Spend Mother's Day on Kitt Peak
Celebration of Saturn
4:30 to 9:30 p.m., Sunday, May 12
Kitt Peak National Observatory
If you're looking for an unconventional Mother's Day gift this year, Kitt Peak National Observatory will host a viewing of Saturn on Sunday night.
The observatory, which hosts viewings every night of the week, has reserved 25 spots for the event. For five hours on Sunday evening, attendees will have the opportunity to view the planet through the observatory's telescopes. Dinner from the observatory's cafeteria will be served during the event.
The planet will remain visible from the northern hemisphere for the rest of the month, said Bob Martino, program coordinator, but scheduling the viewing for Mother's Day was no coincidence.
"I needed to pick a day where Saturn would be high enough in the sky for us to get a good look at it," Martino said, "But the weekend of Mother's Day I thought would be a nice time to do it."
Attendees will get to see more than just Saturn. Jupiter, which sits about 403 million miles closer to Earth, will also be visible throughout the month, along with several other objects in the vicinity. The observatory's astronomers also will discuss the mythology associated with Saturn as well as the latest results of the Cassini Solstice Mission, which has been providing data about Saturn since its launch in October 1997 and is expected to continue doing so through September 2017.
The cost is $45 for adults; $25 for children ages 6 to 16; and $40 for members.
Because the event is limited to 25 attendees, an RSVP is required, and can be done by calling the observatory's visitor center. Anyone who reserves a spot can cancel within 48 hours of the event at no charge. A $20 fee will be charged for cancellations less than 48 hours before the event.
Downtown Comes Alive
2nd Saturdays Downtown Celebrates its 3rd Anniversary
6:30 p.m., Saturday, May 11
Since its start in May 2010, 2nd Saturdays Downtown has served the Tucson community by bringing local entertainers together for free performances on the second Saturday of every month. This weekend, the third anniversary of the shows will be celebrated.
"What makes my job easy is the quality of musicians and talent in Tucson," said Jamie Manser, program director for 2nd Saturdays. "I think it's really the strengths and the talent that is here that draws people out, and people always enjoy an outdoor music festival in this town."
The Scott Avenue Main Stage is the center of the performances, and local performers Aztral Folk, Kevin Pakulis & Coyote Supper Club, Atom Heart Mother and Belly Dance Tucson will be onstage Saturday.
Belly Dance Tucson has been performing at 2nd Saturdays for the past nine months.
"It's actually one of our favorite events to perform at," said Jessica Walker, owner and dance director of Belly Dance Tucson. "The audience is super-happy to be there and ... they are really a captivated audience."
Walker started the company by teaching her own classes. It eventually grew, and her studio opened its doors a year and a half ago. The company offers fitness-based classes during the week for anyone interested in learning to belly dance.
"You don't have to be a certain size or a certain shape; anybody can do it and anybody can improve," Walker said.
Performing at the monthly event has helped the members of Belly Dance Tucson challenge themselves creatively.
"It motivates us to always come up with new material because we're performing every month," Walker said.
2nd Saturdays performances start at 6:30 p.m. For more information, visit 2ndsaturdaysdowntown.com.
Music and Movement
Reverie and Artifact Dance Project Collaborate for Souls of Castelmuzio
7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 11
Stevie Eller Dance Theatre 1737 E. University Blvd., on the UA campus
Reverie, a group of local musicians, and Artifact Dance Project, a local performing arts company, will come together to celebrate the release of Reverie's album, Soul of Castelmuzio.
Lane Harmon, a psychotherapist and a co-founder of Reverie, said the band formed three years ago and has used its music as a way to donate to local charities. The other members of Reverie are Roger King and Tom Dukes.
"We've been spending the last couple of years doing living room concerts or concerts in people's homes. It's to craft our music and also, very importantly, we do events that support local charities," Harmon said. "We've raised, with the help of the people that come and the host, probably over $80,000 for various Tucson charities."
Artifact Dance Project evolved from a performance titled Artifacts that co-artistic directors Claire Hancock and Ashley Bowman did for their master's program at the University of Arizona in May 2009. After completing their degrees, they opened the company in October 2009.
The two groups have collaborated previously, but this is the first time they will be in a fully produced concert featuring Reverie's original music.
"We provide almost a visual of the music," Hancock said. "They're doing the music but we're providing the visual stimulus for it."
Hancock, who also teaches dance at Pima Community College, said that being able to understand the stories behind the music has helped them to convey the lyrics in a cohesive manner in their dance.
The album "is really a nice collection of music that kind of takes you on a journey," Harmon said. "There's many moods on the album ... and that's really a fun thing to be a part of."
Tickets are $20, and can be purchased at souls.brownpapertickets.com.
Take a Walk Through Tucson's Gardens
National Public Gardens Day
Friday, May 10
Tohono Chul Park, 7366 N. Paseo Del Norte (742-6455); Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way (326-9686)
If you need a reason to get out and do some walking, several of Tucson's public gardens will offer free admission Friday to celebrate National Public Gardens Day.
The annual event is being recognized by a number of gardens throughout town, including Tohono Chul Park and Tucson Botanical Gardens. Both will be open regular hours and admission will be free the entire day.
According to the event's website, National Public Gardens Day marks an unofficial start to spring. In Tucson, the free day of garden browsing is ideal for seeing blooming cactuses on the 49 acres of Tohono Chul Park, said Marcia Ring, the park's director of marketing and communications.
But the extent of the celebration doesn't stop at the gardens themselves. Tohono Chul Park will also present its Reptile Ramble show at 10 a.m. Friday, in which visitors can view and touch a variety of snakes, lizards and other reptiles. Tucson Botanical Gardens is showcasing its Flights of Fancy exhibit, featuring painted birdhouses by local artist Susan Libby.
Past celebrations of National Public Gardens Day, Ring said, have been well attended, thanks to the free admission and it being a great time of the year for viewing plants. The nationwide celebration, she added, recognizes the importance of botanical gardens such as the ones in Tucson.
"Gardens are there just for the pure enjoyment," Ring said. "A botanical garden is there for a scientific and educational purpose. Especially here in Tohono Chul, we do a lot of research that's very vital to the Sonoran Desert. We're learning more and more about our environment."— K.M.
Far left: Aztral Folk
Left: A scene from Little Doves, written and directed by Fiona Foster.
A collection of senior thesis films from the UA School of Theatre, Film and Television, I Dream in Widescreen, is shown at 7 p.m., Saturday, May 11, at Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St.; free. Visit foxtucsontheatre.org for more info.