Arts and Culture

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Streets of This Town: Queen-Sized Beauty Rest and Some DNA.

Posted By on Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 8:32 AM

Somewhere in Tucson. - BRIAN SMITH
  • Brian Smith
  • Somewhere in Tucson.

"Streets of This Town" is a little daily photo series featuring random pics I take on long walks through Tucson—to sort of coincide with Tucson Salvage.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Two New(ish) Businesses to Visit During the Street Fair

Posted By on Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 7:30 PM

The 47th Annual Street Fair is expected to attract more than 300,000 visitors this weekend. - HAILEY FREEMAN
  • Hailey Freeman
  • The 47th Annual Street Fair is expected to attract more than 300,000 visitors this weekend.


Isabella's Ice Cream (210 N. Fourth Ave.)

UA alumni Dominic and Kristel Johnson created Isabella’s in 2010, and opened their location on Fourth Avenue this past November.



“I love how many people walk in and discover it,” Kristel says of Isabella’s. “We’ve been here a few months so everyone is starting to figure out where the shop is now.”


Kristel has nothing but rave reviews for the area. It was her idea, after all, to move Isabella’s manufacturing to Fourth. 


“It’s been wonderful,” Kristel says of the neighborhood. “We love the location and the people are super friendly.”


Kristel prepares the treats in the back of the shop and tries to locally source all of her ingredients. Isabella’s uses cream and milk only from Arizona.


“Everything is fresh, natural, and pure,” Kristel says.


In addition to their ice creams and vegan sorbets, Isabella’s offers ice cream tacos, milkshakes, sundaes, popsicles and Belgian chocolate bonbons. If you’re the indecisive or overindulgent type, it is highly recommended that you try one of each. This selection will be available in-store the entire weekend.


And another menu item that’s sure to be a hit among Street Fairgoers? The ever-so-scrumptious fro-nut. Since its recent introduction, this doughnut ice cream sandwich has become a customer favorite. The Johnsons will be serving fro-nuts and cookie ice cream sandwiches from their vintage ice cream truck this weekend.


Mabel’s on 4th (419 N. Fourth Ave.)

After you’ve gotten your ice cream fix, come visit Mabel’s on 4th. This kitchen boutique opened in November 2016 and sells decor, gadgets and textiles to “make your kitchen smile.”


“We don’t have any serious kitchen stuff like pots and pans and cutlery,” owner Nicole Carrillo says. “We only carry fun stuff.”


The pair relocated from Savannah, Georgia where Nicole’s husband, Johnny, served in the Marine Corps. Nicole believes Tucson, specifically the Fourth Avenue area, is a “perfect fit” for Mabel’s and appreciates the friendliness of her customers.


“Everybody is so welcoming and kind,” Nicole says. “We decided the day we visited that we were going to move here.”


Johnny designs all of the LOL tea towels, including textiles supporting each branch of the military. Mabel’s will be offering 20 new towel patterns at Mabel’s booth this weekend only.


“Our booth will be nothing but all these fun tea towels,” Nicole says. “You’re sure to find something for everyone.”


Nicole says Mabel’s products appeal to all kinds of people, from grandparents to drinking friends.


A great gift for the latter group? A beer bottle or wine glass-shaped cookie cutter. Other quirky cookie cutter options include a bikini top, baseball glove and hippo.




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Streets of This Town: Faces of Tucson

Posted By on Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 6:25 PM

Himmel Park exasperation. - BRIAN SMTIH
  • Brian Smtih
  • Himmel Park exasperation.

"Streets of This Town" is a little daily photo series featuring random pics I take on long walks through Tucson—to sort of coincide with Tucson Salvage.

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Huge Congrats to Tucson Writer Francisco Cantú For Snagging a Prestigious Whiting Award for His Forthcoming Memoir!

Posted By on Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 1:51 PM

Writer Francisco Cantú.
  • Writer Francisco Cantú.
Tucson writer Francisco Cantú snagged this week a prestigious 2017 Whiting Award, which includes, beyond the international attention, $50,000. He'll be honored along with nine other recipients in New York City, a ceremony keynoted by Pulitzer Prize winner Siddhartha Mukherjee. Note that past Whiting winners impressively include David Foster Wallace, Jeffrey Eugenides, Denis Johnson, Ocean Vuong, and Deborah Eisenberg. The Whiting Awards was "established by the Whiting Foundation in 1985, remain one of the most esteemed and largest monetary gifts ($50,000) to emerging writers, and are based on the criteria of early-career achievement and the promise of superior literary work to come."

Cantú, who worked for the United States Border Patrol as an agent form 2008-2012 is a former Fulbright fellow who earned an MFA in nonfiction from the UA. Locally, his work has often appeared in Edible Baja Arizona. His bio says he's a frequent contributor to Guernica and a contributing editor at PublicBooks.org, where he curates the “El Mirador” series, which collects original nonfiction, translation, and visual art focused on the American west, the borderlands, and Indian country. His writing has appeared, or is forthcoming, in South Loop Review, J Journal: New Writing on Justice, Ploughshares, and Orion.

Cantú's much-deserved award is for his forthcoming memoir, The Line Becomes a River (Riverhead Books), out 2018. We down here at TW HQ believe this award is a harbinger of things to come for Cantú. We've read excerpts from The Line Becomes and they are lovely and potent. You can read an excerpt here in the Paris Review.


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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Last Blast of Irish Music Thursday Night at St. Francis in the Foothills

Posted By on Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 4:29 PM

Fiddler Athena Tergis joins renowned Irish musician Mick Moloney at a concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, at St. Francis in the Foothills Church. - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Fiddler Athena Tergis joins renowned Irish musician Mick Moloney at a concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, at St. Francis in the Foothills Church.

Mick Moloney is a singer of songs, a teller of tales, a player of tenor banjo and guitar, and a scholarly folklorist who can tell you the meaning and origin of every note and word he sings. And he’s funny and charming to boot.

That rare commodity, a folk musician with a Ph.D., Professor Moloney has taught Irish Studies at New York University for years. He can tell you how immigrants coming to America changed the Irish music they brought with them. A recent CD, If It Wasn’t for the Irish and the Jews, “celebrates the joyous and creative era in American popular song from the early 1890's to the end of vaudeville and the start of the Great Depression.” Every song on the album is a collaboration between Irish and Jewish musicians who were immigrants or the children of immigrants.

A Limerick man, Moloney performs and records widely. He’s worked with PBS on the TV documentaries Out of Ireland and The Irish in America: Long Journey Home. His book Far From the Shamrock Shore: The Story of Irish American History Through Song has an accompanying CD.

For the Tucson concert, the last blast of Tucson’s Irish Season, Moloney teems up with Athena Tergis, an American-born prodigy who began playing the fiddle at age 4. She’s a master of Irish fiddling styles from the Auld Sod as well as from the Irish diaspora in North America. She’s performed on Broadway in Riverdance, plays regularly with Moloney in the band Green Fields of America, and she even toured the world with the late Clarence Clemons, sax player with the E Street Band.

The show starts at 7:30 Thursday, March 23, at St. Francis in the Foothills, 4625 E. River Road, at Swan. The church’s music hall has only 200 seats. Advance tickets are $20, $18 for seniors and member of TFTM, $3 more at the door. You can get them at www.inconcerttucson.com and at Antigone Books, 411 N. Fourth Ave., and The Folk hop, 2525 N. Campbell. For disability seats, call 981-1475. You can listen in to a sampling of songs here.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Bona Fide SX

Posted By on Sun, Mar 19, 2017 at 12:24 PM

Minus the Bear frontman Jake Snider and bassist Cory Murchy tune up before their Friday night SXSW show. - DANYELLE KHMARA
  • Danyelle Khmara
  • Minus the Bear frontman Jake Snider and bassist Cory Murchy tune up before their Friday night SXSW show.

South by Southwest is not just about music. It’s also about waiting in line.

Waiting in line to maybe get in. To maybe be shoulder to shoulder behind the tallest man in Austin. To maybe strain to see a stage that’s a foot off the ground. To maybe – just maybe – find that sweet spot with a band you love and enough room to lose yourself.

On Friday evening, I’m looking through the list of that night’s bands, all within a half-hour walk of each other. Hmm, should I see Wyclef Jean, M. Ward or Neko Case? Or maybe I should check out Talib Kweli, Ryan Adams or Future Islands.

And then I see a new addition—Lana Del Rey! (Yes, I’m a fan. And the idea of seeing her in person kinda makes me swoon.)

She’s scheduled to go on at 9, in two hours, so I headed over. The line is already curving around the building, about 150 people. The doors are at 8, and there’s room for 450 badge-holders. Sweet! I’m a badge holder.

Eight p.m. comes and goes. The line begins to move but only a few feet every 20 minutes. At a quarter to 9, they’re at capacity. Only about 120 badge-holders got in. I guess they had more VIP show up than anticipated.

This is a normal occurrence at SXSW. Maybe 400 VIP get in first, then those who paid hundreds for badges, then people who just bought a wristband for a specific show. The last category of people usually wait a very, very long time, if they get in at all.

Abandoning my dreams of seeing Lana, I headed over to the Weezer show, a 10-minute walk. The line for wrist-band holders is a few dozen, for badge-holders, almost no one. I get right in and head toward the front of the stage to wait for midnight.

I’m close to the front. I hold my ground when broad-shouldered men try to push their way in front of me. But I scoot over for a couple women. And somehow I find myself, as I often do, standing behind the tallest man in Austin, straining to see opening bands on a stage only feet away, but totally blocked from sight. My legs hurt, my glass is empty, and the 90s are long gone. Weezer just isn’t worth it.

When I hit the street, the line of people waiting to get in is in the hundreds. But I know I made the right choice. I can move. I can breathe. I walk down the very busy Sixth Street, weaving in and out of the crowd, determined not to let anybody slow my role. My phone is about to die, but I know where I’m going. I’m giving SXSW’s Friday night one last shot at redemption. I’m going to Minus the Bear.

There’s a decent line outside of Barracuda Backyard. I asked the door man if they’re at capacity.

“For wristbands, yes, but you go to the good line,” he says, pointing to the alley.

Around back, there’s no line, just dumpsters overloaded with beer bottles and paper plates. Inside it’s a wonderland of space. I walked right to the front of the stage and stretch my legs. The Minneapolis band 4onthefloor is rocking the stage. The lights are low. People are dancing. Full-bearded frontman Gabriel Douglas, sings about being drunk on Tuesdays. I get a drink.

After 4onthefloor is the Mothers, from Athens, Georgia. I get comfortable on a bar stool and endure possibly the most boring show at SXSW. The band’s vocals are as lazy as their stage presence. Every song the same—a monotone whine and absence of all body movements or facial expressions.

When Minus the Bear comes on at 1 a.m., I easily make my way to the front. The indie-rock band from Seattle is getting into their groove, but the vocals are totally drowned out. I start to get jostled. My ears begin to ring. I go to the back of the room.

The stage is high enough, I can still see the band. And from the back, I can hear all the sounds. I can hear the guitar, rocking and weeping. The bass, grooving and the drums, pounding. And I can hear frontman Jake Snider’s vocals, soothing and strong.

And I dance. In the back of the room, in the middle of the night, I found my sweet spot. And so I dance.
Minus the Bear plays a 1 a.m. show at Barracuda Backyard during SXSW. They look just fine from the back of the room. And there's space to dance! - DANYELLE KHMARA
  • Danyelle Khmara
  • Minus the Bear plays a 1 a.m. show at Barracuda Backyard during SXSW. They look just fine from the back of the room. And there's space to dance!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Streets of This Town: Cellphone Death Tag

Posted By on Sat, Mar 18, 2017 at 3:45 PM

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"Streets of This Town" is a little daily photo series featuring random pics I take on long walks through Tucson—to sort of coincide with Tucson Salvage.

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Future Islands on Fire at SXSW

Posted By on Fri, Mar 17, 2017 at 9:21 PM

Future Islands front man Samuel T. Herring is raw emotion, making for a stunning performance at SXSW Thursday night Pandora showcase. - DANYELLE KHMARA
  • Danyelle Khmara
  • Future Islands front man Samuel T. Herring is raw emotion, making for a stunning performance at SXSW Thursday night Pandora showcase.

The lead singer of Future Islands reveals his soul while he performs. The persona most of us wear when in public, guarding our emotion, our inner selves—front man Samuel T. Herring motions pulling off his mask while on stage at Thursday night’s Pandora showcase at SXSW.

Under his mask, he’s crying unabashedly, in front of the hundreds in the audience. He pounds his chest. He growls in to the microphone. He reaches out a hand to the audience as if to say, “Be real. Be strong.” Sweat pours down his face. He reaches a hand to the sky. It’s a difficult time in our country, he told the audience when he stepped on stage, and he’s so excited to be here.

With band members Gerrit Welmers on keyboards, William Cashion on guitar and a hired drummer, Future Islands music is hard and emotional. The audience was lost in the moment as Herring danced across the stage and leaned into the crowd to sing directly to them—each and every one.

Staff Pick

Frida: Portraits by Nickolas Muray

Tucson Botanical Gardens and Etherton Gallery are collaborating to bring the photography show Frida: Portraits by Nickolas… More

@ Tucson Botanical Gardens Oct. 10-May 31, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 2150 N. Alvernon Way.

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