Travelogue: Grand Destinations and Personal Journeys. Summertime is on its way, which means lots of people are going on vacation. Lucky for those of us who aren't, the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block is bringing in a group of paintings, drawings, photographs and graphics all inspired by travel. More than 80 artists are displaying pieces they created based on almost 250 years of travel all over the world. As co-curator Julie Sasse says, "This exhibition reminds us of the joy of observation and celebrates creativity inspired by place." So hey, maybe this travel-inspired art will lead you to do some art-inspired travel! Saturday, May 18, through Sunday, Sept. 29, at TMA, 140 N. Main Ave. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, or 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. the first Thursday of each month. $12 GA, $10 seniors 65+, $7 college students and youth ages 13 to 17, free for veterans/active military/museum members/kids 12 and under.
The Undesirables: Reception and Program With Laurie McKenna. On July 12, 1917, the Bisbee Sheriff and several Arizona mining companies rounded up more than a thousand striking miners and their supporters and banished them from their homes. As part of the Arizona History Museum's new "Stories of Resilience" exhibit, artist Laurie McKenna created 1,200 rubbings of a 1917 penny to commemorate each of these men. At this reception, McKenna will share stories about her process and motivation and play some of her video vignettes, where she imagines scenarios of the deportation with metal toys. 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 17. Arizona History Museum, 949 E. Second St. Free with admission, which is $10 adults, $8 seniors, $5 for adult students, $4 for student youth ages 7 to 17. Free for veterans, museum members and kids 6 and under. RSVP to Nicola Brownlee at email@example.com or 617-1141.
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Black Renaissance: Visual Arts. This weekly event through the month of May to celebrate the contributions of black artists to popular culture is back, this week with a focus on visual arts. Local musician seanloui created this series to help the community learn about and enjoy more contributions by local black artists. They're calling this night "Black Museum," and featuring original pieces by artists like Sandra Taylor, FlawlessViktory, Roland Brooks, Che Wilson and Elizabeth Denneau. Plus plenty, plenty more! 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 18. Hotel McCoy, 720 W. Silverlake Road. Free.
Making Molten History. Glassblown art almost always looks neat. But watching the glassblowing process? Even more neat. The Sonoran Glass School is hosting this full day of demonstrations where artists will spend two hours showcasing a style inspired by a celebrated period in art history, all while a host provides educational commentary. In order, you've got Jason Marstall doing surrealism, Paul Anders Stout doing minimalism, Jordan Ford and Austin Littenberg doing Venetian Renaissance and Andrew Schultz doing Dada circa 1916 to 1930. Then there's a reception for the final pieces (with refreshments), a presentation, and some bidding and mingling. YAS GLASS. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 18. Sonoran Glass School, 633 W. 18th St. $10 GA or $5 for Sonoran Glass School members.
True Colors Writing & Art Workshop. Lee Balan, an artist/curator/mental health professional, started hosting this series back in January through the Colby Olsen Foundation, created to help people express themselves through art and poetry. Interested in art but nervous about dipping your toes in? This workshop is full of all sorts of exercises for writing, self-esteem and art. Loving yourself feels really good, and expressing yourself gives you a chance to make something tangible you can be proud of. Worth a shot, no? Noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, May 19. Gallery 2SUN, 100 E. Sixth St.
Tiger's Eye Art Reception. If you can count on any city to have local art hanging on the walls of a locally owned pole dancing and acrobatics studio, it's Tucson, right? So you shouldn't be surprised to hear that Kinetic Arts Tucson is continuing their quarterly art showcase by featuring three artists: Marcus Robiason, Denny Fridkin and Jason Hull. All three self-trained artists will be at the reception, with their art for sale, as well as prints, magnets and coasters for the budget-conscious and budget-constrained among us. Barefoot on Bumblebees will be playing live music as well. And last, but not least, there are light refreshments. 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 17. Kinetic Arts Tucson, 17 E. Toole Ave.
On the Desert: An Exploration of Fibers. Fiber is an interesting word: You can use it to talk about a specific kind of nutrient, about the cloth that makes up your clothes or your bedspread, or to make dramatic statements about using every fiber of your being. From hand-crafted to industrially machined, fiber is everywhere. This exhibit explores the weaving, soaking, staining, stitching, painting, knitting, collaging, cutting, pressing, sewing and more of traditional and experimental fibers in the Southwest desert. Head over to Tohono Chul to enjoy a Fiber Friday or Woven Wednesday. Exhibit on display through the end of July. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at the Tohono Chul Exhibit House, 7366 Paseo del Norte. $13 adults, $10 military/student/senior, $3 for kids 5 to 12, free for members and kids under 5.
Young Composers Festival. Ever wondered exactly what goes into composing music? This is your chance to go behind the scenes and learn more about it with lectures, Q&A sessions and TSO performances. But the real highlight will be the premiere of 25 brand-new compositions by young composers ages 8 to 18. The participants have spent the last nine months meeting with Ilona Vukovic-Gay, TSO assistant principal viola, attending TSO dress rehearsals and working with TSO musicians. Past grads of the program have gone on to prestigious conservatories, been featured on NPR and won awards. If you're looking to have your faith in our future renewed, look no further than these shining stars. 6 p.m. Friday, May 17, at the Tucson Symphony Center, 2175 N. Sixth Ave. and 6 p.m. Saturday, May 18, and 1 p.m. Sunday, May 19 at Catalina Foothills High School, 4300 E. Sunrise Drive. Free.
Bless Our Show(tunes). Oh, Reveille Men's Chorus. You had us at "showtunes." This local group—committed to promoting the acceptance of LGBTQ+ individuals and changing lives through music—is closing out their 24th season with an evening full of Broadway renditions of songs about spirituality and religion. So get ready to have your heart soar and your throat sore, from all the singing along you won't be able to resist. Bring your ears for listening and your amazing technicolor dreamcoat to help you get in the spirit. 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, and 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 19. Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. $20 GA.
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Tucson Pops—the Arizona Balalaika Orchestra. One of only about a dozen Russian folk orchestras in the United States, this nonprofit ensemble was founded back in 1980, and has played all over the state and in Mexico. Instruments include the balalaika, which looks like a triangular guitar, and the domra, which looks like a bulbous guitar. At this event, you'll hear pieces ranging from the Tucson March to Lara's Theme from Dr. Zhivago to C. Saint-Säens; Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah to Shostakovich's Waltz No. 2. We're lucky to live in a place where we can hear music like this, and even luckier to have a chance to see it for free this weekend! 7 p.m. Sunday, May 19. DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center at Reid Park, 900 S. Randolph. Free.
Third Annual Waila Celebration at Desert Diamond. Have you ever seen Waila, the social dance the Tohono O'odham adopted from the Spanish, in action? Set to the music of accordion, saxophone, electric and bass guitars, and drums, it's a fantastic time. Come enjoy great music, food and dancing—and learn a little bit about traditional tribal celebrations and arts and crafts—at this free event. The lineup includes T.O. Mumsigo and Valenzuela & Company on Friday and the Intertribal Waila Band and Southern Scratch on Saturday. 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, May 17, and 4 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, May 18. Desert Diamond Casino Sahuarita, 1100 W. Pima Mine Road, Sahuarita. Free (and the first 150 people on Friday, and 200 on Saturday, get $10 in free play).
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Dirty Details. You know Jake "The Snake" Roberts, the professional wresting icon and WWE Hall of Famer that says stuff like, "When I step into the ring and I look at that man across the ring from me, I say 'well, that's my dinner.'" Now, Jake is on tour with his comedy storytelling show, sharing road stories and tales of pranks he's played on his opponents. Step behind the scenes of some of your favorite matches, like with Macho Man, Andre the Giant and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, all from Jake's perspective. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 22. Unscrewed Theater, 4500 E. Speedway Blvd. $20 GA, or $40 for a VIP ticket that includes a private meet & greet, a seat in the first two rows and one signed item.
Keep Tucson Sketchy. Get ready to get laughin'! Because this night full of comedy, music and funny videos is designed to be a comedy experience that will have you coming back for more. Matt Ziemak hosts, Jaca Zulu is the musical guest and DJ Bob Really is on the sounds. Keep Tucson Sketchy is produced by a collective of local comedians, writers and videographers, so you get to support local funny folks while you're enjoying your Saturday night out. 8 p.m. Saturday, May 18. The Screening Room, 127 E. Congress St. $10.
Fun in General
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Appropriate. According to director Glen Coffman, Live Theatre Workshop's next show has elements of American Realism reminiscent of greats like Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams. Except this one is extremely funny, too. Who doesn't love a good family drama with plenty of comic relief? The show tells the story of a family reuniting at their Arkansas homestead when the patriarch dies, and his three adult children start sorting through his possessions and their own memories. But since it's a play, you know they make a disturbing discovery that will likely change the course of their lives forever (or will at least change the course of the play). Thursday, May 16 through Saturday, June 15. 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. 3 p.m. on Sundays. Live Theatre Workshop, 5317 E. Speedway Blvd. $20 GA, $18 military/senior/student, $15 Thursdays and preview performances on May 16 and 17.
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Haiku Hike. Tucson celebrated its first annual Old Pueblo Poems literary competition this year, with 20 winning haiku posted on signage along Congress and Stone in downtown Tucson. They were selected from 977 entries, mostly from Tucson, but more than 100 hailing from across 12 different states. And May is your last chance to head downtown and see them! The "haiku hike" is about half a mile long—or 1,000 steps, for those of you with FitBit goals to meet. How often do you get to take a walk and read poetry the whole way? Just look for the acrylic signage in planters along Congress and Stone and take a self tour. They can be viewed from dawn to dusk every day until June 1. Free. Map at downtowntucson.org/OldPuebloPoems
San Ysidro Festival. You've probably enjoyed wheat. If you've ever returned to wheat after a low-carb or wheat-free diet, you may have even had a religious experience with wheat. But have you ever really celebrated wheat? This traditional and historic wheat harvest festival is your chance. Sample pozole! Help harvest, thresh, minnow and mill white Sonora wheat! Watch Lion Dancers from the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center and the Santa Rosa Basket Dancers perform! And enjoy live music, a procession, presentations and a Tohono O'odham four directions blessing. Can't wheat to see you there! 8 a.m. to noon. Saturday, May 18. Mission Garden, 946 W. Mission Lane. Free.
Cool Summer Nights. One of the best way to keep track of the changing seasons in Tucson is to take note of when annual series, like the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum's Cool Summer Nights program, return. It's back, which means it's hot again! Tonight's theme is "Creatures of the Night," featuring presentations about nocturnal creatures, docents teaching you about animals and nature and an art exhibit by Chris Maynard—a man who carves feathers into beautiful, intricate art. Plus, check out the stingray touch exhibit and the Packrat Playhouse in the cool of the night! 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 18. Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, 2021 N. Kinney Road. $21.95 GA, $19.95 seniors 65+, $8.95 for kids 3 to 12, free for kids under 3, $17.95 for active or retired military, $16.95 for Arizona/Sonora residents.
Family Fiesta Summer Reading Kick-Off! There oughta be a word for the special kind of joy that comes from picking up an armful of books from the library as a kid, then heading home to read them with the entire summer stretched out before you. The Pima County Library and the Tanque Verde Swap Meet are hosting this event to get the party started. Pick out a free book, meet Curious George and Clifford, and visit the Bookmobile to check out some library selections. You can also do a craft project, pick up some free seeds from the Seed Library and even enjoy some live stories from Make Way for Books. Let's get ready to reeeeeead! 6:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday, May 18. Tanque Verde Swap Meet, 4100 S. Palo Verde Road.
Learn to Play Dungeons & Dragons. Maybe you've heard your friends talk about it. Maybe you've seen a meme about it. And maybe you're interested in dipping your toes into the big, beautiful world of D&D, but aren't sure where to start. This is your opportunity! Heroes and Villains Comic Book Store is hosting this event to teach people how to play, walking you through step-by-step in how to make your own character so you'll be all ready for your first short adventure. All new players get a free dice set, while supplies last! Get ready for the next chapter of your life to begin. 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 18. Heroes and Villains Comic Book Store, 4533 E. Broadway Blvd. Free.