Arts and Culture

Friday, August 10, 2018

Laughing Stock: On Battles and Recoveries

Posted By on Fri, Aug 10, 2018 at 4:30 PM

Comedians Andy Gold and Kurtis Matthews perform in The Addicts Comedy Tour at the JCC on Aug. 16 - ANDY GOLD
  • Andy Gold
  • Comedians Andy Gold and Kurtis Matthews perform in The Addicts Comedy Tour at the JCC on Aug. 16
It’s not funny at all, per se, and it’s almost certainly the world’s worst career choice, but years of addiction have made comedy stars of Kurtis Matthews and Andy Gold … now that they’re in recovery.

The pair perform as the Addicts Comedy Tour at 8 p.m., Thursday, August 16, at the Jewish Community Center, 3800 E River Rd. Tickets are $20 ($12 for groups of 10), at

Gold recently told The Phoenix Entertainer, “I started doing comedy maybe six months after I got clean, and my whole existence at that time was not using one day at a time.”

For addicts, and their relatives, co-dependents and friends who can relate to that, the JCC show offers a rare opportunity to laugh with recognition, insight and occasionally compassion for their addict’s struggles. For comedy fans and everyone else, it’s just plain funny.

Matthews has toured nationally and internationally since 1984 when a second DUI inspired him to give up alcohol and drug abuse. In 1999, he founded the San Francisco Comedy College, the most popular standup comedy school in the US.

Andy Gold is a favorite at treatment centers and in recovery groups, as well as in comedy festivals and competitions all over the U.S. He began his comedy career in Salt Lake City just six months after a nearly fatal overdose.

Epic Roast Battle

Rich Gary hosts a comedy battle among Tucson comics from 7 to 10 p.m., Friday, August 17, at Epic Café; free.

Reigning champion Roxy Merrari, host of Monday night Comedy at the Wench, defends her title against 15 contenders, tournament style. Judges are Mo Urban, Clint Lapsansky and Collin Chomiak.

Contestants include Steena Salido, John Hernandez, Drake Horner, Paul Fox, Kathie Hedrick, Autumn Horvat, Eli Turner, Dominic DiTolla, Joel Martin, Jesse Andrews, Darryl Graves, Phillip Showers, Sam Racioppo, Julian Moreno and Tony Kanani-Bruhn.

Comedy returns to the Screening Room

The Screening Room Presents Comedy Night at 9 p.m., Wednesday, August 15. Marcus Gallegos hosts and Matt Ziemak headlines. Rounding out the bill are Charles Ludwig, Eden Nault, Cindell Hanson, Andrew Scott and Randy Ford. Doors are at 8:30 and the show is free.

The comedy revival at The Screening Room follows a hiatus in programming as the theatre transferred to new owners. The theater’s previous incarnation supported at least two comedy shows weekly, including a Tuesday night standup open mike and a Friday night comedy variety show that mixed standup acts and teams from local improv companies.

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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Laughing Stock: Twitches, Bumps and Other Moves

Posted By on Thu, Aug 2, 2018 at 1:00 PM

Samuel J. Comroe performs at Laff’s Comedy Caffe Aug. 3 and 4 - SAMUELJCOMROE.COM
  • Samuel J. Comroe performs at Laff’s Comedy Caffe Aug. 3 and 4

Samuel J. Comroe’s performance at Houston Baptist University ended abruptly when, in a post-show Q & A, one student asked the one question, face it, on everyone’s mind, “What’s sex like for people with Tourette’s Syndrome?”

He may answer that for you when he appears at Laff’s Comedy Caffe on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 3 and 4, or we may never know. The person in charge of the University’s entertainment program stopped the show and cleared the room before Comroe could respond.

Comroe addresses his Tourettes and related visual tics in his routine, no doubt to put the audience at ease, but he points out that the issue with Houston Baptist is really free speech. Good point.

So what happens when the reins are off? Like everyone else, Comroe jokes about sex, family and life in general. But not everyone is funny enough to make his debut on Conan.

Comroe’s also appeared on BET’s Real Husbands of Hollywood, won both Ricky Gervais’ and the San Francisco comedy competitions and has over 20,000 fans subscribed to his YouTube channel. You may also have seen him in Season 13 of America’s Got Talent.

See him at Laff’s at 8 and 10:30 p.m.,Friday and Saturday, Aug. 3 and 4. Reservations and more information are at

However you spell it, burlesque history is no grind

The Surly Wench, a long-time supporter of Tucson comedy, may also be our town’s longest-running burlesque venue. On Friday, August 3, the club’s First Friday Burlesque series presents What’s Burlesque?, a performance inspired by the legends of burlesque in the art form’s ‘40s though ‘60s heyday. The Ribald Stephka Von Snatch hosts Tucson favorites including Bunny Boom Boom, Stormy Leigh, Natasha Noir, Lela Rose, Kitten Minx LaFemme, Nikki Riot and Scarlotta Sparkle, all dancing to popular music of the era.

Doors are at 9 p.m. Reservations are via Brown Paper Tickets. Guests should dress to impress and bring tipping money for the dancers. VIP seats, $20, are closest to the stage and sell out early. General admission, $10, does not include seating.

Pining for Comedy in Sierra Vista?

SV Best Open Mic moves its regular Saturday show to 7:30 p.m. at The Horned Toad, 526 W. Fry Blvd. Cover is $5 to see comedy, performance art, poetry, dance, improv, storytelling and music. Search for SV Best Open Mic on Facebook for signup details. Performance time is ten minutes, and a full sound system is provided to run all instruments.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Free Ticket to Amazing Live Moments in Music History? Yes, Please. All with Your Library Card!

Posted By on Tue, Jul 31, 2018 at 3:40 PM

Maybe you've already heard, but it bears repeating...

Pima County Public Library now offers access to Qello Concerts. "What's that?" you ask. It's a never-ending concert ticket!

Qello Concerts =
  • The only place to watch more than 1,500 full-length concerts and music documentaries
  • Features performances of iconic and new artists
  • Streaming on-demand to your device
  • Unlimited access so you can binge-watch just like Netflix
  • Available for FREE with your Pima County Public Library card
Here are some we'll be watching soon... what will you rock out to?
  • Carlos Santana
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Billy Joel
  • Etta James
  • Blondie
  • Charles Mingus
  • The B52s

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Arizona Citizens for the Arts Step Into Politics

Posted By on Wed, Jul 25, 2018 at 4:09 PM

  • Arizona Citizens for the Arts
Unlike gun violence, education funding, or tax policy, arts and culture issues don't really demand attention or ignite fire in the voting members of our society. However, Arizona Citizens for the Arts want to tell you that the arts are important to our community, and they serve vital roles in more ways than you might think.

The arts advocacy group recently launched a "VotesmART" campaign, which will provide information about "how to register to vote and obtain an absentee ballot, the arts and culture issues impacted by elections, and how candidates feel about those issues," according to Catherine Foley, AzCA's executive director.

On their VotesmART website, you can look at candidates' answers to a survey created by AzCA regarding policy for Arizona arts and culture. They sent the survey to all candidates running for governor and the 90 seats in the State Legislature. Foley said that their survey doesn't declare any right or wrong answers, but tries to put arts and cultural issues into the context of other statewide issues and see how candidates view the role of the arts in improving our quality of life.

Contact information for any candidates who didn’t respond to the survey is listed on the website, along with suggested questions that you can ask them directly.

Their main point: Arts and cultural projects matter in our daily lives and for the development of future generations.

The website explains how the non-profit arts and culture industry brings in $166 billion every year nationwide. That includes job opportunities in local tourism and other related industries. In Arizona alone, arts non-profits employ more than 13,000 people.

Foley said that the benefits of arts education for young people’s ability to learn, problem solve and think strategically is well-known, and Arizona’s education policy requires arts to be taught in all of our K-8 schools.

"Unfortunately, we know many schools are not meeting that goal. The issue for elected officials is how do we solve this problem for the benefit of all of our children,” she said.

VotesmART also has information about how other business, civic and community organizations view our candidates and the upcoming elections. AzCA expects to upload additional information about elections before the general election in November.

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Check This Out: Upcoming The Loft Cinema Events

Posted By on Wed, Jul 25, 2018 at 12:30 AM

What better way to take shelter from the summer heat than in the oasis of an air-conditioned movie theater? The Loft Cinema’s got you covered with a variety of events over the next few weeks. Here’s a few to check out:

Andy Goldsworthy’s Rivers and Tides
This event spotlights the documentary about one artist’s integration of nature and human change. It chronicles the work of artist Andy Goldsworthy, who uses natural media, like ice and rock, to create works of art in nature. A panel discussion organized by the UA Water Resources Research Center and the Sky Island Alliance will follow the film. 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 31. Regular admission prices; general admission $9.75.

First Friday Shorts
Now’s your chance to show off your talents as a filmmaker. Each month, the Loft Cinema holds a short film contest, where any film under 15 minutes long has a shot at making it to the big screen. It’s up to the audience to decide which film wins the monthly grand prize of $200. Limit to show the first 15 films brought in each month. Films must be brought in prior to the start of the show. Some material may not be suitable for all audiences. For more complete rules and terms, visit the Loft's website. 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 3. $5 for Loft Cinema members, $6 general admission.

The Doctor from India
Take a look into the world of holistic health practices with this film, presented by Backyard Healthcare Project with Rupa Ayurveda. The movie follows Vasant Lad, who brought Ayurveda, an ancient medical practice, to the West from India in the 1970s. The movie will follow up with a short Q-and-A session on Ayruveda. 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4. $10 general admission and $8 for Loft members.

Avengers: Infinity War
If you missed out on this hero-packed adventure when it first came out or simply want to fill the void until the next Marvel movie release, head over to the UA Mall on the University of Arizona campus for an outdoor screening. The movie will be projected on the Loft’s inflatable Solar Cinema screen. Open to the general public. 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17. Free admission. UA Mall.

The Greatest Showman Sing-A-Long
Belt out your favorite hits from The Greatest Showman with this Sing-A-Long. The lyrics to songs such as “This is Me” and “The Other Side” will be onscreen and ready for the crowd to join in. Don your best circus-inspired outfit for a chance to win a prize. 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18. $10 Loft members and children 12 and under, $12 general admission.

All events, except the Avengers showing, will be at The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. 

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Monday, July 16, 2018

Mental Health Workshop for Tucson's Artists and Creatives

Posted By on Mon, Jul 16, 2018 at 12:22 PM

  • The LifeBlood Workshop

Tucson is brimming with artistic talent, but resources to help support that talent are not as abundant. The LifeBlood Workshop was formed by a group of artists and experts to help facilitate discussions around mental health in the creative field.

This evening from 6 to 8 p.m. the LifeBlood Workshop will be in Tucson to offer a two-hour conversation with the goal of brainstorming solutions and decreasing the stress and anxiety associated with the artistic lifestyle.

According to their website, “the rate of depression and suicide among musicians and creatives is three times that of non-musicians. The pressure of being in the public eye, of having to create and still have some sort of personal life can lead to bad decisions. Professionals may prescribe medication for the symptoms, but it doesn’t solve the underlying problem.”

The workshop will include a panel discussion, followed by a Q&A session and small group settings where artists will be given the chance to tell their stories and talk about their issues in a judgement-free environment. It’s a chance to receive advice from the experts and other attendees who share the same experiences.

The LifeBlood team, which consists of career artists and health and wellness experts, have a singular goal: to provide an alternative approach in helping the creative community manage mental and physical wellness.

The workshop will be held today, July 16, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Spark Project Collective, a nonprofit organization that produces local art to raise money for local children with disabilities. Their building is located at 4349 E. Broadway Blvd.

The workshop is free, but the LifeBlood team requests that attendees RSVP beforehand at

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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Laughing Stock: Going with the flow

Posted By on Thu, Jul 5, 2018 at 3:28 PM


“I like how shocked people are when you say 'c*nt.' It's like I have a nuclear bomb in my underpants, or a mad tiger or a gun.” So says Caitlin Moran, London Times journalist and author of "How to Build a Girl." She recently confirmed that "Lady Bird" star Beanie Feldstein will play the lead in that bestseller’s film adaptation.

While we’re waiting for that, we can continue to enjoy Tucson comedy's celebratory riffs on a girl’s anatomy.

Mo Urban and Steena Salido present another in their series, C*nts being C*nts Talking About Their C*nts! at 8 p.m., Friday, July 13. The show is 21+ and admission is $5 at Can’s Deli, 340 North 4th Ave. A portion of the proceeds goes to the YWCA of Southern Arizona Project Period, a program that provides sanitary menstrual products to those who can’t afford them. Donations of sanitary products for the program are also welcome.

Standup comedians include imports Amy Blackwell, who performs regularly at the Scottsdale Laugh Factory; Phoenix area favorites Leslie Barton, April Walterscheid and Kerrilynn Gallagher plus Hannah Tighe of Gilbert and Nikki Dinnella of Chandler. Tucson newcomers Chinna Garza and Megan Gossen make their C*nts debut.

Tucson Storyteller Gina Grande Santos and music by DJ Plastic Disease round out the show.

Estrogen Hour Remembers J-Fin

On Sunday, July 15, The Estrogen Hour, launchpad for a dozen or so women now prominent in Tucson comedy, honors one of the funniest, Jennifer Finley, who died last month of cancer.

Organizers Nancy Stanley and Mary Steed launched the Estrogen Hour a decade ago to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. According to Stanley, “We're departing from our usual fundraising to celebrate the life and comedy of our late friend whose candor and creativity made her a crowd favorite.” Proceeds go to Finley’s family to help defray her funeral expenses.

Stanley will host the show, a lineup of top local women comics and one featured “Guestosterone,” Dominic DiTolla. Comedians include Amber Frame; KXCI’s Bridgitte Thum; Cindell Hanson; Edna Meza Aguirre; Jessica Stapp, who also performs with Tucson Improv Movement; Mo Urban and Steena Salido, co-hosts of C*nts being C*nts Talking About Their C*nts!; Noel Hennessey of FST (Female Storytellers); and Suzie Sexton, host of the annual Comedy for Charity show at the Fox Theatre.

The Estrogen Hour takes place at 6:30 p.m., Sunday, July 15 at Laff’s Comedy Caffe. Tickets are $15 and there is a two-item minimum. The show is 21+ All proceeds benefit Finley's family.

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Friday, June 29, 2018

Fighting Injustice with Art

Posted By on Fri, Jun 29, 2018 at 3:32 PM

  • YWCA Southern Arizona

If the nation's current events are weighing heavy on your mind, consider attending the YWCA's new exhibition opening tonight. Titled "How We See The World," the show focuses on local artists who created visuals in response to today's most important problems and social justice movements.

It's easy to become cynical, despondent or just straight up baffled by the 24-hour news cycle filled with crisis after crisis, but turning inwards to one's own community for answers about this big scary world is a good place to start.

According to their Facebook event, this free exhibit "explores current ideas, issues and movements happening now, such as gun violence, LGBTQ rights, Black Lives Matter, Me Too, Women’s rights, The Resistance and Immigrant rights." The goal is to get people talking about these big ideas and what we can do to create change right here, right now.

If you've got nothing to do this evening, stop by the France McClelland Community Center at 525 N. Bonita Avenue from 6 to 8 p.m. and see whose artwork speaks to you. If you can't make it tonight, the exhibit will be on display until Monday, Sept. 10. The YWCA is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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