Thursday 16

COWPOKE PARLEY. Tucson kicks up its heels with the 12th annual Western Music Awards Show and Concert.

"Living Legacy" is the theme for this year's shindig, which will induct Yodelin' Slim Clark, the Beverly Hillbillies and Frankie Laine into the WMA Hall of Fame. Radio wranglers Riders in the Sky highlight the concert, and Ranger Doug himself will introduce performances by former award recipients, including Jean Prescott , Washtub Jerry and Belinda Gayle.

Show time is 7 p.m. in the TCC North Exhibit Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. Tickets are $25, available at Cowtown Boots and Corral West Ranchwear, or by calling 743-9794.

The party continues with dances and performances through the weekend. For information, call the number listed above.

BALLET OF BRAZIL. Exuberant rhythms fill Centennial Hall with a performance by Balé Folclórico da Bahia.

Brazil's only professional folk dance company, Balé Folclórico has gained prestige across the globe with stunning, authentic folkloric dance and music. Rich and vibrant, they display the major influences of Brazilian culture, resulting in a blend of Latin melody and the joyful power of West African music. Singers, dancers and drummers explode with sticks and blades flashing, accented by high-flying kicks and ferocious athletics.

"The relish of the dancers, musicians and singers for doing what they do onstage is so obviously part of their lives that the contagion spreads to the house," says the New York Times.

Show time is 7:30 p.m. in Centennial Hall, inside the main gate east of Park Avenue. Tickets range from $22 to $34, and are available at the Centennial Hall box office, or by calling 621-3341.

VIVA LATINA. Run on downtown for the fifth annual Cine Latino Festival, wrapping up this weekend at the Screening Room, 127 E. Congress St.

If You Only Understood, a Cuban documentary, follows a filmmaker and his crew through the making of a musical set in Havana. El Dia Que Me Queiras meditates on the last picture taken of Che Guevara; Juana is an Argentinian experimental film, and Alonso's Dream features Mayan mythology and a critique of the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, Mexico.

See the film times (page 38) for a full schedule of the Cine Latino Festival.

Friday 17

LATIN VINE. The nectar of Latin America flows freely at A Taste of Wines from Spain.

Hosted by Centro Cultural de las Americas, the event will feature tapas, Spanish music and dancing, and of course plenty of hearty vino from the Iberian peninsula.

The party runs from 5:30 to 11 p.m. at Centro Cultural de las Americas, 40 W. Broadway Blvd. Advance tickets are $20, and are available by calling 747-2715. Tickets cost $25 at the door.

LONGTIME LEGEND. Veteran folk rocker Richard Thompson lights a fire in the Berger Performing Arts Center.

The English musician has jammed with the best, including Jimi Hendrix in the late '60s. He was lead guitarist and vocalist for Fairport Convention, and his songs have been sung by everyone from Bonnie Raitt and Shawn Colvin to Elvis Costello, Greg Brown and Mary Black. He arrives hot on the heels of his latest release, Mock Tudor.

Show time is 8 p.m. in the Berger Center, 1200 W. Speedway Blvd. Tickets are $20, available at Hear's Music and Antigone Books, or by calling 327-4809.

Saturday 18

HEAVENLY GAZE. Catch stellar glimpses at a free party hosted by the Tucson Astronomy Association and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

You're invited to view the night sky through various scopes owned by association members, who will also be on hand to answer galactic queries. And the view should be spectacular; the moon won't rise until midnight, giving observers several hours to enjoy an unusually dark sky.

The event runs from 5:30 to 11 p.m. at the museum's parking lot, 2021 N. Kinney Road. For details, call 882-1950.

RIFF WRANGLER. Music and dance hit warp speed at a special party celebrating Point and Pray, the latest CD by Tucson folk-blues ace Stefan George. This is also a welcome-home bash, celebrating the return of George's band, The Conrads, from its recent tour of Germany.

The CD is a compendium of piercing tunes, and features a slew of guest luminaries including Steve James, Peter McLaughlin, Duncan Stitt and Kristina Olsen.

As for The Conrads, that includes Jay Trapp on bass, Will Clipman on drums and George on slide guitar and vocals.

The party runs from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. in the International Arts Center, 516 N. Fifth Ave. Advance tickets are $7, available at Hear's Music, The Folk Shop and the International Arts Center. Tickets are $8 at the door. For information, call 624-9006.

ART MART. Lasso some work of creative flair at the Tucson Museum of Art's Holiday Craft Market.

The annual fair ranks among the finest gatherings of arts and crafts vendors in the Southwest, with more than 130 booths. Unique handmade gifts range from glass art and pottery to wood and metal works, photography, textiles and even furniture. Visitors can also explore the museum, and enjoy music and refreshments.

The Holiday Craft Market runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the TMA, 140 N. Main Ave. Admission is free. For information, call 624-2333.

Sunday 19

GUT-WRENCHER. Roomful of Blues does some roof-raising at the Nimbus Brewing and Tap Room.

Hailed for "instigating the 'swing thing,'" this band was just about deep-sixed a few years back, when it lost five members. But the ensemble has since bounced back, becoming what blues aficionado Bob Porter calls "an institution like the Duke Ellington band or Count Basie band." And it's getting raves--including a nomination for this year's W.C. Handy Award.

Show time is 9 p.m. in Nimbus Brewing, 3850 E. 44th St. Tickets are $15, $12 for TBS members, and are available at the door. Call 745-9175 for details.

BOOKISH BLAST. A literate holiday tradition gets underway near Benson with the Singing Wind Bookshop's Thanksgiving Fiesta.

The unique rural shop is smack in the middle of a working cattle ranch--and always riding herd on literary trends. Today's gathering will make that clear. John Annerino, author of Dead in Their Tracks: Crossing America's Desert Borderlands, will cover the human-interest side of Southwestern life, while authors Harley Shaw (Soul Among Lions: The Cougar as Peaceful Adversary) and Jane and Carl Bock (The View from Bald Hill: Thirty Years in an Arizona Grassland) will be on hand to tackle the natural world.

That's just the beginning, for a gathering that will include a score of writers, music by The Ronstadts of Tucson, and refreshments.

The holiday gathering is at 1 p.m. Take I-10 east to exit 304. Drive 2 1/4 miles north on Ocotillo Road, and 1/2 mile east on Singing Wind Road. For information, call (520) 586-2425.

KEY RELATIONSHIP. The Arizona Friends of Chamber Music continue their Piano and Friends series with The McDermott Trio.

Hailed for its "dazzling virtuosity and beautifully integrated ensemble," the trio has appeared on numerous TV programs and in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to the Ravinia Festival. The trio features Kerry McDermott on violin, Julie Albers on cello and Anne-Marie McDermott on piano. Selections include three pieces by women composers Ellen Taaffe-Zwilich, Clara Schumann and Cécile Chaminade.

Show time is 3 p.m. in the TCC Leo Rich Theater, 260 S. Church Ave. Tickets are $12, $5 for students, and are available at the door. For details, call 577-3769.

Monday 20

NIGHTTIME BLEND. You still have two days to catch Craig Smith's exploration of organic forms in Nocturnal Botanicals, showing in the Temple Gallery.

Recalling the works of Austrian photographer Karl Blossfeldt and the modernist works of Edward Weston, Smith's gelatin silver prints of desert botanicals are often reduced to structural detail. This view of organic detail as patterns of sculptural design creates a dramatic statement about relationships and the ephemeral qualities of growth.

By paying meticulous attention to lighting, and by stripping the forms of their color, Smith attempts to move the view closer to the objectivity of form and the sensual, curving highlights and shadows of these "ghostly botanical gems."

Nocturnal Botanicals runs through Wednesday in the Temple Gallery, in the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. For information, call 624-7370.

HEAVENLY STEWARD. The UA's venerable Steward Observatory continues its decades-old lecture series with Deconstructing Galaxies: A Detailed View of Two Galactic Neighbors.

The lecture is led by Steward's Dennis Zaritsky and, as always, will be followed by an opportunity to view the heavens through a 21-inch telescope.

The free event is at 7:30 p.m. in Steward Observatory's Room N210, north of the main mall and east of Cherry Avenue. Call 621-5049 for details.

Tuesday 21

NATURALLY GREEN. Swap floral facts with talented green thumbs at a gathering of Organic Gardeners.

Experts will be on hand to answer questions. You'll also have a chance to visit the gardening display, and purchase plants, seeds and produce at a mini-market.

The event is at 7:30 p.m. in the Geneva Room of St. Mark's Presbyterian Church, 3809 E. Third St. For details, call 670-9158.

TOP TENOR. Local opera hits a high note with a performance by Jerry Hadley.

He's regarded as the leading American tenor of his generation. Hadley's international career has led him to the world's leading opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Royal Opera at Covent Garden, and the Deutsche Oper Berlin. His sound is warm and versatile, and his repertoire ranges from Broadway and jazz to collaborations with artists including Leonard Bernstein and Paul McCartney.

His Tucson appearance is hosted as part of Arizona Opera's Great Singers Series.

Show time is 7:30 p.m. in the TCC Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. Tickets range from $26 to $90, and are available at Robinsons-May and Wherehouse Music, or by calling 791-4266.

Wednesday 22

FOOTLOOSE FOLK. Get a taste of overseas style when the Living Community Center hosts international folk dancing. Global high-steppers will be on hand to show you the moves, along with plenty of other friendly, dancing folks who promise not to chuckle at your provincial fumbles.

The weekly dances are at 8 p.m. Wednesday in the Living Community Center, 330 E. Seventh St. For details, call 325-0073.

LAWN LUNCH: In these fast-paced days, the long, leisurely picnic is becoming a rare commodity. But when you get an urge to ditch the boss and haul your significant other out to the sticks, several outdoor spots in and around Tucson provide the perfect setting for basking in winter smugness.

From the grassy slopes of Himmel Park, 1000 N. Tucson Blvd., to the shaded recesses of Sabino Canyon in the Santa Catalinas, packing up a picnic and heading for these open-air sanctuaries can provide the perfect afternoon reprieve--especially on days when the thermometer cruises into the gentle 70s.

For information on nearby green spaces, call Tucson Parks and Recreation at 791-4873, or Pima County Parks and Recreation at 740-2690.

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