Pima Community College will host Tucson’s 12th Annual Japanese Speech Contest on April 26.The event, noon to 5 p.m., at PCC’s Northwest Campus, 7600 N. Shannon Road, is free and open to the public. The Japanese Speech Contest allows students of Japanese language at all skill levels an opportunity to demonstrate their abilities. The event features cultural exhibits, performances and student speech competitions.“Our annual event provides our local community with an outlet to celebrate and promote Japanese language and culture,” said Yosei Sugawara, Japanese language instructor at Pima.This year, seven students from Pima Community College and 19 students from The University of Arizona will give their speeches. Also, for the first time this year there will be a Cosplay Competition, short for “costume play.” Two students from Pima and eight students from two local high schools will compete in the Cosplay Competition. The competition is organized by Pima Community College and the Tucson Japanese Speech Contest Committee of the Southern Arizona Association for Japanese Education.
What: 12th Annual Japanese Speech Contest
When: Noon-5 p.m., April 26, 2014
Where: PCC Northwest Campus, 7600 N. Shannon Road, G Building
Cost: Free and open to the public
The Town of Oro Valley is home to much quiet beauty, powerful landscape, and a calm temperament. The last collective personality that Oro Valley could possibly draw attention for is as a rowdy and rambunctious enclave that knows how to sing and dance the night away. The Great American Playhouse (GAP), however, is trying to change that. The eight-month-old melodramatic theater prides itself on lively productions with audience interaction, a family friendly environment, and a loveable gang of whimsical stage performers. Now kicking off its third production, “Quest of the Caveman”, The GAP is beginning to show why it is the premier hotspot of fun in the growing Oro Valley community. “Quest of the Caveman” brings the audience back in time to an age when Man and Neanderthal shared the planet, the power of fire was absolute, and everyone ate 100 percent organic (yet still somehow only lived to be 30). The play begins with the theft of the Asher tribe’s fire at the hands of the Schmuck tribe. But things are not always as they seem. A larger plot begins to unfold, one that reveals an evil cave dweller, Ork (Michael Claridge), as a criminal mastermind who has hopes of burning Black Mountain, and gaining control of the entire tribe of Ashers. The play stars Jacinda Rose Swineheart as Nola - the tough and outspoken heroine, Nick Seivert as Rube - the tribe’s wise man, and Colleen Zandbergen as Bobo - the primitive muscle of the Asher tribe. Amy DeHaven, Jodi Darling, Jesus Limon, Randy McDonald, and Sean MacArthur complete The GAP’s ultra-talented team of players that possess an endless supply of boisterous energy. Showing exponential growth and improvement in the last eight months, The GAP’s cast has truly become top notch. The play’s acting, singing, and dancing is infectious, pouring out into the aisles and over the crowd, beckoning both audience and staff participation. The liveliness of the spectacle that takes place within the walls of The GAP’s building can surely be heard from the parking lot, as hoops and hollers, sing-a-longs, and laughter ring happily throughout the theater. The atmosphere is perfect, exuding a sense of family, community, and a certain warmness that welcomes all ages.
Disneynature’s latest production takes moviegoers on a splendid Alaskan adventure tracking a grizzly bear single mother and her two newborn cubs. The pair who brought us “African Cats” in 2011, Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey, team up again to educate and mesmerize viewers. “Bears” provides a fascinating inside look at survival along the Alaskan peninsula’s snow capped mountains and valleys. The spectacular up-close views and vivid film footage documents the lives of these three bears over the course of one-year, as they forage for food and attempt to avoid the dangers lurking along their journey to find salmon. Veteran actor and comedian John C. Reilly narrates the film, providing context and humor to the wildlife adventures being witnessed. Reilly would not have been my first choice as storyteller, but his voice aptly ambles along at about the same, effective, pace as the bear cubs. However, there’s no mistaking what this movie is about, nor who its stars are - the grizzlies. Period. Just as a protective sow’s only concern is her cub’s wellbeing, “Bears” the movie keeps the filmgoers’ focus clearly - and appropriately - on the grizzlies and their struggles to survive. The only humans found in the movie are the camera operators and support staff who get a much-deserved moment of screen time near the film’s end; a fitting tribute to the team members who tempted fate and isolation to capture these remarkable, remote scenes for our viewing pleasure.This documentary’s biggest coup is the sheer magnitude of its stunning, majestic cinematography. The ability of these filmmakers to gain access to and live among the grizzly bear population, is a testament to their courage and desire to give viewers the raw, real and unfiltered look at this enormous species. The eye-popping camera work and accompanying music soundtrack even skillfully bridges the occasional slower moments of the story.Through the powerful lens of a camera, “Bears” is another example of Disney nature’s superb educational filmmaking. This adventure of a grizzly bear mother, trying to raise her two cubs, offers a cinematography feat approaching the level of last year’s Oscar-winning “Gravity” masterpiece. Between the dangers facing this trio of grizzlies in The Last Frontier and their desperate need for salmon to survive, is a riveting wildlife story. Whatever lack of suspense and somewhat bland narration exists, is made up for by the film’s amazing camera shots and behind the scenes look into the grizzly lifestyle. That, alone, is worth the price of admission to see “Bears”. Grade: B.