Artifact Dance Project
March 23, 7:30 p.m.
March 24, 7:30 p.m.
March 25, 7:30 p.m.
March 26, 2:00 p.m.
Cameron Hood, with Ryan Green one half of the Tucson-based band Ryanhood, remembers his initial conversation with Ashley Bowman of Artifact Dance Project about collaborating on a work that spotlights John Dillinger.
“When Ashley approached us about this several years ago, I said, ‘Are you sure you have the right band? Because we don’t sound like music from the ’30s, and we’re generally pretty earnest in what we sing. I think you have the wrong band.’ And she said, ‘No, I have exactly the right band. I’ve listened to you for a long time, and I want Dillinger to be relatable and understandable as a person, and I think you guys do that kind of thing well.’”
The stars definitely all aligned for this production, which included having a subject with a Tucson tie-in (Dillinger); a group of local musicians (Ryanhood); and a Downtown-based dance group whose studio is not far from where the notorious criminal was captured.
It was something that Artifact’s co-founder/co-artistic director had thought about for a while. “I really love the 1920s and 1930s, and Artifact has done performances set in that era,” Bowman explains. “Dillinger’s story is just really good for the stage. There’s a reason why so many movies have been done about him.”
But this won’t be a production zeroing in on scenes of him robbing banks and running from the law. “It’s going to emphasize why he became a criminal, and why the lead characters in the story made the decisions that they did,” she says. “That’s why the title is Surrounding Dillinger. All these people surrounding him contribute to who he is, and then he contributes to who these other people are.”
For the show’s music, Hood dug into Ryanhood’s catalog of songs, and then went beyond that. “We started out by studying Dillinger’s life and figuring out what scenes we really needed, and we matched our songs to those scenes,” he explains. “What songs did we already have that would match with the kind of mood of showing, say, a young Dillinger who is disenfranchised by having just lost his mom and having an alcoholic dad.
“We’ve also composed a couple of new songs for the show, and we’ve looked to other local artists who had songs that would work. We borrowed two songs from Carlos Arzate & the Kind Souls, one from Sweet Ghosts, and several from Ryan’s side project, The Great Collision.”
Ryanhood will be joined onstage by Paul Jenkins on piano and Nadim Shehab on drums, and the set design will be lean. “I’m not going to use any backdrops,” says Bowman. “It’s going to be the best quality music, dance and costumes, with a little projection. Very simple, not overproduced at all. And the lighting design by Don Fox is going to be amazing.”
More importantly, they have a lead dancer who has the charisma that Dillinger himself so famously possessed. “Logan Moon Penisten is incredible,” sums up Bowman. “He fills the stage himself.”
Stevie Eller Dance Theatre
Up With People presents The Journey
March 17-18, 7:30 p.m.
This musical show celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Up With People organization, which has entertained audiences around the world as goodwill ambassadors of the U.S. For years, Up With People was headquartered in Tucson, making these concerts a sort of return home.
Fox Tucson Theatre. Upwithpeople.org/Tucson.
Bailey’s Beat the Bite 5k Walk 4 CMT
March 25, 9 a.m. start
One in 2,500 people in the U.S. have Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT), a commonly inherited nerve disorder that currently has no cure.
This 5k walk, named for Bailey Roestenburg, a seven-year-old Tucson girl who has the disease, will raise funds to support research, as well as increase awareness of CMT.
For more info and to sign up, go to: www.firstgiving.com/CMTA/Bailey. Continental Ranch Neighborhood Park, 8900 N. Coachline Blvd, Marana.
The Purple Heart Golf Classic
March 25, 11 a.m. registration
This golf event is being presented by Chapter 442 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), the Arizona Fisher House, and Casino Del Sol Resort. The event also will include a parade of the colors, a buffet dinner, raffle, live auction and an awards presentation. Proceeds will benefit MOPH Chapter 442’s support of veterans in Southern Arizona. Last year, the chapter donated about $70,000 to programs to assist with traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, homelessness among veterans, and other important needs.
For more information or to register visit http://www.mophtucson.webs.com. Sewailo Golf Club at Casino Del Sol Resort. 661-8230, Bob Asbell.