Night time is play time when Tucson goes into summer mode. Just like in that Disney movie “The Living Desert,” all the human critters come out after dark to stroll around and enjoy themselves. The summertime arts offerings are always more eclectic, and often many of these movies and concerts are free. The presenters are always grateful, though, for any free-will donations.
Here’s where to find Tucson’s performing artists after sundown.
Make room for “Bark! The Musical”
Arizona Onstage Productions will open a summer production of the musical comedy “Bark!” Even though all the singing actors onstage are playing dogs, this show is nothing like that other musical about domesticated pets, “Cats.” The off-Broadway hit runs for 11 performances, July 12-29, in the air-conditioned Beowulf Alley Theatre downtown at 11 S. Sixth Ave. Tickets are $20-$27.50. For details, 270-3332, or visit www.arizonaonstage.org
“Bebop Meets Broadway” at Beowulf Alley
Local jazz musicians have their way with classic Broadway show tunes in a cozy theater setting for a pair of performances, June 12 and 26, at Beowulf Alley Theatre, 11 S. Sixth Ave. The players out front are Lamont Arthur, keyboards; Tony Frank, trumpet; and Debbie Luna, vocals. The song list is sure to include “The Lady is a Tramp,” “Secret Love” and “Ease On Down The Road.” Tickets are $25. Light refreshments at 6:30 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m., followed by a jam session at a nearby restaurant to be announced. For details 882-0555, or visit www.beowulfalley.org
Invisible Theatre’s summer cabaret
“Sizzling Summer Sounds” is a Tucson tradition presented by Invisible Theatre the past couple of decades during the extreme dry heat of June. This summer the venue is a little different as the cabaret kids eschew their usual sophisticated restaurant setting to set up shop at the IT’s own theater, 1400 N. First Ave. Pastiche Modern Eatery, 3025 N. Campbell Ave., will provide the dining part of this tradition, so the events become a kind of Tucson-style movable feast. Guests enjoy a Cabaret Dinner at Pastiche and the performance at IT, then head back to Pastiche for après show drinks and desserts at special prices.
Show tickets are $25 each, or a three-event package for $66. Dinners are $20 (doesn’t include beverage and gratuity). Here is the entertainment schedule:
• June 14 – “From This Moment On – A Cole Porter Tribute” by Jeffrey Haskell, Katherine Byrnes, Jack Neubeck and Liz McMahon at 8 p.m.
• June 15 – “A Blues and Boogie Woogie Blast” provided by singer Joe Bourne and pianist Arthur Migliazza at 8 p.m.
• June 16 – the Cole Porter tribute returns at 8 p.m. June 17 – more of the Blues and Boogie Blast at 3 p.m.
• June 21-22 – “Wild Women of the West!” with Lisa Otey, Liz McMahon and Elise Ackermann at 8 p.m.
• June 23 – “The Band, The Blonde and The Baritone Jazz It Up!” with a tribute to Duke Ellington by Jeffrey Haskell, Betty Craig and Jack Neubeck at 8 p.m.
• June 24 – “Calypso Dreams” by Khris Dodge, Marcus Terrell and Cliff Berrien bring a change of pace at 3 p.m.
• June 28 – “Three Jazzy Gents” are Rob Boone, Daniel “Sly” Slipetsky and Rob Wright grooving in real time at 8 p.m.
• June 29-30 – “Heartbreak Hotel – A Tribute to Young Elvis” by Robert Shaw and the Lonely Street Band at 8 p.m.
• July 1 – “God Bless Americana!” with Los Angeles entertainer and author Charles Phoenix presenting a slide show tour of his retro vacation across the good ol’ U.S. of A. To get a taste of his tour, www.godblessamericana.com. For details on “Sizzling Summer Sounds,” 882-9721, www.invisibletheatre.com
Cool grass and cool free movies
Somehow, nostalgia always feels better outdoors. Maybe because there is more oxygen rushing to your brain. We know it must work because this marks the seventh season of Cinema La Placita, a showcase of free movies shown every Thursday downtown on the green of La Placita Village, at the southwest corner of Broadway Boulevard and Church Street. After 5 p.m. all downtown street parking is free.
The popcorn is also free, or bring a picnic basket (no alcohol) and a blanket, or enjoy light dining at one of the village restaurants. Plastic chairs are set up on the plaza proper.
Big families are always welcomed in this genial and forgiving atmosphere of a shared communal experience. Donations of $3 per person are appreciated, but there is never any pressure. Movies begin at 7:30 p.m. or as soon as it is dark enough.
Showing Thursday is “Three Days of the Condor.” June 14 brings the 1954 version of “Sabrina” with Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn. June 21 is another Bogie classic “Key Largo,” and June 28 continues the special “Shot in Tucson” series with “Boys on the Side,” starring Whoopi Goldberg, Mary-Louise Parker and Drew Barrymore.
Cinema La Placita runs through October, with the film schedule announced a month in advance. Get on the e-mail list at www.cinemalaplacita.com, or listen to the recorded announcement at 326-5282.
Tucson Pops Orchestra plays the DeMeester
Since 1973 the Tucson Pops Orchestra has been playing free outdoor concerts, attracting several thousand people to each performance. Now in the midst of its 2007 spring season at the DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center in Reid Park, the Pops Orchestra, under the baton of music director Laszlo Veres, will present guest soprano Nancy Davis Booth on June 10, concluding the spring season June 17 with guest artists the Three Royal Tenors. Both performances begin at 7 p.m.
Some fixed bench seating is available at the DeMeester, though many regulars prefer to bring a folding chair or blanket to sit on. Picnic baskets are encouraged, although the city parks department forbids using any glass containers anywhere in the park. For further orchestra announcements, check www.tucsonpops.org
Summer jazz, free and otherwise
All year around, Sunday evenings bring a jazz jam to the Old Pueblo Grille, 60 N. Alvernon Way. There is never any cover or minimum charge. A full bar and dinner menu are always available. Pete Swan, Tucson drummer and host, invites a different special guest each week who is backed by Swan’s house trio. After an opening set featuring the guest artist, other musicians often step up to play. The sessions always run from 7-10 p.m.
This summer the Tucson Jazz Society has arranged a special Summerset Series of indoor concerts with high-profile visiting artists at a couple of different local resorts. The concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for each show are $25 general admission, $20 members of TJS.
Here is the schedule:
• June 16 – Kyle Eastwood (son of Clint), playing contemporary and hard bop at the Marriott Starr Pass Resort, 3800 W. Starr Pass Blvd.
• July 1 – smooth jazz saxophonist Warren Hill at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, 7000 N. Resort Drive
• July 21 – Gabriel Francisco with Demitri and Thano Sahnas in an all-acoustic jazz guitar evening at the Marriott Starr Pass Resort
• Sept. 9 – the Turning Point Band plays Southwest contemporary jazz at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort.
For details, call TJS at 903-1265 or visit www.tucsonjazz.org
At the Rialto
The downtown Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., chips in with its own smooth jazz concert by the quintet Acoustic Alchemy on June 22, appearing with guitarist Michael Gulezian. Tickets are $28, all seats reserved. For details, 740-1000 or visit www.rialtotheatre.com
Creepy late night weekends at the Loft
The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd., plays it straight most days and nights of the week, but late-night weekends can get more than a little weird. Fridays and Saturdays at 10 p.m. are reserved for screening the theater’s weekly Cult Classic. Saturdays at midnight continue the nation’s longest-running unbroken engagement of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” accompanied by a very knowledgeable and appropriately costumed shadow cast. Many members of the audience also dress for the occasion.
The Cult Classics scheduled so far are: June 8-9, “Donnie Darko (The Original Cut)”; June 15-16, “Starship Troopers”; June 22-23, “Red Dawn”; June 29-30, “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”; July 6-7, “Meatballs”; July 13-14, John Carpenter’s “The Thing”; Aug. 3-4, “The Blues Brothers”; Aug. 10-11, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”; Aug. 17-18, “Point Break.”
A new Loft feature just beginning is Mondo Mondays, when crazed and glazed features such as “Carnival of Souls” on June 11; “Boy in the Plastic Bubble,” remembered for John Travolta’s unique performance, on June 18; and Sam Fuller’s “The Naked Kiss” on June 25 are returned to this big-screen altar for further adoration. Admission is a budget-friendly $2, encouraging additional consideration for the Loft’s special Mondo Munchies snack pack.
Shakespeare in the park
“Much Ado About Nothing” is this summer’s Shakespeare pick for the Tucson Parks & Recreation Department’s Community Theatre offering. Mary Francis Glenn is directing the production, giving the Bard’s classic comedy a 1960s California-style beach party setting.
All performances are free, beginning at 8 p.m., Fridays through Sundays, from June 22 to July 1 at the DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center in Reid Park.
There is some permanent bench seating in front of the stage, though many regulars prefer to bring their own blanket or lawn chairs. Picnic baskets are welcomed, but park regulations prohibit glass containers. For info, 791-4873 Ext 125.