The Superstition Mountain Museum’s free lecture series “Legends and Lore of the Superstitions and More” began Thursday, Jan. 13.
The series at the museum, 4087 E. Apache Trail (State Route 88) in Apache Junction, brings together local scholars, personalities, historians, artists and authors to introduce attendees to the rich culture of our region, according to a release.
Lectures are held at 2 p.m. Thursdays in the museum’s outdoor amphitheater.
To enjoy the presentations fully:
- Bring your own lawn chair;
- Don’t forget a hat and sunscreen;
- Please, no smoking;
- Please don’t leave your dog in vehicle;
- Coffee and cookies will be available for purchase with all of proceeds going to the museum for continuing educational programs; and
- Come early and have lunch on the grounds — food will be available for purchase.
All Superstition Mountain Museum programs and presentations are subject to change. Go to SuperstitionMountainMuseum.org for the latest information.
The presenters and dates are:
- Feb. 3, Kurt Cavano on “Arizona’s Four Peaks amethyst Mine” — Many people do not realize that there is a working amethyst mine in the Four Peaks region that can be seen from the museum. Cavano, owner of the Arizona Four Peaks Amethyst Mine, will be sharing the history of this mine and his adventures in working it. He has been a jewelry-making, stone-cutting rockhound for almost 50 years and has owned the mine for the last 15 years. When he is not digging for amethyst in the Four Peaks Mountains he has a day job in New York where he serves as founder, vice chairman and chief strategy officer of GT Nexus Inc., a supply-chain technology company with more than 900 employees in eight countries. Featured as one of World Trade Magazine’s 50 most influential people, Cavano is a frequent speaker and writer on topics concerning international trade and global supply chain management. For his presentation, he will be bringing along rock samples and jewelry made with amethyst from his mine. For one day only, the jewelry will be sold at reduced prices (20% off).
- Feb. 10, Jay Cravath, on “Honky Tonks, Brothels and Mining Camps: Entertainment in Old Arizona” — In pioneer Arizona, among the best places to experience the performing arts were in the mining towns. Striking it rich meant having disposable income, and miners, like the well-heeled of the Gilded Age, wanted to demonstrate their sophistication with culture. From the early popular music of ragtime and minstrelsy evolved orchestras, operas and glee clubs that performed in Tombstone and other hamlets. Perhaps the most popular form of musical entertainment was the concert band, in shells and stages throughout the state. Cravath shares stories and plays music of a time when performing live was the only way to enjoy the arts. Cravath is a writer, composer and scholar in the field of music, Southwest history and indigenous studies.
- Feb. 17, “Native American Storytelling” featuring members of Yellow bird Productions — In conjunction with the museum’s Native American Arts Festival, this lecture will include members of the world-renowned Yellow Bird Indian Dancers. Listen and follow the stories of Coyote and other traditional characters as they weave scenes of the past. These stories not only paint beautiful settings but blend life lessons with the beauty that surrounds us. Yellow Bird Productions is directed by Ken Duncan, a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe and on the board of the Superstition Mountain Historical Society. Attendees can join in and celebrate the unique spirit of the American Indian.
- Feb. 24, Bob Boze Bell on “Tales of ‘True West’ Magazine” — He is a humorist, artist, radio personality, historian, editor and musician. At this lecture he will tell tales of his time with True West magazine, a legacy publication he’s owned as a partner since 1999. He now serves as the executive editor out of an office in Cave Creek. The magazine, published since 1953, features the distinctive style of Bell’s creative vision. His work has appeared in Arizona Highways, Playboy, National Lampoon, The Arizona Republic and True West magazine. He appears often on the History Channel, Discovery Channel and the Westerns Channel “True West Moments.” A lifelong student of Arizona history (having grown up in Kingman on Route 66), and an accomplished artist and illustrator, he has published several colorful and groundbreaking books on the West. Among the subjects are Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, Doc Holliday and a compilation of classic gunfights. He recently published “The Illustrated Life and Times of Billy the Kid: The Final Word,” that includes more than 100 original paintings and illustrations, plus rare maps and images that provide a vivid look into the many controversial episodes in Billy the Kid short life. Bell’s lecture is sponsored by Museum Pros.
- March 3, Christine Reid on “History of Snake Oil Salesmen, Scams and Hoaxes” — Since the earliest days, Arizonans have been visited by entrepreneurs offering all kinds of get-rich-quick schemes. Benefiting from tales of abundant resources in the territory, limited law enforcement and communication, a scoundrel could create enticing promise of riches and success without much external oversight. Using newspaper articles, quotes, photographs and ephemera, this program illustrates some of the most famous and some of the lesser known embarrassing scams and hoaxes that have found the gullible in Arizona. Reid is intrigued by Arizona’s diverse and rich western heritage as a writer and researcher at the Pinal County Historical Society and community scholar for the ASU Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She continues that deep interest while serving on many of the Town of Florence’s heritage projects and agencies.
- March 10, Porfirio Gutierrez and others on “Mexican Artistry and Weaving Traditions” — Gutierrez, a Zapotec master weaver, will discuss Zapotec weaving traditions. This lecture will be an introduction to the museum’s annual three-day event “The Magic of Mexican Artistry” featuring Mata Ortiz pottery. Also featured will be potter Lila Silveira who will provide her perspective on what life is like in Mata Ortiz and the communities surrounding the village. She will share insights into conditions that created an incredible art community which blossomed in remote Mata Ortiz, Mexico. Because of the uncertainty concerning pandemic restrictions at the Mexico and Canada borders, lecturers were not confirmed at the time of publication.
- March 17, Lisa Schnebly Heidinger on “How We Survived Prohibition (100 Years ago)” — Arizonans often didn’t play well with others where they’d lived before, and that made them well-suited to survive a society that (supposedly) didn’t serve alcohol. Hear some of the stories of how places you can still drink at today made it through the speakeasy era… as well as what makes some of our other historic watering holes memorable besides what’s slid down the bar. These include what a thirst for spirits inspired in Arizonans, and the colorful, creative rascals and rakes who were drawn here. Working on her 11th and 12th books concurrently about aspects of her beloved native state, she serves on the Arizona Trail Board of Directors, on the Rural Activation Innovation Network Board of Directors, and is an NAU president’s associate.
- March 24, Jan Cleere on “Nevertheless She Persisted! Women Who Made a Difference on the Arizona Frontier” — Meet an array of women who endured trouble and hardships, along with amazing feats and triumphs, during the territory’s early days, bringing a unique perspective to a harsh, strange country. Some of these women faced and fought discrimination, some laid down their lives. Learn about Native women warriors and peacemakers, as well as women who rode into the territory to discover a completely different way of life. This presentation, by award-winning author, historian and lecturer Cleere, celebrates Arizona women who persisted and persevered in their quest to explore, discover and conquer new lands and new beginnings. She is the award-winning author of five books and also writes a monthly column, “Western Women,” for Tucson’s Arizona Daily Star newspaper that details the lives of some of Arizona’s early amazing women. Her books are for sale in the museum gift shop.
- March 31, Richard Lapidus on “Venomous Snakes and Treating Snakebites” — Author and Old West enthusiast Richard Lapidus will be introducing attendees to the amazing world of venomous Arizona reptiles. His articles have appeared in national magazines, major newspapers, history and college journals, and in books by other authors. Lapidus is the author of several books including “Snake Hunting on the Devil’s Highway: Humorous Tales from the Glory Days of Snake Hunting.” He has been a high school English teacher, a businessman and a writer. Lapidus has served as the master of ceremonies of a major western book event for nine years in a row. He is a former vice president of The Western Outlaw-Lawman Association.
- April 7, Vince Simpson on “Early Railroading in Arizona” — Local railroad enthusiast and historian Simpson will be talking about the role the railroads played in the building of Arizona. The coming of the railroad was one of the major factors in accomplishing the settlement of the West. Railroads in the state of Arizona got their start in 1877 when the Southern Pacific arrived in Yuma on its way to completing its line to Tucson in 1880. After retiring from IBM as senior manager with 30 years of domestic and international assignments, Simpson has experienced significant difficulties in staying retired, which has led to a number of adventures including duties as president/CEO of an electronics technology company, an adjunct professorship at a state university, and even a couple of years managing large operations for the U.S. Department of Commerce. Somewhere in the far distant past, he also served in the U.S. Army and accumulated degrees in engineering, math, and business.