Thursday 30

NADER'S RAID. Progressive trooper and presidential contender Ralph Nader lands in Tucson today to spread the word.

A newly announced candidate for the Green Party, Nader is considered "Public Citizen Number One" for his decades of consumer advocacy. Now he's turning his sights towards the White House, to squash what he calls "a crisis of democracy in our country. Over the past 20 years," he says, "big business has increasingly dominated our political economy. This control by the corporate government over our political government is creating a widening democracy gap."

Ralph Nader addresses these and other issues during a community forum at 7:30 p.m. in the UA Physics and Atmospheric Sciences Building auditorium, on the southwest corner of Fourth Street and Santa Rita Avenue. Call 629-0525 for details.

BOOK BLAST. Feast your brain on bargain basement tomes at a great annual book sale hosted by Brandeis University's National Women's Committee.

More than 45,000 books are up for grabs, in 93 categories ranging from cooking and kids to first editions. Also available are sheet music, CDs and records, with proceeds benefiting Brandeis' libraries and scholarship funds. The ganga gets even better with a half-price sale tomorrow, and a "bag of books" for $5 on Saturday.

Sale hours are 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. through Saturday in El Con Mall. For information, call 529-2311.

Friday 31

INNER SELVES. Apparatus Gallery unveils wide-ranging inward glimpses in its Mask and Self-Portrait Show.

The exhibit features the work of multi-media artists, ranging from exaggerated, almost primitive masks by Eriks Rudans to the whimsical mirrors and frames of Sherrie Posternak, and Susie Cullen's spiritually haunting glass figures.

"My self-portrait is called Dakini, or Sky-Goddess," Cullen says. She isn't laying to claim to some kind of divinity, but rather revealing that "I'm always drawn to the sky. In turn, the piece is looking upwards, and I incorporate natural elements into the image -- horse hair, feathers, bone and porcupine quills."

The show continues through April 29 in Apparatus Gallery, 299 S. Park Ave. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Call 791-3505 for details.

MUSICAL EVOLUTION. Celebrating six years on the road, the David Nelson Band roars into Tucson for a barn-burning show at Nimbus Brewing Company. The appearance comes on the heels of the band's latest release, Under the Moon.

Nelson himself boasts musical ties reaching back to an early friendship with the Grateful Dead's late leader, Jerry Garcia. In 1962, along with Garcia and Robert Hunter, he helped form the Wildwood Boys, a precursor to the Dead itself. Nelson eventually contributed to three Dead studio albums, and during the early '70s also helped form the New Riders of the Purple Sage. By 1994, he was fronting his own band, which includes guitarist and steel player Barry Sless; Mookie Siegel on keyboard and accordion; Bill Laymon on bass; and the dual drum ensemble of Arthur Steinhorn and Charlie Crane. (See "All Americana" in last week's Music section for details.)

Show time is 9:30 p.m. in Nimbus Brewing Company, 3850 E. 44th St. Advance tickets are $8, available by phone at 745-9175. Tickets cost $10 at the door.

Saturday 1

MAG-NIFICENT. A quick wit and soulful vocal prowess has helped Janiva Magness build a solid following. Today she brings those talents to town for the Tucson Blues Society's Celebration of Women.

Known for her impeccable musical instincts, Magness "avoids clichés and histrionics...letting songs breath," says Blues Review magazine. She's a regular headliner on the festival circuit, and has shared the stage with luminaries ranging from Johnny Copeland and Taj Mahal to Johnny Cash and Tom Petty. Her own band consists of Enrico Crivellaro on guitar, and husband Jeff Turmes on guitar and vocals. Both are veterans of the legendary James Harman band.

Show time is 9 p.m. at Boondocks Lounge, 3306 N. First Ave. Tickets are $7 in advance and for TBS members, available at Hear's Music and the club. They'll cost $10 at the door. For details, call 623-9533.

GET-DOWN TOWN. Lose yourself in budding grooves at Downtown Saturday Night's Spring Season Opener.

Improv takes center stage with an evening of "All Jazz, All the Time, All Over the Place." The pervasive musical lineup includes the nine-piece band Swing Shift in the Ronstadt Transit Center, and the Sam Robles Trio on Fifth Avenue. Tommy Tucker's Jazz Guitar and The Joe Weinberg and Marco Rosano Duo perform at various locations.

The Arizona Clay Artists offer demonstrations by SACA and Francisco "Pancho" Gonzales, along with a kids' clay workshop hosted by the Arts for Me Studio, and a Kids Art Activity session with the UA Art Club.

Downtown Saturday Night runs from 7 to 10 p.m. For information, call 624-9977.

Sunday 2

MUSICAL SLICE. The Arizona Repertory Singers bring out their best with Prime Cuts.

This special show features popular selections from the Singers' last 10 performance seasons. The powerful a cappella lineup includes Renaissance motets, American spirituals, Broadway show tunes, jazz standards, contemporary church music, and several Gilbert and Sullivan selections. Highlights also include "Shenandoah," and Canadian composer Stephen Chatman's hilarious "Due North."

Show time is 4 p.m. at Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 2331 E. Adams St. Admission is $10, $8 for seniors and students. Call 792-8141 for details.

FLOWERING FUN. The season comes alive at Tohono Chul Park's Wildflower Festival 2000.

Honorary chair Barbara Kingsolver rings in this year's celebration, which features live and silent auctions, music by cowboy crooner Tom Chambers, classic big band sounds with the GlennDale Jazz-Swing Quintet, and fine chow by a string of top Tucson eateries from the park's own Tea Room to Jonathan's Tucson Cork and Dakota Cafe.

Then come the flowers -- scads of them in fact. Nature's little beauties are further highlighted by Flores de Colores, an exhibit of superb plant illustrations by Tucson artist Margaret Pope.

Wildflower Festival 2000 is from 3:30 to 7 p.m. in Tohono Chul Park, 7366 N. Paseo del Norte. Tickets are $40, and available by phone at 742-6455.

VINTAGE STROLL. Trek through Tucson's residential heart at the West University Neighborhood Association's 2000 Historic Home Tour.

The junket begins at the First Christian Church, 740 E. Speedway Blvd., and showcases several grand, turn-of-the-century homes within the West University Historic District, bounded by University Boulevard, Fourth Avenue, Speedway Boulevard and Park Avenue.

Tour runs from noon to 5 p.m. Advance tickets are $6, available at Time Market and Delectables Restaurant. Tickets are $8 the day of the tour, available at the First Christian Church. For information, call 884-5088.

Monday 3

BUBBA AND THE BOYS. Join master ventriloquist Jeff Dunham and his pals -- including country bumpkin Bubba -- for a night of voice-tossing yuks at Laff's Comedy Caffé.

Dunham has been enjoying a stellar streak, with appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Martin Short Show; Comedy Central's Premium Blend; The Rosie O'Donnell Show and The Howie Mandel Show. He also totes the 1997 Funniest Male Stand-Up Comic Award.

Along with Bubba, Dunham introduces the Talking Walter doll. He's "every bit the little curmudgeon," and arrives "complete with eight of Walter's most sarcastic sayings."

Show times are 8 and 10:30 p.m. in Laff's Comedy Caffé, 2900 E. Broadway Blvd. Tickets are $17 for the early show and $14.50 for the later performance. For reservations, call 323-8669.

COOL MUSINGS. Haul your literary talents down to the Tucson/Pima Main Library and post 'em on The Big Fridge, as part of the Tucson Arts District's Magnetic Poetry Contest.

This well-chilled, month-long celebration of verse includes an actual (fabricated) refrigerator which will become home to numerous lyric musings, culminating in prizes and readings of winning poems at Borders Books and Music on April 30. Borders will donate books of poetry and prose by local authors as grand prizes in both adult and children's categories.

Post your masterpiece in the Children's Room of the Main Library, 101 N. Stone Ave., through April 16, or at Border's Books from April 17 through 30. Call 791-4391 for details.

Tuesday 4

SONG OF AFRICA. Praised as "a joyously energetic musical performance" by the Houston Chronicle, the Children of Uganda dance and choral group brings their acclaimed Tour of Light 2000 to Centennial Hall.

Their performances include songs of praise, traditional East African songs, and cultural dances accompanied by authentic African instrumentation. The company's colorful costumes, beautiful voices and intricate dance movements "weave a tapestry of inner joy and unyielding faith, performed with an awe-inspiring richness of human spirit."

Comprised of 18 performers ranging in age from 6 to 16, many troupe members come from the Daughters of Charity Orphanage in Kampala, Uganda, and serve as goodwill ambassadors for the 1.5 million orphans living in their country today as a result of war, AIDS and other diseases.

Show time is 7:30 p.m. in UA Centennial Hall, inside the main gate east of Park Avenue. Tickets range from $16 to $28, and are available at the Centennial Hall box office (621-3341).

CROSSING THE LINE. International relations get up close and personal with a discussion entitled "Mexico, the United States and the Borderlands in the 21st Century."

This installment of the UA Political Science Salon Series is led by Edward Williams, who teaches, researches and writes about public policy and its impact on the U.S.-Mexico border. He also serves on the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation, the national advisory board to NAFTA's labor side accord.

Discussion begins at 7 p.m. in the Hacienda del Sol Resort Casa Feliz, 5601 N. Hacienda del Sol Road. Admission is $10. For registration and other information, call 621-3938.

GRACEFUL EXIT. Grace is a cantankerous 90-year-old mountain woman waiting to die in her ramshackle cabin. Glorie is a transplanted, high-powered New York exec assigned as Grace's hospice volunteer. Despite their disparate backgrounds, the pair forges a remarkably deep bond in Tom Ziegler's Off-Broadway hit Grace and Glorie, presented by Invisible Theatre. The drama stars Jetti Ames as Grace and Maedell Dixon as Glorie.

Curtain is 7:30 tonight in the Invisible Theatre, 1400 N. First Ave. Tickets are $16, available at the theatre box office and by phone at 882-9721. Matinee and evening performances continue through April 16. Tickets range from $16 to $18.

Wednesday 5

DESERT DESIGNS. Acclaimed artists Ray Harm and Manabu Saito share natural visions in Sonoran Desert Vignettes, currently on display in the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

A Tucsonan, Harm is known for his striking images that illuminate nature's master plan. "In wildlife art, it is important that things in nature fit properly," he says. "I paint first for the critical eyes of the scientist and naturalist."

Saito is known for illustrating books such as The Boy Who Drew Cats and Other Tales of Lafcadio Hearn, The Gold Carp and Exploring Wild South Florida. His work has also been featured in Audubon, Horticulture and National Geographic magazines, and he travels to Tucson each spring to paint wildflowers.

Exhibit continues through May 7 in the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, 2021 N. Kinney Road. Museum hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $9.95, $1.75 for children ages 6 through 12. For details, call 883-2702.

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