Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Lovely Evening of Punk and More with Tucson's Psygoat this Weekend

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 4:00 PM


The burly, bearded men of Tucson's Psygoat are performing this weekend, Saturday, Aug. 30 at the District. The show with headliner Rikk Agnew Band (Yes, Andrew of Adolescents, DI, and Christian Death fame) and DeSade is suppose to start at 10, but bet those Psygoats bring their self-described "fun-core, psychedelic dirt rock," on around midnight.

Earplugs and attitude recommended.

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Mercer Calls for Grijalva's Excommunication and the Congressman Suggests She Listen to the Pope

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 2:11 PM

Oh Gabby (Mercer, not the other famous Tucsonan with that same nickname), you're such a card. In Facebook news today, the tea-bagger congressional perma-candidate had this to say on her page in a thread that was all about congratulating Ducey, but turned into a call to have her forever opponent excommunicated from the Catholic church:


And yeah, well, U.S. Congressman Raul Grijalva was understandably unhappy with her post, especially because it involved her publicly talking about his attendance at a friend's funeral and his accepting communion:


Grijalva's full statement here or after the jump.

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(Common) Core Wars

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 1:00 PM

  • Image courtesy of

According to recent polling, the biggest issues in the Arizona election will be education and the economy. It would be foolish to underestimate the power of immigrant bashing, but that could come in the guise of education and the economy as well.

The education debates can go in all kinds of directions, but Common Core is sure to be somewhere at the center of the battle. How that shapes up will be worth watching, since it could sway a significant number of votes in one direction or the other. Here are some of the variables in play, as I see them.

In the Ed Superintendent race, we've got a pretty dramatic split on Common Core. Diane Douglas is absolutely against it. Absolutely. At this point, that's her whole campaign. David Garcia has been painted as pro-Common Core by the media, but that's an oversimplification. He sees the actual standards as a good starting point, but he's against the overuse of high stakes testing as an assessment tool for students, teachers, administrators and schools, and Common Core has the potential of making testing even more dominant than it is now.

In the governor's race, Doug Ducey is against Common Core, but it looks like he's left himself some wiggle room so he can take different stances in front of different audiences ("I'm all for high standards, but ...."). Fred DuVal is basically for the Core, but he's been vague enough at this point that he can also play around with his message to suit the moment.

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NEON EON Have a Video, Play Tonight With Blackberry Smoke

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 12:02 PM

Thanks to the folks from NEON EON for sending over their video for the live version of "Laffin'" (which conveniently enough features some laughing and call-and-response action). 

If you're interested in seeing their southern rock influenced brand of party rock life, they're opening for Blueberry Smoke tonight at the Rialto. Doors are at 7 p.m. and tickets are $20 for the all ages show. More info at the Rialto's website.

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Kid Goes Off on His Mom for Getting Pregnant, Again

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 11:00 AM

A wise man once hosted a show called Kids Say The Darndest Things, but the Internet killed it with parents and their smart phones. This mother uploaded this video of her son getting upset at her for getting pregnant with her third child. Obviously, he didn't want another child around to steal the attention, but his baby sister didn't seem to mind. 

He's going to grow up to be a good lawyer someday.

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Media Watch: The New Face of Lotus; McNamara New Host of "Arizona Illustrated"

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 10:00 AM

[Editor's note: We didn't have room in the print edition for Media Watch this week, so here's John's column for your digital enjoyment.]


Tucson’s radio clusters are made up of three behemoth media conglomerates. Clear Channel and Cumulus probably get the most press, but comparisons between the rivals go further. They have more in common than just general proximity along the Oracle corridor. Both organizations (Clear Channel operates seven Tucson frequencies, Cumulus five) have managed to do an impressive job creating vacant hallways in buildings once occupied by dozens of employees.

Meanwhile, Scripps is the new player in the market. It recently announced a deal to purchase the Journal Broadcast Group’s electronic media holdings. Unlike Clear Channel and Cumulus, Scripps (still technically Journal until the deal gets finalized next year) has been in the midst of a hiring uptick and continues to add personnel for its television (KGUN TV 9, KWBA TV 58) and radio operations.

But there’s another privately operated outlet that has done pretty well in the market for some time. Three of its radio stations (KFMA 102.1 FM, KLPX 96.1 FM and KCMT 92.1 FM) consistently rank in the top 10 in market share, yet the company, Lotus Communications, has largely maintained a low profile.

That could change.

“I think we need to be in the community more. We need to tell our story more,” said Ken Kwilosz, the new GM of Lotus Tucson. “We’ve always been an under the radar company, kind of quiet. We’re on the west side of the freeway and we let all the guys on the east side of the freeway battle it out. I think we need to let people know we’re there, and get the word out that we have great products, great concerts, great reasons to tune in and listen to us.”

Generally speaking, that awareness was there, even if Lotus kept things in-house. Folks on the radio landscape are aware of KLPX, long the market’s leading (and as a result for many years the market’s only) classic rock station, so-called new rocker KFMA and KCMT, Tucson’s the top-rated Spanish language frequency.

It’s been a relatively stable operation. That was even apparent at the top, where Steve Groesbeck handled GM responsibilities for the better part of the last 13 years. But that changed a couple months ago, and when Groesbeck and Lotus parted ways, the company promoted Kwilosz, who for the last three years was the organization’s sales manager.

From that chair he became well aware of the dramatic advertising downturn in the Tucson market, and hopes he knows what needs to be done to turn a difficult tide amidst a slagging economy.

“It seems to me the market is starting to turn a little bit,” Kwilosz said. “Business seems to pick up in August, and this year there’s also political. What happens in radio is a lot of money is spent on television during the political window and other advertisers are sensitive of that, so instead of being bunched with political ads they might say let’s go with radio because it’s too expensive and there’s nothing left. The politicians have gobbled it all up. So I think that’s one of the reasons the third and fourth quarter will be better.”
Kwilosz has noticed better numbers in the auto industry as well.

“The biggest advertiser is the car business and the car business is through the roof,” Kwilosz said. “Their sales overall nationally and in Tucson is much better than last year, and last year was a huge improvement. That’s always the biggest category of business for broadcasting. If they’re healthy, that’s good for us because they’re spending more money.”

Still, Kwilosz has to achieve the bottom line, and there are a lot of issues that make that difficult in a market like Tucson. The aforementioned economic sluggishness naturally plays a significant role, as does the dwindling impact of terrestrial radio in light of other entertainment options. In that regard, Kwilosz hopes he can improve the perception of Lotus as a beneficial outlet with a small business local appeal that understands and appreciates the struggles of staying afloat when times are tough.

“There are a lot of family owned businesses still in Tucson, which is great because that’s what we are, and our dictate is when we help somebody it has to work, and if it doesn’t work we have to figure out how to make it work, not just have someone try it and say it didn’t work and go away,” Kwilosz said. “Our whole existence is to help a business grow and make more money. That’s why they advertise with us. They don’t advertise with us because they want to advertise on radio. They advertise with us because they want more business to come through the door. If we’re not doing that, we have to figure out how to make it happen.”


A new version of an established program returns with a familiar name at the helm. KVOA news anchor Tom McNamara has been pegged by Arizona Public Media to handle anchor responsibilities for the revamped Arizona Illustrated, which launches a new look and a variety of time slots September 7.

“I was honored to be asked to host Arizona Illustrated,” said McNamara via Facebook message, “and I'm grateful to KVOA for allowing me to jump on this opportunity. This program returns me to my roots in local television. I started out hosting and reporting in the magazine format with the P.M. Magazine show, which was wildly popular around the country back in the 1980s."

McNamara has spent nearly half of his 36-year broadcast career behind the desk at KVOA. One of the market’s most recognizable news personalities, McNamara started with Tucson’s NBC affiliate in 1997. He has contributed numerous hours over the years to assist with KUAT fundraising endeavors.

The new Arizona Illustrated debuts Sunday, Sept. 7 at 6:30 pm.

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Antigone Books Best-Sellers

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Here are Antigone Books' best-sellers for the week ending Aug. 22, 2014. More info at


1. Writing from the Senses: 59 Exercises to Ignite Creativity and Revitalize Your Writing
Laura Deutsch ($14.95)

2. A Tale for the Time Being
Ruth Ozecki ($16)

3. Spider Woman's Daughter: A Leaphorn & Chee Novel
Anne Hillerman ($9.99)

4. One Summer: America, 1927
Bill Bryson ($16.95)

5. The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Neil Gaiman ($14.99)

6. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Ransom Riggs ($10.99)

7. The Lowland
Jhumpa Lahiri ($15.95)

8. Gone Girl
Gillian Flynn ($15)

9. The House Girl
Tara Conklin ($14.99)

10. The Grace in Aging: Awaken as You Grow Older
Kathleen Dowling Singh ($17.95)

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Don't Worry, Christians, Kirk Cameron's Here to Save Christmas

Posted By on Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 3:45 PM


While I grew up with Christian movies that were never going to get near an actual movie theater instead relegated to VHS tapes shown at Friday youth group nights (still love you, Thief in the Night), the recent successes of God's Not Dead ($62 million at the box office on a $2 million budget), Fireproof ($33 million on a $500,000 budget) and others means that you're going to see Christian-themed films on the marquee right next to the big-budget blockbusters for awhile. There's part of the church-going side of me that would hope that someone might use the opportunity provided by the box-office possibilities to make an actual movie about the complexities of faith (a remake of Make Way for Tomorrow, maybe?), but hey, instead, we get something from noted theologian Kirk Cameron about the nonsense "War on Christmas." Woo hoo.

Well, you've got to love any movie with a character named "Christian White," who actually makes some valid points about the celebration of Christmas before Kirk Cameron tells him to enjoy himself and just buy some stuff at the mall or something. I personally grimaced at hearing a list of things we're supposed to enjoy about Christmas that puts "feasting" ahead of "selfless giving of yourself to others" or "remembering and caring for those who might be less fortunate than us" (neither made the countdown, but hey, at least "dancing" got a mention, but hey, as long as we can bully another retail worker, abused by absurdly long shifts and the worst of humanity driven by an endless thirst for stuff we don't really need, into saying "Merry Christmas" instead of an equally pleasant and wildly more considerate to our polycultural society remark like "Happy Holidays," then Kirk Cameron's work will all be worth it.

Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas is set to be released in a theater near you on November 14.

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Staff Pick

Shen Yun World Tour with Live Orchestra

Be Inspired. Be Amazed. Experience the Divine Culture's return. Great family event and the perfect gift! “Simply… More

@ Tucson Music Hall Sat., Feb. 22, 2-4:15 & 7:30-9:45 p.m. and Sun., Feb. 23, 1-3:15 p.m. 260 S Church Ave

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