BLACK HOLES. Ever speculate about all those holes poking around the desert floor? Are they trappings of fence posts never planted, prints from Bigfoot's big toes, or remnants from unannounced alien arrivals?
Wonder no more when Pinau Merlin sheds light on these dark little mysteries. In a discussion hosted by Sky Island Alliance, the noted naturalist and author of the best-selling Field Guide to Desert Holes explains the diversity of the cavities, and the unique views they provide on the lives of critters ranging from tiger beetles to badgers.
Free discussion begins at 7:30 p.m. at the UA Water Resources Research Center, 350 N. Campbell Ave. Call 795-2704 for details.
CLASSIC CONTEXT. Help revitalize downtown's famed Fox Theatre by attending a delightful outdoors movie screening.
What's the catch? Only that you'll enjoy fine cinema under lovely May skies. Hosted by the Fox Tucson Theatre Foundation and La Placita Village, tonight's feature is Charade. Starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant, with Walter Matthau, James Coburn and George Kennedy, this 1963 romantic romp through Paris also includes a mystery, all set to a Henry Mancini score.
Film series continues at 7:30 p.m. each Thursday at La Placita Village, 110 S. Church Ave. Admission is free, but donations are suggested. For details, call 623-2748.
DARK CONTINENT. Local scribe Martha B. Hopkins sheds light on the dark continent in a free reading hosted by Antigone Books.
Hopkins is the author of Second Chances: A Travel Narrative of Southern Africa. She spent time in southern Africa and Namibia in 1995 and 1996, after the fall of apartheid and the election of Nelson Mandela. The result is a fascinating, detail-rich book dissecting the intricacies of a complex land.
"When Martha B. Hopkins traveled to post-apartheid South Africa, she had the good fortune to bear witness not only to the rich contradictions and sluggishness of social change, but also to relearn how her own childhood and American life had been shaped by the difficulties of race and class," says poet Alison Deming. "Second Chances is a beautifully attentive account of that journey."
Reading begins at 7 p.m. at Antigone Books, 411 N. Fourth Ave. Call 792-3715 for information.
PEDAL PUSHERS. Beat the peak traffic flows and get your ticker humming with the monthly Community Bike Ride.
This light-hearted band of two-wheeled aficionados leisurely rolls through central Tucson to make a point: there ain't no future in fossil fuel, unless pea-soup smog and car congestion are your cup o' tea. Snacks are provided by the Food Conspiracy.
Saddle up at 5 p.m. in the Time Market parking lot, 444 E. University Blvd. Call 792-1334 for details.
SPACE BUZZ. Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin describes a place few folks have gone before in a lecture hosted by the International Space Development Conference.
Running through Monday, May 29, the gathering ponders the final frontier in a series of workshops and speakers, focusing on everything from human habitation of space to harvesting asteroids and celestial piracy. You can register for the entire conference or pay by the day, with many events free to the public.
One such free event is Aldrin's keynote address, The Return: Your Space Vision, immediately following a 4:30 p.m. booksigning at the Holiday Inn City Center, 181 W. Broadway Blvd. Call 622-7856 for information.
SHAMANIC DUO. Shamanic-electronic "soundworlds" come to Earth with a performance by Steve Roach and Jorge Reyes.
A nearly mythical figure in the ethno/ambient music world, Roach is a highly talented synthesist who's created or collaborated on more than two dozen albums and compilations. His "continually evolving and distinct music mines our collective unconscious via electronics, exotic percussion, didgeridoos and pre-Columbian, aboriginal, and Native American instruments," says Alternative Press.
Though Reyes has studied music ranging from classical to rock, he remains creatively tied to his Mexican heritage. Traversing that homeland, he collects pre-Columbian instruments, makes field recordings of Indian performers, and otherwise immerses himself in their age-old stylings. The result is his own unique style, mixing neo-shamanic, electronic innovations with the most ancient, ecstatic roots of Mexican music. (See this week's Music section for details.)
Show time is 8 p.m. at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. Tickets are $20, available at Hear's Music, the Temple box office, and by calling 622-2823.
BLUES PARLEY. A "Folk Blues Summit" kicks off the Plaza Palomino Courtyard Concert series with Geoff Muldaur, Paul Rishell and Annie Raines. This stage burner promises to take listeners on "a musical journey that traverses the Appalachians, across the Mississippi Delta, down to New Orleans and up to Chicago."
An American musicologist, singer, arranger and producer, Muldaur's legend dates back to the early Greenwich Village folk blues scene. His career has influenced such seminal groups as the Jim Kweskin Jug Band and Paul Butterfield's Better Days Band.
Boston-based Paul Rishell and Annie Raines rank among the world's most creative acoustic blues duos. Rishell's sensuous guitar riffs complement Raines' down-home country harmonica and mandolin playing--a distinctive sound that's earned them six W.C. Handy nominations, including this year's Traditional Blues Album of the Year and Traditional Female Artist of the Year.
Show time is 8 p.m. at Plaza Palomino, 2970 N. Swan Road. Advance tickets are $14, available at Hear's Music, Antigone Books, Orange Grove Brew and Vine, Enchanted Earthworks, and by phone at 297-9133. Tickets cost $16 at the door.
PICK-NIC. The crops are rolling in along Willcox way. That means another U-Pick harvest for those who don't mind getting down and dirty with fresh produce.
The cornucopia begins this month with strawberries and cherries, and rolls into the regular season in July with a bevy of fruits and veggies ranging from apples to zucchini. Farms charge varying rates for those willing to pluck their own bounty. Other outposts offer ostrich and natural beef, along with apple-wood smoked hams.
Willcox is 90 minutes east on I-10. For details on farms, picking and festivals, call (800) 200-2272.
MYTHIC OASIS. Forget the boom-boxes of Reid Park, the dog poop at Himmel, the jocks on the UA mall, and the fee gauging at Catalina State Park. Instead, pack yourself a little lunch and head up to Agua Caliente Park, the grooviest little outpost within city limits.
Part of the county park system, Agua Caliente was a onetime cattle ranch and later a getaway for health-seeking easterners. Today, it remains full of towering trees, great picnic areas, and a handful of lakes that don't sidle up to sprawling, plaid-inundated golf courses. Best of all, it doesn't cost you one thin dime to enjoy.
Agua Caliente Park is located at 12325 E. Roger Road. Call 740-2690 for information.
TOTAL RECALL. The sacrifices of countless Americans are noted by the Eastern Hills Aquatic Club's annual Memorial Day parade and pool party.
Kids and their adults are invited to decorate themselves, along with bicycles, wagons, strollers or any non-mechanized transport, and hustle on over to the Anna Henry Elementary School parking lot, 650 N. Igo Way.
Paraders travel to the Eastern Hills Aquatic Club, 981 N. Evelyn Ave., where the day-long action follows a patriotic flag ceremony. Fun stuff includes children's games galore, an adult free swim, hamburgers, hot dogs and raffles for donated prizes.
Parade begins at 10 a.m. All events are free. For information, call 546-9707.
LOOKING GOOD. Tucson Puppet Works is more than it sounds. While the co-op often features fine productions by the Big Head Puppet Company and Band-O-Poppets, it's also a cool little gallery sporting the new exhibit Dress Code.
The show includes work by a quartet of Tucson artists, namely Kelly Morris, Lillie Strout, Henry Muttongon and Ju Ju Bee Rouser.
"All the work in this show deals with the theme of masks, costumes, and the characters that we put on," says gallery spokesman Matt Cotten. "The theme originated with the work by Kelly Morris, who deals a lot with symbolism, diagrams, and what I call code imagery. The other artists follow that theme as well."
Dress Code runs through June 21 in Tucson Puppet Works, 111 E. Congress St. Gallery hours are 2 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and during Downtown Saturday Night. Call 770-1533 for information.
SUMMER SIZZLER. Scorching improv meets the big enchilada at open jams in El Parador Restaurant.
Sponsored by the Tucson Jazz Society, the jams open every Tuesday with The Pete Swan Trio, featuring longtime drumsmith Swan, Rob Boone on trombone and piano, and Craig Faltin on bass. Open jams follow, drawing a bevy of local luminaries from Lisa Otey and Susan Artemis to Ed Ulman, Matt Mitchell and Jeff Haskell. All this heat arises in the lush, rainforest ambiance of El Parador.
Jazz runs from 7:30 to 11 p.m. at El Parador Restaurant and Cantina, 2744 E. Broadway Blvd. Admission is $3, free for musicians joining the jam. Call 903-1265 for details.
LUCKY YOU. A huge inheritance based on good acts sets off a hilarious chain of events in You Should Be So Lucky, presented by Invisible Theatre.
In this "madcap" comedy by Charles Busch, a timid young electrologist commits an act of altruism, leading to his inheritance of $10,000,000. His odd selflessness--in a society better suited to greed--sets off riotous happenings as outrageous as any current headline.
Busch is co-founder and playwright-in-residence of Theater-in-Limbo. His other works include Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, Red Scare on Sunset and Psycho Beach Party.
The cast includes Manny Ferris, Stuart Moulton, Betsy Kruse, Brian Jenson, Susan Claassen and Ann Fortune Gamble, with James Blair directing.
Show time is 7:30 tonight in the Invisible Theatre, 1400 N. First Ave. Performances continue at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, through June 11. Tickets are $16 and $18, available at the Invisible Theatre box office, and by calling 882-9721.