Aural Options

Say goodbye to 2010 and hello to 2011 with one (or more) of these live-music events

I wish I could just publish Curtis McCrary's entire chuckle-inducing press release about the classiness that will go down at the Rialto Theatre's Casablanca New Year's Eve soiree. But due to its length, we'd have to bring in a team of binders for this New Year's Eve Guide. Besides, Gene Armstrong writes about the event in detail elsewhere in this guide.

A whole bunch of music and fun—along with the usual champagne toast and party favors—are included in your ticket to Casablanca New Year's Eve 2010, which begins at 8 p.m. The Rialto Theatre is located at 318 E. Congress St. A limited number of advance tickets are available for $15; they'll go up to $20 when those are sold out; and on the day of the show, they'll be $25. VIP tickets are $35. 18 and older. For more information, head to, or call 740-1000.

Across the street, the folks at Hotel Congress have a very different night planned for revelers. The title Congress Bordello should pretty much speak for itself, but it doesn't tell you that you'll be treated to performances by The Zsa Zsas and Chick Cashman, as well as DJ sets from the Optimist Club crew. There will also be girls on swings and a midnight ball drop, as well as a complimentary champagne toast. The action begins at 7 p.m., and Hotel Congress is located at 311 E. Congress St. Tickets are $18 in advance; they're $25 at the door, if any remain.

And, hey, big spenders: Pick up a $100 VIP ticket on the day of the event, and you'll be treated to a host of exclusives, including access to the VIP Moulin Rouge Room, where you'll find a penny bar, complimentary French food and an exclusive performance by chanteuse Marianne Dissard. Head to for more information, or call 622-8848.

The Hut, 305 N. Fourth Ave., will present Decade-DANCE, a triple-bill of local acts who will get your toes a-tappin', your body a-swayin' and your hips a-wigglin'. The evening begins at 8 p.m. with a set of rockin' soul (or is that rock 'n' soul) from Drama Club, followed at 9:45 p.m. with the local Brazilian drum-and-dance crew Batucaxé. From 11:20 to closing time, get your groove on with The Key Ingredients of African Soul. Cover is $10. Call 623-3200 for more information.

The Tucson Jazz Society presents its Fifth Annual New Year's Eve Gala at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort and Spa, 3800 W. Starr Pass Blvd., starting at 8 p.m. As usual, a stellar lineup of jazz acts and performers is the focus, with this year's event featuring headlining performances by Rick Braun, Peter White, Gerald Albright, Jeff Lorber and Selina Albright. The evening will begin with a show from the Tucson Jazz Institute's acclaimed Ellington Big Band. Tickets to the event include a gourmet dinner prepared by the resort's culinary team; access to not one, but two dance floors; a ball and balloon drop at midnight accompanied by a champagne toast; and party favors. Tickets are priced in three tiers, and the more expensive the ticket, the closer your seats will be to the live music. They're $189 and $199, or $250 for the VIP treatment. Buy them in advance at or by calling 800-595-4TIX. Special room rates are available for $122 for patrons, too. For more information, check out, or call 903-1265.

Back for another installment, The Tucson Symphony Orchestra's Moveable Musical Feast, which takes place at the Arizona Inn, 2200 E. Elm St., may be the most highbrow New Year's Eve celebration in Tucson. The evening's festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. in the heated Flandrau House Courtyard with an open bar, hors d'oeuvres and marimba music from the TSO's Homero Ceron. Guests then move to the Tucson Room, where they'll be treated to performances by TSO concertmaster Aaron Boyd and trombonist Michael Becker, each accompanied by pianist Paula Fan. After that, it's on to a gourmet five-course dinner, with each course served in a different room at the Inn. Following dinner, guests will enjoy a classical performance by the TSO Piano Trio, which will be followed by dessert. And then, as if that weren't enough, patrons will enter a nightclub created especially for the celebration, where they'll take in classic swing and Latin dance music courtesy of the TSO's SwingN' the New Jazz Band featuring vocalist Ben Sorenson. All-inclusive tickets are $199, and reservations may be made at or by calling 325-1541, the same number to call to ask about special room rates for attendees.

If DJ culture/electronica is your thing, get thee to the Surly Wench Pub, 424 N. Fourth Ave., where some of Tucson's finest DJs will be spinning dance jams starting at 8 p.m. Scheduled to take turns on the wheels of steel are Matt McCoy, Eric Meyer, Disko Bomb, Dewtron and E_Rupt. The night will also feature a midnight balloon drop and complimentary champagne. Cover is $10, and you can get more info by calling 882-0009.

If DJ culture/electronica is your thing, but you don't feel like leaving the house and braving the crowds, invite some friends over; tune into KXCI 91.3-FM (or stream it at; and have your own dance party. Electric Feel DJs Corbin Dooley and Toby Roberts will be mixing "electronic beats, classic party jams and other surprises" live in the studio from 8 p.m. until after midnight as part of a special, extended four-plus-hour edition of Electro Friday Nights.

The Tucson International Mariachi Conference will be hosting a night of dinner and dancing from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Desert Diamond Casino and Hotel, 7350 S. Nogales Highway. Live music will be provided by Mariachi Sonido de Mexico and Grupo Latido, and a no-host bar will be available. Tickets are $100 per person, $180 per couple, or $850 for a table of 10. Reservations are required and will be accepted until Tuesday, Dec. 28, by calling 838-3908 or 838-3913. Discounted room rates at the Holiday Inn Express are available for guests by calling 746-1161 and using the code TIMC.

The soccer fields at Rillito Raceway Park, 4502 N. First Ave., at River Road, will be the site for Indian America, a New Year's Competition Powwow and Indian Craft Market that includes authentic handmade crafts from more than 50 tribes, traditional Indian food, dancing, drumming, children's activities, Aztec dancers and a teepee village. The event runs from 4 to 10 p.m. on Friday, with a Midnight Friendship Round dance taking place from 11:45 p.m. to 12:05 a.m. (The event continues from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 1, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 2.) Admission to the powwow is $8 for adults, and free for children younger than 8, as well as dancers in regalia and members of the military. Admission to the Midnight Friendship Round dance is free to all. For more information, call 622-4900.

The Javelina Cantina's New Year's Eve Bash at the Doubletree Hotel Tucson, 445 S. Alvernon Way, will feature DJ Terry Thomas spinning contemporary and classic dance tunes starting at 8 p.m. In addition to dancing, the night will feature games and prizes, as well as a champagne toast and balloon drop at midnight. Admission is $10. If you've got a date that night, you might want to opt for the Doubletree's New Year's Eve Dine and Dance Package, which includes deluxe overnight accommodations, a four-course dinner served in the Cactus Rose Steakhouse, admission to the Javelina Cantina bash, a full breakfast buffet in the morning, and a late 2 p.m. checkout. The package is quite a deal at $199 per couple. Call 881-4200 for reservations.

Those who enjoy live music but are planning on a (relatively) early dinner might want to head to Delectables, 533 N. Fourth Ave. From 7 to 10 p.m., the eatery will feature a performance by dUO VibrAtO, which consists of violinist Miray Cakir and guitarist Joshua Rhoads. The husband-and-wife duo's repertoire includes everything from classical to Spanish guitar and tango, to early jazz music from the 1930s, '40s and '50s. There is no cover charge. Get more info by calling 884-9289.

Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., generally features live music every night of the week, so why would New Year's Eve be any different? The nightclub, which is currently undergoing a renovation to bring it back to its namesake descriptor, will feature a trio of fine local acts: Mostly Bears, the Holy Rolling Empire and Dead Western Plains, who will begin at 9 p.m. Cover is $10. Call 798-1298 for more information.

If that sounds a little too progressive for you, look no further than the fine four-act bill of roots-ier local acts you'll find at Sky Bar, 536 N. Fourth Ave. Greyhound Soul headlines the night, which will also include performances by Naked Prey, Silverbell and The Jits. Live music begins at 9 p.m., and, as always, admission is free. For more information, call 622-4300.

An excellent option for the more experimentally minded music lover is the Red Room at Grill, 100 E. Congress St., which at 10 p.m. will feature an all-local bill that includes Ultramaroon, Discos and Boo Boo Kiss. Per usual, admission is free, and you can call 623-7621 with any questions you may have.

If you planned a holiday vacation to a tropical locale, but the economy got in your way, you could do a lot worse than dancing to local reggae royalty Neon Prophet at the Boondocks Lounge, 3306 N. First Ave. Live music begins at 9:30 p.m., but get there a little early for a $6.50 fish-fry dinner. Advance tickets are available at the venue for $18; they'll be $22 at the door. Call 690-0991 for further details.

Ohio funk legends Zapp will have you dancing into 2011 when they perform at the Monsoon Nightclub at Desert Diamond Casino-Hotel, at 7350 S. Nogales Highway. Tickets are available for $20 at all Ticketmaster locations, or the Desert Diamond Club booth. For more information, call (866) DDC-WINS.

Casino del Sol, 5655 W. Valencia Road, will be the site of two different New Year's Eve dance parties. Starting at 9 p.m., Los Nawdy Dawgs will have you grooving to Latin rock in the Paradiso Bar and Lounge. Meanwhile, starting at 8 p.m. in the Casino del Sol Bingo Hall, it's a Tejano dance party featuring live music from Chente Barrera, Tierra and Grupo Vida. Menudo will be served at midnight. Complimentary tickets are available at Club Sol starting at 8 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 26, while supplies last. For more information, call (800) 344-9435.