HEAVENS AFIRE. Got stars in your eyes? Wanna get some?

Look up early Saturday evening and you'll notice that the moon has taken a holiday, that Gemini, Leo, Virgo, Bootes and Ursa Major are all over the place.

Stick around for constellations Corona Borealis, Hercules, Cygnus and Scorpius.

So what? So, within the constellations you can spot galaxies, star clusters and interstellar gas clouds called nebulae. Wait long enough and Omega-Centauri, the impressive southern star cluster, should be visible tonight. Mars provides the nightcap.

Like many star-gazers, maybe you're not quite sure what's what when it comes to the heavens. Join the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association and get a grip -- on a telescope.

The association is hosting a free observation 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday in the main parking lot of the Desert Museum, 2021 N. Kinney Road, west of the Tucson Mountains. Amateur astronomers will be on hand to share their knowledge of the night skies. For more information, please call John Kalas at 882-1950, or visit www.tucsonastronomy.org.

EVER WANNA WAILA? Here's a real brain-teaser --

Who took European polka, slowed it down a bit and added more than a smidge of grace?

The Tohono O'odham of the Sonoran Desert, that's who. Some readers already know this and have marked their calendars for 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, when the 13th annual Waila Festival kicks up the grass at the University of Arizona Bear Down Field.

Join your neighbors for an evening under the stars filled with music, dance and traditional O'odham feast food.

Dancers will perform the waila, chote (schottische) the cumbia and mazurka. All of the dances are performed counter-clockwise around a dance area to the sounds of accordion, alto saxophone, electric six-string, bass and drums.

Bands often are made up of family members or members of the same village. This year, featured bands include the Pablo Band, Gomez Band, Desert Spirit Band and the San Xavier Fiddle Band.

Sample great food, including red chile with beef, stew, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, potato salad and tortillas as part of an evening to remember.

Admission and parking are free for the event, at the southwest corner of Cherry Avenue and Fourth Street, north of the football stadium. For more information, please call 628-5774.

POETRY THAT SINGS. Poet David Ray is a visiting professor in India, New Zealand and Australia. He's taught at universities in the United States. He's published his work in a number of books and is working on several manuscripts.

Never heard of him? Here's something he wrote:

And thus the day calmed ad nauseum.

with green forests in place and blue mountains

not trembling, far over the islands and oceans,

forgive me at breakfast and absolve me at lunch

if I sob or speak out my grief so offensive

to all industry, to that silence bleached white as bone.

If you would like to know more about this talented poet, you can find out more at a gathering that begins at 6 p.m. Friday at New Life Cafe, 4841 E. Speedway Blvd. An open reading follows Ray's presentation. For more information, please call 881-5180.

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