Wildcats Season Opener. The Arizona Wildcats kick off the Kevin Sumlin era at 7:45 p.m. Arizona time on Saturday, Sept. 1, against the official institution of higher knowledge for the disciples of Joseph Smith and his band of merry men, the Brigham Young Cougars. What better way to celebrate Smith and the Latter-day Saints than by tossing back a few cold ones? Well, lucky for you, Arizona Stadium will unveil its newest beverage at the season opener, with beer and wine being dispensed at the Labor Day weekend contest. For those of you who care more about the on-field product than the libations being slung on the concourse, you'll be happy to know that Heisman Trophy hopeful Khalil Tate returns as quarterback for the Wildcats, looking to one-up the 3,002 offensive yards and 26 touchdowns he accumulated as a sophomore. The Wildcats will look to get off to a solid start against a Cougars club that went 4-9 in 2017, ahead of a difficult game against Houston on the road on Sept. 8.
Bike Art Auction. The Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists are holding this auction at the Catalina Brewing Company for all things bicycle art! David Grant is the featured artists, but you'll also see works from Rudi Cycling Art, Bicibits, Lisa Reeves, V. Valdez Photography and DukesSaguaros. Artists will donate part of their sales for the night to SDMB, and Catalina Brewing Company will donate $1 per pint between 6 and 9 p.m. SDMB hopes to use the funds to build some new trails. Plus, the Jersey Grill food truck will be on hand serving up hoagies. There's bike art! There's brews! There's Boar's Head meat! Don't live with the regret you'll feel if you decide to sit this one out. 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30. Catalina Brewing Company, 6918 N. Camino Martin, #120, Marana.
Wonders of Worlds–Real and Imaginary. A new month means a new show from the Wilde Meyer Gallery, and this time around they're focusing on work that transports you away, both visually and mentally. With works that emphasize the beauty and wonder of good ol' nature as well as secret invented places created by artists, this is an exhibit with an effect that's almost as good as an actual weekend getaway. You'll see works by Linda Carter Holman, Ka Fisher, Connie Townsend and Andrea Peterson, just to name a few. Showing throughout September, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays and Fridays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays. Don't miss the art walks from 5 to 7 p.m. every Thursday as well. Wilde Meyer Gallery, 2870 E. Skyline Drive. Free.
Theater and Shows
The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey. The Invisible Theatre is kicking off its 2018-2019 season with the Arizona premiere of this play by James Lecesne. You could call it a one-man show but only in a sense: There's one actor portraying every character in a small Jersey Shore town. The plot concerns the disappearance of 14-year-old Leonard Pelkey, a tenacious and flamboyant force of nature who drives home for the whole town the lesson that you don't know what you have until it's gone. As the search goes on, the town's residents find themselves questioning what means the most to them and what they leave behind. Tuesday, Sept. 4 through Sunday, Sept. 16 with showtimes at 3 and 7:30 p.m., depending on the day. The Invisible Theatre, 1400 N. First Ave. $35 GA.
Les Miserables. Do you hear the people sing? Oh, you will. And the people will hear you sing too because you're going to have "Look Down" and "On My Own" stuck in your head for probably the rest of your life. This story of the peasant Jean Valjean and his journey to redemption, Eponine's unrequited love and Javert truly harshing everyone's vibes is set amid the 18th-century French Revolution and is the second longest-running musical in the world (after the Fantasticks). It's a theatrical experience that's always riveting, and a production of the show just finished an acclaimed two-and-a-half-year run on Broadway, so it's not to be missed when Broadway in Tucson kicks off its fall season. Tuesday, Sept. 4 to Sunday, Sept. 9. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd. $19 to $160.
Every Brilliant Thing. When the 6-year-old protagonist of this story learns his mom is in the hospital because she tried to hurt herself, he leaves a note on her bed to remind her of all the things that make life worth living. "Ice cream" and "Kung Fu" movies, for example. "Laughing so hard you shoot milk out your nose," is an excellent one, and "me" is perhaps the saddest. This look at mental illness through a child's eyes is somehow poignant and funny all at once, and it breaks your heart and stitches it back together in exactly the way theatre is supposed to. Runs Thursday, Aug. 30, through Saturday, Oct. 6, 7:30 p.m. Fridays through Sundays and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Live Theatre Workshop, 5317 E. Speedway Blvd. $18 to $20.
The Dating Scene + TBD. The Tucson Improv Movement has exactly the same attitude toward dating that you'd probably expect them to: "Bad date, good story." And isn't that the truth? If your bad date was long enough ago, or just outrageous enough, for you to be ready to share it, you can share your story with the improv team, and they'll use it as inspiration to create a completely made-up-on-the-spot comedy show. Finally, that guy who offered to order an appetizer and refused to share it or that girl who left in the middle of the date because she got a call from her ex will make themselves useful by providing a roomful of people with entertainment. And you'll have the last laugh! 9 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1. Tucson Improv Movement, 414 E. Ninth St. $5.
Say Goodbye to the Dog Days of Summer. Goodbyes can be hard. But saying goodbye to the summer in Tucson? Not the hardest one. To make the transition to fall even more joyful, Old Tucson is throwing this event where kids 11 and under get in free, and DockDogs will be presenting dog diving competitions. You can even bring your own dog to see how they do at diving and to give them a chance to cool down. (After all, the dog days of summer aren't over quite yet). Register your dog for the competition online in advance if you're interested. Otherwise, just come prepared to watch and to enjoy games and prizes, vendors and nonprofit exhibitors, and special canine demonstrations. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1 through Monday, Sept. 3. Old Tucson, 201 S. Kinney Road. Normal admission is $19.95 for adults, with discounts for seniors, military and Pima County residents.
103rd Annual Sonoita Labor Day Rodeo. Billed as "the best little rodeo in Arizona," this event has more than 700 entries and $40,000+ in cash and buckles awarded to the top contestants of the Southwest. There's a junior rodeo at noon every day, the main performance at 2 p.m. and a steak fry and free rodeo dance Saturday and Sunday nights. Check out the merchandise and concessions, or, if you're into that sort of thing, consider camping for $10 a day or $25 for the three-day weekend. Gates open at 10 a.m. every day. Saturday, Sept. 1, through Monday, Sept. 3. Sonoita Fairgrounds, 3142 S. Highway 83. $15 for adults, $10 for kids ages 6 to 12 and free for kids under 6.
Tanque Verde Ranch Breakfast Ride. Sometimes you just need to take a step back from the real world and reset. And what better way to do it than get up early and take a horse ride through the gorgeous, cacti-ridden Sonoran desert to Destination: Blueberry Pancakes? Seriously, this is a thing at the Tanque Verde Guest Ranch. You can either do an all-skills-welcome walking ride or try the more challenging loping ride over to the Old Homestead, and then feast on ranch eggs, potatoes, bacon and the ranch's famous blueberry pancakes, all made right before your eyes. Then you can remount your horse and walk on back to the corral. Wear close-toed shoes and long pants, turn off cell phones, don't feed the horses, only wear hats if they have stampede strings and don't bring loose cameras or backpacks. Ages 12 and up. Sundays and Thursdays. Loping ride begins at 7 a.m. and walking ride begins at 7:15 a.m., and rides last about two-and-a-half hours. Tanque Verde Guest Ranch, 14301 E. Speedway. $75.
Science Saturday: Milk and Wool. The Wheeler Taft Abbett Sr. Library's first-Saturday science program is extra fuzzy this month. Guests ages 6 and up will learn all about how wool is made and about how it's not just cows who make milk—goats do it too. The Tucson Petting Zoo is presenting the event, and they're bringing a real sheep and goat for everyone to learn about and pet to their heart's content. It's always nice when opportunities to learn more about science and opportunities to pet soft animals overlap. 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1. Wheeler Taft Abbett Sr. Library, 7800 N. Schisler Drive. Free, but registration required.
Goldfishing at the Last Resort. Our friends over at the Last Resort, a local nonprofit animal rescue, have a pond full of goldfish—too much goldfish, in fact. So they're offering up this opportunity to local kids to come catch as many of the baby goldfish as they want (they're so young, they're not even gold yet). They'll provide nets, but visitors should bring their own containers to transport the fish home in. They're charging just 10 cents a fish. While you're on the small property, you'll also see some cats and bunnies—after all, it's an animal rescue. Due to the small staff's busy schedule and a need to rein in some sometimes overly friendly dogs, call ahead to make an appointment. Organization president Louise Chernetz can be reached at 792-9290. 923 N. Anita Ave.
Hiking with Dogs in the Desert. So how exactly does going on a hike with your dog work? Which trails are you allowed to bring your pet on? How can you teach your furry friend to stay safe on the trail? This talk at REI, led by Arizona's only certified canine and equine behavior consultant, Sandy McPadden, will answer all of your questions. McPadden has a master's degree in applied behavior analysis, worked as an elephant keeper at the Reid Park Zoo and worked with a whole lot of dogs on the national tour of the 101 Dalmatians musical, so she knows what she's talking about. Feel free to bring suggestions for your favorite places to hike with your dog, but please do not actually bring your dog to this class. 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1. Tucson REI 160 W. Wetmore Road
Fun in General
Bilingual Living Lab and Learning Center Tour. The Watershed Management Group is back at it again, educating Tucsonans about water harvesting and sustainable living practices for arid landscape living like there's no tomorrow. They'll be giving a tour of their site, where they meet almost all of their water needs with rainwater, greywater and storm water, including having rainwater on tap. Bring the kids so they can enjoy the Raindrop retreat—a children's playhouse with a rain tank, a play kitchen with greywater and a sandbox. Dress prepared for the heat, as this tour takes place outside. And yes, the whole thing will be conducted in both Spanish and English. 8 to 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 1. Watershed Management Group, 1137 N. Dodge Blvd. Free.
Cool Summer Nights at the Desert Museum. Happy birthday to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum! To celebrate, they're keeping things nice and low key for the final "Cool Summer Nights" of the summer. Stroll through the grounds as the sun sets, and bring a blacklight if you have one—you'll be fascinated (and maybe horrified) by how many scorpions there are wandering around. Museum docents will be on hand to talk about live animals, fluorescent minerals, kissing bugs, the desert skies and more. And, as usual, the stingray touch exhibit is open. Be sure to make reservations for the kids to check out the Packrat Playhouse, or just be ready to wait in line. We can't wait to see what's in store for the museum over the next year. 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, 2021 N. Kinney Road. $22 GA, $20 seniors 65 and up, $9 kids 2 to 12, $18 military, $17 Arizona/Sonora resident.
JourneyDance First Saturdays. JourneyDance is back! If you haven't had a chance to check out this monthly dance class with Joanna Carichner at Tucson Yoga Studio, why not try it this week? With both freestyle and structured movement and a whole lotta breath, sweat and expression, you'll (hopefully) come out the other side feeling like you're in your mind and out of your body. It's the sort of dance class that might make you hate the idea of taking a dance class a little less. For example, you get to be barefoot, you don't have to have any dance training and there are no mirrors, so it really, really doesn't matter what you look like. 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1. Tucson Yoga Studio, 150 S. Fourth Ave. $15 in advance, $20 at the door.
JOGS Gem and Jewelry Show. Got a minute this weekend? Why not check out one of the leading jewelry events in North America and one of the world's key jewelry markets? Exhibitors and buyers all over the world are converging to look for new products, exciting artist, unique resources and innovative ideas. Take a look at Amberman, an amber jewelry supplier based in L.A. Or how about Another Time and Place, which makes handmade sterling silver Turkish jewelry? Swiss watches! Antique sculptures! Turquoise and opals! Precious gems! They've got all sorts of stuff going on, which means you're sure to see something you like. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 31, Saturday, Sept. 1 and Sunday, Sept. 2 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 3. Tucson Expo Center, 3750 E. Irvington Road. $12.
Meditation for Modern Times. It's funny: Sometimes we tend to think of meditation as a practice that was most popular a long time ago, when, with the pace of today's world, it's something we ought to practice now more than ever. In fact, modern studies show that meditation is a fantastic way to regain a sense of calmness, happiness and optimism. The Core at La Encantada offers a monthly guided meditation with Amanda Freed, a certified meditation coach. All levels are welcome! When you leave, you might just feel a little more ready to take on the week. 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1. The Core at La Encantada, 2905 E. Skyline Drive. $5.
MSA Annex Summer Night Market. Birds fly south for the winter, but with an event like this one, Tucsons should be flying west for the summer, or at least driving to western Tucson. All the new MSA Annex shops will be open, and there will be tons of vendors selling vintage and handmade goods as well. Have a drink at Westbound's outdoor bar if you need something to keep you going, and then you can get right back to shopping for all those upcoming fall birthdays. (Or you could just treat yourself!) Don't miss your last chance of the summer to make it to this event. 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31. MSA Annex, 267 S. Avenida del Convento.
Ladies Night at Cobra Arcade Bar. What could make an arcade bar full of specialty drinks even better? How about FREE TOKENS? That's right, ladies of Tucson, you'd better get ready to get your nostalgia on, because every Wednesday at Cobra, y'all are getting free tokens, all night long. Stop by from 4 to 7 p.m. if you want to hit happy hour, but if you're just focused on getting some good gaming time in, come whenever you want. 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4. Cobra Arcade Tucson, 63 E. Congress St. Free.
Star Party and Live Music at Oracle State Park. Let's get this party star-ted! It's bring-your-own-picnic to Oracle State Park for this event, but the Tucson Amateur Astronomer's Association and the Saddlebrooke SkyGazers Club are donating the use of their telescopes. Live music goes from 5 to 7 p.m., and the star party is from 7 to 9 p.m. And fun will be had all night long! Especially because it's slightly cooler up in Oracle. 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1. Kannally Ranch House at Oracle State Park. Event is free with entry to the park, which is $7 per vehicle.