Cirque Mechanics. How is it that every time I see a cirque show, or watch an acrobat or aerialist perform in general, I'm blown away all over again by the marvelous feats the human body is capable of? Shows like this one are the sort of thing that can evoke wonder in almost anyone. This circus-themed show has a big 42-foot ring in the middle of it, which rotates around and is continually transformed with human powered inventions like a galloping metal horse and a tent full of strongmen, acrobats, tumblers and aerialists. 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26. Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd. $15 to $75+.
Mona Lisa on the Loose.This show, part of Live Theatre Workshop's family series, is a musical written and directed by Gretchen Wirges. It tells the story of how, when the lights go off for the night at the Louvre, the paintings—including the Mona Lisa, played by Christina Evans—come to life! When Mona Lisa overhears one day that the museum officials are planning to move her somewhere else because she's no longer attracting enough visitors (if you've ever seen a photo of people looking at the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, or been yourself, you'll know that this—not the "painting coming to life" thing—is probably the most unrealistic part of the show), she and her fellow works of art hatch a plan to save her spot! This imaginative romp is perfect for kids. 12:30 p.m. Sundays, Jan. 26 through March 8 (no show Feb. 16). Live Theatre Workshop, 5317 E. Speedway Blvd. $7 kids, $10 adults.
America Sings! Grammy-nominated True Concord Voices & Orchestra, the only professional chamber choir and orchestra in Southern Arizona, is putting on this celebration of some of our nation's most influential composers. Aaron Copland and Stephen Foster, two guys who have been called "fathers of the American Sound" in classical music, are most heavily featured, but they've also got some American spirituals and works by composers like George Gershwin on the lineup. Morris Robinson is the featured bass in this show that explores the core of who we are as Americans, what we care about today and what we hope for from tomorrow. 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24 at St. Francis in the Valley Episcopal Church, 600 S. La Cañada Drive in Green Valley. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25 at Catalina Foothills High School, 4300 E. Sunrise Drive. 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26 at Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 2331 E. Adams St. $25 to $40.
Dinner Casino Magic Show. The Society of American Magicians, once headed by actual Harry Houdini, is bringing a night of Vegas-style entertainment to the Old Pueblo with casino gambling, a three-course dinner prepared by the executive chef at Skyline Country Club and some world-class magicians. Scott Alexander, who's been a finalist on America's Got Talent and has done over 4,000 performances at Caesar's Palace, is headlining. Adrian Van Vactor, who's done 59 international tours, is his opener. Cocktail reception begins at 6, dinner is at 7 and show is at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25. Skyline Country Club, 5200 E. St. Andrew's Drive. $45 includes cocktail reception, dinner and show.
Mists to Monsoons Opening Reception. While she was doing an artist's residency near Eureka, California, Lori Andersen started working on a series that involved layering botanicals onto a canvas, then saturating the canvas with natural dyes. When she returned to her native Tucson, where there isn't much mist and not very many redwood trees at all, she adapted the technique to desert plants. She's displaying this gorgeous work at the Triangle L. Ranch through Feb. 22, so be sure to stop by and see it on a Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. when it's open. Better yet, come to this reception and chat with Andersen yourself. 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26. Triangle L. Ranch Adobe Barn Gallery, 2805 N. Triangle L. Ranch Road in Oracle. Free.
Diana Shpungin: Bright Light/Darkest Shadow. On display now at the Museum of Contemporary Art is this exhibit by Diana Shpungin, featuring nearly 10 years' worth of hand-drawn animation works, made up of thousands of source drawings. There are three separate spaces displaying the work, but each part explores dichotomies—from loss/longing to memory/forgetfulness to tangible/metaphysical. In the gallery space are several pieces related to the seashore, including pieces from her project "Drawing Of a House," which involved coating an entire abandoned building in graphite pencil and projecting animation onto the windows. One of the smaller rooms includes work relating to Shpungin's deceased father. And a third space uses projections to explore the bond between the human/natural world. This is a must-see! On display through May 3 at Tucson MOCA, 265 S. Church Ave. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. $5 GA.
Gardens & Gardening
Trio Planter Class. Maybe you whetted your appetite for trying out new forms of art with one of those "paint & sip" classes. Or maybe you are an avid gardener who wants to make a small, stylish home for a succulent or herb. Either way, this six-hour class at Tohono Chul is a great chance to learn something new and walk away with a trio of adorable 3-inch square planters. You'll learn the basics of glass mosaics to decorate the front and back of each pot, and even learn a little bit of grouting at the end of the day. Bring a sack lunch and a can-do attitude, and leave with something you can brag about to all of your friends. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25. Tohono Chul Education Center #1, 7211 N. Northern Ave. $100 (or $90 for members).
Beautiful Marvelous! Before we even explain what this event is, can we all just agree that we should go to it? Who couldn't use a little bit more of the adjectives "beautiful" and "marvelous" in their lives as we march forth into 2020? So, this exhibit at the Tucson Botanical Gardens is in honor of Roberto Burle Marx, a Brazilian landscapes architect known for both introducing modernist landscape architecture to Brazil and being one of the earliest people to call for the conservation of Brazil's rainforest. Tucson Landscape designer Jason Isenberg and his team are transforming 2,000 square feet of the Exhibition Garden into a modernist, Roberto Burle Marx-inspired garden with a Southwest twist for this exhibit. On display Jan. 24 through May 24 at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way. Hours are 8:30 to a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday through Wednesday and 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday. $15 GA.
Master Gardeners Presentation: Gardening as we Age. Three cheers for these presentations at the Pima County Public Library, which have been on special topics ranging from roses to tomatoes to water-efficient plants. This week, learn some tips and techniques for keeping gardening safe (and fun!) as you age. It's one of those things you always said you were going to have more time for after retirement, so if retirement is here, or approaching, now's the perfect time to go over the best ways to take care of your knees. 1:30 to 3 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27. Wheeler Taft Abbett Sr. Library, 7800 N. Schisler Drive. Free.
Boyce Thompson Arboretum Tour–Geology. Have you ever been to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Arizona's largest and oldest botanical garden? It's out in Superior, but the UA is one of the institutions that runs the place, so we kind of get to claim it as a Tucson thing. Anyway, let this tour, where you'll learn about nearly 2 billion years' worth of volcanic and geologic history, be the reason you finally make it out there. You guide will be talking about topics like the Pinal schist (the basement rock of southeastern Arizona), the volcanic origins of Picket Post Mountain and the Apache Leap tuff (tuff isn't only a rebellious spelling of "tough," apparently. It's also a type of igneous rock). See? We're learning already! 8 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25. Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park, 37615 E. Arboretum Way, Superior. Included with admission, $15 adults, $5 kids 5 to 12, free for kids under 5 and members.
The Summer Guests: A Rescue Story. This new novel by New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe is about a group of evacuees fleeing the coasts of Florida and South Carolina when threatened by a hurricane. But, more than that, it's about how sometimes during the worst of circumstances, you learn about what is truly important, and you find new beginnings. For this event at the Oro Valley Public Library, Monroe will be doing a reading, a Q&A session and a book signing. What a treat! 2 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28. Oro Valley Public Library, 1305 W. Naranja Drive. Free.
Fun in General
Citrus Jubilee at the Farmers Markets. How could you not want to be involved in something with a title like "Citrus Jubilee?" The season for oranges, grapefruits, lemons, tangelos and kumquats is finally here, and Heirloom Farmers Markets is hosting a celebration of all that sweet local tang. Citrus tastings, live music and plenty for sale at several locations. All of the events run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Here's the rest of the rundown: Friday, Jan. 24 at the Udall Park, 7202 N. Tanque Verde Road. Saturday, Jan. 25 at Steam Pump Ranch, 20901 N. Oracle Road. And Sunday, Jan. 26 at Rillito Park, 4502 N. First Ave. (The Rillito Park market has the largest citrus bounty of the weekend, plus free juicing services!)
Tucson Roadrunners vs. Bakersfield Condors. Now that most of us are back to school, and even MLK Jr. Day has passed, it can sometimes start to feel like all of the things that make Tucson so great in the winter are slipping away. But never fear! We've still got our local hockey team. This week, they face off against Bakersfield twice. Friday night, they've got special ticket prices, including half-off tickets for seniors 55+. Saturday night is University of Arizona Night, with an offer that includes four tickets and four co-branded Roadrunners/UA hats. 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 24, and Saturday, Jan. 25. Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave. Regular tickets star at $13, see tucsonroadrunners.com for more info on special pricing.
Family Adventure Fourth Saturday. The Tucson Presidio Museum makes a great place for a family adventure any day of the month, but this day is specifically dedicated to it. They're firm believers that "living history" is the most entertaining and effective way to accomplish their mission of historical education and preservation, and this day is full of it. Take a tour of the grounds, including the Presidio barracks, original foundation wall and the mural; enjoy a blacksmithing or tinsmithing activity; and take part in an interactive activity to learn more about Tucson's history and culture. Arrive between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. to participate. Saturday, Jan. 25. Tucson Presidio Museum, 196 N. Court Ave. $5 GA.
Chinese New Year Celebration: Year of the Rat. One of the traditions surrounding Chines New Year is for families to give their houses a good, thorough cleaning, to sweep away past misfortune and make way for good luck. And, if your house looks anything like mine does post-(Western) holiday season, then we should all probably try out this tradition. But if you want to do some of the more fun celebrating, head over to the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center for a day full of authentic Chinese food, arts and crafts for sale, and games for the kids. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25. Tucson Chinese Cultural Center, 1288 W. River Road. $5 GA, free for kids 12 and under.
Japanese Archery Ceremony. Shooting a bamboo bow used to be a battlefield skill for samurai. These days, "The Way of the Bow" (kyudo) is closer to a form of meditation, in which the archer cultivates a clear mind and freedom from fear and distraction along with technical precision. At this Yume Japanese Gardens event, members of Arizona Kyudo Kai will be shooting their bows (which are nearly eight feet long!) They'll also discuss the traditional etiquette, ceremonial dress and shooting procedures and stances that make the practice a discipline for both mind and body. It's a truly fascinating look at this character-building art form. 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26. Yume Japanese Gardens, 2130 N. Alvernon Way. $16 adults, $5 kids 3 to 15, free for members.