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MUSEUM QUALITY. With the evenings warming to the coming spring, tonight is an excellent time to come out of hibernation and stroll down to the Tucson Museum of Art, 140 N. Main Ave., to see what you've been missing. For starters, the Arizona Repertory Singers, under the direction of Jeffrey Jahn, begin their 1996 season with a free concert at 7 p.m. on the museum's lower level. The voices of the a cappella ensemble will resound throughout the museum's spiraling hallways, from the intimate upper level rooms where A Gift of Vision, the recently donated body of works from the Small family collection, makes a final appearance in its entirety, down to the new exhibit of pre-Columbian art. Musical selections range from nature-inspired compositions by Stephen Chatman to jazzy arrangements of Gershwin and Rogers and Hart tunes, with a rhythmic taste of Brazil, a medley of Steven Foster's greatest hits, and, if they aren't all out of breath, they'll go for baroque with works by Scarlatti, Schuetz and Haydn.
Admission is free, and the museum's assembled an impressive list of prizes for new members, including passes to The Loft cinema for the first 100, gift certificates for Wild Johnny's Wagon in the courtyard, and three extra months of free membership. Call 624-2333 for information.
REELING GOOD TIME. There's nothing green about Arcady, the six-member band from Ireland that delivers a sound more polished than the Blarney stone and smoother than a pint of Guinness. If it's the genuine article you seek, look no further than tonight's concert, which features a virtuoso ensemble of musicians, including master bodhrán player Johnny McDonagh and stunning lead vocalist Niahm Parsons. This is the best that traditional Celtic music has to offer, played with passion and charm by one of Ireland's finest emerging talents. See this week's feature in the Music section for details. Show time is 8 p.m. at the Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway. Advance tickets are $13 to $15, with a $1 discount for seniors, TFTM and KXCI members, available at Hear's Music, Loco Records, Piney Hollow and the Harp and Shamrock. Charge them by phone for $1 more by calling 881-3947 or 327-4809. Call 770-3690 for information.
MADAMA BUTTERFLY. It may have been a flop at its Milan premiere in 1904, but Puccini's Madama Butterfly has since become one of the all-time favorites of Italian opera, with arias and duets even the uninitiated may recognize. Calls have been coming in since last September for tickets to Arizona Opera's return of this tragic story of a Japanese geisha's forbidden love, but plenty of seats are still available. This is the Zen of opera, with each element carefully placed and balanced: sets of rice paper screens and cherry blossoms, performers clad in traditional kimonos (an intricate process requiring an outside consultant), and a wedding-scene performance of the 400-year-old classical Azuma dance by a professional troupe of Japanese dancers, led by choreographer Mari Kaneta.
Madama Butterfly continues with performances at 7:30 tonight and Saturday, with a 2 o'clock Sunday matinee on March 17, at the TCC Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. Tickets range from $14 to $56, available at Dillard's and the TCC box office. Call 791-4266 for information.
SOUL SISTAH. This blues rock sensation from that desolate valley to the north proves there's no such thing as too much estrogen in one room. In a sentence, they rock. If it's blues you're looking for--or R&B, country, rock, gospel, soul or reggae--Sistah Blue is your connection. Lila Sherman's powerhouse vocals rise above the lead guitar of Nancy Dalessandro (who's backed greats like Bonnie Raitt, Bo Diddley and Charlie Musselwhite), award-winning harmonica player Rochelle Raya, bassist Kati Ingino and drummer Claire Griese. Rena Haus, also a seasoned pro who's opened for national acts like Maria Muldaur, Sue Foley and the New Orleans Radiators, steps in with acoustic guitar, banjo, mandolin and vocals. 'Nuf said?
This all-ages show revs up at 8 p.m. at the Southwest Center for Music, 2175 N. Sixth Ave. Tickets are $7 at the door, $5 for TBS and KXCI members. Call 884-1220 for information.
BALLET FOLKLORICO. This vibrant company of young, professional dancers takes Centennial Hall by storm with Viva Mexico! Viva America!, a journey through time using music, drama and movement, colorful costumes and imaginative sets to recreate the Aztec, Spanish, Mexican, Native American and pioneer influences of our past.
This second annual celebration of the historic, cultural and ethnic heritage of Mexico and Southern Arizona begins at 7:30 tonight, with matinee performances on Sunday and Monday, March 17 and 18, at Centennial Hall, UA main entrance on University Boulevard east of Park Avenue. Tickets are $15 in advance, $10 for students and seniors. Call 621-3341 for reservations and information.
HOT DOG! You may think you can't live without that juicy burger or morning bacon, but the Farm Animal Reform Movement (FARM) and Vegetarian Resource Group of Tucson, the folks behind today's Great American Meat-Out, beg to differ--and they've arranged an unheard of assortment of meatless morsels to help you kick the habit...at least for a day. Hey, it's not gonna kill you--unlike salmonella, cholesterol, botulism and whatever else goes into or comes out of those unfortunate hormone-injected animal product atrocities.
Guest speakers, cooking demonstrations and vegan food sampling are offered from 1 to 4 p.m. at Soundings of the Planet, 3054 N. First Ave. Bring $5, your own chair, plate and utensils. Kids 12 and under get in for $3. Call 570-8896 for information. For more food for thought on FARM and its programs, ride the Web to http://members.gnn.com/farm/.
WHERE YOU BEAN? Cultivate a new perspective on backyard harvesting with Chiltepines and Anasazi Beans, a family program exploring how the Hohokam and O'odham farmed in the desert. Event includes rainwater harvesting, composting, soil mixing and identifying insect friends and foes. Part classroom and part outdoor demonstration, the event runs from 9 a.m. to noon at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, 2021 N. Kinney Road; and Sonya Norman, education specialist with the museum, even sends you home with some heirloom seeds for your own desert garden. Cost is $10 for adults, $4 for children ages 6 to 12. Pre-registration, by calling 883-3018, is recommended; but you can sign up through the day of the event by calling 883-3030.
MOLLYS PLUG. If there were ever an Irish influence that could conceivably charm all the snakes out of Sonora (one of St. Patrick's dubious claims to fame in grand ole Eire), it would be The Mollys. They've been busy slogging through snow and ice on an East Coast tour, but return home for their sixth-annual St. Patrick's Day concert--an event which, we have on good authority, was so full of raucous dancing a floor joist was broken a few years back. If you haven't heard this ornery mix of Mexican, Irish and American music, you really need to get out more. And polka.
Doors open at 7 p.m. at the Southwest Center for Music, 2175 N. Sixth Ave., with a traditional Irish dinner of corned beef, cabbage and potatoes catered by DiMaggio's Subterranean Café. Concert tickets are $6 at the door, with the music raging from 8 p.m. till midnight. Call 884-1220 for information.
BRILLIANT BLUE. For years classical guitarist Robert Bluestone has been making critics gush over his highly personal, spontaneous and technically diverse performances. And if his reviews read like love letters, think what effect he's had on the normal, less jaded listening public. This exceptionally talented artist opens the Hispanic Cultural Showcase's spring series with a program divided between European and Latin American traditions, all of which you can expect to hear played with seamless perfection. Bluestone has a knack for reaching audiences of all ages, so don't feel you have to find a babysitter to attend this evening's performance. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. for a pre-performance artist's reception at the Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 day of show. Call 888-8816 for tickets and information.
MEET THE NIELDS. Three Daves, two sisters, and a rock-before-folk fusion make The Nields a new music find not to be missed. The young band makes its live performance debut in Tucson with rhythm-heavy, power-pop originals from their recently released Gotta Get Over Greta album. We'll be honest: We haven't seen them, or even visited their site on the World Wide Web (http://pobox.com/~nields). But they're Gen X'ers with jobs, ambition, an appealingly sardonic sense of humor, and Kevin Moloney (of U2 fame) and Sinead O'Connor producing their album, which puts them ahead of most of the rest of their generation to begin with. We also hear the sibling singer/songwriter duo is an overnight success waiting to happen, combining a tender soprano reminiscent of Dar Williams with down-to-earth harmonies against an "alterna-folk" backdrop (that "a" word just won't die).
Check them out at 8 p.m. at the Southwest Center for Music, 2175 N. Sixth Ave. Joe Rush opens the show. Tickets are $8 in advance from Antigone Books and Hear's Music, and $10 at the door. Call 884-1220 for tickets and information.
SEE TOM SPEAK. Tom Philabaum, master of the alchemical art of glass making and long-time mentor and studio gallery owner, presents a slide lecture of his work at 7 p.m. in the PCC West Campus Center for the Arts Recital Hall, 2202 W. Anklam Road. Philabaum is one of the nation's most distinguished contemporary glass artists, drawing inspiration from studies with Harvey Littleton (who was the father of the studio glass movement) and Eriks Rudans. Lecture is free, and is presented as part of the Visual Arts Lecture Series. Call 884-6385 for information.
TEMPEST TOSSED. Natural scientist and creative non-fiction writer Terry Tempest Williams reads from her latest book, Desert Quartet, at 8 p.m. in the Modern Languages Building auditorium on the UA campus. She's the author of five non-fiction works which have received considerable critical acclaim for their skillful prose and intimate connections between the natural and spiritual worlds. The Utne Reader calls her a visionary, "one of the UTNE 100 who could change you life." See Margaret Regan's article in the Review section for details; or call 321-7760 for information.
City Week includes events selected by Calendar Editor Mari Wadsworth. Event information is accurate as of press time. The Weekly recommends calling event organizers to check for last-minute changes in location, time, price, etc.
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