Nostalgia

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Secret Sisters and Other Indie Heartbreakers

Posted By on Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 9:40 PM

The Secret Sisters play an Americana Ladies Night at SXSW. It's the first time Lydia and Laura Rogers bring their melancholy old-timey ballads to the festival in Austin, Texas. - DANYELLE KHMARA
  • Danyelle Khmara
  • The Secret Sisters play an Americana Ladies Night at SXSW. It's the first time Lydia and Laura Rogers bring their melancholy old-timey ballads to the festival in Austin, Texas.

The Secret Sisters are as joyful on stage as their songs are depressing. Laura and Lydia Rogers love the dark days.

“We sell antidepressants at our shows,” Laura jokes on stage at Cooper’s BBQ’s Americana Music Association showcase, which became Americana Ladies’ Night when the organizers realized all their headliners were women.

In front of a brick wall with a neon Budweiser sign over the shape of Texas, the Alabama women sing “Bad Habit,” a song their mother calls “intense.”

The huge head of a longhorn bull looks down on them as they harmonize with a rapturous twang. Over 100 people sit on the floor, fill the tables and stand along the walls. The whole room is silent, enchanted.

Between songs, Lydia tunes her guitar, and Laura chats with the audience, joking and telling stories. Chewing gum, she tells them about meeting the Everly Brothers. Laura says she was so excited, she burst into tears, and they weren’t pretty tears. She looked like she’d “just been born—red and shiny and wet."

The sisters love music from another time, and most of their favorite musicians are dead. It shows in their music—an old-timey feel with a sadness that’s older than they are.

“And now we’re going to segue into happier material by playing a murder ballad,” Laura says. It’s a sequel to their first murder ballad and will be on their next album, “You Don’t Own Me Anymore,” produced by Brandi Carlile and out this summer.

“Don’t tell us if you don’t like it,” Laura tells the audience, laughing. “That’s like telling someone they have an ugly child.”

The women get a lot of their inspiration from failed relationships, which is why Laura hasn’t written a song she likes since she got married to a “redneck from Alabama” last April. So they play the last good song she wrote: “He’s Fine,” about the last man who broke her heart.

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Friday, December 2, 2016

You're a Wizard, Harry: A Harry Potter Ball at Your Favorite Barnes & Noble

Posted By on Fri, Dec 2, 2016 at 2:10 PM

GLEN BOWMAN/VIA FLICKR.COM
  • Glen Bowman/via flickr.com
Have you always known you're a witch or wizard at heart? Well, shed your muggle-ness for an evening of holiday celebration and magic at your local Barnes and Noble for the Harry Potter Magical Holiday Ball.

Barnes and Noble locations across the country will hold a Yule-ball inspired dance party at all stores in the U.S. on Friday, Dec. 9 from 7-9 p.m. Muggles of all ages are welcome to join in on the holiday fun. 

Whether you want to come in your best-dressed, as your favorite Potter character or in your Hogwarts uniform, there will be festive activities to celebrate all things Potter.

Because of the obvious popularity of this free event, Barnes and Noble said customers should call their local store ahead of time for capacity limits or special instructions.  

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Friday, September 16, 2016

Tucson Is A Vacuum—And I'm Ok With That

Posted By on Fri, Sep 16, 2016 at 1:12 AM

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION
  • Photo Illustration
In case you haven't noticed, hardly anyone that lives here is a Tucson Native. I kid you not. You can ask five different people where they are from and you will likely get the following answers: New York, Illinois, Michigan, and two other frozen over states that Satan will never step foot in. Just about everyone comes from somewhere else, and settles in here, ready to take on the hell hot summers like a champ. Because 106 degrees on a good day beats five below zero any day, right? 

Then there are those of us who aren't from here, but were dragged here by our parents as some sort of gentle take on biblical punishment. Our parents did not believe in "Spare the rod, spoil the child," but they did fully buy into "and the meek shall inherit the earth," so this was their way of wearing us down. "Bring the children to the surface of the sun," they said. "Eventually they will be so weak from their futile attempts to leave, they will have everything their hearts desire!" they said. *Insert evil laugh* 

I fall into that second category. Moved here with mom, from the coolest city in the world, New York, when I was 11. I cried when we left; she cried when we landed. Fitting. I had very little say in the matter (read: NONE), and I remember being shocked out of my mind that this desert of death with the silent "C" actually had grocery stores, stop lights, and BUSSES!  But alas, it wasn't The Big Apple, and I tried like hell to go back home. I mean, I couldn't even get a slice of pizza here! What was this place that makes you buy an ENTIRE pizza pie just so you can eat ONE STINKIN' SLICE? Every summer I lobbied, albeit unsuccessfully, for a one way ticket back to my concrete paradise. Every. Damn. Summer. And then finally, I gave up. I admitted defeat. I couldn't have my pizza, but I did have my Eegee's, so I guessed that was better than nothing. Now don't get me wrong, it was no Mario's Italian Ice in a yellow cup with a wooden spoon and the syrupy, sugary bottom—but it was somethin'. 

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Friday, September 9, 2016

Get Your Undying Classic Rock Fix With The Zombies at the Rialto

Posted By on Fri, Sep 9, 2016 at 12:30 PM

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Get ready for a flashback weekend, because The Zombies are coming to Tucson.

No, not undead, brain-eating humans, but the 1960s band that graced us with the sultry song “Time of the Season” and the twangy love song “Can’t Nobody Love You.”

Sorry, newsletter readers, this performance is happening over the weekend: Saturday, Sept. 10 at 8 p.m., the English rock band will grace the Rialto Theater, 318 E. Congress St., with local musician Brian Lopez. The show is all ages and and tickets range from $30 to $51 on Ticketfly. Doors open at 7 p.m. 

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Day Trippin' Across the Universe—or Just to the Loft for a Beatles Sing-a-Long

Posted By on Tue, Jul 12, 2016 at 1:46 PM

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The Loft Cinema (3233 E. Speedway Blvd.) is hosting A Hard Day’s Night Sing-A-Long on Saturday, July 16 at 7:30 p.m. featuring the film that typifies the height of the Beatles' revolutionary career. The movie follows John, Paul, George, and Ringo as they prep for a London TV gig in the midst of shenanigans and screaming fans. Directed by Richard Lester, A Hard Day’s Night includes some of the Beatles' most famous tracks like, “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “I Should Have Known Better,” “Tell Me Why,” and “If I Fell."

The 87-minute film will have all the lyrics to your favorite Beatles tunes displayed on screen for the optimal sing-a-long experience, and pre-show entertainment includes Beatles music videos and a costume contest. 10 bucks won't 'buy you love' but it is the general admission price, and children under 12 get in for $8. 

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

In Defense of Marijuana: #FreeKyleCatlin

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2016 at 2:53 PM

Kyle and his mom Suson. - KYLE CATLIN FACEBOOK
  • Kyle Catlin Facebook
  • Kyle and his mom Suson.

Suson Catlin has been writing letters to the Governor's Office hoping someone out there will help get her 27-year-old son, Kyle, out of prison—where he's been since mid-January over nonviolent marijuana felony charges. Unsurprisingly, she hasn't received a response. But as I imagine most mothers would, Suson is willing to exhaust all options. Hope dies last.

The night of June 23, Suson got a phone call from Kyle, saying he had been charged with assault after anotherp inmate in the Marana Community Correctional Facility jumped him and split his lip open. In response to the altercation, which Kyle repeatedly told his parents he didn't do anything but take the punches, Kyle was placed in "protective custody," also known as "the hole," or solitary. The inmate who assaulted Kyle was placed in solitary first, so he and friends threatened to kill Kyle for being "a snitch." 

After Suson made several frantic phone calls to the correctional facility, guards moved Kyle to the hole, where he remained for about a week.

To make matters worse, Kyle got transferred back to the first correctional facility he stepped foot in—the Arizona Department of Corrections' Whetstone Unit off of South Wilmont Road and East Old Vail Road. While there the first time, an inmate jumped Kyle and hurt his head. One hopes the correctional system would have enough common sense to not send a nonviolent inmate back to a place where his safety was jeopardized. But, really, they could give a shit. It is not their son. It is not their brother. It is not their friend.

"I'm not giving up, I am going to fight even more to get my son out of that hell hole," Suson wrote on Kyle's Facebook after her son told her he'd be transferred again.

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Organ Pipe Desert: A Collection of Water Tanks to Save Lives and Migrants' Belongings Left Behind

Posted By on Mon, Jun 20, 2016 at 2:30 PM

Every summer, as temperatures rise to the three digits, there are concerns for the thousands of migrants crossing through the remote areas of the Sonoran Desert. The Arizona Republic reports that 17 bodies have been recovered for the month of June and a total of 48 migrants have been found dead since the beginning of the year, according to Pima County Chief Medical Examiner Gregory Hess.

Summer is the most concerning time for immigration rights and humanitarian groups like Humane Borders and No Más Muertes/No More Deaths. The latter leaves gallons of water (all with messages of encouragement), canned food and medicine in desert areas migrants are likely to walk through. Humane Borders volunteers fill up water tanks that hold 30+ gallons, also in areas where they notice a pattern of high migrant activity. If volunteers come across migrants who need medical attention, they're prepared to help. Then, there are also times when they have to get Border Patrol involved to save people's lives.

On Thursday, I went on a 12-hour water run to the western part of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument with Joel Smith of Humane Borders. The organization also has water tanks in other portions of Organ Pipe, as well as in the desert of Altar Valley in Sasabe, and in Ironwood Forest National Monument, near Marana. 

This water saves humans. The issue of humanitarian aid shouldn't be up for discussion, even as politics continuously dehumanize migrants.

I'm eternally grateful to people like Joel, who volunteer entire days to try to save as many valuable lives as possible.

Joel Smith checking a water hose that's filling up a 30+ gallon tank. It was defective, so we manually filled up the tank 5 gallons at a time. There are two water tanks in west Organ Pipe, but they are located a considerable distance apart, which is why filling them up takes the entire day. - MARIA INÉS TARACENA
  • Maria Inés Taracena
  • Joel Smith checking a water hose that's filling up a 30+ gallon tank. It was defective, so we manually filled up the tank 5 gallons at a time. There are two water tanks in west Organ Pipe, but they are located a considerable distance apart, which is why filling them up takes the entire day.

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Friday, June 17, 2016

In Defense of Marijuana: Parents of Medical Weed Patient in Prison Fear for His Life

Posted By on Fri, Jun 17, 2016 at 9:00 AM

I met Kyle Catlin almost one year ago. As I'm writing this, he sits in protective custody at the Marana Community Correctional Facility, afraid for his life after an inmate recently jumped him and then threatened to kill him for being "a snitch."

The inmate split Kyle's lip open. The inmate now sits in solitary because of the fight. Kyle is also in "the hole" for protection. Both of them were issued a complaint even though Kyle didn't do anything, according to his father Marvin.

This wasn't the first time. A couple of months ago, another inmate in a different correctional facility jumped Kyle and split his head open.

"His appeal for the guy punching him in the mouth was denied, he has one more appeal and is working on it now. If he is denied again he will have to be put in a medium security facility," Marvin told me through Facebook a couple of days ago. We've been in touch here and there since Kyle's trial.

"He is being threatened by a group of inmates. He should be moved to protective custody tonight.
I fear for his life," Marvin said last night. 

It was a three-digit-hot August day last year, and the young medical marijuana patient/caregiver and I were supposed to talk about his upcoming two trials for nonviolent marijuana sale, possession and cultivation felony charges over some iced coffee or tea at Cafe Passé on Fourth Avenue. Kyle called me to let me know he couldn't make it because his car had broken down and he'd taken it to a shop in South Tucson. I met him there and we talked in the waiting room for at least three hours.
Kyle and his grandfather.
  • Kyle and his grandfather.


Before we got into the serious talk, he chatted about his upcoming birthday party on Aug. 15. It was his 27th birthday. 

Tall, the blondest of hair, soft spoken, kind eyes, beyond family-oriented and a die-hard fan of car racing—I remember thinking, how can he be facing the possibility of going to prison?

At the time, he had at least 10 felony charges on him. (Read more about the charges, In Defense of Marijuana, September 2015.) He told me he was afraid of going to prison. He was afraid of getting pulled into a gang, being jumped. He, without shame, said he wasn't a fighter. He'd lose a fight. But probably the biggest fear was separating from his family. They were always together.

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Butterfly Magic

Butterfly Magic is a fully immersive experience that surrounds you with rare butterflies, tropical plants and orchids… More

@ Tucson Botanical Gardens Oct. 1-May 31, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. 2150 N. Alvernon Way.

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