Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Posted By on Tue, Dec 15, 2020 at 4:26 PM

click to enlarge PHOTOS BY JEFF GARDNER
Photos by Jeff Gardner
The annual Luminaria Nights celebration is one of Tucson Botanical Gardens' largest events. The gardens, illuminated by thousands of paper lanterns, are filled with holiday decorations, local musicians, food and drinks, and even Santa.

COVID-19 threatened to entirely remove this beloved event from the calendar. But TBG reworked their plans and are instead hosting "Wanderland," a similar event with extra precautions. Much like Luminaria Nights, Wanderland sees the gardens filled with holiday lights and decor, but there are no performers and capacity is greatly reduced.

As the name suggests, guests are encouraged to move through the park rather than gather around performers as in years past, for the sake of social distancing.

Instead of the usual jazz bands and carolers, the gardens are still featuring some of the Dia de los Muertos sculptures from their "La Calavera Catrina" exhibit among the Christmas lights.

The Tucson Botanical Gardens' Wanderland takes place Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. through Sunday, Jan. 3. Tickets are $15. Reservations Required. For more information, visit tucsonbotanical.org/event/wanderland

Friday, December 4, 2020

Posted By on Fri, Dec 4, 2020 at 3:22 PM

While it might not be safe to take your kids to sit on Santa's lap this year, that doesn't mean ol' Kris Kringle won't be back downtown for the annual Miracle on Congress Street.

Starting Friday, Dec. 4, Santa will be up on the rooftop at Playground, 278 E. Congress St., to wave to kids from the proverbial safe physical distance. Kids can drop their letter to Santa in a mailbox on Fifth Avenue next to the Tucson Together mural painted on the side of Playground.

Plus, all good boys and girls get a free scoop of peppermint ice cream from the HUB Ice Cream truck, which will be on hand to bring us all a little more holiday cheer.

And if the grownups in your group have been good, HUB
Restaurant and Ice Creamery has put together a new cocktail menu to celebrate the season. Among the offerings:

- Santa’s Peanut Butter Cookies (Screwball peanut butter whiskey, creme de Cacao, half/half)

- Red wine and winter spices (Orange, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg)

- Spiced Rum (cream of coconut, vanilla, cinnamon

- Tucson Boulevardier (Del Bac, Campari, Sweet Vermouth

Santa will be on duty between 4 and 6:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday every weekend through Dec. 19. (After that, Santa has a lot of work to get done!) Free parking is available at the nearby AC Marriott Downtown.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2020 at 10:57 AM

click to enlarge JEFF GARDNER
Jeff Gardner
University Boulevard and Main Gate Square are continuing their annual tradition of decorating for the holidays, with a few extra safety precautions this year. From Friday, Nov. 27 through Sunday, Jan. 3, University Boulevard between Euclid and Park avenues will have holiday events and decorations including a poinsettia tree, a Rose Bowl float and Santa.

Santa Claus returns this year, but will take up residency in a socially distanced "Santa Snow Globe" in Geronimo Plaza from 1 to 4 p.m. Nov. 27-29, every Sunday in December through Dec. 21, and on Christmas Eve. Taking pictures with Santa is always free.

Other events include:

Nov. 27—Main Gate Square Blax Friday Pop Up Musicians Virtual Concert from 1 to 5 p.m. in Main Gate’s newly completed Plaza south of 2nd Street between Tyndall and Park. The limited-capacity pop-up events and music performances amplify Black businesses.

Through Nov. 29, the art installation “Monuments” by Arizona Arts Live is in Geronimo Plaza and near the Arizona State Museum on the UA campus after dark. "Monuments" projects the faces of local heroes in an outdoor environment, exploring the conversation around monuments and their meaning.

Dec. 10—Lighting of the Menorah at sunset through the end of Hanukkah.

According to the Marshall Foundation that helps organize these events, mask wearing is required outside unless you can continuously social distance. Masks are required to enter all retail establishments. Masks are also required to enter all restaurants and to remain on until seated.  Masks are required to be on when using the facilities or leaving the restaurant.

For more info & additional events, visit maingatesquare.com

Monday, November 9, 2020

Posted By on Mon, Nov 9, 2020 at 2:12 PM

Tucson Weekly file photo

The Children’s Museum in downtown Tucson has announced their plans to reopen with limited admission on Wednesday, Nov. 11. The Museum will be open with two two-hour play sessions from 9-11 a.m. and from 2-4 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Visitors will have access to all indoor exhibits, as well as their outdoor “curiosity courtyard.” Museum admission, including the courtyard, will be by timed ticket only, with a limit of 50 visitors at the museum at once.

Visitors ages 5 and older will be required to wear masks while at the museum. There will also be sanitation stations in the courtyard for visitors, and staff will clean and disinfect activities and areas between sessions.

The Curiosity Courtyard is filled with activities, crafts and games, including a cactus ring toss and animal-themed beanbag toss. A dig pit with backhoes has also been added to the courtyard.

The Children’s Museum in Oro Valley will continue with virtual programming only as part of their phased reopening plan.

Admission is $9 per person, with discounts available for military and visitors on public assistance. The Children’s Museum is located at 200. S. 6th Ave.

For more information, visit ChildrensMuseumTucson.org

Friday, October 23, 2020

Posted By on Fri, Oct 23, 2020 at 2:29 PM

The two-day lineup has been announced for the 2021 Tucson Jazz Festival, which will take place Saturday and Sunday, March 20-21, on the main outdoor stage at Armory Park, 220 S. Fifth Ave.

Saturday will include performances by Nayo Jones, Ghost-Note, Cory Wong, and Dirty Loops. Sunday will feature Pacific Mambo Orchestra, Marcus Miller, Dave Grusin + Lee Ritenour, and St. Paul & The Broken Bones.

Social distancing protocols will be instituted throughout the festival, and face masks will be required for all attendees. Reservations for tickets to the 2021 Tucson Jazz Festival are now available.

The following artist info is from the Tucson Jazz Festival:

1 p.m., March 20
Nayo Jones (pronounced Nīyō) is the Chicago-born jazz vocalist based in New Orleans, where she regularly performs with her band, The Nayo Jones Experience. Her vocal range has been compared to Natalie Cole, Nancy Wilson and Whitney Houston. Annually, she can be seen at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and French Quarter Fest. She has toured with Kermit Ruffins as the featured vocalist, headlined at various jazz festivals and most recently joined forces with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra.

3 p.m., March 20
Ghost-Note is a band with an explosion of sound pushing funk music into the future. Building on the uplifting, pioneering foundations laid out by James Brown and Sly & The Family Stone, they infuse their music with tastes of Afrobeat, hip-hop, psychedelia and more. The band creates seductive, danceable grooves and offers a contagious feel-good energy to ensure their audiences “let loose and connect.” 

CORY WONG with Special Guest CODY FRY
5 p.m., March 20
Cory Wong considers himself music’s answer to motivational speakers like Tony Robbins. The NY-born, Minneapolis-raised guitarist attended the University of Minnesota and the McNally Smith College of Music. With head-spinning rhythm guitar wizardry, technical ebullience, and laugh-out-loud jokes, he is both a sought-after collaborator and celebrated solo artist.

7 p.m., March 20
Stockholm, Sweden, band Dirty Loops are known for their jazz fusion re-harmonized covers of pop songs like "Baby" by Justin Bieber, "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele, and "Wake Me Up" by Avicii, but don’t let the pop covers fool you. These longtime friends and schoolmates borrow from jazz, jazz fusion, gospel, funk, electronica and disco.

1 p.m., March 21
After 10 years of due diligence, the Pacific Mambo Orchestra gained recognition with a crowd-funded, self-titled debut resulting in a GRAMMY for "Best Tropical Latin Album." This San Francisco based orchestra is leading the rebirth of Latin big band music, using the traditions of the classic mambo-craze orchestras of the '50s. While their repertoire consists of mostly original scores they also include clever arrangements of hit songs, performed in English and Spanish.

3 p.m., March 21
It is said that Marcus Miller has one of the most enviable careers in music, having performed, recorded and toured with legendary artists such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan and Luther Vandross, in addition to working with various rock legends, hip hop icons and pop stars. Marcus Miller is a multi-instrumentalist, albeit primarily known as an electric bassist.

5 p.m., March 21
Dave Grusin, a 10-time Grammy winner, is a seven-decade music professional: pianist, arranger, composer, record producer and co-founder of GRP Records. Grusin is considered one of the top 10 film scorers of his generation, writing more than 60 film scores, including The Graduate, On Golden Pond and The Fabulous Baker Boys, and receiving eight Academy Award nominations and one Oscar.

Grammy winner Lee Ritenour has been a guitarist for six decades beginning with session work in the late '60s. It was in the studio with the Mamas and the Papas that he earned the nickname "Captain Fingers." He has garnered 19 Grammy nominations, #1 spots on guitar polls, a Lifetime Achievement Award from Canadian SJ Awards, Alumnus of the Year Award from USC and 35 chart songs from more than 40 releases.

7 p.m., March 21
Since forming in 2012, Alabama-based rock & roll soul band, St. Paul & The Broken Bones has released two albums, toured the world relentlessly, opened for the Rolling Stones, and appeared on Letterman. They have become a must-see performance due in part to frontman Paul Janeway’s fearless showmanship, thoughtful lyrics, and dedication to performance. Janeway is supported by co-band leader Jesse Phillips and a full eight-man roster of the best young instrumentalists in the South. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Posted By on Tue, Oct 20, 2020 at 2:00 PM

Today, The University of Arizona-led OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will make its first attempt to gather dust and rocks from the surface of the asteroid Bennu. NASA is currently streaming the operation live. While there isn't a live feed from spacecraft itself (which is millions of miles away), the live stream is providing mission details, interviews with scientists and graphics of the spacecraft's maneuvers.

The sample collection timeline is:  
  • 2:50 p.m.: Checkpoint maneuver, in which OSIRIS-REx adjusts its position and speed to begin descending steeply toward the asteroid's surface.
  • 3:01 p.m.: Matchpoint maneuver, in which the spacecraft slows its descent and targets a path to match the asteroid's rotation.

  • 3:12 p.m.: Touch-And-Go maneuver, in which the spacecraft descends to the surface, touches down for about 10 seconds and fires one of its three pressurized nitrogen bottles. The gas agitates and lifts Bennu's surface material, which is then caught in the spacecraft's collector head. The spacecraft will then fire its thrusters to navigate safely away from the asteroid.

  • 3:30 p.m.: Live broadcast ends.
More information and updates can found on OSIRIS-REx's Twitter.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2020 at 11:52 AM

Moments of carefree, silly joy are more valuable than toilet paper, these days. The Best of Gaslight Fall Revue is chock full of them. While the folks at the Gaslight haven’t been able to hold a show in their indoor theater venue on Broadway Boulevard since March, their drive-up porch concerts throughout the summer were a delight. Order a pizza, a root beer float, or even some alcohol and sing and laugh along to a series of numbers that are almost impossible not to sing and laugh along to. (Bonus: You can also leave your windows rolled up and listen to the show through your radio, if you tune it to the right dial).

As the weather cools down (however slightly) the Gaslight has launched a special fall edition of the show, featuring a series of community favorites from the past 42 year, with an emphasis on spooky numbers and silly costumes. We’re talking the Time Warp, The Monster Mash and I Put a Spell on You, of course, but also fun renditions of tunes like Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Secret Agent Man and Silly Love Songs.

It’s really something special to watch the Gaslight crew perform, because you can tell how much they all love what they do. David Fanning, who has been with the theater for 27 years, now lives in New York. When the pandemic shut down venues across the country, he watched the Gaslight folks begin their porch concert series via Facebook, and missed performing there so much that he came back for a visit. Mike Yarema, who’s been with the theater for over 20 years, treated us to a series of his classic, cringe-inducing jokes (“What do you say about a mummy joke that’s really bad? It sphinx!”) and a variety of numbers—including an enticing performance as Doc Croc from the Gaslight’s show Spider-Guy. Heather Stricker, who started with the theater back in 2000, wears about a million different hats/wigs/outfits in the show, and looks and sounds great in all of them.

Take it from the group of kids in the parking space behind us dancing with ecstatic abandon to “Puttin’ on the Ritz”: If you’re looking for a night of fun, an opportunity to support local art and a delicious slice of pizza, you can get them all in one place at this show.

The Best of Gaslight Fall Revue takes place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday nights through Sunday, Oct. 25. The theater is located at 7010 E Broadway Blvd. Pizza and popcorn packages are available at the time of reservation, and additional menu items are available at the show. You’re welcome to bring chairs and set up outside your car, but be sure to maintain social distancing and wear a mask when interacting with your servers. Bathrooms are available, and will be sanitized after each use. $40 per car.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Posted By on Fri, Sep 25, 2020 at 2:30 PM

On Saturday, Sept. 26, the Tucson Musicians Museum will host its 15th annual Celebration of Music and Culture online. While this is the first time the fundraiser will be entirely virtual, they're sticking with the theme of honoring local music figures who have "generously given of their time and talents to the TMM’s Mentorship Program for young people in the community."

The 2020 honorees are Ed Alexander, Bruce Halper, Frances Clary Covington, Crystal Stark, Nancy McCallion, Catherine Zavala and Robert E. Zucker. In addition, TMM will honor Adrian Negrette, a former student of the Mentor Program, as the Up and Coming Musician of the Year.

Funds raised through the celebration are used to help purchase instruments and books for students and for financial compensation to musicians working as mentors. The evening will include performances, the honoree ceremony and presentations by guest speakers including Bud Foster, Hana Tiede, Mark Irvin and former mayor Jonathan Rothschild.

TMM's mission is also to "further assist in the preservation of Tucson's sound by matching qualified professional musicians as mentors with qualified young musicians, who might otherwise be unable to afford such guidance."

The induction ceremony takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26 from the Tucson Musicians Museum's website. For more information, visit the event page.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Posted By on Wed, Sep 9, 2020 at 12:30 PM

click to enlarge WHISKEY DEL BAC
Whiskey del Bac
You don't have to be a dowager socialite to entertain guests like a pro. You just quality provisions and a certain culinary skill set.

Flying Aprons is moving their in-person cooking classes online via Zoom starting Thursday, Sept. 9 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

This week's class, Shaken Not Stirred-Single Malt Whiskey Tucson Style & Savory Bites—featuring Tucson's own Whiskey Del Bac—pairs Phoenix mixologist Jax Donahue with beloved Tucson chef Devon Sanner to produce three delectable food and libation experiences you'll learn how to recreate at home:

First Cocktail: The S.S.S with Whiskey Del Bac Dorado, honey syrup, citrus bitters and other ingredients.
First Savory Bite: Prosciutto-wrapped fig, honey + chamomile goat cheese, thyme, prickly pear gastrique.

Second Cocktail: The Lawless Drinker, using Whiskey Del Bac Old Pueblo, passion fruit, vermouth and lemon.
Second Savory Bite: Ginger and lemongrass shrimp spring rolls with coconut and peanut dipping sauce.

Third Cocktail: Stone Fashioned, features Whiskey Del Bac Classic, peach syrup and other ingredients.
Third Savory Bite: Pecan and basil pesto bruschetta with heirloom tomato, balsamic agrodolce.

Registration for the Zoom class is $40 per screen and ready-to-go kits for the cocktails and savory bites are available to preorder and pick up before the class begins.

Click here for more information.


Friday, September 4, 2020

Posted By on Fri, Sep 4, 2020 at 3:22 PM

click to enlarge Artist John Benedict—pictured with Angelica—will be on hand to meet with guests on Friday, Sept. 4, and Saturday, Sept. 12, at Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch Resort from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. - HACINDA DEL SOL
Hacinda del Sol
Artist John Benedict—pictured with Angelica—will be on hand to meet with guests on Friday, Sept. 4, and Saturday, Sept. 12, at Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch Resort from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m.

Comedy at the Wench: A Virtual Funnyraiser. Fourth Avenue staple the Surly Wench Pub has been closed for almost six months now! While they’ve adapted to the times with their weekly comedy special, “Comedy Away From the Wench,” event is specially designed to help raise much-needed funds. Tune in for two hours of sketches, stand-up routines and other bits that are both live and prerecorded. They’ll also be auctioning off one-of-a-kind portraits of some local comedy icons. 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 7. Tickets start at $10 and come with a sticker, but paying more gets you more treats—all the way up to $100+ donations, which get you a sticker, a pin or magnet, a mug or face mask, a t shirt or cap, and a limited edition Surly Wench 16th anniversary logo T-shirt. Details here.

Garden Bistro at Tohono Chul. Tohono Chul’s Garden Bistro is reopening this Friday, Sept. 3. What could be fresher than dining in a garden? They’ve got brunch from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday through Sunday out on their patio. Plus, there’s a bottomless prickly pear mimosa & margarita deal that we could all probably use right about now. While you’re relaxing, you can take in either a view of the gardens or of art by local and regional artists hanging in the dining rooms. See their website for an updated menu and more details.

Art as Resilience, Resistance and Respite. Local artist-run exhibition space Untitled Gallery is holding a virtual opening for their new show designed to connect artists and art lovers. David Andres of the Louis Carlos Bernal Gallery will be serving as guest judge at the Facebook Live event, and you’ll get to see the fantastic selection of art which will be on sale until Oct. 30. Perhaps the best part of a gallery opening from home is that you get all the hors d'oeuvres to yourself. 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5. Details here.