Editor’s Note: While we are delighted to see Tucsonans once again gathering for fun events, we are also aware that the Delta variant is in widespread circulation. Please consider getting vaccinated against COVID if you haven’t yet and following CDC guidance, which includes wearing masks at crowded indoor events. Keep yourself and others safe—the pandemic isn’t over yet.
Tea Ceremony Demonstration at Yume Gardens. This Japanese tea ceremony is also known as chanoyu, which translates literally to “hot water for tea.” It’s a fascinating and pleasant series of rituals to prepare stylized green tea, and your hosts, wearing traditional Japanese kimonos, will talk you through the whole thing. They’ll demonstrate how the tea has been prepared, served and enjoyed in Japan for many centuries. Unfortunately, they won’t be serving the tea due to COVID-19 restrictions, but it’s still a beautiful and soothing process to watch. 1 and 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4. Yume Gardens, 2130 N. Alvernon Way. $20 per person includes garden admission.
were-:Nenentech Forums.This is a group exhibition at the Tucson Museum of Contemporary Art, presented both at MOCA and the UA’s Joseph Gross Gallery. Both projects, developed by L.A.-based artists rafa esparza and Timo Fahler, are centered around the process of creating and building with adobe bricks. They aim to reframe institutional spaces as being about earth, collective labor, astronomy and Indigenous cultures. This weekend features several ways to enjoy the exhibit: an Exo Exhibition Tour with MOCA assistant curator Alexis Wilkinson at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4. (free with museum admission), and a performance by Maria Maea and Micaela Tobin at 5 p.m. on the same day ($10). 264 S. Church Ave.
Everybody. Have you heard about the Next Performance Collective? It’s a new initiative out of the UA School of Theatre, Film and Television housing outstanding student pieces, works by emerging playwrights and experimental texts. The first in the series is
Everybody, a play by Branden Jacob Jenkins which was short-listed for a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The UA’s version will be co-directed by famed mime artist and choreographer Rick Wamer and dramaturg Roweena Mackay. 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, and Saturday, Dec. 4. 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, and Sunday, Dec. 5. Tornabene Theatre, 1025 N. Olive Road. $15 GA, $10 students.
Oro Valley Festival of the Arts & Holiday Tree Lighting. We’ve made it to the point in the year where most people won’t gripe at you for putting your Christmas tree up too early, which means that many of the fancy, official trees in the area are starting to go up too. Up in Oro Valley, they’re going all out with more than 100 artists and exhibitors, over 30 live performances, arts and crafts activities, food vendors and plenty of other fun. The art festival is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5. Tree lighting festivities are 2 to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, with the actual lighting around 6 p.m.
Michael O’Neill, On Yoga: The Architecture of Peace. Do you ever wish you could just spend a decade photographing yoga gurus, meditating with monks in the Tibetan Plateau and living with ascetics at the Kumbh Mela—but you just can’t find the time to do it? Fear not! Michael O’Neill, who spent nearly 50 years working as a portrait photographer for pubs like Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone, did it for you, and his work is about to be on display at the Etherton Gallery. The gorgeous shots are on display until February, but come see them and meet O’Neill at the reception, 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4. Etherton Gallery, 340 S. Convent Ave. Free. A documentary about the project will also be shown at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 5, at the Screening Room, 127 E. Congress St.
40th Annual Nordic Fair. If you’ve never been to this event, hosted by the Nordic Guild of Tucson, you might not understand why I eagerly await it every year. Taking place at the Streams in the Desert Lutheran Church, it’s just the epitome of charming. You’ll find Scandinavian crafts and collectibles to fill your home and give as gifts. You can enjoy ethnic foods and baked goods that will warm your tummy and your heart. And you can enjoy performances by folk musicians and dancers. It’s just the best, and I hope everybody goes. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4. 5360 E. Pima St. Free entry.
Miracle on Congress Street. I know the downtown area of every city probably feels all magical and wonderful during the holidays, but it’s hard not to feel like ours is the twinkliest and best. On Fridays and weekends throughout December, kids can meet Santa and enjoy a scoop of Candy Cane ice cream from HUB’s vintage ice cream truck for free! Then adults can head over to the HUB for holiday cocktails like Winter Sangria and Santa’s Peanut Butter Cookies. At the HUB Ice Cream Parlor, holiday flavors include Egg Nog, Lump of Coal, Mexican Hot Chocolate and Sparkling Mimosa. 4 to 6:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays through Dec. 19. Playground Bar & Lounge, 278 E. Congress St.
Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree: A Christmas Sing-a-Long. Live Theatre Workshop’s holiday production is back! Come follow along with the adventures of Snowflake and the band of misfit reindeer and elves to get the Cheer Squad together before the Christmas Extravaganza begins. Will they have enough cheer and determination to stop the coal industry magnate J.P. Coalson? Will we get to meet Santa? One thing is for certain: This sweet and silly holiday production will lift your spirits up. Showing 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. on Sundays through Dec. 19. Live Theatre Workshop, 3322 E. Fort Lowell Blvd. $12, or $10 for kids.
BrewLights. Zoo Lights, the Reid Park Zoo’s special holiday event, is here! This event is kicking things off by bringing together local breweries and entertainment for a very hoppy holiday season. Premium tickets come with eight tastings of your choice of local craft beer and a souvenir cup, along with access to Zoo Lights. Tickets for kids and designated drivers get you access to Zoo Lights, which includes carousel rides, more than a million twinkling lights, hot chocolate and FALLING SNOW. By attending this magical event, you are also saving the animals, which is a great gift to the animals and to your own heart. 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3. $35 for premium tickets, $11 GA for adults not participating in beer tasting, $9 for seniors not participating and $7 for kids 2 to 14.