Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Weekly List: 20 Things To Do In Tucson In The Next 10 Days

Posted By on Thu, Dec 29, 2016 at 3:20 PM

Your Weekly guide to keeping busy in the Old Pueblo.

New Year’s Eve

Mantra: Glow in the Dark New Year’s Eve Party with XIXA: XIXA, the Gabriel Sullivan and Brian Lopez led combo, who not so long ago called themselves the less wieldy Chicha Dust, are just now beginning to headline theater-sized venues all over Europe, so loving is their overseas following—this after an Euro introduction by Howe Gelb and Giant Sand. Gelb aside, Bloodline, XIXA’s 2016 LP, can (lazily) be described as a cumbia-inflected psych, a sort of guitar-and-melody driven “Desert noir” that marries explosive rhythms (Latin and otherwise) with soaring refrains. The album has so far been criminally overlooked stateside, but not in Tucson. XIXA is bringing their show—in what could become a New Year’s Eve tradition—to the Rialto. Get yer tix, the show, which is billed as an all night, glow-in-the-dark cumbia party, will likely sell out. With DJ Dirty Verbs. Saturday, Dec. 31 at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress. 9 p.m. $10-$50.

New Year’s Eve at R Bar: Reymon Murphy’s wholly hypnotic soul, blues and hip-hop outfit is a multi-ethnic, seven-piece collective Street Blues Family has mastered the nearly impossible task of being hypnotic, punchy and graceful all at once, and on stage. In fact, they groove like a cross of Sly Stone and Erykah Badu, and they’re quietly amassing a following of urban music fans in sleepy old Tucson, which is really saying something. The band will be performing two sets at 10 p.m. and 12:15 a.m. Meanwhile, DJ Roch’s killer curated soul will entertain between sets while the comely and doomy DJ Plastic Disease will host. Kiss off ugly 2016 in good old-fashioned escapist style, with a combo of chill tuneage and sweet cocktails. Saturday, Dec. 31 at the R Bar. $10 at the door (free if you have a ticket to MANTRA: Glow in the dark NYE party with XIXA). At The Rialto Theatre across the alleyway. 9 p.m. 21+.

labyrinth_1986_923.jpg
Labyrinth and a Holiday Ball: Say goodbye to 2016 and celebrate the New Year and the late David Bowie with a special screening of Jim Henson's 1987 film Labyrinth in its anniversary digital restoration. Wear your best Labyrinth-themed costumes to be entered in a pre-show costume contest, get groovy with pre-show Bowie music videos and a masquerade ball with champagne. Don't have a mask? The Loft will have supplies to make one on the spot. Costume Contest: 11:15, Film: 11:45. Saturday, Dec. Dec. 31. The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. General Admission: $10, Members: $8.

The Maverick: In the mood for a country New Year's Eve? Head to the Maverick for music, dinner by Flipside party favors, and champagne for a midnight toast. Bring canned food to donate, ’cause they are stuffing the Maverick Monster truck with food for the Community Food Bank and dropping a monster boot at midnight. 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31. The Maverick, 6622 E. Tanque Verde Road. $15.

The Mystery and Magic Dinner Theater: Ken Kesey won't be there with a magical bus, but this crew is gaining a reputation of creating a lot of fun. The Mystery and Magic Dinner Theater presents a full night of New Year's Eve fun. The evening starts with an interactive murder mystery comedy show that includes a three-course dinner prepared by La Paloma's executive chef, followed by a variety of performers featuring the reigning Arizona Stage Magician of the Year. The traditional countdown to the New Year includes hats, noisemakers, champagne toast, balloon drop and dancing. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31. Westin La Paloma, 3500 E. Sunrise Ave. $199, price includes a room. Call for tickets: 1-800-266-4800.

New Year’s Eve with Tap and Bottle: Ring in the New Year with your friends at Tap and Bottle. Dj Carl Hanni will spin up some tunes for some New Year's grooves as you sip on some champagne at midnight. 9 p.m. to midnight-ish. Saturday, Dec. 31. Tap and Bottle, 403 N. Sixth Ave. Free, bring money for alcohol.

Rick Braun’s New Year’s Eve Getaway: You can't be in Paris on Midnight, but you can be at a jazzy New Year's Eve Paris-themed event that starts with a reception, entertainment and appetizers, music by guitarist Marc Antoine and a delicious gourmet meal. Rick Braun, host and trumpeter extraordinaire, will be joined by singer-songwriter Jeffrey Osborne and saxophonist Richard Elliot. Over two days, enjoy seven hours of live music, dancing, champagne and all the fun of a golf tournament and silent auction. The event sold out last year, so head to tucsonnewyearseve.com to snag your ticket now. Friday Dec. 30 and Saturday, Dec. 31. $209+. JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort, 3800 W. Starr Pass Blvd.

Old Vegas: Hotel Congress is turning into Old Vegas on New Year's Eve with casino games, swanky cocktails, live music, Elvis and Frank, and a champagne toast. MC Tempest Du Jour will be there with a gaggle of showgirls. Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St. $25-$125.

Ring in the New Year at the Ritz: The Ritz-Carlton at Dove Mountain is hosting an elegant five-course New Year's Eve dinner with live entertainment. Stick around for the Fireworks Hike, which takes place at 11 p.m. $65 plus tax and gratuity. Call 572-3050 for reservations and more details. 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31. Ritz-Carlton at Dove Mountain, 5000 N. Secret Springs Drive.

Retro Rockets: Dance the night away as the Retro Rockets blast you into the New Year. The family friendly show includes a three-course dinner, party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. Call Robin for reservations and info 884-5530. 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31. Westward Look Resort, 245 E. Ina Road.

A night at the Carriage House: The Carriage House is celebrating the New Year with light hors d'oeuvres, followed by a five-course, wine-paired dinner featuring Chef Janos' greatest hits, and dessert with a sparkling wine and live music. A percentage (20 percent) of the proceeds will benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona, an organization that provides a home away from home for families who have traveled far to bring their children to Tucson for medical treatment. 7-10:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31. The Carriage House, 125 S. Arizona Ave. $150 per person, reservation required.

1912 Brewing: Not a night owl? Bring the kids to celebrate the New Year as it hits the East Coast. 1912 Brewing will have crafts, movies snacks plus party punch and horchata to keep the kids happy while you “ring in” 2017 at 10 p.m. with some complimentary champagne. 7 p.m. Saturday. Dec. 31. 1912 Brewing, 2045 N. Forbes Blvd.
Fun in General

bigstock-close-up-of-sportsman-legs-run-135649304.jpg
Cocoa 5k run/walk: Resolutions or a detox on your list at the beginning of 2017? Consider a run/walk. On New Year’s Day, kick off 2017 with the third annual Cocoa 5k run/walk in Oro Valley. The race will take place along the multi-use path, beginning at Steam Pump Ranch, and will include snacks, water and of course, hot cocoa. This is a professionally-timed race, and prizes will be awarded to the overall male and female winners and five-year age group categories. T-shirts will be available for sale. Children 12 and under race for free with paying adult. Proceeds will benefit Oro Valley’s Round Up for Youth Recreation Scholarship Program. 11 a.m. (registration starts at 9:45 a.m.) Sunday, Jan. 1. Steam Pump Ranch, 10901 N. Oracle Road. $25.

Treecycle: Already thinking about the logistics of ditching your Christmas tree? The city has your back. Starting the day after Christmas and continuing through mid January, you can drop your naked, dying tree off at one of nine Treecycle locations throughout Tucson and Oro Valley. The city is mulching the trees, and will have free wood chips available at a few of their locations after Jan. 4.

Being Feminist: What Feminism Means to Me Opening Reception: Yes, feminism counts as fun. Really. The YWCA is hosting a new exhibition based on pieces made by local artists create in response to the question, “What does Feminism mean to me?” In addition to the traditional opening night fun, the reception will feature The Clothesline Project courtesy of Emerge! T-shirts designed by survivors of domestic abuse. Busy that night? The exhibition itself is on display until March 13, so you’ve got plenty of time to stop in. 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6. The Galleria at the YWCA, 525 N. Bonita Ave.

texas_trash.jpg
Terry Trash and the Trainwrecks: By far the best flat-out rock ’n’ roll band in Tucson, and maybe the region, or even the country. In-yer-face bands like this just don’t exist anymore. The Trainwrecks bust out a pro-booze, pro-drug, pro-fuck-shit-up racket, a beastly rockabilly tinged punk-out crammed with hilarious self-deprecating asides and fat, shout-out choruses. And every live show’s like a proper rock ’n’ roll blowout—the band is either brilliant or utter shit, and even when they’re utter shit it’s still a blast because the beer flies, things topple over, ears ring and someone’s insulted in one way or another. Gifted frontman Terry Trash was born to do this, and you sense there’s nothing else in life for him. He’s a strangely beautiful and a hugely storied Tucsonan who has lived hard and homeless, and he’s literally broken—down a few limbs after mishap with roaring train. Just in terms of frolic and fright—the very ideas upon which the devil’s music was created—Terry Trash and the Trainwrecks jam it home. This “F@#K 2016” show also features Border Town Devils, Junkie Vomit, Stubborn Old Bastard, Sindicate, and Blue Collar Criminals. Friday, Dec. 30, at Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress. 6:30 p.m. $5-$7. All ages.

Whispering Wires: There’s a frightening little musical subtext beneath the surface of Whispering Wires’ hooky, guitar-based pop-dirge. Sonically the songs suggest one thing—they’re almost downright joyful sounding, and the members obviously have fun playing them—yet there’s something else going on … a sinister something. It’s like suburbia, where you can move through miles of repetitive landscape and scenes yet sense something is truly off. The band’s 2014 song “Breathe In,” for example, tweaks a guitar hook just so, and lyrics tell of hiding from the world and finally being able to breath in, and it works as a fun little existential parable, yet the vocal harmony throughout makes it a totally rewarding listen. The tune was on heavy rotation down here at the Weekly HQ for weeks. With Heebee Jeebies at The Flycatcher, 340 E. Sixth St. 9 p.m. 21+. Free.

Cinema

maxresdefault.jpg
Mondo Monday: It’s as cold as it gets in our little corner of the desert, and no one is going to blame you for spending a little extra time indoors, watching movies—especially if you do so with others! The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd., has a few events coming up to keep you cozy and entertained. January is creepy crawlies month for Mondo Mondays and kick off with Frogs, the tale of cold green skin against soft, warm flesh. Things go totally “environ-mental” when a crotchety, nature-hating millionaire hosts a party on his private island and discovers that it’s payback time when thousands of vindictive frogs get hopping mad and whip every bug and slimy creature into a toxic frenzy. 8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 2. $3.

Mad Max Fury Road Black & Chrome: Director George Miller has secured a place in many hearts with the majesty of Mad Max Fury Road. But, if Miller had his way, our whole Fury Road experience would have been different. Less colorful. Revisit the apocalyptic feminist hell dream in black and white, as it was meant to be seen at the Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. Dec. 30-Jan. 1. Times for vary by day.

Li'l Quinquin: A pair of bumbling small town detectives investigate a hilariously strange mystery involving murder, madness and farm animals in director Bruno Dumont’s one-of-a-kind comedy/thriller Li’l Quinquin. Catch a free screening of this French comedy/thriller next Friday, courtesy of the Loft, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 29. Free.


Has Arizona Reached Peak Charter?

Posted By on Thu, Dec 29, 2016 at 1:01 PM

ILLUSTRATION FROM WIKIMEDIA.ORG GRAPHIC
  • Illustration from wikimedia.org graphic
I've been wondering lately, has the growth in the number of students in Arizona's charter schools slowed significantly? This is just speculation, built on wisps and indications I've noticed over the past few years. But it may be that our charter schools have completed their rapid expansion and reached something like an equilibrium in their percentage of the overall student population.

I've been sensing this for awhile, but a possible confirmation came from an article titled Charter School Enrollment Continues To Rise In Arizona. It sounds like it should be an affirmation of the continued growth in the number of students in charters, but a bit of number crunching makes it seem like it's damning the increases with faint praise.
About 180,000 students currently attend charter schools in Arizona. That’s an increase of 8,000 students in the last year.

At the same time, district school enrollment has stayed the same.
Let's look at those numbers. Adding 8,000 students amounts to a 4.7 percent charter enrollment increase across the state. That's not bad, adding a little under five percent in a year. But with 180,000 students, charters have less than 20 percent of the state's total student enrollment. Over a million students attend district schools. The 8,000 student increase amounts to less than one percent of the district school population.

That 180,000 student, number is on the Arizona Charter Schools Association website. But the association's 20 Years of Charters publication says the charter population was 190,000 in 2013-14. If that figure is correct, charters have actually lost 10,000 students from a few years ago. If it's a projection, it means the association was far too optimistic about enrollment growth. An enrollment chart in the publication shows increases have slowed since charter schools first opened in the mid-1990s.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , ,

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Laughing Stock: Laughs To Look Forward To

Posted By on Wed, Dec 28, 2016 at 4:09 PM

bigstock-comic-bubble-head-laughter-ha-112346177.jpg
I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to laugh my head off at the hapless, agonized last breaths of that misanthropic asshole year 2016. HA HA HA!! Can’t wait.

And it’s as if Laff’s Comedy Caffé has read our minds. For New Year’s Eve, they’re offering two shows, each with a different menu, and each reasonably enough priced that you can do both: $30 for the 7 p.m. dinner show (sirloin tips, chicken Françoise or salmon fillet); $25 for 10:30 p.m. “breakfast” show (fruit and pastries), both plus tax and gratuity.

Co-headlining comics are two of our favorite TV comics: Taylor Tomlinson, a finalist on NBC’s Last Comic Standing and host of Fox’s Young as Hell; and Andrew Rivers, who has been all over the networks and cool podcasts and vlogs. Each presents a different set for each show.
Make New Year’s reservations, stat.

Already stuck with New Year’s plans? Tomlinson and Rivers also headline shows at 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30; $10 or $15 with a two-item minimum from the regular menu. Reservations for Friday are at laffstucson.com. The club is at 2900 E. Broadway Blvd.

Laughs to look forward to

Check out all the visiting comedians to get excited about so far in 2017! All tickets are on sale now, and the wise comedy lover will not tarry.

An Evening with Arsenio Hall” benefits the Hillel Foundation’s education programs. 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, at the Fox Theatre Tucson, 18 West Congress St. $45 to $120.

Tom Green, the Johnny Appleseed of comedy throughout the new media frontier, 8 p.m. Thursday, April 6, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 W. Congress St. $24 to $32.

Maria Bamford, creator of the semiautobiographical hit Netflix sitcom Lady Dynamite. 8 p.m., Saturday, April 11, Rialto Theatre. $24 to $35.

David Sedaris delivers new material from a forthcoming book. 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 8, Fox Tucson Theatre.

Bill Engvall, comedy about daily life from a co-founder of the Blue Collar Comedy tour, two shows, 7:30 and 10 p.m. Saturday, May 20, Fox Tucson Theatre, $45 to $99.

Cinema Clips: Jackie

Posted By on Wed, Dec 28, 2016 at 9:21 AM


Dealing primarily with the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination, director Pablo Larrain addresses those terrible times through the eyes of Jackie Kennedy (Natalie Portman), First Lady and closest witness to the gory death of her husband.

The film addresses notions never really discussed about the assassination in film before, such as Jackie’s decision to march in the open air at her husband’s funeral. Portman, after a little career lull, comes roaring back with an amazingly accurate portrayal (She nails that beautifully strange accent). Peter Sarsgaard is excellent as a justifiably angry Bobby Kennedy, as is Billy Crudup as a journalist doing an exclusive interview with Jackie soon after the shooting.

The film accurately captures the look of the early sixties, right down to Jackie’s pillbox hat. Of all the films made about the assassination of JFK, this one is the most personal, and it does an admirable job of showing what an influence Jackie was, and examining her icon status.

Portman will most certainly get an Oscar nomination for this one, and it will be deserved.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Save Our Guns

Posted By on Tue, Dec 27, 2016 at 10:41 AM

An activist raising awareness - JONATHAN HOFFMAN
  • Jonathan Hoffman
  • An activist raising awareness
You may recall a few years ago the City held a oddly named “Gun Buyback” event, oddly named since the City of Tucson did not sell the guns in the first place. During the one-day event, people were encouraged to trade any firearm for a $50 Safeway gift card with “no questions asked.” It was a strange activity for the city since it was providing a service that is already available in the private sector; anyone can take a gun to a gunshop and sell it to the licensed dealer. Unlike the licensed dealer, however, the “no questions asked” caveat made clear that the city was willing to act as a fence for stolen property.

Currently there are no plans for more “buyback” events, but a related controversy has arisen. The City of Tucson is having most firearms it acquires destroyed. There is apparently no good reason for this beyond the propaganda value of generally vilifying weapons. Some say that “putting them back on the street” makes Tucson a more dangerous place; or, to put a finer point on the same idea, some of these guns have been used in crimes and if they were set free would no doubt continue their criminal rampage.

Let’s ignore the kind of creepy superstitious thinking behind this policy and look at the reality of the situation. These guns are consumer items that are sold every day all over Tucson. There are around 200 licensed firearms dealers in greater Tucson. The number of guns in Tucson will be determined by the local market, not by how many are destroyed by the City of Tucson.

Regarding the bad “crime guns,” perhaps with a little counseling, these “crime guns” might be willing to sign a contract agreeing to practice lawful behavior in the future and then they could be released to the streets.

I hope that the Tucson City Council does not decide that it dislikes other items that come its way. I would hate to see them stop auctioning off recovered bicycles and chop them up instead. Or do an Auric Goldfinger number on “crime cars.” Yikes!

I mentioned that Tucson is having most of the guns destroyed. The City apparently likes rifles and shotguns that are not semi-automatic; those it will sell. It’s those nasty handguns and semi-autos that need to be destroyed. It is trendy today to view bolt action and pump action rifles and shotguns as good guns, while handguns and anything semi-automatic are the bad guns. This is based on fashion more than fact. Is a .22LR target pistol mare effective in combat than a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun? The correct answer is that it depends on who is on the trigger, not some aspects of the firearm's functioning.

By the way, If you want to get a libertarian to see red, tell him that the scary guns can be picked up by law enforcement, if it wants them, but must be destroyed rather than end up in the hands of a citizen. Yes, such is the case with the city’s destruction program. If the police are the good guys, and it’s alright for them to use the bad guns, how bad can those guns really be? If the law abiding citizenry and the police are on the same side and in partnership, then they can have the same tools.

So now the Attorney General of Arizona is seeking a clarification from the court on whether the City’s program is legal. Along with ten other states, Arizona has passed into law legislation that discourages this sort of wasteful and destructive behavior. If Tucson continues to destroy guns, then the state will withhold a heap big chunk of state shared revenue. Tens of millions of dollars are at stake. Tucson believes the law to be invalid and has taken the state to court as well.

There are a few interesting legal questions. Is the program a strictly local issue and therefore under the authority of the cities? Do charter cities (Tucson is one) have authority in this area while others do not? Is it an issue of firearm regulation for which the state has preemptive authority? We may find out the hard way. Let’s hope that members of the Tucson City Council experience a few lucid moments and not go to war with the state on this. There has been more than enough stupidity already in this regard.

Jonathan Hoffman is the Weekly's libertarian columnist.

Tags: , , , , , ,

The City Of Tucson Makes a Statement

Posted By on Tue, Dec 27, 2016 at 9:00 AM

PUBLIC DOMAIN PICTURES
  • Public Domain Pictures
Last week, the City of Tucson joined a number of other concerned cities across the nation by adopting a resolution supporting immigrant immigrant rights and condemning the kind of mass deportation policies Trump promised during the campaign. It passed unanimously.

Resolution #22699 is long and detailed. It refers back to a resolution adopted in April, 2012, which was "a declaration of five principles to guide Arizona's immigration discussion," as well as other resolutions and memorials adopted since then. The current resolution states:
The Mayor and Council condemn any threat, by any elected official, of mass deportations, and publicly proclaim through this Resolution that the City shall not participate in any such actions.

The Mayor and Council further publicly proclaim through this Resolution the commitment to protect all members of our community so they can live their lives free of fear and can feel safe in our city.
The mission and policies of the Tucson Police Department in regards to human rights and immigration are specified in 12 points, including: prohibiting racial profiling; recognizing that "unauthorized presence in the United States is not a criminal offense"; affirming it "will not make immigration status inquiries during consensual contacts with members of the public and will not make such inquiries of victims and witnesses of crime"; and affirming that "School Resource Officers, when interacting with minors, shall refrain from asking about immigration status."

The City also published a valuable Resource Guide for Immigrant Families, which begins,
Following the harsh language and statements regarding immigration in the 2016 presidential campaign, we understand that many immigrant families are currently experiencing high levels of anxiety and fear. We know these can be difficult times, but Tucson is committed to doing everything we can do to ensure that as residents of our city, you feel safe and valued. As an Immigrant Welcoming City, we will stand united and protect one another.
The guide explains immigrants' rights and legal options and provides a list of organizations providing legal help and support.

Other local governmental and educational organizations should follow suit. They now have two excellent templates to guide them: the resolution and resource guide provided by the City of Tucson and a resolution passed by TUSD a week earlier.

Tags: , , ,

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Christmas Story: The Season Advances, as Done to Green Sleeves

Posted By on Fri, Dec 23, 2016 at 1:07 PM

xmas_story.jpg
Cole and his commotions pierce your scalp. As you turn on your side, ancient Indian arrowheads. Hot water filling ears, tub, and the one one-room tenement flat steam, a rusting locomotive engine breeze. Battling ice for window space, melting into cracked wood finish, Finished, you imagine, by blonde-on-blonde Scandinavian immigrants. Clear as winter ice. Performing now on your left, just behind the rotting sofa, is the radiator. Spitting, bleating, and dripping as you hover over it like a saint. "What child is this who laid to rest on Mary's lap is sleeping..."

Christmas, 1963: Man, she had tinsel on her brain. Waiting outside in a peacoat for her grandparents to arrive. In a one-horse open sleigh, or was it a Pontiac? Yeah, must'a been a Pontiac 'cause it didn't snow that Christmas. Matter of fact, it hardly ever snowed in Tucson.

Just another morning. The details of your insanity. The soundtrack of a waking city bangs upon your windowpane. A fine mist now covers the room as sweatshirt and panties drop to the chewed-puke green rug. "Whom angels greet with anthems sweet while shepherds watch are keeping ..."

Christmas, 1967: The family room was a switchboard yard. Southern Pacific train set careening down the tracks. The dog his under the bed while the cat made frequent attacks on the orange boxcars. Grandfather sunk in Nostalgia. Reminder of his years spent slaving for the railroads. He almost smiled and would call her by her Christian name. Those were gifts that could never be bought.

A finger, a foot, and finally your entire body disintegrates into rising waters form. Slow, deep breath. Your skin, white as bone, immersed in the flood. Nipples, buttocks, freckles, and pubic mound. Laid to rest in moors and in the briars. Caressing yourself. Still alive at 25. So fluid and warm. Molds, animal fat, and fragrance No. 5. Oceanic sleeping in a ceramic pot. "So bring him incense, gold and myrrh; come rich and poor to own him..."

Christmas, 1969: Rich aromas of baking and falter's pipe tobacco filled the kitchen. Her mother spun Crosby and Como. Grandparents watched kids unravel gifts like spools of thread. BB guns and baseball mitts for her brothers. A huge box marked "North Pole" sat off in the corner. The one with three separate booklets of directions in hieroglyphics. Took five sets of batteries, not included, and seemed to possess a mind of its own. Took a class-four operator's license to start, and could only be used under adult supervision. Which was OK because Dad was the only one who would ever play with it from that day forward. It whirred, sputtered, and then ignited before exploding into a thousand pieces, encasing the entire area in a haze of blue smoke and sea of lights.

You force yourself out of the tub and dry off next to the oven. Cracking paint and peeling last shreds of wallpaper. Ships and lighthouse give way to unforgiving white walls. You shrug, light a cigarette, and dress quickly. Dress warmly and wonder in mom would approve. The salt thrown on the streets has eaten away at your cowboy boots. But you put them on just the same and swear they've shrunk another inch. "The king of kings salvation brings; let loving hearts enthrone him ..."

Christmas, 1971: The odor of candle wax like an unsettled stomach. A statue on the pew. She sat still and alone as stone. Watching imagined snowflakes drift about the beautiful wooden church. Her grandmother blanketed in a huge white quilt. She thought about magic and how at midnight the animals would talk.

You glance in the mirror and slowly a face takes place. Put on water for morning's coffee and another smoke. You lose yourself for a moment in reflections. The midnights spent at the uptown bar and the Seventh Street entry, and finally to last Tuesday, and of the player you took home. So pretty, throw a lock on the door, and descend the dirty staircase leading down and out into another wasted day. "This, this is Christ the king, whom shepherds guard and angels sing.."

Christmas, 1973: Every Christmas day once upon a time. All her relatives gathered at the old house. Women damp with perfume and men with bourbon's breath. Children. Sweet guarantors of one more year's prosperity. Dinner was served complete with each family's endless crusades and picket signs. She called it carving through Cambodia. Secretly, she fed scraps of turkey and pumpkin pie to her dog under the table. After the meal she surprised everyone by sneaking off behind the Christmas tree, quietly sobbing as the light slowly drained from the sky.

"Haste, haste to bring laud, the babe the son of Mary..."

The day slips like a snake onto your shadowed soul. Wind freezing down and the snow tastes of tin. Plodding through top layers of last night's drop. You are surrounded by grey-green buildings where no one seems to live. Veering to the right off Ninth Street, you skid and slide down Hennepin like a bobsled, leaving rails of blacktop exposed. You need someone with a memory. Manholes exhale brown sweat steam, creating layers of colored bulbs blinking and flashing through the mist. A drag queen in red leotards brushes up against you, wishing you a Merry Christmas. The area is run down and you think to yourself that Santa Claus better have a machine gun.

A police car is stopped in the middle of the street outside the pool hall. You shake your hips and pretend not to notice their leering smiles and beady blue eyes. It's starting to snow again as you continue south towards the bridge. Face red and chapped, you peer through eyes that take in each leafless branch bent with snow. An empty car lot is covered with pure, clean, glistening white powder. You pass shops and topless bars where sound pours into the streets from God's ghetto blaster... "Have a Kung-Fu Christmas." The horizon fills with steeples and smokestacks, while the ornaments of nature charge each moment and provide crisp silence. Crowds sway and fall away into snowbanks which hold the face of this earth with frozen discipline. The river is breathing smoke, and you hardly notice an Indian glaciated on a stoop, lips pursed to a bottle of wine. You fight to light up a last wet cig-arette. A different kind of poverty. The wind knifes along the bridge as you step onto it. Beneath you runs the great Mississippi, brown and flowing with chunks of ice and sludge, deep and tranquil... You should have called your parents to let them know their daughter won't be home for Christmas, but you feel so disconnected. All around you the twilight ignites and the entire world is rimmed with frost...

Tags: ,

Casa Video Top 10

Posted By on Fri, Dec 23, 2016 at 9:21 AM

Over here at Weekly World Central, we're stressin' to get next week's paper to the printer a little early so we can take a little time off for movie marathons and pizza at home. That's what December days off are for, right?

Here's your weekly look at Casa Video's 10 most popular rentals right now:

Jason Bourne

Suicide Squad

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children 

The Secret Life Of Pets

War Dogs

Don't Breathe 

Kubo and the Two Strings

Hell or High Water

Game of Thrones Season Six

Ben-Hur

Staff Pick

Festival Band's New Year's Eve Dance

Join us at the Tucson University Park Hotel (formally Marriott) for our NYE Dance! We play Tejano,… More

@ Tucson University Park Hotel Dec. 1-Jan. 1 880 E. 2nd Street

» More Picks

Submit an Event Listing

Popular Content

  1. $59 Million Can Focus the Mind, Even If You're Facebook (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  2. Laughing Stock: Holly Jolly Edition (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  3. Cinema Clips: Lady Bird (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  4. Laughing Stock: The People's Pervert Does Christmas (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  5. The Weekly List: 26 Things To Do in Tucson This Week (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)

© 2017 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation