NATIVE SOUND. After a near sell-out last time around, Indigenous is bringing its riveting rock and blues back to the Old Pueblo.
And the band's on a roll: its release, Things We Do, scored critical acclaim and three Top 25 hits, including "Now That You're Gone." The band has landed on the tube as well, with appearances on Late Night With Conan O'Brien, CBS Saturday Morning and CNN.
At the same time, its live performances have become legendary, anchored by lead guitarist, singer and songwriter Mato Nanji. "Indigenous offered straight blues," wrote Anne Powers of The New York Times, "elevated to spectacular heights by the fleet playing of Nanji."
Show time is 8 p.m. in the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Advance tickets are $15, available at Zip's University, CD Depot, Hear's Music and Guitars Etc. or by calling (800) 965-4827. Tickets are $20 at the door.
AMERICAN FACES. Powerful visages of this land's original inhabitants are brilliantly noted in Native American Portraits, a series of lithographs by Leonard Baskin now on display in the Etherton Gallery.
The exhibit also includes Collaborative Consciousness: New Graphic Selections from Segura Publishing, and the American Society of Interior Designers: 2000 Design Excellence Awards.
Baskin's interest in 19th-century Native Americans was roused when the National Park Service asked him to provide illustrations for a handbook describing what was then called Little Big-Horn National Park. The artist's insight into the resolute and wanton slaughter of native populations was matched by his deepening regard for the wisdom and courage of the Sioux and other Indian tribes.
Collaborative Consciousness is a compilation of graphic images that includes printmaking's stylistic and technical processes from woodcut to photo-lithography. Contributing artists include Claudia Bernardi, Enrique Chagoya, James G. Davis, Luis Jimenez, Mark Klett, Luis Gonzalez Palma, Dan Rizzie, Jane Rosen, James Turrell and William Wegman.
In a series of photographs, the Interior Designer display honors outstanding projects by professionals in southern Arizona.
The exhibits run through November 4 in the Etherton Gallery, 135 S. Sixth Ave. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday. Call 624-7370 for details.
LEAPS OF FAITH. Ballet Continental of Southern Arizona opens its 15th season with a pair of timeless pieces.
Les Sylphides is a classic one-act romantic ballet, featuring a dream-like atmosphere with ballerinas in long white tutus and guest artist Nicholas McLain in a black and white velvet tunic. The music of Chopin adds to the surreal flavor.
The Merry Widow is set in three acts to the charming, melodious music of Franz Lehár. The ballet takes place in Paris, and is chock-full of intrigue, humor, romance and elegance. It will feature guest dancer Jack Wiley, a veteran of Arizona Metropolitan Ballet.
Show time is 8 p.m. today in the TCC Leo Rich Theatre, 260 S. Church Ave. Ballet Continental will also perform at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Sahuarita Auditorium, east of I-19 on Helmet Peak Road. Tickets are $10, $8 for seniors, $5 for students and children ages 12 and under. Tickets for the Leo Rich Theater performance are available at the TCC box office, or at the door. Tickets for the Sahuarita performance are available in Green Valley at American Hair Family Cutters, the Green Valley Chamber of Commerce, Wells Fargo Bank and at the door. Call 326-7887 for details.
SONGBIRD. She's variously described as a brilliant, incisive songwriter, a deceptively powerful and evocative singer, and one of the most striking guitarists to emerge in years. Now all that talent arrives in Tucson with a performance by Patty Larkin.
The New York Times compares her to the best of Bonnie Raitt and Lucinda Williams, with performances that are "elegant, heartfelt, often spontaneous and stormy."
Larkin returns to town hot on the heels of her latest release, Regrooving the Dream.
Show time is 8 p.m. in the Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway Blvd. Tickets are $15, $14 for In Concert members, and are available at Hear's Music, the Folk Shop and Antigone Books, or by calling 327-4809.
REGIONAL ROOTS. Wasting gallons of precious desert water on green stuff better suited to Des Moines or Omaha? Get into the Southwest act with Desert Landscaping Tips, a lecture sponsored by Pima County Parks and Recreation.
Premiere green thumb Jacqueline Soule will teach you how to xeriscape with beautiful native flowers, luxuriant shrubs and shady trees. Soule, a trained botanist and landscape designer, will also discuss great plants for dry climates, and how to care for them.
The class runs from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in the Overton Fine Arts Center, 1830 W. Overton Road. The cost is $15. For registration and other information, call 292-0504.
PULLING STRINGS. Kids and their adults get a timeless treat at weekly puppet shows presented by righteous string-pullers at Puppet Church.
These talented dramatists will regale the wee set with "inspirational and spiritual tales from around the globe." Everyone is invited to "come see the light" at 3 p.m. every Sunday in the Tucson Puppet Works gallery, 111 E. Congress St. Admission is $3, and $2 for kids. Call 770-1533 for information.
SAVVY SWINGER. Join guitar-meister Joshua Breakstone for a night of hot jazz at St. Philip's Plaza.
Breakstone plays "with a serene swinging assurance and melodic warmth," says The New York Times. The musician has certainly earned his kudos, and learned his chops from the best, including Charlie "Bird" Parker. "When I heard Bird, I knew I wanted to play like him," Breakstone says, "in the sense of playing things which are meaningful, emotional, and more than anything else, irresistibly beautiful."
Breakstone will be accompanied by Tucson's own Jeff Haskell Trio, featuring Haskell on piano, Ed Friedland on bass, and Fred Hayes on drums.
The performance is 6 to 9 p.m. in St. Philip's Plaza, on the southeast corner of Campbell Avenue and River Road. Tickets are $11, $6 for Tucson Jazz Society members, and are available at the door. For information, call 743-3399.
YOUTHFUL RHAPSODY. Arizona Friends of Chamber Music showcase rising young stars in their Piano and Friends series.
Today's performance features pianist Lang Lang. Born in Shen Yang, China, Lang began studying the piano at the tender age of three. In 1997 he was accepted by the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, and at 17 has shown himself to be an artist of remarkable depth and maturity.
He'll tackle works ranging from Chopin's Sonata No. 3 in B minor to Brahms' Six Piano Pieces, Op. 118, among others.
Show time is 3 p.m. in the TCC Leo Rich Theater, 260 S. Church Ave. Tickets are $10, $5 for students, and are available at the door. Call 577-3769 for details.
LATIN LEGACIES. Cuba's rich musical heritage flows into the UA Centennial Hall with an appearance by Omara Portuondo and Barbarito Torres.
For more than half a century Portuondo has been thrilling audiences in Havana's cabarets and nightclubs with the passionate and moving honesty of her voice. Born in Havana in 1930, she and her sister Haydee were members of the famous vocal group Cuarteto Las D' Aida. She soon earned the nickname "la novia del filin" (fiancée of feeling) after the Cuban swing style she helped popularize.
Portuondo went on to perform around world, and released several acclaimed albums. But it wasn't until her stint as a guest vocalist with the Buena Vista Social Club that she gained widespread popularity in the United States. Following a recent performance, the Boston Globe noted that "Omara had the crowd on its feet, clapping and singing along. Her voice was rich and warm, and she swayed like the tropical palm trees, conjuring up the flavor of a 1940s Latin nightclub."
Barbarito Torres also gained well-deserved recognition as a guest artist on the Buena Vista Social Club album. Ranked among Cuba's greatest lute players, he's remained true to the musical folklore of his native region, a genre known as musica guajira, or "blues" of the Cuban countryside.
Show time is 7:30 p.m. in the UA Centennial Hall, inside the main gate east of Park Avenue. Tickets range from $30 to $42, and are available at the Centennial Hall box office, or by calling 621-3341.
HEAVEN AND EARTH. You may know the Catholic Church as an ancient religious voice. But did you realize that the Vatican has long been on a scientific quest to understand galactic forces?
Find out the true scope of church research with Brother Astronomer: Adventures of a Vatican Scientist, a discussion featuring Guy Consolmagno of the Vatican Observatory. Presented by the UA Steward Observatory, the fascinating lecture will be followed by galactic glimpses from Steward's own 21-inch scope.
The free lecture is at 7:30 p.m. in the UA Steward Observatory Room N210, 933 N. Cherry St. Call 621-5049 for details.
FAST FLICKS. Catch the latest in cutting-edge video with Dirty Girls and Pretty Boys: Faster, Faster, Faster.
Curated by UA film students Christine Dehne and Josh Gravholt, the show features work by student and professional artists from across the globe. And each video is short and sweet, compressing the human condition down to a rapid-fire 15 minutes or less.
The free video showcase is at 8 p.m. in The Screening Room, 127 E. Congress St. Call 623-4567 for information.
PARENTAL POINTS. Whether they're tikes or teens, kids can drive you nuts. And vice-versa. Get a leg up on this timeless dilemma in a discussion with Dr. Marilyn Heins, hosted by the Tucson-Pima Library.
A pediatrician, columnist and grandmother, Heins will dispense tips from her new book ParenTips for Effective, Enjoyable Parenting. She'll also field questions.
The discussion runs from 7 to 8 p.m. today in the Nanini Branch Library, 7300 N. Shannon Road. Registration is required by calling 791-4626. Heins will also speak in other area libraries through October 11. For information, call 791-4391.
BLOATED BLOW-OUT. Elizabeth Cherry Contemporary Art breaks creative waistbands with Swollen, featuring work by Michael Campbell and Julia Latané.
Both are young artists and recent UA grads: Campbell earned his MFA in 1998, and Latané received her BFA a year earlier.
"My work examines our obsessive relationship with objects and materials," Campbell says. "These objects act as surrogates, replacing human contact with inanimate dialogue, blending the real with the artificial into an hybrid." They "infer intimacy between the user and the surrogate, freeing the user of the entanglements and obligations of social relationships."
Latané's pieces reveal an artistic sweet tooth. "In the past I have chosen subjects thinking to myself, 'How can I make this look more like candy?'" she says. "Now I decided just to make candy. The material was chosen to most closely mimic real candy. The scale is enlarged to make the objects comparable to human scale. The colors are taken directly from the manufacturers of candy."
Swollen runs through October 28 in Elizabeth Cherry Contemporary Art, 441 E. Grant Road. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Call 903-0577 for details.