Droves and droves of people were there enjoying themselves on E. Congress Street tonight for the very first 2nd Saturdays Downtown event. It was wonderful to see the lighted marquees of the Rialto, Screening Room, and Fox beaconing to all the revelers. I got there early and listened to several performers…
Jamie O’Brien was playing his uplifting Irish music at One North Fifth (with Sharon Goldwasser on violin & mandolin), then I rambled over to the lovely Fox Tucson Theatre to hear the renowned Portland Cello Project (five cello musicians) on stage with a drummer. They played a haunting “Godfather Theme” in the first hour and even a rousing singalong “Hey ya”, followed by several lively songs with Weinland (a vocal guitarist).
Then I ran into fellow TC.com blogger Charles Spillar (“Artistic Tucson”) and we set off to explore two fabulous L.A. themed bars– Sapphire Lounge (rooftop bar, with several floors of ultra elegant dance/lounge areas) at 61 E. Congress, then Zen Rock, an equally elegant dance/lounge with a basement at 121 E. Congress. Wow, neither of us could believe these two high scale bars existed on Congress Street.
Then we checked out “Catacoustic Groove” a men’s cappella rock/soul/R & B group of six fellows including Dr. Bruce Bayly, an old friend of mine. They were drawing a large crowd at the Ronstadt Transit Center.
Also happening: a rock sound stage on Scott Avenue with The Modeens, The Mission Creeps, and Greyhound Soul, and nearby the Tucson Circus Arts with people on stilts, who teach juggling, clowning & taiko drumming. A local pie maker (Big Skye) sold me a delicious strawberry/rhubard pie. It seems street musicians were everywhere, along with mimes/human statues with grey faces & costumes, and a good mix of food and craft vendors. Most of the restaurants on E. Congress were open and doing good business as well. Stefan George was performing over at the Hotel Congress for free.
Cinema La Placita showed Beatles’ movies on a large screen projected on the wall of the large empty lot on E. Congress between Scott and Stone, and Ultimate Electronics encouraged youth to participate in karaoke/musical instrument participatory singalongs, also Beatles’ music. I loved hearing “I Want to Hold Your Hand” again. Cinema La Placita organizer Erika O’Dowd was passing out flyers for their upcoming Beatles movie on May 13, “A Hard Day’s Night.”
Need I say more? It was a fantastic “Urban Street Fest.” Kudos to former TC.com blogger Donovan Durband and his new boss Ward 6 Councilmember Steve Kozachik who apparently had a big hand in pulling this event together. Both men were present as well, enjoying themselves.
And as Everett, the guy with a humorous “Free advice for 5 cents” stand on the corner of Congress/6th Avenue said “my advice is to come back” for another 2nd Saturday. I recommend we all take his advice.
The second 2nd Saturdays Downtown is slated for June 12. Don’t miss it.
5/9/10 UPDATE: Photo gallery of shots taken by Donovan click here.