Thursday 18

SYMPHONIC LOVE. Musical amore is in the air when the Tucson Symphony Orchestra presents Pure Romance. Hailing from Finland, Russia and England, these works of love include Lintukoto's "Isle of Bliss," Tchaikovsky's "Concerto for Violin" and Elgar's "Enigma Variations." The Tchaikovsky piece is considered a "virtuosic violin concerto," appropriate in this case for the stellar talents of Bonnie Terry. Kate Tamarkin conducts the orchestral outing.

Performances are 8 p.m. today and tomorrow in the TCC Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. Tickets range from $10 to $30, and are available at Robinson's-May, The Wherehouse, or by calling 882-8585.

DANCE AWAY. The UA Dance Division celebrates the holidays in high-stepping form with In the Season.

The program warms up with "Rodrigo," an upbeat piece choreographed by Amy Ernst, and created as a tribute to the folklorico tradition. It is followed by two solos, "The Big Put-On," a tongue-in-cheek piece created and danced by Sam Watson; and " Blue," choreographed by John Wilson, and danced by Molly Coffman. The second half of the show features Michael Rioux's "Melancholy Pleasures" and "La Vida Breve," a fiery Spanish ballet duet choreographed by Melissa Lowe and dance division head Jory Hancock.

Performance is 8 p.m. in the UA Ina Gittings Dance Theater, on the Mall west of Campbell Ave. Performances continue at 8 p.m. tomorrow, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $9, $7 for seniors and students, and available by calling 626-8030.

Friday 19

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL. The Orts Theatre of Dance gets personal with Intimate Spaces.

This evening of new works and old faves includes Anne Bunker's "Balanced Edge," a recent piece incorporating dancers into a large mobile structure against a musical backdrop composed by Chuck Koesters.

Acclaimed company dancer and choreographer Flor de Liz Alzate adds her fine touch with a premiere of "Strings Attached," a new duet with Charles Thompson. And guest choreographer Katherine Harts presents the duet "Haiku 1," featuring dancers Mimi Chen and Matthew Henley.

In addition to the new material, Orts will bring back "Speaking Places." Presented last year, the work features dancers Anne Bunker, Mimi Chen and Flor de Liz Alzate as they move into and through projected video images of the Scottish highlands.

Performance is 8 p.m. in the PCC Proscenium Theatre, 2202 W. Anklam Road. Performances continue at 8 p.m. tomorrow and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $8 and $10, and available at Bentley's, Antigone Books, Silverbell Trading, and the PCC Center for Fine Arts box office. Call 624-3799 for details.

ACOUSTIC MASTER. "He treats his acoustic with the same respect and gentle grace of a slam dancer in a mosh pit," says Pulse Magazine. According to Carla Van Dyk of WDVR Radio, he's "the most exciting guitarist since Michael Hedges in his passion and artistry."

Now you can see that "mosh pit" power and artistry at work with a Tucson appearance by Scott Huckabay. Hot on the heels of his latest release, Alchemy, Huckabay continues his trademark blending of power and precision into innovative six-string guitar work, a sound ranging from explosive dynamics to "tribal-trance rhythms."

Show time is 8 p.m. in the International Arts Center, 516 N. Fifth Ave. Advance tickets are $10, and available at Antigone Books, Zip's University, or by calling 881-3947. Tickets are $12 at the door.

Saturday 20

CAT CALLS. Get some fresh air and help preserve our outback with the Sky Island Alliance.

Today, the alliance needs help searching for the tracks of mountain lions and other wildlife on the Audubon Research Ranch. The information gathered will contribute to an ongoing carnivore monitoring project. And no experience is necessary -- the Islanders will provide on-the-job training for this crucial wilderness effort.

The trek runs from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m., leaving from the UA Water Resources Research Center, 350 N. Campbell Ave. Call 327-1129 for information.

FRENCH TOAST. Join an international soiree today at Francofolies.

Hosted by PCC and the UA Department of French and Italian, this brie-laced celebration of National Francophone Week will feature a parade honoring French-speaking nations, student poster showcases, French lip-sync, and enough tempting cuisine to boff your beret, dished up by Fiddlee Fig and Daniel's Restaurant.

There will also be races pitting students against French waiters, African dance lessons and French musical interludes.

Francofolies runs from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on the UA Mall. Admission is free. For details, call 747-7664.

SHARP VISIONS. Young literary lions from Native American communities share their work with Words Like Arrows.

The product of combined efforts by the Arizona State Museum and ArtsReach, the gathering will feature poetry and fiction created by Tucson-area ArtsReach students. Their work comprises the newly published anthology When the Rain Sings: Poems by Young Native Americans. Compiled by the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of the American Indian, the impressive anthology was published earlier this month by Simon and Schuster.

To celebrate, the young Tohono O'odham, Pima and Yoeme authors will read their work from 1 to 3 p.m. in the UA Center for English as a Second Language auditorium, east of the Arizona State Museum, inside the main gate east of Park Avenue. A reception and signing follows from 3 to 4 p.m. in the ASM. Call 621-4523 for details.

Sunday 21

GARDENS GRATIS. The Tucson Botanical Gardens clears a floral path for their Holiday Open House.

The TBG will offer free admission all day, along with a 10 percent discount for green-thumbed goods in the Gardens Gift Shop and Nursery. The shop will also offer tastings of honeys, sauces, oils and specialty vinegars. Today's rooted highlight is the Experimental Eucalyptus Tree.

The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the TBG, 2150 N. Alvernon Way. For details, call 326-9686.

WELL-BOUND BLOWOUT. Catch a great deal on fine literature at the Rare Book Auction.

Hosted by the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society, this hard-to-find extravaganza will feature dozens of books specific to the anthropology of the American Southwest and Mesoamerica. "Sweets and savories" will also be served, and proceeds benefit the Arizona State Museum's library fund.

The Rare Book Auction begins at 1 p.m. in the Arizona State Museum, on campus inside the main gate east of Park Avenue. For information, call 626-8381.

TUNES AND TOMES. Enjoy the holiday amidst great literature and fine tunes at the Singing Wind Bookshop's annual Thanksgiving Fiesta. J.A. Jance leads a sterling crew of regional writers for the author-signing event, which will also include Jack Dykinga, Charles Bowden, Janice Bowers, Mary Tate Engels, Madeline Thorpe, Susan Lowell, Ross Humphreys, Bernard Fontana, David Burckhalter, Sinclair Browning, Marshall Trimble and children's author Patrick Jennings. Plenty of refreshments will be available, along with music by Calexico. Thanksgiving Fiesta is 1 p.m. at the Singing Wind Bookshop north of Benson. Take I-10 east to Exit 304. Drive north for two-and-a-quarter miles to Singing Wind Road, and turn right. Drive time is approximately 45 minutes. For details, call (520) 586-2425.

Monday 22

STELLAR STUDY. The venerable UA Steward Observatory continues its long-running lecture series with Between Big Planets and Little Stars. Led by the observatory's Dr. James Liebert, the lecture will include an opportunity to gaze skyward through a 21-inch telescope. This free event is 7:30 p.m. in Room N210 of the Steward Observatory, 933 N. Cherry St. Call 621-5049 for information.

Tuesday 23

NEWTONIAN NUDGE. Traditional logic gets a thorough airing with Defying Gravity, presented by Invisible Theatre. The Southwest premiere of Jane Anderson's uplifting fantasy is loosely based on the life of ill-fated astronaut Christa McAuliffe, and one of the defining moments in United States history. The fictional account brings together characters whose lives are forever altered by the Challenger tragedy.

Anderson's drama then introduces painter Claude Monet as its philosophical spirit, expressing the passion towards life, the universe and art that the character called "teacher" inspires. It all pulls together into a single, riveting drama the New York Daily News calls "a lovely piece that gracefully floats in the big blue yonder of the imagination, and looks down upon the world from a new perspective."

The cast includes James Blair, Emily Grogan, Kathryn Kellner, Miguel Ortega, Bobby Joyce Smith, Tom Turner and Barbea Williams.

Performance is 7:30 p.m. in the Invisible Theatre, 1400 N. First Avenue. Performances run through December 5; show times vary. Tickets are $16 and $18, and available by calling 882-9721.

Wednesday 24

TAKE A HIKE. Trek through God's own backyard -- which also happens to be in Tucson's backyard -- with the Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists.

While they may delve into the wild side of things, the naturalists are a fully clothed bunch of wilderness lovers who offer regular free outings, ranging from plant and bird walks to weekly hikes. Today they'll host a nature walk which includes all of the above.

The nature walk leaves at 9 a.m. from the kiosk at the Sabino Canyon Visitors Center, 5700 N. Sabino Canyon Road. For details, call 513-0231.

ART AMONG THE STACKS. Catch the delightful illustrations of local artist Sunny Warner at the Tucson-Pima Main Library.

A native of Manhattan, Warner moved to Tucson in 1994, where she's continued a career dating back to 1961. Her first book, Tobias and His Big Red Satchel, was translated and published in four other countries. "I have done design and illustration ever since," Warner says, "but I never wrote another book until I moved to Tucson 33 years later. Arizona is inspiring."

Apparently so. Warner is now working on her fourth book, The Moon Quilt, slated for publication next year by Houghton Mifflin.

The library exhibit includes original art from her two new picture books, The Magic Sewing Machine and Madison Finds a Line, along with a selection of paintings and prints.

Exhibit runs through December 15 in the Tucson-Pima Main Library, 101 N. Stone Ave. Viewing is available during regular library hours. For details, call 791-4393.

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