Return of the Mermaids. Let's take a moment to thank mermaids as a collective group, for returning to Tucson for this event every summer, despite it being so hot and dry and generally not mermaid-friendly. They come back for us, and that's worth celebrating! Dress up as a mermaid yourself and enter a costume contest, check out the mermaid market, enjoy tons of food trucks and appearances by some Miss Mermaids from around the country, and let the kids do a merchildren parade. There are also performances, a body-positive mermaid pageant, food specials galore and adult-only events after 9 p.m., like the 21+ surf party at Irene's Holy Donuts. 3 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10. Fourth Ave. Free. See ReturnoftheMermaids.com for a full schedule.
Monsoon Pollinator Gardening. How does your garden grow? Well, during monsoon season in the Sonoran Desert, probably a little differently, to say the least. So pay a visit to Spadefoot Nursery, where Carianne Campbell from Strategic Habitat Enhancements will be discussing monsoon gardening and some of the most common monsoon pollinators in urban Tucson, where they hang out, and what they eat. You can kick back with a prickly pear lemonade and ask Carianne, as well as nursery owners Jared McKinley and Katy Gierlach, all the gardening questions you've got! 6:45 to 9:15 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10. Spadefoot Nursery, 2831 E. Broadway Blvd. $15 in advance or $20 at the door.
Learn Something New
CreativeMornings. This monthly series of breakfast and creative insight is back, with an August theme of Justice! Leading the event is Alba Jaramillo, JD, theater artist and creator of Teatro Dignidad, a theater company in Tucson that produces plays promoting human rights. She'll be talking about her 20 years of experience creating programs to raise awareness about human rights and gender-based violence, her time as the youngest executive director in the country as statewide director for Virginia's sexual and domestic violence coalition and her work in Kenya with the Federation of Women Lawyers. Now, she's the executive director of Arizona Justice for Our Neighbors. Maybe, just maybe, some of her greatness will rub off on you if you attend. But if nothing else, you'll leave feeling inspired! 8:30 to 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 9 Common Workspace, 149 N. Stone Ave (third & fourth floor). Free.
Learn to Read Music. This is it! This is going to be the summer where you learn to read music. Who wouldn't want to have the ability to look at a piece of sheet music and have it make some sort of sense? Or to listen to your favorite summer bop and understand what the time signature is? Sons of Orpheus, the Male Choir of Tucson, is here to help with this class happening on Monday evenings throughout the summer. Come one, come all, no matter your knowledge level (and no matter your budget, because this class is mercifully free). 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 12. Boys Chorus Building, 5770 E. Pima St. Free.
Raytheon Executive Leaders: Leading From Any Chair. So you want to be a leader, but you're not *technically* a leader in title. How can you take initiative, build skills that might benefit you later in your career, and become a better and more valued employee? This talk hosted by the Women in Defense Arizona Chapter features Raytheon VPs Kim Ernzen and Laura McGill speaking alongside a panel about their experience leading from whatever chair they were sitting in. Talk about powerful women in STEM! Whether you're in a C-suite, on a yoga ball or even at a standing desk, you'll learn valuable career lessons from this talk. 4 to 5:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9. Raytheon Missile Systems, 1151 E. Hermans Road. Free.
SpacefestX. Spacefest, Tucson's annual gathering of astronauts, scientists, artists authors and anyone and everyone interested in space science, has officially been around for 10 years! This year's special guests include Sarah Ratley and Gene Nora Jessen of the Mercury 13 group, cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, astronauts Mario Runco Jr. and Dave Scott, author/spaceflight historian and YouTuber Amy Shira Teitel, and even Gary Lockwood, who played Frank Poole in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Come learn about space from every angle imaginable by dropping in for the whole four-day conference, or just for some of the talks and panels. Thursday, Aug. 8 to Sunday, Aug. 11. JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort, 3800 W. Starr Pass Blvd. Daily admission on Thursday and Sunday is $10, or $30 for Friday and Saturday. VIP packages and a banquet ticket also available. Free for kids 12 and under.
Music and Performances
Choro Das 3. Choro is a form of Brazilian music that's sort of like jazz—syncopated, virtuosic and full of improvisations. And even though "choro" translates literally to "cry," it tends to be wildly upbeat and fun. Choro Das 3 is a family band made up of three sisters, a father, a flute, a piccolo, a seven-string guitar, a mandolin, a clarinet, a banjo, a piano and a pandeiro (Brazilian tambourine). And they're coming all the way from Brazil to play this show for us! Get on your dancing shoes and get ready to get really into a new genre of music! 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9. Sea of Glass Center for the Arts, 330 E. Seventh St. $15 for adults, $12 for people 12 to 15 and $4 for kids 4 to 11 in advance, or $20 for adults, $17 for people 12 to 15 and (still) $4 for kids 4 to 11 on the day of the performance.
Arizona Wind Quintet. The Fred Fox School of Music has five wind faculty members: Brian Luce, Sara Fraker, Jackie Glazier, Johanna Lundy and Marissa Olegario. At this event through the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, they're all coming together to present recent music inspired by nature that's colorful and full of human emotion. Richard Adams' Shimmers of Light, Federico Ibarra Groth's Juegos Nocturnos, Arturo Márquez's Danza de Mediodía and John Steinmetz's What's Going On? Let the music take you away from the heat, from your troubles and from whatever else you might need escaping from. 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14. Holsclaw Hall, 1017 N. Olive Road. $30 adults, or $10 students.
Plaza Live! Sometimes a good Tuesday night event, especially one that's all twinkly and lovely at St. Philip's Plaza, is just what you need. So we have some good news for you! This summer concert series is going on all the way through October. Tonight, Tom Walbank is playing blues music, which you can enjoy while you munch on food from Union, Reforma and Proof restaurants. Or you can just come to enjoy the concert and the atmosphere—it's free! Blues not your thing? Keep an eye out—there's Southwest Americana, pop, folk rock, old-time country and piano jazz all on the horizon. 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13. St. Phillips Plaza, 4280 N. Campbell Ave. Free.
Tucson Storytellers: This is Tucson. We journalists aren't afraid to admit how much we love a good storytelling event. And you know, what, even when it feels like it's 4,000 degrees outside, we aren't afraid to admit how much we love Tucson, either. So this night of stories all about the saguaros, burritos and cicadas that make the Old Pueblo what it is, and sponsored by the morning daily and This is Tucson, isn't something you'll want to miss. Six community members will take the stage to share stories about how Tucson played a role in changing their lives. 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13. El Casino Ballroom, 437 E. 26th St. $10 GA, $8 for students.
Great for Kids
Make it Mondays! Children's museums are wonderful places: They're the perfect way to show your kids how fun, hands-on and exciting learning can be. And this summer, the Tucson Children's Museum is an especially wonderful place, with extended hours and admission for just three bucks on Mondays. Mondays also feature special guests. This week, it's Old Pueblo Archaeology, a local group dedicated to preservation of archaeological sites, fostering multicultural awareness, and educating kids and adults alike. Dig it! 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with special guests from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Aug. 12. Children's Museum Tucson, 200 S. Sixth Ave. $3.
Second Saturdays at Steam Pump Ranch. If you live in Oro Valley or northern Tucson, it's no secret to you that Steam Pump Ranch is a great place to spend a Saturday morning, especially when they've got their farmers market's early summer hours going on. They also have free crafts for kids that go on for as long as supplies last! This week's project is a hanging succulent, so your kids can work on something to make your house more Instagrammable while you shop for some fresh produce to make your next meal more Instagrammable. And isn't that what Saturdays are all about? 8 a.m. to noon. Saturday, Aug. 10. Steam Pump Ranch, 10901 N. Oracle Road. Free.
Cool Summer Nights at the Desert Museum. There are a lot of reasons they call this event "Cool Summer Nights." Of course, the temperature is lower at night, but there's also all sorts of cool desert critters to see when the sun sets, like bats, owls and kangaroo rats. Make the sunset drive out to the museum to learn more about these lil' guys, check out some of Guy Cocheleach's art work and give the kids a chance to make their own masterpieces. As always, be sure to check out the Packrat Playhouse, the stingray touch exhibit, and museum docents there to teach you about everything from scorpions to constellations. 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10. Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, 2021 N. Kinney Road. $21.95 GA, $19.95 seniors 65+, $8.95 for kids 3 to 12, free for kids under 3, $17.95 for active or retired military, $16.95 for Arizona/Sonora residents.
Summer Safari Nights at Reid Park Zoo. If you haven't been to this fun-filled recurring zoo event yet this summer, now you know why: It's because you were waiting for the night where they do the SCAVENGER HUNT. Scavenger hunt enthusiasts unite for an evening full of clues, views and zoos (well, only one zoo). This night features anteaters, squirrel monkeys, tigers, giraffes and birds from the aviaries. Plus, a chance for you to learn about how researchers track animals with telemetry and radio collars, how to identify birds and how animals search for food in the while. Food, drinks, fun and live entertainment by Run Boy Run are on deck as well. 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10. Reid Park Zoo, 3400 Zoo Court. $10.50 adults, $8.50 seniors, $6.50 kids ages 2 to 14 and free for zoo members.
Fun in General
Growing Up: Drawings & Paintings by Ondrea Bell. Some people relate to one another when they fall in love with the same color in a painting. Some people relate to one another when they talk about moments from childhood—like when your parents come to check whether you're asleep, so you make those big, dramatic cartoon snores. Tucson-based illustrator, high school teacher and dog mom Ondrea Bell combines these two modes of connection with her cardboard cutouts and ink drawings about memories, childhood, identity and maturing. Come see her art on display at Tiny Town, up throughout August, and check out @ondreabell_ on Instagram to see more of her work. Opening reception. 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9. Tiny Town Surplus, 408 N. Fourth Ave. Free.
Second Saturdays at Second Fiddle. Second Fiddle Thrift Shop is literally only open one day a month (second Saturdays), but they pack the day so full that it's like they're open every day. This month, they've got a huge $5 bag sale going on, where you can fill up a provided grown grocery bag with as many shoes and clothes as you can fit. You can also check in on Facebook to be entered to win a neat door prize, or bring an instrument to the jam session that's going on starting at 4 p.m. PLUS, they're offering two tours of the Amado House for the photographers, history buffs and general Amado House enthusiasts among us. Also, watermelon Eeegees! And donuts and pizza! And fresh, locally grown, actual watermelon too! Just don't miss this. 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10. Second Fiddle Thrift Shop, 443 S. Stone Ave.
Spelling Bee[r]. If you're really good at spelling, or if you're rely bad at speling, head over to this spelling bee event at Tap & Bottle downtown. Come if you're good because you can win a huge trophy and gift certificates to Tap & Bottle. Come if you're bad because they're even giving out pity gifts to the first person out in a round. Reading through a list of craft beer-related words is a good place to start: Caryophyllene is an essential oil that comes from the hops plant humulus lupulus, flocculation is the way suspended particles at the top of a liquid behave (like during the fermenting process), and saccharification is the conversion of malt starch into fermentable sugars. 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13. Tap & Bottle Downtown, 403 N. Sixth Ave.■