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Tucson Meet Yourself ‘re-frames’ itself in unprecedented times

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Tucson Meet Yourself event. Photo posted Sept. 20, 2017

TUCSON (KVOA) - The Old Pueblo's beloved 'Tucson Meet Yourself' event is "re-framing" itself to fit in with the times.

Innovation and adaptation are the keywords to keep the event going this fall. Due to the COVIS-19 pandemic, Tucson Meet Yourself will look a little different this year.

Instead of being a three-day event, the festival will run throughout the whole month of October.

Organizers say the event will offer dozens of online and safely distanced in-person events.

What to expect:

  • The 2020 TMY includes food to-go, pre-recorded performances, a folk arts marketplace, and intimate online conversations and demonstrations. 
  • The festival kicks off with an organized oldies and lowrider car cruise with The Dukes Car Club. Three weekends of food-to-go allow purchases from favorite vendors representing cuisines from Poland, Cuba, Vietnam, Egypt, among others, as well as O’odham frybread and red chile.
  • Dance and musical performances showcasing the many distinct cultures of the world.
  • Japanese drumming, Yaqui violins, and Apache ceremonial dances—are shared on screen at food pick-ups and online.

Event organizers say this is "not TMY as we know it," but its mission to connect with different cultures remains the same.

Here's the schedule:

1.     Cruise for Healing, Saturday, October 3 at 5 p.m. Route starts and ends at Rodeo Park, 5001 S Nogales Highway.

Led by the Dukes Car Club, this organized 19-mile cruise around Tucson celebrates the chromatic shine and legacy lowrider cars. Organized cruises are a common communal ritual to mark special occasions—times of transitions like weddings, quinceaneras and funerals—but also to draw attention to times of change and upheaval. Community members are encouraged to join in or watch along the route with signs of encouragement. 

2.     “Tucson Eat Yourself,” pop-up food-to-go stands. Saturdays & Sundays for three weekends in October, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Locations:  

  • Oct. 10 & 11: Mercado San Agustin, 125 South Avenida del Convento, Tucson, AZ 85745 
  • Oct. 17 & 18: Café Santa Rosa, 2615 S 6th Ave, Tucson, AZ 85713 
  • Oct. 24 & 25: St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 1145 E Fort Lowell Rd, Tucson, AZ 85719 

Food-to-go from selected beloved TMY food vendors at 3 Tucson locations. Study the menu first then show up to order, pay, and take home. TMY performers share cultural expressions in music and dance on large LED screens in special performances filmed especially for 2020. Masks required & no dining areas available. 

3.     Lit Up: Traditional Artists on Public Walls, Fridays in October, Dusk - 10 pm 

Locations: TBD 

Video projections of traditional dancers and manual artists doing what they do best--moving and making. The precise and sinuous movements of Japanese traditional dancers, the athletic leaps and twirls of Polish folk dancing, the steady delicate hand of a Henna artist, and more writ-large on Tucson walls.  

4.     TMY Virtual: Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays in October, various times 

Location: Online, via TMY Facebook and YouTube channels 

Curated online conversations and demonstrations celebrating and exploring folk arts, foodways, and performing arts. Tohono O’odham and Pascua Yaqui people, Japanese dance and drumming forms, capoeira, Celtic traditions, local sites of food production, and more. Favorite performers return with pre-recorded performances, among them: Odaiko Sonora, Tucson’s own taiko drumming group; the dynamic Polish dance troupe, Lajkonik; Syrian master violin Fadi Iskandar; Old-time Appalachian musician, Dan Levenson; and Tohono O’odham Waila from Gertie N the T.O. Boyz.  

 5.     Folk Arts Online Marketplace; October 1-31, 2020. 

Location: Online 

This pilot marketplace features the work of 8 folk artists sharing works of material culture distinctive to the southwest. Support their livelihood in these uncertain economic times. Artists receive 100% of the sales revenue. 

6.     Drive-in Concert: Friday, October 30, 6:30-8pm & 8:30-10pm  

Location: 1055 W. Grant Rd. 

Renowned Pascua Yaqui performer Gabriel Ayala closes the 2020 festival with an on-screen drive-in concert, with an opening act from Yellow Bird Indian Dancers. Suggested donation: $10 

  • View the concert from your car at safe distances from other cars.  
  • Snacks available for purchase from roving vendors.  
  • Audiences are required to wear masks when not inside their cars.  

For more information, visit www.TucsonMeetYourself.org.

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