We live close to Tucson. A short drive from sleepy Oracle gets us to a vibrant city with plenty of interesting cultural opportunities. All located on US Route 89!

Jim and I had an afternoon and evening on the town a couple of weeks ago. We don’t go to concerts often, but I couldn’t resist booking tickets for the Amos Lee concert at the Rialto Theater.

In order to make the trip into Tucson multipurpose, we decided to stop by Tohono Chul Park to see a couple of art exhibits. Of particular interest was the Family Ties exhibit, which runs through April 3. It was interesting to see the way in which the relationships between husband and wife, father and son, etc. influenced each person’s work. A number of the artists in the show live in Oracle.

From there, to the Tucson Museum of Art, where we planned to see the Lewis and Clark exhibit. It helps to check the calendar. The show was gone and most of the museum was closed for new installations. Since we’re members, we went in anyway and spent a little time roaming around. Sure is a lot of neat stuff in the gift shop. Way too many temptations. Four new exhibits opened simultaneously on February 12th. A great excuse for making the trek downtown again soon to take a look.

Hunger struck, and we proceeded to El Charro, the oldest continuously family run Mexican food establishment in the country. The food is really good, the atmosphere is great and the people watching is fascinating. Always a treat.

Rialto Theater, Tucson, Arizona

Waiting on line at the Rialto Theater

When visiting Tucson, it’s well worth checking the Rialto Theater to find out what kind of events are scheduled. There always seems to be something interesting going on there, reasonably priced and bound to be an experience.

On this evening, we decided to cruise by the Rialto to check out the scene before going to get a bit of dessert. Lo and behold, there was already a line at 6:30 (show scheduled to open at 8 pm). So we cashed in the idea of dessert (probably not a bad thing anyway), found parking, got our tickets and got in line. I dare say we were among, if not, the oldest people in line. The doors opened at 7 pm and in we went. As I said, we don’t go to concerts very often. Things change. I have no idea if this is standard or not, but the theater was set up with a handful of chairs in the back and lots of open (standing room) space in the front. Since we’d toughed out the wait, we got seats. Not that most people seemed to want to sit. Lots of toing and frowing of the audience, moving about, jockeying for position, all in a most friendly way.

Amos Lee

Amos Lee on stage at the Rialto Theater

At last the concert started with the opening act, a musican from Africa, Vusi Mahlesela, with a great voice and interesting things to say about his part in the political scene in South Africa. Then Amos Lee came on stage. I was enthralled. We really do miss out when we don’t see live performances. It’s good to be reminded of this. Kind of like looking at art on the internet versus looking in person. So much is lost in the translation. Anyway, it was a wonderful experience. I felt like I was transported to another place. Of course, I couldn’t leave without buying Mission Bell, Amos Lee’s latest album. I’ll be able to relive the concert, listening to the music while painting up a storm in my studio.

The art scene is Tucson is lively and growing. Check back here often for updates or subscribe to the blog on your RSS reader.