LIONS AND COATIS AND KESTRELS? Break off from the Christmas gaggle with a visit to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum to reacquaint yourself with wildlife sans blinking noses.
Forget Rudolph. The museum's new Ancient Arizona exhibit (so it's new, but like real old, OK?) gives you an opportunity to get up close and personal with the Sonorasaurus, a dinosaur recently discovered in the Sonoran Desert by a University of Arizona student.
Visitors can get dirty at the museum's own excavation site, or check out the resident mountain lion. The lion, the museum's official mascot, lives in a habitat that features great viewing areas.
For a one-of-a-kind peek at nature, at least in Tucson, pay a visit to the coati exhibit. Kids love the gregarious long-snouted member of the raccoon family.
Cap your experience with a look at desert birds of prey--barn owls, kestrels and Harris hawks. You might observe untethered soaring, or the fascinating backstand, unique to the hawks of the region, where they jump piggyback from one saguaro to another. The Raptor Free Flight Program is shown twice daily, at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
The museum, established in 1952, has more than 300 species of native wildlife and 1,300 varieties of desert plants. It is ranked among the world's top 10 zoological sites.
Exhibits are open every day of the year. Hours right now are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Members and children under 6 are free. Non-member adults are $8.95 and children 6 to 12 are $1.75. For more information, call 883-2702 or visit the museum website at www.desertmuseum.org.
ARTS AND DANCE. Native Americans from more than 50 tribes will be in Tucson for a New Year's competition pow-wow.
Gourd dancing, arts and crafts, traditional food and a drum contest make the four-day event a great outing for the family.
A highlight will be the round dance, the traditional friendship dance, which will start at midnight Sunday to ring in the New Year.
The event at Rillito Raceway Park runs 4 to 10 p.m. today, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, noon to 12:15 a.m. Sunday, and noon to 6 p.m. Monday. The raceway is at River Road and First Avenue. Please bring your own lawn chairs for the outside event. Admission is $7 per person, per day. For more information, call 622-4900.
EL CASINO BALLROOM BLITZ. Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men will kick off New Year's weekend in a KXCI member appreciation concert.
Alvin's latest album, Public Domain, brings him back to what he calls "the poetry of the blues."
"Most of the songs on Public Domain I found collecting old records with my brother," says Alvin, who was introduced to social issues early on by his father, a labor organizer of steelworkers.
Alvin's career began with his brother, Phil. Still in their teens, the boys collected the music of early blues and country legends like T-Bone Walker, Lee Allen and Big Joe Turner. These influences, along with New Orleans R&B, rockabilly and jump blues, eventually led the Alvins to form The Blasters, a group that pioneered the roots revival of the early 1980s.
The Blasters' debut album, American Music, led the way for some of the great roots bands that followed, including The Paladins and Los Lobos.
A solo career launched in 1986 resulted in Romeo's Escape, Blue Blvd., Museum of the Heart and other notable albums.
Public Domain is a departure from the original songs of his solo career and brings Alvin full circle to his musical beginnings.
Tucson-based roots, country, blues and rock trio Teddy Morgan and the Pistolas will open for Alvin.
Doors open at 8 p.m. Advance tickets are $15 general admission, $10 for KXCI members. Outlets include Hear's Music, Antigone Books and KXCI. You can also order tickets by phone, 623-1000, ext. 13. Tickets at the door will be $3 more. The ballroom is in the Latin American Social Club at 427 E. 26th St., at the corner of Second Avenue. See "Burning Down the House," on page 44.
PEACE OF MIND. Visualize world peace, or at least think about it real hard.
The Science of Mind Center hosts the 14th annual World Peace and Healing Meditation, with music, drumming, chanting and sacred dance.
The event is a prelude to the Global Meditation on New Year's Eve.
Recording artist Riki Newell headlines the event on Saturday, with a concert from 7 to 9 p.m. There is a suggested donation of $10 per person. The money will be used to further the cause of world peace.
The center is located at 4500 E. Speedway Blvd., Suite 15, at the Midway Business Park.
The public is invited to Saturday's event, and to Sunday's, which begins at 5 a.m. You're invited to bring votive candles, and refreshments to share. For more information, call 319-1042.
MYSTERIOUS MAGIC. Illusions and some spiffy rope tricks are on the menu for guests at Hidden Valley Inn tonight.
Gene Collins, Top Hat the Magician in ABC's television series The Young Riders, will be lassoing audience members to help him out in the show at Hidden Valley Inn.
Collins will be joined by Norm Marini, whose unique blend of magic and outlandish humor will give guests an evening to remember. Marini is a sleight-of-hand artist sure to dazzle.
Show time is 9 p.m. at Hidden Valley Inn, 4825 N. Sabino Canyon Road. For reservations and ticket prices, call 299-4941.
HAPPY NEW YEAR. Shake a leg or break a habit? Yes, it's time to feel like a failure again.
If promises were meant to be broken, resolutions shouldn't even be made.
When was the last time you met someone who kept a resolution more than 72 hours? You couldn't repopulate the Island of the Misfit Toys with success stories.
Learn to like yourself the way you are, or get busy.
WANNA GET DRUNK AGAIN? There's a way to get sloshed and then get on the road without the hassle of handcuffs.
Golden Eagle Distributors, proud partners with the Southern Arizona DUI Task Force, has underwritten Sleigh Rides Home, which means, for a limited time only, you can get crocked at your favorite dive, then just tell your bartender you need a free cab ride.
That's all there is to it, at least through January 2. Then it's back to business as usual.
Golden Eagle, the task force, the Arizona Restaurant Association, Yellow Cab and Allstate Cab Co. have teamed up to offer this nifty alternative to jail time and heavy fines.
"Partnerships such as these emphasize that we all make a difference," said Christopher Clements, group vice president of sales and marketing for Golden Eagle.
PHOTOS ON THE FLY. Here's a guy who loves to fly, and it shows.
Adriel Heisey builds a 450-pound plane, then flies around virtually exposed, shooting the sand forms of Mexico's Gran Desierto, the alluvial planes of the Sonoran Desert and the blues of the Gulf of California.
"The forces that have conspired to shape the Sonoran Desert--wind, water, volcanism, plants, and humanity's presence--can be seen best from on high," as a writer for National Geographic stated in an introduction to Heisey's work.
Heisey's recently published book, Under the Sun: A Sonoran Desert Odyssey, is available from Rio Nuevo Publishers.
Heisey's work, along with photographs by Jack Dykinga and William Lesch, are on display in an exhibit called Local Color at Etherton Gallery through January 6.
The work of Dykinga, a Pulitzer Prize winner, reflects a photojournalistic, documentary approach. His photos have been featured with cover stories in Outdoor Photographer, Popular Photography and View Camera magazines.
To get a look at the works of these three photographers, visit Etherton Gallery Downtown, 135 S. Sixth Ave. For more information, call 624-7370.
WATERCOLORING. Southwest themes paint an exhibit at Saguaro Artisans Gallery.
Come check out the terra cotta light covers by Rita Hoemke and Jean Beck in an exhibition that runs through February 1.
The free exhibit is open 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays at the gallery, 215 N. Court Ave. For more information, call 792-3466.
SPLASH DOWN. Make a resolution to add a bit more color to the new year--join a painting class.
Arte Spazio Gallery has scheduled watercolor classes for the next six weeks.
Each morning, in color explorations, you'll learn to match observed color, and use color for sunlight, low-light and moonlight effects.
In the afternoon, the applied techniques class focuses on specific uses of watercolor technique to convey the feel of desert trees, rocks, water variations and associated textures.
Terence Leach teaches the classes, which are 9 a.m. to noon, then 1 to 4 p.m., every Wednesday through February 7. Cost is $70. The classes will be held at Arte Spazio, 5101 N. Oracle Road. For more information, or to register, call 888-8788.