By Linda Ray
on Fri, Jan 20, 2017 at 2:00 PM
This week’s comedy picks have never performed in Tucson before. They bring the funny in very different styles: Think El Charro vs. BKs, both of which they should visit.
Johnny Beehner: Funny in any genre Johnny Beehner mines laughs from everyday details no one else notices but everyone recognizes. In his anecdotes of family life, his craft has an almost microscopic focus, his jokes an elegant simplicity. Delightfully, his comedy also dissolves gender boundaries, reflecting sharing arrangements common to two-career households.
The relaxed character of Beehner’s performance, including improvised crowd work belies how much commitment and work are behind it.
Beehner started his career as an improv comedian with Marquette University’s vaunted Studio 013 Refugees (Fugees). He followed up in the cast of renowned iO Chicago, and now is working with UCB (Upright Citizens Brigade) Los Angeles. UCB alumni include Parks and Recreation’s Amy Pohler, Funny or Die founder Adam McKay, and The Daily Show’s Ed Helms.
Beehner made his network standup debut on one of the last broadcasts of The Late Show With David Letterman. Although he enjoys the thrill of spontaneity and risk in improv team performances, he says he finds writing and performing stand-up more satisfying. When the applause comes, he says, he enjoys taking all the credit.
Lance Paullin opens for Beehner at 8 and 10: 30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20; and 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21. Laffs is at 2900 E. Broadway. Tickets and information are at laffstucson.com. Artist information and videos are at johnnybeehner.com and lancepaullin.com
Dave Waite Makes Comedy Tuesday at the Screening Room
Dave Waite headlines in The Screening Room’s new Tuesday comedy series at 8 p.m., Jan. 24. He’s setting a high bar as the first touring comedian to share in Tucson’s current indie comedy boom. Waite’s network debut on the Jimmy Fallon Show revealed him as an archetype of that uncle you’d most like to duck out and smoke a joint with. His stories are self-deprecating, but from the perspective of the cheery scrapper and survivor we would all love to be if we didn’t have to feed the kids and make mortgage payments.
Your Weekly guide to keeping busy in the Old Pueblo.
Pick of the Week: Dillinger Days
Dillinger Days: One of Hotel Congress’ claims to fame is the historic 1934 fire that lead to the capture of bank robber John Dillinger. Dillinger and his men were taking refuge at Congress after a series of robberies when the hotel caught fire. Later, the fireman who had helped the gang rescue their gun-and-cash-carrying luggage recognized the criminals in True Detective Magazine, ultimately leading to his arrest. Commemorate this moment in history with Congress with a speakeasy, vintage firefighting equipment, live music, Public Enemies and, of course, a reenactments of the capture at the Cup Cafe. Jan. 20-21. Check Hotel Congress’ website for event times, prices and other details.
Borderlands Fifth Anniversary Party: Celebrate five years of craft beer, live music, local business and cool architecture. Borderlands Brewing is turning five this month, and you can wish them well by enjoying a few pints and listening to ever-enjoyable tunes courtesy of AZTRAL FOLK. Noon - 10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21. Borderlands Brewing Co., 119 E. Toole Ave. Bring money for beer.
Tucson Rodeo & Parade Barn Dance: Obviously, the Old Pueblo loves the rodeo—it’s the cause of our favorite February holiday! But the bull riding, lasso dancing fun is in full swing long before the kids get to skip a couple days of class. Grab your drinking-age friends and get your boots on and start the party early with a little live music courtesy of Jack Bishop. 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21. Tucson Rodeo Parade Museum, 4823 S 6th Ave. $5.
4th on 44th Block Party: Live music, food trucks, alcohol and coffee — what more could you ask for in a block party? Three Wells Distilling Company and Ten Fifty-Five Brewing teamed up to bring Tucson the ultimate opportunity to support the Tucson Police Officer’s Association and break out your most embarrassing dance moves while doing so. A portion of the proceeds will go to the TPOA, and donations are also welcome. Noon-4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28. 3790 E. 44th St. Drink tickets are $6.
The All Nite Scream O' Rama: If you love the goosebumps, cold sweats and yelps of terror scary movies incite, the Loft Cinema is the place to be. The theater will be showing 12 hours of horror, encompassing seven of the most hair-raising films ever made. The movie list includes: The Shining, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Fright Night, Green Room, Trick 'r Treat, Return of the Living Dead and Cat in the Brain. Tasty food and drinks will be ghoulishly themed. Enter...if you dare. 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Jan. 28- Jan. 29 The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. $13 for members or in advance online or $15 at the door.
Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages: Grave robbing, torture, possessed nuns, and a satanic Sabbath—What more do you want? Danish filmmaker Benjamin Christensen’s 1922 silent film is a unique hybrid of documentary and fiction exploring the history of witchcraft, demonology and Satanism. 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22. The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. $6.
Conversation with Piper Kerman, author of Orange is the New Black: Substance abuse, mental illness and prison cliques are all fair game on deck to be addressed by Piper Kerman, the woman who shared her devastating and sometimes hilarious story of a year in prison. Hear her dive into her personal experiences and commentate on the criminal justice system at the Fox Theatre. Her presentation will be hosted by Mayor Rothschild and you can purchase your tickets online. 4-6 p.m. Feb. 1. The Fox Theatre, 17 W. Congress St. $25 for her presentation and the Q&A session OR $100 for the presentation, Q&A, private reception with Piper and a copy of the book.
Free Family Movie Night! featuring The Sandlot: A classic film, a night away from the kitchen and evening under the stars. Catch a free screening of the Sandlot, and get the kiddos into the spirit of the movie with the inflatable batting cage, speed pitching contest, t-ball home run competition for ages five and under. 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21. Tucson Event Center, 1861 W. Grant Road. Free, bring money for food.
Rethinking the Rules of Reality: The UA lecture series are always worth attending, and this semester’s “Rethinking Reality” is no exception. In the first lecture of the series learn about the connections between symmetries, forces, and conservation laws, and the fundamental building blocks of the natural world—and what they indicate physics might be heading in the future. Lastly, the lecture promises “weirdness at the extremes,” including discussion about the emergence of a new “dark sector” populated by modern ghosts. Each lecture will be streamed live by Arizona Public Media On Demand, will stream on television the following week, and will later be available digitally. The series begins at 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 30. Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd. Free.
Women’s March on Washington - Tucson March: Have an issue with how women have been treated in recent political dealings? Spend the morning with like other concerned individuals, marching in solidarity of women’s rights, safety and health care. Meet at Armory Park and make your way down to the Joel D. Valdez library plaza. 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 21. Armory Park, 221 S 6th Ave. Free.
Frida al Fresco Friday: Experience Frida Kahlo’s Mexico City right here in Tucson at the Tucson Botanical Gardens. Celebrate the Mexican and feminist icon’s art exhibit, Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life, while listening to live music representative of her vibrant culture. You can even get your very own flower crown and binge on food and drinks inspired by Frida’s own family recipes. 5-8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27. Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N Alvernon Way. $13 adults, $12 for students, seniors and military, $7.50 for kids ages 4-17, kids 3 or younger and Garden members are free.
A Community Benefit Starring Howe Gelb, Joey Burns et al: In a true moment of graciousness and generosity, a group of Tucson music stars is coming together to aid a musician suffering from a head injury. (Sadly, he isn’t cognizant enough at press time to agree to have his name released.) This musician is beloved in Tucson and he’s in dire financial need because he has no health insurance, which, as we all know, has long been a devastating problem among artists and musicians and writers and so on. Even with Obamacare. Forget anything improving there with that mook landing in office on Jan. 20. Anyway, this benefit is now a big-named event, with performances by Howe Gelb, Joey Burns (he’ll be live on video), Louise Le Hir, Street Blues Family, Steff and the Articles, Joe Novelli and more. There will be music instruments up for auction. The night finishes on an all-star jam featuring all concerned, a one-off performance called The Affordable Care Act Band. Saturday, Jan. 21 at 191 Toole, 191 Toole. 8 p.m. $15-$20 donation.
La Cerca: To call La Cerca Tucson desert pop sounds so reductive, but really this dreamy combo is all about Tucson desert pop. See, the tunes fizz, hum and lift, like those made by classic melancholy poppers My Bloody Valentine and Big Star, two bands La Cerca adore. But there’s something else going on within their often lovely melodies—it’s a lonely, desolate thing that sounds so much like how the Sonoran desert feels, if that makes any sense. (Listen to the soaring-yet-fragile “Climate Control” from their killer 2014 album Sunrise For Everyone.) Like the desert, their music has an end-of-the-world quality, with so much sparse, stark beauty, and a tremendous sense of open space. And you’ve gotta love any band that makes a reference to “Teenage Kicks” by the Undertones. This show celebrates the 20-year musical relationship between La Cerca's John Matzek and Mario Cordova, and features the three other bands they've played in together: How to Build a Rocketship, Ghost Lodge, and Kicking Leaves. Saturday, Jan. 21 at the Flycatcher, 340 E 6th St. 9 p.m. $5. 21+. The event is also a benefit for Downtown Radio.
Orgy: Kohl-eyed goth-glamsters are back from the dead, or maybe that’s what they’d like you to believe. Or maybe they never died and just sort of faded away, which is worse. You’ll recall Orgy had a fairly sizable hit with New Order’s classic “Blue Monday” (theirs was a truly a wickedly dirty cover), and their ’98 debut album, Candyass, sold huge, going platinum stateside. But after three studio albums, Orgy had left a shallow legacy. Truth is, they are worth so much more than that. The band never got credit for defining a moment in time. For one thing, they captured the milieu of the decadence of the porn-driven decline of late ’90s suburban Los Angeles, that bizarre cultural dead zone, and soundtracked it with the industrial throb of underground Hollywood clubs, putting their own “death-pop” sizzle on it. It’s remarkable how their singular sound had a wonderfully nihilistic tint to it that reflected Southern California underbellies. Their latest, a seven-song EP called Talk Sick, dropped in ’15, and it’s formidable dancefloor thunder-smack, blending infectious melody with EDM. A new EP, Entropy, is just coming out. With Powerman 500, Death Valley High, Knee High Fox, Lethal Injektion, and Swindy on Tuesday, Jan. 24 at The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave. 6 p.m. $18-$20. All ages.
Silver Snakes: We love any group that blends lots of Industrial slam with bits of Latin music. And Silver Snakes adores bands like Nine Inch Nails and Sleep, as well as gifted Mexican singer Lola Beltrán. They also show hints of metal crunch not unlike the Deftones, even walls of Sex Pistols-sounding power chords! Their dancefloor-filling, rafter-rattling racket is as infectious as anything ’90s heroes Ministry or NIN ever put out. Formed in 2011, these Snakes just released their third LP, Saboteur, an absolute sonic suckerpunch. With Aeges, Harlette, and others on Friday, Jan. 20 at Club XS, 5851 E. Speedway. 7 p.m. $12-$15. All ages.
Boytoy: Here’s a rare Tucson appearance from the too-overlooked Brooklyn-based (don’t hold that against them) combo who swimmingly mix shoegaze with surf in distorted harmonic beds. It’s a powerful female universe in their hands, with no shortage of Jesus and Mary Chain guitars, and it’s poppy as shit—sometimes girl-group poppy, sometimes Ramones poppy, sometime Velvets poppy. Their 2015 ditty “Postal,” with its chorus “You got me going postal,” is the best love song of the last half-decade or so. And their latest single, 2017’s “Putty” is exactly that in your heart, a gorgeous little stunner of desire, delivered with a neat-o vocal that transmits sweet indifference perfectly. The tune reminds us of ’60s–era Pretty Things meets Potty Mouth circa ’16. In other words, amazing. Tuesday, Jan. 24 at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress. 8 p.m. 21+. Free.
Finding Novyon: This Minneapolis rapper owns the stage when he moves, has a flow like Jay Z on a mellow trip (no shit), and can bust out the minimal beat bangers with aplomb. Even Lil’ Wayne became fan back in 2011, when Novyon was still a teenager, and wound up helping Novyon’s career. What you should know is Novyon’s 2016 release, Believe in Mpls, is a fairly chill yet powerful collection of potent rhymes and spare hypnotic beats, and it burrow deep beneath your skin like a Loa Loa and stays there. His national following is swelling too. With Prof, Metasota, and Willie Wonka on Sunday, Jan. 22 at 191 Toole, 191 Toole. 7 p.m. $15-$17. All Ages.
By Linda Ray
on Mon, Jan 16, 2017 at 11:00 AM
“Safe Space Comedy” is a newish thing in U.S. comedy clubs. By proclaiming “safe space comedy,” a club or event hopes to assure women that they can enjoy a trigger-free show without fear of harassment. The idea originated from high-profile harassment complaints in revered Los Angeles and Chicago improv theatres. Recent growth in the trend responds to Donald Trump’s very open misogyny. His vulgarity likely will encourage others to abandon whatever sensitivity they’ve portrayed during the Obamian years of arguable comity. Women now anticipate being demeaned on the regular, and not just emotionally.
For good or ill “dirty comedy” has enjoyed a long history of popularity. It has traditionally evoked laughs at the expense of, not only women and relationships, but also every flavor of what we’ve called “diversity” in recent years. Gary Hood, for years a godfather to Tucson standup, but a victim 2016’s relentless death march, is often imitated for the way he asked, “Clean or dirty?” Doug Stanhope, a national comedian out of Bisbee, boasts a large following for some apparently drunken, slothful and often filthy sets. Your humble scribe first laughed to the raunch of Red Foxx records her sophomore-year best friend sometimes brought over from her brother’s collection. Two new open mics could let Tucson comedy fans have it both ways. Mo Urban, who co-hosts the popular Comedy at the Wench series, has launched a new open mic at the early-for-comedy-hour of 6:30 p.m., the third Wednesday of every month. It’s at Café Passe, 415 N. Fourth Ave. A social worker who’s been outspoken about comedy offensive to women, she says “I have not defined the space, but I think it’s been safe because people know me.”
Meanwhile, Tucson comedy regular “Jose Joey G,” who first presented comedy at the Screening Room, now promises what he calls a “safe space” for “dirty” comedy at The Mint Cocktails, 3540 E. Grant Road. Having taken heat from some women comics after a routine based on one of Donald Trump’s more egregious quotes, he says he wanted to create an open mic where audience members might be less likely to harass comedians about objectification and insensitive references to body parts. The Mint, which opens 10 a.m., daily, is said to be Tucson’s second-oldest dive bar (after the Buffet). It features male and female burlesque performers on weekends. A permanent comedy schedule hasn’t jelled yet; follow The Mint on Facebook for calendar info.
Your Weekly guide to keeping busy in the Old Pueblo.
Pick of the Week: Tucson Jazz Festival
All That Jazz: The third annual Tucson Jazz Festival kicks off this week with young phenom Kamasi Washington, whose debut album The Epic was described in these pages last week as “steeped in spiritual jazz traditions of John and Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, the funky fusion of Donald Byrd and Wayne Shorter, and the free jazz explorations of Ornette Coleman,” taking the stage at downtown’s Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12. Tickets are $15 to $60. The festival continues with more than a dozen performances through Jan. 22, including a Downtown Jazz Fiesta that features a day of free shows on Monday, Jan. 16.
Food & Booze
Food & Booze Girl Scout Cookie + Beer Pairing at Dragoon! These events have been popping up for a couple of years now, and we're definitely happy to see them continue. Head over to Dragoon on the very first day of 2017 Girl Scout Cookie season, pick up your favorite seasonal snack (Thin Mints, obviously) and pair it with a delicious local beer. These are the type of Saturday afternoons people dream of. 1-5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14. Dragoon Brewing Co., 1859 W. Grant Road. Bring cash for cookies and beer.
Bowling & Booze: Whether you're more into wine or craft beer Each week, every team of two will get to enjoy (or, you know, not) with a new bottle of wine or four bottles of beer while bowling three games. Learn about different breweries or wineries every Thursday for six weeks starting Jan. 19 at 6:30 p.m. Lucky Strike Bowl, 4015 E. Speedway Blvd. $12.99 per person, per week.
Tucson Fringe Festival: If you want to start your theater-going year with a heady dose of the "bigger and badder" variety, you should check out the sixth annual Tucson Fringe Festival. Get ready three days jam-packed with an array of original, unjuried works performed by artists both local, national and international. Read more about the festival in the art section). Jan. 13-15.
By Linda Ray
on Mon, Jan 9, 2017 at 11:00 AM
The new Female Storytellers prompts are up! Pick one and kick off the new year by creating a story to share! All the information you need to get started is on their website.
We all have stories to tell, and much to learn about our characters, including our own, in the telling. Invariably we reveal our own wit, and the tale's own humor. Female Storytellers, from first-timers to national-award winners, attract more than 100 followers the second Wednesday of every month, at 7:30 p.m., at The Flycatcher, 340 E. 6th St.
Here's what's in store so far for 2017: Jan. 11, Choose Your Own Adventure; Feb. 15, Heat of the Moment; Mar. 15, Work in Progress; Apr.12: Choices; May 10, Far From Home; June 7, Play Like A Girl.
But Wait! There’s more!
Last week we shared with you the crazy, crazy comedy grab bag that is Tucson’s thriving open mic scene. This week we’ll take a look at where the cream rises to—curated free showcases featuring the most seasoned locals who are doing some of their personal best work. You can see one almost every week! Just one caveat – these are not professional shows. They are for whatever fun you can get from them and your alcoholic beverage.
The Switch Comedy
The Screening Room
127 E. Congress St.
8:30 p.m.; free
Hosts: Pauly Casillas, Alex Kack
NOTE: Combines standup and improv in a unique format
Funny People Being Funny The Hut
305 N. 4th Ave.
9 p.m., free
Host: Alex Kack
Brew Ha Ha Comedy Showcase Borderlands Brewery
119 E. Toole Ave
8 p.m.; free
Hosts: Nick Cerami, Matt Ziemak
Wildcat Comedy The Screening Room
127 E. Congress St.
8 p.m.; free
Hosts: Rich Gary, Matt Ziemak
Comedy at the Wench Surly Wench Pub
424 N. 4th Ave.
9 p.m. show
Hosts: Mo Urban, Roxy Merrari
Laughing Liberally The Flycatcher
340 E. 6th St.
4th or last Sunday
8 p.m., free
Hosts: Alex Kack, Mo Urban, Phil Gordon
Your Weekly guide to keeping busy in the Old Pueblo.
Pick of the Week
Embrace: It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since that tragic January morning when Gabby Giffords and 18 others were shot outside a Safeway in Casas Adobes. This year, Tucson’s January 8 Memorial Foundation is asking the community to come together to support each other and other communities who have suffered while making a human “embrace” symbol—the icon the Foundation has used to communicate togetherness, solidarity, and empathy. Sunday, Jan. 8. Hi Corbett Field, 3400 E. Camino Campestre. 1 p.m.
A Tribute to Carrie Fisher: There's no way we could describe Carrie Fisher's impact on better than The Loft Cinema did, so we'll but this in their words: "Fearless princess. Quick-witted scribe. Hollywood icon. Join us as we celebrate the life and legacy of the incredible actress/author/activist Carrie Fisher at a special tribute event featuring a career highlight reel, a lightsaber salute and a screening of her 1989 comedy, The ‘Burbs, co-starring Tom Hanks and Bruce Dern. Come dressed as your favorite Star Wars character and bring as many lightsabers as you own. No lightsaber? No problem. Glow sticks will also be provided. Help us say “thank you” to the woman who inspired generations of fans, on screen and off. The Force will be with you, Carrie Fisher. Always." Celebrate Carrie, watch the 'Burbs, and a portion of proceeds will benefit the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, which is committed to alleviating the suffering caused by mental illness. 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 8. The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. $8.
Mondo Monday presents Ticks: The Loft is continuing Creepy Crawlies month with Ticks: “They Breed. They Hatch. They Kill.” Watch as Seth Green, Alfonso Ribeiro and Clint Howard battle their way through a mutant party of ticks in the woods. It sucks. 8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 9. The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. $3.
Tampopo with the Fat Noodle Truck: Enjoy Juzo Itami’s “ramen western” comedy Tampopo on the big screen. Before the comedic film, enjoy some fat noodles from the Fat Noodle Truck that will be stationed outside of the Loft. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 5. The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. $6-$8.
A Tribute: Carrie Fisher & Debbie Reynolds Movie Day: Casa Video's Film Bar is a great place to have a drink, order a pizza (thanks, Fresco!) and enjoy your cinematic favorites. If you're looking for a little low key fun this Saturday, stop by for $4 mimosas and nine hours of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds best movies. 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7. Casa Video, 2905 E. Speedway Blvd. Bring money for booze.
Victoria: Excited about Victoria, the new Masterpiece series coming to PBS? Arizona Public Media is treating you to a sneak preview, featuring opening commentary by Jerrold E. Hogle, University Distinguished Professor and director of Undergraduate Studies and Honors in the Department of English at the University of Arizona. Into it? Make sure you get to attend: Tickets are free, but seating is limited. Reserve a seat here: azpm.org/victorialoft. 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10. The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. Free.
Fun in General
TRD Recruting '80s Night: Admit it—you've thought about becoming a roller girl. Join Tucson Roller Derby at Adult Skate Night to learn about roller derby while cruising around the rink. 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12. Skate Country, 7980 E. 22nd Street. Tickets: $3. Skate rental: $3. 18+.
Odyssey Storytelling Presents “Labor”: Odyssey Storytelling’s monthly presentations are something to mark on your calendar in advance. Six people are invited to tell 10-minute personal stories on a theme in front of an audience. The stories are not read or memorized, just told from the life experiences and creativity of the teller. This month’s topic, labor, is sure to inspire. 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 5. 127 E. Congress Street. $8.
Being Feminist: What Feminism Means to Me Opening Reception: The YWCA is hosting a new exhibition based on pieces made by local artists create in response to the question, “What does Feminism mean to me?” In addition to the traditional opening night fun, the reception will feature The Clothesline Project courtesy of Emerge! T-shirts designed by survivors of domestic abuse. Busy that night? The exhibition itself is on display until March 13, so you’ve got plenty of time to stop in. 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6. The Galleria at the YWCA, 525 N. Bonita Ave.
Brewery Bootcamp: It is a truth universally acknowledged that you should always have a beer after a workout. Dragoon is offering a full-body regimen followed by post-exercise brews. All fitness levels can participate. Bring your own mat, water, and sweat towel. (21+) 11 a.m. to noon. Every Sunday. $10 per person, which includes one beer. Dragoon Brewing Co., 1859 W. Grant Road #111.
Mineral Madness: The Desert Museum is beautiful and educational, and you’re probably overdue for a visit. Consider going during year’s Mineral Madness, which offers mineral lovers (novice and expert alike) a chance to to learn something new about minerals and rocks and shop the mineral sale. Plus, walk around the grounds and stop in at stations to enjoy viewing micro-minerals, and mineral arts and crafts and learning about how animals and people use minerals. Kids, bring an egg carton in order to collect a free rock or mineral at each station. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 14-16. Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, 2021 N. Kinney Road. Included with museum admission.
Musical Mayhem celebrates 6 years of Mayhem! Musical Mayhem Cabaret is celebrating its sixth anniversary with songs from the shows like Little Shop of Horrors, Hamilton, and The Little Mermaid. Don't miss out. 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 8. Unscrewed Theater, 3244 E. Speedway Blvd. $10.
Cuban Salsa Dance Classes: Grab your dancing shoes and spice up your Tuesday nights with five weeks of Cuban Salsa Dance Lessons. The sessions are suited for people of all levels—but the course is progressive, so new dancers should join within the firs two meetings. The first class is Tuesday, Jan. 10. Tucson Creative Dance Center, 3131 N. Cherry Ave. Individual classes: $7. Five class package: $30.
Changemaker Book Club: National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward takes James Baldwin’s 1963 examination of race in America, The Fire Next Time, as a jumping off point for The Fire This Time, a collection of essays and poems about race. The next titles the group will be reading include Audre Lorde's Zami, a New Spelling Of My Name and 7:30-9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11. YWCA of Southern Arizona- Frances McClelland Community Center, 525 N. Bonita Ave. Free.
Grant Writing De-Mystified: Every once and a while the Weekly gets a phone call asking for tips on grant writing. We don't really have the time or expertise to help you out with that, but Southern Arizona Work Space can. At the end of the workshop, you'll leave with a rough draft of your grant proposal and a plan for editing a final version. 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 14. City High School, 47 E. Pennington Street. $75.
Caskey: This Florida-born rapper’s sound rises from hypnotic trap that bestows the beats with a strangely calming sparkle and ambience, and he rap-croons (!) over it and it works really stinking well—dude can swoon (almost bedroom raps)like no other emcee. No shit. (Listen to “Cadillac,” off his ’16 mixtape Black Sheep 3.) Sure, he fills verses about smoking broccoli and schtupping two at the same time “and feeling like Nas,” but such clichés are quickly (and often) overshadowed with subtle, thought-provoking street intelligence, rhymes and pop-culture smarts. This blunt-head white kid with gnarly neck tats can reference Yoko Ono in a flow that compares pockets full of cash to Kim Kardashian’s ass, while subtly working in some anti-domestic violence rhymes. Killer! Word is his live shows smoke. Friday, Jan. 6, at the Loudhouse, 915 W. Prince. 8 p.m. All ages.
Tom Walbank: Yeah, we’ve seen Tom Walbank all right. One time entertaining an early evening crowd under a small tent in the Hotel Congress plaza, and he totally brought it, man. Even in that low-key atmo, armed only with a Danelectro guitar, a slide, a baby Marshall amp and a harmonica, Walbank played like he had a gun pointed at the back of his head. You know these types because you can never forget them once you see them, and you walk away thinking you just lucked out and saw someone who was born to play. This Tucsonan is also a veritable machine of blues and R&B, an encyclopedia of that stuff, and has a passion that shows a total devotion to the form, even though he wasn’t even born on the Delta, or anywhere in the American south, or Chicago. He was born in England, in fact—wrong time, wrong place. No matter. This might be the only time you’ll ever find us recommending any white guy playing straight blues. This dude can handle the greats with stunning command; Muddy Waters, Hambone Willie Newbern, Tampa Red … His own albums are all worth owning. Every damn one of ’em. And he’s got a new album out. It’s called Dust+Stone (Lonesome Desert), and it features local stars like XIXA’s Winston Watson and Gabriel Sullivan. This show is that album’s launch party, and it’s free on Thursday, Jan. 5, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress. Show starts at 7 p.m. 21+.
Gaza Strip: They play like dudes whose lives were changed by Nirvana, and a few historic Tucson punk bands too—so there’s that rare regionalism to their shambolic din. The sound heaves with crunchy guitars, hard-smacking rhythms, tree-shredder vocals, and melodies persuasive enough that you hum them next day when your ears are still ringing and your liver’s hiccupping. So, yeah, Gaza Strip, who’ve been together since 2005, are gloriously under-rehearsed, and play like super-hungry dudes who just unloaded their shitty gear from a shitty van, and are riffing their hearts out for dinner and beer money. Such bands are often the best rock ’n’ roll bands around, as Gaza shows us. And beyond their stinging raw power, it’s their self-deprecating lyrical turns that win listeners too. Lines like “Well you probably never heard of us/We’re easy to forget” make you want to buy all their albums and send each a shot of cheap whiskey when they’re on stage. With The Earps, and Doctors of Modern Medicine. Saturday, Jan. 7, at the Loudhouse, 915 W. Prince. 8 p.m. $3. 21+.
Antwon: For good reason San Jose’s Antwon was one of the 10 buzziest acts at South By Southwest back in 2013. He’s got his finger on the pulse of culture, and hits at it hard with gnarly, bass-heavy beats and lots of social commentary, often pointing out the jackassery of modern life from a tough muthafucker’s POV. But listen, we’re rare to recommend anything that wallows in cliché and Antwon is a straight up brilliant emcee with all the flow and guts to back up so much hype. Stands to reason his profile continues to sharply rise stateside, and he’s already huge in places like Brazil. We adore this whole bill too—while Antwon is headlining this Old Peublo show, his support artists are area punk bands, which shows Antwon’s roots—he came up playing punk before switching to rap. With Sex Prisoner and Get a Grip on Friday, Jan. 6 at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress. 7 p.m. $10-$12. 16+.
Whitney Peyton: This solo female rapper doesn’t pull punches. And she’s all DIY and proud of it. She even had a hand in an anti-bullying album geared toward children that nabbed a 2012 Grammy. She’s beloved in her Philly hometown, especially among teens, and her songs swing effortlessly between rap and poppy hip-hip, and even some rock, and she’s been compared (favorably) to Paramore’s Hayley Williams and a young Eminen. Her “I Hate My Roommate,” with it’s no-bullshit roomie takedown, should, if this were a just world, be a college hip-hop anthem in the way the Beastie Boys’ “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)” was all those years ago. With Stands With Fists,Stacc Styles, and Evasion on Saturday, Jan. 7, at The Rock, 136 N. Park Avenue. 6:30 p.m. $13-$15. All ages.
Dave Alvin: Ain’t much more anyone can say about Dave Alvin that hasn’t already been said. His dozen or so solo records—after his stint in the wondrous roots-rockers Blasters—reveal him to be a giant at crafting honky-tonk weepers and countrified rockers and bluesy sides that document characters living in the margins, in worlds of alcoholic hearts, shattered dreams and regrets (and redemptions). That he can wind such clear narratives worthy of a good southern novelist into a song is one thing, but the fact the tunes themselves are so steadfastly great, that they mine much of American history in song, makes Alvin, unarguably, one of the best storytelling songsmiths alive. More, he’s hitting town with Austin’s folk/country/rock hero Jimmie Dale Gilmore. Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 191 Toole, 191 Toole. $18-$20. 7 p.m. All Ages.
Michael Carbonaro is coming to town and we're giving away two pairs of tickets to see his show.
Here's what the Tucson Music Hall has to say about him:
Michael Carbonaro has performed over 500 comically perplexing and improbable feats of magic on his hit truTV series, The Carbonaro Effect. Now, he’s taking his show on the road for an evening of fun for the whole family!
If you have ever wondered what it feels like to be on the other side of the charmingly devious Carbonaro as he works his magic to make people believe the unbelievable, now is your chance to find out. Michael Carbonaro…Live! is jam-packed with audience interaction, hilarious video clips, and a whirlwind of mind-blowing magic performed live on stage. The New York Times has called his unique blend of magic and bizarre antics, “Genial and witty…utterly convincing.”
After years of performing in comedy clubs and school gymnasiums, Carbonaro started winning roles as an actor in both television and film, leading to a breakout series of hit magical appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Quickly a viral sensation, Carbonaro’s unique brand of magic performed for an unsuspecting public landed him his own hidden-camera series, The Carbonaro Effect, preparing now for its third season on truTV.
The show is Sunday, Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. at Tucson Music Hall (260 S. Church Ave.) ,Tickets can be purchased here, and cost $39-$170. Or you could win tickets by filling out the form below:
Your Weekly guide to keeping busy in the Old Pueblo.
New Year’s Eve
Mantra: Glow in the Dark New Year’s Eve Party with XIXA: XIXA, the Gabriel Sullivan and Brian Lopez led combo, who not so long ago called themselves the less wieldy Chicha Dust, are just now beginning to headline theater-sized venues all over Europe, so loving is their overseas following—this after an Euro introduction by Howe Gelb and Giant Sand. Gelb aside, Bloodline, XIXA’s 2016 LP, can (lazily) be described as a cumbia-inflected psych, a sort of guitar-and-melody driven “Desert noir” that marries explosive rhythms (Latin and otherwise) with soaring refrains. The album has so far been criminally overlooked stateside, but not in Tucson. XIXA is bringing their show—in what could become a New Year’s Eve tradition—to the Rialto. Get yer tix, the show, which is billed as an all night, glow-in-the-dark cumbia party, will likely sell out. With DJ Dirty Verbs. Saturday, Dec. 31 at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress. 9 p.m. $10-$50.
New Year’s Eve at R Bar: Reymon Murphy’s wholly hypnotic soul, blues and hip-hop outfit is a multi-ethnic, seven-piece collective Street Blues Family has mastered the nearly impossible task of being hypnotic, punchy and graceful all at once, and on stage. In fact, they groove like a cross of Sly Stone and Erykah Badu, and they’re quietly amassing a following of urban music fans in sleepy old Tucson, which is really saying something. The band will be performing two sets at 10 p.m. and 12:15 a.m. Meanwhile, DJ Roch’s killer curated soul will entertain between sets while the comely and doomy DJ Plastic Disease will host. Kiss off ugly 2016 in good old-fashioned escapist style, with a combo of chill tuneage and sweet cocktails. Saturday, Dec. 31 at the R Bar. $10 at the door (free if you have a ticket to MANTRA: Glow in the dark NYE party with XIXA). At The Rialto Theatre across the alleyway. 9 p.m. 21+.
Labyrinth and a Holiday Ball: Say goodbye to 2016 and celebrate the New Year and the late David Bowie with a special screening of Jim Henson's 1987 film Labyrinth in its anniversary digital restoration. Wear your best Labyrinth-themed costumes to be entered in a pre-show costume contest, get groovy with pre-show Bowie music videos and a masquerade ball with champagne. Don't have a mask? The Loft will have supplies to make one on the spot. Costume Contest: 11:15, Film: 11:45. Saturday, Dec. Dec. 31. The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. General Admission: $10, Members: $8.
The Maverick: In the mood for a country New Year's Eve? Head to the Maverick for music, dinner by Flipside party favors, and champagne for a midnight toast. Bring canned food to donate, ’cause they are stuffing the Maverick Monster truck with food for the Community Food Bank and dropping a monster boot at midnight. 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31. The Maverick, 6622 E. Tanque Verde Road. $15.
The Mystery and Magic Dinner Theater: Ken Kesey won't be there with a magical bus, but this crew is gaining a reputation of creating a lot of fun. The Mystery and Magic Dinner Theater presents a full night of New Year's Eve fun. The evening starts with an interactive murder mystery comedy show that includes a three-course dinner prepared by La Paloma's executive chef, followed by a variety of performers featuring the reigning Arizona Stage Magician of the Year. The traditional countdown to the New Year includes hats, noisemakers, champagne toast, balloon drop and dancing. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31. Westin La Paloma, 3500 E. Sunrise Ave. $199, price includes a room. Call for tickets: 1-800-266-4800.
New Year’s Eve with Tap and Bottle: Ring in the New Year with your friends at Tap and Bottle. Dj Carl Hanni will spin up some tunes for some New Year's grooves as you sip on some champagne at midnight. 9 p.m. to midnight-ish. Saturday, Dec. 31. Tap and Bottle, 403 N. Sixth Ave. Free, bring money for alcohol.
Rick Braun’s New Year’s Eve Getaway: You can't be in Paris on Midnight, but you can be at a jazzy New Year's Eve Paris-themed event that starts with a reception, entertainment and appetizers, music by guitarist Marc Antoine and a delicious gourmet meal. Rick Braun, host and trumpeter extraordinaire, will be joined by singer-songwriter Jeffrey Osborne and saxophonist Richard Elliot. Over two days, enjoy seven hours of live music, dancing, champagne and all the fun of a golf tournament and silent auction. The event sold out last year, so head to tucsonnewyearseve.com to snag your ticket now. Friday Dec. 30 and Saturday, Dec. 31. $209+. JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort, 3800 W. Starr Pass Blvd.
Old Vegas: Hotel Congress is turning into Old Vegas on New Year's Eve with casino games, swanky cocktails, live music, Elvis and Frank, and a champagne toast. MC Tempest Du Jour will be there with a gaggle of showgirls. Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St. $25-$125.
Ring in the New Year at the Ritz: The Ritz-Carlton at Dove Mountain is hosting an elegant five-course New Year's Eve dinner with live entertainment. Stick around for the Fireworks Hike, which takes place at 11 p.m. $65 plus tax and gratuity. Call 572-3050 for reservations and more details. 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31. Ritz-Carlton at Dove Mountain, 5000 N. Secret Springs Drive.
Retro Rockets: Dance the night away as the Retro Rockets blast you into the New Year. The family friendly show includes a three-course dinner, party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. Call Robin for reservations and info 884-5530. 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31. Westward Look Resort, 245 E. Ina Road.
A night at the Carriage House: The Carriage House is celebrating the New Year with light hors d'oeuvres, followed by a five-course, wine-paired dinner featuring Chef Janos' greatest hits, and dessert with a sparkling wine and live music. A percentage (20 percent) of the proceeds will benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona, an organization that provides a home away from home for families who have traveled far to bring their children to Tucson for medical treatment. 7-10:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31. The Carriage House, 125 S. Arizona Ave. $150 per person, reservation required.
1912 Brewing: Not a night owl? Bring the kids to celebrate the New Year as it hits the East Coast. 1912 Brewing will have crafts, movies snacks plus party punch and horchata to keep the kids happy while you “ring in” 2017 at 10 p.m. with some complimentary champagne. 7 p.m. Saturday. Dec. 31. 1912 Brewing, 2045 N. Forbes Blvd.
Fun in General
Cocoa 5k run/walk: Resolutions or a detox on your list at the beginning of 2017? Consider a run/walk. On New Year’s Day, kick off 2017 with the third annual Cocoa 5k run/walk in Oro Valley. The race will take place along the multi-use path, beginning at Steam Pump Ranch, and will include snacks, water and of course, hot cocoa. This is a professionally-timed race, and prizes will be awarded to the overall male and female winners and five-year age group categories. T-shirts will be available for sale. Children 12 and under race for free with paying adult. Proceeds will benefit Oro Valley’s Round Up for Youth Recreation Scholarship Program. 11 a.m. (registration starts at 9:45 a.m.) Sunday, Jan. 1. Steam Pump Ranch, 10901 N. Oracle Road. $25.
Treecycle: Already thinking about the logistics of ditching your Christmas tree? The city has your back. Starting the day after Christmas and continuing through mid January, you can drop your naked, dying tree off at one of nine Treecycle locations throughout Tucson and Oro Valley. The city is mulching the trees, and will have free wood chips available at a few of their locations after Jan. 4.
Being Feminist: What Feminism Means to Me Opening Reception: Yes, feminism counts as fun. Really. The YWCA is hosting a new exhibition based on pieces made by local artists create in response to the question, “What does Feminism mean to me?” In addition to the traditional opening night fun, the reception will feature The Clothesline Project courtesy of Emerge! T-shirts designed by survivors of domestic abuse. Busy that night? The exhibition itself is on display until March 13, so you’ve got plenty of time to stop in. 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6. The Galleria at the YWCA, 525 N. Bonita Ave.
Terry Trash and the Trainwrecks: By far the best flat-out rock ’n’ roll band in Tucson, and maybe the region, or even the country. In-yer-face bands like this just don’t exist anymore. The Trainwrecks bust out a pro-booze, pro-drug, pro-fuck-shit-up racket, a beastly rockabilly tinged punk-out crammed with hilarious self-deprecating asides and fat, shout-out choruses. And every live show’s like a proper rock ’n’ roll blowout—the band is either brilliant or utter shit, and even when they’re utter shit it’s still a blast because the beer flies, things topple over, ears ring and someone’s insulted in one way or another. Gifted frontman Terry Trash was born to do this, and you sense there’s nothing else in life for him. He’s a strangely beautiful and a hugely storied Tucsonan who has lived hard and homeless, and he’s literally broken—down a few limbs after mishap with roaring train. Just in terms of frolic and fright—the very ideas upon which the devil’s music was created—Terry Trash and the Trainwrecks jam it home. This “F@#K 2016” show also features Border Town Devils, Junkie Vomit, Stubborn Old Bastard, Sindicate, and Blue Collar Criminals. Friday, Dec. 30, at Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress. 6:30 p.m. $5-$7. All ages.
Whispering Wires: There’s a frightening little musical subtext beneath the surface of Whispering Wires’ hooky, guitar-based pop-dirge. Sonically the songs suggest one thing—they’re almost downright joyful sounding, and the members obviously have fun playing them—yet there’s something else going on … a sinister something. It’s like suburbia, where you can move through miles of repetitive landscape and scenes yet sense something is truly off. The band’s 2014 song “Breathe In,” for example, tweaks a guitar hook just so, and lyrics tell of hiding from the world and finally being able to breath in, and it works as a fun little existential parable, yet the vocal harmony throughout makes it a totally rewarding listen. The tune was on heavy rotation down here at the Weekly HQ for weeks. With Heebee Jeebies at The Flycatcher, 340 E. Sixth St. 9 p.m. 21+. Free.
Mondo Monday: It’s as cold as it gets in our little corner of the desert, and no one is going to blame you for spending a little extra time indoors, watching movies—especially if you do so with others! The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd., has a few events coming up to keep you cozy and entertained. January is creepy crawlies month for Mondo Mondays and kick off with Frogs, the tale of cold green skin against soft, warm flesh. Things go totally “environ-mental” when a crotchety, nature-hating millionaire hosts a party on his private island and discovers that it’s payback time when thousands of vindictive frogs get hopping mad and whip every bug and slimy creature into a toxic frenzy. 8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 2. $3.
Mad Max Fury Road Black & Chrome: Director George Miller has secured a place in many hearts with the majesty of Mad Max Fury Road. But, if Miller had his way, our whole Fury Road experience would have been different. Less colorful. Revisit the apocalyptic feminist hell dream in black and white, as it was meant to be seen at the Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. Dec. 30-Jan. 1. Times for vary by day.
Li'l Quinquin: A pair of bumbling small town detectives investigate a hilariously strange mystery involving murder, madness and farm animals in director Bruno Dumont’s one-of-a-kind comedy/thriller Li’l Quinquin. Catch a free screening of this French comedy/thriller next Friday, courtesy of the Loft, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 29. Free.