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Cheap Thrills

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FAST FEMMES: Tucson Parks and Recreation hosts the country's hottest softball action, and we're not just talking about the weather.

Top teams from across the land meet this week for the ASA National Championships Women's Class C Fast-pitch Softball Tournament. This return of the tourney, which premiered in Tucson 12 years ago, is serious business.

The action unfolds with a gala opening ceremony featuring enough local luminaries to pack a dugout, including Mayor George Miller and Councilwoman Shirley Scott. Team play runs through the weekend, wrapping up with a white-knuckled championship game on Sunday.

Opening ceremonies are at 6 p.m. Thursday, August 12, followed by tournament play at 7:30 p.m. in Lincoln Park, 8280 E. Escalante Road. Games continue August 13 through 15: from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 8 a.m. Sunday. Admission is free. For details, call 791-4870.

HIGHLAND REVERIE: The eras may come and go, but the voice of Dolan Ellis remains a constant reminder of where we've been. Proudly toting the label of "Arizona's Official Balladeer," Ellis weaves a tapestry of cowboy and folk tunes from his Arizona Folklore Preserve, nestled in the refreshing highlands near Sierra Vista.

Consisting of a charming cottage in the prime birding habitat of Ramsey Canyon, the preserve is known as much for its down-home charm as for its beautiful surrounding landscape. And then there's the music: Ellis continues his fine warbling tradition with a presentation entitled Tall Tales, Lost Trails and Heroes at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, August 13 and 14, at The Arizona Folkore Preserve.

Drive six miles south from Sierra Vista on Highway 92. Turn right onto Ramsey Canyon Road, and drive another 3.5 miles to the entrance sign on your left. Reservations are required, and donations are requested. For reservations and other information, call (520) 378-6165.

FILM AND FOAM: Grab a cool pint and pull up a chair as the Nimbus Tap Room turns down the lights for another night at the movies.

Nimbus is a humble little brew house in the heart of an innocuous southside industrial park. But the Nimbians know two things well: how to make great beer, and how to have a good time.

Both of those honorable pursuits converge with an evening of cinematic rhapsody nicknamed "Teens Out of Control Night." That can mean nothing less than a pair of pubescent thrillers: Massacre at Central High, followed by Over the Edge (with former heartthrob Matt Dillon).

The movies are free, and so is the popcorn. Homemade microbrews run from $2 to $2.75 per pint.

Screenings are 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 18, in the Nimbus Brewing Co., 3850 E. 44th St. For details, call 745-9175.

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