Here are some of our accomplishments thus far: We've certainly been good at procreating! Our world population has climbed from 275 million in AD 1000 to 6,158 million, and that's before all the expecting parents of the world induce labor on December 31 for their chance to pop out the first Y2Kid. We've pushed up the human speed record from 35 mph (on horseback) to 24,790.8 mph (Apollo 10, May 26, 1969). And on that out-of-this-world theme, our deepest penetration into space in the last 1,000 years has gone from a black-powder Chinese rocket that wowed spectators in AD 1,000 by climbing to about 165 feet, to NASA's US Pioneer 10 in 1986 -- the first rocket to leave the solar system, at 3,670 million miles. We've broken all precedents for human life expectancy, for scientific invention, for mass destruction and for personal freedom. In short, it's a damn good time to be alive.
Sure there's much to criticize about human development here at the end of Auld Lang Syne, and you can count on us to poke at it with our sharp, primal stick as soon as the champagne bottles run dry and the presses demand new copy. But as we head into the last days not only of the year, but for all we know of everything...there is also much to celebrate, to inspire awe, to raise a glass to and plant those lips upon when the clock (invented in 1400) strikes midnight.
So if you never go out on New Year's Eve for the rest of your life, fine. But just this once, shell out the dough, dry-clean the duds, and find that guy or gal most likely to succumb to your wiles on their last day on Earth. All hyped up with nowhere to go? We've got your millennial survival kit right here!
Nimbus. 3850 E. 44th St. 745-9175. Though Nimbus has thrown some great parties, tonight won't be one of them. But if you're looking for an early start (or else know you aren't going to make it till midnight), get yourself over to this funky brewery for an eve that won't even keep the wee ones up past their bedtime. Grab a $2 pint and kick back to Tim Gallagher's acoustic showcase from 6 to 9 p.m. After that, they're closing shop. Nimbus is at the end of the 44th Street cul-de-sac, two blocks east of Palo Verde Road, and two blocks north of Ajo Way.
The Boondocks Lounge. 3306 N. First Ave. 690-0991. Steer your course for the giant beacon of the Boondocks bottle for a stompin' good time with The Mollys starting at 9 p.m. This ain't no nostalgic Celtic band -- wild accordion, punk-infused rhythm, and the hot-blooded mix of Irish and Mexican roots in this all-American dance band. Tickets are $18 in advance, $22 at the door, and include a dinner and dessert buffet (at 7:30 p.m.), and champagne at midnight.
Bum Steer. 1910 N. Stone Ave. 884-7377. The World Famous Bum Steer will have you unsteady on your own feet in no time, with their "very live" deejay spinning a wide variety of Top-40 dance and hip-hop music from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. The $10 cover includes $1 pitchers till midnight (all domestic beers), and a midnight champagne toast with some of the most eligible young professionals in town. All ages are welcome until 9 p.m., and the kitchen stays open till 11 p.m. so you can gorge on all those fried foods black-listed on your list of resolutions. After 25 years in the biz, these guys know how to raise the roof on their big red barn, with dancing and holiday decorations on all three stories, from the basement to the rafters.
Wildcat House. 1801 N. Stone Ave. 622-1302. Right across the street from the Bum Steer barn is another Tucson institution. Don't be fooled by the plain brick façade -- the Wildcat House harbors some 2,500 square feet of dance space, with an energetic crowd barely reaching that 21-and-over requirement. House deejay Greg Flynn will be in charge of the state-of-the-art sound system, spinning the best new rock until 1 a.m. The Wildcat House has the longest bar within city limits, and the fastest bartenders in the West, so no matter how packed the house you'll be well taken care of here. If you can take your eyes off that shiny disco ball over the well-worn dance floor, there's a half-dozen TV sets to give you the view from Times Square. And if you're still looking for action after a few rounds, take a high-speed drive or start a fight with a few rounds of Rush or Tekken 3. (You can also shoot aliens and battle the undead.) Bring on the apocalypse! Doors open at 8 p.m., and cover is $10.
Chicago Bar. 5954 E. Speedway Blvd. 748-8169. Paint the town red, green and gold at this dancehall reggae reunion with local horsemen of the apocalypse Neon Prophet. What better guide into the End Days than this six-piece ensemble with their quick wit and solid beats? Regulars know the Neon Prophet reggae experience never disappoints, so plan to arrive early or be left out in the cold. Good crowd, good vibe, and a good start for the new year. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door, and include a Mexican and Chinese dinner buffet, and champagne at midnight. Three rooms, pool tables and a heated patio make this a one-stop place to bop from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Hotel Congress. 311 E. Congress St. 622-8848. This place has partied from 1919 to 1999, always in style. This year the historic Congress heads for the outer limits with "Space Oddity 2000," a cosmic millennium party featuring four bands, decades of music, and a space-themed bar scene straight out of Star Wars. "Club Mars" hosts deejay The Spyder from Mars, spinning the best Gen-X tunes of the '80s and '90s (that's like a thousand years in the music industry, right?)from 8 to 11 p.m., and the Las Vegas-style entertainment of tongue-in-cheek, tux-clad locals The Zsa-Zsa's at 11 p.m. Interplanetary P.O.T. opens the "moon junkyard" of the Lunar Lounge around 10 p.m. with a taste of the truly bizarre -- a wrestling match with a "real live" midget alien, and some tape-loop mayhem. Perennial pop favorites Shoebomb explode like an errant comet targeting the Earth around 11 p.m.
In the main lobby Space Port, brass band Crawdaddy-O proves acoustic does not mean quiet with a festive feast of sound around 10 p.m. The Tap Room (and its award-winning jukebox) will be transformed into the Jupiter Juke Joint, and still more intergalactic cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will be served in the Cosmic (Cup) Café. Tickets are $45 in advance, and include an explosion of stardust cannons at midnight, continental breakfast at 1 a.m., and an after-hours party till 3 a.m. to ease your transition back into the Brave New World. Doors open at 8 p.m.
The Rialto Theatre's Downtown 2000. Touted as the second largest NYE block party in Arizona (maybe the first if the Fiesta Bowl fizzles), this millennium club crawl kicks off at 7 p.m., stretching from Fourth Avenue to Congress Street to include about a dozen venues and as many bands. One $20 wristband buys your way into the Fifth Avenue main stage, the historic Rialto, the Blues Cabaret and the Jazz Lounge, plus the majority of downtown clubs: Mac Daddy's, Mutt's, The Hut, The Copper Room at Lumé, 7 Black Cats and Double Zero. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Senator "Stay At Home" Kyl! Headlining blues sensation Susan Tedeschi will be joined by an explosive array of talent including Boston jam band Jiggle the Handle, the barnyard rockabilly antics of Billy Bacon and the Forbidden Pigs (which include the Big Bacon himself descending from the sky diapered as the Baby New Year), and Phoenix alternarockers Nebs Dream and Turning Point. Local talent includes The Simplistics, Leanne Savage, Greyhound Soul, Warsaw and Tongue Dried Sun, along with the fabulous Al Perry and blues with Deacon and the Gang. The hoopla also includes the largest laser show in the Southwest, an ample outdoor food court, and as many as 10,000 of your closest friends. Tickets are available in advance at Dillard's, Zip's University, the Congress Street Store, Hear's Music and Guitars Etc. Call 798-3333 for recorded information, and pick up the December 29 issue of the Tucson Weekly for all the details. We'll have four pages of maps, schedules and other info.
O'Malley's. 247 N. Fourth Ave. 623-8600. The celebration in the "Little Dublin" triumvirate of South Fourth Avenue bars is a bowl full of fun. We're talking about the Insight.com Bowl, of course, which will drive the college sports bar action here from 11 to 1 a.m., and draw about 800 partiers. Around the 10 p.m. hour, local rock cover band The Mockingbirds take the stage in the back room; and retro-crooner Paul Elia holds court on a tented outdoor stage. Cover is $15 in advance, $20 at the door. And if you want to move around, neighboring Maloney's, 213 N. Fourth Ave., will be welcoming in revelers with no cover charge. They'll be spinning your favorite college rock until 1 a.m. Call 388-9355 for details. And for a slightly more sedate celebration, consider the widest bottled beer selection in town across the street at The Shanty, 401 E. Ninth St. They don't take credit cards, so bring cash.
Velvet Tea Garden. 450 N. Sixth Ave. 388-9922. F, C, 300. If Alice went to punk-rock Wonderland, she'd stop in first at the Velvet Tea Garden and pick up the giant martini glass that says (nay, screams) "Drink me!" We love the Velvet Tea Garden. This exuberant all-ages coffee house on the corner of Sixth and Sixth also has a full bar for those with valid I.D. (and we do mean valid -- these guys learned every trick in the book firsthand, and they aren't falling for any of them.) The city's biggest underground party features live music by The Apocalyptics, Poot and an "out-of-town mystery guest." Before, between and till 4 a.m., the house deejays will spin techno and hip-hop to an all-ages crowd. Come early and stay late, with an open kitchen and full espresso bar serving until the dark before the dawn. Tickets are $5 before 10 p.m. and $10 after, with a champagne toast (sparkling cider for those under 21) at midnight. Doors open at 7 p.m. with a parking-lot stage for a fourth band -- and another 300 revelers! Good security, cozy couches and plenty of caffeine make this a great place to avoid mass chaos while still having plenty of fun.
Wee Went Wong's. 4844 E. 22nd St. 748-7570. F, C, 250. Take the Wong path to enlightenment at this eastside pagoda of pleasure, where variety dance band Evolution steps forward "by popular demand" with their original Motown-Latin-rock blend. Seating is limited to around 250, and your $50 advance ticket confers free champagne, a commemorative brass key chain, hors d' oeuvres and complimentary photos so you can remember what a good time you had.
Doors open at 8 p.m. and stay open till 1 a.m. For those who intend to make each round the toast with the most, Operation Sleigh Ride will be on hand to help you make a soft landing in the new year.
Cactus Moon. 5470 E. Broadway Blvd. 748-0049. This spacious, wood-plank and glass-block nightclub in the upscale Williams Center Plaza has room for 1,000, with pardners polishing the dance floor every night of the week with their West Coast swinging, spirited two-steps and straight (or not-so-straight, depending on the drink specials) line dancing. Doors open at 5 p.m. on New Year's Eve, and stay open till 1 a.m. for a full night of your best country and Top-40 tunes by house deejay Du. You don't need to plan ahead to be Y2K compliant here. Just arrive early, pay your $20 at the door, and enjoy an all-you-can-eat dinner buffet, the usual party favors, all the dancing and romancing you can handle, and a balloon drop at midnight. Yee-haw!
The Maverick, King of Clubs. 4702 E. 22nd St. 748-0456. If the hype and hoopla are too much for your central nervous system, head a long block south to one of the city's oldest and best country bars. Vince Moreno and Sundown, with special guest Marnie Honeycutt, ring in the King of Clubs' 37th new year with modern country from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. here, where the Bud's always cold, the folks always friendly, and a good time is had by all. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door.
New West/Gotham. 4385 W. Ina Road. 744-7744. Las Vegas style meets contemporary country at this special celebration featuring Jadi Norris and Overdrive. This two-for-one club houses 2,200 inside, and another 2,300 outside at the Arizona Sunset Pavilion (including an 18-and-over tent where live band Random Task pumps out alternative and Top-40 music from 9 to 10 p.m.). Cover is $25 at the door, and you can count on having plenty of room to move.
DV8. 5851 E. Speedway Blvd. 885-3030. F, C, 1,000. We hear this is Tucson's hottest 21-and-over East Coast dance club, and deejay Erik NK puts his mouth where the Big Apple is with an outrageous mix of mod and new rock, and a killer light show on DV8's multi-level dance floor. You won't want to miss the midnight balloon drop here, where each falling orb contains a prize (the grand prize being a trip for two anywhere in the continental U.S., providing it still exists and all the planes haven't fallen out of the sky by January 2). Dress code is casual, and tickets are only $25 at the door, which opens at 7 p.m.
Heart V. E. Congress St. 903-0911. F, C, 300. Heart V's second annual Midnight Masquerade party calls for elegant (and non-combustible) evening attire, and a love of pyrotechnics: there will be fireworks indoors and out, every hour from 8 p.m. to midnight. Deejays Psydell, Sumkid, Entyse and special guests massage the room with electronica, house, and drum 'n' bass all night long; and as of press time, Heart V was zeroing in on a funky jazz band to put a live pulse on the musical offerings. Tickets are $50 in advance, $75 day of event, and include buffet-style hors d' oeuvres reminiscent of the nightclub's dearly departed tapas menu. Last year pulled in a crowd of 200, and they're expecting everything to be bigger and better for their last bash of the teen years (we're talking nineteen hundreds, here. The crowd is strictly 21 and over).
The Keys. 5900 N. Oracle Road. 888-8084. F, C, 400. It's snowing at sea level at the beachy Keys, where those fake palms and ocean blues will be transformed into a winter wonderland of elegant proportions. Doors open at 6 p.m. for "Celebration 2000," an evening of fine dining, dancing and door prizes galore. At $69.99, you get a lot for your dough with a six-course "last supper" from 7 to 11 p.m. (includes a salad of baby greens, Gulf shrimp cocktail, filet mignon or chicken breast, and key-lime pie crowned with raspberries and chocolate); a souvenir crystal champagne flute; and champagne toast (the first 150 ticket holders receive Dom Perignon). There's a separate champagne bar, so you can have that complimentary bubbly whenever you like (you don't have to wait until midnight). The Keys is also outside the city limits, so you can smoke -- cigars, even -- to your heart's content (or discontent). In addition to the usual party favors, they're giving each guest a tin time-capsule full of 2000 goodies.
Club deejays present "dancing through the decades," a musical mix from the swinging '30s and '40s through the most danceable power-pop of the current decade. A reinforced shuttle fleet ferries guests free of charge from the parking lot to the front door throughout the night. Maximum capacity here is 700, but they're limiting tickets to 400 so you'll have plenty of room to cherish the auld and ring in the new lang syne. The fun continues upstairs and down, inside and out, until 4 a.m.
Metro. 296 N. Stone Ave. 622-4700. F, C, 1,000. Club Metro's two-day Metro Millennium dance party starts around 9 p.m. Friday, and continues until 1 a.m. Sunday (okay, so you have to go home and sleep for a few hours before you come back on Saturday night). The whole house will be jumpin' both nights, with Metro spinning Top-40 dance and Fusion grinding out pulsating house and techno. Now's the time to invest in precious metals: a $30 VIP gold card includes entrance both nights, flowers for the ladies, and the usual favors and bubbly on New Year's Eve. For $50, your VIP pass is upgraded to platinum, which includes all of the above plus access to the VIP lounge with cocktails and hors d' oeuvres. Metro will have the same "dress to impress" code as always, which means no hats, men's sandals, or jeans and T-shirts. Advance tickets are recommended, available at the club only.
The Rock. 136 N. Park Ave. 629-9211. F, C, 650. KHOT-FM 98.3 is co-sponsoring tonight's dance party, which will broadcast live with "Hot" host deejay Chico spinning hip-hop from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. The $40 ticket includes the usual hats and noisemakers, plus a commemorative, custom-painted Z-stem champagne flute (for that complimentary champagne toast) and balloon drop at midnight. This casual nightclub is getting all gussied up for the big event, with both rooms and the covered, heated patio dressed to the nines with holiday decor. You, however, can come as you are. (Though advance tickets are recommended; they'll only reserve 150 to sell at the door.)
El Parador. 2744 E. Broadway Blvd. 881-2808. F, C, 275. Always a great place to eat, El Parador becomes nothing less than a hub of high culture for a New Year's Eve party sure to leave an indelible mark on the epic party register. Choose from three packages: the early dinner ($59 per person), with seatings from 6:30 to 7 p.m., features a three-course nuevo latino dinner (including wine and a champagne toast), and live music by a Latin jazz quartet (select members of house band Descarga). The late-night dinner package is $79 per person, with seatings from 8:30 to 9 p.m., and includes all of the above, plus party favors and a tableside seat for the full, sophisticated sound of Rafael Moreno's 11-piece Descarga salsa band. In addition, the two ongoing art exhibits in the restaurant's suite rooms will be joined by the world premiere of painter David Tineo's "Tapestry of Humanity" mural, to be unveiled at midnight in the main dining room. The live music and lively dancing continue from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
For those who just want to dance the night away, admission after 10 p.m. is $35, and includes party favors, midnight champagne toast, and as many cumbias, merengues and salsa steps as your feet can keep up with.
TSO at the TCC. 260 S. Church Ave. 882-8585. F, C, 1,000. If you think pops is tops, join vocalists Rosemary Clooney and Michael Feinstein, with guest conductor Bob Bernhardt leading the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. A little bit pops, a fair amount of Gershwin and Cole Porter, and a whole lotta fun, this nostalgic New Year's celebration starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Music Hall. A catered dinner/dance follows at 10 p.m. in the Ballroom, with the Tucson Jazz Orchestra playing for a crowd of elegant dancers. Black-tie is optional, which means if you don't look sharp you'll be underdressed. Concert tickets range from $65 to $125.95, and dinner/dance tickets are $96 (with only 100 left at last count). The TCC box office will not sell tickets for this event, so contact the TSO box office in advance (882-8585).
Tucson Friends of Traditional Music. Temple of Music and Art Cabaret Theater, 330 S. Scott Ave. F, C, 100 If you don't have friends who throw great parties, your next best friend is TFTM, a local non-profit that's hosted this one-in-a-million hoedown for the last decade. The upstairs Cabaret will be all decked out with streamers and balloons for the occasion. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for a casual, pot-luck dinner, followed by dancing from 8 to 12:30 p.m. Contra, "a New England cousin of square dancing," is easy to learn and a load of fun. An all-star line up of local callers joins the TFTM open orchestra for this festival of old-time and Celtic music in a bona fide dancehall. Admission is $7 at the door ($6 for members and students), and includes a beginner's intro session at 7:45 p.m., pot-luck munchies and a non-alcoholic sparkling cider toast at midnight. Dress is festive but casual, with comfortable low-heeled shoes a must. Best of all, you don't have to bring a partner to join in the fun -- come alone or with a friend.
Desert Diamond Casino. 7350 N. Nogales Highway. 294-7777. F, 2,000 Feel auspicious tidings ahead? You'll find a number of ways to test your good fortune here, and even if you don't win big on the slots or at the tables, you can take your fill of party favors, apple cider toasts and doughnuts at midnight. A $55 buy-in gets you $500 in chips and a seat in the card room's Tournament of Champions qualification event, starting at 7 p.m. The lucky winner gets a $2,000 seat in the big Las Vegas tournament in July 2000, plus 35-percent of the remaining prize pool. Entry is restricted to those 21 and over. Late-night bingo starts at 10 p.m., with a midnight jackpot of $1,999. Bingo closes shortly after midnight, but the rest of Desert Diamond is open 24 hours to those 18 and over. There's no alcohol here, but you can smoke like a chimney and the café serves breakfast and nightly specials 24/7.
Casino of the Sun. 7406 S. Camino de Oeste. 883-1700. F, 1,000. Their recorded message will tell you the games and offerings, which include 500 slot machines, bingo, and an all-you-can-eat prime-rib buffet dinner. The basics are the same: no alcohol, lots of cigarettes, and best of luck. Open 24 hours to adults 18 and over.
Irene's 254. 254 E. Congress St. 206-9385. F, C, 100. Owners Charlie and Irene celebrate their first year downtown with an evening of comedy and cumbias starting with dinner at 6 p.m. A reasonable $50 per couple includes anything on the menu, plus the comic stylings of Adam Barnhardt and Cynthia Levine, alums both (along with Charlie) of L.A.'s Comedy Store. A gay Texan, Barnhardt's act is one-third topical humor (including impressions of his redneck dad), and two-thirds no-holds-barred Lone Star satire. Levine's observational humor gets in touch with the feminist side, for a show full of pointed humor that won't stick anybody too hard. Show time is 8 p.m. Following around 10 p.m. is KXCI deejay Timotheos, who moves his Friday night radio show into the colored lights over Irene's black-and-white checkered floor. This fun-loving "home of the Pisco sour" comes alive with a crowd of regulars that goes loco for Tim's patented mix of salsa, jazz, Caribbean, cumbia and merengue. Capacity here is just under 100, with tickets on sale in advance at the café, and at the door.
Laff's Comedy Caffé. 2900 E. Broadway Blvd. 323-8669. F, C, 300. It may not be polite to laugh with your mouth full, but such reactions are de rigueur at Laff's supper club. There are two shows tonight, at 8 and 10 p.m. Tickets are $52.50 per person for the early show, which includes choice of roast beef, swordfish or chicken dinner with champagne and dessert. The 10 p.m. show costs $57.50 per person, and includes champagne and balloon drop at midnight, plus an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet after the clock strikes 12. The champagne will be flowing throughout both shows, with giveaways including trips on Southwest airlines, and a grand-prize car alarm.
Opening act Johnny Wayne is a young guy from L.A. who's "like a mixture of Jerry Lewis and James Bond." He'll have you shaken and stirred by the time King of Improv Brian Bradley takes the stage for the final round. Expect the unexpected (they say he never puts on the same show twice), with lots of audience involvement.
GAY NEW YEAR
Ain't Nobody's Biz. 2900 E. Broadway Blvd. 318-4838. F, C, 300. Tucson's best women's club keeps a sensible head in the face of mass hysteria with a $7 cover that includes your first tip of the glass (any beer or single-shot cocktail), hors d' oeuvres, and the usual midnight trimmings. The Biz will spin your favorite Top-40 dance from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., and you can expect a full house of bawdy, brawny and beautiful babes to help you usher out the old and ring in the new.
IBT's. 616 N. Fourth Ave. 882-3053. F, C, 400. Reservations are required for this fabulously multi-faceted evening, starting at 6 p.m. with an out-back Texas BBQ on IBT's garden patio. Comedian Mark Peters and Madame (a take-off of the classic gay comedy of Waylon Flowers and his bitchy puppet sidekick of the same name) fly in from Palm Springs for two shows tonight. Dine from 6 to 8 p.m., and enjoy the contemporary jazz vocal stylings of Greg Stickroth and IBT's own Peter Lara from 6 to 9 p.m.
From 9 p.m. on, IBT's kicks over to its usual throbbing dance-club atmosphere, with go-go dancers from the Valley of the Sun taking their place above the city's hottest dance floor. The usual deejays spin a master mix of house, techno and power pop that'll keep your body moving until 1 a.m. Your $25 advance ticket includes dinner, an etched, commemorative champagne flute, and all the rest.
Stonewall Eagle. 2921 N. First Ave. 624-8805. F, 300. The new owners have just completed renovations, and they're gearing up for their inaugural ball with a full-throttle blast of high-energy music and state-of-the-art light show. Gone is the cabaret comedy, and in are deejays Mark McDonald and Adrian, spinning Top-40 and house that'll keep you on your feet until 1 a.m.
If that's not your scene, kick back in the lounge where you can play stick on one of several pool tables, or settle in for a nice cocktail.
Doors open at noon and as always, there's no cover. Stonewall Eagle is located just south of Fort Lowell Road on First Avenue.
So you're all dressed up and not ready to go home? Here are a few places to wind up or wind down after 1 a.m.
Grill. 100 E. Congress St. 623-7621. Chocolate-chip pancakes, eggs 'n' Tater Tots, a top-sirloin burger with fries, creamy milkshakes and a full espresso bar are just a few reasons to stake out a vinyl booth and hunker down at any hour. Record the moment for posterity in the Red Room's photo booth.
Safehouse. 4024 E. Speedway Blvd. 318-3090. The crowd rolls in around 10 p.m. and stays till 2 a.m. at this east Speedway mecca of super-caffeinated perfection. In addition to catapulting you into the next millennium with their signature house blend, the Safehouse kids are giving away stickers and T-shirts. Some swag and a piston-driven cup of java to go constitutes the best Y2K survival kit we've encountered yet. They've also got plenty of doughnuts, video games and pool.
Velvet Tea Garden. 450 N. Sixth Ave. 388-9922. Full espresso bar open until 4 a.m.; see listing under "Rock" for details.