CAUSE CÉLÈBRE. Literary heavyweight Barbara Kingsolver joins the good fight with a benefit reading for the Coalition for Sonoran Protection. She'll arrive toting her latest book, Prodigal Summer.
Tucson's favorite scribe has been noted for her "extraordinarily gifted narrative voice" by the New York Times. Indeed, her new novel celebrates the prodigal spirit of human nature and nature itself. For its part, the Coalition for Sonoran Protection is the driving force behind the Sonoran Desert Protection Plan, which aims to rescue much of our desert from the bulldozer's blade.
"I'm excited to have this chance to support the Coalition, because it represents the work, the interests and the goals of just about every person in this valley who cares about protecting the desert that surrounds us," Kingsolver says.
The reading is at 7 p.m. in the Berger Center for the Performing Arts, 1200 W. Speedway Blvd. Advance tickets are $20, or $10 with a purchase of Kingsolver's book, and are available at Antigone Books. Tickets are $25 at the door. For details, call 792-3715.
LOOKING GLASS. Veteran glass-blowing comrades gather for Philabaum and Phriends, now on display in the Philabaum Glass Gallery.
The show features work by Tom Philabaum and crew, including Laura Donefer, Dan Enwright, Steven Hansem, Debra May and Louis Via. Donefer will also demonstrate her unorthodox approach to glassworking, and discuss Canadian glass art.
Philabaum and Phriends runs through January 27, with artists' demonstrations from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and tomorrow, and the opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. tomorrow in the Philabaum Glass Gallery, 711 S. Sixth Ave. Call 884-7404 for details.
KILT KLATCH. High spirits combine with hijinks at the 14th annual Tucson Celtic Festival and Scottish Highland Games.
The party will feature a "wild and wonderful" Scottish village, complete with "market day," bands of bagpipers and contests of strength and athletic agility. There will also be Celtic music, Scottish and Irish dancing and singing, and even a bit of mock swordplay.
All this pageantry unfolds from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. today, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow in Rillito Park, 4502 N. First Ave. at River Road. Admission ranges from $5 to $10, with discounts for children. Call 888-1058 for information.
STEAMY CHORDS. Catch "A Bitchin' Evening" with vocal powerhouse Judy Henske in a performance hosted by KXCI.
During the 1960s, Henske opened for comedians Woody Allen and Lenny Bruce in clubs in New York and San Francisco, and her early albums like High Flying Bird and The Death Defying Judy Henske have become classics. She arrives in town on the heels of Loose in the World, her first album in more than two decades. And it's a knock-out.
"She's beyond all categories except 'legendary' and 'great,'" writes Dave Marsh in Playboy. She has a "wicked sense of humor, a grand sense of theatrics, and she renders hipster wit and wisdom with grace, brass and power."
Tonight she'll be accompanied by Grammy Award-winning keyboardist Craig Doerge, and by Tucson's own guitar wizard Stefan George. Show time is 8 p.m. in the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4831 E. 22nd St. Tickets are $12, $10 for KXCI members, and are available at Hear's Music and Antigone Books. Call 623-1000 for information.
CREATIVE CONFAB. Enjoy a visual feast when the Dinnerware Contemporary Art Gallery hosts its annual art auction fund-raiser.
This sophisticated soirée gives you the chance to take home wonderful art, and help support one of Tucson's finest galleries. More than 90 contemporary works will be on the block, including paintings, prints, sculpture and photographs. All have been donated by a broad roster of top artists, including Jim Waid, Cynthia Miller, Rand Carlson, Ann Simmons-Myers, Andrew Rush and the late Bruce McGrew.
The preview gala starts with hors d'oeuvres and a no-host bar at 6:30 p.m., followed by the live auction at 8 p.m. in the Dinnerware Contemporary Art Gallery, 135 E. Congress St. Admission is $25, or $40 for a couple. Call 792-4503 for reservations.
CELESTIAL STRINGS. Spend your Sunday with creators of stringed wizardry, a.k.a. Puppet Church.
Kids and their big folk will be righteously entertained by inspirational and spiritual tales from around the globe. And it all comes from these latter-day purveyors of a very ancient--and eternally delightful--craft.
Puppet Church is 3 p.m. every Sunday at Tucson Puppet Works, 111 E. Congress St. Admission is $3, and $2 for kids. Call 770-1533 for information.
BLUES VIEW. Distilled moments in blues history are displayed in a special show by photographer David Horwitz.
Winner of the 1999 Keeping the Blues Alive award, Horwitz has spent more than 25 years capturing the offbeat moments of blues masters. His work has appeared in countless magazines, and in many collections including the Delta Cultural Museum, Chicago Blues Museum and the Living Blues Archive.
A blues lover since a teen, he prefers shooting live performances and backstage candids. "It's those special moments that I try to get on film," he says. "You can't nail down the music on film, but once in a while, you get lucky and can capture a special moment in the life of a bluesman."
Now many of those moments are for sale, in a special blues gathering from 4 to 8 p.m. in The Boondocks Lounge, 3306 N. First Ave. Call 690-0991 for information.
RISING SPIRITS. Get a healthy dose of Latin tradition with the Arizona Historical Society's Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) exhibit.
This age-old Mexican tradition is celebrated with an altar of offerings for the souls of musicians, along with flowers, historic photographs and traditional offerings.
Día de los Muertos runs through December 15 in the Arizona Historical Society, 949 E. Second St. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 4 on Sunday. Call 628-5774 for details.
HIGHER PATH. Avenues for ending international violence are mapped in a discussion with Stephen Angell.
A long-time facilitator for the Alternatives to Violence Project, Angell will discuss his experiences in the former Yugoslavia and around the world. The Alternatives to Violence Project is an experiential workshop program, developed from the real-life experiences of prisoners and others.
In 1991, Angell was part of an effort to expand the project's commitment to communities around the world where extreme violence was afoot. Since then, he has worked on six continents, bringing the transforming power of non-violence to the fore.
His appearance is hosted by the American Friends Service Committee.
Angell will speak from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Quaker House, 931 N. Fifth Ave. For information, call 623-9141.
BERLIN STRINGS. The Arizona Friends of Chamber Music continue their season with Berlin's Jacques Thibaud String Trio.
Formed in 1994, the ensemble has been hailed across the world for wonderful performances inspired by its namesake, the great French violinist Jacques Thibaud. Born in 1880, Thibaud devoted himself to chamber music in addition to his work as a soloist.
The Thibaud String Trio carries on that tradition with performances of Beethoven's Trio in C minor, Op. 9 No. 3; Penderecki's Trio for Strings; and Mozart's Divertimento in E flat, K. 563--all played entirely from memory.
The performance is at 8 p.m. in the TCC Leo Rich Theater, 260 S. Church Ave. Tickets are $15, $5 for students, and are available at the door. For details, call 577-3769.
ARTISTIC FLIGHT. Nature as muse is abundant in Flights of Fancy, now on display in the Arte Spazio Gallery.
In this show by Terence Leach, nature serves as the "divine muse" through media including watercolors, acrylics and graphites. Leach's longstanding relationship to natural subjects is evident in these elegant pieces, enhanced by their playful use of color.
Flights of Fancy runs through November 17 in the Arte Spazio Gallery, 5101 N. Oracle Road. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For information, call 888-8788.
GUITAR SPEAKS. Pima Community College guitar instructor Philip Hemmo tackles stringed complexities in a special faculty concert.
Hemmo will discuss and perform compositions by Villa-Lobos, Yocoh, Albéniz, Tárrega and Solomon. The show is a benefit for the PCC guitar department, with all proceeds specifically earmarked for its Guitar Fund.
Catch the performance at 7 p.m. in the PCC Recital Hall, 2202 W. Anklam Road. Admission is free. For details, call 206-6988.
CELESTIAL LEGACY. Artifacts from man's long quest to understand the universe are revealed in Heavenly Manuscripts: The Renaissance of Astronomy, now on display in the UA Special Collections Library.
The exhibition features early astronomy manuscripts and texts from the library's special collections; most of the rare books and manuscripts on display were published during the 16th and 17th centuries.
It's fascinating to note that scientific astronomy was the object of such intensity so long ago. According to co-curator Thomas Fleming of the Steward Observatory, "The writings of the Renaissance astronomers provide some of the earliest evidence about the true nature of our universe, and illustrate the birth of the scientific method."
Heavenly Manuscripts is on display through November 17 in the UA Special Collections Library, adjacent to the Main Library on the UA mall. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. For information, call 621-4295.