Friday, September 16, 2016

Cinema Clips: Eight Days a Week

Posted By on Fri, Sep 16, 2016 at 9:30 AM

Ron Howard directs the first major Beatles documentary since The Beatles Anthology in the nineties.

While Anthology is still the most definitive and damn well perfect account of the greatest band to ever walk the earth, Howard does a nice job culling footage snippets of the band during their short lived touring days, replete with screaming fans (one of them being Sigourney Weaver, who is seen in a crowd during vintage footage and in a present interview).

The surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, participate with interviews, while John Lennon and George Harrison have a strong presence in archived interviews. As with Anthology, there’s no narrator, just the voices of the Fab Four either recounting those crazy touring days or commenting on them as they were happening.

The film focuses for the most part on their stretch as a live band. That stretch ended right before Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, when The Beatles became a studio band and eschewed live performances. As the film demonstrates, that decision came about not because they didn’t love playing together, but because they were basically afraid for their lives.

Hardcore fans will be familiar with most of the interviews and performances, although you will see and hear some surprises. This film is actually a great starting point for any of you out there looking to get a little more serious in your examination of the band. Keep this in mind when you check them out: This band did what they did in just seven years. SEVEN YEARS. That’s how long it takes many current bands to put out one album. The many style and sound changes they went through, most of them anyway, are depicted in this film. They were the very definition of progressive.

Through all of the media, music, lifestyle, fashion and technological changes that have happened since the sixties, The Beatles have remained an amazing, lasting, non-dated entity. They were cool then, and they are cool now. They will always be cool, and Ron Howard is well aware of this.

Watch the movie, then dive into the albums.

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

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

  • 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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Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Weekly List: 29 Things To Do In Tucson In The Next Seven Days

Posted By on Thu, Sep 15, 2016 at 3:55 PM

Your weekly guide to keeping busy in the Old Pueblo.

Pick of the Week

Downtown Radio One-Year Anniversary Bash: The fight-the-good-fight, anti-corporate folks over at Downtown Radio (99.1 FM) have been on-air for a glorious 12 months. That’s right, a whole damn year in an impoverished city. By our (or any) calculation, that’s a feat worth lifting toast or ten to. Five premier Tucson bands are tapped to celebrate said feat, including Katterwaul, Golden BooTs, Adara Rae and the Homewreckers, Louise Le Hir, and 8 Minutes to Burn. Friday, Sept. 16. 8 p.m. The Flycatcher, 340 E. 6th St. $7. 21+.

Food & Booze

15th Annual Roasted Chile Festival: Green corn tamales. Pork tacos. Salsa. Green Chile Cornbread. Green enchilada sauce. Challenge yourself to make your favorite green chile delights this fall (and even try some new ones), after you stock up on peppers at the Roasted Chile Festival. Don't be afraid to get a big bag: Internet wisdom says these chilies freeze for up to six months, but we know a Nana who would stretch her green chile harvest out all year long. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17. Rincon Valley Farmers Market, 12500 E. Old Spanish Trail. Free to attend, but don't forget your wallet!

Tucson 5th Annual Beer Cup: It is a battle royal as Tucson's top 10 breweries compete to determine who has the best beers in the categories of Best Flagship Beer, Best Specialty Beer, and People's Choice. Along with the breweries, other beer loving organizations will be in attendance as well, including: Local First Arizona, Living Street Alliance, Tucson Homebrew Club, Yelp Tucson, and Girls Pint Out. The event takes place on Saturday, Sep. 17 from 6-9 p.m., tickets can be bought on the event website. 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17.  Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress Street. $25 before $30 at the door. 

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Teacher Shortages: Things Are Bad All Over (Only More So In Arizona)

Posted By on Thu, Sep 15, 2016 at 3:03 PM

  • Courtesy of pixabay
The Learning Policy Institute just published a research paper, A Coming Crisis in Teaching? Teacher Supply, Demand, and Shortages in the U.S. Across the country, the demand for teachers is growing at the same time teachers are leaving in large numbers and fewer college students are enrolling in teacher education programs.

Before looking at the study's general findings, I want to take a look at the interactive map which gives each state a "teacher attractiveness rating" from 1 to 5, based on factors that would encourage people to apply for teaching jobs and stick around once they've been hired. Most of the lowest rated states are in the southwest and the south: Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mississippi and Florida. Three other states, Colorado, Indiana and Maryland also make the list. At the bottom of the bottom is Arizona with a rating of 1.5. The other low-rated states range from 2 to 2.27.

Our teacher shortages began in earnest with the 2008 economic recession, when states began laying off teachers by the thousands. When the economy improved and school districts started hiring again, both because they lowered the number of children in each class and there were more children total, they had trouble finding enough teachers to fill the vacancies. Many of the fired teachers left the profession for good, and the number of students in teacher education programs fell dramatically—a 35 percent drop in the last five years, about a 240,000 teacher-prep-student decrease. Combine that with our high teacher attrition rate (about one-third of teachers who go are retirees, and the other two-thirds just leave), and we've got a serious and continuing shortage on our hands.

Here's the report's summary on Arizona:
In Arizona, 62% of school districts had unfilled teaching positions three months into the school year in 2013–14. In the same school year, close to 1,000 teachers were on substitute credentials—a 29% increase from the previous year. With one of the highest turnover rates of any state and 24% of the teacher workforce eligible to retire by the end of 2018, the outlook for Arizona’s future points to continued shortages.
Nationwide, the report estimates we have a 60,000 teacher shortage this school year, and that could go up to 112,000 by 2018 and 316,000 by 2025. Here's a graph with recent and projected shortfalls.

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Song of the Day: 'Tucson Kills'

Posted By on Thu, Sep 15, 2016 at 1:51 PM

Charmed I'm sure.
  • Charmed I'm sure.

Billy Sedlmayr’s "Tucson Kills" is a frighteningly lovely glimpse into boyhood and Tucson, and it brims with ache and empathy and tender regrets. There’s a heady sense of location here, to the point of mythology, dusted with area references—from the fading whores down on 6th Avenue and scoring in barrios Sobaco, Old Pasqua and Hollywood to “going crazy” in Florence prison yards and the fire at the Pioneer Hotel that killed 29 people. Gabe Sullivan’s production is sweetly spare and the mournful Mexican brass and goosebumps kick in at the precisely the same moment. Billy had this tune kicking around for years. (This version is an alternate from his 2014 debut Charmed Life.) He played it for me back in ’98 in the Phoenix barrio off Van Buren when we were both living around there. Just a voice and a crappy acoustic guitar, and even then my jaw dropped. Even then I knew that "Tucson Kills" was the ballad of Tucson.

Old Travis Edmonson—or Townes Van Zandt for that matter—ain’t got nothin’ on Sedlmayr.  

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Trump's Childcare Plan Is As Phony as the Rest of His Proposals

Posted By on Thu, Sep 15, 2016 at 11:56 AM

One of the more unlikely campaign promises that GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has made was all about helping families with the cost of childcare, which can be rival the cost of college tuition for some families.

I've written a lot over the years about the Arizona Legislature's failure to come through for working families when it comes to helping with childcare. (As of June 13, more than 7,500 kids were on the waiting list for childcare assistance.) It's a pretty simple issue at heart: If you want single moms to enter the workforce and pull themselves up by their bootstraps, you have to help with safe and reliable childcare because otherwise, they can't keep their jobs. And that's just at the low end of the economic spectrum; even working families that are doing well are facing big bills if both parents work and they want their kids to be in preschools that help them get a great start in life.

Democrats have been pushing to make universal pre-K a thing in recent years and Democrat Hillary Clinton has made it a key part of her platform. (Let's leave aside the challenge of getting such an expensive program through Congress for a moment.) 

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Quick Bites: Sprint for Thin Mints

Posted By on Thu, Sep 15, 2016 at 10:00 AM


What’s your motivation to exercise? Weight loss? Heart health? How about cookies? How about not just any kind of cookie, but one of America’s favorite cookies-for-a-cause, the Girl Scouts’ Thin Mints?

If you’re willing to sweat for one of these delightfully delicate minty treats—simultaneously helping the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona and earning your own honorary Girl Scout badge—register now for this Sunday’s early-morning fifth annual Thin Mint Sprint, a timed 5-kilometer race that includes a Thin Mint reward at the finish line. The same morning will offer a shorter Do-Si-Do Dash.

Both races are on a flat course through the Brandi Fenton Memorial Park and along the Rillito River Trail, and both are timed—although racers are welcome to either run or walk. Families, teams and individuals are encouraged to enter. The race course is, according to a press release, “ideal for new runners as well as elite runners looking to beat their personal record.”

As icing on the cookie, there will also be a children’s 100-meter dash for kids 6 and younger, so bring the little ones.

The Thin Mint Sprint and Do-Si-Do Dash start at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, on the northwest side of Brandi Fenton Memorial Park, 3536 E. River Road. Registration is $25 for adults, $20 for kids 12 and younger. Race-day registration is available from 6 to 7 a.m. More info here.

Cinema Clips: For the Love of Spock

Posted By on Thu, Sep 15, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Adam Nimoy directs this sweet documentary about his dad, Leonard, and the everlasting legacy of his most universally treasured creation, Spock.

The film stands as a terrific look back at the origins of the character, and his transitions through time, straight through to the recent Spock incarnation played by Zachary Quinto. More importantly, the film stands as a blessed tribute to the man behind the character, examining his entire career and family life.

Nimoy unearths some great footage, including Leonard reading the original Variety review for Trek in front of a large crowd and, of course, “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins,” Leonard’s most infamous single from his musical career (If you haven’t seen the video, it’s one of the greatest things ever made). Adam had a rocky relationship with his dad but, thankfully, that was remedied in recent years, something the film touchingly covers. The film stands as the most comprehensive guide to the character of Spock, while also being a nice love letter to Leonard Nimoy. Hey, this is actually the best Star Trek movie to come out in 2016!

Available for rental on iTunes, and On Demand during a limited theatrical release.

Staff Pick

Tucson Pride on Parade

Sun link, 4th ave merchants sky bar and wmrx radio join pride on parade down 4th ave… More

@ John Foley Fri., Sept. 30, 7 p.m.-2 a.m. 1025 North 4th Ave

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