Friday, June 30, 2017

Lando Chill Speaks Truth at the Boy Who Spoke to the Wind Album Release Show at Presidio San Agustín del Tucson

Posted By on Fri, Jun 30, 2017 at 4:23 PM

Lando Chill performs at his album release show for his sophomore album The Boy Who Spoke to the Wind in Tucson, Arizona on Saturday, June 24. - BRIEANA SEALY
  • Brieana Sealy
  • Lando Chill performs at his album release show for his sophomore album The Boy Who Spoke to the Wind in Tucson, Arizona on Saturday, June 24.

"There's a reason why we don't have a stage, there's a reason why there's 360 degrees of movement, there's a reason why we're eye-level. It's cause we are all the same." Lando Chill spoke slowly to the crowd so that they absorbed every word.

Lando Chill and Altrice hosted an album release show for his sophomore album The Boy Who Spoke to the Wind Saturday, June 24. Chill addressed imperfections of humanity by weaving it into his poetry and songs. Chill spoke on the issues like oppression of people of color, women empowerment and his experiences as a young black man. 

Altrice opened the show nodding to pop hip-hop rulers like Kendrick Lamar and Bryson Tiller, and mixed high-distortion vocal samples and with mellow sounds. People head-nodded to the beats as they strolled in.

Then it was time to Chill: "I want to you to be with me as I am with you." The audience crowded around the floor of lights. Chill Looked into every eye looking at him.  His state-of-mind shifted song to song, and he raised his fist and howled at the top of his lugs in frustration during one song, then serenaded and danced into tranquility in the next. Chill shared experiences and epiphanies, particularly those that lead to the making of his album:

"We were in Madera Canyon creating music. In the morning I went up to the mountain 'cause I had to check my twitter. So I would get up before everyone else and climb this mountain every morning. It was how I got reception, but one morning I realized that I actually went up on this mountain blocking myself from what was really important. The bugs were buzzing and the wind was blowing and the birds were chirping and nature was doing its thing. Of course that is what it does everyday but you see today is special, that day was special, everyday is special. There is an awareness we have when we realize we are one with everything around us. In that moment I realized I was one with the wind, the mountains, the leaves, the bugs, and the birds on that hot morning. I sat down with my copy of The Alchemist, and I wrote. I wrote my own story, my own personal legend, my own path. In writing that, I ended up writing The Boy Who Spoke to the Wind."

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Huppenthal, History and Ethnic Studies

Posted By on Fri, Jun 30, 2017 at 3:45 PM

The Mexican American Studies trial is a trip down memory lane for me, especially with former Education Superintendent John Huppenthal on the stand. Back when he was using his two aliases, Thucydides and Falcon 9, to comment on blogs across the state, my posts were on the receiving end of much of his anonymous wit, wisdom and, well, idiocy. After all, I write mostly about education, and dozens of my posts were about TUSD's Mexican American Studies battles, so it was natural for his alter egos to defend his corporeal self against what I was writing.

I looked back through some of my old posts and came across something I wrote in 2010 when Huppenthal first ran for superintendent. He was in Tucson for a candidates' forum, and I was there with my recorder. One of his favorite subjects on the stump was the evils of the Mexican American Studies program, a topic he inherited from his predecessor Tom Horne. Huppenthal talked about his experience sitting in on an MAS class.
"My first-hand classroom encounter clearly revealed an unbalanced, politicized and historically inaccurate view of American History being taught."
He said he was upset that MAS classes gave students a distorted view of people like Ben Franklin, who was condemned for owning slaves. Then he gave his own rendition of Franklin's bio, one of those classic Huppenthal fact-and-fiction tossed salads I read so often in his blog commentaries.
"Ben Franklin . . . was the president of the Abolitionist Society in Pennsylvania, he led the fight against the slave trade, successfully stopping the slave trade. He freed all of his own slaves, and not only freed them but gave them positions of responsibility so that they could grow into leaders."
Huppenthal's depiction of Franklin revealed his own unbalanced, politicized, historically inaccurate view of history. I'm sure he derived a great deal of satisfaction from his portrayal of Franklin. It was history told by winners for historical winners like himself. Bits and pieces of his thought stream are accurate. Franklin was the president of Pennsylvania's Abolitionist Society (he was 82 at the time), but that was years after the state ended its slave trade. Franklin freed his slaves, but he kept them and profited from their labor for years after he took up the abolitionist cause. As for giving them "positions of responsibility so that they could grow into leaders," well, Franklin advocated for education of black people. He believed they had as much intellectual potential as whites. But so far as I can tell, Huppenthal's protestation that Franklin gave his ex-slaves positions of responsibility so they would grow into leaders is his own construct designed to transform Franklin into the untarnished, heroic Founding Father Huppental wants him to be.

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Artist Richard Zelens Stages Open Studio and Sale at His Home This Weekend

Posted By on Fri, Jun 30, 2017 at 10:04 AM


Expressionist painter Richard Zelens has been showing his colorful works in many galleries of late. He had a lovely sky-and-mountain piece in the Day for Night show up at Tohono Chul this past winter and he’s turned into a regular at Raices Taller and Contreras. In fact, right now he’s working on several small pieces for Tropical Heat Wave, the August show at Contreras. Back in 2011, he made it into the prestigious Arizona Biennial at the Tucson Museum of Art.

“I seem to be known for my luxurious florals,” says Zelens, a former professional dancer with American Ballet Theatre in New York City. “But some friends consider my portraits and esoteric (work) the most interesting. Then there is my addiction to pinching pots.”

Not to mention his painted silks. (Last year he published a book on his silk art.)

Right about now, we could use his charming “Monsoon Serenade,” a painting show at Raices last summer that had two benevolent rain gods throwing lightning bolts to the parched desert and blowing dark rain clouds across the mountains.

Local art lovers can get a look at the whole of the current Zelens oeuvre at a two-day open studio and sale he’s hosting at his house and studio this holiday weekend. Located west of the Humane Society, south of the Rillito, and a stone’s throw from an industrial zone, Zelens’ yard is a spacious surprise, as colorful and as eccentric as his paintings. Full of plants and patio chairs and piles of tiles and painted cloth drying on clotheslines, the place is an artwork in its own right. Inside, the house is equally colorful, with big, bright paintings taking over entire rooms.

Zelens’ two-day studio sale opens at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 1 and 2, and continues into the afternoon both days. The address is 3250 E. Kleindale Road., Tucson, 85716. Phone is 301-9057. Call if you’re arriving late in the day.

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Quick Bites: Red, White and Bases Loaded

Posted By on Fri, Jun 30, 2017 at 9:00 AM


What’s more American than baseball, beer and fireworks? This Tuesday, July 4, head on down to the Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium—2500 E. Ajo Way—and enjoy an all American evening of giveaways, games, family activities, music, food and fireworks.

Join in celebrating the United State’s 241st birthday, in conjunction with the Tucson Saguaro’s second annual 4th of July Diamonds in the Sky Celebration. The evening will kick off at 6 p.m. with a game between the Tucson Saguaros and Monterey Amberjacks, followed by a 30-minute fireworks show after the game. During the game, there will be face painting, jumping castles and an obstacle course set up for the kids. Food specials include $1 hot dogs and beer to pair.

General admission tickets are $4, and children 5 and under enter for free.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Laughing Stock: From the Top Summits Unscrewed

Posted By on Thu, Jun 29, 2017 at 6:00 PM

From the improv class that brought them together just a few years ago, the musical improv group From the Top has climbed to prime time at Unscrewed Theatre. This week, they begin performing as a house team in the theater’s top slot, 9:30 pm, the first Saturday of every month.

From the Top uses audience suggestions to create scenes that mimic Broadway shows; characters may burst into song at any moment. Players make up lyrics in real time to fit both the scene and a music track chosen by teammates according to the scene’s mood.

The lyrical improv ensemble earned a monthly show last year through a series of head-to-head events on Unscrewed’s Free Form Fridays. That show, the second Friday every month, features competing teams from throughout Tucson.

Of the group’s humble beginnings, organizer Cynthia “Cy” Barlow says, “When that (improv) class finished, we liked each other enough that we wanted to keep playing together. We were trying out different formats and then one day, we all were like, ‘I've always wanted to try musical improv.’ ‘Hey, me too!’ ‘Hey me too!’” And we kind of went ‘Oh! Well, that's doable.’”

The consensus was perhaps inevitable given that all the group members have musical backgrounds. Barlow has three music degrees including a master’s in music theory. Still, the fledgling project was not without challenges.

“The challenges for musical improv are coming up with a way to accompany yourself,” Barlow says. Musicians weren’t eager to offer free accompaniment, but the team found a solution in Laura Hall’s Improv Karaoke, two CDs of backing tracks in a range of genres.

“For a while we used those, then I started making my own accompaniment tracks.” Barlow says. “Now the challenge is to keep that fresh. We don't want to get too familiar with them.

“That's been our biggest challenge,” Barlow says, but she adds, “The biggest challenge is really getting over the fear of singing in front of people!”

Unscrewed Theatre is at 3244 E Speedway Blvd. Tickets are $5 at the door or at

Fat Lazy Slob Who Did Good

Kevin Smith wrote and directed lots of films including Dogma, created AMC’s Comic Book Men, contributes daily to and has written two books, including one whose name inspired this subhead. See him at 8 p.m., Friday, June 30 at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St.; $28 to $48.

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The Weekly List: 18 Things To Do In Tucson In The Next Week

Posted By on Thu, Jun 29, 2017 at 11:45 AM

Your Weekly guide to keeping busy in the Old Pueblo.

Patriotic Shenanigans
Wet Hot American Party. Celebrate America, Tucson style! Hotel Congress is throwing its annual kinda-4th-of-July themed bash, and it sounds like it's gonna be more extra than ever. Expect a water slide, giveaways and DJ performances from Jalph, Sid the Kid and more. 10 p.m. July 1. Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St. $3. Free if you wear a swimsuit or stars-and-stripes.

Tucson Saguaros Baseball and Fireworks. If you want to be extra-American and take in a baseball game with your fireworks show, head out to Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium, which is hosting a night full of games, entertainment, obstacle courses and more at its second annual 4th of July Diamonds in the Sky Celebration. The evening will kick off at 6 p.m. with a game between the Tucson Saguaros and Monterey Amberjacks, followed by a 30-minute fireworks show. During the game, face painting, jumping castles and an obstacle course will be set up for the kids. Food specials include $1 hot dogs and beer to pair. General admission tickets are $4, reserved seating costs between $11 and $15 and children 5 years old and under enter for free. Kino Sports Complex is located at 2500 E. Ajo Way.

21st Annual “A” Mountain Fireworks Celebration. The 21st Annual “A” Mountain Fireworks Celebration will start this year at approximately 9:15 p.m. Tuesday, July 4. Enjoy the celebration from anywhere in downtown, including the Tucson Convention Center’s Parking Lot B or Parking Lot C (off Granada between Broadway Boulevard and Cushing Street). Parking will be free. There also will be entertainment and food vendors (burgers, hot dogs, ice cream and refreshments) available from 7 until 9 p.m. in Lot B. For more information, call the Tucson Convention Center at 791-4101.

Celebration at Naranja Park. The town of Oro Valley has a new location for its fireworks show: Naranja Park. Leading up to the 9 p.m. fireworks show will be a variety of family-friendly activities that begin at 5 to 9 p.m., including live music from the Bryan Dean Trio and Little House of Funk, fun games and food trucks. You can park at Naranja Park or an overflow lot just down the street at Ironwood Ridge High School (2475 W Naranja Drive, west of La Cholla Road). Free shuttle service will begin at 5 p.m. and will run approximately every 10-15 minutes between the two locations. Naranja Park is located at 810 West Naranja Drive.

Star Spangled Spectacular. Come out to Marana's Independence Day celebration. Enjoy live music, food trucks, inflatables for the kids, beer gardens for parents, and a magnificent fireworks show starting at 9 p.m. 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, July 4. Crossroads at Silverbell District Park, 7548 N. Silverbell Road.

Fourth of July in the West. Join Old Tucson for a Fourth of July celebration. Kids 11 and younger get in free July 1-4 in honor of Independence Day. Play games to win prizes and enjoy a daily patriotic flag ceremony, with a special parade on July 4. There will be a pie-eating contest, chuck wagon food along with Old Tucson’s regular shows and attractions. Enjoy a special July 4 show in the Grand Palace, train rides for kids and kids at heart, antique cars and a vintage carousel. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 4. Old Tucson, 201 S Kinney Road. $18.95.

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Escape the Heat with These Summer Blockbusters!

Posted By on Thu, Jun 29, 2017 at 10:45 AM

Summer movies: Because two hours at the cinema sounds more fun than heatstroke.


Cult Classics Series (every Friday and Saturday at 10 p.m.): On Friday, June 30, and Saturday, July  1, The Loft will show cult classic Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. This film partners two of Hollywood's iconic stars—Joan Crawford and Bette Davis—to create a timelessly comedic psychological thriller. Two sisters, both victims of stardom, enter a no-holds-barred feud that makes no promise of a happy ending.

Social Justice Summer (every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.): This series aims to pair hard-hitting social justice issues with cinema. Audiences are invited to explore important social issues through film, with community experts present after every film to hold community talkbacks. This Wednesday, July 5, the Global Justice Center, in conjunction with The Loft, will air a free showing of Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation. This documentary follows the trials and tribulations of the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team, as well as, the political and cultural significance of lacrosse in the Iroquois Nation.

Mondo Mondays (every Monday at 8 p.m.): Diving directly into the strange and unorthodox realms of Mondo movies, this series is sure to deliver your doctor-prescribed dose of weird. This Monday, July 3, The Loft will air Sleepaway Camp, a classic 80s slasher flick. Follow Angela (Felissa Rose), as she navigates the horrors of summer camp—will it be camp as usual, or is there horror afoot?

Outdoor Movie Party! (June 29 through 
 uly 8, every day at 7:30 p.m.): Though Tucson days simmer on, the nights offer cool reprieve from the intense heat. Join The Loft in their Outdoor Movie Party! screenings, where audiences are invited to enjoy numerous films. This week, on Saturday, July 1, the Loft kicks off their Outdoor Movie with the Cat Video Fest. This purr-fectly hilarious lineup of cat videos is this first in a two-part series (part two takes place Saturday, July 8) benefitting local cat shelters in Tucson! Celebrate the wonderful, kooky world of viral kitty videos, while also benefitting your favorite local shelters. On Sunday, July 2, enjoy Cry-Baby, a kitschy spoof on the 50s "teens-gone-wild" genre. On Monday, July 3, get down with the rock 'n' roll classic Monterey Pop. On Tuesday, July 4, spend your holiday enjoying the ultimate fright flick Jaws. On Wednesday, July 5, celebrate the late Jonathan Demme, in the rock concert classic Stop Making Sense. Finally, on Thursday, July 6, throwback to counterculture satire and rock musical Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.


Cinema La Placita Summer Series (every Thursday at 7:30 p.m.): Take a trip downtown and enjoy the Cinema La Placita's continuing outdoor summer film series. On Thursday, July 6, check out a showing of the thriller classicJaws. Follow along as Amity Island's police chief attempts to hunt down a bloodthirsty great white shark in this fin-tastic summer blockbuster! In addition to the showing, audiences are invited to enjoy the cash bar and food truck on site.


Classic Film Series: This Saturday, July 1, check out Singin' in the Rain at the Fox Theatre, as part of their continuing classic films series. This iconic musical is toe-tappin' fun for the whole family! The legendary musical includes such greats as Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Flake? McCain? What Is Your Healthcare Line In the Sand?

Posted By on Wed, Jun 28, 2017 at 4:06 PM

  • Courtesy of Bigstock
The pre-July 4 rush to pass the Senate version of healthcare failed, and the bill is back in the shop for repairs. Senators and their constituents have time to pause and reflect before majority leader Mitch McConnell's next attempt to create a bill that satisfies 50 of the 52 Republican senators, allowing Vice President Pence to ride in on his white charger and cast the 51st vote. Here in Arizona, our focus is on senators Flake and McCain. Maybe they'll meet with constituents during the break and hear what people have to say, maybe not. Maybe they've been reading their emails and listening to their voicemails, maybe not. Maybe they've been looking at the way the bill is tanking in the polls, maybe . . . oh, hell, there's no maybe on this one, we know they've been reading the polls religiously.

Let me make a public plea to the two of them as they consider their options. Take a stand on health care. Draw a line in the sand. Tell us, "Here is what I demand from a bill. If it doesn't come up to my minimum standard, I'm voting No."

For two outspoken guys, Flake and McCain have been awfully quiet and mealy-mouthed about the health care bill. The number of senators who say they almost positively won't vote for the bill in its current form moves up and down, but it's somewhere around 8. Neither of our guys is among them. Both say they're studying the bill. Flake has hidden in the shadows. McCain, Mr. Straight Talk Express, who can't resist the lure of a microphone when it's put in front of him, swerved all over the road when he was asked the question.
"I've been talking with the governor (Republican Doug Ducey), and we're having conversations, and we will go through the whole bill together, and we will have time to discuss it and decide. ... Right now the governor's initial impression is that it's not helpful to his state. We're going to continue to have conversations, we're going to listen to the debate, and decide."
If the bill had come up for a vote this week and it was close, chances are McConnell could have counted on Flake and McCain to be Yes votes. "After considering the pros and cons, I decided this bill will be an overall positive . . ." blah, blah, blah. But it didn't come up for a vote, so now there's time to read the bill. There's time to pore over the analysis from the Congressional Budget Office. There's time for them to tell their constituents what must be added to or subtracted from the bill before they give it their approval.

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Staff Pick

Art Walk Sundays

Join us for our weekly wine and cheese party at Madaras Gallery. Diana Madaras will attend as… More

@ Madaras Gallery Sundays, 1-4 p.m. 3035 N Swan Rd

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