90th Annual Tombstone Helldorado Days. Way back in 1881, a grumpy miner wrote to the Tombstone Nugget newspaper that, while many people had headed to Tombstone in hopes of finding an El Dorado of riches, they instead found a "Helldorado" of doing menial jobs like dishwashing. The term stuck, but people have only loved Tombstone more and more over time. If you've never been to Helldorado Days, you're missing out on a weekend full of Wild West reenactments, a parade, fun, food and a kids zone that provides just the sort of spooky, wild West vibes your October needs (and no dishwashing). You've got 90 years' worth of Helldorados to celebrate in the town that's famous for being too tough to die! 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 and 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20. Tombstone, AZ.
Last Train to Nibroc. The year is 1940. May, a small-town girl from Kentucky, and Raleigh, an aspiring writer and recently discharged young serviceman, are sitting next to each other on an eastbound cross country train trip. Also on the train: the bodies of great American writers Nathanael West and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Of course, there's a change of plans somewhere along the way, and two characters realizing they aren't so different after all. Come watch this lovely love story unfold (recommended for mature ages 13 and up). 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22 to Sunday, Nov. 3. Invisible Theatre, 1400 N. First Ave. $35 or $20 for the preview show Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Arizona Insect Festival. There's lots of cool stuff to celebrate about insects. But this year at the UA's celebration of all things buggy, the focus is on the surprising and wonderful fact that more species of native bees live in and around Tucson than any other place in the world. Un-bee-lievable, right?! Completely designed and run by UA scientists, the event features more than 20 booths with hands-on activities and exhibits. Maybe you wanna learn about stinging creatures, like spiders, wasps and scorpions. Maybe you want to build your own insect! Maybe you want to learn about bug brains, or bug illnesses, or bug societies, or bug poetry. Maybe you want to eat a bug! All this and more awaits. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20. ENR2 Building on UA Campus. Free.
Rio Compartido/Shared River Exhibit. There's a lot of talk about borders these days. But, before there were country borders, there were natural features like the Santa Cruz River, a waterway shared by the United States and Mexico. This art exhibit in Tubac features work by artists from both sides of the border meant to bring attention to the environmental and cultural importance of waterways like the Santa Cruz. At this opening reception, they'll be present to discuss their work. On the same day, the Smithsonian Institution's national traveling WaterWays exhibit is opening at the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park from 2 to 4 p.m., so this event is designed to be complementary. 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19. Historic Lowe House, 14 Calle Iglesia, Old Town Tubac.
Art in the Plaza Fine Art & Jazz Festival. Metalwork, jewelry, photography, ceramics, glass, leather, custom wood designs and more. See it all at this juried art festival at St. Philip's Plaza this weekend, where they'll be celebrating the creativity of our region. You'll get a chance to support local artisans and businesses as well, because many of them will be selling their art. It might be a little bit early, but... dare we say it? It might be time to start thinking about holiday shopping. And there's nothing like the win-win method of getting gifts for your loved ones while also giving the gift of supporting local art. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 19 and 20. St. Philip's Plaza, 4280 N. Campbell Ave. Free.
Tales From the Trash: A Thrift Store Art Show. Have you ever bought a piece of art at a thrift store or yard sale? At a swap meet? Salvaged one from a trash can? If not, you're totally missing out. No better way to see that firsthand than by checking out this art show compiled by the folks at Tales from the Trash, who collect art from exactly those places. They don't change or add anything to the art (except a title), and putting it on display gives you the chance to see these beauties in a new light. You'll laugh lots, and we bet you'll be surprised by how much you love some of it. 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19. Iron Horse Fabricators, 503 E. Ninth St. Free.
Shop Talk: The Work of Sandra Cisneros. Mari Herreras, fifth-generation Tucsonan, poet and former editor of the Tucson Weekly you're holding in your hands right now, is leading this free, informal discussion about the work of poet Sandra Cisneros. She'll start with a mini-lecture, then lead a conversation about Cisneros and her work. And you can pick up an informational packet with info on Cisneros' life, excerpts of her work and with clips of what critics have to say. Don't miss Cisneros doing a reading at the Poetry Center on Oct. 24! This event is 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22. University of Arizona Poetry Center, 1508 E. Helen St. Free.
PCC Chorale & College Singers. Have you ever spent your Sunday afternoon listening to live choral music? There's something wonderfully meditative about it that really helps you get ready to face the week ahead. Head over to Pima Community College to watch a performance by their large, mixed-voice choir as well as a more select a capella group. Maybe you're into singing your troubles away with loud car ride karaoke, but this weekend, let some of the pros sing your troubles away with their soothing melodies. 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20. Proscenium Theatre at the PCC Center for the Arts, 2202 W. Anklam Road. $6.
Silent Sky. If you loved the big middle finger that the strong, intelligent women in Hidden Figures gave to the patriarchy, then you'll probably also love this play based on the life of 19th-century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt, who made discoveries about the brightness of stars that provided astronomers with a way to measure the distance to faraway galaxies. The play is written by Lauren Gunderson, whose works have been among the most produced in the country for three years running, and combines science history, family ties, fragile love and a passionate main character. Shows at either 7:30 p.m. or 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, through Saturday, Nov. 9. Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. $40 to $70, or $25 to $55 for preview performances Tuesday through Thursday, Oct. 22 through Oct. 24, or Saturday, Oct. 26.
Pippin. This 1972 musical that brings together the genius of Stephen Schwartz and Bob Fosse is one of the best-loved shows around. It tells the story of young Prince Pippin, who, like so many of us, is on a quest to find meaning, fulfillment and the chance to be extraordinary. He seeks it in the glories of the battlefield, in the temptations of the flesh and in the intrigue of political power, but he starts to learn that 1) you can't make everyone happy all the time and 2) there's something to be said about finding joy in the small and simple pleasures. Musical theatre fans will delight in this performance at Arizona Repertory Theatre! Preview shows at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19, and 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20. Regular shows are Wednesday, Oct. 23 through Sunday, Nov. 3, with performances at either 1:30 or 7:30 p.m. Marroney Theatre, 1025 N. Olive Road. $35 adults, $33 senior/military/UA employee. $15 students.
The Estrogen Hour Fifth Anniversary Show. Let's hear it for some funny ladies, including Mo Urban, Edna Meza Aguirre, Bridgitte Thum and several brand-new, stand-up comedy virgins as well! It's been five years of laughing with these women, and of fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, so come on down to keep the party going. Reserve your seat online in advance, buy a raffle ticket to show some extra support for LLS and get ready for the amount of laughter that makes your throat all weird and phlegmy and makes your tummy hurt the next day from all the muscle clenching. 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20. Laff's Comedy Club, 2900 E. Broadway Blvd. $15 donation. 21+.
Festivals and Shows
Tres Dos Uno. Maybe impact festivals aren't really your thing, so you opted to sit out most of this year's TENWEST. But the grand finale looks like it's going to be pretty fun and artsy: a three-day, multimedia experimental art installation that brings together live music, performance and video. Flam Chen brings the fire dancing, Basic Biology brings the music, Noctivision brings the visuals and Touch Machines brings some media that's altogether indescribable. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the installation runs from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, to Sunday, Oct. 20. MSA Annex, 267 Avenida Del Convento. Free.
Tucson Classics Car Show. Did you know the Rotary Club of Tucson is the largest of the 135 Rotary Clubs in Arizona? Who doesn't love supporting an organization that works to unite citizens for the common good of the community? And they make it easy and fun, too! Your $5 ticket to this event includes a chance to see more than 400 classic cars and hot rods on display, a food court, car vendors and musical entertainment. Your entrance ticket is also a raffle ticket for a 2006 C-6 Corvette convertible, $15,000 cash, $2,000 in airline tickets or several other fabulous prizes. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19. The Gregory School campus, 3231 N. Craycroft Road. $5.
Membrillo Fest. The quinces (membrillos, in Spanish) over at Mission Garden are ripening this month. If you know quinces and quince paste, you probably love 'em. If you don't, what better chance to go see trees laden with them and learn all about them? Hear about the history and horticulture of quinces, watch demonstrations of how to make sweet quince paste (cajeta de membrillo) and spicy quince salsa and enjoy live music by Tradiciones. And you can buy quinces, quince paste and, heck, entire quince trees to take home with you. 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19. Mission Garden, 946 W. Mission Lane.
Marana Fall Festival. Are you looking for an October celebration that celebrates fall a little more generally, rather than being hyper Halloween-focused? Marana's got you covered. Spend a family-friendly evening at the Heritage River Park watching harvest and rodeo demonstrations, mutton busting (in which children race around on the backs of sheep like tiny warrior knights) and live music! There will also be plenty of games for kids and grownups alike. Nothing like an autumn evening celebrated Arizona style! Happy fall, y'all! 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19. Marana Heritage River Park, 12375 N. Heritage Park Drive. Free.
Boo Bash. Who's that knocking spookily at the door? It's the Monster Mash's underappreciated but just-as-fun cousin, Boo Bash! Lincoln Park is home to this night full of tricks, treats, carnival games and general Halloween delight. There's a trunk or treat for those who are ready to start pregaming for Halloween, a costume parade, inflatables, and live music. And food vendors include Cody Coyote Kettle Corn, Geronimo's Revenge, Bemo's Ol' Joes, and Pin-Up Pastries. Truly a winning lineup. 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19. Lincoln Park Soccer Fields, 4325 S. Pantano Road. Free.
Monster Mash Fun Run. When was the last time you did a fun run that earned you a glow in the dark finisher's medal? Our guess is that it's been too long! Head up to Oro Valley for this course. It's about three miles long, but there are four stations along the way: one where you eat a slice of pumpkin pie, another where you wash it down with root beer or water, a third where you scale some hay bales and a fourth where you do some limbo. All finishers get to enjoy a barbecue after this evening race, and Oro Valley Parks & Rec will also be throwing a mini-Halloween festival, complete with a Halloween movie, haunted hayrides and jumping castles. 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19. Steam Pump Ranch, 10901 N. Oracle Road. $30.
Tucson Zombie Mud Run. Zombies have infiltrated Buckelew Farm! Your job is to make your way through the mud and obstacles—including a swamp, a cadaver climb, a zombie slide, the gates of hell and a trench warfare section—without losing your limbs (represented by two flags). There's a timed version and a not-timed version of this 5K adventure, with prizes for the top finisher, best costume, most original costume and scariest costume. There's also a Little Monster Run for kids 12 and under accompanied by an adult, with an obstacle course about a mile long. Little Monster Run at 1 p.m., timed zombie run starts at 3 p.m. and un-timed run starts at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19. Buckelew Farms, 17000 W. Ajo Highway. $45 for zombie mud run and $20 for little monster mud run.