Saturday, July 29, 2017

Tour Diaries! XIXA Day 14-15: Italy, Sore Knees, Hiccuping Fog Machines, The One Back at Home, and Writing Blog Posts on Mobile Phones

Posted By on Sat, Jul 29, 2017 at 6:09 PM

Days 14-15

Resolution and reconciliation.
It's really great, when you eat like king but have the purse of a pauper. - WINSTON WATSON
  • Winston Watson
  • It's really great, when you eat like king but have the purse of a pauper.

After the events that took place in Turin, a million thoughts go through your head. Should, coulda, woulda.

All for naught.

Life moves on, you dust off, you keep moving.

Today, we are in Ravenna, Italy, to do a show tonight. Then it's on to beautiful Ariano, Italy, and eventually, France, before we return home.
It's great when they know you are coming. - WINSTON WATSON
  • Winston Watson
  • It's great when they know you are coming.

This entry lacks a little verve, because my knee is killing me, I've had to write all this while in a moving vehicle, on a tiny phone.

And, I miss Maggie.

Stay tuned.

We will talk about, food, hotels, privacy (or lack of) and speaking different languages, rum, sodomy, and the lash... Obviously, I'm kidding about the last three. I just that thought album had a great name. I'm a Pogues fan.

—WW

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Friday, July 28, 2017

You Better Get Those Best of Tucson Ballots in Soon

Posted By on Fri, Jul 28, 2017 at 4:15 PM

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Where do the days go? It might feel like the monsoons just got here but, somehow, we're approaching the end of July. When this month comes to a close, so too will your chance to vote in Best of Tucson.

Go vote!


Meritocracy, System Justification and Mexican American Studies

Posted By on Fri, Jul 28, 2017 at 11:00 AM

COURTESY OF BIGSTOCK
  • Courtesy of Bigstock
With Mexican American Studies back in the news, the discussion over whether the program helped or hurt its students has been reopened. Were minority students better off for being taught ways Hispanics have gotten a raw deal in this country, or does that just make them angry and discouraged, leaving them worse off than if their history of second class citizenship wasn't emphasized in MAS classrooms?

According to a recent study, programs like MAS help improve minority students' self esteem and their chances of success in school. The study looked at a group of middle school students in a majority-minority middle school in Arizona—55 percent Hispanic, 18 percent black, 11 percent Native American. Researchers asked students if they believed America is a place where people who work hard have an equal chance of succeeding—in other words, if they believed the U.S. is a meritocratic society. When they were sixth graders, students who believed they lived in a meritocracy had relatively high self esteem and were less likely to indulge in risky behavior than other students. But by the end of the seventh grade, those students had lower self esteem and increased risky behaviors compared to students who didn't buy into the idea that they lived in a meritocracy.

The cautious conclusion the researchers draw from their results is that "system justification," the belief that social, economic and political systems around them are inherently good, cause minority students to internalize the discrimination directed at them and view their low societal status as their own fault. As one teacher put it,
“[Minority] students who are told that things are fair implode pretty quickly in middle school as self-doubt hits them,” he said, “and they begin to blame themselves for problems they can’t control.”

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Song of the Day: Billy Sedlmayr On Crazy Jimmy, and also Elton John's ‘Have Mercy on the Criminal’

Posted By on Fri, Jul 28, 2017 at 9:57 AM

I knew a man some years back, his name was Jimmy, "Crazy Jimmy."  He Had served 28 years on his 25-to-life sentence. When eventually he made parole, they say he hit the bricks and was dropped off at a tiny bus stop, where he must have stood with his $25 check and state-issued Brogans before he decided to walk down the street to a tavern that cashed his check and poured him shot after shot of their cheapest whiskey until he walked a block up to a convenience store, took a rifle from the clerk and managed to fill his jeans with about $170 before the Florence Police arrived and, after a scuffle, put "Crazy Jim" into the back of their squad car.

"Have Mercy on The Criminal" is a song by Elton John and lyricist Bernie Taupin. The album cover from which the song originates bears a picture of a small cinema with a couple standing beneath the marquee, which reads, "Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only The Piano Player starring Elton John."

For all intents and purposes, Elton's life, his fame and his fortune, were like a movie of his own making. Fresh off co-starring in Ringo Starr's doc on pal Marc Bolan, Born to Boogie, which featured sold-out Wembley Stadium concert footage and a hodgepodge of wannabe-Fellini-bits, but also John playing for Bolan in a piano rave-up worthy of Liberace and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Later that year, still riding high on his success of his smash "Rocket Man," "Have Mercy on the Criminal" was a slow-burn, thick with rolling waves of electric guitar a la Clapton’s riff in "Layla" and the less-is-more school of drummer Nigel Olsson (dig his sparse tom-tom strikes and tightly stretched snare-drum crack), all engineered by pro Ken Scott. As Elton sings Taupin’s earnest lyrics about an escaped convict "with a mother in his eyes," running from the warden and his devil dogs who are "out to kill." The yearning and distress in Elton’s voice and melody, from the time I first heard it in 7th grade to right now, to me, is testimony to his truest talent. And it's all bound by Paul Buckmaster’s fiery string arrangements.

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Quick Bites: Northern Spain Wine Dinner

Posted By on Thu, Jul 27, 2017 at 11:00 PM

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If your heart is longing to take a trip to Spain but your wallet isn’t quite ready to make the leap, you can eat and drink your way through the northern Spanish country from the comfort of Maynards Market. A specially prepared, four course menu is accompanied by an array of sommelier-selected wines. By the end of the night, you might forget that you’re not relaxing vineyard-side at your Spanish villa. 7 p.m. Friday, July 28. Maynards Market & Kitchen 400 N. Toole Ave. Suite A. $55.

For more information, visit their website.


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Tucson Writer wins 'Author of the Year' Award

Posted By on Thu, Jul 27, 2017 at 10:45 PM

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Tucson author Shannon Baker was named the 2017 Author of the Year by the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers  on July 15. This makes Baker a two-time recipient, having been named the 2014 Author of the Year as well.

Baker, author of the Nora Abbott mystery series and Stripped Bare, the first book in the Kate Fox mystery series, said that receiving the award was very special to her.

"I've been a nomad, especially in the last ten years," she said. "I was always an outsider and I never really fit in. So when I joined RMFW, they were kind of a constant for me. They became my substitute for family and community."

She also spoke about her next book, Dark Signal, the second in the Kate Fox series.

"Kate has just been sworn in as county sheriff and she gets a call that there has been a fatality on the train. It's the first case she's ever had as sheriff and it's all new. She kind of has to prove herself."

She said that the book was largely inspired by her husband, Dave Furman, who worked as a train conductor for 42 years.

"When I asked 'how would you kill someone on a train?' it was kind of scary how many ideas he had, right off the top of his head," she laughed.

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In The Flesh: Jimmy Carr and the Awkward Moments Create a Raucous Musical Celebration Aboard Sun Link

Posted By on Thu, Jul 27, 2017 at 4:30 PM

Jimmy Carr and the Awkward Moments ripping it up aboard a Sun Link streetcar. - XAVIER OMAR OTERO
  • Xavier Omar Otero
  • Jimmy Carr and the Awkward Moments ripping it up aboard a Sun Link streetcar.

Eager passengers gathered under dark, threatening clouds at Mercado San Agustin station, early Saturday evening. It was a celebration—a moving one too thanks to Jimmy Carr and The Awkward Moments—to commemorate the third anniversary of Tucson’s modern streetcar (Sun Link). (Since its July, ’14 launch, the streetcar has provided approximately 2.93 million rides to passengers.)

Once everyone that could possibly fit onto the streetcar was loaded, the tram departed. The affable Jimmy Carr addressed the audience with a handheld megaphone, that he also used for singing, before he cued into action The Awkward Moments. (Violinist Samantha Bounkeua, brothers Tony and Dante Rosano on sousaphone and trumpet, Hillary Engle and Javier Garcia on drums and percussion, Erin Henderson on kazoo and vocals, guitarist Johnny O’Halloran, and Carr on accordion and vocals.) Mixing Carr’s gruff blues vocals with the sounds of gypsy jazz, americana, klezmer, classical and elements lifted straight from the high-school marching band of Anytown, USA, the sound landed somewhere between Gogol Bordello and Slavic Soul Party.

Beloved by Tucsonans, renowned for their improvisational dexterity, fans called requests, which Carr tried to accommodate—at least for a few bars—whether his heady combo band knew the song or not. According to Carr, “The band started on the streets of Tucson busking for beer money.” The group began with O'Halloran on saw and Carr (a Fat Possum Records session man) on accordion and vocals.

By the time the crammed, music-filled streetcar hit downtown, Tlaloc, the Aztecian god of rain, shook his rattle. By the time the tram reached UA’s Main Gate Square, where the band disembarked to continue the revelry inside Gentle Ben’s Brewing Company, the rain was pissing down in sheets.
Jimmy Carr and the Awkward Moments at Gentle Ben's. - XAVIER OMAR OTERO
  • Xavier Omar Otero
  • Jimmy Carr and the Awkward Moments at Gentle Ben's.

Bounkeua tells Tucson Weekly of the streetcar experience. “[It’s] one of my favorite gigs. There is an immediate, intimate and very direct relationship with the audience, practically zero separation between us and them, as we find a way to balance in this small, moving, crowded space. It's like surfing and jamming at the same time. It suits the improvisatory nature of our music well; we are, after all, called the ‘Awkward Moments.’ Super fun.” And their performance? Far from awkward. It was pulsating with life.

Jimmy Carr and The Awkward Moments have released five records to date, all available as downloads on bandcamp.


Quick Bites: HarvestFest & Grape Stomp 2017

Posted By on Thu, Jul 27, 2017 at 3:43 PM

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Just about an hour south of Tucson lies Sonoita Vineyards, Arizona’s first commercial vineyard and producer of 10,000 gallons of wine a year. The winery’s annual event to celebrate the harvest features wine tasting, as well as wine and food pairings. To help work off the tastings, patrons can do some grape stomping, as well as tour the winery and vineyard. A VIP package grants access to an after-hours party, a private bar and lunch voucher.   10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 29. Sonoita Vineyards, 290 Elgin Canelo Road. $25-$80.      

For more information, visit their website.

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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

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