Cheap Thrills

STREET SCENE: Tucson's biggest streetside ritual gets underway, as merchants, vendors, strollers and wandering souls head downtown for the 30th annual Fourth Avenue Winter Street Fair.

This is the time-honored chance to drink cold beer, sip hot chocolate, chow down on curly fries, and listen to sounds drifting from the mainstream to the sublime. Entertainment includes Amber Jade and Friends, Hector on Stilts, Good Question and the Pistor Middle School Folklorico Dancers.

Then there's the surreal smorgasbord of sights, from tap-dancing tots to top-hatted jugglers, and tons of gifts you're not likely to find at any shopping mall this side of Neverland. Some 400 vendors are slated for this year's gathering, in what now ranks among the most-anticipated community festivals in the nation.

The free street party runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday, December 8 through 10, on Fourth Avenue between Congress Street and University Boulevard. For details, call 624-0442.

ARTISTIC GENES: Imported visions are highlighted with Made in Japan.

The show features traditional Japanese calligraphy (Shodou) and ink paintings (Suibokuga) by three generations of artists. The grandmother, Nobuko Sakamoto, is a classically trained artist who spent much of her life working as a tailor and raising children. She wasn't able to devote much time to art until she retired; today her brushstrokes range from energetic and rough to quiet and elegant.

Her daughter, Saeko Fukui, takes a different approach. After years as a clothing designer, art is now something she does for relaxation. Today, she focuses upon ink paintings with Japanese characters called Etegami.

Finally, granddaughter Kanako Fukui started her artistic career early--she was already in formal training by the age of four. She began with Japanese calligraphy, and moved on to woodcuts, book-binding and clay, along with other mixed-media works found in this show.

Made In Japan runs through December 22 in the Feed Gallery, 1250 E. Manlove St. Hours are 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday and by appointment. Call 624-8435 for details.

LIGHT UP: The Reid Park Zoo is all aglow for the holiday season with light displays and over 50 decorated holiday trees.

Take the kids on down Friday, Saturday or Sunday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. for a delightful family treat.

Admission is free with a donation for Toys for Tots. Call 791-3204 for more information.

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