Ah, December. When the weather is near perfection and the holidays kick into full gear.
Which, of course, means you will be inundated: Friends want the warm climes so they head your way. Kids are out of school. Out-of-town family gathers around your table.
Face it, you need things to do to keep everyone occupied.
And there’s not much that occupies as well as the arts, whether it’s museum hopping, seeing a play, checking out a ballet or going to a concert.
So here is our gift to you: A day-by-day guide to art events in the Old Pueblo. And there are so many that we couldn’t include them all. Be sure to check Tucson.com/calendar for more, much more.
- The traditional music of Bali will fill the Galactic Center at 7 p.m. when the Tucson-based orchestra, Gamelan Dewi Malam, plays the ethereal, and sometimes, thundering, music. It’s a pretty powerful experience. The center is at 35 E. Toole Ave. $15. Gamelandewimalam.org, 884-0874.
- Launch December with some glorious music from the Pima Community College Orchestra. Among the pieces you’ll hear: the first movement of Georges Bizet’s Symphony in C, a movement from Beethoven’s 6th, and selections from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.” It’s at 3 p.m. at PCC Center for the Arts, 2202 W. Anklam Road. $6. Tucne.ws/pimaarts, 206-6986.
- There’s little that is as magical as thousands of luminarias lining the paths of Tucson Botanical Gardens. Luminaria Nights will also include snowfall in the Exhibit Garden, music, and storytelling with the Grinch. It’s 5:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 1-2 and Dec. 7-9 at the gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way. Children 17 and under are $8; adults, $15. Tucsonbotanical.org, 326-9686.
- Arizona Rose Theatre brings us old time radio with its production of “Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus.” The Jamie Gorski play combines the true story of an 8-year-old child who wrote the editor of a newspaper asking if Santa was real, with the fictional one of a reporter who faces losing his job if he doesn’t get out of his writer’s block. Stick around after the show for some old-fashioned holiday singing. Performances are 2 p.m. this day and Dec. 8 and 9, and at 7 p.m. Dec. 1 and 8 at the theater, 4500 N. Oracle Road, Suite 328, in the Tucson Mall. Tickets are $15, $2 more at the door, with discounts available. Arizonarosetheatre.com, 888-0509.
- The Arizona Early Music Society brings nationally-known The Aulos Ensemble to Tucson for a concert, “Joyeux Noel.” The Baroque music can be sublime, especially in this ensemble’s hands. The New York Times called them “Authentic baroque performance at its best.” It’s at St. Philip’s in the Hills Episcopal Church, 4440 N. Campbell Ave. at 3 p.m. $25. Azearlymusic.org, 326-0803.
- Warm up those vocal chords: it’s time for Tucson Sing-In’s annual “Messiah Sing-in.” This is the 42nd year for the popular event, which calls on the audience to sing the “Hallelujah” chorus of Handel’s “Messiah.” Elliot Jones will conduct. Warm-ups begin at 7 p.m. with traditional holiday music. It’s at Christ Community Church, 530 S. Pantano Road, and it’s free. Tucsonsingin.org, 296-8501.
- Sure, we’re in Tucson. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be in Ireland, too. Well, not literally, but close — An Irish Christmas tour stops at the Fox Tucson for a 7 p.m. show. We will be transported to Ireland and indulged with the stories, music and dance of that magical country. The Fox is at 17 W. Congress St. Tickets are $30-$47. Foxtucson.com, 547-3040.
- The Sons of Orpheus‘ benefit concert for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona is an annual must-see. The male choir, led by Grayson Hirst, never fails to infuse audiences with a holiday spirit. The event features performances by the Arizona State School for the Blind elementary students and the Sonido de Mexico band. It’s at 7 p.m. at the Berger Center of the Performing Arts, 1200 W. Speedway. It’s free, but a donation of cash or a non-perishable food item for the Food Bank is welcomed. Sonsoforpheus.org, 449-8336.
- Physical theater artist Wolfe Bowart doesn’t need words to tell a story — his movements, his facial expressions, say it all. The Scoundrel & Scamp Theatre presents the nationally-known Bowart in “Cloud Soup,” the tale of a tailor who discovers the adventure he wants is right at his feet, in his pile of laundry. This is a good one for kids and adults. Performances are 7:30 p.m. this day and on Dec. 7, and 2 and 4 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9 at 738 N. Fifth Ave. $28, with discounts available. Scoundrelandscamp.org, 448-3300.
- It’s hard to resist a play that’s touted as a “dreamlike story of love and quantum physics.” That’s how Something Something Theatre Company explains the Nick Payne play “Constellations.” It opens at 7:30 p.m. at The Community Playhouse, 1881 N. Oracle Road, and continues through Dec. 23. $25. Somethingsomethingtheatre.com, 468-6111.
- This is your last chance to catch this blockbuster exhibit at Pima Community College’s Bernal Gallery. The line-up reads like a who’s-who of Tucson artists: Fred Borcherdt, Bailey Doogan, Tom Philabaum, Barbara Rogers and Jim Waid. Hurry: the gallery is open only from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. It’s at the PCC Center for the Arts. It’s free. ctgatucson.org, 206-6942.
- The music from the play “Spring Awakening” is infectious and kind of brilliant and deserved the Tony Award it won for Best Original Score. So any chance you get to hear it live, grab it. And here’s your chance: Winding Road Theater Ensemble is presenting a concert version of “Spring Awakening” at 7:30 p.m. this day and Dec. 8. And here’s the best part: it’s a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood Arizona. It’s at the YWCA, 525 N. Bonita Ave. $25 suggested donation. Windingroadtheater.org, 401-3626.
- Acoustic duo Ryanhood is taking a break from recording and touring to bring a gift to the town they call home: A free concert is planned for 7 p.m. at the Fox Tucson. A suggestion: Get there early. They are immensely popular. Foxtucson.com, 547-3040.
- Get a taste of Tucson history by candlelight. Presidio San Agustin del Tucson Museum, 196 N. Court Ave., hosts Luminaria Nights this day. Luminarias, of course, but hot chocolate, cookies, a Christmas tree lighting and docent-led tours are on deck, as well. Not a good day? It’s also Dec. 7. It’s 4-7:30 p.m. $5. tucsonpresidio.com, 837-8119.
- DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun celebrates the patron saint of Mexico with La Fiesta de Guadalupe. Mariachi and folklorico groups, piñatas, Yaqui Deer Dance ceremony and, of course, the DeGrazia artwork. It’s 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at 6300 N. Swan Road. And it’s free. Degrazia.org, 299-9191.
- Today is the first of a series of perhaps the most in-demand concerts of the year: Patronato’s Christmas at San Xavier joins the voices of The Sons of Orpheus and the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus for a concert in the San Xavier mission. Tickets are pricey and in demand. And proceeds are dedicated to the preservations of the mission. This concert is a special one that begins with a 5 p.m. dinner at the Arizona Inn and then transportation to the mission for the 7 p.m. concert. Tickets are $250. Subsequent concerts are 6 and 8 p.m. Dec. 11-13. The tickets for those are $100-$125. The mission is at 1950 W. San Xavier Road. Patronatosanxavier.org, 407-6130.
- Multiple Tony winner (and host of PBS’s “Masterpiece Mystery”) Alan Cumming brings his cabaret show, “Alan Cumming: Legal Immigrant” to the Old Pueblo. It’s the tale, in song and story, of what brought him to this country and how he became a citizen. This is a big deal — the guy is the consummate entertainer. And with any luck, he may perform a song or two from “Cabaret” — he won one of his Tonys for his performance as the emcee in that. It’s at 7:30 p.m. at the Fox. $32-$77. Foxtucson.com, 547-3040.
- An exhibit of Danny Lyon’s photographs is a treat, but the current one at Etherton Gallery is especially so: More than a dozen of the Lyon photos on view have never been exhibited before. Do yourself a favor and go. Etherton is at 135 S. Sixth Ave. It’s free. Ethertongallery.com, 624-7370.
- The Grammy-nominated True Concord Voices & Orchestra‘s annual holiday concert “Love’s Pure Light” blends old carols with new ones in this candlelit performance. It’s 7:30 p.m. at Christ the King Episcopal Church, 2800 W. Ina Road. Check the group’s website for additional concerts at other locations. Tickets are $25-$40. Trueconcord.org, 401-2651.
- Noche de Flamenco brings a trio of astounding guitarists together: Gabriel Ayala, Domingo DeGrazia and Ismael Barajas. They perform at 7:30 p.m. at The Sea of Glass Center for the Arts, 330 E. Seventh St. Proceeds benefit scholarships for the University of Ascension Science and the Physics of Rebellion and internships for Avalon Organic Gardens & EcoVillage. $30. Theseaofglass.org, 398-2542.
- Robert Shaw curls his lips and wiggles his hips again for his “Blue Christmas: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Holiday Extravaganza.” You’ll believe he is Elvis himself. Shows are at 2 and 6 p.m at The Gaslight Music Hall, 13005 N. Oracle Road. Gaslightmusichall.com, 529-1000.
- A bit more subdued but just as entertaining will be the Tucson Women’s Chorus Winter Concert. The a cappella group’s event is dubbed “Holy Days — Prayers and Celebrations.” It’s 7 p.m. at St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church, 3809 E. Third St. $15. Tucsonwomenschorus.org, 310-7591.
- This is the last night for Tohono Chul’s Holiday Nights. A million twinkling lights line the paths along the botanical garden. Wander through, catch the entertainment (this night, that will include the Gracie Jessop Duo, County Line, Gabriel Ayala and Cirque Roots), and end the evening with a visit with Santa. It’s 5:30-8:30 p.m. at 7366 N. Paseo Del Norte. Admission is $16 ($12 for members), and children 12 and under are $3. Tohonochulpark.org, 742-6455.
- Pianist and composer Brian Yosef Schachter-Brooks will perform classic and original Jewish music. And he’s bringing some friends along to help him out. It’s at 2 p.m. at the Tucson Jewish Community Center, 3800 E. River Road. $10. Tucsonjcc.org, 299-3000.
- About six Tucsonans step up to tell stories about their holidays. It’s part of the Tucson Storytellers project, hosted by the Star and This is Tucson. These brave souls have stories that are funny, heartbreaking, hopeful — and all true. It’s at 6:30 p.m. at The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway. $10. Tucson.com/storytellers.
- “In the Christmas Mood” should be a special event — it brings Brian Levario back from New York to his hometown to perform. And he is joined by immensely talented singers Chach Snook, AnneMarie Rosano and Crystal Stark for this Khris Dodge Entertainment concert. It’s 7:30 p.m. at DesertView Performing Arts Center, 39900 S. Clubhouse Drive in SaddleBrooke. Tickets are $30. Dvpac.net, 825-2818.
- If you haven’t seen The Gaslight Theatre’s “Scrooge!” you might want to hurry — it ends Jan. 5. This day’s shows are at 2, 5 and 7:30 p.m. It’s got good ole’ rock ‘n’ roll songs twisted slightly to fit the roll-your-eyes-and-slap-your-knees stories, so thick with corn you’ll think you are in the middle of Iowa. Gaslight is at 7010 E. Broadway. $22.95. Thegaslighttheatre.com, 886-9428.
- Your days are also numbered to catch the Tucson Museum of Arts’ stunning “30 Americans” exhibit. The show features works by 30 of the most important African-American artists of the last four decades. And there are some impressive names among them, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Xaviera Simmons and Kehinde West, who painted Barack Obama’s official portrait. The exhibit continues through Jan. 13. TMA is at 140 N. Main Ave., It’s open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on this day. $12, with discounts available. Tucsonmuseumofart.org, 624-2333.
- Celebrate the Winter Solstice with music, art, video screenings, tarot readings and even a bonfire. It’s all happening at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson, 265 S. Church Ave. It’s from 8 to 11 p.m. and it’s free. Moca-tucson.org, 624-5019.
- The Arroyo Cafe Holiday Radio Show, from the sometimes bizarre, always fun mind of the Star’s political cartoonist David Fitzsimmons, has become another holiday tradition in the Old Pueblo. Fitzsimmons gathers friends such as Crystal Stark, the Grandsons of the Pioneers and Mariachi Aztlan for a live taping of the show. Be forewarned: You will laugh. Hard. And have your heart warmed a bit, as well. It’s at 2 p.m. at The Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Tickets are $15-$20. Rialtotheatre.com, 740-1000.
- Christmas is getting closer. All the kids are out of school. You and they need a stress buster. You can get it at Unscrewed Theatre’s improvised comedy show: “Elves Gone Bad.” How bad? That’s the thing, audience participation is encouraged, so you get to tell them. This is the last day to catch the show. It’s at 12:30 p.m. and it’s geared toward kids 4-8 years old. It’s at 4500 E. Speedway. $5. Unscrewedtheater.org, 289-8076.
- Here’s a plan while you wait for the jolly one to slip down the chimney: The Gaslight Music Hall’s “Jingle Bell Rockin’ Revue.” Lot’s of rock ‘n’ roll holiday tunes. And rumor has it Kris Kringle may stop by before he heads to your house. It’s 1 p.m. at the Gaslight Music Hall, 13005 N. Oracle Road. $21.94, with discounts available. Gaslightmusichall.com, 529-1000.
- The Winterhaven neighborhood is chock full of creative folks. You can tell just by strolling through its Festival of Lights. Be prepared to be awed at how beautifully elaborate some of the exhibits are. Winterhaven is bordered by East Fort Lowell Road on the south, North Country Club Road on the east, East Prince Road on the north, and North Tucson Boulevard on the west. This is a walk-through night; the only night you can drive through is Dec. 26. The lights are on from 6-10 p.m. Bring your good cheer. It’s free but donations of food or money for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona are welcome. Winterhavenfestival.org.
- Sure, Christmas is over. But here’s a chance to extend it: this time of year is a magical one at The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures, with a pretty wonderous Wee Winter Wonderland exhibit. It’s open this day from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., and the exhibit continues through Jan. 6. Admission is $9, with discounts available. The museum is at 4455 E. Camp Lowell Drive. Theminitimemachine.org, 881 0606.
- Head out to Trail Dust Town for a bit of Old West tomfoolery. “A Fist Full of Christmas” has a goofy deputy charged with pulling in the bad, bad outlaws. She has special gifts, however, that just may help her save the day. It’s at 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. at 6541 E. Tanque Verde Road. $5. Wildweststuntshow.com, 398-5618.
- Rendezvous is made up of musicians who have played — or still play — together. Once a year, they get together to cover some of their favorite songs from other artists. Musicians from Kool Shades, Steff and the Articles and Lucky Devils Band are among those who will be on the Club Congress stage at 8 p.m. This is a 21-and-over event and at $5 it’s a bargain. It’s in the Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Hotelcongress.com, 622-8848
- The joyous “Snoopy!!!” comes alive on the Live Theatre Workshop stage. It’s based on the Peanuts comic strip by Charles Schulz, and its got music, comedy and, of course, Snoopy. This is your last chance to see it. It’s 7 p.m. at Live Theatre, 5317 E. Speedway. Tickets are $12, with discounts available. livetheatreworkshop.org, 327-4242.
- Here’s another last chance: Arizona Theatre Company’s production of “The Music Man” ends with a 2 p.m. matinee today. The Meredith Willson musical takes us to River City, Iowa, as we follow flimflam man Harold Hill as he tries to bilk the town. It’s at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. Tickets are $46-$80. Arizonatheatre.org, 622-2823.
- End the year with an evening stroll through the Tucson Botanical Gardens where you can check out the “Luminous” exhibit, illuminated sculptures by Tucson artist Mykl Wells, who used the flora and fauna of our the Sonoran Desert for inspiration. The handmade lanterns will be an enlightening (get it? So sorry) end to the year — or beginning to your New Year’s Eve celebrations. It’s open 5:30-8:30 p.m. at 2150 N. Alvernon Way. Admission is $15 — $8 if you are a member. Children 4-17 are $8, $4 for members. Tucsonbotanical.org, 326-9686.