There's a post going around online that the whole of 2017 was a real scooter to the ankle. And don't we know it. Some days, it felt like we were in a post-apocalyptic movie, and others, we were waiting for a camera crew to tell us we were all being Punk'd or even on some sort of country-wide Truman Show.
But, hey, some good stuff happened too. We witnessed the power of numbers and strength of the human spirit in the face of injustice and tragedy (in the Women's March, in the outpouring of support for hurricane victims and in the sense of solidarity following events like the Las Vegas shooting). We saw the first successful landing of an orbital rocket. And while sexual misconduct isn't the sunniest topic, at least people are finally starting to be held accountable for it. Oh, and Roy Moore didn't get elected.
And right here in Tucson, the UA Museum of art recovered a priceless De Kooning painting after 31 years, a septuagenarian set out to save our national parks, OSIRIS-REx reminded us we're all running around on a little blue dot, and there was so much yummy food, rock 'n' roll and good art being made it was hard to keep track.
All in all, 2017 was a dizzying year, and exactly the kind of one you need to dance into oblivion and follow up with a nice warm shower afterward. Adios.
- Louie Armendariz
- Happy 2018, Tucson!
Dance in the New Year with Angel Norteño at Monsoon Nightclub. Norteño music typically involves all the spiciness of a bajo sexto with all of the smoothness of the accordion, so that you can end your 2017 on just the right note. If you don't play norteño music yourself, boy do we have an event for you. Local band Angel Norteño will be keeping things local, Latin and lively at Desert Diamond Casinos straight through to 2018. 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monsoon Nightclub, 7350 S. Nogales Hwy. $25. 21+. ddcaz.com/angel-norteno/
New Year's Eve with The Bennu @ 191 Toole. Whatever show you decide to see on New Year's Eve is going to be the last show you see for the entire year, so it's got to be good, right? It's a big decision. Do you want something psychedelic? Jazzy? Progressive? Electronic? Dance-y? The Bennu, a local band with powerful vocals by a woman named Vasanta Weiss and a groovy, cosmic vibe, can deliver all of the above. Local jam band Woke Up Dead opens. Doors 8 p.m. Show 9 p.m. 191 Toole. $8 to $10. rialtotheatre.com.
Club Congress. Club Congress wants to take you far, far away from the horrors of 2017, and the way they're doing it is cute as hell. The travel-themed party is hosted by "Congress Air," and they're selling boarding passes to take you on a trip around the world all in one night. See the Eiffel tower, the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, an Irish Pub (important) and other wonders of the world all from the comfort of your favorite downtown hotel. Drink specials, DJs, two dance floors worth of groove and surprise cultural performances round out the night. 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St. $30 coach (access & drink specials), $60 business class (early entrance, "absinthe experience" [whatever that is], specialty token cocktail, coat check), $135 first class (private entrance, absinthe experience, private entertainment, hosted bar, full buffet). hotelcongress.com.
- XIXA will be at the Rialto Theatre for New Year’s Eve.
Arizona Amazonica at the Rialto. Sure, Wonder Woman was a big hit this year, but the Rialto's NYE show does not have anything to do with Amazons on Paradise Island. Instead, once again this year, XIXA is onstage at the Rialto Theatre with an evening of psychedelic cumbia inspired by the music of Peru. This year, XIXA will be joined by DJ Dirtyverbs and his own mix of tropical cumbia to ensure everyone stays on the dance floor. Tickets are as low as $12, making this a NYE bargain, although you can upgrade to a VIP package that includes onstage table seating and a champagne split at midnight. 318 E. Congress St. rialtotheatre.com.
Flycatcher. The Flycatcher is a Tucson classic. Fresh off hosting a night of the Great Cover Up, they've never been in a better condition to drag your sorry ass into the costumed fray and get you dancing. Costume contest? Check. Dance contest? Check. Balloon drop at midnight? You better believe it. And all this is hosted by Bear Down productions and features live music to boot. The fun lasts from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. General Admission: $15, VIP packages: $30.
Laff's Comedy Caffé. They say sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying, and what better send off to 2017 could there be than a night full of laughter, courtesy of Andrew Rivers and Jade Esteban Estrada? Rivers has toured North America and Europe with Steve Hofstetter, while Estrada has been called "a cross between Andy Warhol and Billy Graham." In addition, there will be giveaways, prizes, a dinner celebration (with braised short rib, chicken franchise or salmon filet) and a midnight breakfast dessert buffet! Dinner at 7 p.m. for $30 plus tax/tip. Dessert buffet at 10:30 p.m. for $25 plus tax/tip. Laff's Comedy Caffé, 2900 E. Broadway Blvd. laffstucson.com.
Valli Fever. You've probably felt a little dizzy and feverish all year, what with the out of control political climate and climate of the earth, but are you ready to get Valli Fever? The 4GENTS are presenting a tribute to Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons over at the Gaslight for the evening. The best part? They have a matinee showing, so if you already have plans for the evening—like getting drunk on Sherry, Sherry baby, perhaps—you can still make time for Frankie and the boyz. Er, Frankie and the 4GENTS. 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Gaslight Music Hall, 13005 N. Oracle Road. $59.95 adults, $56.95 seniors, $51.95 children for 6 p.m. show with NYE goodies. $30 adults, $29 seniors/students/military, $13 kids for 3 p.m. show. gaslightmusichall.com.
The Loft's Labyrinth Party. Celebrate that classic era of dark children's movies, animatronic critters and living David Bowies with The Loft's Labyrinth Sing-along party! If you haven't seen this movie, shame on you, and if you haven't seen this movie, shame on you if you don't see it again. Not only will there be singing, but this is also a masquerade and dance party. So go ahead: make your own mask, make your own dance moves and make believe it's the '80s again. The costume contest starts at 11:15 p.m. and the film at 11:45 p.m. 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. General admission: $15. Loft Members: $12. loftcinema.org.
Casino del Sol. Hold up, you're telling me you've never been to Casino del Sol? But it's the Sol of Tucson! Looks like you need to go back in time and make up for all those missed opportunities to rock out at the casino. Well this is a perfect situation for time travel, because the band 80s and Gentlemen are performing! Polish your DeLorean, get some fingerless gloves and bust out your old Nintendo, because these guys are Arizona's #1 tribute band to all things '80s. Festivities start at 7 p.m. 5655 W. Valencia Road. casinodelsol.com.
Velvet Caravan at Green Valley Rec. If traditional electronic dance music isn't your thing to bring in the New Year, head down to the Green Valley Recreation center to hear Velvet Caravan, a five piece "gypsy jazz" band from Savannah, Georgia. Rock out to violin, accordion and stand-up bass that promises to give "one hell of a show." If the eclectic music isn't enough, there will also be dessert and champagne offered during the performance: yeee haw! (Or however you exclaim in Eastern Europe.) 7 p.m. 1070 Calle de las Casitas. Members $40, general public $48. gvrec.org.
Playground Bar and Lounge. The Playground is back at it after remodeling! Come in and see the new decor while you enjoy live music, DJs on both floors, VIP Bottle Service and a midnight champagne toast. With a rooftop dance floor, you'll be able to lord over the rest of Tucson and with the outdoor courtyard, you'll be able to catch your breath before going back into the fray. 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. 278 E. Congress St. $20 presale or $30 at the door.
- Time to celebrate!
Sheraton Tucson Hotel & Suites. Sometimes, after that 15th or so mai tai, you start thinking it might be a good idea to drop down right there at the New Year's Party and sleep. Well this is the place for you: Sleep where you party! The Sheraton is setting up "The Coolest New Year's Eve Party In Tucson," with acts ranging from music to magic to fortune tellers to a murder-mystery. After all this, if you have any doubts about whether the people setting this up are amateurs, they managed to nab the "tucsonnewyear.com" URL. So you know they're legit. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., shows begin at 8 p.m. Tickets $85 and rooms $49.50. tucsonnewyear.com.
Festival Band's NYE Dance. The Festival Band is a collective of Tucson artists that specialize in funk, country, soft rock and any other fun, danceable music you can think of. They'll be playing alongside DJ Golden Boy at the University Park Hotel. The night will have everything: dancing, happy hour specials, a champagne toast at midnight and best of all, rooms to pass out in after! 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. $30 or $55 for a couple. thefestivalband.com.
Bar Passe. Alternate Frequencies and Anticlockwise are joining forces in one of the coolest corners of Fourth Avenue to bring you one of the best auditory experiences in Tucson. The event is being described as "psych tech," which makes us think that singularity is here and we all have to obey our computer overlords or that maybe they're pulling a prank on a computer or maybe just that you're gonna have a great time. 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. 417 N. Fourth Ave. No Cover. 21+
Golden Pin Lanes. So let's say you want to get your freak on for New Years, but you also have a family you need to spend time with. Well, Golden Pin Lanes has your back! They are hosting a family event during the day, and an adult's evening party afterwards. Both events come with party favors and music videos, but the later event will have champagne as well. Family: noon to 3 p.m. Adult: 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Family tickets: $7. Adult tickets: $10. 1010 W. Miracle Mile.
Early New Year's Eve, Get to Bed Quick! Whether you want to get to bed earlier or just pretend you're in New York (without freezing to death), Civano Coffee House has you covered. They'll be celebrating the Times Square Ball drop live, which means the climax will be at 10 p.m., and you can get to bed quickly afterward. But be careful not to indulge in the local drinks too much, or you might not be able to get to bed at all! Starts at 9 p.m. 5278 S. Civano Blvd.
The Overlook Restaurant. If a huge bash isn't quite your style or if you live in Oro Valley or if you just want some awesome food, consider the Overlook's New Year's celebration. They will have a fantastic array of food on their buffet plus dessert and carving stations! Generally, when you're out drinking or dancing all night, you want some nice food afterward, so why not just have your party where the food is? Dinner from 7 to 9 p.m., festivities from 7 to midnight. 10555 N. La Canada Drive. $65. Reservations required, please call (520) 229-5355.