Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Welcome to Tucson, WWE Smackdown

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 4:00 PM

While CM Punk won't be there tonight (he isn't part of the Smackdown brand that's taping tonight at the Convention Center, plus he's ostensibly suspended or fired or something), I would like to thank the WWE for this moment on Monday night's Raw, nearly drawing me back into watching the show and giving a writer for the newish sports/pop culture site Grantland a reason to write over a thousand words about six minutes of television wrestling.

Enjoy our site, wrestlers and production crew! Ask Vince to bring back Goldust.

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The New Mr. K's Barbeque

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 2:54 PM

From left: Steve Sargent, Charles Kendrick, Rhonda Kendrick and John Foster
  • From left: Steve Sargent, Charles Kendrick, Rhonda Kendrick and John Foster

Charles Kendrick stands in what will soon be the new Mr. K’s Barbeque and shoves his hands in his pockets. This new eatery is a world away from the tiny restaurant he opened years ago on South Park Avenue, and this talk of a restaurant honoring him and his achievements seems to needle his modesty a bit.

“First I questioned their judgment; now I'm questioning their sanity," says Kendrick, now in his 80s. "This is my last hurrah. I missed my 15 minutes of fame, but this is my last hurrah.”

The new Mr. K’s is located in the former Chili’s on the corner of Stone Avenue and River Road. Kendrick and his daughter, Rhonda Kendrick, are opening the restaurant with local restaurant designer John Foster and Steve Sargent, the executive chef at Mays Counter, in which Foster is also a partner.

“For me, it’s more about him than the food,” says Foster, who has known the Kendricks all his life. “He had quite the impact on me the first time I met him, and it just so happens that he makes some gangster barbecue, too.”

Kendrick was one of the first black students to graduate from the UA’s School of Pharmacy, and will be honored at this year’s UA homecoming for his accomplishments. He worked as pharmacist for 40 years at Kino Community Hospital, opened an African-American museum and then opened a barbecue joint to keep the doors open.

He’s also been a vocal advocate for equal rights and access to education, and sort of an unelected official on the southside for many decades.

And his barbecue, well, let’s let him talk about that.

“I went to Kansas City three times; I went to Texas three times. I tried barbecue all over the place, and the only thing I ever did was add a little more spice to my beans,” says Kendrick, who swears by his tomato-based barbecue sauce. “This is Tucson barbecue. We live here; we’re not just passing through.”

What Kendrick and his crew are trying to do is make Tucson a barbecue destination, with them as the nexus. They say there's other good barbecue out there, but they're going to try to raise the bar just a bit.

Sargent — who has worked at a number of restaurants, including stints for Metro Restaurants and the now-defunct Terra Cotta — says the meat will come straight from the smoker, and that nothing will be reheated. He’s putting a bit of an upscale flair on some of the side dishes, too, although every recipe must get the go-ahead from Mr. K himself.

The restaurant will also pay homage to Kendrick’s accomplishments, with pictures from his life lining the walls. Kendrick himself will also hold court at the restaurant, as he’s always done at his south side joint.

On the menu: Brisket, ribs, pulled pork, turkey breast, hotlinks and rope sausages. Side dishes: Candied yams, okra, macaroni-and-cheese, kettle chips, collard greens and many more. There will also be a nice selection of Southern desserts and a full bar. Prices are in the $5 to $12 range.

There will also be live entertainment, and Foster says he’s bringing in a piano from the 1800s for live gospel concerts.

The original Mr. K’s on South Park Avenue will stay open, and they’re talking about doing some improvements to the property.

The new restaurant is expected to open in August.

Steve Sargent shows off the smoker at the new Mr. Ks Barbecue
  • Steve Sargent can smoke a ton of meat in this smoker.

Artistic Range: Philabaum & Phriends

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 2:30 PM


"Blue Buddha" by Susan Gott is on display in Philabaum and Phriends, continuing through July 2, at Philabaum Glass Gallery & Studio, through Sept. 30, at Philabam Glass Gallery & Studio, 711 S. 6th Ave.

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More Local Brew: Catalina Brewing Company

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 1:30 PM

We thought three new brewing operations starting up this year was impressive, but now there’s a fourth: Catalina Brewing Company.

This company is all about the bikes and the brew, and will even brew a beer for the annual 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo mountain-bike race. The cherry beer sounds awesome, too.

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Another Thing For James Franco To Put On His Resume

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 12:30 PM

When I think of all of James Franco's crappy attempts accomplishments, I get a headache: an MFA, two PhDs, hosting the Oscars, playing himself on TV and in movies, and now a music video? If you'll notice, though, he's not even singing. He's just being James Franco once again.

Continue reading »

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Twenty-Five Years Ago in the Tucson Weekly: "Dungeons and Dragons: Playing With Fire?"

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 11:59 AM

From the June 25-July 1, 1986, edition of the Tucson Weekly: "Dungeons and Dragons: Playing With Fire?"

“Many of the fantasy and role-playing games are smack in the middle of the occult, and that’s the truth,” says Jack Gracie. Gracie is the spokesman for Tucson’s Christian Awareness Fellowship, a “non-profit interdenominational Christian group primarily devoted to educating the body of Christ concerning the cults and the occult.”

“In these games, kids are taught how to invoke demons and thinks like that. And now it has gone beyond a game.”

Gracie explains how he sees the development of “Satanism” among game players.

“There is really nothing wrong with a certain amount of fantasy,” he says. “It can be creative. But eventually it goes beyond the role-playing games. It gets to the point wehre kids are learning how to kill each other. The game has bushed beyond the Ken and Barbie scene. This stuff is really evil.”

Tim Vanderpool, in a cover story exploring the hysteria over Dungeons and Dragons

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The New "Mission: Impossible" Might Be Good

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Somehow I missed that there was a third Mission: Impossible film, which is strange since I usually don't have much going on other than seeing movies about technology happy spies, but now that there's a fourth installment hitting theaters this winter that actually looks entertaining, maybe I'll go back and catch up. Stuff exploding! Fancy giant iPads! Jeremy Renner looking mean! Good times all around.

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The Food Truck Diaries, Volume 17: Whatachon

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 10:30 AM


Whatachon is a little food trailer at 1337 W. Prince Road, near the intersection of Prince and Flowing Wells roads. It serves some of the better roadside tortas, tacos and caramelos we’ve found; the prices are super-low; and the guys who run it are just plain nice people.

It was proposed to me recently that it is a waste of time writing about small taco stands. The philosophy behind the remark was that they are all more or less the same. Whatachon is an example of why such ideas are utter nonsense, and evidence that the person speaking hasn't been eating at enough food trucks.

The truth is that almost every taco truck is different, and you can often find items at one truck that you’ve never seen before, or even heard of. The salsas are completely different; the items are assembled in vastly different ways; and, well, the food tastes different.

For instance, at Whatachon, they serve an item called a Lorenza, which I haven't seen anywere else. It's a crispy tortilla covered in melted cheese and piled high with carne asada. It is gooey and crispy and meaty all at once, and a steal at $1.75 a piece.

Whatachon also has a built-in salsa bar that can hold court with any condiment bar in town (except for Aqui Con El Nene, which reigns supreme). It is at this salsa bar that I first had serrano peppers soaked in soy sauce, which, if you’ve yet to experience them, are pure heaven.

Whatachon — which, according to the owners, means “big shoes” — is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. Most of the tacos are less than $2, and a fat torta will set you back about $5.


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Staff Pick

PCC Theatre Arts - Popol Vuh: The Story of Seven Macaw

. November 9-19 in the Center for the Arts Black Box Theatre (Thu.-Sat. at 7:30 p.m., Sun.… More

@ Pima Community College Center for the Arts Thursdays, Sundays, 2-4 p.m. and Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Continues through Nov. 19 2202 W. Anklam Road.

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