Your Weekly guide to keeping busy in the Old Pueblo.
The Brain. Sure, watching television is probably "bad" for couch potatoes who have been known to binge an entire Netflix series in one weekend (Hello, Santa Clarita Diet)—but at least the risk is limited to bad eyesight and antisocial tendencies instead of, say, mind control. It's mind over matter in The Brain, an ’80s film about a mad scientist/television host and a giant space brain teaming up to take over the great white north through the airwaves. Don't miss out: This is the last of the BAD BRAINS movies this month at the Loft. 8 p.m. Monday, March 27. Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. $3.
But I'm A Cheerleader. Natasha Lyonne is probably best known for her role as Nicky Nichols on Orange is the New Black, where she plays a heroin-addicted inmate known for her wild hair, mischievous smile and lady killer charms. OITNB won't have a new season out until June, but you get your lesbian cinema fix when the Loft screens But I'm a Cheerleader. The film stars (you guessed it!) Natasha Lyone as a young woman named Megan whose parents ship her off to a gay-to-straight conversion camp hoping she'll be able to focus on back handsprings instead of boobs during cheerleading practice. We don't want to spoil anything, but those camps never work. Michelle Williams, RuPaul (out of drag) and the guy who played Rufio also show up in this cinematic delight. 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 26. Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. $6.
Forbidden Planet. Space nerds, this is the movie event for you. Participate in National Evening of Science on Screen with Astronomer/longtime UA professor Chris Impey is coming to the Loft Cinema to discuss all things space travel and developing human colonies on other planets—fittingly tied in with a viewing of the 1956 classic sci-fi flick Forbidden Planet, where the crew of the starship C-57D have to uncover the mysteries of Dr. Morbius and the alien Krell. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 28. Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. $9.50.
Movie Poster Sale. Take a second and look around at your walls. A little blank, eh? Surround yourself with scenes from your favorite flicks by purchasing movie posters from the Loft Cinema. Here's what the theater is promising at their poster sale which takes place the last Saturday of every month: Current posters of films that have ended their run during the month; miscellaneous Film posters of films the Loft did not show; and more than 100 posters (at least 50 titles) from their current poster inventory.At the end of the sale, the remaining posters will be donated to a local arts program. 8-11 a.m. Saturday, March 25. Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. $5 per poster.
Dr. Strange at the Drive-In. We’ve been around this town long enough to remember those high-school days of squeezing into the trunk to sneak into the much-missed De Anza Drive-In—and we sure wish this cowtown still had a drive-in that was regularly open. There is a group of drive-in fans trying to make that happen with the nonprofit Cactus Drive-In Theatre Foundation, but while the hunt is on for a permanent home for those massive screens, the group is hosting the occasional drive-in flick at the Tanque Verde Swap Meet. This weekend, the group is screening Marvel’s most recent blockbuster, Dr. Strange. Catch a little movie magic at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 26, in the swap meet’s north parking lot, 4100 S Palo Verde Road. Organizers advise that you should only enter the north lot to get to the flick. Also, they’ll be directing larger vehicles and hatchbacks to park in the back or on the far right and far left side so as to not screw up the view for everyone else, so try to show a bit of courtesy if you’re behind the wheel of one of those. The suggested donation is $15 per vehicle.
Fun in General
Con-Nichiwa. If you’re a fan of Dragonball Z, Himura Kenshin or Yagami Light, you’ll want to get to the Con-Nichiwa this weekend. The American anime convention returns to Tucson on Friday, March 25 through Sunday, March 27 at the Tucson Convention Center. It’s three days of anime fun with actors, animators and even performers such as Chii Sakurabi, a J-POP singer and recording artist from Tokyo, Japan known for her high-energy music, angelic voice, and kawaii style. And there will be plenty of lessons on how to get your cosplay right. Full weekend membership is $45.
Odyssey Storytelling. The past 13 years, Odyssey Storytelling has created community through monthly live storytelling events. Founder Penelope Starr celebrates the release of her book The Radical Act of Community Storytelling: Empowering Voices in Uncensored Events during a fundraiser emceed by David Fitzsimmons from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 24. YWCA Southern Arizona, 525 N. Bonita Ave. $10 suggested donation.
Succulent Bowls with Mimosas. All the best gardening clubs involve a little bit of drinking. Green Things got that memo and thought, “If we offer mimosas, they will come.” Get that drink in your hand and learn how to construct a beautiful little desert haven at this Saturday morning gardening class. The $5 class fee includes your drink, but no other supplies. Planets and pots will be available for purchase, but you can also bring supplies of your own. Don’t forget to RSVP on Facebook so they bring enough booze. 10 a.m. to noon. Saturday, March 25. Green Things, 3384 E. River Road.
The Office Trivia Night: That’s What She Said Edition. Have you ever gotten a new job, only to find yourself completely identifying with the poor, unfortunate souls in The Office? Binge watch the whole show to experience some catharsis, then put your “research” to good use by dominating at trivia night. Teams can have one to six people, and you should probably pick your team based on which of your friends squeal with delight when you yell, “Dwight, you ignorant slut!” in their direction. 7-10 p.m. Tuesday, March 28. Casa Video Film Bar, 2905 E. Speedway Blvd.
Diamonds in the Ruff. You know the internal struggle: You want to buy a new rug, but there are so many homeless animals in the world! However should you distribute your paycheck? Worry not, dear animal/décor lover. You can contribute to the Humane Society of Southern Arizona while bidding on your favorite hand-woven rugs from around the world, with 10 percent of each purchase donated to HSSA. There will be hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and live jazz. Doors open at 2 p.m. and the auction starts at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 25. On Sunday, March 26, doors open at noon and the auction starts at 2 p.m. Karomo Rugs, 3630 E. Fort Lowell Road.
Trail Dog Day. Want to adopt a dog? Want to find about local businesses who can do cool things for your dogs? This Sunday marks the third annual Trail Dog Day at Trail Dust Town. There will be booze and there will be adoptable dogs—sounds like an ideal Sunday afternoon. 10 a.m. Sunday, March 26. Trail Dust Town, 6541 E. Tanque Verde Road.
Tucson Weekly Arts and Entertainment Editor Brian Smith is celebrating the publication of his book of short stories, Spent Saints, with a pair of readings this weekend. Smith will be at the Owl's Club, 236 S. Scott Ave., from 7:30 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, March 25. On hand to entertain the crowd alongside Smith will be fellow authors Isaac Kirkman, Billy Sedlmayr. and John Freeman, as well as some violin from Brian's brother, Barry Smith, and piano from Nick Letson. You'll also have a chance to see 11 short films by various directors inspired by Smith's stories. Then on Sunday, March 26, Smith will read from the book at 2 p.m. at Bookmans Entertainment Exchange, 6230 E. Speedway. Get a taste of the book that author Laurie Notaro has praised as as a collection that "reaches down to the bottom rung and pulls up despair as it melts into unlikely beauty, brings the reader dangerously close to unfolding, ominous dread and unveils the side of life that is dark, wanting and formidable."
American Friends Service Committee-AZ Centennial. This group takes on Arizona crazyland, challenging the state’s private prison love affair and taking on mass incarceration and immigrant detention. Help them celebrate their 100th birthday on from 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, March 30, at La Cocina, 201 N. Court Ave. Tucson desert rock icon Billy Sedlmayr will perform alongside poetry readings from the North Star Collective. There’s also a silent auction to raise funds for the program’s ongoing work. La Cocina will donate 10 percent of all sales this night. afscarizona.org
KFMA Day. Powerhouse local alt-radio station KFMA trips the day electric with the fattest punk-metal-pop flourishes on earth. You’ll hear unyielding fist-jacking choruses, youthful balls-to-walls guitars, as well as heavyweight vets like Blink 182 (who, make no mistake, to this day, turn pop-punk force into precision-tuned rock ’n’ roll) and A Day to Remember. Sharing this killer bill is one of our current faves here at TW HQ, Goodbye June. This suitably hirsute combo hails from the great American south and sounds in tradition with that, and boy can they write good songs with hammering riffs, the likes of which hasn’t really been heard since Buckcherry was good. So slam Monster-in-a-can until your heart-rate levels out at a good 120 BPM and dig some of the other bands too, like the heavy-menacing money riffs of Islander and the super-melodic metalist pop of Highly Suspect. What a fun, glorious day of briny push-tits and ear-ringing, shout-out madness. Sunday, March 26 at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium, 2500 E Ajo Way. $40. Doors at noon. All ages.
Lukie D. From the moment the strident horns sound and the hyper recording pops its 2/4 groove, the music is obviously authentically Jamaican. Although at its worst, Lukie D sounds cheesy and his emotional range often appears more limited than his vocals, there’s something guttural and compelling about his pristine croons. His tracks may sound more at home on the Cool Runnings soundtrack than the Harder They Come, yet there’s so much damn sweetness below the sheen. It makes us want to give in to his catalog of love songs just a little bit. Unlike other reggae-lite acts like Maroon 5 or even UB40, Lukie D grew up in the third world and his music betrays some resulting depth in spite of itself. His too-perfect covers have an undercurrent of poverty and its resultant longing for a better life that makes Lukie D a sympathetic and relatable character. God, and his AC/DC cover! Saturday, March 25, Grand Luxe Hotel Event Center (Africa Night Dance Fusion), 1365 West Grant. 9 p.m. $25. All ages.
Ozomatli with Squirrel Nut Zippers. Anyone who's been to an Ozomatli show knows it's nigh impossible not to dance. We’ve seen totally wiped EDM kids summon up their last legs to skank, old-school vatos start the set by nodding their heads only to end up passing their cane to a homie and ducking in and out of the pit. Frat boys drop their solo cups to raise the roof and get down and there's always that universal thought bubble after the first few songs—“So this is what Sublime was getting at.” One of the only acts that can energetically hold a candle to Ozomatli live is the Squirrel Nut Zippers, with their frenetic jump-jive dancehall, one part homage, one part parody. And now thanks to Trump, two of the loudest, proudest Latin American and so-called “Americana” outfits have teamed up for six shows. There's no way this won't be smokin' caliente and chido al misma vez. Tuesday, March 28, Rialto, $35, 6:30 p.m., all ages.
Dieselboy. The Philly-raised Dieselboy (Damian Higgins) is the godhead drum and bass DJ (and now a respected chef!) who made his name back in the 1990s as a gifted jungle DJ. His longevity in a world where DJ careers are usually gone with a change of seasons is remarkable; no doubt due to his crafty, chest-caving productions, and savvy ear for beats, hooks, moods and, yes, trends. He smartly released his recordings on his own badass Human Imprint, and proceeded to enjoy dubstep and electro hits. His videogame work has won over countless sets of ears. Dude’s a master at fusing the urban with the urbane, and take heads off in the process. His new “Angel Dust” kills. This is a super-rare Tucson performance at a killer downtown space. Saturday, March 25, at Solar Culture Gallery and Performance Space, 31 E. Toole. 10 p.m. $15.
Tucson writer Francisco Cantú snagged this week a prestigious 2017 Whiting Award, which includes, beyond the international attention, $50,000. He'll be honored along with nine other recipients in New York City, a ceremony keynoted by Pulitzer Prize winner Siddhartha Mukherjee. Note that past Whiting winners impressively include David Foster Wallace, Jeffrey Eugenides, Denis Johnson, Ocean Vuong, and Deborah Eisenberg. The Whiting Awards was "established by the Whiting Foundation in 1985, remain one of the most esteemed and largest monetary gifts ($50,000) to emerging writers, and are based on the criteria of early-career achievement and the promise of superior literary work to come."
Cantú, who worked for the United States Border Patrol as an agent form 2008-2012 is a former Fulbright fellow who earned an MFA in nonfiction from the UA. Locally, his work has often appeared in Edible Baja Arizona. His bio says he's a frequent contributor to Guernica and a contributing editor at PublicBooks.org, where he curates the “El Mirador” series, which collects original nonfiction, translation, and visual art focused on the American west, the borderlands, and Indian country. His writing has appeared, or is forthcoming, in South Loop Review, J Journal:New Writing on Justice, Ploughshares, and Orion.
Cantú's much-deserved award is for his forthcoming memoir, The Line Becomes a River (Riverhead Books), out 2018. We down here at TW HQ believe this award is a harbinger of things to come for Cantú. We've read excerpts from The Line Becomes and they are lovely and potent. You can read an excerpt here in the Paris Review.
Natasha Lyonne is probably best known for her role as Nicky Nichols on Orange is the New Black, where she plays a heroin-addicted inmate known for her wild hair, mischievous smile and lady killer charms—be still, my heart.
OITNB won't have a new season out until June, but you get your lesbian cinema fix when the Loft Cinema (3233 E. Speedway Blvd) screens But I'm a Cheerleader this Sunday, March 26 at 7:30 p.m.
The film stars (you guessed it!) Natasha Lyone as a young woman named Megan whose parents ship her off to a gay-to-straight conversion camp hoping she'll be able to focus on back handsprings instead of boobs during cheerleading practice. Good luck with that.
Michelle Williams, RuPaul (out of drag) and Rufio also show up in this cinematic delight.
It's worth more than worth the $6 ticket—so, maybe you should sign up for a Loft Membership? As March nears its end, so does the Loft's annual membership drive.
Here's what you get if you sign up—during March the number of free tickets are doubled, as reflected below:
4 FREE TICKETS* ANNUALLY FOR INDIVIDUALS, STUDENTS & TEACHERS
8 FREE TICKETS* ANNUALLY FOR COUPLES & ABOVE
MONTHLY FREE SCREENINGS OF GREAT NEW FILMS
FREE ORGANIC POPCORN AT EVERY FILM
FREE LOFT CINEMA STICKER
MEMBER PRICE OF $5.75 FOR ALL REGULARLY SCHEDULED FILMS
By Bob Grimm
on Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 9:00 AM
The King Kong cinematic machine gets cranking again with Kong: Skull Island, an entertaining enough new take on the big ape that delivers the gorilla action but lags a bit when he isn’t on screen smashing things.
Among Kong incarnations, this one has the most in common with the 1976 take on the classic story, basically because it’s set just a few years earlier in ’73. While there is a beautiful girl the big guy does get a small crush on (Brie Larson as a photographer), the story eschews the usual “beauty and the beast” Kong angle for more straight-up monster vs. monster action.
Unlike the past American Kong films, this one never makes it overseas to Manhattan, opting to stay on Kong’s island—thus, the title of the film. Kong himself is portrayed by motion-capture CGI, and he’s a badass. He’s also tall enough to be a formidable foe for Godzilla, a mash-up already announced for 2020. In the few scenes where he interacts with humans, Kong plays like an organic creature rather than a bunch of gigabytes. He blends well with his human counterparts.
That’s right, there hasn’t been much mention of those human counterparts yet. That’s because, with the exception of John C. Reilly as a fighter pilot stranded on the island during World War II, most of the humans are bland. Tom Hiddleston might make a decent James Bond someday, and he’s a lot of fun as Loki, but he just doesn’t play here as a rugged tracker/action hero. Reilly, on the other hand, gives the film the bursts of humor it needs. His castaway is a wild card, like Dennis Hopper in Apocalypse Now.
Actually, the whole movie, with its post-Vietnam setup and Nixon-era themes, plays like Apocalypse Now meets King Kong. When Reilly is on screen, it plays like Apocalypse Now meets King Kong meets Talladega Nights.
Fiddler Athena Tergis joins renowned Irish musician Mick Moloney at a concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, at St. Francis in the Foothills Church.
Mick Moloney is a singer of songs, a teller of tales, a player of tenor banjo and guitar, and a scholarly folklorist who can tell you the meaning and origin of every note and word he sings. And he’s funny and charming to boot.
That rare commodity, a folk musician with a Ph.D., Professor Moloney has taught Irish Studies at New York University for years. He can tell you how immigrants coming to America changed the Irish music they brought with them. A recent CD, If It Wasn’t for the Irish and the Jews, “celebrates the joyous and creative era in American popular song from the early 1890's to the end of vaudeville and the start of the Great Depression.” Every song on the album is a collaboration between Irish and Jewish musicians who were immigrants or the children of immigrants.
A Limerick man, Moloney performs and records widely. He’s worked with PBS on the TV documentaries Out of Ireland and The Irish in America: Long Journey Home. His book Far From the Shamrock Shore: The Story of Irish American History Through Song has an accompanying CD.
For the Tucson concert, the last blast of Tucson’s Irish Season, Moloney teems up with Athena Tergis, an American-born prodigy who began playing the fiddle at age 4. She’s a master of Irish fiddling styles from the Auld Sod as well as from the Irish diaspora in North America. She’s performed on Broadway in Riverdance, plays regularly with Moloney in the band Green Fields of America, and she even toured the world with the late Clarence Clemons, sax player with the E Street Band.
The show starts at 7:30 Thursday, March 23, at St. Francis in the Foothills, 4625 E. River Road, at Swan. The church’s music hall has only 200 seats. Advance tickets are $20, $18 for seniors and member of TFTM, $3 more at the door. You can get them at www.inconcerttucson.com and at Antigone Books, 411 N. Fourth Ave., and The Folk hop, 2525 N. Campbell. For disability seats, call 981-1475. You can listen in to a sampling of songs here.
When it comes to setting goals for your professional aspirations, "Connect. Grow. Ignite!" probably sounds like your best case scenario to-do list.
Enter ignite520, a local two day summit with that very motto. The conference, put on by Tucson Young Professions, aims to "catalyze personal and professional development, shake up connections, and celebrate awesome things happening in Tucson."
The conference is returning for its third year at the end of this month. Here's what to expect:
During breakout sessions, mixers and more, young professionals are given the chance to connect with others who share a vision for a greater Tucson, and find ways to ignite their current or next endeavor.
Starting March 31st, 2017 at 5:30pm, we’re closing down Cartel Coffee on Broadway for a private mixer and kickoff ceremony! You’ll get to make new connections, start your weekend off with a great evening, and embark on our ignite520 scavenger hunt!
Beginning at 9am on Saturday, you’ll have your choice between morning Yoga or Coffee with Community Catalysts, at the conclusion of which, you’ll head over to CITY for our full-day of intensive sessions!
At lunch, you’ll dine at the newest downtown restaurant, MiAn and participate in “A Conversation on the Future of Downtown” with Downtown leaders Rio Nuevo and Downtown Tucson Partnership with the new AC Marriott and other projects slated for development as your backdrop.
More sessions and our Coffee Break will round off our afternoon. The evening concludes with our “Party for Grownups” at the Tucson Children’s Museum, an event you wont want to miss!
The event takes place all over downtown Tucson Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1.
Tickets range from $45 to $75, and can be purchased online. Or you can try your luck and enter below for a chance to win a pair of tickets (we'll pick winners on Friday, March 24).
Bullshit has become such a pervasive form of political speech in the Trump world, it deserves attention as a specific rhetorical style. Most of us use the word to mean something is incorrect: "That's bullshit!" The first time I heard the term "bullshit artist" was in the 1971 film, Carnal Knowledge, where two college students, played by Jack Nicholson and Art Garfunkel, used it as a semi-complimentary exclamation after some amazing thing the other one said, the rough equivalent of "No way, dude!" But since American philosopher Harry Frankfurt published a short book, On Bullshit, in 2005, the term has been used to refer to a specific form of speech.
The staid and proper Fareed Zakaria talked about Frankfurt's book and about Trump as "bullshit artist" on CNN in August, 2016, during the heat of the presidential campaign and again a few days ago. They're both reasonably short and worth a listen.
Zakaria quotes Frankfurt's book to distinguish between lying and bullshitting. “Telling a lie," Frankfurt writes, "is an act with a sharp focus. It is designed to insert a particular falsehood at a specific point." Bullshit, on the other hand, "is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false . . . [It] has spacious opportunities for improvisation, color and imaginative play. This is less a matter of craft than of art.” Frankfurt concludes that "bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.”
Trump is a legendary bullshit artist—he's been indulging in it throughout his adult life — who piles heaping helpings of narcissism and pathology on top. Our own Doug Ducey is a lower level practitioner, but skilled nonetheless. We see him practice his art regularly when he adopts the mantle of "friend of education." He never tires of complimenting himself for pushing Prop 123, without acknowledging that it resulted in schools getting a portion of what the state owed them by law, and mostly from the schools' own money, the state land trust fund, not the state budget. That makes him less antagonistic to public education than many of his Republican colleagues, but a friend of public education? Hardly. And he's in danger of doing himself injury as he pounds himself on the back for "supporting teachers" by adding a few hundred dollars to their yearly salaries. Both assertions are half true, half false and all bullshit.
Congresswoman Martha McSally (R-AZ02) broke several weeks of silence on her position on the American Health Care Act, the GOP's replacement of the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare), by announcing yesterday that she not only supports the AHCA, but is taking credit for several new elements in the bill.
In a prepared statement released yesterday, McSally called the Affordable Care Act "an unmitigated disaster in Arizona—leaving us without real choices statewide.
"The exchanges for 14 of the state’s 15 counties are devoid of competition because they are left with only a single insurer selling coverage," McSally said. "However, the transition to new system will take time and those on Medicaid and ACA exchanges deserve continuity and stability during the transition. Over the past weeks, I have proposed detailed, specific changes to the AHCA that would provide better coverage and a stable transition for seniors, the disabled, children, and middle class families. Through lengthy negotiations with House leadership and the executive branch, I am pleased to have played a role in moving this bill in the right direction."
McSally's support for the legislation earned her praise from House Speaker Paul Ryan (who said McSally's "unwavering commitment to her constituents and her tenacity throughout the negotiating process has led to positive changes and I believe this is a better bill as a result of her involvement”) and even a shoutout from President Donald Trump himself.
There have been changes to the legislation ahead of a rush to a vote on Thursday, March 23. They include $75 billion in tax credits for older Americans, who are projected to see their healthcare premiums skyrocket under the legislation. (How exactly that $75 billion will be doled out isn't spelled out in the legislation; instead, the Senate is supposed to figure that part out); turning Medicaid into a block-grant for states and allowing a requirement that able-bodied adults work if they want to have Medicaid coverage; and a faster repeal of taxes related to the Affordable Care Act. You can read more about the changes here if you're feeling wonky.
McSally's enthusiasm for the latest version of the legislation isn't shared by all of her GOP colleagues. It's coming down to white-knuckle time on Capitol Hill as tomorrow's vote on this legislation approaches—and it appears that the conservatives in the Freedom Caucus still aren't on board. As The Hill reports:
Speaking to reporters outside a Freedom Caucus meeting after a White House meeting, the group called on leaders to start over on ObamaCare, saying the replacement bill does not have the votes to pass Thursday.
"The opposition is still strong," said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the group.
"They don't have the votes to pass this tomorrow. We believe that they need to start over and do a bill that actually reduces premiums."
Since the Congressional Budget Office released its cost estimate of the Obamacare alternative last week, showing steep coverage losses, the legislation’s approval rating has dipped six points, from 46 percent to 40 percent. Obamacare’s approval rating, on the other hand, sits at 46 percent, as it did in February.
McSally has made a career of refusing to go out on a limb for controversial legislation. You have to wonder why she picked this slender branch to get out ahead of an issue.