Soundscapes | SBS Downtown


4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th
6:30PM | Fox Tucson Theatre

Join us for four engaging talks on the intersections between music, communication, culture, place, and personal identity.

Free tickets available now!


2018 Downtown Lectures

Thursday, October 04
Music: All This Useless Beauty?

In the first lecture of the series, Jake Harwood will explore why music is a fundamental human activity. Rather than an indulgence, music began as a means of communication and an expression of kinship, home, and emotion. From soccer chants to Snowball the dancing cockatoo, Harwood will explain music’s influence on a wide range of behaviors, including its role in coordinating movement through dance, signaling relationships, and acting as both a bridge and a barrier between groups with differing identities.

Thursday, October 11
From Little Richard to Beyoncé
Cultural Blending in Music

Music has long been a place of polyculturality, the blending of cultures. Tyina Steptoe will examine the complexities of cultural blending at work in gospel, rhythm & blues, rock & roll, and pop music, including discussions of race, gender, and queerness. Using examples from Little Richard to Selena and Beyoncé, she will illuminate how and where polycultural music emerges and how these sounds can shape the social and economic landscapes of communities of color.

Thursday, October 18
Hip Hop Culture and its Visual Impact in Mexico

Centering on the visual aspects of music culture, Maurice Rafael Magaña will discuss the role of urban youth culture in shaping collective identity, particularly where migration, cross-culture pollination and public artwork are involved. In highlighting the perhaps surprising exchange between the Los Angeles hip hop scene and youth activists in Oaxaca, Mexico, he will illustrate not only the communicative power of art in public spaces, but also the ways in which youth culture, art, and migration can intersect to shape collective identities and community histories of struggle.

Thursday, October 25
Norteño, Corridos, and Mariachi
Culture and Conflict in Border Music

Born, developed, or enjoyed in zones of frequent migration, border music has always been shaped by the intermingling of cultures and identities. Celestino Fernandez will relate the fascinating histories of musical genres performed in the Mexico-U.S. border region, including norteño, corridos, and mariachi, helping us see and hear the border in a new light. His talk will also incorporate a live corrido singer and a local mariachi band!



The Fox Tucson Theatre is located at 17 W. Congress Street at the northwest corner of Congress Street and Stone Avenue in downtown Tucson. On-street metered parking downtown is free after 5:00 p.m., and there are plenty of parking garages nearby. We are proud to partner with Park Tucson, who will run a special offer of $1 parking for lecture attendees at the Pennington Street Garage (110 E. Pennington Street, entrance on Scott Avenue between Pennington St. and Congress St.)—just see our staff at the door of the Fox Tucson Theatre to pick up your parking validation ticket. You might also consider parking along the streetcar route and taking the Sun Link Street Car, which runs through downtown Tucson from the UA Medical Campus to the Mercado San Agustin. We look forward to seeing you at the 2018 Downtown Lecture Series!


1. Pennington Street Parking Garage (two blocks NE of The Fox Theater)


Attendees can park at Pennington Street Garage for $1, thanks to Park Tucson. Parking vouchers will be handed out at the Fox Theatre to the first 500 people who arrive. Various downtown restaurants will also be offering special deals to lecture attendees. See details



The 2018 "Soundscapes: Music, Place, and Identity" Downtown Lecture Series is sponsored by Holualoa Companies, Ken and Linda Robin, Arizona Public Media, Arizona Daily Star, KXCI Radio, Park Tucson, and Downtown Tucson Partnership. Additional support comes from Barbara Starrett and Jo Ann Ellison, Adib and Vivi Sabbagh, Tucson Medical Center, AC Hotel, Maynards’s Market and Kitchen, and Hotel Congress.