guide to keeping busy in the Old Pueblo.
See a Show
Pastorela at Borderlands Theater
. Spanish priests first brought the Pastorela (a Christian performance which uses political and cultural themes to tell the story of good’s triumph over evil) to the Americas in an effort to convert the local indigenous population. At Borderlands, the play has been rewritten every year for the past 17 years to tell a new story with the same message. This year’s story was written by Milta Ortiz and the Pastorela Ghost Writers, and tells the story of the shepherds who followed the star of Bethlehem to the Nativity. Plus: waila music from Gertie and the T.O. Boyz, a performance by Ballet Folkloric Tapatio before Sundays matinee, and piñatas for kids after every show. 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 19 through Thursday, Dec. 21. 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 22. TCC Leo Rich Theater, 260 S. Church Ave. $12 to $24 adults, $12 to $24 seniors, $7 to $14 students, free for children 12 and under.
Lightwire Theater's A Very Electric Christmas
. Get ready to feel like Danny Zuko, because this show is going to be electrifyin’. Seriously though, we got six seconds into the trailer video for the performance and were blown away. The puppeteers, dancers and designers behind Lightwire Theater were semifinalists on the 2012 season of America’s Got Talent, and now they’re harbingers of joy in the 2017 season of Tucson’s Got Christmas. The story of a young bird who gets lost at the North Pole among caroling worms, dancing poinsettias and rambunctious rodents is set to classic Christmas songs like “Holly Jolly Christmas,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Nutcracker,” and, of course, “Baby Got Back.” 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14. Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress. $15 to $35.
The Arroyo Cafe Holiday Radio Show
. Get ready to laugh, because that’s all you really can do at this point in the year if you want to keep from crying. Crystal Stark, Bobby Rich, Elliot Glicksman, Jay Taylor, Nancy Stanley and Reveille’s “Grandsons of the Pioneers” are joined by special guests Wilbur Wildcat, President Trump and host of other, mystery guest stars for a night that Trump supporters will want to miss. But no one else will. Ticket fees benefit Reveille, Owl & Panther and AZPM, and ensure you a place on the nice list. 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. $15.
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis
. UA Presents a performance by Grammy-award winning musical group Mannheim Steamroller. The man behind the music, Chip Davis, will be playing Christmas classics from throughout his career, as well as selections from his Fresh Aire series, which debuted 40 years ago. The powerful music and multimedia performance guarantees a good old fashioned Mannheim grand time. 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17. Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd. $60 to $150.
SABHF presents Harpdog Brown & the Travelin’ Blues Show
. We all know blues run the game, and some would say that Harpdog Brown, Canada’s incumbent Harmonica Player of the Year since 2014, runs the blues. And he’s coming to Tucson to promote his newest album, Travelin’ with the Blues. Joined by guitar gods Jordie Edmonds and Rockin’ Johnny Burgin and drummer extraordinaire Jimmy Morello, Brown is sure to put on a show you won’t forget. His thoughts on the blues? “It’s a beautiful celebration of our perfectly flawed lives.” 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16. House of Bards, 4915 E. Speedway Blvd. $10.
Live Holiday Music at Tucson Premium Outlets
. SAACA and Tucson Premium Outlets are partnering this holiday season on the counsel of Buddy the Elf, who told them “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. The Saturday performances take place amidst the delicious food offered at Market Hall and dozens of stores where you can get some shopping done. This week, Heart & Soul, a classic rock duo made up of Gary Roberts and EJ Loveres, takes the stage with their groovy rhythms, smooth vocals and crowd pleasing repertoire. 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16. Tucson Premium Outlets, 6401 Marana Center Blvd. Free.
. Just in case you were unsure, it’s pronounced “mariachi,” not “merry, achey.” Platinum selling mariachi band Sol de Méxicowas founded in 1981, and was the first mariachi ensemble nominated for a Grammy. And now, founder and maestro Jóse Hernàndez is bringing this slice of authentic Mexican heritage and infectious rhythm to Tucson! 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15. Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress. $26 to $60, with $2 day-of increase.
. The Oro Valley concert series continues with the versatile vocals of Amber Lee, Beth and Chris along with some poppin’ piano accompaniment. Due to their enormous repertoire across genres and areas, the Desert Melodies can uniquely tailor every show to the audience’s needs. Who knows what they’ll get up to this time? Pull up your own chair (attendance is free, but seating isn’t provided), sit back and enjoy the sweet sounds of local vocals. 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14. Oro Valley Marketplace, 12155 N. Oracle Road. Free.
Southern Arizona Women’s Chorus Winter Concert
. If you think you know what to expect from this concert, you’re probably wrong. There might not be anyone who knows what to expect from this concert, which is billed as featuring “Medieval, Boogie, Sacred and More” music. If that doesn’t sound like a good time to you, or at least an intriguing time, then what does? And if nothing else, it promises to be an afternoon full of music made by people who love making music. 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17. Ascension Lutheran Church, 1220 W. Magee Road. $18.54 or two for $36.50.
The Magic of Christmas
. If you didn’t already know what Christmas magic was made out of, it’s equal parts orchestra members, choir singers, UA dancers, Santa and love. And you’re about to get a heaping helping of Christmas magic, courtesy of guest conductor Michael Hall, here to wave his magic Christmas wand. Enjoy songs like “Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas,” “A Christmas Carol Fantasy,” and “A Holly Jolly Sing Along,” as well as dance performances to selections from The Nutcracker. 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17. Tucson Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. $30 to $76, half price for children under 18 and active members of the military.
Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus Holiday Concert
. There’s nothing quite like the sweet, innocent sound of a chorus full of children’s voices. And with a boys’ chorus, there’s an ephemeral aura to the whole thing as well, since their voices will change someday and they won’t be able to hit those soaring operatic notes. Anyway, ephemeral or not, TABC has been around for more than 70 years, and members are performing their holiday concert at UA. 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16. UA Crowder Hall, 1017 N. Olive Road. $20 premium, $15 general, $8 kids under 12.
13th Annual Holiday Express
. All aboard! The Polar Express doesn’t come through the Sonoran Desert, but the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum is hosting the Holiday Express, complete with Santa himself, for the afternoon. It’s the perfect way to get some private time with Santa in before heading over to the Parade of Lights in the evening. Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16. Southern Arizona Transportation Museum, 414 N. Toole Ave. Free.
10th Annual Mercado Holiday Bazaar
. Handmade, handpicked, and an altogether handy selection of goods from local artists and bakers and candlestick makers are coming your way. More than 60 booths will be set up at this three-day pop-up market, giving you a chance to get in some last hour (not quite last minute, yet) holiday shopping, and to actually enjoy yourself in the cozy and newly expanded Mercado Annex. Onward to the bazaar! 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 15 and Saturday, Dec. 16. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 17. Mercado San Augustin, 100 S. Avenida del Convento. Free entry.
Old Time Holidays
. Are you fed up with the consumerism of the holidays today? Longing for the days of yore, when horses roamed the streets and our country was racked by civil war? Head over to Old Tucson for a holiday-themed musical and comedy show showing through New Year’s Eve. Santa will be there to say howdy from noon to 3 p.m. Old Tucson is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day through New Years Eve (except on Christmas Eve and Christmas day). Old Tucson, 201 S. Kinney Road. $18.95 adults, $10.95 kids 4 to 11.
23rd Annual Parade of Lights Festival
. This year’s parade is offering up a new route and a new location, but the same, good old-fashioned, warm and fuzzy holiday spirit. And the Jacome Plaza News channel has snow in the forecast for the evening. This year’s float awards are for best overall entry, best historical or cultural theme, best use of lights, best musical group and best youth group. We expect the historically themed float with the singing, glow-in-the-dark kids to sweep all five categories. Vendor fair begins at 3 p.m., with various performances until the parade begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16. Jacome Plaza, 101 N. Stone Ave. Free.
Art, Auras, Alien Autopsy and Analog
ArtNow! with Violet Kasser-Pirzadeh
. Tucson MOCA’s open discussions about what it means to make art today—and what “the art of today” even means—continues with this Tucson-based artist. Kasser-Pirzadeh will be talking about grassroots, boundary-pushing, socially meaningful art forms, including experimental and community-based art. Join in on the conversation to ensure that this week’s ArtNow! will be community-based as well. Light refreshments will be served. 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14. Tucson MOCA, 265 S. Church Ave. $10, free for MOCA members.
Tucson Metaphysical Fair
. N.J. Alvarez, local author of spiritual self-help book “And Then There Was You,” knows that the holidays are a hard time for people suffering from chronic pain, facing mental illness, or dealing with loss. This fair, which features spiritualists, numerologists, aura photographs, reiki healers, palm readers, vendors and other intuitive readers, is an attempt to help the struggling find some peace this holiday season. Most readings are $35 for a half hour session. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17. Best Western, 6201 N. Oracle Road. Free admission.
Conspiracy Theory Yoga & Concert
. Bradford Trojan and the Galactic Federation of Yoga and Love are here to bring you all of the yoga poses you didn’t know you need, including “Downward Facing Sasquatch,” “Bermuda Triangle Pose” and “Alien Autopsy.” To keep you feeling limber and like you have a flow to go with, The Martian Meditations will be performing live music. After you’re good and stretched out, The Galactic Federation of Yoga and Love will hold a rock ’n’ roll concert with plenty of “conspir-a-sounds” and posi vibes. You won’t have a boring night if you’re here, we promise. Yoga 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., yoga 8 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15. Floor Polish, 215 N. Hoff. $15 yoga and concert, $15 concert only.
Analog Hour: Silent
. The holidays are stressful, we get it. Work is stressful and family is stressful and there’s so much to do that you’re never going to have a moment to just sit down and read that book or start that art project or hang out with friends… UNTIL NOW. Thank God for Exo Roast Co. for being to voice of reason we all need and reminding us to step away from the chaos for a few hours and treat ourselves to some peace, quiet and beverages. The Bookbike will be there as well! 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17. (the third Sunday of every month!) Exo Roast Co., 403 N. Sixth Ave. Free entry.
Let's Get Wordy
Adult Spelling Bee
. Pornographic. P-O-R-N-O… just kidding, it’s not THAT kind of adult spelling bee. At least, we don’t think it is. But it is a spelling bee for adults, so all of the words will probably be harder to spell than “pornographic” anyway. Win a trophy, Tap & Bottle gift cards and honor for your family’s name. Super spelling capes are not mandatory, but are highly recommended. Sign up to spell at 6:30 p.m., bee begins at 7. Tuesday, Dec. 12. Tap & Bottle, 403 N. Sixth Ave. Free.
. Finally have a moment of free time between holiday shopping, cookie decorating, party planning, gift wrapping and procrastinating on all of it, but not sure how to spend it? Head over to the Twitterverse and ask librarians from the Pima County Public Library—as well as librarians all over the world—for book recommendations with the #AskALibrarian hashtag. You’ll be cozying up with a classic (or soon-to-be classic) in no time. 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 14. Online!
A Hundred Limericks for a Hundred Days of Trump
This year felt like an all-around slump.
It might have something to do with Trump
Making America great
Using Twitter and hate,
He’s made some of us into grumps.
Reid Gilbert has come ’long to lighten the mood
With a book full of limericks on that Trump dude
At this signing and reading,
There will be ice cream eating
So please, come eat, drink and be crude!
2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17. Ginia Desmond’s Studio, 544 S. Fifth Ave. Free.
. Melodic and hypnotic, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony have been bringing real talk of below-poverty-line life since ’91. When Eazy-E discovered and shopped these harmonically gifted Ohio (?!) homies, they caught on. Songs like “Thuggish Ruggish Bone” made west coast G Funk feel slick—here were five dudes in white tees (or no tees), mobbing the projects, spitting rhymes and eagle-eyed commentaries about their day—nothing trumped up or romanticized about it. But it was later, when their mentor died, that Bone struck a national chord with the song “Crossroads.” “Does somebody anybody wanna tell me why—we die, we die, we die?” Humble, straightforward, authentic. And their rhythmic call and response is so wonderfully innate and complex it’s instantly recognizable; no wonder they earned the chance to make music alongside Pac and Biggie, Eazy and Pun. C’mon. With Lil’ Flip on Sunday, Dec. 17. Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress. Doors at 7 p.m. $35-$40, All ages. —B.S. Eliot
. The reverbed-out guitar can lull you onto some kind old carpet ride but the choppy drums jerk you back to reality. The effect is like an aural speedball. The vocals—slightly minor and sweetly flat—recall an even different era, croon-y like New Order or Kitchens of Distinction, but deeper in the mix. This SoCal trio is simple and, yes, heartfelt, even beautiful at times. So what if the layers of effects make it sound like they’re playing to an empty theater. More, there’s lack of irony going on: in “The Same” they ask, “Something deeper than a cut, what makes you stay up at night?” and then they churn cymbals and drums and repetitive synths with the overdriven guitar. “We’re the same, everything else has changed.” Moaning could be lumped in with Interpol or The Killers, but they might actually be better at copping from the past. We just love instant nostalgia, even if it belongs to someone else. On Monday, Dec. 18, Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress. 7 p.m. 21+. Free. —B.S. Eliot
. Roman Orona, Jonah Littlesunday and Will Clipman are world premiering a multi-disciplinary project of voice, drum, and flute music, accompanied and enhanced by dance, puppetry and mask art. Medicine Arrow draws from ancestral Native American traditions, but with a futuristic, new age-y spin. In this time of political hatred and inflammatory racial horseshit, this trio is voicing a balanced harmony between Native and Caucasian cultures. The Arizona-based trio has produced a show suitable and inclusive of all ages. Revelatory and inspiring, Orona tells stories and acts out scenarios to the soundtrack created by Littlesunday and Clipman. Aptly named, Medicine Arrow aims straight from the heart to pierce illusions of separateness, seeking to unify all people. Whether or not they succeed feels less important than the fact they’re creating to the greater good. Saturday, Dec. 16 at Galactic Center, 35 East Toole Ave. 7:30 p.m. $10. All ages. —B.S. Eliot
. Five-syllable lines end up questions, “Tryin’ to stay gold? Never collect rust?” Rhyme and then they stop, rhyme and then they stop, until they train your brain to think in truncated pentameter. Pleasing and catchy, succinct or messy, the singsong pattern hypnotizes, so that you’re right there drifting in and out of morning-thick blunt smoke. The covered ground is still the same—hood rich, drunk verse, rollin’ blunts, but there’s a glimmer of something new. Always short and choppy, always slow and pert. It’s best when vocoded, reverbed and laid back. And the rap and trap fast approaches psychedelia. Now, if he can just expand past the bitches and the block, we can all rise up and find that higher ground. With Uno the Activist and Warhol.ss on Thursday, Dec. 21. 191 Toole. Doors at 7 p.m. $18-$100, All ages. —B.S. Eliot