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NATIVITY NICHE. First created in 1978 by Maria Luisa Teña, the Tucson Museum of Art's El Naciemento has become a charming local tradition. Each year, Teña spends countless hours composing the elaborate nativity scene with hundreds of painted figurines, mostly of terra cotta, which she's collected throughout Mexico.
New this season are recently acquired handmade babies from Tlaquepaque, an artists' colony on the outskirts of Guadalajara, Mexico, and Teña's former home.
The Naciemento concept itself is steeped in tradition: Some art historians maintain that simple versions were constructed as early as the 16th century for the instruction of newly converted Indians. Historical documents show the scenes were used in conjunction with las pastorelas, or shepherd plays.
By the 1700s, the use of Naciementos were widespread in the New World. At the same time, the Mexican nativity became distinctive from its precursors with the addition of biblical scenes from the Old and New Testaments, and depictions of Mexican folk life alongside traditional scenes from the birth of Christ.
All these elements come together in an exhibit continuing through March 31 in the TMA Casa Cordova, 140 N. Main Ave. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $2, $1 for seniors and students. For information, call 624-2333.
ON THE ROCKS. Our very own Tucson Gila Monsters are gliding through their first season on the ice with minor league ease, and continue drawing ever-bigger crowds. Tonight, the Monsters battle the San Diego Gulls at 7 p.m. in the TCC Arena, 260 S. Church Ave. Tickets range from $6.75 to $12.75, and are available at the TCC box office. Call 791-4266 for information.
SEASONAL FANTASIES. Those nimble folks of the Southern Arizona Dance Theater leap into the Yuletide season with ballet performances of A Christmas Carol and A Nutcracker Fantasy.
Performances are 7 tonight, 2 and 7 p.m. tomorrow, and 2 p.m. Sunday in the PCC Proscenium Theater, 2202 W. Anklam Road. Tickets are $10, $8 for students, seniors and children under age 12, and available at the PCC Center for the Arts box office and at the door. Call 206-6986 for details.
DRUM SUMMONS. Dancers from more than 50 tribes gather in Tucson this weekend for the Social Powwow and Indian Craft Market. The colorful action will range from gourd dancing to the visually stunning, elaborately outfitted southern dancing. There will be a baby contest, tons of crafts, and of course plenty of those delectable Indian tacos. This year's master of ceremonies will be Bill Wahnee Sr., hailing from Andarko, Oklahoma. And best of all, everything will happen under lovely November skies.
Today's event runs from 4 to 10 p.m., from noon to 10 p.m. tomorrow, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday at Rillito Park, located at First Avenue and River Road. Admission is $4, plus a Christmas toy. For information, call 622-4900.
MÁS LALO. The godfather of Chicano music has been high profile in his hometown lately, gracing the Old Pueblo with his six decades of experience, talent and charm. Today the master spreads his warmth--and musical styles ranging from rancheros to the cha-cha--around a little more when the Arizona Historical Society hosts Feliz Navidad with Lalo Guerrero.
Performances are 7:30 tonight, and 2 p.m. tomorrow in the Historical Society, 949 E. Second St. Advance tickets are $12, $10 for seniors, $8 for AHS members, $6 for children under age 12, and available through today at the AHS Gift Shop, Mostly Books, Hear's Music and Antigone Books. Tickets are $1 more at the door. For information, call 628-5774.
MORE MOE. High-rhythms combine with jazzy footwork when the Arizona Theatre Company presents Clarke Peters' Five Guys Named Moe.
The action unfolds with lovesick Nomax struggling to overcome heartbreak. One night the lovelorn chap's radio bursts to life with a jumping quintet intent on chasing the blues away. And the hoppin' band is made up of--you guessed it--a bunch of Moes. Together, No Moe, Little Moe, Four-Eyed Moe, Big Moe and Eat Moe rampage through a string of classic tunes penned by early R&B great Louis Jordan, in this classic Tony Award-nominee Time magazine calls an "absolutely joyful experience, larkish and lighthearted."
Preview performance is 8 tonight in the Temple of Music and Art Alice Holsclaw Theatre, 330 S. Scott Ave. Performances continue through December 21. Tickets range from $23.50 to $32.50, available at Dillard's and the ATC box office. Rush tickets are half-price for adults, $10 for students, and available at the box office one hour prior to curtain time. For reservations, call 622-2823.
TAKES A VILLAGE. Ten Thousand Villages is a big name for an important non-profit group bent on providing decent incomes for Third World folks by marketing their hand-crafted creations. Towards that end, Villages is hosting a string of holiday sales, with goods ranging from jewelry and baskets to toys, creches, musical instruments and hand-loomed textiles.
Today's sale runs from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the Southside Presbyterian Church, 317 W. 23rd St.
The market will continue from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, December 4, in the Shalom Mennonite Fellowship, 6044 E. 30th St.; and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, December 7, in St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, 602 N. Wilmot Road. For information, call 628-8263.
HAPPY HOOVES. Proving that our animal friends may have a leg up when it comes to seasonal cheer, one special reindeer revives the Christmas spirit in Live Theatre Workshop's production of The Left-Over Reindeer. Written by Helen Louise Miller and directed by James Gooden, this holiday musical features LTW's fine cast of adults and kids, along with resident host Maury the Moose.
Today's performance is at 1 p.m. in the LTW theater, 5317 E. Speedway. Performances continue at 1 p.m. Sunday through December 28. Tickets are $5, available by calling 327-4242.
LIFE AND DEATH. From the displacement of a rural campesino to the cholos of East L.A., Grace Iturbide's vision is a mixture of cultural landscape, poetic lyricism and the psychological presence of portraiture. All those elements come to fruition in an exhibit of her work in the Etherton Gallery.
Also included are works by Kate Breakey and Elizabeth Ernst. Breakey's Small Death is an ongoing series of large, toned and hand-colored photographs of the heads and torsos of dead birds and lizards, moths and withering flowers. Or, as she puts it, "little representations of all the lives and deaths we disregard."
By contrast, Ernst creates a photographic tableaux that enters the realm of theater. But instead of ordinary players made mythic, her figures are the performers and entertainers of a bygone age, referencing everything from folk-art traditions to bawdy sideshows, the cabaret and carnival.
Exhibit runs through January 24 in Etherton Gallery, 135 S. Sixth Ave. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 7 p.m. Thursday, and during Downtown Saturday Night. For details, call 624-7370.
LEAPING LIT. Chuck Murphy is what they call a paper engineer. He creates those time-honored delights known as pop-up books, with his most famous contribution being One to Ten: Pop-Up Surprises.
Murphy will present an illustrated discussion of his craft from 9 a.m. to noon today, opening the 10th-annual Pop-Up and Moveable Book Exhibit, which runs through December in the UA Library Special Collections annex. Admission is free. For information, call 621-4300.
BIG STEPS. Since their debut a decade ago, the ground-breaking dance-percussion group called STOMP has garnered incredible praise, numerous awards, and a slew of television appearances from The Late Show with David Letterman to Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.
The Chicago Sun-Times calls them "mesmerizing, awe-inspiring, Godzilla-like percussionists." And New York's Daily News says, "You have to see STOMP to believe the phenomenon."
Now the acclaimed troupe bring their eclectic energy to Tucson for two performances. Show times are 7:30 tonight and tomorrow in UA Centennial Hall, located inside the main gate east of Park Avenue. Tickets range from $19 to $35, and are available at the Centennial Hall box office, Dillard's, the TCC box office, or by calling 621-3341.
BAUBLE BAZAAR. Since its 1993 debut, Tohono Chul Park's annual Southwest Celebrations: Holiday for the Park ornament sale just keeps getting better. And it's the perfect opportunity to get your hands on sparkling miniature masterpieces created by more than 50 regional artists, some in the shape of desert plants and animals, others in more traditional designs.
The exhibit and sale run through December 15 at Tohono Chul Park, 7366 N. Paseo del Norte. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. A $2 donation is suggested. Call 742-6455 for information.
STOP THE MADNESS. Is your overworked psyche on the verge of going postal as the season of joy nears? Luckily, there are ways to avoid running amok. Counselor Beth Banks highlights a few of them in a lecture titled Coping with Holiday Stress.
This free lecture runs from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church parish hall, 2331 E. Adams St. Call 325-6133 for details.
VERSE AND VERACITY. For years, UA professor Steve Orlen has helped students wrestle with the written word. At the same time, he's published four books of his own verse, including Permission to Speak, A Place at the Table, The Bridge of Sighs, and his latest, Kisses. Those works have garnered plenty of critical praise, including that from Stephen Dobyns, who says, "Most poetry strikes the mind and the heart. This is true of Orlen as well, but his poems also strike the ear. They feel good in the mouth."
City Week includes events selected by Calendar Editor Tim Vanderpool. 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. To have material considered, please send complete information at least 11 days prior to the Thursday issue date to: Tucson Weekly, P.O. Box 2429, Tucson, Arizona 85702, or fax information to 792-2096, or email us at email@example.com.
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