Learn Something New
CreativeMornings: May. CreativeMornings is a free breakfast lecture series for the creatives of Tucson... so, for most people in Tucson. Each month, they have a guest speaker speak to a theme. This month, Hotel McCoy's creative director and general manager Nicole Dahl speaks about her journey putting together her dream hotel. After attending the UA, she started working as a creative consultant for hotels, eventually opening her own 93-room, 1960s aesthetic masterpiece, Hotel McCoy. It's the type of place everyone, whether you're a free-spirited artist or a free-spirited artist's generally stern and disapproving uncle, wants to stay. Don't miss a chance to learn more about its origin story! 8:30 to 10 a.m. Friday, May 10. Hotel McCoy, 720 W. Silverlake Road. Free
Southern Arizona Senior Pride Book Club. If you've been keeping up with this group's book list (which you should—they pick great books), you know they already read Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, a memoir about the author's relationship with her father. For this month's meeting, they're reading Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama by Alison Bechdel, a book about the author's relationship with her mother. We all have warped, complicated relationships with our mothers. Why not read some really eloquent, hilarious writing about the subject and talk about it with a group? 2 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 15. Ward 3 Council Office conference room, 1510 E. Grant Road. Free.
Sustainability Series: Energy Rebates 101. Of course it's great to make sustainable adjustments to your lifestyle just for the sake of being better for the environment. But, hey, it doesn't hurt that TEP offers lots of rebates to commercial building owners and business to reduce your energy bill at the same time. LED lightbulbs are a great, simple start, but there are lots of ways to be more energy and cost efficient. Come learn more about it all at Local First Arizona's and Tucson's 2030 District's first workshop in their new sustainability series. 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 9. 1064 E. Lowell Road. Free.
"For the Birds" Opening Reception. Have you heard? Bird is the word, and the Desert Artisans Gallery has a new exhibit opening up this month, with art by artists like Sharon Bertrand, Wanita Christensen, Nancy Cressler, Susan Libby and Judith Probst. Everything is avian! Flit on over to the gallery to celebrate this exhibit taking flight. We promise you'll have an egg-cellent time. Opening reception is 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, May 10. Exhibit open throughout May and June. Desert Artisans Gallery, 6536 E. Tanque Verde Road. Free.
Small Things Considered: 27th Small Works Invitational. Eighty artists from around Tucson and the greater arts community have come together for this exhibit at the Davis Dominguez Gallery full of small paintings, little sculptures and every other fine art medium. Each artists provides one piece that's 12"x12" or smaller and 18 inches high or shorter, and they fill the lobby, main gallery and salon gallery. It's not a show of miniatures, but rather a challenge to create a complete work of art in a modest amount of space. As if creating a complete work of art in any amount of space isn't a big enough challenge. Exhibit runs through June 22. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Davis Dominguez Gallery, 154 E. Sixth St. Free.
Tucson Zine Fest. If Tucson were a piece of print media, it would probably be a zine, right? These tiny batches of independently produced, "mini magazine" sort of things are a delight, especially when they're produced by both local artists and artists from all over the world. So join butchers, bakers and zine makers at 191 Toole to treat yourself and support artists. (Just kidding about the butchers and bakers, but there will be comic book creators and plenty of other quirky artist types.) 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 11, and Sunday, May 12. 191 Toole, 191 E. Toole Ave. Free.
Tucson Pops: Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus and Irish Dancers. Have you checked out any of the Tucson Pops concerts over in Reid Park? You're not going to want to miss this one. The local boys chorus will be singing pieces like Ocasek's "Magic" and Donizetti's Overture to The Daughter of the Regiment. They'll also do some pieces from Phantom of the Opera, and then an Irish suite. That suite will be a perfect transition to a performance by Mechan Crownhart and Liam Boyd, local high schoolers who have competed internationally in Irish dancing. 7 p.m. Sunday, May 12. DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center, Reid Park, 900 S. Randolph Way. Free.
Exist. You know about Cirque Roots, the local circus arts studio. You know that, as Carl Sagan once said, "We are all star stuff." At this event, art, science and even mythology come together in a multimedia mashup of projections, acrobatics, stilt dance, poetry and music to explore questions about what it means to be human in the universe. Prepare to be totally blown away, and to learn some science while you're at it. Prior to the show, Aaron Farber is hosting a free astronomy workshop at 5 p.m. and an art gallery inspired by the stars will be available for viewing at 6 p.m. 7 p.m. Saturday, May 11. Edward B. Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway Blvd. $0 to $25 on a sliding scale: Pay what you can.
Black Renaissance. Hotel McCoy's celebration of black culture, created by local musician seanloui and designed to help the community learn more about black artists and their influence on mainstream culture, is back. This week, the emphasis is on spoken word. In the lineup are Stevie Rose, Teré Fowler-Chapman, Freddy Jay Walker, Stephanie Lyonga, P. SAVANT, Lance Guzman, Mario Guzman and Andrés A Portela. It's great when entertainment and education come together for one event. And it's even better when it's free! 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 11. Hotel McCoy, 720 W. Silverlake Road. Free.
Magic Box at the Fox. In Literacy Connects' Stories that Soar! Program, K-12 students create stories with their own words and ideas through various literacy and arts programs. This event is a "Best of" performance, where you can see the wacky characters, sweet surprises and hilarious fun that comes from the minds of kids. The stories come to life through music, dance, comedy and more, in this night full of family fun and delightful imagination that you won't want to miss. 3 p.m. Saturday, May 11. The Fox Theatre, 17 W. Congress St. $5 to $10.
Different Strokes: An Evening of Erotic Performances. This show, created to showcase Tucson's marginalized dancers (especially queer and trans people of color), is back! If you love erotic dance but are pretty sick of typical cis- and heteronormative clubs, then you won't want to miss some of Tucson's hottest artists, as well as the debut of some new ones. Proceeds benefit trans youth via SAAF and the Thornhill Lopez Center. Doors at 8 p.m. with a cocktail reception hour, and dancing from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday, May 11. 17 E. Toole Ave. $10 suggested donation. 19+ only with ID (yes, 19.)
Mother's Day Wildflower Plant Sale. Ah, yes. Mothers' Day. The perfect day to treat your mother or mother-figure to some flowers. This year, why not bring her some living desert wildflowers so their beauty can live on for months, rather than a typical bouquet. Native Seeds/SEARCH is having a three-day plant sale to make it even easier for you to do! If you inherited your inability to keep plants alive from your mom, then you can still stop by the gift shop, and maybe pick up some jewelry, local honey or Native American art for Mom. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, May 10, through Sunday, May 12. Native Seeds/SEARCH, 3061 N. Campbell Ave.
Christ Church Mother's Day Concert. Did you not make it over to Amazon to buy your mom a Mother's Day gift in time? Maybe you did get her a gift, but just want to treat her to a little something extra special? The Christ Church Ringers, a five-octave English handbell ensemble, and Gabriel Ayala, a Grammy-winning guitarist, are putting on a concert over at Christ Church United Methodist. It will score you some major mom brownie points, and you'll get to see some incredible and unique music while those points are racking up. A win-win. 3 p.m. Sunday, May 12. Christ Church United Methodist, 655 N. Craycroft Road. Free, but donations are appreciated.
Second SundAZe Family Day at TMA. Looking for something classy and unique to do with your mom for Mother's Day? Why not take her to the Tucson Museum of Art? The good news is it's free for second Sundays, and the museum is hosting tons of activities. Take pics with mom in the photobooth, or with a DYI frame. Make paper flowers, or sit down and make necklaces together. And, of course, check out all of the art! Let's hear it for museums, moms and the month of May! 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 12. Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block, 140 N. Main Ave. Free.
Mothers' Day at Old Tucson. Happy Mothers' Day to ladies of all sorts! Old Tucson is letting women and girls of all ages in free for the weekend, and moms get a free carnation while supplies last. It's the least moms deserve for bringing order to the wild, wild west. They'll also be raffling off a package, offering wine tastings and fudge pairings for just 25 bucks on Sunday, and serving a special meal for the weekend. Three cheers for moms everywhere! 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 11, and Sunday, May 12. Old Tucson, 201 S. Kinney Road. Free for women and girls, $19.95 for adults and $10.95 for kids ages 4 to 11.
Fun in General
National Public Gardens Week. Aren't we lucky to live in a world where public gardens exist? Where you can stroll around and learn about different kinds of trees to your heart's content? We are even luckier to be celebrating 10 years of National Public Gardens Day, created by the American Public Gardens Association to raise awareness of all the community and environmental enrichment that public gardens bring. This year, they're announcing National Public Gardens Week for the first time, from May 13 to May 19! Both Tohono Chul and the Tucson Botanical Gardens have several special events going on, but perhaps most notable is Tohono Chul's free admission for the day! 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, May 10. Tohono Chul, 7366 Paseo del Norte. Free.
Train Day at the Depot. You can always count on the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum to put on a fun, family-friendly event. This day is no exception! Train Day was established by Amtrak in 2008 to spread info to the public about the advantages of railway travel. It's on the Saturday closest to May 10, to honor the anniversary of the completion of the United States' first transcontinental railroad. Technically, Amtrak doesn't celebrate it anymore. But we still can! And we will! With train rides, an arts and crafts show, a diesel simulator and plenty of popcorn and soft drinks available. Let's get in trains in the membrane! 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 11. Southern Arizona Transportation Museum, 414 N. Toole Ave. Free.
Sippin' for Species. What screams Tucson more than an evening at the Sonoran Desert Museum and trying out local beers? This night is all about celebrating Endangered Species Day, so you can learn about the importance of protecting animals like the Mexican gray wolf while you eat, drink and dance under the stars. You can also go on a night hike, visit the stingrays, take silly photos in the photo booth and enter a raffle for a beer lovers gift basket. Tucson Improv Movement will be providing laughs and DJ Herm will be providing music. 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, May 11. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, 2021 N. Kinney Road. $20 to $80, plus $5 for night hikes. Day of tickets increase by $10. 21+.
Second Saturdays at Steam Pump Ranch. Steam Pump Ranch always has something fun going on. This week, it's their usual farmers market full of local goodies, plus a special craft for kids. Just in time for Mothers' Day, they can create a desktop photo holder, which will be a perfect way to display a photo of Mom with the kids, perhaps taken at the farmers market at Steam Pump Ranch. Don't forget that if you walk or ride your bike via the shared-use path, you can pick up a $1 coupon for one of the vendors at the Parks and Rec booth—just be one of the first 20 people to get there. 8 a.m. to noon. Saturday, May 11. Steam Pump Ranch, 10901 N. Oracle Road. Free.
Mercado Flea Second Sundays. We're in that window where it's sunshine-y and warm outside, but it doesn't feel like you're going to get a sunburn or heatstroke if you go out during the day. How exciting! Why not celebrate the good weather over at the Mercado Flea, which offers tons of vintage items, antiques and collectibles? It's good to stock up on all of these things now, so you can live out your summer in the safety of your air conditioned house surrounded by stylish pieces of décor. 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, May 12. Mercado San Agustin, 100 S. Avenida del Convento. Free entry.