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Last updateMon, 20 Apr 2020 1pm

Local Fun

17 Jul 2020
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Every year, the McCallum Theatre showcases local performers via its Open Call Talent Project—but the series of April shows, like so many other events, was a casualty of the coronavirus epidemic. However, the show must go on—so Open Call 2020 has moved from the stage to the screen: At 6:30 p.m., Saturday, July 18, KESQ Channel 3 will air a special half-hour video, produced by the McCallum and hosted by Patrick Evans, showcasing the Open Call finalists. The video was filmed in the desert adjacent to The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. Kajsa Thuresson-Frary, the vice president of education at the McCallum, explained how Open Call normally works, during a recent phone interview. “It’s a competition where people submit, and then we have callbacks; then we get to about 18 to 20 finalists,” Thuresson-Frary said. “The whole thing is a learning process, but there’s also an added competition element. What…
14 Jun 2020
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Many local nonprofits depend on large signature events to raise a significant portion of the money they need. However, large events are currently not safe—and won’t be until the COVID-19 pandemic is over, likely many months or even several years from now. So what can nonprofits do in the meantime? The Desert AIDS Project hopes to get some answers to this question at 7 p.m., Friday, June 19, when the virtual event Voices of Hope takes place. The free, online show is hosted by Scott Nevins, and will feature appearances and performances by Kristin Chenoweth, Betty Buckley, Ann Hampton Callaway, Erich Bergen, Matthew Morrison and others. Interested attendees can go to www.desertaidsproject.org/hope to register--and, if they so choose, donate. Registrants will then get sent details on how to “attend” the online event at home via Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. I recently spoke to Darrell Tucci, DAP’s chief development officer. (Full…
22 Apr 2020
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Mitch Gershenfeld has been booking shows at the McCallum Theatre for more than two decades now—and it’s a vast understatement to say he’s never experienced a season like this. The longtime McCallum president and CEO retired—while keeping his booking duties—late last summer to make way for a new president and CEO, Terrence Dwyer. Three months later, Dwyer was let go, and Gershenfeld returned as the acting president. Then came March 12—and the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We were supposed to have Ricky Skaggs that night,” Gershenfeld said during a recent phone interview. “It was a sold-out show, but we shut everything down. The rest of the shows for the season were canceled. “But we had a plan. We kept all of our full-time staff on, and we’re continuing to work from our homes. We’re using Zoom and having daily meetings. We’re working on all the various aspects of the…
09 Apr 2020
Ted Pethes is a lifelong musician who is about to turn 92. In this time of the coronavirus pandemic, many people are pausing to reflect on the twists and turns of their lives—and looking back at his long and lucky life, Ted readily admits that most of it might never have happened without his clarinet. There’s one more thing you should know about Ted: He’s my husband. He’s the only person I can really interview in person right now—and he’s got an amazing story to tell. Born in Chicago in 1928, Ted was an only child. His musically talented mother played the piano and even the concertina; his father, an engineer, was a wannabe musician father who struggled with the violin, battling tone-deafness. Ted grew up in a huge extended family of hardworking Polish, German and French-Canadian immigrants who often played and sang music at family gatherings. When he was…

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