Tag Archives: hummingbirds

Stray cat meets sparrow

Our family cat, Pinky, was a stray kitten with searing blue eyes and tiny gnashing teeth before we rescued her from the roof of a local school that borders a park where she used to play.

Nowadays Pinky loves to sit by a window near the kitchen table where I write. It gives her the best view of all those birds who find our backyard a welcoming habitat. Hummingbirds. Quail. Wrens. Grackles.

When I heard about a play titled “Sparrow” making its Southwest premiere later this year, I did a little homework and discovered — thanks to the Arizona Bird Committee — that Arizona is home to all sorts of sparrows. Fox Sparrow. Swamp Sparrow. Lincoln’s Sparrow. And more.

But Stray Cat Theatre in Tempe is bringing a different sort of sparrow to our neck of the woods. It’s a play titled “Sparrow” that originated at The House Theatre of Chicago in 2007 — a work conceived by Nathan Allen and written by Chris Matthews and Jake Minton. “Sparrow” is the tale of a young girl with special powers.

Emily Book is an elementary school student — the sole survivor of a school bus crash that leaves her hometown devastated. She moves away, only to return for her senior year. It’s a painful reminder, and few are happy to see her. What unfolds next will surprise and stir you.

The Strat Cat Theatre audition notice describes “Sparrow” as a “very physical, ensemble-based work” in which many actors play multiple roles. It’s storytelling intertwined with music and dance, plus sci-fi and graphic novel sensibilities. Reviewers have likened it to “Mean Girls,” “Carrie” and “Wicked.”

With direction by Stray Cat founding artistic director Ron May, “Sparrow” should prove edgy yet accessible, like his production of “Columbinus” a couple of seasons ago. I’m eager to experience all four of this season’s Stray Cat productions — including “Milk, Milk Lemonade,” “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot,” and “Heddatron.”

In the meantime, I have my own cat to keep watch over the world with me.

— Lynn

Note: “Sparrow,” which is recommended for teens & up, runs Sept 23-Oct 8 at the Tempe Performing Arts Center in the Mill Avenue District.

Coming up: Zoot suit tales, From ukes to clogs, Art in motion

Update: Head to Bookmans Entertainment Exchange in Phoenix this Thurs, July 28 at 1pm for a “Bird-a-palooza” with the Arizona Animal Welfare League. Click here for details.

Update: I’m now blogging as “Stage Mom Musings” at www.stagemommusings.com. Please find and follow me there to continue receiving posts about arts and culture in Arizona and beyond. Thanks for your patience as the tech fairies work to move all 1,250+ posts to the new site. For the latest news follow me on Twitter @stagemommusings. 6/13/12

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Film takes flight

Arizona Audubon shares tales of Pale Male at this year's Nature Film Festival in Scottsdale

I’ve got a serious case of bird envy. Turns out there’s a Red-tailed Hawk who thinks he’s got his own Fifth Avenue penthouse in NYC.

I’d be lucky to catch a cab on Fifth Avenue, let alone perch there long enough to ogle the passersby.

The bird, dubbed “Pale Male,” started “raising his young atop a Fifth Avenue high-rise” during the 1990s. Apparently it wasn’t enough for “Pale Male” to garner the attention of urban “birdwatchers, movie stars, poets, children, dogs, reporters and celebrities.”

He’s flying high on the prospect of fame, having already starred in one movie. Naturally it’s called “Pale Male.” But come Wed, June 15, he’ll be spotted near a Scottsdale high-rise as “The Legend of Pale Male” is screened at Harkins Camelview 5 Theatre — where I enjoyed seeing “The Beaver” with my daughter Lizabeth Monday afternoon.

The latest tale of “Pale Male” is one of two films being shown during Audubon Arizona’s “9th Annual Nature Film Festival & Silent Auction.” Don’t expect “Pale Male” to coast in for the event. He doesn’t do personal appearances.

Your family can read about Pale Male before enjoying the Nature Film Festival together

I wonder how he feels about sharing top billing with a bunch of hummingbirds. Their film, titled “Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air,” will also be shown that evening.

Sounds like a fun way to introduce kids to the magic of film festivals — especially if you couple the evening with reading about “Pale Male” or birds of other feathers.

The Audubon Arizona event kicks off at 5:30pm with a “picnic supper” and silent auction. Organizers promise “one-of-a-kind” items including “unique art, jewelry, restaurant certificates, sporting and cultural events.” Also “travel-themed packages, including local resort stay-cations and a thrilling African safari!” Films start at 7pm.

It’ll be quite a step up for me, since most of my animal time involves watching nature shows on PBS. Lately I’ve had great fun getting to know more about birds featured in the BBC “Wild Australasia” and “Wild Caribbean” series. (I remember my mom doing the same thing when she was my age.)

Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air from the PBS Nature series will also be shown

Seating for the film festival is limited, and RSVPs for advance admission are due no later than June 12.

Tickets are just $25 in advance and $30 at the door (if space is still available) — and include the two bird films, a picnic supper, popcorn and soda.

You can pop for a VIP ticket if you’d like to enjoy reserved seating and express auction check-out. VIP tickets are $100, and include a $75 donation to Audubon Arizona.

General admission and VIP tickets can be purchased through Valerie Ramos at 602-468-6470, ext. 103 or vramos@audubon.org. They’ll be held for you at the door. Unless, of course, part of the “Pale Male” entourage sweeps down to snatch them up for nesting material.

— Lynn

Note: Lizabeth and I both enjoyed “The Beaver,” but wouldn’t recommend it for children. It’s solid storytelling with fine acting and direction. Those who find its premise absurd don’t know the power of depression. Watch the credits carefully for a movie-related website with mental health resources.

Coming up: Arizona arts with a Tony Awards® twist?

Weekend whimsy

There’s a little something for everyone when it comes to family arts and entertainment this weekend. Here’s a roundup by category–featuring everything from concerts and musicals to nature walks and museum exhibits–with a bit of whimsy thrown in just for fun…

From sweeping beauties to singing mermaids

Theater performances include “Cinderella: A Ragtime Musical” at Desert Stages in Scottsdale, “Grease” at Valley Youth Theatre in Phoenix, “The Little Mermaid” at Hale Centre Theatre in Gilbert, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Mesa, “Two Bad Mice” by Great Arizona Puppet Theater in Phoenix, “Into the Woods” at Theater Works in Peoria (featuring a fabulous raffle)

From choral auditions to singing with Elmo

Music events include “Phoenix Boys Choir auditions” at the Phoenix Boys Choir in Phoenix, “Andreas Klein” (piano) and “Rahim Alhaj” (Iraqi oud) at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, “Breakfast with Elmo” (including song and dance) at Family Time in Gilbert

From movies in the park to movies at the museum

Community movie events include “Movie Night at the Park” (“Hoot” plus lessons on burrowing owls) at Estrella Mountain Regional Park in Goodyear, “Dinner and a Movie” (“G-Force”) at Eddie’s House in Scottsdale, “Movies in the Ballpark” (“Cars”) at Goodyear Ballpark, “Kid’s Night Out Movie Night” (“Spirited Away”) at the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa

From art walks to hands-on art projects

Art activities include “Downtown Chandler Art Walk” (art/entertainment), “Free Art Friday” (art projects/games) in Tempe, “Great Expectations and Dreams: Arizona Teens Speak Up” at ASU Downtown (to benefit PCH cancer/blood disorder patients)

From baseballs to carved dolls

Museum exhibits include “Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear” and “Solarville” at the Arizona Science Center in Phoenix, “Play Ball: The Cactus League Experience” and “Jump to Japan: Discovering Culture Through Popular Art” at the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa, “Therizinosaur: Mystery of the Sickle-Claw Dinosaur” at the Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa (adjacent to the Arizona Museum for Youth), “What Moves Us: Art of Transportation from the Permanent Collection” at the ASU Art Museum in Tempe, “Visions: Text Messages” at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, “Hopi Katsina Dolls: 100 Years of Carving” and “More Than Child’s Play: American Indian Dolls” at the Heard Museum in Phoenix

From flashlight tour to wildflower walk

Nature activities include “Wildflower Walk” at The Arboretum at Flagstaff, “Hummingbird Banding” (professionals band, onlookers watch) at Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista, “Summer Saturday Evenings” at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, “Silent Sunday” at South Mountain Park in Phoenix, “Flashlight Tours” at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix

For additional details–including dates/times, fees/reservations, recommended ages and such–check with hosting venues. Additional information on many of these events/activities is also available through the online calendar for Raising Arizona Kids magazine.

–Lynn

Note: If you’re on the prowl for art-related books, music or movies, try your luck at the free “Bargain Book Sale” from 9am-4pm today at the North Valley Regional Library in Anthem.

Coming up: From lemons to lemonade, Multicultural performance art, Season openers from Valley theaters, ASU Libraries’ Child Drama Collection, All about art walks, More movie reviews

Graphics from Cafe Press. Click here to see their extensive selection of gift items in black, white and beyond.

Update: Thanks to Carley Conder for sharing the news that renowned choreographer Charlotte Boye-Christensen, freelance choreographer/teacher/dancer originally from Denmark, is in Arizona for a six day residency. To enjoy a free showing of Boye-Christensen’s new work set for CONDER/dance, attend a Sat, Aug 21, performance at ASU FAC122 (11:45am-noon).