Animal Month at the Madaras Gallery. Maybe you know Diana Madaras for her landscape paintings, her still life works or her pieces depicting some of Tucson's loveliest buildings. This month at her gallery, some of her animal paintings, artwork and gifts will be on display. Desert wildlife like birds and bobcats, yes—but also cows, dogs, horses, elephants and more. Stop in to pick up a gift for a January birthday, and maybe even treat yourself or someone else to a Madaras original—perhaps 2019 is the year you finally become an art collector. Event runs through January. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Madaras Gallery, 3035 N. Swan Road.
Leslie Yerman: Photography on Display. Leslie Yerman's sepia-toned photographs of subjects like snowstorms, rocks, clouds and tire tracks have a way of making you take pause. She's a big believer in that old photographer's mantra: there is often beauty in the ordinary or the inane. She likes to capture those little pockets of the world where nature creates an oasis of peace and healing in the middle of a hectic environment, and she's particularly drawn to trees and sky. Show on display at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone Ave., through the end of the year. Library hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Closes at 5 p.m. on New Year's Eve. Free.
Diversity. The Wilde Meyer Gallery is continuing to kill it this month with another exhibit featuring extremely talented local artists like Cathy Carey, Judy Choate and Chaille Trevor. The theme of this month's show is "diversity," which is just broad enough to encompass some truly virtuosic work across completely different styles. From abstract pastel work by Debora Stewart to Carey's dramatically colorful desert scenes, there's something for everyone at this monthlong exhibit, and plenty of time to make your way over to the gallery to check it all out. Exhibit runs through Jan. 31, and exhibit hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Wilde Meyer Gallery, 2890 E. Skyline Drive.
108 Sun Salutations. What better way to start the new year than by greeting the sunshine with open arms? Barefoot Yoga is hosting this opportunity to do just that—and you don't even have to get up super early, because it starts at 11 a.m. The class will consist of 108 sun salutations, done in increments of nine. 108 has lots of symbolic meanings (it's a "Harshad number," which means its divisible by the sum of its digits. There are said to be a total of 108 energy lines converging to and from Anahata, the heart chakra. And Buddhist malas and Catholic rosaries traditionally have 108 beads). Release any negative 2018 energy that's still lingering, shift your perspective, find your inner drive and give yourself the opportunity to realize you're stronger than you think. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 1. Barefoot Studio, 7352 N. Oracle Road. Free, but space is limited, so call the studio at 797-2881 or sign up online at wellnessliving.com to reserve a spot.
New Year's Day Bike Ride and Pancake Breakfast. Some of us are never going to be the type of people who wake up early after a night of partying to go out and exercise, not even on the first day of a new year, during which we've resolved to be better. But if you are the type of person who wakes up early on the first day of the year to go for a bike ride, good for you. The Tucson Endurance Performance Center is hosting this ride that rolls out at 8 a.m. sharp, and which will be followed by pancakes, because you don't want to work out for no reason, right? 8 to 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 1. Tucson Endurance Performance Center, 4811 E. Grant Road. Free.
The New Year's Day HAIR of the DOG Run/Walk. Okay, maybe you're not the type of person who gets up early to go biking on the first day of the new year, or the type of person who gets up early to go running on the first day of the new year. But maybe you'd consider a run/walk if it didn't start until 11? And if its rewards were more lasting than food—like a finisher's glass and some collectible poster art? This event features an 8K run along the Pantano or a one-mile loop around Udall Park, the latter which you can do with or without your best canine friend. Both courses are for runners and walkers of all abilities, and benefit the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. The post-race party features music by Shrimp Chaperone, a Dragoon beer garden (you can get either a free beer or a free non-alcoholic beverage from Whole Foods), treats from Le Buzz Caffe, an event expo and prizes. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 1. Morris K. Udall Park, 7200 E. Tanque Verde Road. $30 to $40.
One Week of Free Classes at Circus Sanctuary. First, let's just take a minute to reflect on how wacky and wonderful of a town Tucson is to have MORE THAN ONE circus school. Now, let's move on to celebrating that the newest one, Circus Sanctuary, has been in business for a whole year now! Their philosophy is to teach students to play like children, train like athletes and perform like artists. And if that's not just a damn good philosophy, we don't know what is. They're celebrating one year with a whole week of free conditioning classes, from Sunday, Dec. 30, through Saturday, Jan. 5. Everything from pole to aerial silks to trapeze to flexibility to beginning contortion will be offered, as well as open studio times and a family circus class. Circus Sanctuary, 3113 E. Columbia St. Free. Check out the Facebook event page for specific class times.
Especially for Kids
Animal Play Day. Even the most intriguing and unique species on the planet tend to have one thing in common: They like being entertained. That's why the Reid Park Zoo provides its animals with enrichment every day to help keep their minds and bodies strong. Animal Play Day is your chance to watch keepers doing enrichment with the animals, and to interact with the staff while they chat about what they're doing. Spend your day playing in the zoo, and learning why it's so important for animals to play too. Keeper chats are scheduled for 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 27. Reid Park Zoo, 3400 E. Zoo Court. Talks are free with zoo admission, which is $10.50 for adults, $8.50 for seniors 62 and up, $6.50 for kids. Discounts for members.
Winter Break STEAM. Maybe your kid doesn't think he or she's interested in STEAM. But maybe he's wondered just a little bit about how electrical circuits light up the house, the Christmas tree and every electrical appliance they need. Or maybe she'd be interested to learn you can manipulate static electricity to make objects move without touching them. (Wingardium leviosa, anyone?) First through fifth graders who have ever wanted to learn a little bit more about how things work will love this activity at the library. 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 27, and Friday, Dec. 28, as well as Wednesday through Friday, Jan. 2-4. Quincie Douglas Library, 1585 E. 36th St. Free.
The Snowman Factory. As of the time this issue is going to print, it does not look like a white Christmas is in the forecast for Tucson this year. But Little Cardboard Rocket is going to help you make it up to your little ones, and teach them a little bit about science to boot! Head on over to make a snow-like substance out of only two ingredients, and then create a snowman with your child. There's also several other activities that everyone can work through at their own pace, a healthy snack and plenty of take-home resources. This is designed for kids ages 3 to 5, but younger scientists are welcome as well! 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 29. Little Cardboard Rocket, LLC, 5630 E. Pima St. $8.
Shows and Performances
A Night of Tucson Salvage. If you don't know and love Brian Smith already, where have you been? The award-winning journalist, former alcohol and crystal meth addict, one-time rock 'n' roll front man for bands like the Beat Angels and Gentleman After Dark, and Tucson Salvage columnist is well-loved around these parts. His Tucson Salvage columns and essays have been gathered into a book, and at this event, we're celebrating with all sorts of art! Poet Maggie Golston is doing a reading, Billy Sedlymayr and Kaia Lacy are making music, filmmaker Maggie Smith is showing some of her work and (of course), Brian is doing a reading from his new book. A Q&A and book signing follow. 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29. Exo Roast Co. 403 N. Sixth Ave. $5 to benefit Youth on Their Own, but no one will be turned away at the door for lack of money.
Tucson Repertory Orchestra Concert. The Tucson Repertory Orchestra was created to bring skilled musicians together for a chance to play some classical standards. That's exactly what they're doing at this show, and you get to watch! Music director Toru Tagawa will conduct and violinist Michelle Abraham is the performance's featured musician. 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29. Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 2331 E. Adams St. Admission by donation.
Tucson Roadrunners vs. Stockton Heat. If we can get through these hockey game without a team literally called "heat" melting the ice, then they're definitely a fun way to spend your Friday or Saturday night. And hey, you have to admit that if the ice melts during the game, it would still make for an interesting time. If you're looking for an especially nerdy experience, go to Star Wars Night on Saturday, where you can meet your favorite characters form the franchise and participate in a costume contest to win some cool prizes. 7:05 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 28, and Saturday, Dec. 29. Tucson Arena, 260 S. Church Ave. $11 to $61+.
Goal Post Party! Even if you're not a sports person, you might enjoy a free concert by Everclear, lots of fun and games, food and beverages for all ages and a charity village where you can really get in the holiday spirit. It's important to pack as much living as you possibly can into these last few days of the year, and this event full of things to do and see is a perfect opportunity. 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29. UA Mall. Free.
Marana Eggnog Jog. Maybe you're not the kind of person who gets up early on New Year's Day to go on a bike ride, but you are the kind of person who gets up early on New Year's Day to go running. Hey, whatever floats your boat. This run features a 10K, a 5K and a fun run that make for a perfect way to kick off that New Year's resolution to start getting fit, to spend more time outside or to participate in more community events. And it's not as bad as it might sound: There'll be free raffle prizes, lots of fun activities and eggnog waiting for you at the finish line. (And hey, you can always go right back to bed after the race is over). 7 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 1. Continental Reserve Park, 8568 N. Continental Reserve Loop. Preregistration is $20 for adults and $15 for kids 12 and under.
Fun in General
Last Fridays at MSA Annex. It's the last Friday of the month. Hell, it's the last Friday of the whole year! How are you going to spend it? One great option is a low-key night of shopping under the stars at some of the merchants' stores in the MSA Annex. This family-friendly event also features live music, food trucks to supplement the usual on-site restaurants and other libations by Westbound Bar. In this few-day lull between Christmas and New Year's Day, a nice stroll with your family and a chance to support local artisans might be just what you need. 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 28. MSA Annex, 267 S. Avenida del Convento.
The HugTrain Stops in Tucson. Loneliness is bad for your health—some studies are showing it can lead to anxiety, depression, reduced cardiovascular health and weakened immune systems. But you know what's good for your health? Hugs! They're a small, powerful way to let another human know they're not alone. The HugTrain founder, a guy named Arie, has been traveling through Canada in the United States during the holiday season since 2009, giving out free hugs to whoever wants them in an effort to make the world just a little bit better. He'll be around for a few days, with his train arriving at the Tucson Amtrak, 400 E. Toole Ave., at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 27, and leaving at 8:35 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 30. So keep an eye out!
Tucson Garden Railway Society Holiday Train Display. Wait, you're telling me it's almost the end of the year—almost the end of the holiday season—and you still haven't seen any model train displays? You'd better hurry on over to the VA for this sweet little display, featuring mountains, buildings, picturesque scenes and—of course—a big ol' miniature train. Members of the Garden Railway Society will be around to explain the display and answer questions. It's a great way to give your kids taste of the holidays of yesteryear, or to give yourself a refresher on the holidays of yesteryear. Stop in any time from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 27 and Friday, Dec. 28. Southern Arizona VA Health Care System, 3601 S. Sixth Ave. Free.
Settle This Thing. Ever had an argument with your partner, or even with a friend, that you needed to bring in a third party to resolve? Ever had to bring in an entire audience full of people to be the third party? Married comedians Tamara Bick & Drew Antzis (they're comedy writers/directors for Funny or Die, Comedy Central, Second City and HBO) are doing just that, and if you like having fun and laughing, you should be in the audience. The couple will be going over everything from sex to parenting to dealing with the in-laws. "Should a man be allowed to fart freely in his own home?" Drew might ask. "Should your partner have to agree to go on a diet with you? Especially if you're cooking the food all the time?" Tamara might counter. It's up to you to settle this thing. 9 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29. Unscrewed Theater, 4500 E. Speedway. $15 one ticket, $25 for two tickets (couples only).