La Fiesta de Guadalupe. It's always the perfect time of year to take a trip over to the De Grazia Gallery. But this Sunday, they're hosting a festival in honor of Mexico's patron saint, and you really don't want to miss it. They'll have music, dancing and performances by mariachi bands, folklorico dancers and Yaqui Deer Dancers. Plus, pinatas! And because pinatas are famously fleeting, they'll be hoisting new ones every hour for the kids to attack. Also enjoy regional food, southwestern fare and souvenirs. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8. De Grazia Gallery in the Sun Museum, 6300 N. Swan Road. Free.
Sounds of Winter.The sounds of winter are different for everyone. Those who grew up in snowy climes know the magic of snow falling in the middle of the night so silently that it's almost like there's negative sound. For some, it's the sound of sleigh bells, or the alarm going off reminding you to take out a tray full of cookies, or that annoying, honky beep sound on keypads when it's time to take out your chip credit card during holiday shopping. But, on this night, the sounds of winter are brought to you by the Tucson Girls Chorus, and they're more along the lines of contemporary, folk and traditional seasonal music. You'll see performances from three of the group's different choirs, as well as some performed by the whole group. They'll be some of your best winter sounds, we're sure of it! 3:30 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8. Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St. $8 to $18.
Art & Museums
Polar Express Night. When was the last time you visited the Gadsden-Pacific Toy train Operating Museum, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the hobby of model railroading? They've been "workin' on the railroad" since the club started in 1980, changing, growing and adding new frontiers to the museum constantly. And for the holidays, they deck out the whole thing! Tiny twinkly lights grace miniature saloons, while little horses and carriages pull up to little decorated Christmas trees. They'll have hot chocolate and activities for the kids, and will be screening The Polar Express outside after sundown. Plus, put your caboose on Santa's lap while he's sitting in a caboose himself. 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7. Gadsen Pacific Division Toy Train Operating Museum, 3975 N. Miller Ave. Free.
Second SundAZe Family Day at TMA. This holiday season, give the gift of taking your family to the Tucson Museum of Art. For one thing, a day full of exploring and making art (including button ornaments and popsicle stick snowflakes), as well as meeting Santa, makes for a wonderful gift. For another thing, entry to the museum and all of these events is free for residents of Arizona and Sonora, Mexico today, so you can make a loved one's holiday season without breaking the bank. The day also features a performance of Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf by Arizona Opera. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8. Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block, 140 N. Main Ave. Free.
Small Works. Untitled Gallery, founded in part by the Warehouse Arts Management Organization, is one of the newest galleries in town, but they've already got some incredible stuff in the works. For their first Small Works Show, more than 75 artists, from as far away as Singapore, submitted hundreds of pieces of art. Come check 'em out between now and Jan. 12, but especially this Saturday at the opening reception, where good conversation and yummy food act as the perfect complements to the art itself. You might just end up finding the perfect holiday gift while you're there, too! 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7. Untitled Gallery, 101 W. Sixth St. Free.
Patronato's Christmas at San Xavier. It's been more than two decades since Linda Rondstadt headlined the first holiday concert at the Patronato San Xavier Mission, and the annual show has been a herald of the holiday season ever since. The signature series raises funds for Patronato, a nonprofit dedicated to restoring Mission San Xavier, which means you'll get those altruistic good feelings in your tummy all mixed in with the "this music is fantastic" good feelings in your tummy for a truly magical evening. Get your tickets fast—they're selling quickly! This is a reflective program, so you'll want to get a babysitter for kids 8 and younger. 6 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10 through Thursday, Dec. 12. (The Tucson Girls Chorus is performing as special guests at the 7:45 p.m. performance on the Dec. 10.) San Xavier Mission, 1950 W. San Xavier Road. Tickets start at $100.
Arizona Repertory Singers Holiday Concert: Rejoice and be Merry! There's nothing like the way a full choir, when they hit and hold particular notes, can resound throughout your body to make your whole heart and stomach and soul feel full. And it feels particularly poignant during the holiday season. Come see the Arizona Repertory singers, directed by Ryan Phillips, perform pieces such as Steven Landau's Hark! in 7/8 and Holst's Bring Us In Good Ale. Shows are 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, at Christ the King Episcopal Church, 2800 W. Ina Road; 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8, at Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 2331 E. Adams St., 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13, at St. Alban's Episcopal Church, 3738 N. Old Sabino Canyon Road; and 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15, at Christ Church United Methodist, 655 N. Craycroft Road. Admission is $18 in advance or $20 at the door.
Snowed In. A show by the Reveille Men's Chorus never disappoints, and this holiday performance promises to be no different. Join them on a journey through pop, jazz, barbershop, Broadway and classical music as they imagine what it would be like to get snowed in in Tucson for the holidays. I'm picturing now-covered saguaros, ice-filled potholes and lots of DIY eegee's opportunities. You'll laugh and dance your way through this imaginary blizzard with this group of local musicians. 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6. 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7. 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8. Leo Rich Theatre, 260 S. Church Ave. Friday show and Saturday matinee are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Saturday night and Sunday matinees are $25 in advance or $30 at the door.
ZUZI! Dance Student Showcase. ZUZI! Dance is a local nonprofit that offers classes, workshops and performances with the intent of fostering personal expression and healing for people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities. At this show, you'll get a chance to see students in action with the aerial trapeze, modern andcontemporary dance chops they've developed through in their classes. It always feels good to support local artists, and it's a special sort of privilege to get to watch a group of people open up and express themselves in new ways right before your eyes. We'll see you there! 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7. Scoundrel and Scamp Theater, 738 N. Fifth Ave. $7 to $12.
Arroyo Café Holiday Radio Show. If you've never watched a live taping of a radio show, you're in for a treat with this show at the Rialto, featuring special guest Mark Russell. There's something magical about getting to be behind the scenes, to see the visuals of a performance that's designed to be enjoyable when it's heard but not seen. The show also features Fitz, Crystal Stark, Bobby Rich, Triple Threat, the Arroyo Players and Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. Perhaps what gives this the most holiday spirit of all is that it benefits Casa Alitas, the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, HIAS and Arizona Public Medium. Doors at noon, show at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7. The Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. $20 GA.
Zoo Lights: Holiday Magic. If you prefer your twinkly holiday lights animal style, then you're in luck! Head over to the Reid Park Zoo to stroll through the grounds visiting the animals (mostly lighted animal displays, as the real animals will likely be in their heated, behind-the-scenes habitats) while you munch on s'mores and sip hot chocolate (with or without alcohol). You can also get your picture taken with Santa, ride the carousel, enjoy special character nights and listen to live music. 6 to 8 p.m. Members-only night Wednesday, Dec. 4, then open to the public from Thursday, Dec. 5 to Monday, Dec. 23 and Thursday, Dec 26 to Monday, Dec. 30. Reid Park Zoo, 3400 Zoo Court. $10 adults, $6 kids 2 to 14, free for kids 1 or younger. $3 off for members. (Members-only night is $4 for adults and $2 for kids).
Holiday Nights at Tohono Chul. If you can't get enough of strolling through magical, lit-up gardens during the holidays, don't miss this annual extravaganza at Tohono Chul, featuring more than a million twinkling lights! Three weekends worth of viewing the stars through telescopes, sipping on hot chocolate and perhaps finishing up some holiday shopping will be accompanied by live music and appearances by Santa Claus himself. From the Jovert Steel Drum Band to Mr. Nature's Music Garden to the UA Fred Fox Wind Quintet to Cirque Roots, there's a wide variety of live entertainment to get you in the holiday spirit. 5: 30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 and 21. Tohono Chul, 7366 Paseo del Norte. $16 GA, $12 members, $5 for kids 5 to 12 and free for kids under 5.
Olde Tyme Holidays at Old Tucson. You know something is authentically vintage when they replace the i's with y's, am I right? Throw on an "e" to the end of a word and you're practically guaranteed a charming blast from the past. Head over to Old Tucson all throughout the holiday season for their special Christmas musical, Christmas comedy show and performances of classic holiday songs. Santa Claus will be visiting too, so make sure you're ready to make a good impression. I heard Santa's rules for who makes the nice list might not have been as strict in the past, so you might be better off visiting Ye Olde Santa than regular, modern-day Santa. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays through Sundays from Friday, Dec. 6, to Sunday, Dec. 22. Old Tucson, 201 S. Kinney Road. $21.95 adults, $10.95 kids 4 to 11, free for kids under 4. Discounts for seniors, military and Pima County residents.
Fun in General
Multiple Ways of Knowing. The UA College of Science's Science Café series has several different programs that are wrapping up this week and month. One is the Desert Lab Series, which explores the biological and cultural diversity surrounding the Rio Mayo drainage of the Sierra Madre mountains near Álamos, Sonora. For example, did you know that the Sonoran Desert originated, at least in part, from the tropics? At this talk, you'll hear from Dra. Teresa Valdivia of the Instituto de Estudios Antropológicos, Universidad Autónoma de México. 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11. Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill, 1675 W. Anklam Road. Free, but make reservations at 629-9455 or email@example.com.
Still Standing Up. They may not be as young as they used to be, but comedians David Fitzsimmons, Elliott Glicksman, Jay Taylor, Linda Ray and Dave Margolis are still not only standing, but doing standup comedy. And hey, that's worth celebrating in and of itself. Critics are raving that this show is "more fun than Senior Day at Walgreens," and urge you to "See them before a coroner does!" Come laugh your dentures out at this show that proves that comedy is an ageless art. Maybe wear your Depends too, just in case you're a "a little bit comes out when I laugh" type. 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8. Laffs Comedy Café, 2900 E. Broadway Blvd. $10.