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click to enlarge Sugar Plum Tea 2018. - COURTESY
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  • Sugar Plum Tea 2018.

Sugar Plum Tea 2018. Supporting Ballet Tucson means supporting their annual production of The Nutcracker, which means you definitely want to support Ballet Tucson. And they're making it super fun to do: At this tea, there's live holiday music, a silent auction, delicious treats and characters from The Nutcracker in attendance. You can get some holiday shopping done at their boutique full of gifts and stocking stuffers, and even enjoy a performance by the dancers. Singer and saxophonist Jeff Haskell and singer Katherine Byrnes are providing entertainment, and so is harpist (and graduate of both Julliard and the UA) Christine Vivona. 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1. Marriott University Park Hotel, 880 E. Second St. $75.

The Music Man. If you know anything about The Music Man, you know the music man really isn't a music man at all—he's a con artist who rolls into River City, Iowa one summer with a plan to con the townspeople. More specifically, he offers to train young boys in the town to play instruments and form bands, then skips town with the money. He's done it plenty of times before, but this time is different, because there's a cute little boy with a lisp, a barbershop quartet and—as there is in most any musical—a love story. There's also these really great gossip townsfolk called the "Pickalittle Ladies" who are an awful lot like a flock of birds. Don't miss Arizona Theatre Company's production of this show. Saturday, Dec. 1 through Sunday, Dec. 30. With shows at either 2 p.m., 7 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. $46 to $76.

click to enlarge The Music Man. - COURTESY
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  • The Music Man.

Reveille Men's Chorus Holiday Show. It's that lovely time of year where local performance groups are putting on holiday performances, just in time to ease all your holiday stress. The local men's chorus production this year is the "Island of Misfit Toys," which tells the story of a group of misfits who learn to accept themselves—and others—for exactly who they are. But it's not just wholesome and heartwarming. With barbershop, pop, opera, holiday and uncategorizable numbers, it's also a show that will leave you thoroughly impressed. 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30, and Saturday, Dec. 1. 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1, and Sunday, Dec. 2. Leo Rich Theater, 260 S. Church Ave. $20, or free for youth 23 and under.

click to enlarge Reveille Men’s Chorus Holiday Show. - COURTESY
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  • Reveille Men’s Chorus Holiday Show.

Holiday Shopping

St. Philip's Plaza Farmers Market. This local market took a little hiatus for the summer, but this fall it opened up with more variety, extended hours and live entertainment. Whether you're there to buy handcrafted pottery, local baked goods, a new plant, some fantastic spice blends, artisan jewelry or tonight's dinner, you can now do it to the beat of the live music, and for longer! (Don't worry, admission is still totally free). St. Philip's Plaza is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon anyway, but throw in the opportunity to support local art, get some holiday shopping in and treat yourself to a snack? You'd be a fool to miss it. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. St. Philip's Plaza, 4280 N. Campbell Ave.

Rillito Park Farmers Market. Sometimes it's hard to find time for Christmas shopping because life's other responsibilities get in the way. How are you supposed to do laundry, cook dinner AND find the perfect gift for Aunt Mabel? Farmers markets can help you kill at least two birds with one stone, because you can get some of your grocery shopping done while you also pick out holiday treats and gifts from small local businesses that will be well-loved by the ones you love. Plus, the live music and the treats you can buy for yourself on the spot make for a shopping experience that's low on stress and high on fun. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2. Rillito Park Food Pavilion, 4502 N. First Ave.

Cultivate Tucson: Holiday 2018 Pop-Up Market. Hooray small businesses! Hooray local art! Hooray holiday shopping! Don't miss another chance to buy goods from Tucson's independent designers, makers and shops. It's located in the All Saints Building, which used to be a Catholic school, so it will be hallways full of community interactions, classrooms full of vendors where you can learn all about local artists' methods, and a courtyard with even more vendors. If you had a good experience in Catholic school, relive it at this event. If you had a bad experience in Catholic school, reclaim it at this event. We'd cultiv-hate for you to miss this cultiv-great event. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. 415 S. Sixth Ave. Free.

Cat Mountain Station Winter Art Fest. If you feel like you've exhausted all of your options for Christmas shopping in central/east-of-the-freeway Tucson (you probably haven't—the options are practically endless, and you should see our holiday gift guide for a tiny sampling of them), then try heading over to Cat Mountain Station for this event. Fine arts, crafts, jewelry, iron works and photography abound, and you'll be crossing names off of your "to-buy-for" list left and right. Cat Mountain is where it's at mountain. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2. Cat Mountain Station, 2740 S. Kinney Road.

Learn Something New

Lecture with Cassils at the Center for Creative Photography. It's time for another installment of the UA School of Art's Visiting Artists and Scholars lecture series, which aims to give voice to the voiceless and highlight the power of visual art. On the docket for this week: Cassils, whom the Huffington Post has called "one of 10 transgender artists who are changing the landscape of contemporary art." Cassils draws on feminism, body art and gay male aesthetics to break down binaries and reflect on the transgender community's historical struggle. Cassils creates work like PISSED, a sculpture containing 200 gallons of urine; Inextinguishable Fire, which enacts a full-body burn in front of a live audience; and Becoming an Image, a performance that takes place in total darkness with zero visibility. Don't miss Cassils discussing their artistic practice at this event in advance of their performance at the Biosphere 2 on Dec. 1. 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29. Tucson Museum of Contemporary Art. Free.

Moth Diversity on Mount Lemmon. This might not be something you've ever thought about before, but moth diversity on Mount Lemmon is a fascinating subject—both in and of itself and as a microcosm for biodiversity in general. The Santa Catalinas are one of the world's most biologically diverse regions, and as seasons shift from extreme heat to monsoons to the cold of winter, this diversity can shift. Cristina Francois, a PhD candidate in insect science at the UA, will talk about how biodiversity can change over space and time by talking about moth communities in particular. Face it: The pull of Mount Lemmon for Tucsonans is just as strong as the pull of light for moths, so flit on up there and check out this workshop. 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29. Summerhaven Community Center. 12949 N. Sabino Canyon Park, Mount Lemmon.

Asteroid Ahoy! It's not just the holiday season in Tucson—it's asteroid arrival season, because the UA-led NASA OSIRIS-REx mission is reaching a major milestone this Monday when it arrives at the asteroid Bennu. To celebrate, the Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium is hosting a whole weekend of festivities, including a presentation at 2 p.m. on Saturday by Bashar Rizk, the guy in charge of the mission's cameras; and a 2 p.m. Sunday talk by Dante Lauretta, the mission's principal investigator. Both presentations will be followed by a screening of the fulldome planetarium show "Asteroid: Mission Extreme." There's also hands-on activities and a board game signing by Lauretta (who designs board games in addition to leading NASA missions). 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, and Sunday, Dec. 2. Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium, 1601 E. University Blvd. $4 GA, free science presentations and regular price for the planetarium shows: $8 adults and $6 kids.

La Fiesta de Tumacacori. Do you ever think about how many different cultures have lived in and influenced Southern Arizona? Because it's a lot, and it's actually kind of overwhelming to think about. But at this event, it's fun to think about, because it involves Native American, Mexican and Southwest food, crafts and performances. There's demonstrations on everything from paper flower-making to tortilla-making to O'odham basket weaving! There's piñatas, games and prizes! There are dozens of nonprofit organizations selling food and hand-crafted items! There's nonstop entertainment! And there's a procession Sunday morning. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2. Tumacacori National Historical Park, 1891 E. Frontage Road, Tumacacori. Free.

Music

Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 3. When Sergei Rachmaninoff was 24, his Symphony No. 1 was critically received, and it sent him into a four-year depression during which the pianist, composer and conductor—who started playing piano at age 4—didn't do much at all. The fact that he went on to compose this gorgeous symphony, one which he himself truly believed was good, is enough to make anyone feel hopeful. This evening at the Tucson Symphony Orchestra also features Khachaturian's Concerto-Rhapsody for Cello, with soloist Nicholas Mariscal, and the world premiere of In the Kingdom of Bells, by Scott Ordway. TSO commissioned the piece from Ordway, who is known for pairing artistic disciplines with humanistic themes. 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30. And 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 2. Tucson Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. $21 to $86.

Orchestra Concerts at PCC. Pima Community College students and other adults in the Tucson community are coming together to perform this repertoire of classical music under the direction of Alexander Tentser. Tentser immigrated to the U.S. from the Ukraine back in 1990, earned his doctorate in musical arts at the UA and has been performing, educating and conducting ever since. The PCC's orchestra aims to educate the community about orchestral music and provide musicians with an opportunity to perform in a group setting. Take advantage of this fantastic (and affordable!) opportunity to not only learn a little bit about classical music, but to spend an evening with peaceful music in the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle. 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. Proscenium Theatre, 2202 W. Anklam Road. $6, or $5 for students/seniors/military/PCC employees and groups.

Theater and Performances

click to enlarge Snoopy - COURTESY
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  • Snoopy

SNOOPY!!! Talking about Snoopy is the sort of thing that gets most people so excited that putting three explanation points after his name is almost a little redundant—the excitement is inherent in the name. But when we're talking about the title to a musical sequel to the beloved Peanuts comic strip, full of all the wit and warmth of the source material, plus the music and magic of this new medium, those three exclamation points might just be called for. It's a show about children, so kids will love it, but the '70s music and the nostalgia factor will have adults groovin' just as much (if not more). Thursday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 29. 7 p.m. previews on Thursday, Nov. 29 and Friday, Nov. 30. Shows 7 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Saturday matinee on Dec. 29 at 3 p.m., instead of evening show. Live Theatre Workshop, 5317 E. Speedway Blvd. $12 adults, $10 kids.

Freshman BFA Acting & Musical Theatre Students Debut. The UA School of Theatre, Film & Television is presenting some of the newest members of their department at this event, where students just beginning their college theatre training will be showcasing their talents. Both the acting majors and the musical theatre majors are performing, so you'll get a sampling of several skillsets. This is a great opportunity to see some future stars in an intimate performance setting, so when they're all famous in a few years, you can reminisce on the time you were sitting just a few feet away from them. It's also a great way to support local, young performers. 7:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5. Marroney Theatre, 1025 N. Olive Road. $7.

Waitress. Sarah Bareilles is not going to write you a love song, but the six-time Grammy nominee is going to write the original music and lyrics for this hit musical, and you're going to love it. Inspired by Adrienne Shelly's film, the musical tells the story of a small-town waitress with big-time dreams who thinks a baking contest and the cute new doctor in town might be just the ticket. The all-woman creative team features screenwriter Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam), choreographer Lorin Latarro (Waiting for Godot) and director/Tony award-winner Diane Paulus (Hair, Pippin, Finding Neverland). Don't wait-ress to buy tickets! Tuesday, Dec. 4 through Sunday, Dec. 9., with shows at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd. $19 to $125+.

Fun in General

2018 Jingle Bell Run. Some things in life are unexplainable but true, and this is one of them: It's easier to run a 5K wearing a Santa hat, with jingle bells tied to your shoes, than it is to run a 5K without being decked out in Christmas gear. It might be that the holiday spirit makes you feel a little bit lighter, or it might be that the rhythm of the jingle bells keeps you going, or it might just be magic. You'll feel even better running this race knowing you're raising funds and awareness to cure arthritis—America's number one cause of disability. 100 percent of your registration fee and fundraising efforts go to the Arthritis Foundation. Registration begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. Gene C. Reid Park, 900 S. Randolph Way. $20 to $35.

Arizona National Guard Muster. This rally honors not only the service and sacrifice of all Arizona veterans, but the 100-year anniversary of the end of WWI. Highlights include military static displays, a flyover by the Arizona National Guard, and the "muster"—a tradition dating back almost 400 years to when America's first colonial militia assembled. Arizona National Guard Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen will muster in formation on the field for review by Mag. Gen. Michael T. McGuire. And there's plenty else to enjoy too, including a car & motorcycle show, the 108th Army Band, tons of vendors and a children's play area. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2. Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium 2500 E. Ajo Way. Free.

"Multimedia" at the Wilde Meyer Gallery. What's the theme of this months' gallery exhibit at Wilde Meyer? Well, lots of things. Or at least, lots of different types of media. We're talking sculptors, painters and fine jewelry-makers like Judy Choate, Jim Nelson, Albert Scharf, Jess Davila and Doug Weigel. See a table decorated with petroglyphs, gorgeous paintings of the desert and surreal sculptures that will have you feeling grateful to live in a city full of so much talent—and maybe even inspired to make some art of your own, in whatever medium you choose. Exhibit runs from Saturday, Dec. 1 through Monday, Dec. 31, with an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays and 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Wilde Meyer Gallery, 2870 E. Skyline Drive.

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