Friday, January 6, 2017

You Can Now Avoid the Grant/Kolb/Tanque Verde Intersection

Posted By on Fri, Jan 6, 2017 at 8:00 AM


With the opening of Airmen Memorial Bridge, eastsiders now have an option to avoid the fustercluck intersection of Grant/Kolb/Tanque Verde roads: A direct link between Kolb and Sabino Canyon roads.

The $12.3 million RTA project was controversial—some of the neighbors living west of Udall Park were fiercely opposed to plan—but the idea was to reduce traffic at Grant/Kolb/Tanque Verde by creating a new bridge over the Pantano Wash. The route should also reduce the number of people who need to head north by turning left at the intersection of Tanque Verde and Sabino Canyon roads.

The new bridge is named for 18 airmen who died following a mid-air collision of two B-24 Liberators on a training mission over the Pantano Wash on Nov. 30, 1944, according to city spokesman Michael Graham.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Ward 3 Tucson City Council Candidate Pool Is Filling Up

Posted By on Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 4:58 PM

Tucson City Council candidate Paul Durham: "With President-elect Trump leading the federal government, we will need to solve our own problems here in Tucson."
  • Tucson City Council candidate Paul Durham: "With President-elect Trump leading the federal government, we will need to solve our own problems here in Tucson."
Today brings not just one, but two candidates into the race for the seat now held by retiring Tucson City Councilwoman. Karin Uhlich.

Business owner Tom Tronsdal and attorney Paul Durham both announced bids for the north-central Ward 3 seat.

The two Democrats join property manager Morgan Abraham and teacher Felicia Chew as in August's Democratic primary to replace Uhlich, who is stepping down after 12 years on the council.

Tronsdal, a Salpointe grad who owns the Canyon Fence Company, said in a prepared statement that Tucson "has seen positive momentum under the leadership of the current City Council and outgoing Councilmember Karin Uhlich, but there is still much to do. We must continue to build on our economic growth, improve public safety, and ensure the concerns of our residents are heard, respected, and addressed.

Durham, a solar-energy advocate who spent a year as chief of staff for former Ward 6 Councilwoman Nina Trasoff, said he got into the race "because I care strongly about our quality of life, neighborhoods, jobs, transportation and sustainability. With President-elect Trump leading the federal government, we will need to solve our own problems here in Tucson. We need strong local leaders to continue moving our city forward. It is crucial that we continue to improve our infrastructure, public safety and quality of life for every Tucsonan.”

Libertarian Julian Mazza has also filed to run in the November general election.

Correction: This post has been updated to correct the spelling of Felicia Chew's name.

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Cinema Clips: Fences

Posted By on Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 12:15 PM

Denzel Washington directs and stars as Troy Maxson, an ex baseball player in the 1950s. It’s a role originated on Broadway in a 1987 Tony winning performance by James Earl Jones. Washington starred in the 2010 Broadway revival (for which he also won a Tony), and now takes another shot at this great character penned by August Wilson. Viola Davis, who co-starred with Washington on Broadway (yep, another Tony), plays Rose, Troy’s long-suffering wife.

The two try to raise a son of their own (Jovan Adepo) while contending with Troy’s children from past relationships and present affairs. Some of 2016’s finest performances are contained in the movie, including Washington and, most notably, Davis, who should find herself in contention for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

The movie suffers from that feeling that it is a filmed play. The staging is lackluster and drab, and some of the writing feels a tad melodramatic, far more suitable for a live performance than a motion picture. The whole thing would play much better as a TV movie rather than something for the big screen.

Still, you can’t take away from Washington and Davis performances, and Washington definitely has a knack from getting great work from his cast.

The Weekly List: 21 Things To Do In Tucson In The Next 10 Days

Posted By on Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 9:34 AM

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: 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.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Grijalva Blasts GOP Plan To Use Fuzzy Math To Justify Federal Land Sales

Posted By on Wed, Jan 4, 2017 at 1:13 PM

Congressman Raul Grijalva: "The House Republican plan to give away America’s public lands for free is outrageous and absurd.” - TRICIA MCINROY
  • Tricia McInroy
  • Congressman Raul Grijalva: "The House Republican plan to give away America’s public lands for free is outrageous and absurd.”
While most of the focus on the Republican-controlled Congress' new set of rules focused on the gutting of the Office of Congressional Ethics, there was another provision that could lead to the fleecing of taxpayers: A new way to value federal land if its sold off to states or local governments that would hide how the sale increases the deficit.

Basically, to hide the true cost of selling off federal land, the Congressional Budget Office has been instructed to no longer consider the revenues that the federal land brings in via leases, recreational fees

The Hill has details:

House Republicans are endorsing a procedural change to make it easier for Congress to transfer federal land to state or local government agencies.

The provision in the package of House rules due for a vote Tuesday would prohibit the Congressional Budget Office from taking into account lost federal revenue from energy production, logging, recreation or other uses when it decides whether a piece of legislation is revenue-neutral or would contribute to the federal deficit.
Southern Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ03) blasted the plan in a statement to the press:

“The House Republican plan to give away America’s public lands for free is outrageous and absurd,” Grijalva said. “This proposed rule change would make it easier to implement this plan by allowing the Congress to give away every single piece of property we own, for free, and pretend we have lost nothing of any value. Not only is this fiscally irresponsible, but it is also a flagrant attack on places and resources valued and beloved by the American people.”

Grijalva added that state and local governments often don't have the financial resources to purchase the land, so vast tracts would likely be snatched up by private developers.

“The proposal is one more example of the Trump Republican’s plans to use federal resources to enrich wealthy developers by making it easier for them to get their hands on invaluable federal lands currently owned by, and open to, all Americans,” Grijalva said.

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Private School Vouchers Are Bad For Arizona. Discuss.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 4, 2017 at 11:18 AM

It's almost a sure thing that the Republican-led AZ legislature will try to add more funding and more students to our two private school voucher systems this year. They try it every year, and they usually succeed. The only questions are, what will their additions look like, and will they make it to Gov. Ducey's desk?

The Arizona School Boards Association has put together a three minute primer on the state's two voucher systems: Student Tuition Organizations (aka backdoor vouchers) and Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (aka Educational Savings Accounts, also aka Vouchers on Steroids). The information in the video is pretty accurate, though it's possible to quibble around the edges. As for its anti-voucher slant, which I agree with, you don't have to agree to learn more about how the two programs work.

Remember, vouchers have nothing to do with charters. Charters are publicly-funded, privately run schools which get more-or-less the same amount of tax dollars per student as district schools. Vouchers are about using tax dollars to pay for tuition to private schools.

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Cinema Clips: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Posted By on Wed, Jan 4, 2017 at 9:01 AM

There was a quick little moment in the very first Star Wars (now known as Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) where a character mentions rebels possibly obtaining vulnerability secrets regarding the Death Star. That group of people actually gets their own movie in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, a Star Wars spinoff that is technically another prequel.

It, in fact, tells a story that leads right up to where A New Hope begins. It’s a strong, rousing action adventure movie that should please Star Wars geeks along with newcomers to the franchise. It’s also a little different from your typical Star Wars movie in that it doesn’t mainly deal with the Skywalker saga (although a couple of them make notable appearances) and doesn’t prominently feature the John Williams score (although that makes some appearances, as well).

Director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) goes for something a little different here, a tonal shift that reminds of the big change The Empire Strikes Back brought to the saga. The result is a different kind of Star Wars film that is immensely entertaining and fun. Felicity Jones is terrific as Jyn, a woman who finds herself with strange ties to the Death Star, and becomes part of the effort to destroy it.

Star Wars fans will delight in all of the tie-ins and cameos, while newcomers will simply have a blast with an action movie that delivers on many fronts.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Looks Like the Office of Congressional Ethics Is Still in Business—For Now

Posted By on Tue, Jan 3, 2017 at 2:10 PM

You know the GOP-controlled Congress is off to a embarrassing start when members are called on ethical grounds by President-elect Donald Trump.

If you haven't already heard, the GOP caucus last night, behind closed doors, came up with a a plan to gut the the Office of Congressonal Ethics by eliminating its ability to investigate anonymous complaints and blocking it from releasing results of investigations to the public.

When news of the changes broke today, the GOP caucus changed course in the face of public outrage—not to mention the Donald's tweet—and decided to leave the ethics office as it is—for now.

Politico has the basics:

Following a public outcry, and tweeted criticism from President-elect Donald Trump, House Republicans reversed course Tuesday on a proposal to gut their own ethics watchdog.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) called an emergency House GOP conference Tuesday around noon to scrap a proposed House rule that would have effectively declawed the Office of Congressional Ethics. The proposal, which House Republicans approved behind closed doors Monday night, would have defied Trump’s “drain the swamp” mantra aimed at making Washington more transparent and less cozy.

But McCarthy's motion to restore the current OCE set-up was adopted by unanimous consent after Trump himself got involved — an intervention that irritated a number of House Republicans who supported the move to neuter the ethics office.

“We shot ourselves in the foot,” said Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), who said the ethics snafu was an unnecessary self-inflicted wound. “Sometimes people have to learn the hard way.”
Yesterday's vote on the amendment to the House Rules was anonymous, so we don't know how many of the members of Congress voted, although Talking Points Memo is keeping a scorecard of representatives who have disclosed how they voted. So far, Southern Arizona Rep. Martha McSally has not answered. The Weekly has reached out to McSally's office ask how she voted and whether she'd support future changes to how the Office of Congressional Ethics operates.

UPDATE: McSally spokesman Patrick Ptak tells the Weekly that McSally voted against the amendment to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics and "believes that any approach to reform the OCE should be bipartisan."

Newly elected U.S. Rep. Tom O'Halleran, who campaigned on pushing a better ethical culture in Washington, was out the gate early today with a statement condemning the proposed changes.

“It is simply unbelievable that the first thing some of my colleagues want to do in this Congress is gut the independent ethics watchdog,” said O’Halleran. “This is the exact opposite of what we should be doing. Congress needs greater accountability and transparency.”

The Weekly has contacted O'Halleran's office for a response to the GOP's reversal. We're also waiting to hear back from Southern Arizona's other congressional representative, Democrat Raul Grijalva, who is supposed to have a statement later today. We'll update as we hear more.

UPDATE: O'Halleran promised to pursue legislation to protect the Office of Congressional Ethics in a statement to the press:

I am glad to see Republican leaders chose to reverse the proposed changes to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) that would weaken the independent watchdog group that holds Congress accountable. The American people deserve a transparent and accountable government. I will be introducing legislation in the coming weeks that funds the Office of Congressional Ethics and gives the Committee the power to fully investigate cases of fraud, conflicts of interest, and other ethics violations.

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Staff Pick


Grave robbing, torture, possessed nuns, and a satanic Sabbath: this legendary 1922 silent film uses a series… More

@ Loft Cinema Sun., Jan. 22, 7:30 p.m. 3233 E. Speedway Blvd.

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