Tucson's New Year's Eve 2012-13

Tiki in Tucson

New Year's Eve Dinner Party and Luau Featuring Ernie Menehune

7 p.m., Monday, Dec. 31

Kon Tiki

4625 E. Broadway Blvd.

323-7193; www.kontikitucson.com

Tired of the same old noisemakers, ball drop and run-of-the-mill resolutions? Try something a little different this year. If you can't afford to spend your New Year's relaxing in Hawaii, try Tucson's own Little Hawaii at the Kon Tiki.

Indulge in a dinner show featuring legendary performer Ernie Menehune, a native of the island of Kauai. Menehune has been performing in Arizona since 1952, and has played all over the country, even for a time at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

"I love to sing, (and) I like to celebrate," said Menehune, who has performed at the Kon Tiki's New Year's events in years past. "I tell funny stories and do Hawaiian singing."

Menehune is accompanied by a Polynesian dance group.

Louie Lazos, owner of the Kon Tiki, said he appreciates what a stellar performer Menehune is.

"He gets the crowd involved," said Lazos. "He ran the circuit in Vegas for many years."

The cost to attend is $35, which includes party favors, dinner (Hawaiian barbeque with traditional prime rib), a glass of champagne and the show. At midnight, there will be a free champagne toast, and cab rides are half-off all night.

Lazos knows he's created a special event in Tucson for New Year's Eve.

"It's different. You get the same old thing everywhere else," he said. "This is unique. ... It's like getting away in your own backyard."

Call 323-7193 to make a reservation.

A New Year's Look at Decades Past

NEON: '80s and '90s Video Dance Party

9 p.m., Monday, Dec. 31

Rialto Theatre

318 E. Congress St.

740-1000; www.rialtotheatre.com

Before going forward in time to 2013, step back to the '80s and '90s, and remember the good ol' days and all the wonders they provided: Michael Jackson, slap bracelets, glow sticks and parachute pants.

You can't truly appreciate the New Year until you remember the Old Years, and how we got to where we are today.

NEON is a retrospective of sorts: a glam tribute to the '80s and '90s, featuring the classic music videos of the day, projected on big screens and played through seriously loud sound systems. The Rialto's getting all dolled up for the occasion with themed decorations, and attendees should plan on doing the same: Wear your favorite costume, and have your photo taken at the photo-scene setup. But above all, make sure you come prepared to dance.

Adam Blanchard, founder of Blanchard Presents, which is putting on the event in conjunction with the Rialto, has put on events like this is Vegas, but this will be the Arizona debut.

"Having everyone in the room with the music pumping and lights flashing is a blast," said Blanchard.

In addition to the music videos, there will be a free champagne toast at midnight, and a special midnight performance by Michael Jackson impersonator Cameron the Thriller.

NEON is an 18-and-older event; tickets are $10 in advance, and $15 the day of. For $35, while available, you can get a VIP package, which allows access to a "private floor" of the Rialto, a private bartender, party appetizers and a free bottle of champagne. Plus, you can be onstage while M.J. performs.

"It's something that's hard to describe unless you see it," said Blanchard.

So come see for yourself the neon glow that will radiate from the Rialto Theatre, and dance your way from the 1980s to 2013.

Start the New Year Laughing

New Year's at Laffs Comedy Caffe

7 or 10:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 31

Laffs Comedy Caffe

2900 E. Broadway Blvd.

323-8669; www.laffstucson.com

To Gary Hood, owner of Laffs Comedy Club, coming to the New Year's event at Laffs is a no-brainer.

"Who's fun all year 'round?" asked Hood. "A comedy club."

According to Hood, the fact that it's New Year's, and everybody is already celebrating, enhances the already-fun atmosphere. "The vibes are great," he said.

Laffs has been hosting New Year's fun since 1988. This year, there are two shows you can attend; the 7 p.m. champagne dinner show, where you'll have a choice of three entrées; or the 10:30 p.m.-to-midnight breakfast buffet. Hood said there will be just about everything you could want for breakfast. Both are $25 per person, plus tax and tip.

At both shows, expect plenty of prizes, like gift certificates, meals for two, nights at a hotel and even a stay at the Riviera in Las Vegas, which is up for grabs at the breakfast buffet show.

On the stage will be three comedians: Trenton Davis, Sid Davis and the headliner, Scotty Blanco. Hood described Blanco's act as being very animated with physical observational humor. Blanco will have the stage for about 45 minutes.

And if you're pigging out at the breakfast buffet, don't worry: Hood and the gang are keeping an eye on the clock, so you won't miss out on the big moment.

"People show up already with a smile," said Hood. "They say Disneyland is happy, but you can't have as much champagne as you want in Disneyland."

Buy tickets in advance online at www.laffstucson.com, or call 323-8669.

Waltz Into 2013

Tucson Symphony Orchestra Moveable Musical Feast

6:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 31

Arizona Inn

2200 E. Elm St.

882-8585; www.tucsonsymphony.org

Make this New Year's Eve a truly extravagant occasion, with dinner and dancing at the lovely Arizona Inn—and most importantly, with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra!

The night is filled with music—including two concerts and music by the TSO's SwingN' the New jazz ensemble.

The first concert will be played by Emma Votapek on violin, David Morgan on the tuba, and Paula Fan on piano. Shawn Campbell, vice president of artistic engagement and education for the TSO, describes the pieces being played by Votapek as showpieces for the violin, and said that she expects Morgan's performance of "Blue Bells of Scotland" to bring down the house.

"It will be a chance for people to hear how melodic the tuba is," said Campbell.

The second concert of the night will be from the TSO String Quartet, who will be playing the Love Theme From Romeo and Juliet, among other songs that Campbell is sure people will recognize.

"(They're) lovely, classic romantic songs," Campbell said.

If you're worried about sitting still for too long, fear not: The evening will be interspersed with a gourmet dinner, dessert and coffee—and with the TSO's SwingN' the New dance band at the end of the night.

"It's fun; it's not a stiff thing at all," assured Campbell. "You're never just stuck in one place for too long."

Tickets are $225 per person, and the price is all-inclusive. Call the TSO box office for more information and reservations, or go online at www.tucsonsymphony.org.

Campbell said there are a lot of great things about the Moveable Musical Feast.

"It's really the ultimate way to celebrate New Year's Eve for grown-ups. It's not stuffy, but it's very elegant. ... It's just that perfect combination!"

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