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Roll It Over: New Year's Eve 2002

DANCING FEET. It's the quintessential night for dancing out the old year and welcoming in the new. Here are a few places that dancing is sure to be encouraged.

The Hut, just behind Fourth Avenue at 305 N. Herbert Ave., north of O'Malley's, offers its annual New Year's Eve party from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. with country and rock music ringing in the new year. There's a full bar, smoking on the heated patio only, drink specials all night plus hors d'oeuvres, champagne toast at the appointed hour, party favors, door prizes and more. It's a gay-friendly event, so I'm told. Cover at the door is $20. Call 623-3200 with questions.

The folks at the Tucson Friends of Traditional Music have a Contra and Square Dance cooked up for you at The Cabaret at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. from 8:30 p.m. to midnight. There's calling by local all-stars and the driving energy of a string band plus snacks, a potluck, soft drinks and more. Contra is energetic social dancing that goes back to the log-cabin days. Bring a friend or come alone. You can dance with different partners throughout the evening. Newcomers are welcome. Admission costs $8 for adults, $7 for TFTM members and $6 for students. For details, call 293-3783.

DANCING ON CONGRESS. That's Congress Street, in this town. Kick up the dust downtown. Here's a couple of ideas.

Club Congress at 311 E. Congress St. offers La Tinnitus. (I'm guessing earplugs wouldn't be frowned upon for the old fogies who still like to dance but have tender eardrums.) The folks at CC say they're finally ready to acknowledge the legitimacy of the "latin explosion." Miami Sound Machine and Julio Iglesias weren't just a flash in the pan--Shakira's popularity has disproved any doubts. Bands ushering in the new year include the Zsa Zsas (they should be awarded for "Best Band Name Conjuring Up Nostalgia for a Stupid TV Show in the '70s"), The Jons, Salvador Duran and others. DJ Tasha Bundy orchestrates. Tickets cost $15 in advance at the Hotel's front desk or at the door. Include a four-course dinner at the Cup Café for you and a special friend and the whole package costs $75. Dinner starts anytime after 4:30 p.m. And the bands begin revving up at 9 p.m. For information, call 622-8848.

The folks over at Vaudeville Cabaret at 110 E. Congress St. don't ordinarily have music on Tuesday nights, but this being a special night, they'll make an exception. Local bands showing up to provide the music include Al Foul, the 440's and Tom Walbank. The puppeteers of Tucson Puppet Works have stories to tell with their hands and voices. It all gets under way at 8 p.m. There's free champagne at midnight. Costumes are highly encouraged--any old monkey suit or something swankier--you decide. Seven bucks gets you in the door. Call for details at 622-3535.

FANCY PARTY OF THE YEAR. There are lots of parties going on all over town. (Call your nearest hotel for pricey packages of fancy suites, champagne breakfasts and all the trimmings.)

But here's one that's a fundraiser, too. The European Multi-Ethnic Alliance of Tucson hosts its 13th annual New Year's Eve Dinner Dance at the Double Tree Hotel located at 445 S. Alvervon Way. They promise the party will be classy yet fun with style. Tickets cost $50 per person. To find out more, call 326-7330 or go to www.geocities.com/ematoftucson.

GET THE HECK OUTTA DODGE. There's something about being elsewhere when the new year rolls in. Here are a few ideas.

Tucson's premier reggae band, Neon Prophet, makes its debut in Bisbee. You'd think after 18 years of performing they would have been asked to come down to play. But tonight's the night for firsts. At Club Kilimanjahro, located at 33 Subway St. next door to the Bisbee Chamber of Commerce, there's dance music from old school reggae to soca to ska plus current Jamaican dance hall grooves. The show starts at 9 p.m. They're asking for $10 at the door. Call 887-4821 with questions.

Native American traditions suggest looking up at the sky to find out about the new year. Storyteller Gerard Tsonakwa, a member of the Abenaki Nation in Quebec, offers skylore while you view the brilliant night sky through telescopes or the naked pair of eyeballs you were born with. Tsonakwa says, "By looking at the sky, we tell direction, predict and recognize the coming seasons. The stars and sky, and not our clock, tell our time."

It all happens on the lawn of the Canada del Oro Restaurant at the Biosphere 2 Center, north of the city off Highway 77. Starting at 5 p.m. there's dinner followed by Tsonakwa's talk and stargazing. Throw in an overnight suite, New Year's breakfast and Under the Glass tour of Biosphere 2 and the whole package costs $165 for two. Call for reservations or information at 838-6200.

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