Archive | March, 2009

Experience Tucson: Connected with the City

31 Mar

Here are four reactions from Second Mile’s Experience Tucson. Different people, common thread: connection.

“Experience Tucson was such an awesome weekend for me. I had not really seen that many parts of the city and had no idea it had so much to offer. Serving the community of Tucson helped me feel so much more connected with the city and the people serving with me. One of the things loved most was spending time with refugee children because seeing them have so much fun without having to give anything but our time was a really cool experience. Experience Tucson definitely changed my view of the city I live in and made me appreciate the people and places here.”

– Andrea Alley

“When we work together for a common goal, it not only betters the lives of people we serve, but it brings us closer together. Experience Tucson was not just about experiencing the city, but experiencing life together as a community in Tucson.”

– Jonathan Louie

“During Experience Tucson, I was not only able to experience parts of Tucson that I normally don’t get to see as a college student, but I had the privilege of seeing how God is working in people’s lives in Tucson.

“By far, my favorite experience was taking Somali refugee kids hiking. Throughout the day, I was able to see parts of who Jesus is in the way that the kids interacted with each other and how they interacted with us. It was an amazing reminder of the importance of child-like faith.”

– Tori Einstein

“Doing mission trips brings you closer to people, helping develop a family within the church. Over this trip I began to form that church family I love and will never forget. They will always be a part of my heart.

“‘Miss Nicky, don’t you want to get in the water? It is so fun!’ says a little refugee girl.

“‘No, thank you. I am just going to stand here and help you guys.’

“I then proceeded to fall in, and all the girls laughed and thought it was so funny, as did everyone on shore. It was so fun to just interact with those girls and laugh with them and just hang out in the water.”

– Nicky Bain

Experience Tucson: Susie Bishara is Putting Down Roots

30 Mar

Over five days during the University of Arizona’s spring break this March, college students who are a part of the Second Mile community explored their city through Experience Tucson. They stayed with local families, learned about vision and purpose in life, played with refugee children, attended a bilingual church gathering, went up A Mountain, visited the San Xavier Mission, ate at El Guero Canelo, and helped clean the backyards at a women’s ministry.

We asked those college students if they would be so kind as to help us see what they saw and felt and learned by giving us their words, pictures, and/or video. They obliged, and we’ll post their reactions to Experience Tucson , in all three formats, over the coming week.

Here are Susie Bishara’s thoughts on putting down roots and learning from playing with children from far far away:

I’ve only been living in Tucson since 2007, but in the last year the city has become my home. My thought was that I was just in Tucson because of the University of Arizona. I saw my time here as only temporary and the thought of leaving Tucson to live hopefully in another state when I graduate excited me. After finding Second Mile and opening myself up to that community, I began to think maybe this is a place I could live in for a long time.

I’ve lived in Tucson now for about two years, but I feel like I’ve only experienced Tucson to the limited extent of a 5-mile radius around the UofA campus. When Second Mile’s college group was told about a local mission trip here in Tucson over spring break called Experience Tucson, I immediately jumped on the idea. This is something I had been longing for.

I know I love Tucson, but I feel there is so much I need to explore and discover. I have a strong desire to get to know families and married couples in Tucson. There are a lot of unique and beautiful people in Tucson that can add to my life beyond just the college students that I’m surrounded by everyday. With such a tight schedule of work and class in the last year and a half, I’ve been unable to fully experience Tucson in these ways. I came in to Experience Tucson with no expectations, just an eagerness to explore Tucson and create lasting bonds with people within the city.

One of my favorite days during Experience Tucson was the day we hung out with refugee kids. We played games with them, took them to Sabino Canyon, hiked, picnicked, and swam in a creek. The activities were so simple, yet the meaning behind them was so profound for me. The more time I spent with these kids throughout the day, the more I had a heart for them.

At first, I could tell they had their guard up, but by the end of the day they began to trust us and showed that they really liked hanging out with us. It reminded me of how I was when I came to Tucson. I was very guarded and not willing to be vulnerable, especially at Second Mile. I was scared to get hurt again like in the past.

But God has been working on my heart and showing me its okay to trust him and to open myself up. As I have been obeying and trusting God in that, I’ve been so blessed through the Second Mile community. I’ve made the best friends I could ask for, have a wonderful mentor, am able to use my gifts in worship and have become really rooted in Tucson because of the community and my willingness to engage in it. God provides. He blesses. He is a wonderful and gracious giver.

John Weatherford Does Not Want to Be a Sucker

28 Mar

The theme of Issue No.2 is “Nobody Wants to Be a Sucker.” It was a phrase I heard somewhere sometime. That phrase is on the first page of the zine in lieu of an editor’s note, and each piece of writing in that issue connects somehow to the idea of suckerhood.

As a little extra extra, we asked several friends of Dove&Snake, who are into what one might call an eclectic assortment of music, to each put together a playlist based on the theme “Nobody Wants to Be a Sucker.” We’ll post the playlists here on the blog, along with streaming links and/or videos, if possible, so you can listen in on our musically inclined friends’ collections of songs.

Here’s John Weatherford’s 13-track “Nobody Wants to Be a Sucker” mixtape, complete with some links, videos, and liner notes:

JW: I tried to build in a rise and fall to the mixtape like I would a real album. Here they are in listening order, with explanations.

1. Sexy Sadie – The Beatles: This song is a response to being a sucker. The Beatles became big followers of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the mid sixties, only to realize that he was playing them for fools. This song was written in defiance and was originally supposed to be called “Maharishi.” Producers thought that was a bad idea because they hadn’t yet learned the record selling value of a beef. This song was ahead of its time; calling people out wasn’t the art form it is today.

2. Popular – Nada Surf: Nobody wants to be a sucker, especially in high school.

3. Fidelity – Regina Spektor: Getting your heart broken can make anyone feel like a sucker. Then you just get over it. Or maybe not. Maybe you just play “what if” forever.

4. Uncle Walter – Ben Folds Five: Everyone has that guy in your family who has ridiculous stories, and the whole time he is telling them you are thinking, “This guy must take me for some kind of chump.” Well, I have that guy in my family and the stories turned out to be true. I saw pictures.

5. Billie Jean – Michael Jackson: Once upon a time, Michael Jackson was a lot less creepy. Then a lady tried to say that her baby was Michael’s, so he wrote this song saying he wasn’t a sucker and he wasn’t going to pay his non-baby mama.

6. Naive – The Rentals: Everybody knows that they really are a gullible fool. Sometimes you just have to decide if you want your friends or your girlfriend to figure it out first.

7. Steven’s Last Night in Town – Ben Folds Five: Sometimes a guy will come around, and he seems really charming, and everyone loves him. He tells great stories, good jokes, can mix a mean rum & Coke, juggles. You get the picture. But then the guy stays on your couch and doesn’t leave for a long time because you are a sucker and don’t have a spine. This happened to Ben Folds, so he wrote a song about it. Seems fair.

8. Barrier – Jorma Kaukonen and Tom Hobson: Nobody wants to be remembered as a failure, so we spend an absurd amount of time trying to leave a sucker-less legacy. It doesn’t work for most people.

9. I Just Threw Out the Love of My Dreams – Weezer, featuring Petra Haden: This is one of my favorite songs ever. If you ever get head over heels for a girl or a guy and then figure out it isn’t gonna work, it can suck, but if you still obsess over them after the fact it can be even less bearable. But that is what great synth-rock love songs are made of.

10. Lovefool – The Cardigans: This song is a guilty pleasure of mine from high school. I guess sometimes you just embrace the fact that you are indeed a sucker. That’s kind of what this song is about. A girl falls for a guy, and since she can’t stop thinking about him, she just confesses her love and then tells her love that he doesn’t have to actually love her as long as he will tell her that he does. It’s pathetic, but I think I identify more than I would care to admit.

11. I’m Leaving You Because I Don’t Love You – Jens Lekman: Brutally honest anti-sucker Swedish super pop.

12. Be Careful with a Fool – Johnny Winter: When a crossed Albino warns you that he might hurt you in the end, PLEASE DON’T BE A SUCKER!

13. The Greatest Man that Ever Lived – Weezer: If you are ever revealed as a sucker and you want to convince yourself that you are instead a true hustler, this should due the trick. You will also become a chauvinist pig, but at least you ain’t a suckah.

Check2Check Art Opening

27 Mar

Tonight from 7-10pm, The Living Room (4th Ave & 5th St) is hosting Keegan Rider’s Check2Check Art Opening, featuring art by Josh Flood, Keegan Rider, Pat Foley, Iner, Balley Hill, K-Beth, Goner, Grader, John-Paul Olson, Ray Roy OE, S. Scuzzin, Andy Stiembrink, Token, Prime Suspect Trevor, Jesse Vasquez, Matt Wade, James Walterson and selected pieces from the Kai One Inc art collection. The show is free, but you can donate a few bucks to The Living Room at the door.

We hoped to sit down with Keegan before the show and conduct a proper, full-fledged interview about what he calls his “best project/art party yet,” but he had scheduled a road trip to “go to California and see big trees,” so we did a quick mini-interview over email this week. check2check1

DOVE&SNAKE: What’s up with the upcoming art show? That’s a big list of artists on the Facebook event page, and I saw something about spray paint. Is it a graffiti show?

KEEGAN RIDER: Yeah, it’s graffiti, street art and pop art. It’s my best project/art party yet.

D&S: What will you have in the show?

KR: I’m doing a reflexive piece on drug addiction that I have created a Jesus stencil for.

D&S: How did you choose the artists for the show?

KR: The theme of the show is street art, pop art and graffiti writing as fine art. The artists are mostly from Tucson and are between the ages of 20 to 30. Many are known for street art and graffiti writing around Arizona and the West Coast.

D&S: Is the street art scene growing in Tucson?

KR: I believe so. We hope to create street art that is more than “graffiti.” It should be art that opens minds and leads to thinking about the world we live in. Street art is created to be temporary, which means it is art in its true form. The message and process of creating the work becomes the purpose of the piece.

I Was Too Intrigued With Clouds

23 Mar

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll post some content related to the almost-ready Dove&Snake Issue No. 2. Here’s a little something from the travels of Matthew Helmke, whose story “A Wife from the Mountains” appears in both Nowhere Else to Turn, his self-published book of supernatural tales from Morocco, and our soon-to-be-available pages:

“Get up! You’re going to be late!” Oh, if I had a penny for every time I heard those words. Sigh. Here we go.

I rise, wipe the crispy remnants of sleep from my eyes, and attempt to face the day. Through the fog I feel about for my glasses.

Oh, yes. My glasses. How they once defined me! I remember the day I received my first pair, walking out of the optician’s shop filled with wonder and the strange, new world around me.

“Look! You can see the leaves on the trees!!” I exclaimed, repeatedly reminding my well-meaning parents of just how blind I actually was. How sad they must have felt. To tell the truth, I didn’t notice. I was too intrigued with clouds, with the odd new perspective with which the world appeared to me, and with remembering the words of the optimetrist as he fitted my frames: “Be careful. It will take a few days for your eyes to adjust. Things will look a bit odd for a while.”

He was right. Doors looked crisp and clean, but strangely bowed toward me at the center. The sidewalk seemed to move at unexpected times and in directions I could not anticipate. My entire perspective had shifted.

The doctor was right. It took some time to adjust, to adapt myself to a newfound clarity of vision.

How often has this been repeated in my life? I can’t really answer that. I mean, there were the constant physical changes that always took me by surprise during adolescence, the days when my shoes suddenly wouldn’t fit and I would spend all day tripping over myself. There was the time in my late 20s when I had eye surgery, laser vision correction, which eliminated my need for glasses. That last one was freeing, but neither of these had the impact of the day I first saw the world clearly.

Is that how life is intended to be lived? I kind of think it is. We innocently pass the time, believing we see things as they are, then suddenly, and with no real warning, we receive a gift. Our eyes are opened and we gain a perspective and a clarity that we never had before.

I live for those moments. I long for them. I realize that there is so little about this world and the next that I truly comprehend and something within me screams out, “There must be more! What am I missing? What am I not seeing here?!” I pray. I read. I ask questions. Sometimes the search is easy, sometimes it is not. Regardless, the question compels me and I must search.

Written on the train from Fez to Rabat, February 19, 2008.