guide to keeping busy in the Old Pueblo.
Connect the Dots: TEDx Tucson
. If you spend your spare time (and maybe sometimes working hours) watching Ted talks and doing and redoing the math to see if you’d ever be able to afford an actual TED conference, then this TEDx conference might be the perfect event for you. With 10 speakers, bands, dancers, art exhibits, snacks, catered lunch and parking all for under eight bucks, or under a hundred for the full VIP shebang, it’s a TEDx-cellent way to spend a Saturday. 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13. Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway Blvd. $75 GA, $65 students and 65+, $95 VIP.
The Zoppé Family Circus
. Hardly anything is quite so magical as a circus. Everything is more colorful in a circus tent than in the outside world. The popcorn is saltier. The sounds are sharper and louder and more magnificent. And we’ve got a case of compounded magic at this event, as the Zoppé Family Circus is coming to Tucson for the seventh time, and everyone knows the number seven is lucky and magical. These guys have been doing their thing in the ring since 1842, so you know they know what they’re doing. Friday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. through Sunday, Jan. 21 at 1 and 4 p.m., with various days and times in between. MSA Annex, 267 S. Avenida Del Convento. $20 to $90.
2018 Cactus Classic Invitational
. If you’re into 18U through 12U girls’ volleyball and 18 Club and 16 Club Boys volleyball, you’re in the right place. This three-day tournament will be bringing about 165 volleyball teams from all over the Arizona region to serve and spike amongst the saguaros in town. Well, not literally amongst the saguaros. The whole thing is held under the Tucson Convention Center’s roof (and at Sporting Chance Center and the UA, if needed). Saturday, Jan. 13 to Monday, Jan. 15. Tournaments begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and Monday’s start time depends on bracket placement. Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave. $10 for one day, $20 for all three days. Free for kids 10 and under.
. Etherton Gallery’s new exhibit features work by Rodrigo Moya, Graciela Iturbide and Masao Yamamoto, and highlights the ways that photographs—particularly the black and white work of these artists—can not only capture memories, but become memories themselves. Animals, architecture, people, desert scenery: You’ll see them all at this exhibit, because they’re all woven into the tapestry of our memory. The exhibition runs through March 3, and the opening reception is from 7 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 13, at the Etherton Gallery, 135 S. Sixth Ave. Masao Yamamoto, whose small photographs of nature make you feel like you’re peeking into someone else’s memory, has traveled all the way from Japan to give a public lecture at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 12 at the Center for Creative Photography Auditorium, 1030 N. Olive Road.
. The Helios Ensemble, a 50-member vocal performance group, is keeping the midwinter spirit alive even as the holidays come to a close. Samuel Barber’s Twelfth Night sets the tone with its first line: “No night could be darker than this night.” Reger’s Nachtlied sets a German poem by Petrus Herbert to a crisp and cool melody, and “White Winter Hymnal,” a Fleet Foxes song made popular by Pentantonix that sounds a lot more cheerful than it is, will have you struggling not to sing along. 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 14. Catalina United Methodist Church, 2700 E. Speedway Blvd. $8 to $30.
Gil Shaham at the Tucson Symphony Orchestra
. It’s hard to be objective about these things, but when you’re a Grammy Award winner whose been named Musical America’s Instrumentalist of the Year and is hailed by the New York Times as “one of today’s preeminent violinists,” it’s safe to say you’re probably one of the best violinists alive today. You probably don’t have all those accolades, but Gil Shaham does, and he’s coming to Tucson for one night only to play pieces by Glazunov, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky. 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12. Tucson Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. $45 to $88.
Arturo Sandoval at the Tucson Symphony Orchestra
. Are the exuberant sounds of a trumpet better suited for your ears than the smooth stylings of a violin? If so, wait just one more night to check out Arturo Sandoval, a 10-time Grammy Award winner, a 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient and a protégé of Dizzy Gillespie himself. It’s a fantastic week to be a jazz fan in Tucson, but Sandoval is not to be missed for anyone who’s a fan of music or passionate performances. 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 13 and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 14. Tucson Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. $24 to $65.
The Grapes of Wrath at the Rogue Theatre
. Get ready to get sad! If you’ve read the book and you saw at least the opening scene of Ladybird, then you’re probably as prepared as you can be for this heartbreaking—and heartbreakingly lovely—story. Directed by Joseph McGrath, with music direction by Jake Sorgen, the show will be followed by a discussion with the cast and director at every performance. Thursday, Jan. 11 through Sunday, Jan. 28. 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturdays, 2 p.m. on Sundays, plus 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday, Jan. 20 and 27. The Rogue Theatre at the Historic Y, 300 E. University Blvd. $38, or $28 for discount preview shows on Jan. 11 and 12.
RAPunzel: A Hip Hop Musical
. With Hamilton achieving such stratospheric success, it was only a matter of time before more of history’s most classic stories got “the Miranda treatment.” You know the story of Rapunzel, her evil-stepmother, her impractically (and improbably, tbh) long hair and her royal beau. But no one knows exactly what sick rhymes will be laid down at this Live Theatre Workshop show except for people involved in the production, because RAPunzel is an original adaptation with music and lyrics by Richard Gremel and Connor Griffin, and Gremel himself is directing. Every Sunday at 12:30 p.m. from Jan. 14 through March 18. No show on Sunday, Feb. 11. Live Theatre Workshop, 5317 E. Speedway Blvd. $10 adults, $7 kids.
Tucson Fringe Theater Festival
. It’s avant-garde, it’s non-traditional, it’s big and bold and completely uncensored and unjuried. Watch local performers pretty much do whatever they want with results that can be anywhere from hilarious to touching to both. “A Bit Touched,” is a performance about a woman uses a combination of humor and obsessive compulsive disorder to keep herself going through their jobs. In “Allah Earth: The Cycle of Life,” is a poetry/dance/mime multimedia show by a deaf Indian Muslim woman. “Do You Want to See Me Naked?” is a one-woman show performed by an ex-Mormon. And that’s not even the half of it. Be there. Friday, Jan. 12 to Sunday, Jan. 14. Various times and locations. $75 all-access pass, $20 Friday pass, $35 Saturday pass, $30 Sunday pass, $15 two-show pass. $10 per individual show.
A Hobbyist’s Delight
Wings over Willcox
. As the old saying goes, where there’s a will, there’s a way, and where there’s a Willcox, there’s a wing. Enjoy half-day, daylong and even overnight trips, and look for winter water fowl, Sandhill cranes, hawks, hummingbirds and other, perhaps unexpected friends. In between your birding adventures, enjoy continental breakfasts, wine pairing dinners, photography sessions and a ghost town tour. Everywhere you look, something winged this way comes. Thursday, Jan. 11 to Sunday, Jan. 14 at varying times. Willcox Community Center, 312 West Stewart St., Willcox. Prices vary by session.
David Fischer: Model Builder Extraordinaire
Modeler's Desk 1957, David Fischer, 1/5 scale modeler's deks shown with actual-size vintage modelers kit.
. The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures has a new artist in their Community Corner Exhibit. David Fischer started building models when he was 4 years old, and has been tiny tanks, teensy tractors and a wee version of his own workspace—a desk covered in miniature miniature airplanes. Enjoy the fruits of this Tucson artist’s labor (the German Sturmgeschutz IIG took him more than 12 years to complete!) without putting in the hours of work yourself. Showing through April 29. Museum open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. 4455 E. Camp Lowell Drive. $9 GA, $8 military/65+, $6 youth, free for children 3 and under.
Mineral Madness Sale and Family Fun
. Get ready to rock and roll. Well, really it’s the other way around, because you’ll need to roll on over to the Desert Museum before you can get your hands on some of these super affordable, super cool rocks (we’re talking as low as 50 cents). There’s geology activity stations for the kids, and fossils from all around the world for fossil fiends. “Tales from the Vault” on Saturday tells stories about some of the 16,000 mineral specimens at the museum, and “Rock Readings” on Sunday allows patrons to bring in a rock from their collection to learn what it is and how it formed. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13 and Sunday, Jan. 14. Members-only preview from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 11. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, 2021 N. Kinney Road. GA $21.95. AZ resident $16.95. Seniors 65+ $19.95. Military $17.95. Kids 3-12 $8.95. Kids under 3 free.
10th Annual Southern Arizona Clogging Festival
Hosted by the Square and Round Dance Association of Southern Arizona
. Finally! An excuse to clog your heart out! Not that you need an excuse. But hey, it never hurts to spend a weekend full of clogging workshops, exhibitions and evening dances. New to clogging? Try the “Introduction to Clogging” class! So new you don’t even know what it is? It’s like tap dancing, kind of, but it’s more… Irishy. It’s also often considered the first form of street dance, so it’s very hardcore. Shane Gruber of West Bloomfield Michigan is the featured instructor, and Dave Roe of good ol’ Goodyear is the special guest instructor. Friday, Jan. 12 and Saturday, Jan. 13. Workshops from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Evening dances Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday’s Introduction to Clogging Class is from 6:30 to 7 p.m., and exhibitions are from 7 to 7:30 p.m. Old Pueblo Dance Center, 613 E. Delano St. Prices vary by session.
History and Culture
Tucson Presidio’s Living History
. Sometimes it seems like society just hasn’t made that much progress since the 1700s. But, hey, we’re not making our own candles and firing canons at our neighbors anymore, so that’s some sort of progress. Take this chance to check out the day-to-day lives of the soldiers and their families who lived in the Presidio in the late 18th century, watching demonstrations of children’s games, weaving and blacksmithing. Try out cotton spinning and pumping the bellows of a blacksmith forge yourself, then reward yourself with some fresh-baked bread and handmade tortillas. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Presidio San Augustin del Tucson Museum, 196 N. Court Ave. Saturday, Jan. 13. $5 GA, $1 kids 6 to 14, free for kids 5 and under and for Presidio Trust members.
Landscapes of Migration in the Arizona-Sonora Borderland
. Scott Warren, a cultural geographer and lecturer, is coming to talk about the history of migration–that means immigration, yes, but the Sonora is also at the center of one of the major north-south channels of travel throughout history, from Hohokam trade routes to Spanish colonizers to the migrants of today. His talk kicks of a series at the Pima County Public Library, Thought-Provoking Programs on Pressing Community Issues, which runs through June. 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 13. Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone Ave. Free.
Beyond Tucson: A Time to Break the Silence
. Celebrate the visionary Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
with this adaptation of his famous speech from April, a967, in which he officially spoke out against the Vietnam War, saying, “If we will only make the right choice, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.” The Artifact Dance Project, Words on the Avenue, UA Dance, the UA School of Theatre, Film, and Television, and the Fred Fox School of Music will all be coming together to honor the civil rights hero. 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 14. Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd. Free.
Yume Japanese Gardens Fifth Anniversary Celebration
. Push through the market square and to everyone’s favorite Japanese Garden in Tucson for a day of traditional demonstrations, performances and festivities. Watch origami, Ikebana (flower arranging) and shakuhachi (bamboo flute) masters do their work, and enjoy a performance by Odaiko Sonora, Arizona’s premier Taiko group. And chow down on some Japanese food while you’re there! 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13. Yume Japanese Gardens, 2130 N. Alvernon Way. $15 adults, $7 children under 15.
Discover Petroglyphs in the Tortolitas
. What better way to escape the craziness of the everyday world than to take a hike through the Tortolita Mountains? This guided hike rises approximately 900 feet over six miles, and Bob Stinson from the Town of Marana Parks and Recreation Department will be showing you the petroglyphs along the well-maintained trail. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find a secret message in the petroglyphs encouraging you to go hiking more often, or to read the Tucson Weekly every week. 8 a.m. to noon. Saturday, Jan. 13. Meet at the Wild Burro Trailhead in the Ritz Carlton Resort, 14810 N. Secret Springs Drive, Marana. Free.
Run with the Saguaros: 4- or 1-mile Social Run
. If Saguaros can survive more than 100 years in the scathing Arizona sun without air conditioning or even the redeeming qualities of the really good Mexican food in this desert, then you can run a mile. And you can go eat some Mexican food afterward. The National Park Service and the Southern Arizona Roadrunners are teaming up to offer this free BEYOND run/walk for people of all ages (but please no pets). There’s rolling dirt roads and a little bit of pavement, so if you bring a stroller, oversized wheels are strongly recommended. The race won’t be timed, and awards won’t be given, which makes the whole thing way less scary. 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 13. Saguaro National Park West, 2700 W. Kinney Road.
Senior Olympic Festival
. Senior Citizen Smackdown! If you’re a senior citizen looking for a chance to show off (or even to try out) your skills in a sport like archery, badminton, basketball, racquetball, tennis, volleyball, track and field, or even powerlifting, you’ll want to be there for this. Not really your style? Compete in billiards, bunco, cribbage, table tennis or poker? Our personal favorite is the Leisure Walk competition category. Do you win by finishing first? Or last? Of course, the real answer is that on a leisure walk, everyone is a winner. Dates and times and locations of events vary, but the festival runs through Saturday, Feb. 3 and home base is the Morris K. Udall Regional Center, 7200 E. Tanque Verde Road. Call 791-3244 with any questions. Must be a member of the USA Pickleball Association to register for the pickleball event. $20 per person.
Album artwork, for Cesar Ruiz's "For Music Lovers," by Trever Ducote.
. From the moment the mellotron sounds, and Cesar Ruiz’s echoed voice begins to sing, we know exactly who he is—a manboy filled with lofty, spiritual aspirations grounded by the more feminine sounds and sights of the world around him. There’s lots to grapple with here, and there’s confusion, but that’s to his credit. Opening his second, and latest, album (For Music Lovers
) with the traditional hymn “Kyrie Eleison,” Flagstaff’s own Ruiz offers up self-serious, unironic sincerity. Then the songs that follow—whether they be flat, self-harmonizing muses about floating in “my around-town USA” or surprising pieces about reincarnation, which declare, “I want to be a dog again”—work on various levels. It’s at once innocence and longing, sometimes bordering on twee. His best stuff is mostly the guitar pop and jangle; it finds Ruiz soothing and shaking and shimmering, sorta like those Church records from the 1980s. But it’s 2018, and his record collection runs much deeper than the jangle ’80s. It’s inspiring too—think of Ruiz as a little pop curio in the same way Fred Thomas was on early Saturday Looks Good to Me albums. With Bombshell Nightlight and Hard Pass on Saturday, Jan. 13. At the Hard House, 1348 E. 10th Street. Doors at 7:30 p.m. All ages. —B.S. Eliot
. The Flying V at full vertical tilt rings out 30-second ear-bending notes. Another six-string joins in, fingers rage up and down the neck, and the whole crazy train about derails until the drums and bass kick in to ground it. The groove takes hold and the tempo downshifts, and all four bang heads in unison. This is Railgun, a scuzzed-out thrash band from Long Beach striving to summon the classic feel of Master of Puppets
-era Metallica with the impish prowess of the second Liquid Tension record. Deftly shifting time signatures, these dudes tread familiar lyrical ground with their ironic celebration of America’s need for World Domination: “The breath of freedom is half of me/I’m glad to be a man.” The vocals are barely discernible yet platitude-y and fun, and the glacial power-metal riffs are as hummable as the band’s youthful exuberance is inspiring. It reminds us that rock ’n’ roll really is a young man’s game of inner discovery, and that the old guys just refused to die before they got old. With Ninja Gandhi and Conceived by Thunder on Wednesday, Jan. 17. The Loudhouse, 915 W. Prince Road. 8 p.m. $5. 21+. —B.S. Eliot
. His shimmering, soul-lift melodies offer a sundrenched compliment to Lando Chill’s gentle flow. They surround and cushion the straight-at-you street spark of Mike Check$. These masterful synth compositions are the brainchild of local producer ace The Lasso (AKA Andy Catlin), whose innate sense of dynamic songcraft allows him to write backing tracks strong enough to stand on their own merit, but subtle enough to underscore and further tones and themes of some of Tucson’s most inspired emcees. (It’s no wonder he’s worked with greats from beyond the 520, such as suburban Detroit’s mighty Frontier Ruckus.) This ace producer is a multi-instrumentalist too, musically skilled enough to warrant a closer, instrumental listen. (Who knew he’s got 10 of his own albums out?!) Here, The Lasso will be showcasing his MIDI keyboard-based work, and fetching blends of electronic hip-hop psych. It’s a rare chance to be enveloped by Tucson’s most undersung architect of sound. With Sunfucked (poet Jasper Avery) and Fleece Deejays on Friday, Jan. 12. Club Congress, 311 E. Congress. Doors at 9 p.m. 21+. Free. —B.S. Eliot
Miracle Mile Gateway Car Show, and violinist Barry Smith
. Stroll into to simpler times Saturday and celebrate Tucson’s storied Miracle Mile. Move beneath lovely roadside motel neon along the route while digging a family-friendly atmo of face painting and food trucks. Hit up Golden Pin Lanes for an exhibit of historic photos from this area’s golden age of highway motels and classic cars. Then step back out onto the streets for the glory of these same cars, restored, tricked out. Sponsored by Door Slammers and Westside Rides, the day car show includes entrants from individuals and car clubs, from the Old Pueblo and beyond. This event also features live, theater-sized electric violin music by reclusive Arizona legend Barry Smith (some might remember him from The Pills and Gentlemen Afterdark), who’s coming down from the hills to play some soaring songs from his forthcoming CD, Diary of Fire and Ice, and taking requests. Door prizes and raffle drawings happen throughout the day. Saturday, Jan. 13. Golden Pin Lanes, 1010 W. Miracle Mile. 10 p.m. to 3 p.m. All ages. Free. For more information, call 520-888-4272. —B.S. Eliot