City Week

Weekly Picks


Music & Dance

A Christmas Concert with TaliasVan's Bright & Morning Star Choir & Orchestra. So, TaliasVan's Bright & Morning Star Choir & Orchestra has been around for more than 20 years now, performing music by its founder, the one-and-only (we assume—it's not a very common name, as far as we know) TaliasVan. The 50-voice choir performs both classic carols and original Christmas compositions that were written to reflect the divine. TaliasVan's CosmoYouth Choir, a group of 12- to 16-year-olds that have been performing professionally all over Tucson for the last four years, is opening the show. Feel free to come early and enjoy the beer and wine garden, food truck, snacks and Sacred Treasures shop. Santa will be there too! 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22. Sea of Glass Center for the Arts, 330 E. Seventh St. $15.

Southern Arizona Women's Chorus Winter Concert.
You've heard the men's choir, the boys' choir, the girls' choir and a broad selection of co-ed choirs this holiday season. Now it's the women's turn to step up to the plate, and they're not doing a typical holiday concert. The theme of this one is "Tibetan Sounds and Psalms," and will feature—alongside the sound of the choir's lovely voices—singing bowls and gongs. If you've had enough traditional holiday music (it's OK. You can say it. It doesn't mean you hate Christmas, or fun. Just that every building, car and outdoor area you've entered for the past month has played nothing but holiday music, and you need a break), this is your chance! 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21. The Benedictine Monastery, 800 N. Country Club Road. $20. They've got another performance coming up in January, too!

A Cirque Holiday. One of the best things about living in a town full of artists is all of the opportunities for different kinds of artists to team up and do awesome stuff. Case in point: The Tucson Symphony Orchestra and Troupe Vertigo (actually from Los Angeles) are putting on this show that combines orchestral music with performance art. Contortionists, strong men and aerialists will perform above the orchestra, who will be playing holiday favorites from The Nutcracker and Babes In Toyland. Not to mention plenty of classic carols like "Jingle Bells" and "The Little Drummer Boy." Santa Claus will be in the lobby after performances to accept Christmas lists. 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 22 and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 23. Tucson Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. $30 to $76, and half price for kids under 18 and active military.

Musical Theatre Karaoke. If all these performances of The Music Man have you screaming classic showtunes at the top of the lungs on your commute to work, this event is for you. Following select performances of the show (put on by the Arizona Theatre Company), everyone is welcome to flock to the Temple of Music & Art's café for some free showtune shenanigans. You don't have to only sing musical theatre, but if you do, what'll it be? Something from a classic, like Singing in the Rain or Thoroughly Modern Millie? A comedy piece, like I Am Adolpho from The Drowsy Chaperone? A contemporary favorite, from a show like Wicked or Hamilton? The possibilities are endless. Break a leg! (And check the Facebook event page for nightly code phrases for drink specials). 9:45 p.m. to midnight Friday, Dec. 21 an 28 and Saturday, Dec. 22 and 29. Arizona Theatre Company, 330 S. Scott Ave. Free.

Dance-With-Us. You might have heard that Moscow Ballet's production of The Great Russian Nutcracker is coming to town. But did you hear about their community engagement program, "Dance-With-Us"? Moscow Ballet audition directors travel around to local dance studios and let kids audition for roles as party children, mice, snowflakes, snow maidens and more. Then kids spend the fall rehearsing at host studio Flor de Liz Dance and perform in a professional ballet, with costumes provided courtesy of Moscow Ballet. Basically, this is a chance to see performances by young rising stars who have spent the past few months receiving Russian Vaganova ballet training. What a neat world we live in! 3 and 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21. Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd. $33 to $73+.

Not Your Ordinary Nut/Winter Showcase. Maybe you appreciate The Nutcracker on, like, an intellectual level, but an hour and a half of straight ballet just isn't up your alley. Danswest Dance's one-act production of the "Un-Nutcracker," featuring tap, jazz, hip hop and aerobic dance, might be just what you—and your whole family—are looking for. The "second act" of this show is a student showcase, highlighting some of these young dancers' biggest achievements for the season and making you feel all warm, fuzzy and proud of today's youth. 2 and 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 22. Palo Verde High Magnet School, 1302 S. Avenida Vega. $15 to $25.

In the Christmas Mood: A Holiday Music Spectacular. If you've heard of Christmas (and we suspect you have), then you've probably heard of Andy Williams, whose 74-year career in the music industry is best-remembered by many people for the many, many Christmas TV specials and song recordings it included. The Fox Theatre is bringing back some of that good old-fashioned holiday spirit with this show, featuring classics like "Jingle Bells" and "Sleigh Ride" being sung by Tucson's own Crystal Stark, New York performer Brian Levario and a cast of other talented performers—including the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus. A portion of the evening's proceeds benefit the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona, and volunteers will also be collecting diapers at the event, so your heart can feel as content as your ears. 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21. The Fox Theatre, 17 W. Congress St. $22 to $32.

Winter Solstice Celebrations

MOCA Winter Solstice Celebration. If you haven't seen "Blessed Be: Mysticism, Spirituality, and the Occult in Contemporary Art," over at MOCA, the closing party—full of artmaking activities, tarot readings, a bonfire, movie screenings and live performances—is the perfect chance to do it. Self-described psychonaut Adam Cooper-Terán is putting on "All of the Answers are in the Earth," a story about the wrongful arrest of Michael Joseph Cooper. Vabianna Santos' piece, "Headless Love," alternates between passages of singing and breath being held underwater in a narrative that fuses ideas about queer intimacy with physical endurance. And Angèle Lebert's "Meditation II" is described only as an "interpersonal experimentation" that will have viewers/participants crossing all sorts of borders. 8 to 11 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21. Tucson Museum of Contemporary Art, 265 S. Church Ave. Free.

Earthrise. You know the photo: The one with part of the moon's surface in the foreground and the Earth rising out of the darkness in the distance? Astronaut Bill Anders took it on Christmas Eve 1968 during the Apollo 8 mission. Considering Christmas Eve is this week, and that we're all still abuzz about the recent milestones in the OSIRIS-REx mission, Flandrau is screening a new documentary about and named for this iconic photograph. Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee directs the 30-minute film that brings us the voices of the Apollo 8 astronauts talking about their experiences and trip around the Moon. 3 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20, 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22, and 3 p.m. Monday, Dec. 24. Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium, 1601 E. University Blvd. $8 adults, $6 kids.

Southern Solstice: A Winter Fire Ritual in the Sonoran Desert. This time of year is filled with all sorts of reasons to celebrate, whatever you choose to celebrate. So it's only fitting that Cirque Roots is offering up this show will all sorts of talent. Fire dancing, acrobatics, aerial arts and stilt dance will all be going down during sunset in celebration of the winter solstice. Bring your own chairs and blankets, sip on a hot drink from Peddler on the Path and take a moment to celebrate this special point in the Earth's orbit. And do it all overlooking the gorgeous Catalinas. 5:30 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22. Brandi Fenton Memorial Park, 3482 E. River Road. $10 to $20, or free for kids under 10.

Holiday Miscellany

The Arroyo Café Radio Show. If the holiday season doesn't make you feel all warm and nostalgic enough already, then you really ought to experience gathering around the radio with the family, preferably in the dim glow of a string of Christmas lights, and listening to the Christmas Eve broadcast of a radio show. Better yet, gather up the family, drive through Tucson's festive streets and go watch a taping of the Arroyo Café Players on the AZPM Holiday Spectacular. The show features Crystal Stark, Marty Bishop, Fitz, Jay Taylor, Grandsons of the Pioneers and even Wilbur the Wildcat. There's also many more entertainers, including a special mystery guest! 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22. The Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress. $15 online or $20 at the door.

Pop-Cycle Holiday Clothing Drive. If you haven't already donated jackets, scarves, gloves, socks, backpacks, toiletries, sleeping bags or some sweets or fruits for Pop-Cycle to hand out to people in need, you're not too late! They're collecting new and gently-used donations until 6 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 23. The Pop-Cycle crew is heading out on Christmas Eve to hand out the supplies, and you can get in touch with them if you'd like to be a part of the delivery process. You probably have a jacket lying around you just never wear anymore, or are going to see some warm, fuzzy socks for cheap while you're waiting in the checkout line doing some Christmas shopping. Why not spread some holiday warmth and light with a simple, easy gesture? Pop-Cycle, 422 N. Fourth Ave.

Winterhaven Festival of Lights. If you haven't made it to Winterhaven for the holidays yet, you'd better get over there! There's less than a week left until Christmas! You've probably been running around like crazy trying to prepare for the holidays, for going out of town, for giving everyone the right gift. This is what we recommend: Find yourself some parking and then take a leisurely stroll through the area known for having the best lights in town. If you prefer, take your tour on a hayride wagon, a bus trolley or a pedal-powered group bike. When you're nice and filled up with the holiday spirit, head home, make yourself a cup of hot chocolate, and do something that makes you feel calm and happy. 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. every day through Wednesday, Dec. 26. Winterhaven Neighborhood. Free.

Jester King Launch Party. Ermanos Craft Beer & Wine Bar is bringing some new brews into town, all from Jester King, a farmhouse brewery in Texas that uses local ingredients and ferments all of its beers twice—the second time, in the bottle. At this launch party, they'll have five beers on tap and four in bottles. For example: Cerveza de Tempranillo, a sour beer with tempranillo wine grapes; La Vie En Rose, a dry ale re-fermented with raspberries; and Foudreweizen, a Hefeweizen that gets trucked into enormous oak vats called foudres to spend several months maturing. You could probably use a beer, so why not treat yourself to some really artisan stuff? 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20. Ermanos Craft Beer & Wine Bar, 220 N. Fourth Ave.

Holiday Shindig. The TucsonSentinel is having a gathering to celebrate several things. In lieu of our own description of the event, enjoy this far more entertaining one by the TucsonSentinel team. "PLEASE ACCEPT with no obligation - implied, implicit, inferred, contrived or obliquely winked—our qualified non-denominational BEST WISHES for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the time period generally coinciding with the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable—if any—traditions of the religious persuasion or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all... and a fiscally successful, Maslovianly fulfilling, personally safe, Gannett-and-Lee-free and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2019." 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20. The Shanty, 401 E. Ninth St.

Santa at Little Anthony's Diner. Little Anthony's Diner has been serving up heaping helpings of family fun ever since it opened. During the holidays, it's kicking the family fun into high gear by bringing in the big man himself for kids to chat and take photos with. Photos are free when you bring a non-perishable food item donation to benefit the Tucson Community Food Bank! He'll be around a few different days, but if you're looking to kill two birds with one stone, or to visit Little Anthony's twice in one day, then check out the restaurant's classic car show from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 22. DJ John hosts, and there's tons of trophies, prizes and giveaways—plus a jumping air castle! Santa is around 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21, through Sunday, Dec. 23. Little Anthony's Diner, 7010 E. Broadway Blvd. Free with food donation.

Las Posadas Navidenas. Compania de Danza Folklorica Arizona and local professional and youth mariachis are teaming up for the first time for this event, and we're all in for a treat. Las Posadas is a 400-year-old Latinx tradition reenacting Mary and Joseph's pilgrimage to Bethlehem before Jesus' birth. Mariachi music makes the whole shebang extra festive. It's family friendly, it's full of holiday spirit and it's a great opportunity to support some local artists and enjoy a beautiful cultural celebration. Feliz Navidad! 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22. Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd. $10.

Non-Holiday Art & Performances

Ugly Sweater Party + Como Se Dice + Beefeaters. There's nothing quite so festive as a name like "Beefeaters," so if this show by Tucson Improv Movement doesn't get you in the holiday spirit, we don't know what will. This holiday medley show features longform improv by two of the crew's house teams, lots of ugly sweaters and even more fun. Wear an ugly sweater yourself to get a buck off of beer and wine. Consider it pregaming for Christmas, or just taking a night off from going to holiday parades and tree lightings. And you'll have time afterward to hit the town, if you want. 9 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22. 313 E. Ninth St. $5.

6 & 6. Leave it to Tucson's community of scientists and artists to join hands between the worlds of STEM and the humanities and make something awesome. The Next Generation Sonoran Desert Researchers (N-Gen) Arts and Science Initiative paired six artists with six scientists to conduct research showcasing life in the Sonoran Desert. This exhibit is the manifestation of their work. You'll see oil on canvas, compositional sketches and photographs. And across all mediums, you'll see the science that went into creating the images. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Saturday, Dec. 22, through March 31, 2019 (closed on University holidays). University of Arizona Museum of Art, 1031 N. Olive Road. $8 GA, $6.50 seniors and groups of 10 or more, free for members, students with ID, faculty, staff, military, AAM members, SNAP card and Tribal ID holders, and children.

Fun in General

Free Microchipping! Did you get a new pet for Christmas? Or do you want to give yourself one of the greatest Christmas gifts at all: increased confidence that if your pet goes missing in the hustle and bustle, jingle and jangle, and fireworks of the holidays, you'll still see him or her again? Microchipping your little best friends is the perfect way to do that, and No Kill Pima County and the Pima Animal Care Center are teaming up to make it extra easy, and totally free. Just bring in your dog or cat on a leash or in a carrier. No appointment necessary! Noon to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 26, and Thursday, Dec. 27. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 28, through Sunday, Dec. 30. Noon to 3 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31. Pima Animal Care Center, 4000 N. Silverbell Road. Free.

Retro Game Show Night's All-Star Seven Year Anniversary Show. Hotel Congress claims that their Retro Game Show Night is the longest-running monthly show in Tucson, and we're inclined to believe them—they're up to 84 months' worth of this event. Hosted by Tempest DuJour, the "Delicate Flower of the Desert" and Tucson's largest drag queen, the show features vintage television game shows, special "celebrity" guests and real contestants from the audience. At this anniversary bonanza, viewers will enjoy an episode of The $9.95 Pyramid (based on the old $10,000 Pyramid series and all of its spin-offs). 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22. Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St. $12.

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