HOT STUFF: The Tucson Fire Department turns up the temperature--for a good cause, mind you--when it hosts the 1998 Chile Cook-off.

Tastin' o' the "red' will happen at 32 booths, with celebrity cooks on hand to stir up the stuff. KRQ's Mojo and Betsy will be spicing the mix, along with live music. Proceeds help the Carondelet Rescue Fund's Adopt-a-Family Program keep up its good work.

Cheap Thrills "The chile is only $1 per cup," says organizer Tony Gonzalez. "This is an affordable way to come out and have a great time, watch firefighters do their stuff, and help raise some money for the Rescue Fund."

The cook-off runs from 10 a.m. to
10 p.m. Friday, November 20, in the Tucson/Pima Main Library courtyard, 101 N. Stone Ave. Admission is free. Call 907-5448 for details.

TAKING STOCK: Depending upon your perspective, Tucson either has the chance to save its few remaining open spaces, or the opportunity to shoot our thriving growth machine in its prosperous foot.

County officials, working with environmentalists, have hatched the Sonoran Desert Protection Plan, aimed at curbing the suburban spread. But will it work? The Southwest Center for Biological Diversity takes a hard look at that question with a free hike into an area earmarked for protection.

The hike at 8 a.m. on Sunday, November 22, will explore the Arthur Pack Park. For directions and other information, call 623-5252, ext. 307.

SUPER FREAK: Experience a "love-in celebration of Tucson's underground arts scene" when the Flower Fresh Co. presents Le Freak Show/Carnivale!

This multi-media, multi-cultural showcase will feature two stages with everything from puppets and performance art to music, dance, and wild fire shows.

Bands will include Pork Torta, Whatever, Willis, Cortex Bomb, Womb, and Stephaudrey.

Ajia Simone, a.k.a. the "Black Cat of Tucson" will be on hand, along with a heartfelt sermon by the Rev. Billy Buck Nubian, and kungfu tap dancing by The Retainer Club. The show will be hosted by the "Goddess of Burlesque," the Divine Miss M., and that intergalactic funkster, M.C. Rev. Fun Yung Moon. Proceeds will benefit the Mat Bevel Institute and the Flower Fresh Co., a new downtown arts collective dedicated to promoting original, underground transformative art.

The celebration is 7:30 p.m. Saturday, November 21, in the Mat Bevel Institute, 530 N. Stone Ave. Admission is $5, with discounts for children, seniors, starving artists and freaks in costume. Call 903-2813 for details.

DOWNTOWN DANCE: Ballet Folklorico del Sudoeste helps fire up Downtown Saturday Night Mexicano, hosted by the Tucson Arts District.

The troupe will celebrate the anniversary of La Revolucion Mexicana de 1918, with dancing, music, Mexican snacks and crafts from 7 to 10 p.m. in the Ronstadt Transit Center, at Congress Street and Sixth Avenue.

Other action includes Catacoustic Groove performing a cappella on Arizona Avenue, and a music mix presented by the Tucson Musician's network, KXCI and the Fourth Avenue Merchants Association at Winsett Park on Fourth Avenue north of Eighth Street.

All Downtown Saturday Night events are free. For information, call 624-9977. TW

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