Here come Gertie and the T.O. Boyz
Gertie and the T.O. Boys keep alive the music and spirit of Waila, the traditional social dance of the Tohono O’odham culture. The award-winning, first-call waila band in the Southwest, Gertie and the Boys are rarely seen outside celebrations in the life of the reservation. Waila music is loaded with bright notes, insistent rhythms and a sense of play for all ages. The sound reflects norteño roots but the influence of European immigrants has contributed tempos from polka, schottische, mazurka and a now-extinct Bohemian dance called the redowa. Traditionally fiddle-driven, in recent years, waila bands have added reed and brass instruments, accordion and drums. Here’s a link to a more thorough explanation of this irresistibly danceable music: parentseyes.arizona.edu/node/1242.
11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, Historic Pima County Courthouse, 115 N. Church Avenue, gertieswailamusic.com
It’s about time we gave ourselves a free dance night on the Hotel Congress Plaza. Forget homework, take-home work, housework and the home office, and take advantage of what Hotel Congress calls “Tucson’s legendary dance party without borders since 2013.” The beat of El Tambó can move what needs moving and embrace us into the cozy multi-culture that reminds us what we enjoy most about our town.
10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress Street, free, 21 and older, hotelcongress.com
Small-town boy Jason discovers Christianity, and the girl next door, in the wake of his father’s death. The instrument of his faith is, wait for it, a puppet ministry. Complications ensue with the town pastor and the school bully, but Jason’s puppet Tyrone churns the whole town’s morality. He tears into the plot like Johnny Rotten-meets-Ursula, sometimes violently, cursing flamboyantly, barely skirting sexual predation and hilariously breaking down the hypocrisy that’s held together the town’s wobbly sense of community. The New York Times calls the play, “ridiculously raunchy, irreverent and funny.”
7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, and Saturday, Sept. 17; 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, The Cabaret Space at The Temple of Music & Art, 330 S. Scott Avenue, arizonaonstage.org, $20 to $27, age 18 and older
Pride Bell Making with Ben’s Bells
The Tucson LGBT Chamber of Commerce teams up with Ben’s Bells in the latter’s ongoing commitment to engage individuals and communities in inspiring Tucsonans to practice kindness as a way of life. Among its many activities, Ben’s Bells hosts organizations, individuals and schools to create unique, hand-made bells to be distributed throughout the community. Since 2003 the nonprofit Ben’s Bells has reached more than 1.3 million people with kindness education programs. All are welcome but registration is required.
10 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, Ben’s Bells, 40 W. Broadway Boulevard, members.tucsonlgbtchamber.org/events, free
Mexican Independence Day Celebration
A museum at 196 N. Court Avenue is dedicated to the history of the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson. The fort’s ruins have been partially reconstructed on the site. The original was built by Spain in the late 1700s. Mexico liberated it from Spanish dominion along with the rest of its country on Sept. 16, 1821. The fort defended Mexico’s interests here for the next 33 years. The presidio joins in the celebration of Mexican Independence Day with a family-friendly celebration including re-enactors dressed as Mexican soldiers; a 4:30 p.m. lecture, “Tucson Under the Mexican Republic;” a 5:15 El Grito presentation by Carlos Otero Lopez, attaché of the Mexican Consulate, and performances and activities celebrating Mexican culture throughout the day. A 5:30 p.m. performance features Mariachi Pumas de Roskruge. The Presidio Cantina will offer alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks.
4 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum and The Turquoise Trail, 196 N. Court Avenue, tucsonpresidio.com, $10 adult, $5 ages 6 through 13, $2 Pima County residents, seniors over 65 and members of the military
Jefferson Starship “Mother of the Sun Tour”
Now in its 10th year performing the repertoire with founder Paul Kantner, Jefferson Starship’s current lineup puts on a great show. They deliver music and memories revered by fans of the band’s psychedelic rock predecessor, Jefferson Airplane, but also reward more recent fans with their performance dynamics and their arena-rock hits of the ’70s and ’80s. The band’s lineup has evolved with Kantner’s vision of a more accessible, more pop sound. Current members have grown to think of themselves as family, and their play is as tight as Donny Baldwin’s drums. He’s been in the band since 1982.
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress Street, foxtucson.com, $45 to $70
Tucson Repertory Orchestra
Dr. Fanya Lin, assistant professor of piano at the UA school of music, has achieved an international reputation for her commitment and charisma in performance. She performs Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor in a free, casual performance under the direction of Toru Tagawa, music director and conductor of the Tucson Repertory Orchestra. A native of Taipei, Taiwan, Lin’s won multiple major piano competitions. At the UA she teaches chamber music and Yoga for Musicians. Guests are asked to wear black.
7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19, Crowder Hall, 1017 N. Olive Road, music.arizona.edu, free
Colossal Cave Ladder Tour, or maybe something easier
It’s still hot enough to appreciate the cool underground of Colossal Cave. For a real adventure, the 90-minute Ladder Tour guides you through seldom-seen areas of the cave. Visitors climb natural ladders, squeeze through narrow passages and clamber over a rock bridge. Reservations are required for the $50 experience. If you’re not up for so much excitement, cool off with a Classic Cave Tour for $12 to $25. It’s a 40-minute, half-mile walk through the cave’s geologic features and its colorful history as a hideout for train robbers and ghosts.
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Colossal Cave Mountain Park, 16721 E. Old Spanish Trail, Vail, colossalcave.com, attraction and tour prices vary. Advance registration is required, and age limits apply.
Have a Pool Party!
Mid-September overlaps the weather that it’s getting cool enough to be comfortable outside yet still warm enough to make a swim refreshing. Tucson has free public pools and splash pads all over town within parks that offer a range of amenities including shade trees, cool grass, sports fields, covered ramadas and outdoor barbecues. For a complete schedule of pools and other water features in city parks, visit tucsonaz.gov. Go here to reserve a ramada: tucsonaz.gov/parks/reservations-and-rentals.
Various places, times and prices, Tucson Parks & Recreation, 900 S. Randolph Way, tucsonaz.gov/parks