By chance, I caught a bit of This Is Spinal Tap on TV last week.
The 1984 film—a faux documentary (or "mockumentary") about a fading heavy-metal band and the indignities they suffer (being billed below a puppet show, for example)—is one of the funniest movies ever made. While revisiting it after so many years, I realized just how many of the lines from the film have become part of our lexicon: "What's wrong with being sexy?"; "You can't really dust for vomit"; "It's such a fine line between stupid and, uh ... clever."
But perhaps the most-famous and enduring line of the film comes when guitarist Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest) shows film director Marty DiBergi (Spinal Tap director Rob Reiner) an unusual aspect of the band's amplifiers: Unlike most amps, whose knobs max out at 10, Spinal Tap's top out at 11. When DiBergi asks, "Why don't you just make 10 louder, and make 10 be the top number, and make that a little louder?" Tufnel, clearly confused, answers: "These go to 11."
And so, the modern lore of the number 11 began. This week, of course, brings us a very auspicious date, indeed: November 11, 2011, which VH1 has named National Metal Day in honor of the film.
While there won't be much metal (read: any) at Hotel Congress on that night, there will be a major 11/11/11-themed party that centers around electronic, DJ and hip-hop acts—11 of them, ostensibly. The headliner is the world-renowned Remix Artist Collective (R.A.C.), exactly what its name suggests, which will be making its Tucson debut at the show. But the action spreads over two stages, indoors and outdoors, and will also feature performances by Diana Gen, El Hanko Dinero, Leather Clutch, Golden Ghost, Jamie J., Crime, Sean Harris with Full Release, Zackey Force Funk, Zoology and RCougar. Depressed Buttons has also recently joined the lineup, which means there are (whoops!) actually a cool dozen acts playing—though I doubt you'll find anyone complaining.
The action takes place at Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St. (Check that address—another 11!), on 11/11/11. Showtime is 8 p.m., and it costs $11 to get in. For more information, head to hotelcongress.com, or call 622-8848.
There are also two benefit shows that night that warrant a mention.
Two of the nation's most-prominent and most-respected Native American artists will team up for a performance to raise money for Sky Island Alliance, "a grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of the rich natural heritage of native species and habitats in the Sky Island region of the Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico," according to its mission statement. Grammy-winning flutist R. Carlos Nakai and classical guitarist Gabriel Ayala, who was recently named artist of the year at the Native American Music Awards, will perform at the benefit, which honors the 20th anniversary of Sky Island Alliance.
The fundraiser takes place at Grace St. Paul Episcopal Church, 2331 E. Adams St., on Friday, Nov. 11. An appetizer reception begins at 6:30 p.m., and the concert will follow shortly thereafter. Tickets are available for $65 at Yikes Toys, Tucson Audubon Nature Shop, Madaras Gallery and online at skyislandalliance.org. Use the same address for more info, or call 624-7080.
Meanwhile, over at The Hut, 305 N. Fourth Ave., also on Friday, Nov. 11, a benefit for the Educational Enrichment Foundation—which supports music and art scholarships for youths—will run from 6 to 9 p.m. for all ages, and from 9 until closing for those 21 and older. Performing acts include DJ Mastamonk vs. Mike Drums, Kava Kreation, Fortunate Youth, Kat Nestel, Vibe, Ben Michaels, Skitn, The Jits, Combo Westside and others.
The benefit is called Ones Love. Advance tickets are available for $10 at oneslove.eventbrite.com. They'll be $15 on the day of the show. For more info, call The Hut at 623-3200.
If you've been to Casino del Sol's website within the last year or so, you've seen a countdown clock at the top of the page touting the brand-new resort/hotel's grand opening. Well, the big weekend has arrived, and the casino has brought in some big names to celebrate.
The biggest is country megastar Tim McGraw, the "most-played artist of the past decade in any genre of music," according to his bio. In addition, he's scored a staggering 32 No. 1 country hits, the latest being "Felt Good on My Lips," which was a track on his 2010 double-CD compilation Number One Hits (Curb). Simply put, he has been, for the last couple of decades, the biggest star in modern country music.
McGraw performs at AVA at Casino del Sol, 5655 W. Valencia Road, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 12. Tickets range from $50 to $150, and you can buy them online at casinodelsol.com.
The previous night, Friday, Nov. 11, will feature a performance by Pepe Aguilar at AVA. The Grammy-winning singer updates traditional Latin genres such as mariachi, Tejano and ranchera with a modern pop sensibility. Also on the bill for the show, which begins at 7:30 p.m., are Alejandra Guzmán and Intocable. Tickets are $50 to $100, and are available in advance at casinodelsol.com.
Finally, back to Friday, Nov. 11: Following the Tim McGraw concert, the casino will host a free show by one of the greatest American rock bands of the last 35 years, Cheap Trick, in the resort's Event Center. The start time is to be determined, as there's no way of knowing exactly when McGraw will finish. But for more information about any of these shows, you can call (800) 344-9435.
On the heels of the release of two new albums last week—1969, a collaboration with Japanese singer Saori Yuki featuring a dozen songs released around the world in its titular year, and a best-of compilation called A Retrospective (both on the band's Heinz Records)—Portland, Ore., combo Pink Martini, whose repertoire includes swing jazz, lounge music, world music and cabaret, will perform at the Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St., at 8 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 15. The band's singer, China Forbes, is recovering from throat cancer, so guest singer Storm Large, who has been receiving rave reviews, will fill Forbes' shoes. Tickets are $45 and $54, available at foxtucsontheatre.org and the venue's box office. For more information, call 624-1515.
Former Tucsonan Bob Log III, now based in Australia, will return to town with his patented combo motorcycle helmet/microphone to perform a set of punkified Delta blues at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Saturday, Nov. 12. The show begins at 9:30 p.m. with opening sets from blooze-rock sister duo Acorn Bcorn, and the quirky pop-band Otherly Love, which is fronted by Mr. Free and the Satellite Freakout! drummer Ben Schneider. Tickets are $8 in advance at ticketfly.com, or $10 on the day of the show. For further details, head to plushtucson.com, or call 798-1298.
ON THE BANDWAGON
The seventh annual International Boogie Woogie Blowout, with Lisa Otey, Carl Sonny Leyland, Marilyn Harris and Lluis Coloma, at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Friday, Nov. 11, and the Berger Performing Arts Center on Sunday, Nov. 13; Big Eyes and Lenguas Largas at the Red Room at Grill on Saturday, Nov. 12; Kitchen on Fire CD release at La Cocina on Saturday, Nov. 12; Lemuria and Kaia Chesney at Dry River Collective on Saturday, Nov. 12; Le Chat Lunatique at Sky Bar next Thursday, Nov. 17; Gary Stroutsos Ensemble at Suite 147 in Plaza Palomino on Friday, Nov. 11; Culture Kids and Shark Pants at the Red Room at Grill on Monday, Nov. 14; AraabMUZIK at Optimist Club at Club Congress tonight, Thursday, Nov. 10; Timas 23 at Solar Culture Gallery on Saturday, Nov. 12; C-Money at Vaudeville on Saturday, Nov. 12; Ronstadt Generations with Sparky and Rhonda Rucker at Suite 147 in Plaza Palomino on Saturday, Nov. 12; Dry River Yacht Club at Plush on Wednesday, Nov. 16; Classic Albums Live: Fleetwood Mac's Rumours at the Fox Tucson Theatre on Sunday, Nov. 13; Forrest Fallows at Dry River Collective on Wednesday, Nov. 16; Up With People at the Fox Tucson Theatre on Saturday, Nov. 12.