Your weekly guide to keeping busy in the Old Pueblo.
Cool Summer Nights Full Moon Festival
. Visit this fest in pairs, so that one of you can keep watch for werewolves while the other partakes in the Desert Museum’s hands-on art activities. You can also enjoy the music of local band Haboob and the astrophysical orations of UA postdoctoral researcher Dr. Kevin Hainline. 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum 2021 N. Kinney Rd., Tucson AZ 85743. $15.50-$20.50.
Model Airplane Make ‘n’ Take
. Children ages 5 and up (accompanied by an adult) are invited to explore the cross-curricular world of model airplane building in this STEM program event. Kids—and adults new to the craft—will learn about all of the different disciplines that go into creating accurate scale models, from mathematics to historical research to, of course, patience. 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5 Space Gallery Large Classroom at the Pima Air & Space Museum 6000 E Valencia Rd, Tucson, AZ 85706. Free with admission to the museum ($9-$15.50).
Summer Safari Nights: Scales and Feathers
. Visit the last safari night of the summer at the Reid Park Zoo, which honors all things scaly and feathery. Kids can get their faces painted, explore artifact stations, see special animal features, and even ride a camel. Adults can enjoy a picnic concert by Tucson’s mighty blue grass combo Run Boy Run, chat with animal keepers, wander through the vendor fair and munch on barbecue pulled pork and coleslaw. 6 to 8 p.m. July 28 and Aug. 4. Reid Park Zoo, 3400 Zoo Court. $3-$9.
Full Moon Hike
. The great outdoors really are, um, great, but melting into a puddle of sandy sweat, less so. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the Sonoran under cover of night in this guided two-hour trek. The length of the hike depends on the weather, but it will go up the Ridge View Trail off the Camino Loma Alta trailhead. Capacity is set for 16 and reservations are required, so if you want to take your shot at being a creature of the night, call 733-5153 to reserve your spot. 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6. Saguaro National Park East: Rincon Mountain District, 3693 S. Old Spanish Trail. Free with park admission.
Return of the Mermaids 2017
. Celebrate monsoon season and the annual Return of the Mermaids to the temporarily warmer, wetter Tucson area at this all-day event. Festivities kick off at Antigone Books (411 N. 4th Ave.) at 10 a.m., where mermaid raffles will be held all day. It ends at 2 a.m. the next day with a dance party at Surly Wench Pub (424 N. 4th Ave). The kid-friendly portion of the day ends around 10 p.m. after the mermaid parade (costumes, or accompaniment of a costumed child, required) and the Mermaid Fashion Art Market. In between, there’s everything from a costume contest to live music, belly dancing and a show by Tucson Improv. At the end of the day, will you side with Sebastian or Ariel on the “under the sea” vs. the “up where they walk, up where they run” debate? Saturday, Aug. 12. 10 a.m. Downtown Tucson and 4th Ave. Free, but individual event costs may vary.
4th Annual Tucson Michelada Challenge
. Join bartenders from around the city at this michelada event of Olympic proportions. With the salt-rimmed attitude of a margarita, the refreshing coldness of a beer and the nutritional value of an organic salad (it has tomato juice in it, so it must be good for you, right?) the michelada has been a Southwest staple since its inception, at which we can only presume is the beginning of time. Up to 40 bartenders can compete with their signature mixes, and attendees can sample them all and vote on their favorites. Last year, first through third place was awarded for both peoples’ and judges’ choices. 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5. Tucson Convention Center, 260 South Church Ave. $25 GA, $65 VIP admission.
Sip & Sketch
. Beer has long been known for its healing powers when it comes to solving art block. If you’re in the mood to get your creative juices flowing with some doodling, you’re going to need to replenish those juices somehow. Visit the Tucson Hop Shop on first Sundays for the chance to try out a choice brew, listen to live music and use some provided art materials to produce a masterpiece. Kids are welcome to come make art, but they'll have to get their juices flowing with something nonalcoholic. Noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6. Tucson Hop Shop 3230 N. Dodge Blvd. Free.
Mead and Bacon Pairing
. As if the first Saturday of August being National Mead Day wasn’t enough, 1912 Brewing Co. has decided to bring America’s most beloved meat into the mix by pairing Superstition Mead with bacon. The event could go up to three hours, but has to end when the bacon is gone. So if you have a need for mead and an achin’ for bacon, get there early. 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5. 1912 Brewing Co., 2045 N Forbes, Ste 105. Price varies.
Somali Cuisine Cooking Class
. The Tucson Jewish Community Center co-hosts this culinary and cultural awareness event with the International Rescue Committee. Somali refugee Chef Samiro will not only teach attendees how to prepare Somali dishes, but will share personal stories about making the move across the world from Somalia to Tucson. Sunday, Aug. 6, noon to 3 p.m. Tucson Jewish Community Center, 3800 E. River Rd. $65 to $70
Gluten Free Tasting Expo & Health Fair
. Do you think you might be gluten intolerant or allergic to gluten? Or are you considering going gluten-free for your health? Natural Grocers has partnered with the gluten-free bakery Dedicated and the local Celiac Support group to host this fun-filled, gluten-emptied event. Representatives from several organizations will be on hand to answer questions, and samples of gluten-free products, ranging from food to vitamins to body care, will be available. It’s sure to be a rootin’, tootin’, hold the gluten good time. Saturday, Aug. 5, noon to 4 p.m. Natural Grocers, 5600 E. River Rd. Free.
Arts and Crafts
Plant Nite Tucson hosts events at restaurants and bars where participants can enjoy food, drink, and the chance to create miniature gardens. They’re holding three events this week, but we’re prescribing a Monday night one to help beat those start-of-the-workweek blues. Held at Mimi’s Café on Oracle, this event will feature the creation of a succulent butterfly garden in a rose bowl. If alcohol and tiny butterflies don’t start your week off on a killer note, you might be dead. 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 7. Mimi's Café, 4420 N. Oracle Rd. $45 plus materials.
Plate Decorating Workshop
. Veteran dinnerware designer (44 years and counting!) Bob De Armond leads this class where participants will design and detail their own plates. With this class and your new Somali cooking skills from Chef Samiro under your belt, you’ll be able to make beautiful plates topped by beautiful meals. This way, you won’t be so sad when your beautiful food is gone, or even that you soiled your beautiful plate. 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 4 and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 5. Santa Theresa Tile Works, 440 N. 6th Ave. $65.
Antiques, Crafts and Small Business Fair
. The Cochise crafters host these small business events and keep vendor fees low so that even hobbyist crafters can participate. This fair is the perfect chance to and support local businesses and stock up on gifts for all of those late-summer birthdays. (Note: birthrates are highest in August and September, perhaps because wombs aren’t generally equipped with AC units). Saturday, Aug. 5, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Mall at Sierra Vista, 2200 El Mercado Loop, Sierra Vista. Free.
Annual Summer Sidewalk Sale & Christmas Bazaar
. The Madaras Gallery is hosting this two-in-one event for anyone who likes art, savings and getting a huge head start on Christmas shopping. If you’re eager to clear out their shelves and restock for the fall season, the gallery will be offering sales on much of their merchandise. The Christmas Bazaar will include deals on holiday cards, ornaments and gifts for anyone who has a birthday between now and Dec. 25. Saturday, Aug. 5 to Sunday, Aug. 6. Call 615-3001 for times. Madaras Gallery, 3035 N. Swan Rd. Free.
Fun in General
Dancing With the Stars: Live! – Hot Summer Nights
. The hit TV show is going on a cross-country summer tour to showcase the industry’s best ballroom dancers. Whether you’re into those super-sensual duets, the dramatic group numbers, or the extravagantly avant-garde original pieces, you’re almost undoubtedly going to have a moment in the evening where you consider leaving your life behind to blindly pursue the glam, frolicsome world of competitive ballroom dancing. Tuesday, Aug. 8, 7 p.m. Tucson Music Hall at the Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave. $46.50 to $523 (for VIP meet and greet).
JitterCat Jive: 1 Year Anniversary
. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to swing dance, but couldn’t swing the money or time, you’re about to run out of excuses. The JitterCat Jive, a First Saturday event hosted by Movement Culture dance studio, is celebrating one year of spins, hops and bustin’ rugs. A lesson for beginners will take place from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., followed by social dancing from 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Everyone, even those without experience or partners, is welcome to head downtown for the festivities. Saturday, Aug. 5. 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Movement Culture, 435 E 9th St. $5
Odyssey Storytelling “Potluck.”
In these themed storytelling events formatted similarly to The Moth podcast, individuals share stories with a group of strangers. This month’s event centers on food, which means audiences could hear the six speakers talk about anything from cultural cooking traditions to providing food for the hungry. Come hungry for fellowship and personal anecdotes, but no need to bring food. This is a potluck of stories about the human experience, not a “bring-your-famous-potato-salad” one. Thursday, Aug. 3, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The Screening Room, 127 E. Congress St. $6-$8.
The Comedy Night: Variety Comedy Show
. The Comedy Temple hosts two back-to-back comedy shows at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Nobody knows exactly what the shows will consist of or what mediums will be presented. There could be improv groups, stand-up, prepared sketches, musical numbers or even some sort of Monty Python-esque combination of the above. 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4 The Screening Room, 127 E. Congress St. $5 per show, or $7 for both. All ages.
Southeast Arizona Birding Festival
. The four-day fest begins Thursday, Aug. 10 and offers full and half-day birding field trips, bird photography field workshops, speakers— such as keynote Paul Bannick—and a nature expo featuring live animal exhibits, a native plant sale, and optic company booths. For the bird enthusiast who can’t be satiated, two pre-trips happen on Sunday, Aug. 6 and Monday, Aug. 7. Thursday, Aug. 10 to Sunday, Aug. 13. 8 a.m., but hike and event times vary. Arizona Riverpark Inn, 777 W. Cushing St. $15 and up.
. "Can't you feel me?/I'm your anchor.” As husband and wife, The Mastersons couldn't be more “Perfect.” And their new release, Transient Lullabies
, is one of the most preternaturally smart, and richly romantic albums in years. The duo co-wrote the eleven songs, and while their voices weave and harmonize sweetly together, their instruments (fiddle and guitar) slow dance cheek to cheek. Like Gillian and David or Shovels and Rope, this folksome, country-tinged pop duo is the sound of pure, creatively inspired love, and it’s utterly convincing. Masterson played guitar for Son Volt and Jay Ferrar fans won't be disappointed by the lyrics or arrangements. "No I don't unpack my bag, moving town to town ... if you don't wanna be alone than come along." This album is an open invitation for aspiring soulmates to ramble on, across this damn continent, or down Highway 1, as a pilgrims “of the Airstream," and as power-dreamers and flawed lovers. With Steve Earle (note that The Mastersons double as members of Steve Earle’s band The Dukes.) on Tuesday, August 8. Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress. 7 p.m. $25-39. All ages.
. “There’s always light behind the dark.” Luke Elliot's songs live somewhere in that shadowy in-between. Oft compared to Leonard Cohen for his minor-keyed melodic sensibility and sometimes sparse musical arrangements, he is equal parts Wild, Innocent, E-Street Shuffle
-era Springsteen, especially on up-tempo tunes like "Virginia" where the dynamic back and forth with the band mimics a barreling freight train. He’s big in Norway but hails from the Garden State, and when Elliot imparts blue-collar woes at the piano, Billy Joel might leap to mind. Like Joel, he sings of deep love lost, but minus the Broadway posturing. His vocal grit recalls early Tom Waits, yet Elliot's dramatic monologues (like "Trouble”) never lapse into the maudlin or cartoonish. What Elliot has most in common with such greats is an innate ability to tug at our hearts and minds with compelling, well-sung stories. It is Elliot's hopeful perspective, his ability to capture and foreshadow the coming of light, even in the midst of darkness, that sets him apart. And, like great novelists, his writing ultimately soothes, and lifts. Thursday, August 3 at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress. 7 p.m. $12-$15. 21+.
. Like Bauhaus before, Seattle’s Zen Mother strives to blend organic and electronic instrumentation into a sort of spooky, electro-noise rock. No wonder, they’re inspired by badass avant-garde composer Igor Wakhevitch (who, you’ll note, composed Salvador Dali's only opera). A male and a female voice chant in unison and sometimes sing about sleep or mantras or natural disaster, while cellos and live drums add depth and breadth to guitars and syrupy Korg keyboards. Staccato accentuate moody drones, prog asides and Eno soundscapes, often driven by vocals, guitar ’verb or rhythmic loops. At their best, singer Monika Khot commands a Nico-ish monotone, and sometimes the cello and guitars screech apart like some Roman Polanski score unhinged. Artful, ambitious and self-serious, all sides of the same trippy coin. With the mighty Lenguas Largas, Vatican Ratlines and Jalph on Saturday, August 5. Club Congress, 311 E. Congress. 7 p.m. Free.
. "You make me think/You even bought me a drink/Even though I gotta pay ya back/Am I fun enough for you?" The answer’s a resounding "yes." In the grand tradition of nihilist-bubblegum punk trios like Groovy Ghoulies, Mr. T Experience and The Suicide Commandos come the Touchies. Their straight-up post-Ramones/Rezillos rage is self-deprecating enough to charm but unpretentious enough to be pure, so it’s feel-good catharsis. But the irony is in the singsong, in the wink-wink choruses: “Sex, Hugs and Rock ’n’ Roll,” for example, is a fist-pump sendup of self and the very idea of rock ’n’ roll in 2017. On “Tell Me,” the Bobby Sherman “Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba’s over strident power riffs sound like the long-forgotten Cali surf-punks The Simpletones. You gotta adore any band whose Undertones reference rises over a twisted Dickies riff. From San Diego too, so maybe they’ll cover The Zeros’ “Beat Your Heart Out”! With Honeychain on Saturday, August 5. The Loudhouse, 915 W. Prince. 7 p.m. $5. 21+.