Cheap Thrills SEASONAL INSANITY: Music under tempestuous summer skies fires up again on Fourth Avenue, with the kick-off of the Monsoon Madness series. You'll find this big sound on the little stage sandwiched between the murals of the avenue's Winsett Park, on North Fourth Avenue and Seventh Street. The free concerts happen every Thursday from May 20 through Halloween.

This annual tradition opens with a double billing of Isn't This Where and Quinoline from 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday, May 20, at Winsett Park, 316 N. Fourth Ave. Call 624-5004 for details.

TAKE IT OR LEAF IT: Head out to the Boyce Thompson Southwestern Arboretum's clearance plant sale this weekend. Located near the town of Superior, Boyce Thompson is a lush, lovely outpost where an easy stroll will take you past towering Eucalyptus forests, vast cactus and herb gardens, and stunning vistas--in all, more than 300 acres of desert country, with areas set aside for hiking, picnicking and relaxing.

And then there are the plants: the sale will feature half-price discounts on all one-gallon leafy plants, including verbenas, daisies and poppies.

The Boyce Thompson Southwestern Arboretum is 95 miles north of Tucson on Highway 79. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $5, $2 for children ages 5 to 12, free for children under age 5. For directions and other information, call (520) 689-2811.

TRAPPINGS OF TIME: A timeless variety of furniture, estate jewelry, pottery, cowboy collectibles, Indian arts and nearly everything else old and valuable goes on the block at the spring Tucson Antique and Collectible Show and Sale.

Hosted by the Acorn Antique Guild, this is the granddaddy of vintage markets, with plenty of rare bargains up for grabs.

The antique sale runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 21 through 23, in the Special Event Center, located behind the Hampton Inn at I-10 and Grant Road. Admission is $3, free for children under age 17. Call 830-2660 for details.

WORK OF SURVIVAL: Author Sherri Szeman's first novel, The Kommandant's Mistress, received the 1994 Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for the best prose fiction by an American woman.

A dark tale about the relationship between a Nazi death camp commander and his Jewish prisoner, the book was praised by Publishers Weekly for its "uncompromising realism and superb use of stream-of-consciousness technique...a chilling study of evil, erotic obsession and the will to survive."

Today, Szeman is an associate professor of creative writing and English literature at Ohio's Clark State College. She recently wrapped up another novel, Only With the Heart.

Szeman reads from her work at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 26, in the Tucson-Pima Main Library, 101 N. Stone Ave. Admission is free. For details, call 791-4391.

DESERT TSUNAMI: A tidal wave of entertainment crashes on the tiny town of Prescott this weekend at an outdoor performance festival they're calling "Tsunami on the Square." Tucson's Big Head Puppet Company and on-fire daredevils Flam Chen are heading north for the event, where they'll join six fellow performing art troupes including Japanese daiko drummers, clowns and classical theatre thespians. Prescott's own Carpetbag Brigade play host to the madness, rib-tickling and foot-stomping fun for all ages

Admission is free, with a parade kick-off at noon Saturday, May 22, in downtown Prescott. Events continue till sundown, with pyrotechnics closing the show at 8 p.m. All performances take place in downtown's Courthouse Square. Call (520) 541-1393 for directions and information. TW

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