La Encantada Fine Art Festival. Whether you're a lover of fine art, entertaining out-of-town guests or just looking to spend a little bit more time outside in this lovely January weather, you'll want to pay a visit up to La Encantada this weekend, where you can buy handcrafted work from both local and national artists and enjoy live performances along the scenic pathways of the shopping center. From jewelry, woodworking and ceramics to paintings, textiles and photography, this festival has something everyone will find beautiful. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19. La Encantada Shopping Center, 2905 E. Skyline Drive. Free.
Mineral Madness. This event up at the Desert Museum is the perfect way to whet your appetite for the big Tucson Gem and Mineral Show that is coming up. Or, if you're looking for something a little less overwhelming (and, in many cases, cheaper prices), this might even be a good alternative. Check out rock-bottom prices (seriously, they start at 50 cents, and kids can collect some for free) on these mineral and fossil treasures, including special sales of fluorescent minerals, quartz crystals and chalcedony, fossilized shark poop, "decorator" rock and new gem stone donations. There's thousands of specimens that will appeal to everyone from serious collectors to folks who just think rocks are pretty. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18 and Sunday, Jan. 19. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, 2021 N. Kinney Road. $21.95 ages 13 to 64, $19.95 seniors, $9.95 youth, free for members and kids under 3. Discounts available for military and Arizona/Sonora residents. (Special preview for Desert Museum members from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 16).
Pucks for Paws. Are you ever watching a live hockey game and thinking, "This is fun, but I just really wish my dog could be here, because that would make it so much better"? Of course you are! So thank goodness the Humane Society is hosting this opportunity to bring your favorite canine to the Tucson Convention Center to help you cheer on the University of Arizona Wildcats. This dream-come-true event for anyone who's equal parts Wayne Gretzy & Siberian husky fan is also for a good cause, with all doggie ticket sales benefiting the Humane Society. 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17. Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave. $5 doggie tickets are sold at the door, with human tickets sold separately.
"Master Harold"... And the Boys. The year is 1950, and the setting is a small tea shop in apartheid-era South Africa. Harold is the 17-year-old white son of the tea shop owners, and Sam and Willie are black servants who have worked in his parents' household and taken care of "Hally" since he was a baby. This semiautobiographical play by Athol Fugard examines how institutionalized racism and hatred can affect even the closest, most familial relationships by following the trio through a rainy afternoon at home. It's a powerful depiction of how issues of family, race and power aren't easy to ignore, and, of course, the Arizona Theatre Company never seems to put on a bad show. Including preview shows, show runs from Saturday, Jan. 18 to Saturday, Feb. 8 with shows at various times. Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. $40 to $70 regular, or $25 to $55 for preview shows.
Grassroots Studio Reception. Two art tours, Art Trails and Heart of Tucson Art, are happening in the coming months, giving visitors and potential art collectors a chance to see work by dozens of local artists. The Tucson JCC is holding a preview show for both tours until Jan. 30. At this reception with the artists, learn more about the two tours and all of the works in paints, pastels, mixed media, clay, glass, beads, metal, books and photography you can see. This is a great chance to plan your itinerary for the tour and meet with the artists in a more low-key setting. 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19. Tucson Jewish Community Center, 3800 E. River Road. Free.
In the Gallery with Melissa Wambolt. There's nothing like a photo of the Milky Way to bring up all sorts of... feelings. Sometimes it's smallness, sometimes it's wonder, sometimes it's intense curiosity. Whatever it is, there's something nice about being reminded that a photo can do that to you. Melissa Wambolt's astro and storm photography evokes both the sense of calm that comes from standing beneath the night sky and the exhilaration that comes with a big ol' lightning storm. Her work has been featured in Arizona Highways Magazine and many galleries, but this January, her work is on display all month at the Kirk-Bear Canyon Library. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Kirk-Bear Canyon Library, 8959 E. Tanque Verde Road. Free.
Amir H. Fallah: Scatter My Ashes on Foreign Lands. Amir H. Fallah, originally from Iran, received his MFA in painting at UCLA back in 2005 and has gone on to become one of America's most prolific contemporary artists. This exhibit marks the first time that he showcases a wide array of thematic projects under one roof. From botanical paintings inspired by 17th-century Dutch pieces to portraits of American immigrants that examine how displacement shapes identity, it's a powerful body of work. This exhibit also features a new series of autobiographical pieces centered around themes of fatherhood, belonging, legacy and family. On display through May 3 at the Tucson Museum of Contemporary Art, 265 S. Church Ave. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. $5 GA, $3 students & seniors, free for members, youth under 17, veterans, active military and public safety officers.
Abstract Conversations: Color Line and Gesture. Another month means another exhibit at the Wilde Meyer Gallery. This time, Debora Stewart and Ka Fisher are the exhibiting artists and, at this opening reception, they'll be presenting and discussing their work. Stewart uses the color in her work to express moments in time, such as walking through nature. And Ka Fischer likes to use painting to reinterpret ideas about figurative and abstract elements and how they can coexist. Come on down to see the way they put moments on canvases. 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17. Wilde Meyer Gallery, 2890 E. Skyline Drive. Free.
Butterflies & Their Plants. If you don't want to do anything exorbitant this weekend, let this be the Saturday or event that you check out the weekly tour at Tohono Chul. Whether you're a butterfly enthusiast, a photographer or just someone who loves being in nature, this tour, focused on some of nature's most delightfully flamboyant insects, is an all-around pleasant way to spend a morning. Grab the kids, grab your parents, heck, grab that new coworker that you've been wanting to get to know, even if you're not sure what their interests are. Because who doesn't love a good butterfly photo op? 11 a.m. to noon. Saturday Jan. 18, and Sunday, Jan. 19. Tohono Chul, 7366 N. Paseo del Norte. Entry is $15 adults, $13 military/student/senior, $6 kids 5 to 12, free for members and kids under 5.
Wings Over Willcox. Can you believe this Southern Arizona birding and nature festival is celebrating its 27th year? This year's event is full of tours of varying lengths and free seminars on everything from turtles to jaguars to eBird. Keynote speaker and featured guide Rick Taylor has led tours in places including Arizona, Alaska, Africa and Asia, and has authored several location checklists. His most recent project is a statewide photo field guide for Arizona, and his presentation on Saturday evening is called "Six Seasons: A Birding Year in the Land of the Apache." Times and prices of tours vary, but all tours, seminars and events except for the Saturday night banquet are held at the Willcox Community Center, 312 W. Stewart St. A free nature expo is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18 and 8 a.m. to noon Sunday, Jan. 20.
Shows & Performances
Aretha Franklin and the Soul of America. Before you get your hopes up that the world's best scientists have spent the last two years creating resurrection technology so that we can have the Queen of Soul back, understand that this is a tribute to Aretha Franklin, not a miraculous Aretha Franklin concert. But (and yeah, we realize this is a bold statement) vocalist Capathia Jenkins is so talented that it might as well be. Soul musician Ryan Shaw is also bringing killer vocals, while Lucas Waldin conducts the Tucson Symphony Orchestra as accompaniment. We're talkin' "RESPECT," "Natural Woman" and "Chain of Fools" here, so get your butt over to this concert. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19. Tucson Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. $31 to $79.
Vivian's Music, 1969. On a summer day in 1969, a white police officer shot and killed a 14-year-old black girl named Vivian Strong in Omaha, Nebraska. It sparked three days of race riots over a girl no one knew anything about: just her name, age and how she died. This play put on by Invisible Theatre Company brings Vivan to life as a young girl with a family and a love of music who is searching for her real father. It's a powerful story brought to life masterfully for this weekend only. 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, and 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19. Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway. $45 GA.
The History of Tucson's Chinese Community: A Salon and Saloon Lecture. The Tucson Presidio Trust for Historic Preservation takes seriously its mission to educate the public about the history of the Presidio and of Tucson. At this lecture, take a deep dive into the history of Tucson's Chinese population, from 1875 to the present. Speaker Sandy Chan will discuss their successes and challenges, important Chinese Tucsonans and the community's role in an international and local context. Note that this lecture is across the street at the Dusty Monk, where food and drink are available for sale. 2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18. Dusty Monk Pub, 201 N. Court Ave. $5.
The Written Word
Hacienda Del Sol Poetry Reading. Tucson is truly a city of artists, and low-key events like this one are a great way to take some of it in. Meg Files, Tom Speer and Jefferson Carter are Pima Community College professors who have each published several poetry collections. Blessed be poetry for how it allows us complicated, tangly humans to put voice to what's going on inside, and say so much with so little. Take this line from Carter's poem, Thunder. "Lightning, then, of course, thunder. / We can get used to anything. / The window, lit up, shakes / & we're comforted, pulling the blankets to our chins." 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19. Hacienda Room at Hacienda Del Sol. 5501 N. Hacienda Del Sol Road.
Fun in General
Roadkill Zip-Tie Drags. If you've heard of the internet show Roadkill, you probably know hosts David Freiburger and Mike Finnegan, and would agree with one assessment of the show as "guys behaving badly with cars." This weekend, they're hosting this live event in Tucson that includes a chance for drag racers to test their skills for the opportunity to race against the hosts. The weekend also includes a car show, swap meet and an awards show. There's also a Hooptie Challenge, in which Roadkill stars will judge race cars built and purchased for under $3,000. If you're more of a spectator, enjoy the food trucks, bonfires and s'mores. Gates open at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 17, and 7 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18. Tucson Dragway, 12000 S. Houghton Road. Prices range from $10 for a single-day spectator ticket to $70 for a two-day participant ticket.
Zoom Zoom! No, it's not a Mazda commercial—it's a special event at the children's museum to help kids learn about different modes of transportation. They'll have police vehicles, city buses and garbage trucks all on hand for kids to climb aboard. They can also check out TEP's bucket trucks, see how Caterpillar digs in the ground and decorate a car with Tucson's Mobile Chalkboard. There's even smaller options like bicycles and go-karts. This is fun for anyone who loves to... go! And museum admission is free all day, so hop in whatever mode of transportation suits you and head on down. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18. Children's Museum Tucson, 200 S. Sixth Ave. Free.
Dillinger Days. Oh yeah, it's that time of year again! A time when history buffs, pop culture fans and Hotel Congress devotees come together downtown to celebrate the downfall of one the most notorious gangsters of the 1930s. Dillinger and his gang, "The Terror Gang" were accused of robbing 24 banks and four police stations, and eluded the FBI for years before being captured in Tucson in 1934. (He escaped from prison after that, but that's another story.) The speakeasy portion of the event, with whiskey tastings, appetizers and premium cigars, is at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18. The family-friendly portion, full of reenactments, historic lectures and a vintage car show, are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 19. Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Speakeasy event is $45 and the Sunday festivities are free.