Thursday 27

FILM FINALE. The annual Jewish Film Festival calls it a wrap with Leonard Bernstein: Reaching for the Note.

Described as "the definitive look at the man and his music," the film conveys a well-rounded portrait of the famed conductor's life, from his 1943 debut conducting performances with the New York Philharmonic, to his historic and electrifying performance at the fall of the Berlin Wall. The documentary also includes clips from his Broadway hits West Side Story and On the Town.

Leonard Bernstein: Reaching for the Note screens at 7:30 p.m. in the Tucson Jewish Community Center, 3800 E. River Road. Admission is $10, and includes a dessert reception. For tickets and other information, call 299-3000, ext. 205.

JUNKET DOWN UNDER. Traveler Elizabeth Ohm takes Tucsonans on a journey down under, sponsored by the Wilmot Branch Library's Armchair Adventures lecture series.

Titled Australia: Alice Springs, Ayers Rock, Brisbane and Cairns, the talk focuses on Ohm's trek through an Aussie rain forest, her chats with fascinating Aboriginal people, and a climb up the legendary Ayers rock.

The free lecture begins at 1:30 p.m. in the Wilmot Branch Library, 530 N. Wilmot Road. Call 791-4627 for details.

Friday 28

AMERICAN ANGST. Quintessential Productions revisits one of America's greatest playwrights with A Moon for the Misbegotten by Eugene O'Neill.

When it premiered in 1957, this semi-autobiographical sequel to Long Day's Journey Into Night was hailed as tremendously moving and poetically literate. The drama centers on the longing of a tenant farmer's daughter for a washed-up Broadway playboy, with a bittersweet mix of spirit and humor.

Show time is 8 p.m. on the Quintessential Stage, 118 S. Fifth Ave. Performances continue at 8 p.m. Friday through Saturday, and 4 p.m. Sunday, through February 20. Tickets are $12, $10 for seniors, students and military. Reservations are recommended. On Sunday, January 30, admission is half-price with two cans of food for the Tucson Community Food Bank. For reservations and other information, call 798-0708.

AMERICAN CHORDS. Mollie O'Brien belts out American roots music in a return visit to the Old Pueblo.

CD Review magazine simply calls her "a powerhouse." As an interpreter of American blues, folk and jazz, O'Brien has been a popular face at countless festivals, and her latest recording, Big Red Sun, brings her back to a fine bluesy sound with songs from Memphis Minnie to Lucinda Williams.

Joining O'Brien will be guitarist Nina Gerber and bass player Chris Engleman. Tucson fave Lisa Otey opens the show with her rich vocal/piano brew of everything from old blues tunes to jazz standards.

Show time is 8 tonight in the Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway Blvd. Tickets are $15, $13 for TBS and In Concert! members, and available at Hear's Music, Antigone Books, or by calling 327-4809.

Saturday 29

BUTTHEAD BLOW-OUT. Scatology and plain old insanity rub troubled shoulders when Spike and Mike's Sick & Twisted Festival of Animation returns to Tucson.

All things gross and disgusting reach iconic status in these little gems of social degeneration. Refreshingly, there are no sacred cows in the profane parade of 20 short animated films, including "Swing Sluts," a brand new film starring Summer and Tiffany; the public service-minded "Home, Honey, I'm Higher: What YOU Should Know about Drugs"; and "Beyond Grandpa II," the sequel.

This video extravaganza isn't for everyone, including "those with an overly refined artistic palate." The Sick & Twisted Festival highlights films that are simply too revolting or just plain shocking for the "prestigious and tasteful" Classic Festival of Animation. Spike and Mike welcome "your tortured imaginations" and "innate abilities to vigorously beat all good taste into submission."

Show times are 7:15, 9:30 p.m. and midnight tonight at the Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. Screenings run through February 26; show times vary. Call 795-7777 for information. Tickets are $7, and available at the door. For advance tickets, call 321-1000.

TWINKLE TOES. Give that 'ol ticker a graceful workout with help from The Arizona Ballroom Company.

Every Friday and Saturday, you can glide the night away on the best floor in town. Gatherings include plenty of open dancing along with professional and amateur exhibits.

Gatherings run until 11 p.m., preceded by beginners classes on Friday, and intermediate classes on Saturday, both from 8 to 8:30 p.m. at The Arizona Ballroom Company, 5536 E. Grant Road. Admission is $6. For information, call 290-2990.

Sunday 30

HIGH TONE. High-brow stylings hit fever pitch with a performance by oboe master Neil Tatman.

A new faculty member at the UA, he joins in a recital for the Tucson premiere of "Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano," a 1994 composition by André Previn. Highly respected among his peers, Tatman is a much sought-after performer and teacher. He'll be joined by Will Dietz on bassoon and Paula Fan on piano.

Performance time is 7:30 p.m. in UA Crowder Hall, on the north end of the pedestrian underpass at Speedway Boulevard and Park Avenue. Tickets are $10, $8 for UA employees, $6 for seniors and $5 for students, and are available at the UA Fine Arts box office and by calling 621-1162.

WELLNESS WAG. Heal your inner desert rat when mega-mystic Deepak Chopra floats into town.

Hailed as one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century by Time magazine, Chopra has blended high-priced lectures with Eastern healing traditions to become a New Age marketing titan.

Acknowledged as one of the world's greatest leaders in the field of mind/body medicine, Chopra continues transforming the meaning of health. Through the Chopra Center for Well Being in La Jolla, Calif., he "established a formal vehicle for the expansion of his healing approach using the integration of the best of Western medicine with natural healing traditions... Chopra's work is changing the way the world views physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social wellness."

Deepak Chopra lectures from 2 to 5 p.m. in the TCC Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. Tickets range from $25 to $50, and are available at the TCC box office, Dillard's outlets, Unity of Tucson, and by calling 577-3300.

Monday 31

COLLECTIVE CREATIONS. The PCC Art Gallery opens its spring semester with TAG: Telling Stories, featuring work by the Thursday Artists Group.

This ensemble of 20 Tucson artists combines talent and personal vision to create print-based images using mixed media. Telling Stories is a visual narrative with titles as text.

After forming five groups of four artists each, one person in each group took a turn interpreting a previously made piece, and then responded to it with his or her own work. The artist could either react in a manner that came naturally, or push the envelope into new creative frontiers.

The result is a collection of five narratives and 40 images. In an ideal interaction, the stories continue developing as the viewer brings his or her own narrative to interact with those on the wall.

TAG: Telling Stories runs through February 21 in the PCC Art Gallery, 2202 W. Anklam Road. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Call 206-6942 for details.

Tuesday 1

DESERT DESIGN. Carve out your own little patch o' paradise with a landscape design class hosted by Tucson Botanical Gardens.

Expert instruction will come from designer Margaret West. She'll dish up lessons on measuring and site analysis, hardscape elements and planting design. There will be homework, and supplies are required.

The class runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m. each Tuesday through February 29, with the exception of February 8. All classes are in the TBG, 2150 N. Alvernon Way. The cost is $40, $35 for TBG members. Class size is limited. For information, call 326-9686.

Wednesday 2

HISTORICAL WEAVE. Historian David Biale weaves the tapestry of a people with Towards a Cultural History of the Jew.

Hosted by the UA Judaic Studies Department, the lecture gets its thrust from the new field of cultural studies, which gathers social, religious and intellectual history under a single research tent. For Biale's study of Judaism, that means the Bible and Talmud are interpreted alongside medieval philosophy and mysticism.

As a result, "Jewish culture is not studied in isolation, but rather as continuously interacting with non-Jewish cultures in which the Jews lived."

Biale will lecture at 7:30 p.m. in the Tucson Jewish Community Center, 3800 E. River Road. Admission is free. For information, call 206-9748.

BIG BABY. Now there's even more reason to get in touch with your wild antecedents when the Reid Park Zoo introduces it new giant anteater baby.

Only 51 giant anteaters currently live in North American zoos. Among those institutions, Reid Park is well known for its efforts at anteater breeding, research and husbandry. Little "Clementina" represents the 13th baby anteater born at the zoo.

Although it's tough to determine when an anteater is pregnant, the staff had already placed an adult female on "maternity watch" when the baby was discovered on October 1. The mother and offspring were kept in an off-exhibit area until the youngster was determined to be healthy and strong enough for exhibit by zoo experts. Although now more than 3 months old, Clementina still rides on "Mom's" back. Anteater babies are slow to mature, and don't become independent until they're approximately 2 years old.

Unfortunately, the South American giant anteater is the most vulnerable species of anteater, and is likely to become extinct in the next few years unless measures are taken to protect them.

Clementina is on display from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily in the Reid Park Zoo, on 22nd Street east of Country Club Road. Admission is $4, $3 for seniors, 75 cents for children ages 5 to 14, and free for children ages four and under. Call 791-4022 for details.

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