Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Catch The Attic Ends for Free at The Hut Tomorrow

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 5:00 PM

  • The Attic Ends/ Facebook
Atmospheric indie rockers The Attic Ends are finishing up a month long tour and one of their last stops is in Tucson. On Wednesday, April 1, the Brooklyn-based band will be bringing their mellow, piano-centric brand of indie rock to The Hut in support of their new live EP "Stripped: A Live Recording."

The EP itself features five very clean and crisp live recordings of The Attic Ends and if their live performance in town is anything like this recorded one, it'll be a good one to sit back, relax and sip on one of the Hut's tropical-themed cocktails. Best of all, the show, located at 305 N. Fourth Ave., is free to attend.

The Attic Ends will perform at The Hut at 11 p.m. with local indie funk band Rotary Speed Dial opening the show starting at 10 p.m. For more information on this event and other upcoming concerts at The Hut, visit the bar and venue's website.

You can also check out The Attic Ends' aptly titled song for Arizona "The Heat is Hell" below:

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8 Places to Get Easter Brunch this Sunday

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 3:00 PM

  • Courtesy of Penca

Regardless of whether you're planning on observing the Easter holiday on Sunday, April 5, there's plenty to celebrate this year with eight local restaurants serving up some great brunch specials. Fresh fish, roasted lamb and a handful of Benedict options are available to make your Easter Sunday as tasty as possible.

Cup Cafe
From 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., Hotel Congress' historic little cafe will be serving up three different upscale entree options along with two desserts for Easter. On the savory side, a smoked salmon Benedict, a pork porterhouse with cheddar grits and a rabbit hash with sweet potato, turkey chorizo, fried eggs and bearnaise sauce will provide some stick-to-the-ribs fare, while the fried bread pudding bites and peep s'mores will finish the meal off on a sweet note. You can make reservations by calling 798-1618. The full menu is available to view on the Hotel Congress website.

Along with some of Penca's regular brunch offerings like corn cakes with black beans and eggs and achiote pork hash, Easter brunchers can opt for a roasted salmon dish with tepache-glazed carrots and bright spring onions from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. For dinner, the restaurant off of Broadway Boulevard will be offering a duck leg confit special as well as roasted salmon and cream of asparagus. You can make a reservation by calling 203-7681.

Check out 6 more brunch options after the jump!

Continue reading »

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'Ditch Common Core' Bill Dies in State Senate

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 2:00 PM

  • Courtesy of Shutterstock

Just like so many other anti-Common Core bills this legislative session, the sole surviving bill that would have Arizona ditch the standards died on the Arizona Senate floor yesterday. In a 13-16 vote, four Republicans said no to the legislation.

The bill asked to go back to the standards that were in place five years ago, and adopt new ones by Aug. 2017. Gov. Doug Ducey said on March 23 that he opposes the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards, and urged the state Board of Education to review the standards and find ways to make them less federal government and more in tune with Arizona

Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas wasn't happy about the bill's death. This is what she told The Arizona Republic:
"HB 2190 is an effort that I fully support because it puts additional pressure on the Board of Education to listen to the will of the people. As the public weighs in around the state, I still believe it will create sufficient momentum for the board to have to improve the standards."
But there's always next legislative session!

All but five states in the country have fully adopted the standards. Four of those—Alaska, Texas, Virginia, Nebraska—only adopted the ones for English language arts.

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Skratch Shack Gives a Home to Live Hip Hop in Tucson

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 1:00 PM

Pike Romero blends live art with live music at his DIY hip hop venue. - HEATHER HOCH
  • Heather Hoch
  • Pike Romero blends live art with live music at his DIY hip hop venue.

Booking hip hop shows in Tucson can be tough and no one knows this better than Pike Romero. As both a performer and booker himself, Romero has struggled to find a place that is welcoming to hip hop acts in a town saturated with old desert rock, psych revival acts and the occasional cumbia or mambo band. So where exactly does hip hop fit into that? 

Well, for Romero, the answer was to start something new. He began booking shows through his own agency named WeAreBugginOut and scheduling acts at a small DIY venue in a converted church off of Speedway Boulevard.

The Skratch Shack has only been open for about a month or so, but it's already attracting about 50 to 70 attendees per show. Romero tries to make each of these events more than just a hip hop or rap concert. He includes elements ranging from live art to performing magicians and even one time a live goat at an event at The Flycatcher.

"I want my shows to be refreshing. They should always be something different," Romero says.

To that extent, Romero has also commissioned a massive functional drum machine for one past event and has planned future live streaming beat making sessions for others. 

Although having dozens and dozens of people at a technically residential spot might seem like a recipe for a noise ordinance violation, Romero says his neighbors have been very welcoming and supportive of the Skratch Shack. Besides, the location is actually prime for not bothering other people, as most of the buildings around it are used commercially and closed when Romero puts on shows.

In the future, Romero hopes to have at least one show every other week. The next concert at the Skratch Shack will feature Johnny Polygon, Josh Sallee, A.R.K. Noah and more on April 8. For more information on this event and upcoming events at the Skratch Shack, visit the WeAreBugginOut Facebook page. All events at the Skratch Shack are 21 and over. 

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No More Elective Abortion Coverage Under Obamacare Health Plans & There's a Website with 'Abortion Reversal' Info

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 11:30 AM

Gov. Ducey signs abortion bill into law. - COURTESY OF THE CENTER FOR ARIZONA POLICY
  • Courtesy of the Center for Arizona Policy
  • Gov. Ducey signs abortion bill into law.

Well, it wasn't surprising that Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law a bill that prohibits health insurance plans under Obamacare from providing abortion coverage. This restriction has been in place in at least two dozen states.

Ducey issued this statement after he signed the bill:
"The American people overwhelmingly oppose taxpayer funding of abortions, and it's no different in Arizona, where we have long-standing policy against subsidizing them with public dollars. This legislation provides clarity to state law."
Idaho, Utah, both Dakotas, Kansas and Florida are among the group that opted out of providing coverage for abortions. There is a website called Obamacare Abortion that gives a good summary of all states that jumped in on that, and the states that do offer some coverage. 

In the case of Arizona, the state passed an opt-out law in 2010, but it was "ineffective because the law has been interpreted to apply only if the exchange is state-based," the website says. Still, in 2015, from 11 insurance carriers in the marketplace, only two for sure had elective abortion coverage (Health Net and Meritus). 

Ducey made it official: no insurance plan under Obamacare in the state will provide the coverage, except for women who are pregnant as a result of rape and in cases of incest.

Arizona also became the first state to have a consent provision, which means women seeking to get an abortion have to be told that they can reverse the effects of the abortion pill. 

This is what the Center for Arizona Policy, which backed up this bill, had to say about this:
The provision will protect women like the one who recently returned to a Glendale Planned Parenthood office after receiving the first abortion pill to see if she could stop the effects of the deadly medication. Planned Parenthood’s staff misinformed her when they said there was nothing she could do to stop the abortion. Thankfully, the young woman got connected to Dr. Allan Sawyer through the website AbortionPillReversal.com. Dr. Sawyer began the woman on the Abortion Pill Reversal regimen, and today, has a healthy ongoing pregnancy. SB 1318 also ensures taxpayer dollars do not go to the abortion industry by prohibiting medical plans on Arizona’s federally-run health care exchange from offering coverage for elective abortion. The legislation also requires abortion clinics to provide verification to the state that their doctors have proper admitting privileges to Arizona hospitals as prescribed by law as well. 
The whole idea behind this was that they felt taxpayer money should not go toward abortion coverage. 

State Rep. Victoria Steele fought hard against this bill—she testified against the legislation from a personal experience

 What Steele said at the time:
This bill would require women who are seeking an abortion after being traumatized by rape or incest to share personal, private and emotional information with an insurance company if they want coverage for the procedure. It will force victims to suffer another trauma. Telling my story today was difficult, and I have had years to deal with and recover from the incident. I can’t imagine the position this legislation would put recent victims in if they attempt to get medical care.
Jodi Liggett, director of public policy of Planned Parenthood Arizona, on azfamily.com:
We feel that this law enables experimentation upon our patients, quite frankly. I know our doctors are very upset about having to give this information that they don't think is correct that they wouldn't recommend.
Here are more abortion coverage restrictions, courtesy of the American Civil Liberties Union. 

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New Daily Show Host Sure Seems Like a Dick

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 10:00 AM


Update 2.0:
Noah chimed in on Twitter:
I'm just excited to see the word "evolution" in there.


Comedy Central released a statement following the criticism surrounding Noah's Tweets:
“Like many comedians, Trevor Noah pushes boundaries; he is provocative and spares no one, himself included. To judge him or his comedy based on a handful of jokes is unfair. Trevor is a talented comedian with a bright future at Comedy Central.” 
As I said below, (most of) the Tweets are pretty old. I like to think he'll go on to do good things. Not less bold, but hopefully less douchey. More amusing. More things in the vein of what he's already done on the show, please. And more of the Daily Show kicking ass when people step out of line. Please

Yesterday, Comedy Central announced Trevor Noah, a South African comedian who joined the Best F#@king News Team in December, would be taking over as the new host of the Daily Show when Jon Stewart leaves. His appearances on the show so far have been pretty funny and maybe even a little insightful. But you know what can't be described that way? His Twitter history.

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Ever Wonder How Charters Pay For Those Nice, New Schools?

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 9:00 AM

  • Courtesy of PhotoSpin

Have you ever wondered how, say, BASIS finds the money to build new schools and furnish them without getting millions of dollars from the state for construction? Here's part of the answer. The Phoenix Industrial Development Authority issues bonds to pay for charter school buildings. From 2006 through 2014, the Phoenix IDA floated $431 million in bonds for charter schools. Last week, another $152.4 million was approved. Of that, $95 million goes to BASIS (which also received $62 million in previous years), and the other $57.4 million goes to Freedom Academy, Legacy Traditional School and Villa Montessori.

I admit I'm out of my comfort zone when I get into the area of school bonding and finance, but I think this is important information for people to know even if I can't talk about it with great authority, and I want to raise some issues others may want to weigh in on.

It's important to understand that these are bonds which the schools have to pay back. They're not grants or gifts. Also, the Phoenix IDA is a quasi-public organization, and neither the city nor the state is on the hook if any of the charters fails and can't pay off its loan. Private parties stand to profit or lose from the bonds, depending on how things go.

Hedge funds and others consider lending money to charters for buildings great money-making opportunities, as the Walton and Gates Foundations tried to make clear at a recent all day event in New York, "Bonds and Blackboards: Investing in Charter Schools." The money people know funding for charters comes from the state, which means they'll be able to make payments, and charters, unlike new businesses, don't have a high failure rate.

But they aren't a sure thing. Charters sometimes shut down. Take, for instance, three charter schools backed by the Brighter Choice Foundation in Albany, NY. They haven't done as well academically as promised, and they'll probably be closed. The reason I'm talking about something that's happening on the other side of the country is, the Phoenix IDA floated the $15 million bonds for the schools, and if they close, it stands to lose its investment. Why did Brighter Choice reach across the country for its bonds rather than staying closer to home?
Brighter Choice was forced to turn to the Arizona IDA after the Albany Capital Resource Corporation — a sibling of the city's IDA — refused to provide the schools access to tax-free financing for the construction of the middle school building and to refinance the Albany Leadership Charter High School for Girls, which opened on Hackett Boulevard in 2010.

Continue reading »

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Mulan, Like Apparently All Classic Disney Movies, is Becoming a Live Action Film

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 4:00 PM

It's happening again, movie lovers: the beloved, gender-bending animated flick "Mulan" is being turned into a live action film. 

From Entertainment Weekly:
Disney has purchased a script from writing duo Elizabeth Martin and Lauren Hynek with Chris Bender and J.C. Spink attached to produce.

No release date or casting has been announced for the in-development project, but it can be added to the growing list of live-action takes on Disney’s vast catalog of beloved animated films. Cinderella recently debuted No. 1 at the box office and has so far earned over $330 million worldwide.

Disney also has a live-action Beauty and the Beast in the works, starring Emma Watson, coming in 2017, while another Alice in Wonderland is set for 2016. A new The Jungle Book is also planned for 2016, and a live-action Dumbo with Tim Burton directing is said to be in the works.
Don't for get to add (semi)recent character revivals Sleeping Beauty (in "Maleficent") and every character from "Into the Woods" to the list of five (five!!!) films EW listed in that blurb. It's 1995 all over again. 

Also, "Dumbo" is happening? That'll be interesting.

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Staff Pick

Mavis Staples

Mavis Staples breathes extraordinary life into Harper’s compositions on the record, delivering roof-raising performances with both a… More

@ Fox Tucson Theatre Sun., Jan. 19, 7:30-9:30 p.m. 17 W. Congress St.

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