Cheap Thrills

MOONLIT MEANDERINGS. Take a break from the summer swelter at Tucson's coolest little outpost, a.k.a. Valley of the Moon.

Created by the late, great eccentric visionary George Phar Legler, the Valley is a unique fantasy smack in the heart of midtown. Now you and yours can cavort, wander and wonder among the pathways, caverns and gardens of this "magical park built of rock and imagination." Listed as an Arizona Historical District, it offers fun for the whole family. And the entire operation--from docents on down--is operated by a small army of dedicated volunteers.

Valley of the Moon will be open from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, July 15. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated. It's located at 2544 E. Allen Road, north of Prince Road and east of Tucson Boulevard. For information, call 323-1331.

VANISHING ACT. Heavy tomes meet sleight-of-hand magic at Bookman's.

Illusion-meister Bill McRea will run through a well-honed repertoire, promising to "dazzle and mystify everyone with his magic," according to the Bookman's folks. The free event is open to the entire family.

McRea will appear from 11 a.m. to noon Thursday, July 13 in Bookman's Used Books, 1930 E. Grant Road. Call 325-5767 for information.

VISIONS ON THE BLOCK: The Tucson Arts District honors hometown talent with its Third Saturday Craft Market.

Located in the Ronstadt Transit Center, this juried craft extravaganza will feature a variety of handiwork, from folk art furniture, pottery and photography to watercolor, fabric art, sculpture and jewelry.

It's held in conjunction with regular Downtown Saturday Night festivities, including tons o' music, and plenty of art galleries opening their doors to the public. All events are free.

The Third Saturday Craft Market runs from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, July 15. For information, call 624-9977.

AND MORE MOVIES: Yep, we can't seem to get enough Cinema La Placita. But the outdoor film venue in a beautiful downtown courtyard simply dishes up the perfect pastime on a summer's eve. And now La Placita Village expands its roster, to present a free movie series geared to the wee set each Tuesday through July.

Showing Tuesday, July 18 is A Bug's Life, a recent animated gem featuring voice-overs by Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey, among others.

The event warms up with a jumping castle, face painting and a short performance by the Mariachi Milagro Juvenil Group.

Best of all, the series is aimed at spreading the word about Kids Care, the State of Arizona program that provides affordable health care for kids under the age of 19. Kids Care is geared to children who are uninsured either because their parents don't receive the benefits from employers, or simply can't afford it.

The action begins at 6:30 p.m. in La Placita Village, 110 S. Church Ave., on the southwest corner of Church Avenue and Broadway Boulevard. Call 623-2748 for details.

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