AND THE BEAT GOES ON: If you've haunted a newsstand,
bookstore, coffee shop, or hipster bar in the last two years,
the chances are good that you've come across a copy of Border
Beat, the arts journal produced by local Libertarian maverick
With its regular columns on drinking, cigar-smoking and other frowned-upon pastimes, mixed in with regionally distinctive poems and short stories, Border Beat is not your usual safe-as-milk litmag. In keeping with the editor's free-market bent, it's also published without outside funding from grants agencies or private angels.
"I haven't asked for grant money," Carvalho says. "I even turned down a gift from ASU. We're funded by subscriptions, advertising sales, and direct sales alone." It's been a tight squeeze, Carvalho admits, even at a cover price of $4. But, he says, "I'm on schedule. They say there's a three-year turnaround in the magazine business, three years to make it or die. I'm looking at this as a business--doing business is an art, after all."
Carvalho rightly prides himself on a certain iconoclasm. "I'm not afraid to touch subjects like bullfights and girls with guns," he says. "I'm not afraid to use off-color language. I'm not afraid not to be politically incorrect. And people appreciate that as a breath of fresh air. It's brought us good contributors."
Among those contributors have been a who's-who of local talent. The journal has also attracted a number of writers and readers from farther afield. "A real coup was getting Sam Shepard's stuff for the first issue," Carvalho says, referring to the Texas-born playwright and actor. "I ran into him at the Club Congress one night, and after we were thrown out after last call we sat in the lobby and talked for a while. I found out he had a book coming out and got the rights to excerpt it. Another high point is getting to meet musicians and writers whom I've admired for a long time. I got to interview Joe Ely for the first issue, and got to spend a little time with him afterward."
Ely, now touring in support of his recent album Twistin' in
the Wind, will headline a concert and reading in celebration
of Border Beat's second anniversary. Joining Ely are musicians
Tom Russell and Tish Hinojosa, along with local authors Patricia
Preciado Martin, Demetria Mártinez and Gary Nabhan. The
event will take place at the Temple of Music and Art on Thursday,
November 12, at
ON THE WING: There may be a shaman or two in the hills outside Nacori Chico who knows more about the birds of northwestern Mexico than do Tucson-based ornithologists Stephen M. Russell and Gale Monson, but those shamans have yet to publish their findings. Russell and Monson, however, have just finished The Birds of Sonora (University of Arizona Press, $75), an essential addition to any local birdlover's library.
And "essential," so overused in the world of books, is just the right word: Russell and Monson have been collecting data and observations for decades, and no source approaches their book in completeness of coverage and user-friendliness.
They describe a total of more than 500 species, noting range, seasonal distribution, and life habits (you'll learn, for instance, that much of the Montezuma quail's food is "scratched up from oak leaf litter," that the cooing song of a northern pygmy owl can last for an hour, and other oddments). Because birds do not honor international boundary agreements, many of the species Russell and Monson describe live in the Tucson area, too, making their book a useful complement to southern Arizona birdwatching guides.
Russell and Monson, along with Patagonia-based illustrator Ray Harm, will sign their book at the Tucson Audubon Society (300 E. University Blvd.) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, November 7. For more information, call 629-0510.
By Gregory McNamee
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