Friday, September 23, 2016

Casa Video Top 10

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 6:07 PM

Mooooovies! Here's your weekly look at what's hot at Casa Video:

  1. Captain America: Civil War

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Song of the Day: 'The Jones' by John D. Loudermilk

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 5:18 PM

Songwriter John D. Loudermilk called it quits this past week at the age of 82. But man was he a master of songcraft, of disguised defiance and blinky humor, and building on the musical bones that'd come before him. In fact, the kickass-named Loudermilk is known for many oddball things in song, but not for this Hoyt Axton-helmed ’69 Nashville masterpiece, The Open Mind of John D. Loudermilk, one of a handful of albums he recorded for RCA/Victor in the ’60s. It's a mad pastiche of psych, straight-up country, pop, protest folk, with sitar drones and big-band nods and lots of plucky acoustics, as well as a treasure-trove of beat philosophies, well-sketched characters and swampy epistles to bizarre loves (including a graveyard romp).

My fave among faves here is “The Jones’.” In the album’s notes, Loudermilk writes that he penned the tune “for those who fall for Madison Avenue ‘truth,’ Haight-Ashbury ‘freedom’ and Washington D.C., 'advice and assistance.'” He nailed it too. The song's a perfect little pop parable that Tim Hardin could’ve written, with sweet dynamic shifts, panning backup vocals, and a gentle acoustic guitar that builds to a chorus that’s as a sugary a protest as you’ll likely ever hear.    

In honor of J.D. Loudermilk, we say goodnight, brilliant sir, and sweet dreams.  

**If you can the find the Omni Recording Corporation’s beautiful 2007 reissue of this album, it features restored audio straight off the master tape reels, as well the album John D. Loudermilk Sings A Bizarre Collection of the Most Beautiful Songs, plus his versions of songs he wrote that others had hits with including the ubiquitous “Tobacco Road,” “Indian Reservation” (called “The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian”) and “The Little Bird” (and seek out Marianne Faithful’s tender version).

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'TUSD Kids First' Amasses $35,000 War Chest From Large Donations

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 3:30 PM

  • Courtesy of Shutterstock
If you've been driving around town lately, you've probably seen the signs lining the roadsides and medians: "Change the Board!" and "Change the Board! Rustand, Stegeman, Betts." The Board referred to on the signs is, of course, the TUSD Governing Board. The group paying the bill is TUSD Kids First.

If you're a Facebook user who's interested in local education, most likely you've also seen the TUSD Kids First posts which began showing up in February of this year. Most of them are links to stories which appeared in online publications and blogs, local newspapers and television news. The vast majority of the stories are critical of TUSD. The most recurrent phrase in the comment area above the story is "the dysfunctional 3-2 board."

Until the signs showed up on Tucson's streets, indicating that TUSD Kids First has some serious money behind it, it looked like a small grassroots group highly critical of TUSD Superintendent Sanchez and three board members: Adelita Grijalva, Kristel Foster and Cam Juarez. But a look at the Pima County government's Campaign Finance website shows that it's an independent expenditure committee which filed its papers in early February. In its most recent filing, it reported receiving a total of $35,150 in donations as of Aug. 18 of this year.

Five donors accounted for $31,500 of the funds received. The committee's chair, Jimmy Lovelace, contributed $3,334. Its treasurer, Kathleen Campbell, contributed $8,170. The other major contributors are Jim Click, $7,500, Cody Richie, $7,500, and Tom Regina, $5,000.

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Get In The Mood For Pride With Your New Favorite Coming Out Song

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 2:45 PM

Happy Celebrate Bisexuality Day, everybody! Are you celebrating? Gettin' bi alright?

As we detailed in this week's cover storyTucson Pride is happening next week and you should be there. Spotify has a few pretty spectacular playlists to help you get in a Pride state of mind, but I personally believe you need to start with the video above: "Gettin' Bi" from Crazy Ex Girlfriend.  

The rest of your "Getting Ready For Pride" to do list: Buy a ticket, apply to be a vendor/parade and, of course, read up on the changes from last year. 

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CM Punk and the UFC: Dishonorable and Disrespectful

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 2:15 PM

Phillip Brooks, better know as CM Punk, went from WWE Champion to 0-1 UFC fighter. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Phillip Brooks, better know as CM Punk, went from WWE Champion to 0-1 UFC fighter.

Phillip Brooks, better known by his ring name CM Punk, went from World Wrestling Entertainment Champion to having a 0-1 record in the Ultimate Fighting Championship in UFC 203 on Sept.  10.

The 37-year-old former professional wrestler's debut only last two minutes and 14 seconds and
lost by submission to 2-0 fighter Mickey Gall, who is 24. This was Punk’s dream: To get the chance to fight in the UFC and the bravery to go into the octagon is commendable. But, what is the dream and how brave is he really?

Punk is well set. He has been wrestling for most of his life and has been able to clime the ranks in that world and he reached stardom in the WWE, which comes with a pretty penny. He built a legion of fans which still support him even after he left the WWE two years ago. His status allowed him to receive the three fight contract with the UFC with no past experience. Fairly easy when you think about his opponent's journey.

Gall has been fighting since he was 13-years-old. Training hard, climbing the ropes in mixed martial arts and has been able to reach the UFC. Sound familiar? However, Gall has a long way if he wishes to reach the level Punk did in the WWE, which in the UFC is uncertain.

Unlike in the WWE, where superstars are chosen and match results decided based on crowd reaction and on the “buy rate,” the fighters in the UFC are a sort of independent contractor. There results decide whether or not you get another fight. If Gall would have lost this fight, more certain then not, he would not have another fight in the UFC until he showed his stripes, again. 

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McCain and Kirkpatrick Split on AZ Min Wage Prop

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 1:30 PM

Sen. John McCain received the endorsement of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce from President Javier Palomarez earlier this year - . - STEVE POPE
  • Steve Pope
  • Sen. John McCain received the endorsement of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce from President Javier Palomarez earlier this year.
When it comes to the minimum-wage issues, there’s a huge gulf between Sen. John McCain and his Democratic challenger, Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick.

Last week, Kirkpatrick came out in support of Prop 206, the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act that voters will decide in the November election.

The proposition would increase the Arizona minimum wage from the current $8.05 an hour to $10 in 2017 and $12 by 2020, with future increases based on cost-of-living adjustments. It would also mandate that employers provide with at least three days of sick leave.

Kirkpatrick said that she encouraged “every voter to stand with Arizona families” in a prepared statement.

“No one who works 40 hours a week should have to live in poverty and decide between buying groceries, medicine or paying the bills,” said Kirkpatrick. “Raising the minimum wage offers hardworking families the opportunity to put food on the table, care for their children, and creates a better future for our state.”

But in an interview with the Weekly, McCain said the proposition would be bad for Arizona families.

“Twice I’ve talked to groups of franchisees here in Arizona, Taco Bell and McDonalds, those places that give you the first rung on the ladder,” McCain said. “They said, ‘Fine. The next time you drive up to a window, you won’t be talking to a person. The next time you they hand you a hamburger and French fries, it will come out a slot. … They have a certain profit margin. They cannot raise their cost of their product or people will stop purchasing it. So what are they going to do? They’re going to automate. So somebody is going to have to convince me that it’s good for employment in America, and I don’t think it is.”

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ART's 'Epic' Fail

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 12:35 PM

Extra turned director, Phil (Matthew Osvog) goes a bit too far in this scene with Carl (Thomas Tyler West), the Queen (Shira Maas), Benny (Zachary Zupke) and Louise (Tyler Reaser) from the comedy Epic Proportions, presented by Arizona Repertory Theatre at the UA. - ED FLORES
  • Ed Flores
  • Extra turned director, Phil (Matthew Osvog) goes a bit too far in this scene with Carl (Thomas Tyler West), the Queen (Shira Maas), Benny (Zachary Zupke) and Louise (Tyler Reaser) from the comedy Epic Proportions, presented by Arizona Repertory Theatre at the UA.

I suppose it has to be done for the students. Arizona Repertory Theatre is a part of the theater program at the UA, and although there are many factors guiding the choice of plays for a given season, one of the foremost would logically be to give students a range of plays that would demand varied skills. That would result in the young thespians being exposed to lots of different types of plays, presenting challenges not only for the actors, but the designers as well.

I really can’t think of another reason that those who make these sorts of decisions would bring us Epic Proportions, a play so unarguably bad that this must be the lesson where you learn how to work with really bad material. Director Brent Gibbs oversees the action here, and in his ever capable hands the cast and crew have worked hard to make us smile at all the silliness.

I wasn’t familiar with this play by Larry Coen and David Crane, and since ART usually brings us really fine productions, I was eager to experience this one.

But what was revealed in a big, bold way was a farce/melodrama sort of thing that’s mostly just a string of jokes and sight gags. The premise of the story seems fodder appropriate for such a treatment. There is a large film crew in the middle of the desert (near Tucson) working on a big-time film—think Ben-Hur and The Ten Commandments sort of thing—by big-time director D. W DeWitt—think Cecil B. DeMille. I really don’t know the exact plot of the fictional film, called Exeunt Omnes; I’m not sure we were really given that information because it’s not that important. No, the story that’s ours involves an film extra, Benny (Zachary Zupke), a young man hoping to be “discovered,” his brother Phil (Matthew Osvog) who comes to try to get him to come back home but who is himself sucked into the world of making big Hollywood films in the desert himself, and the brothers vying for the love of Louise (Tyler Reaser), who’s in charge of the extras, which number about 3400. It’s your typical epic melodrama sort of story, with chases and sword fights and mistaken identities and burning bushes that get out of hand and such, but it’s far from epic.

The students give it great effort. The thing is, this sort of stuff is really very hard to do well. Everything must be crisp, the timing perfect, actors fully committed to their personas. And this cast was invested. Sometimes their efforts made you forget that the material doesn’t deserve their investment. But they did well what they were called on to do. I'm sure there have been many
lessons learned.

The opening night audience, which was stuffed with students, seemed to enjoy
themselves immensely. And really, if this is the kind of silliness that might
entice some of them back to see the better stuff, I’m all for it.

Epic Proportions
Presented by Arizona Repertory Theatre
Various times Thursdays through Sundays through Oct. 9
Marroney Theatre on the University campus
Near Park and Speedway
Running time: 90 minutes with no intermission

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Letter With 160 Signers Opposes NAACP's Proposed Moratorium on Charter Schools

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 5:14 PM


Six weeks ago, I wrote a post about a resolution from the NAACP calling for a moratorium on new charter schools. It's important to note, the resolution calls for a moratorium on opening new schools, not a shuttering of current schools, though one of its purposes is to take a closer look at those already operating in black communities, some of which, the resolution says, are the educational equivalent of subprime mortgages. The resolution is pending. It should be voted on sometime this year. 

Now there's a response, a letter with 160 signers, which begins, "Dear Esteemed NAACP Board Members," and sings the praises of charter schools, especially those in black neighborhoods. The letter asks that members of the NAACP board meet with representatives of the signers to discuss the resolution and, they hope, decide to vote it down.

The effort is spearheaded by two organizations, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and the Black Alliance for Educational Options. Both groups are heavily funded by some of the deepest pockets in the privatization/"education reform" movement. In 2014 alone, the Walton Foundation, created by the Walmart fortune, gave NAPCS $1 million and BAEO $3.5 million. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave NAPCS $3 million in 2014. Its last contribution to BAEO was $250,000 in 2012. NAPCS also gets funding from at least ten other funds, including the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation and The Broad Education Foundation. I couldn't find any information on other BAEO funders.

Clearly, these aren't small, community-based grassroots organizations. They're significant, well funded players in the vast charter/voucher ground game.

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Staff Pick

APCOT Presents The Singer Songwriter Series

Varied artists bring their unique talents to APCOT. Local celebrity judges will select the artists that will… More

@ APCOT Theater Wed., Sept. 14, 6:30-9 p.m., Wed., Sept. 28, 6:30-9 p.m., Wed., Oct. 12, 6:30-9 p.m., Wed., Oct. 26, 6:30-9 p.m., Wed., Nov. 9, 6:30-9 p.m. and Wed., Nov. 30, 6:30-9 p.m. 8892 E. Tanque Verde

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Popular Content

  1. CM Punk and the UFC: Dishonorable and Disrespectful (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  2. 'TUSD Kids First' Amasses $35,000 War Chest From Large Donations (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  3. ART's 'Epic' Fail (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  4. McCain and Kirkpatrick Split on AZ Min Wage Prop (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  5. Get In The Mood For Pride With Your New Favorite Coming Out Song (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)

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