Friday, January 20, 2017

Dos Amigos and the Gaslight Way

Posted By on Fri, Jan 20, 2017 at 1:05 PM

If, while you are attending the theater, you hear boos and hisses and drum ba-da-bings indicating groaner jokes, you are probably at the Gaslight Theatre, purveyor of silliness, song and—well, more silliness. For nearly 40 years, the Gaslight has been providing fun live entertainment suitable for you, your children and your grand-pa's-and-ma's in an unapologetic campy way. Those seeking high art and sophistication should go elsewhere.

  • Gaslight Theatre
Running now is Two Amigos, a transmogrified version of a 1986 movie, Three Amigos. Here, two friends (didn't see that coming, did you?) come to town where there's a bully rich man, Comandante Maximo (Todd Thompson), who is interested in taking more than he already has and threatens those who might have a seriously well-honed ethical streak. I can't even remember specifically why these amigos (Jake Chapman and Mike Yarema) were needed. Wait—oh yeah, Maximo is challenging the current good-guy leadership, Enrique Bautista (Jacob Brown.) Of course, there are also some women (played by Janee Page, Heather Stricker and Erin Thompson) involved on both sides of the issue. The plot always features the good guys vs. the bad guys, and, yes, it's the guys, not the gals, that get the most attention in Peter Van Slyke's script.

  • Gaslight Theatre
Besides bringing us very good actor/singers, the Gaslight also feature terrifically conceived and  executed low-tech devices (like escaping on galloping horses that—oh, really, you pretty much have to see to appreciate) and familiar tunes that have also gone through some happy modification. Then musical director Linda Ackermann waves her magic hands over the keyboards and with help from a bassist and drummer coalesces with the actors for some really fine singing and a dance step or two as they convey their Good vs. Evil story. And all this while you are able to eat pizza and munch on free popcorn to your heart's desire.

  • Gaslight Theatre
The Gaslight features a company of regulars who have this stuff down and make it look easy. But that doesn't mean it is. Not only do they do the headline show, but they always have a themed olio, or variety show, which actually gives you an even better idea of the talent and skill of these performers. So don't get up and make for the exit after the Two Amigos clean up the town and save the day. In this show after the show, the "Country Barn Dance," some of our favorite country singers make an appearance (channeled through the cast, of course.)

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Weekly List: 15 Things To Do In Tucson In The Next 10 Days

Posted By on Thu, Jan 19, 2017 at 4:30 PM

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.

Party Weekend

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.

Southern Arizona Sanctuary Movement Makes a Statement

Posted By on Thu, Jan 19, 2017 at 3:22 PM

Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric and his campaign promise to deport as many undocumented immigrants as he can has helped give the nation's church-led sanctuary movement a rebirth. And it's fitting that Tucson, the birthplace of the modern sanctuary movement, should be involved.

Reporter Paul Ingram has an excellent article on the history of the modern sanctuary movement and its current activity in the Tucson Sentinel. That's where you should go for more details. Here are the first few paragraphs of his article.
With the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump just days away, religious leaders from 19 congregations in Tucson announced Wednesday that they were committed to "radical welcome," as part of a reborn Sanctuary movement determined to shelter refugees and unauthorized immigrants from deportation.

Nearly 100 people filled benches in the kiva-style sanctuary at Southside Presbyterian Church and listened as church pastor Rev. Allison Harrington announced that the church would join "Sanctuary Rising," a movement involving 700 religious congregations nationwide whose members agreed to buck several of Trump's proposed policies, including the immediate deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants.

Church members agreed to work against the incoming Trump administration's plan to create a "special deportation force" and quickly deport 2-3 million illegal aliens.

"As people of faith and people of conscience, we pledge to resist the newly elected administration's policy proposals to target and deport millions of undocumented immigrants and discriminate against marginalized communities," Harrington said, reading the pledge. "Tonight we come together in this new historical moment," she said. "And we commit ourselves to love and justice, and radical welcome."

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Cinema Clips: Patriots Day

Posted By on Thu, Jan 19, 2017 at 2:17 PM

The latest collaboration between director Peter Berg and actor Mark Wahlberg, Patriots Day, stands as not only a valuable tribute to the victims and heroes of the Boston Marathon bombings, but a solid, meaningful, gritty look at what it took to take down the terrorist Tsarnaev brothers.

Wahlberg plays Sgt. Tommy Saunders, another one of those fictional composite characters that often show up in historical dramas. You may forgive this kind of artistic license, because the goal of Patriots Day is to take you through the entire drama, from the bombing itself, through to the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (Alex Wolff) inside a boat in somebody’s backyard.

There probably wasn’t a single person who was at all of the events leading to the ultimate capture of the final living suspect in the bombings. It’s best to just view the Wahlberg character as a partial representation of the heroism and diligence that led to that arrest.

This is the second of two Berg/Wahlberg collaborations in 2016, and it’s a good one. The film is about heroes, the heroes who worked to find the perpetrators, and the selfless, persevering heroes who were standing close to an explosive device when it went off. You’ll walk away from this movie feeling that Berg, Wahlberg and company did all of these good people justice with Patriots Day. Most importantly, it’s a moving tribute to those who lost their lives.

Win Tickets to See Orgy at the Rock on Jan. 24

Posted By on Thu, Jan 19, 2017 at 10:00 AM

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 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.

Catch them with Powerman 500, Death Valley High, Knee High Fox, Lethal Injektion, and Swindy on at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24 at The Rock (136 N. Park Ave.) Tickets to this all ages show, should you choose to buy them, are $18-$20. Or you could just enter to win below—we're giving away three pairs.

Fill out my online form.

How Not To Read The Onion

Posted By on Thu, Jan 19, 2017 at 9:54 AM

Reading the confused comments under The Onion articles is one of my favorite past times. Please enjoy these randomly chosen reactions of reading satire literally as much as I have.

The people who were appalled by SeaWorld's new specialty:


The people who had some serious concerns about an ice lawsuit:



Perfecting the intricacies of the frappuccino is truly a tricky business.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Gabe Sullivan: Songwriting Machine!

Posted By on Wed, Jan 18, 2017 at 3:49 PM

"Dude, got a guitar pick and a shot of mezcal?" - CHRIS HINKLE
  • Chris Hinkle
  • "Dude, got a guitar pick and a shot of mezcal?"
At the beginning of 2017, as winds turned cold and Mercury moved into retrograde, Gabriel Sullivan, Tucson guitar-slinger (for XIXA and Howe Gelb), record producer and prolific songwriter, embarked on an insane project; to compose, record and post a song a day for a year. 
It's a challenge he imposed upon himself once before in ‘14, in a project called The Crucible, completing an impressive 365 songs (that's right, 365 songs). Sullivan decided to bring back the project this year under the name The Resurrectionist. A creative undertaking not quite on par with the ancient Greek myth of Sisyphus—where the legendary king of Corinth is condemned to roll a heavy rock up a hill in Hades only to have it roll back down again as it nears the top repeatedly for all of eternity—but damn close.

The setting is often sparse; most vignettes find Sullivan’s throaty voice alone with a nylon string acoustic guitar. Lyrically, it's all there, Sullivan touches on time honored themes: Pain, loss, separation, love, hubris, sin, redemption. And listeners will discover instrumental skeletons and etchings that only the darkness of late night and shots of mezcal may inspire. We here at TW have to take our hats off at the sheer aspiration of the endeavour.

At the outset, this project is much the same as a greenhouse used for cultivation. For music geeks, the type that titillates the imagination with possibility. A creative form of Darwinism, if you will, wherein the most robust of the seeds will continue to germinate then bloom in various contexts; finding their place on albums and setlists. The other seeds will inevitably freeze in the cold or wither under the mercurial sun.

Check out Song A Day Project: The Resurrectionist here.

Here's the latest:

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Trump's Election Has Been Very Good For K12 Inc.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 18, 2017 at 2:10 PM

The impending demise of K12 Inc., the for-profit online school corporation, has been an occasional source of schadenfreude in my posts. Online education as the sole source of schooling for K-12 students is a bad idea for all but a few people, and K12 Inc. needs millions of students, which requires a regular infusion of new students, to make a profit. The corporation's schools are failures by nearly every standard you can apply to them, and its stock prices have fallen steadily as a result. It had all the earmarks of a failing corporation, and I watched expectantly for it to crash and burn.

That changed November 9, the day after Trump's election. As you can see on the stock report at the top of the post, K12 Inc.'s stock price has soared since that fateful day. The Trump-era market is bullish on for-profit privatization in all its forms, including education.

Now, along comes Betsy DeVos as Trump's pick for Secretary of Education. DeVos is a champion of school choice—charters, vouchers and homeschooling. So long as it helps dismantle the school district model of public education (and where possible, promotes religious education), she's for it. In Michigan, DeVos' home state where she spends millions of dollars buying pro-school-choice politicians and setting up nonprofit advocacy groups, 80 percent of the charter schools are for profit, and accountability is kept to an absolute minimum. Even charter advocates complain that the Wild West approach to charters allows too many low quality Michigan schools to remain open.

But charter schools don't do well in sparsely populated areas where distances work against them. That's one reason DeVos and other school choicers support online education, where your "school" is always as close as your computer. Distance is no obstacle for distance learning, so online schooling opens up rural education markets.

We know DeVos held an "investment interest" in K12 Inc. before it went public, but we have no way of knowing if that continued. We may find out if she makes a full financial disclosure during her confirmation hearings.

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Staff Pick

Frida’s Roots: The Evolution of Archetypes and Identity in the Corridos of the Borderlands

This presentation will provide a synopsis of the origins of the corrido (folk ballad), the role it… More

@ Tucson Botanical Gardens Thu., Jan. 26, 6-7:30 p.m. 2150 N. Alvernon Way.

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