Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Democrats Luckier Than Education in 2017 City-Wide Elections

Posted By on Wed, Nov 8, 2017 at 1:24 PM

Nadia Larsen and Ward 6 candidate Republican Mariano Rodriguez check out their selfies while waiting for the election results to come in. - DANYELLE KHMARA
  • Danyelle Khmara
  • Nadia Larsen and Ward 6 candidate Republican Mariano Rodriguez check out their selfies while waiting for the election results to come in.

Mariano Rodriguez had already left the room by the time a group of ladies sang “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” in his honor. The results were undeniable—he lost his race for City Council Ward 6.

“This has taught me a lot, and I’m not going to go away,” he said. “We’ll see what happens in the future.”

It may not seem surprising that a Republican, and Trump supporter to boot, would lose to Steve Kozachik, the only Democrat to unseat a sitting Democrat in as long as this Tucson Weekly scribe can remember (although Kozachik was a Republican when he managed that feat).

It doesn’t take reading the tea leaves to figure out that Tucson is a liberal city. But what may surprise some, especially those of us surrounded by libs and Dems, is that Trump supporters do exist in Tucson, and many of them were at Las Margaritas Restaurant, Tuesday night, praying (yes, literally praying) that Rodriguez would win. That he would represent them in the
all-Democrat city council. That through him, their voices would be heard.

Rodriguez was not alone in starting the night off hopeful, with his message of ending bureaucratic waste and championing the people—not unlike Trump’s massage that won him the presidency (though not in Tucson).

Nadia Larsen says Rodriguez is her Tucson Trump—and she loves Trump. She was out at the Tucson Republican fiesta the night Trump won the presidency, looking stunning with her sharp features, cropped bleach-blond hair and sparkling smile. And she was here tonight, fawning over Rodrigues, taking selfies and posing for the press.

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Loft Film Fest Kicks Off With 'Revenge of the Nerds' Party Featuring Special Guest Curtis Armstrong

Posted By on Wed, Nov 8, 2017 at 12:34 PM

Curtis Armstrong, aka Booger - CHRISTINE ELISE
  • Christine Elise
  • Curtis Armstrong, aka Booger
The Loft Film Fest kicks off tonight with a screening of Revenge of the Nerds," a performance by ’80s cover band 80s and Gentlemen and an appearance by Curtis Armstrong, who played Booger in the film. It's just the start of the Loft Film Fest, which you can read about in last week's Tucson Weekly cover story or at the Loft Film Fest's official website.

The Weekly caught up with Armstrong ahead of his visit to Tucson. This interview has been edited for clarity.

You have a new book, Revenge of the Nerd: The Singular Adventures of the Man Who Would Be Booger. Tell me a little bit about that and what your impetus was for writing.

I don’t know exactly how it manifested. It was one of those things. I’ve written a lot but mainly it’s been articles for literary journals that I subscribe to. It’s not a part of my life that a lot of people know about. I guess I reached a point where I was starting to look back on these things, as you do. I think you get to a point in your life and you starting thinking, “How did I wind up here?” My daughter is in college now and she’s going for her master’s degree at Oxford and I’ve had this career lasting 40 years. You start doing the conventions and you see how many generations are into work that you’ve done over the years and it just makes you reflective.

I look at Revenge of the Nerds as the coolest movie ever shot in Tucson. Tell me what you knew about Tucson before you filmed here and your experience of Tucson as a city while you were here in ’84.

I had never been to Tucson before. When we got there, we really were very focused on making sense of this screenplay, which was kind of a mess. We spent the first week with the writers and the director, just going through everything and trying to find the humanity in these cartoon characters. The thing that Jeff Kanew, the director, felt strongly about—having been a recovering nerd himself—was that we needed to be able to make the characters human so we would empathize with them. It was a tough challenge. In my case, of course, I’m playing someone named Booger and I’m picking my nose, belching and saying all these horibble things, but you still have to find a way to make that character accessible. So we did a lot of things, a lot improv, a lot of working out stuff on our own about who these characters were. That was the first week, and in the meantime, we were going out in the evenings and going to bars and restaurants, most of which, I think, are gone now. We would go to these places and party. I remember going out to Old Tucson, and that was a thrill to all of us, because we were all film nerds. We shot the interior scenes of the Nerd House inside a house at Old Tucson. It was really strange because you’d shoot all day inside this house and then you’d walk outside and you were in an Old West town.

Talk a little bit about Revenge of the Nerds as the proto-nerd culture movie. Nerd culture has kind of taken over, with computer culture and the conventions you were talking about. Did you have any sense you were on the cutting edge of that?

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State Grades Are All About the A's and F's

Posted By on Wed, Nov 8, 2017 at 10:25 AM

Here's what's important about the state's school grades.

If a school gets an A, it gets a sack full of results-based funding money—somewhere between $5,500 and $10,000 per teacher, depending on the number of low income students at the school. That's a big friggin' deal.

If a school gets an F, that means it failed as a school and is officially on notice. Different types of remedial actions can come into play. For a charter it can mean the school will be closed if it doesn't improve. For a district, it can mean the school will come under state control, though it's not clear what exactly that entails. That's a big deal too.

The other three grades, the B's, C's and D's, don't result in any direct changes for the school. No money, no threats from the state. Each school and district determines how it's going to deal with the B's, C's and D's, and public may raise or lower its estimation of the schools, but that's it.

So if a school moves in or out of an A or F designation, that really matters. If it moves up or down among the B, C and D grades, that's not nothing, but it's not a momentous change.

The state is going to make changes to the grading system, which means some school grades will change from what they are now. If you want to know what's happening, don't be distracted by some fancy new grading rubric. First, follow the money. The biggest battle will be over which schools get both an A and the money that comes with it. Then follow the charter closures. When someone like Republican Senator Sylvia Allen has a charter that received an F using the current grading system, something has to be done to make sure powerful people like her don't come under the gun. If the B, C and D grades get scrambled a bit in the process, that doesn't have much to do with the power struggles going on behind the scenes.

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Carnival of Illusion: Magic, Mystery & Oooh La La!

This top-rated illusion show is "Revitalizing Magic" by blending an international travel theme with all the charms… More

@ Scottish Rite Grand Parlour Saturdays, 7:30-9 p.m. Continues through April 27 160 South Scott Ave

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