Cheap Thrills

RAIN DATE. The folks at Flandrau Science Center are hoping their rain date won't be rained out.

Clouds and drizzle postponed last month's viewing of Jupiter, Saturn and the moon. But on Friday, March 7, from 6:30 to 10 p.m., you can peer through giant binoculars and large telescopes out on the lawn in front of the Science Center. View Jupiter best after 7:30 p.m. Saturn will be easily visible high overhead for much of the night. Early March is still one of the best months to view the rings of Saturn, which are at their greatest angle of tilt in 15 years. Plus it's nearing its perihelion--the point in its orbit when it's closest to the sun. Street lights on the UA mall will be turned off to make viewing even more effective. They'll also fire up Starry Night Pro, a desktop software, to offer an interactive planetarium presentation and project it onto an 8-foot outdoor screen.

It's all free. The Flandrau is located at Cherry Avenue and University Boulevard. Questions? Call 621-STAR.

DEEP DEMOCRACY. Michael Toms is the dulcet voice behind the microphone on New Dimensions, the syndicated radio show heard on NPR, where he poses some of the more intelligent questions to our generation's greatest thinkers, artists, innovators and social activists. On any given show, you can hear them engage in conversations about spirituality, religion, philosophy, politics and ecology.

Toms' new book is A Time for Choices: Deep Dialogues for Deep Democracy and has been dubbed a modern sequel to Thomas Paine's Common Sense. He's collected interviews with folks like Noam Chomsky, Mark Hertsgaard and his holiness, the Dalai Lama, who paint a picture of the challenges to democracy American citizens face under the specter of global war.

Neither Toms nor his guests swim up the media mainstream. Somehow these folks seem to find empowering and practical ideas on how we individuals can effectively address these turbulent times through activism, spirituality and critical thinking.

It can't hurt. Come hear what he has to say on Sunday, March 9, at 1 p.m., at Reader's Oasis, located at 3400 E. Speedway Blvd. It's free. Call 319-7887 for more information.

WHAT MAKES MUSIC DANCEABLE. The Tucson Symphony Orchestra has a few thoughts on the question.

Beyond the Score is a conversation about music moderated by Dan Coleman, the TSO's Music Alive Composer-in-Residence. Together with TSO's conductor George Hanson, Todd Hammes, TSO's percussionist and composer, and Suzanne Knosp, music director of the UA School of Dance, hear what kinds of music make people get up and move around.

The discussion starts at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 11, at the Tucson Symphony Center, located at 2175 N. Sixth Ave. near Grant Road. The suggested donation is $5 and includes refreshments. Call to save a seat at 882-8585.