SOUTHERN UTAH SLIDES BY. If you've ever read Ed Abbey's Desert Solitaire, you may have experienced the same feelings we did after the author caps off his description of a river trip through a pristine stretch of the Grand Canyon by saying, "You can't see it today--it isn't there anymore." We traded it for hydroelectric power. A new voice, that of Rudy Lambrechtse, carries the same message for the Escalante region of Southern Utah. Lambrechtse spent more than eight years as a wilderness and river guide in the area, and wrote the book Hiking the Escalante. Tonight's free slide presentation doubles as a Sierra Club public meeting to discuss the Utah Congressional delegation's "Wilderness Bill," which, ironically, could place the Utah wilderness in the sweaty palms of developers bent on introducing roads, dams, pipelines and communication towers. Evening includes a letter-writing session.
Meeting begins at 7:45 p.m. in Room 201 of the PAS Building, Fourth Street east of Park Avenue on the UA campus. Park on Fremont Avenue near Sixth Street. Call 621-6874 for information.
SOUTHWEST NUTCRACKER. Tonight's 8 o'clock performance of A Southwest Nutcracker combines all the magic of the traditional holiday classic with the historic flavor of Arizona's territorial years. Set in 1880s Tucson, this inspiring, full-length ballet replaces mice with coyotes who do battle with U.S. Cavalry soldiers. The mysterious Drosselmeyer becomes the caped Tio Diego; and in lieu of Candy Land, Maria's dream world is a western town populated by Indian princesses, chili peppers, the sultry Copper Queen, rattlesnakes, the graceful Ocotillo, lovely Mama Piñata and her Candies, and the Prickly Pear Fairy, among others. Fantastic costumes, original choreography and a featured performance by visiting artist Anthony Neumann, from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, make this a must-see holiday spectacle.
The Tucson Regional Ballet's A Southwest Nutcracker continues with performances at 8 p.m. through Saturday, December 9, with 2 o'clock weekend matinees December 9 and 10. Tickets are $10 adults, $8 for children and groups of 10 or more, available at the TCC box office. Call 791-4266 for reservations and information.
FOURTH AVENUE FUN. Artists and craftsman from coast to coast unpack their traveling shows for the Fourth Avenue Winter Street Fair, a kaleidoscope of sights, smells, tastes, and shopping stretching over eight city blocks. More than 400 visual artists and crafters crowd into booths between Speedway and Congress Street, offering everything from Prickly Pear jam to New Age jazz. New this year is a "Kids Treat" area including a petting zoo, mini-car race track and interactive arts and crafts games.
Other highlights include five musical stages, the Iwerks Reactor with VR motion simulator video ride, the "Trampoline Thing" (a bungee-like experience), Orbatron and Spaceball--all of which you'll want to experiment with before loading up on eats from more than 30 concessions. Performances on the main stage at Fourth Avenue and Ninth Street include Catacoustic Grooves, Roadhouse Hounds, Hurricane Blues Band, Sounds Of Brazil, Pulse and Bwiya-toli.
Admission is free, and fair hours are 10 a.m. to sunset today through Sunday, December 10. Call 624-5004 for information.
BISBEE BUZZ. If you haven't visited Historic Old Bisbee lately, tonight's Christmas Gallery Walk provides a welcome change of pace. The streets are decked out with lights and decorations, strolling carolers, luminarias and refreshments served by merchants along Subway Street. Nearly 40 galleries, shops and restaurants will be open 'til 9 p.m. Call Coyotillo Gallery at (520) 432-5792 for directions and information.
RONSTADT SINGERS. The Ronstadt Cousins headline a benefit concert for the Beckner Foundation, a source of scholarship funding for promising students in photojournalism at the UA and PCC, with their wonderful harmonies and polished musicianship. Normally you'd have to travel to that posh resort way out on Ina Road to hear them sing, but you can catch them in town today at the Southwest Center for Music, 2175 N. Sixth Ave. The concert opens at 4 p.m. with the new sounds of the Caribbean and Latin America by Acero, and the new music of Copper Moon. Admission to the five-hour festival is $20 including a catered dinner. If music is the only sustenance you need, you can get in for $10. Tickets are available at all Zia Records locations. Call 884-1220 for information.
Come and share your stories, from your own life or those of your ancestors. Wear comfortable clothes, bring a pillow to sit on and your favorite mug for some cocoa or cider. "I'm thinking we'll all sit on floor in a circle, with the tellers in the inner circle...I'm going to make a talking stick...and we'll see what happens," says a quietly enthusiastic Swadley. "It's not about therapy," she adds. "It's about inspiring each other with stories from our lives." Admission is free. Call 623-5883 for information.
COMMUNITY THEATRE. The Tucson Parks and Recreation Community Theatre group presents Little Women, a 1911 adaptation by Marian De Forest, bringing to life the coming-of-age adventures of the March sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. Production continues at 8 p.m. through December 16, with 2 o'clock matinees December 16 and 17. All performances are in the Reid Park Performing Arts auditorium, 200 S. Alvernon Way. Admission is free. Call 791-4663 for information.
HARP FUSION. The University of Arizona 13-harp ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Carrol McLaughlin, performs Nutcracker Reflections, featuring several selections from the Nutcracker ballet, at 8 p.m. at Christ Church United Methodist, 655 N. Craycroft Road. Admission is a mere $5 at the door for this angelic musical feast in the building's acoustically fine sanctuary. They may even break out the Schlicker pipe organ. Call 299-7189 for information.
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