Friday, July 31, 2009

Film Screening and Q&A at Crossroads Grand Cinemas

Posted By on Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 12:46 PM

The only Tucson screening of Smile 'Til It Hurts: The Up With People Story takes place at 1 and 3:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 1, at Crossroads Grand Cinemas, 4811 E. Grant Road. Filmmaker Lee Story will be on hand for a Q&A after the 1 p.m. showing.

Here's some info about the film:

Smile 'Til It Hurts: The Up With People Story explores the clean-cut, smile-drenched singing phenomenon Up With People. Since 1965, this peppy youth group has sung to 20 million people worldwide, performed at four Superbowl halftime shows, and been parodied on The Simpsons and South Park. Talent was not required of its members, just a common enthusiastic vision to change the world one squeaky-clean song at a time. But its cheery façade concealed the more complicated reality of an organization founded on conservative American ideals and cult-like utopian ideology.

Up With People was born in response to the liberal counter-culture of the ‘60s by the ultra-conservative religious sect, Moral Re-Armament. Over the years, they were embraced by world leaders from U.S. presidents Nixon, Reagan and George H.W. Bush to King Juan Carlos of Spain, Queen Noor of Jordon and Pope John Paul II. The organization’s access to global dignitaries and developing countries was noticed by corporate giants—-like GM, Exxon, Halliburton and Searle—-who gave millions of dollars to back the popular group.

Artistically cut with kitschy and never-before-seen archival footage, and the honest reflections of former members, Smile 'Til It Hurts: The Up With People Story reveals what can happen when ideology, money and groupthink converge to co-opt youthful idealism.

Farley on the Budget Negotiations

Posted By on Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 9:07 AM

Here's the latest missive from state Rep. Steve Farley, a midtown Democrat:

I know it's a few days early for the monthly edition of the Farley Report, but there is action to report on the budget front.

Unfortunately, that is not good news.

You will recall in the last report I described a unanimous vote to restore and even increase funding to education and other important areas, and the hopeful beginning of negotiations between legislative Republicans and Democrats.

At the very start of those talks, Republican leadership made us promise that there would be no side deals with the Governor, unless all parties agreed to it. We invited her to take part, but she repeatedly refused.

For the last few weeks, we legislators had been making good progress in those talks, coming up with a reasonable compromise. We had reached agreement on about three-quarters of the budget.

A few days ago, it became clear that Republican leadership had intentionally misled us. They went behind our backs and worked out a secret deal with the Governor, leaving us—and most reasonable Arizonans—hung out to dry in the Phoenix heat.

As I write this, the Republicans are moving forward a package of bills to reflect those agreements. In order to win support from the far right, this package does exactly what the Governor has repeatedly said she did not want to do — decimate K-12 education.

How exactly? That unanimous agreement we reached on the first day of this special session is completely and utterly betrayed. All increases are rolled back and the draconian cuts of the Republican Legislative budget of June 30 are re-imposed, and K-12 schools would lose their 2% inflation increase for the next three years.

The Governor vetoed that June 30 budget because it would "decimate education." Apparently she's fine with decimation now, because today's agreement also includes her Holy Grail: a ballot referral for that backwards-thinking middle-class-reaming three-year temporary sales tax increase.

Continue reading »

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mike Tatum Memorial

Posted By on Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 11:25 AM


Local musician Mike Tatum passed away last weekend following complications from a liver transplant he received in December 2008.

Tatum played music in Tucson and around the country for more than 50 years, delighting listeners and making friends all the while. His legacy will be celebrated with a memorial from 4 to 11:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 1, at Sakura Japanese Restaurant (6534 E. Tanque Verde Road).

Donations for Tatum's family will also be collected at the event.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Budget Deal This Week? (Updated)

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2009 at 2:25 PM

We hear Republicans may have the framework for a budget deal in the works. It's essentially a retread of the budget that Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed earlier this month, with added income tax cuts that would kick in a few years from now and a sales tax proposition that voters would have to approve in a special election, maybe in November. Stay tuned for details.

Update: You can find the details in this here pdf.

More Space

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2009 at 11:44 AM


Smile, You're on Manic Camera!

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2009 at 8:17 AM

I walked into the air-conditioned bank, and within two seconds, a voice said, "Hello! Welcome to Chase!" Those poor Chase employees, serf descendants of J.P. Morgan's money machine, now have to greet every customer who enters the bank with this corporate mantra. Adjusting from the blazing heat outside, I usually can't even tell who's talking to me. I don't need a faceless platitude when I walk into my bank. I want to be left alone, and maybe get a box of Chiclets at the end.

I walked up to the teller, and, since there's little to look at inside a barren, modern bank while your transaction is being processed, I eventually noticed the cameras overhead. Five overhead; two by the vault; one by the front door—no, two - no, wait, three.

"There sure are a lot of cameras in here," I said.

"Yeah, and that's not counting the hidden ones."

Hidden ones? I scanned the walls. Was that a camera or just a random wall nipple?

She handed me my receipt, and I said, "Hello! Welcome to Chase!" She almost laughed, and beneath the overt cameras (and probably some hidden ones) we secretly agreed that the new greeting policy was vapid and insulting.

Driving, some minutes later, I started noticing how many cameras decorate our major intersections, and even our minor ones. Cameras, cameras everywhere! Cameras in banks make sense. Cameras at every major intersection kind of make sense, I guess. The watching, however, doesn't stop there.

Recently, my West University Historic District apartment complex of about 30 or so units got seriously camera-happy. The building manager (instead of finally having the place painted) installed no less than a dozen security cameras around the premises. Some focus on the same spot, but from different angles! There are probably more than twelve, but I became self-conscious that maybe he was watching me counting.

That's not just paranoia, either. One evening, I borrowed the building manager's ladder. When I returned it the following morning, I saw him (liquid-nailing something else onto our historic building), and I said, "Hi. By the way, I borrowed your ladder. I just put it back."

He smiled wide at me, and drawled, "I know." An awkward second followed, then I realized he had watched me take the ladder on camera.

A couple days later, as I walked to my car, the building manager slyly said, "You go in and out a lot." What did he mean by that? Suddenly, I felt like a crack dealer.

Listen, I have faults. My girlfriend says I have many faults, and I have to respect her good judgement. Now, around the grounds of my own domicile, these faults are recorded 24/7 by the building manager who sits on a swivel chair in his bachelor pad in front of several flat screens of voyeuristic witch-hunting in the name of security.

It doesn't feel like security, though. It's just creepy.

I certainly can't stop technological progress. It seems Mrs. Privacy and Mr. Technology will continue to walk into the future together, hand-in-hand, slapping each other with their free hands all the while.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Evidently Tampax Commercials Aren't Just About Swimming Anymore

Posted By on Fri, Jul 24, 2009 at 5:09 PM

You know it's a new world when Tampax introduces a new spokes"person" for its feminine hygiene products. Meet Zack and learn all about this 16-year-old through here.

Evidently, Zack's world, and the world of Tampax, changed when he woke up one day with girl parts and grew an appreciation for those born with girl parts. Zack is 16. I keep thinking about this 1970s show I remember watching during a time we didn't think much about boys waking up with girl parts - James at 16. Imagine an episode in which James wakes up one morning with girl parts. Maybe it would be better for an episode of Three's Company (Jack or Mr. Roper?). Or James and Zack talking to mom and dad about how they always wanted girl parts.

But Zack isn't this new marketing figure invented to discuss gender issues - he's some new 16-year-old cutie made up to sell tampons to 16-year-old girls. Wow. We've come such a long way.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Rialto Wins! For Now.

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2009 at 3:15 PM

The Rialto Foundation has won its case in court. Judge Michael Miller has ruled that the theatre's management is not guilty of forcible detainer in the green room, administrative offices and storage spaces. It will be able to remain in its spaces until mid-August. Details to follow.

Can a deal be salvaged between now and then? One hopes.

Staff Pick

World Flute Concert

World flute virtuosos Gary Stroutsos and Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos come together for an evening of meditative soundscapes… More

@ San Pedro Chapel Fri., Jan. 31, 7-9 p.m. 5230 E. Fort Lowell Road.

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