress Hotel:
7:00pm: James McMurtry
Texas rock and Americana singer and songwriter. Cost is $15.

As usual, the Cricket Kids‚Äô Area will be full of fun with the Cricket jumping castle and other activities. The FREE movie is ‚ÄúCars‚ÄĚ, rated G. The movie begins at approximately 7:30 pm. Congress Street will also be lined with music, stilt-walkers, break dancers, living statues, and vendors. Downtown Merchants will offer discounts and specials.

University of Arizona Opens UA Downtown in Tucson

Open House introduces public to new center dedicated to research, outreach and teaching
(Photo Credit: Poster Frost Mirto)

The University of Arizona will celebrate the opening of UA Downtown in the historic Roy Place Building, located at the southeast corner of Stone Avenue and Pennington Street in Tucson.
Roy Place

The Open House will be on Saturday, Sept. 10, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the PlaceBuilding. The event will include music, hors d’oeuvres and exhibits. UA faculty, staff and students will be on hand to demonstrate their work and talk about current and upcoming UA Downtown programs, events and activities. The Open House coincides with September‚Äôs 2nd Saturdays Downtown, Tucson‚Äôs monthly arts and entertainment event series.

Students from the UA College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (CALA) along with artist and instructor Bill Mackey of Worker, Inc.,will present “Food, Paper, and Alcohol: an Exhibit on Downtown Tucson.” The interactive exhibit takes the initial step of looking at downtown Tucson and its relation to the local area, region, nation and globe through the lens of a few select raw materials of the urban fabric – food, paper and alcohol.

‚ÄúThe exhibit is about our community and a call for us to refer to our daily practice as a complicated set of relationships between sites, economies, legislation, politics, and cultural processes,‚ÄĚ said Mackey.

Initial CALA academic programs at UA Downtown will include an interdisciplinary Urban Design Studio (Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Planning) and the Drachman Institute, CALA’s outreach arm. Other programs, like Sustainable Real Estate Development and the interdisciplinary Sustainable City Project, willfollow.

The UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) plans to operate several programs downtown as well, including the Master of Public Administration from the School of Government and Public Policy and the Master’s in Development Practice in the School of Geography and Development, which will bring students from around the world. The Master ofGeographic Information Systems Technology (GIST) will be connected to UA Downtown through outreach research projects.

SBS Dean John Paul Jones III said there also are plans to move the college’s internship programs downtown. “We hope students and employers will both begin to use the downtown space as a place to meet and match up with one another,” said Jones. “Certainly we want our interns to be a part of the professional life of downtown Tucson.”

The UA Downtown building itself will feature linkages and access to the University Libraries and a new retail store operated by the UA BookStores.

The UA, in collaboration with Pima County, plans to develop the Roy Place Building – home to a former Walgreens and Montgomery Ward – as a center forresearch, outreach and teaching. UA Downtown will be an urban laboratory for advanced research in sustainable urban design, planning and policy. Roy Place will serve as UA Downtown’s home under a five-year lease from Pima County, with options for an additional five-year period. The UA and Pima County will collaborate on the operation and maintenance of this historic building to assure that it is well maintained and preserved.

Roy Place

The UA College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture initiated and largely drove the process of exploring ways to establish the University‚Äôs presence in Downtown Tucson and was key in forming the partnership between the UA and Pima County. That process resulted in the agreement for the use of Roy Place and the UA’s planned programs and activities downtown.

“We’re creating a ‚Äėcommuniversity’ in downtown Tucson to assist in urban revitalization via academic programs, faculty, staff and students,” CALA Dean Jan Cervelli said. “In partnership with county, city and other public and non-governmental agencies, the University of Arizona will serve as an incubator for talent, as a leader for addressing environmental and social needs and as a catalyst for a vibrant economy and culture in Downtown Tucson and the southern Arizona region.”

UA Downtown will serve as an interface between college and community, a “nerve center” where UA faculty members and students can connect with city officials and staff, community leaders and project developers for dialogue, vision, analysis and development of sustainable scenarios for thefuture. UA Downtown also will serve as a forum where academic, civic, cultural and business leaders will meet to discuss and debate multiple sustainability scenarios for the future of Tucson and Southern Arizona.

UA Downtown will partner with the county and city on the development of solutions to important urban design and land-use issues facing the SouthernArizona region. UA Downtown also will sponsor a series of exhibits, lectures and discussion sessions on issues related to sustainable urban development.

UA Downtown is dedicated to furthering the broad-based inquiry into the complex environmental challenges of 21st century urbanism and devising progressive solutions to these challenges.

The Roy Place Building is named after one of Tucson’s most influential architects of the early 20th century. Built in 1929 as a Montgomery Ward department store, the building also housed Place’s architectural office where he designed several Tucson landmarks, including the iconic Pima County Courthouse.

Roy Place, Detail

From 1919 to 1940 Place also designed more than 20 campus buildings – many on the National Register of Historic Places – including the Arizona State Museum, Centennial Hall and Steward Observatory.

Said R. Brooks Jeffery, director of the UA Drachman Institute: “It is appropriate then that the building in which the University of Arizona will focus its downtown community outreach efforts was designed by and will be named for the campus’s most significant architect.”

For more information, contact Glenn McCreedy at 520.626.5413 or


Sparkroot coffee bar now open downtown

Sparkroot Coffee Bar + Fare recently opened downtown. Ari Shapiro, also the owner of Xoom Juice, has enjoyed steady business since it’s debut. Sparkroot has a vintage jukebox, an urban mezzanine with an impressive view of downtown, bike racks, patio seating and an interesting menu.

The bar/restaurant/coffee shop features the Bay Area’s famous Blue Bottle Coffee. Sparkroot is the first place in Arizona to serve it. Blue Bottle Coffee is made by the cup in individual drips from beans that are roasted and consumed inside of three days, and you can definitely taste the difference. Customers can also enjoy hand-made sodas and boutique/micro beer and wine.

Free concert August 13 to celebrate Tucson’s Birthday

The Fox Theatre is hosting a free concert in celebration of Tucson’s 236th birthday. The show celebrates The Old Pueblo’s diverse Native American, Spanish, Mexican and Anglo European cultural history.

The free, all-ages concert features Yaqui guitar maestro Gabriel Ayala Trio, acoustic World Pop from Rahe & illumiNation, the internationally acclaimed Reveille Men’s chorus and Tejano dance music from Suerte.

The performance is presented by Celebrate Tucson! In collaboration with Tucson Meet Yourself, Community Investment Corporation and 2nd Saturday‚Äôs Downtown. It’s made possible by grants from the Pima County Board of Supervisors, The office of the Honorable Richard Elias, Service Employees International Union of Arizona (SEIU Arizona), Community Partnership of Southern Arizona (CPSA), The Pasqua Yaqui Nation, Cox Communications, Providence Service Corporation, the Honorable Regina Romero of the City of Tucson, La Frontera and the Fox Tucson Theatre.

El Charro Joins 2nd Saturdays

El Charro joins 2nd Saturdays as a El Charro Caferegular at the Rialto Art & Antiquities Patio at 5th Ave. and Congress (enter from 5th Ave side). El Charro will be offering some of their much loved menu items. Check out this venue featuring the music of Tanishia & Kevin Hamilton’s SW Soul Celebration–R & B, Smooth Jazz and Soul.

Trees Please! Pow-wow this Saturday

Trees Please! is hosting Desert Inferno Pueblo Tip-toe Pow-wow this Saturday, July 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the Trees Please Free Community Garden. This cross-cultural awareness event combines native food and music, family, native performances, education, and storytelling. All ages can enjoy firethrowing, Orbital Evolution and 12-foot puppets.

Admission is free but donations are appreciated, which will fund the purchase of native trees and maintain the community garden. Other local non-profits will be present as well. Call 520-471-3746 for more information.