Your Weekly guide to keeping busy in the Old Pueblo.
Star Wars - A Holiday Special: Come the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special on the big screen at The Loft Cinema and celebrate the season with the best space series ever. But what's better than space-themed holiday bash? The fact that said holiday bash is free. The Loft wants the Tucson community to enjoy a free evening of Star Wars. If you dress up as your favorite Star Wars character, you could win a super cool prize from The Loft. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 22. The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. Free, bring money for candy and popcorn.
Ballet Tucson's 'The Nutcracker': See the holiday classic that will enchant lovers of dance and laymen alike. Tucson's own professional ballet company will perform its annual production of "The Nutcracker" for three days only. With the spectacular scenes and dance ability, you don't have be a ballet enthusiast to appreciate this dance classic. Thursday, Dec. 22 - 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 23 - 3 p.m., 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 24 - 1 p.m. Tucson Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. $28 - 56.
St. Andrew's Episcopal Choir: Tap and Bottle is hosting a song-a-long with the choir from St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. Come celebrate the holiday season with this boozy, and yet, family-friendly musical event. 6 - 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23. Tap and Bottle, 403 N. Sixth Ave. Free, bring money for drinks.
‘90s Christmas Eve Dance Party: Dance your little heart out at The Flycatcher for its Christmas Eve dance party with the hits from the 90s spun up by DJ Plastic Disease and E_Rupt. Don't forget to dress up in your favorite 90s fashion. 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24. The Flycatcher, 340 E. Sixth St. Free, bring money for drinks.
Nightmare Before X-Mas Party: Casa Video's film bar has made a name for itself as a great place to drink good beer while watching classically favorite films. For those last few hours of pre-Christmas and Hunannakh cheer, head on over to Casa for a family-friendly night of singing, boozing and Jack Skellington antics. 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23. Casa Video Film Bar, 2905 E. Speedway Blvd. Free, but you should buy a few drinks.
Winterhaven Festival of Lights: Tucson’s best-known holiday tradition wraps up its annual illumination of the season this week, so if you haven’t been out to experience what happens in a neighborhood full of Clark Griswolds, now’s the time. Take the stroll every night between 6 and 10 p.m. or brave the traffic on drive-through night on Monday, Dec. 26. Free, but bring a donation for the Community Food Bank in the form of cash or non-perishable food items. Winterhaven is north of Fort Lowell Road between Tucson Boulevard and Country Club Road.
Treecycle: Already thinking about the logistics of ditching your Christmas tree? The city has your back. Starting the day after Christmas and continuing through mid January, you can drop your naked, dying tree off at one of nine Treecycle locations throughout Tucson and Oro Valley. The city is mulching the trees, and will have free wood chips available at a few of their locations after Jan. 4.
Food & Booze
Prix Fixe with Roman Barten-Sherman: The tent and heaters are up, making the Coronet evenings nice and cozy. Think about doing a post-Christmas night out on Tuesday, Dec. 27 to listen to 13-year-old Roman Barten-Sherman give us some Delta Blues. Food for the night is a three-course dinner with wine, $48 for two people. Barten-Sherman has opened for the David Bromberg Quintet, Bobby Rush and John Mayall at the Rialto Theater and The Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, Mississippi, The Tucson Folk Festival, and Hotel Congress. His debut CD, Interstellar Blues was a 2014 KXCI top 40 pick of the year. 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 27. The Coronet, 402 E. Ninth St. $48 for two.
New Year's Eve at King Fisher: Need another idea for New Year’s Eve on the cozy side? Head over to a Weekly favorite. Kingfisher will be open for dinner from 5 to 11 p.m. (they are also open Christmas Eve until 8 p.m.) serving a special menu of favorite and specials. The Cochise County All-Stars featuring Amy Langely will perform from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31. Kingfisher, 2564 E. Grant Road.
Spend the Holidays at the Cup: Another cozy idea is a place that always seems to be there when you need a restaurant friend. For us that’s the Cup Café at the .). Get in the spirit for Christmas Eve Dinner from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuna tartare, roasted NY strip with twice baked potatoes and Brussels sprouts with house-cured bacon and whole grilled branzino fish. Great choices. There’s also a Christmas Day brunch from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There’s also a New Year’s Day Vegas Buffet brunch at the Copper Hall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. $45 adults, $18 for kids and those 2 and under eat free. Chilequiles verde, fried chicken and waffles and crepes are a few of the things on the menu. Yum. Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St.
Li'l Quinquin: A pair of bumbling small town detectives investigate a hilariously strange mystery involving murder, madness and farm animals in director Bruno Dumont’s one-of-a-kind comedy/thriller Li’l Quinquin. Catch a free screening of this French comedy/thriller next Friday, courtesy of the Loft. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 29. The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. Free.
Mad Max Fury Road Black & Chrome: Director George Miller has secured a place in many hearts with the majesty of Mad Max Fury Road. But, if Miller had his way, our whole Fury Road experience would have been different. Less colorful. Revisit the apocalyptic feminist hell dream in black and white, as it was meant to be seen at the Loft Dec. 30-Jan. 1. Times vary by day. The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd.
Lord of The Rings Movie Trivia: Look, it’s been a rough year. At least one actor or musician you appreciated died. There was the election from hell. Race relations took a turn for the worse. The Syrian civil war has led to the loss of so many lives. It’s not an easy time. Basically, we all need to channel Frodo and the other members of the Fellowship of the Ring: Do what we can to help those in need, stick together and endure. Spend your holiday weekend studying up by marathoning LOTR, then prove your knowledge via trivia night. 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 27. Casa Video Film Bar, 2905 E. Speedway Blvd. Bring money for beer.
Foxx Bodies: Foxx Bodies have all the ants-in-socks unrest of the best Riot Grrrl combos, the visceral rock 'n' roll spittle of vintage punk, and the feminist (humanist) punch of, say, author Naomi Wolf on a speed jive. Go ahead and try to escape the tragic lyrical hum in “Mercy Fuck” or the face-slap irony of “Rock Baby” or the familial terror of “The Trip.” More, their guitar-bass-drums-singer wallop is beautifully gnarly, yet melodic and concise, as if they’re banging it out in an empty garage—guitars reverberate, edges skate, vocals pierce. In fact, Tucson Weekly music columnist Josh Levine wrote recently that if Tucson has a 2016 “‘Band of the Year’ or ‘New Band of the Year,’ there's no contest: The four-piece punk band Foxx Bodies is easily one of the most exciting musical prospects to come out of this city in years.” Levine nailed it. With Pinion, Arizona’s father/daughter duo The Exbats, and local risers The Jagg. Thursday, Dec. 22 at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. 8 p.m., 21+. Free.
Blind Boys of Alabama: One can’t even imagine the racism a black singing group must’ve endured in the Jim Crow south in the 1940 and ’50s, particularly one armed with the gospel, and with some members handicapped with blindness. Well, that same combo scored their first bona fide hit in 1949, and eventually appeared on Broadway, earned Grammys, recorded for Peter Gabriel’s record label, and finally—after decades of hard nights and hard road, and holding steadfast to their timeless soul and gospel through myriad ugly trends in music—they became an American household name. Finally. All hail The Blind Boys of Alabama. See these spiritual uplifters while you still can. Thursday, Dec. 22 at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. 8 p.m. All ages. $29-$39.
Connor “Catfish” Gallaher: As a sideman musician it’s really not odd to mention Connor Gallaher’s name in the same breath as pedal steel guitar greats like Buddy Cage, Ben Keith and Speedy West. He’s that good. In fact, his mournful lines buzz, hum and sting, and summon the kind of melancholy that makes goose flesh rise. This spindly kid with impeccable Byrds-era Gene Clark sense of style is an in-demand session man who has played on the most beautiful songs recorded in Tucson in recent years, including a few by Alpha Mule, Billy Sedlmayr, Gabriel Sullivan and Louise Le Hir. You can still maybe find him playing standard six-string in the too-ignored Myrrors, and The Night Collectors. Gallaher’s also a bit of a musicologist too, especially when it comes to country and psych and all things sonically glorious under wide southwestern skies. Hear him spin records, with an ear toward the holiday, at Maynard’s Late Night Happy Hour. Friday, Dec. 23 at Maynard’s Market and Kitchen, 400 N. Toole. 10 p.m. All ages. Free.
The Electric Blankets: Rising from shitkicker dust of the Provocative Whites and the Ghost of 505, The Electric Blankets kill it with a kind of mad Brit Invasion beatpound, dusty hypnotics, and good old alt-nation rock amped up on youthful urgency. Their “Dirty Prayers” is one of those songs anchored by a guitar hook and big chorus so persuasive it’ll invade your dreams against your will, and likely make them dirty. Band frontman Raul Michel has one of those rock ’n’ roll voices that pleads and commands with equal aplomb. They’re a force to be reckoned with on stage too. There’s that. With Rabbit Snare and the reunion of Tucson expats Faster Than Light. Wednesday, Dec. 28 at The Flycatcher, 340 E. 6th St. 9 p.m. 21+. Free.
Run-On: Sometimes something so minimalist is still difficult to unravel; such is the deceptively complex idea of less is more. But what we do know is Run-On Sunshine, the self-confessing lover(s) of “cats and sunshine,” plays a playful racket that’s been called guitar-free punk rock, which is really kind of an oversimplification. We mean, sometimes it might be instrument-free punk sung by a digit called Mullarkey, but overall it really isn’t punk rock at all, more like pure singsong pop distilled to its barest essentials, like a colorful, mad art project. Sometimes its propelled by sweetly toned voice and a perky toy keyboard and a punchy kickdrum, like on the deviously slinky ditty “You Probably Think This Song is About Your Cat,” which is way cooler than some boring ironic wink to Carly Simon. Then “The Call of Tempe,” with its cheap keyboard drone and girlish vocal, might make one actually yearn for the University town- turned open strip-mall, as well as all the lonely suburban burgs that surround it. Yep. With Ainsworth and Bigger Than Mountains. Wednesday, Dec. 28 at Tiny Town Gallery, 174 E. Toole. All Ages. 7:30 p.m. Free.
Mantra: Glow in the Dark New Year’s Eve Party with XIXA: XIXA, the Gabriel Sullivan and Brian Lopez led combo, who not so long ago called themselves the less wieldy Chicha Dust, are just now beginning to headline theater-sized venues all over Europe, so loving is their overseas following—this after an Euro introduction by Howe Gelb and Giant Sand. Gelb aside, Bloodline, XIXA’s 2016 LP, can (lazily) be described as a cumbia-inflected psych, a sort of guitar-and-melody driven “Desert noir” that marries explosive rhythms (Latin and otherwise) with soaring refrains. The album has so far been criminally overlooked stateside, but not in Tucson. XIXA is bringing their show—in what could become a New Year’s Eve tradition—to the Rialto. Get yer tix, the show, which is billed as an all night, glow-in-the-dark cumbia party, will likely sell out. With DJ Dirty Verbs. Saturday, Dec. 31 at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress. 9 p.m. $10-$50.