BLUES TIMES TWO: Tucson's blues flame burns bright with a performance by Smokin' Joe Kubek and Bnois King.

The lowdown duo arrives on the heels of their recording Bite Me!, which has garnered rave reviews. "Kubek and King have concocted a rare blend of hot guitars and cool savvy," says the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, "an adept double-play combo that does, indeed, smoke." The Album Network calls Bite Me! "a non-stop ride that highlights a band immersed in sweat-soaked blues and the sweet soul rhythms of R&B."

Check out the duo's steamy blend of Texas blues shuffles and gritty postmodern blues--a hot mix that's winning these two gut-wrenchin' circuit riders converts across the country.

Show time is 9:30 p.m. Thursday, May 18, at Nimbus Brewing and Tap Room, 3850 E. 44th St. Tickets are $7 at the door. Call 745-9175 for details.

BORDER PARLEY: Get another perspective on border battles with The Deadly Impact of Militarization on the U.S./Mexican Border: Recounting the Death of Citizen Esequiel Hernandez.

Presented by Tucson-based Coalición de Derechos Humanos, the discussion and potluck features Alexis Claire and other Bisbee residents, who will describe firsthand how border strife has affected their lives.

Eighteen-year-old Hernandez was shot and killed by a U.S. military patrol in Redford, Texas, in 1997, while herding his family's sheep. The incident stoked already grave concerns over the military's role along the border area.

Potluck discussion runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 19, in the Armory Park Senior Citizen Center, 220 S. Fifth Ave. Bring a dish to share. Admission is free. For details, call 770-1373.

TRADITION AFOOT: Desert tradition survives in fine form at the 12th annual Waila Festival.

Hosted by the Arizona Historical Society, the gathering highlights the delightful social dance music of the Tohono O'odham people. A lilting hybrid of norteño and polka music, for decades the unique sound has lumbered across the Sonoran Desert like a beloved old Chevy stuck in second gear. Now waila comes to town with a bevy of top regional bands, plenty of camaraderie, and enough frybread to curl your accordion.

Waila Festival runs from 5 to 11 p.m. Saturday, May 20, at UA Bear Down Field, north of the football stadium. Admission is free. For information, call 628-5774.

GLOWING CHOPS: Critics have described Betty Anderson as "the girl with the golden vocal chords." Experience that aural opulence tonight when Anderson unveils her voice for a free performance with the Tucson Pops Symphony Orchestra.

The popular Mammoth/Atlantic recording artist hails from Nashville. But she's been all over the country, gracing stages from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, and was featured at last year's Academy Awards Gala. Joining her tonight for a tribute to The Phantom of the Opera is Broadway baritone Steve Gray.

Show time is 7 p.m. Sunday, May 21, at the Reid Park DeMeester Performance Center, east of Country Club Road and north of 22nd Street. Call 722-5853 for details.

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