guide to keeping busy in the Old Pueblo.
The Nutcracker at Ballet Tucson
. This might not be the space to be asking the questions, but does anyone hear the word “nutcracker” and just think of a useful advice used to get into a tasty wintertime snack anymore? Do people even use nutcrackers anymore? Or does everyone’s mind go straight to “The Nutcracker Suite?" Whatever the significance of the word “nutcracker” is to you, you’re sure to enjoy Ballet Tucson’s award-winning production of one of the most popular ballets in the world. 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 22. 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 23. 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 24. Tucson Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. $30 to $58 GA, $26 to $40 seniors/students/military, $19 to $31 large groups.
Club Sanctuary Presents: Krampus Ball
. Surly Wench Pub, Club Sanctuary and Plastic Disease are hosting this event for anyone who’s sick of how wholesome this season is. Enjoy Industrial +EBM music with DJ Plastic Disease and DJ NoirTech. Sinister attire is highly suggested—don’t miss potentially the only opportunity you’ll have to wear devil horns all season. In Krampus’ name, we pray to see you there. 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22. Surly Wench Pub, 424 N. Fourth Ave. No cover. 21+.
. Nick Lachey, Drew Lachey, Justin Jeffre, Jeff Timmons, and hopefully four frosted-tip hairdos are coming to Tucson, and if you’re not freaking out, then you’ve probably never heard “Because of You,” “I Do,” or any of their other all-at-once moving and catchy ballads. The fact that they’ve never won a Grammy is proof that the world is an unjust place, but you can have a little slice of just and joy by seeing them perform their brand new Christmas album, Let it Snow. Doors 7 p.m., show 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 22. Desert Diamond Casinos and Entertainment, 1100 W. Pima Mine Road, Sahuarita. $25 to $45.
Anita’s Street Market 32nd Annual Christmas Event
. We may not have very frosty celebrations out here in the Old Pueblo, but we can have some free ones! Head over to Christmas in the Barrio for FREE haircuts for boys and girls by Fantasy’s & Savage Cuts; FREE ferris wheel rides; FREE candy bags; and FREE hotdogs, pizza and drinks! They’re accepting donations for Toys For Tots at the event as well, so you can pay the fun forward. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 23. Anita’s Street Market, 849 N. Anita Ave. Free.
Kitschmas with Brian & Ryan
. People are always saying “’tis the season” around this time of year, but they never finish the sentence. ’Tis the season for what, exactly? Collaborative art duo Brian & Ryan are at MOCA’s Third Thursday this month with the answer: the season for mutant gingerbread people, seductive reclining snowman sugar cookies and ugly sweaters! Don’t miss this chance to kick back with some eggnog and practice some resume-boosting skills, like decorating an ugly sweater, or sprinkling sugar and suggestiveness on a platter of nondenominational holiday cookies. 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 21. MOCA, 265 S. Church Ave. Free.
Outlaw Saloon Ugly Sweater Contest
. The ugly sweater contest is one of the most ancient traditions in the world. Pharaohs were known to have worn them in ancient Egypt, ugly sweater making and modeling was one of the original Olympic events in Greece, and there are even prehistoric hieroglyphics that historians believe depict cavemen and women in ugly sweater contests. Yeah, that’s all false, but it doesn’t take away from what an important part of our culture they are today. So put yours on and head over to Outlaw for live music by Wildride and DJ Albert, as well as karaoke. 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 23. Outlaw Saloon, 1302 W. Roger Road. Free entry.
SAZCUUPS Yule/Winter Solstice
. For starters, SAZCUUPS stands for the Southern Arizona Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. The return of the sun after the longest night of the year, the rebirth of light, is pretty cool no matter who you are, but especially if you’re someone who practices an earth-based faith. Feel free to bring a snack to share after this ritual, and email email@example.com to request childcare for the event. 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 21. Unitarian Universalist Church-Tucson, 4831 22nd St. Free, but donations welcome.
A Mouthful of Christmas
. Head over to Iron John’s Brewing company for this contest to see who can fit the most Christmas trees in their mouth! Okay, just kidding. It’s just a regular Christmas party, and no one has to put any Christmas trees in their mouths, which means everyone is a winner. Just enjoy gift sets, beer and ALL DAY HAPPY HOUR. Holly jolly indeed. 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 23. Iron John’s Brewing Company, 245 S. Plumer Ave, Suite 27. Free entry.
Santa Claus at the Tucson Petting Zoo
. Okay, so we pretty much just gave away the whole event with the title: Santa’s coming to the petting zoo to take pictures with the kids. A professional photographer will be on deck, and goats, porcupines, capybaras and Santa’s beard will all be available for the petting. The Tucson petting zoo will also be open on Christmas day, with Santa Claus doing the tours! Santa’s around from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 22, Saturday, Dec. 23 and Sunday, Dec. 24. Tucson Petting Zoo, 2405 W. Wetmore Road. $8. Christmas day hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and cost is $10 a person.
Breakfast with Santa at Pump It Up
. There’s no telling what could happen when you combine the two most powerful types of magic in the universe: Santa magic and inflatable bouncy things magic. But you can be sure you’re in for a good time. Santa’s taken time out of his busy schedule to sit down for milk, orange juice, apples, muffins, fresh fruit and yogurt with Pump It Up Patrons. He probably wants to get a healthy meal and a good bouncing workout in before he spends all of Christmas Eve filling up on cookies from households all over the world. 9 a.m. to noon. Friday, Dec. 22. Pump It Up Tucson, 3248 N. Freeway Industrial Loop, #108. $15, reservations required.
13th Annual PYT Christmas Light Parade
Parades and Caravans
. The Pascua Yaqui Tribe Department of Language & Culture is hosting this night full of floats, festivities and fun. Float line up starts at 5 p.m. in the parking lot across from Casino del Sol, and the parade kicks off at 6 p.m. The best way to spread Christmas cheer may be singing loud for all to hear, but parades have to be a close second, right? 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 22. PYT Wellness Center, 53-5 Calle Torim. Free.
Caravan/Car, Truck & Bike Show
. Car shows already kind of feel like Christmas: you get to look at your friends’ shiny new toys, show off your shiny new toys to your friends and even make new friends. This event incorporates even more of the Christmas spirit by including a bicycle drive for kids. Local car clubs, truck clubs and motorcycle clubs will team up to support Ramon’s Miracle on 31st Street with a parade caravan. Registration is one bicycle for three vehicles, which will be raffled off to the children in attendance (they all get free raffle tickets). Plus, there’s 16 different trophy categories, including a “Most Bikes Donated” trophy. Vehicles meet at Rodeo Park at 7 a.m., and a police escort will bring everyone to Casino Del Sol for the caravan at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 23. Casino Del Sol, 5655 W. Valencia Road. 1 bicycle/three cars.
Shoppin’ Around the Christmas Tree
5 Points Farmers Market
. If you haven’t done any of your Christmas shopping yet by Christmas Eve, maybe you should actually be panicking a little bit. But, after you’re done panicking, just head over to Grassroots Farmers Market to pick up some produce, meats and more from local farmers. After all, nothing says you love someone quite like food. Enjoy 5 Point baked goods and Cafe Aqui coffee while you shop. If you’re going to stress eat over how behind you are, you might as well support local businesses while you’re at it. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 24. 5 Points Market & Restaurant, 756 S. Stone Ave. Free.
Now or Never Preview Holiday Pop Up
. Now or Never, a modern home/gift/natural skincare, is holding a special sale for people who forgot to get their Christmas shopping done earlier in the year. Pick up a cute candle for your mom, a coffee cup for the coworker you don’t know that well, and maybe even some fancy skin cream for yourself. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 21 through Saturday, Dec. 23. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 24. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 26 through Friday, Dec. 20. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 31. Mercado San Augustin, 100 S. Agenda Del Convento. Free.
A Good Cause
A Night of Remembrance
. In this season of joy and light, many face suffering and darkness in the form of a void left behind by the loss of a loved one. At this Evergreen Mortuary & Cemetery Event, take a moment to celebrate those no longer with us and to hear music and a message of inspiration. A candle-lighting ceremony will be followed by an open invitation to stay for conversation and light refreshments. 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 22. Evergreen Mortuary Cemetery & Crematory, 3015 N. Oracle Road. Free.
. Face it: No one actually wants to be silent during the holidays. It’s an exciting time, and there’s a lot to do. And if you can benefit local children by making some noise, all the better. Check out eight local bands coming together to raise money to provide toys for Cheech’s kids. Jingle your bells, raise your voices, and make some joyful noise at this House of Rossi-hosted event! 7 to 11 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 21. House of Bards, 4915 E. Speedway Blvd. $15, with $5 off if you bring a toy for donation (one per person, must be in good condition).
Free Guided Meditation
. Take a deep breath with Sahara Meditation and let all of your worries about find the right gift or seeing your extended family members for the holidays fade away. These two classes will be held outside by a swimming pool, so dress accordingly and feel free to treat yourself to a warm drink afterward. 5 to 6 and 6 to 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 22. 4010 E. Sunrise Drive. Free.
47th Annual Ramon’s Miracle on 31st Street
. If you’re feeling exhausted with the holiday hustle and bustle, take a moment to be a part of something bigger and sweeter: raising 10,000+ toys for 10,000+ kids. To make a donation, contact Ramon Gonzales at 288-8340 or 971-8271. The toy giveaway will be at Casino Del Sol, with music, food and fun for the kids (including face painting!) abounding. What could be happier or more wholesome than a bunch of kids on (their personal) Christmas morning? 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 23. AVA Amphitheater, 5655 W. Valencia Road. Free.
. “Let those little fingers take a trip right down your spine ...” Hank Topless’ melodies sometimes never go where you think they will—indeed the resolve is, at best, a fourth not a fifth. Minor notes in the vocal and guitar lines recall the sweet jazz arpeggios of Happy Sad-era Tim Buckley, evoking an aural deja vu of yearning and loss. This ain’t hummable Haggard, though old Merle’s outlaw spirit lives within the resonant scratches of Hank Topless’ voice. One part latter-day Leonard Cohen, occasionally veering into vocal-cocked Willy Nelson territory, Hank’s songs are flush with heart. The cover songs are well-chosen: Blind Willie Johnson, Jim Morrison, Blind Lemon Jefferson all feel like broadcasts from someone else’s recessed memory. And Hank’s blues are hardly forced. Neither preening nor postured, he has that innate quality of Townes Van Zandt; he’s the too-authentic dude drunk people talk over “Lodi”-style but shouldn’t. With Hans Hutchison on Saturday, Dec. 23. Club Congress, 311 E. Congress. Doors at 7 p.m. 21+. Free. —B.S. Eliot
Bordertown Devils with The Distortionists, Sucker for the Sour, Cove and Dr. Soap. Hosted by Krampus Crooner
. “I’ll never fit inside your mold.” For those whose rage and anxiety outweighs their peace and joy this time of year, the Loudhouse Christmas offers a chance to shove and shout with a roomful of other ruddy-faced Bah-Humbuggers. Skatepunk locals The Bordertown Devils offer up three-minute aggro anthems to “Rot n’ Roll” your blues. And for those requiring Hold Steady-meets-The Weirdos wit to wash down consumerist Christmas highballs, local bitch-slaps The Distortionists remind us to count our damn blessings: “You’re living in Tucson, punk, not LA. Welcome to Tucson. Fuck LA.” The kickass-named Sucker for the Sour round out the bill; this candy-punk trio sweetly sing that sharing is caring, even when if it’s flat backwash of a Mickey’s forty and a spit-wet cigarette. Hosted by the inscrutable Krampus Crooner, this night is one last rum-soaked chance for sinners to revel before collecting the lumps (of coal). On Saturday, Dec 23, at The Loudhouse, 915 W. Prince Road. 7 p.m. $6 or three dry goods. 21+. —B.S. Eliot
. “From the depths of the sea, back to the block,” Snoop Dogg lent the G-funk era that much-needed gangsta lean. For the last quarter century, the S-n-double-o-p has been dropping every manner of hot—35 million albums worth—across a baker’s dozen of titles. His cartoon-lilt has brought humor to often embarrassingly bad tracks (think Willie Nelson’s “Superman”) and made otherwise perniciously sexist ones palatable (think Lil Jon collabo “Step Yo Game Up”). Forever G’z up, hoez down and “high till I dizz-i, rizz-i,” Snoop’s hardly been PC. In fact, he’s a self-marketing savant, at this point as famous for stealing reality show scenes and hocking “lifestyle” products as he is for the tracks. The polar opposite of D.A.R.E., the man never just says no. Always one to seize the moment, Snoop’s most recent release is called Make America Crip Again. But that’s all marketing, right? Saturday, Dec. 23. The Rialto, 318 E. Congress. Doors at 7 p.m. $50. All ages. —B.S. Eliot
. “All that weak shit has to go, we about to raise the status quo.” Tucson’s Black One (AKA Jaron Ikner) has spent the last 11 years doing just that, alongside local Hometown Heroez (H2) and the southwest regional Starstruck collective. Black One’s all about his roots too: He’s the only rapper “representing Arizona sunsets,” and creating a cohesive Old Pueblo community in hopes of everyone rising together. His prolific canon features masterful freestyles and herbally-laced aural acrobatics that blur lines between hip hop and EDM—tracks like “We Made It” rise on psychedelic EDM and post-Brother Ali street-preaching. He’s well-versed in the Church, code-switching with command, making astute allusions as necessary. Black always pushes for better, always aims high, and the celebration and release of his new record, Breaking Infinity, will be no exception. Friday, Dec. 22, at Bar Passe, 415 N. Fourth Ave. 9 p.m. All ages. Free. —B.S. Eliot
. Bob Einweck has a guitar and a story to tell. And he does just this on his new album, Monsoons
. Right from the title you can tell what you’re getting into: twangy blues that linger between clay pots and saguaros, and slide guitars that push those sounds out into the desert haze. Maybe the monsoons are indeed a desert downpour, but maybe there’s a metaphorical deluge here as well. Einweck’s lyrics run the singer/songwriter gamut of lost loves, vacant wallets, and hope that refuses to be found at the bottom of a glass of whisky, but it comes with a local twist. The characters in Einweck’s tales wander the lonesome local landscape: Eating pizza at Rocco’s, listlessly strolling down Tucson Boulevard, and getting caught up at the New Mexico border. But, like the desert prairieland, it’s not all withered stalks and dead roots. Many songs on the album also feature guest vocalists funneling in handclaps and camaraderie and hope like a long-welcome oasis. There really is a good collection of sounds on this album: mandolin, harmonica, electric guitar, congas and cajones. But none overpower the words themselves or the stories they tell. Pour a glass of your favorite alcohol, pull up a stool, and prepare to hear to a man singing out his woes to any and all—even if the only one listening is the empty Arizona sunset. 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 26, at the Royal Sun, 1015 N. Speedway. Free. —Jeff Gardner