Arts and Culture

Thursday, January 10, 2019

In The Limelight | Ed Arnaud

Posted By on Thu, Jan 10, 2019 at 4:21 PM

During the apogee of bell bottom jeans, then burgeoning guerrilla photographer Ed Arnaud waxes nostalgic about how he managed to snap such killer shots, usually without the band’s permission. “I used to sneak my camera into shows in knee-high tube socks under big bells. I only had a 50mm lens at the time.” You could see a wobble in Arnaud’s strut as he passed through the entrance doors. Duping the bouncers—this before invasive full-body pat-down procedure became de rigeur.

From local punks Civil Death to punk icons Black Flag, photographer Ed Arnaud presents Lake of Fire: Tucson Punk in the 1980s. A photographic event on Saturday, Jan. 12, 6 to10 p.m. at Wooden Tooth Records.

“Wooden Tooth describes my show as Tucson punk in the '80s.” Arnaud expands, “To be more specific, it’s photos of punk and underground bands that played in Tucson during the early ‘80s.” And, what Arnaud presents in his retrospective is only a glimpse into the richness of the scene. “There were so many great bands that came through Tucson then. Sometimes two or three shows in a week.” Most of which were low in attendance. “Drawing 10 to 50 people.”

Here is a sneak peak into rarefied air.

"The Vandals at the Unitarian Universalist Church on 22nd St. in Tucson, 1984.  During the show lead singer Stevo Jensen used a funnel to ingest enough beer to immediately regurgitate it on stage.  Pictured is Jan Nils Ackermann on guitar and Stevo Jensen on vocals. The spiky hair belonged to Lenny Mental who was also in attendance." - ED ARNAUD
  • Ed Arnaud
  • "The Vandals at the Unitarian Universalist Church on 22nd St. in Tucson, 1984. During the show lead singer Stevo Jensen used a funnel to ingest enough beer to immediately regurgitate it on stage. Pictured is Jan Nils Ackermann on guitar and Stevo Jensen on vocals. The spiky hair belonged to Lenny Mental who was also in attendance."
"Tucson’s own Conflict (US) playing at Nino’s on 1st Ave., Feb. 27th, 1984. Conflict (US) was one of the very few female fronted hardcore punk bands. Karen Allman (Karen Nurse) formed the band in 1981 with drummer Nick Johnoff. Nick worked so hard to build the punk scene almost single-handedly and booked almost all the touring hardcore shows back then. Ironically, I think this was Conflict’s very last show." - ED ARNAUD
  • Ed Arnaud
  • "Tucson’s own Conflict (US) playing at Nino’s on 1st Ave., Feb. 27th, 1984. Conflict (US) was one of the very few female fronted hardcore punk bands. Karen Allman (Karen Nurse) formed the band in 1981 with drummer Nick Johnoff. Nick worked so hard to build the punk scene almost single-handedly and booked almost all the touring hardcore shows back then. Ironically, I think this was Conflict’s very last show."
"The Circle Jerks at the Stumble Inn on Park Ave., March 4, 1984.  My hot shoe mounted flash was knocked off my camera fairly quickly by stage divers when the show started. The Stumble Inn had railing in front of the stage which people used to launch off of.  Pictured is Keith Morris on vocals, Greg Hetson on guitar and in the back, Chuck Biscuits on drums." - ED ARNAUD
  • Ed Arnaud
  • "The Circle Jerks at the Stumble Inn on Park Ave., March 4, 1984. My hot shoe mounted flash was knocked off my camera fairly quickly by stage divers when the show started. The Stumble Inn had railing in front of the stage which people used to launch off of. Pictured is Keith Morris on vocals, Greg Hetson on guitar and in the back, Chuck Biscuits on drums."

"Civil Death at The Backstage on 4th Ave., May 13, 1983. Civil Death was a Tucson band formed by singer Lenny Mental, drummer Nick Johnoff and guitarist Zach Hitner. My friend Paul Young, who has since passed away, joined in late 1983 on guitar.  Paul used to let me get on his shoulders during shows to take photographs above the crowd. Pictured is Paul Young on guitar, Johnny Glue on bass, Lenny Mental on vocals, Nick Johnoff on drums and Zach Hitner on guitar." - ED ARNAUD
  • Ed Arnaud
  • "Civil Death at The Backstage on 4th Ave., May 13, 1983. Civil Death was a Tucson band formed by singer Lenny Mental, drummer Nick Johnoff and guitarist Zach Hitner. My friend Paul Young, who has since passed away, joined in late 1983 on guitar. Paul used to let me get on his shoulders during shows to take photographs above the crowd. Pictured is Paul Young on guitar, Johnny Glue on bass, Lenny Mental on vocals, Nick Johnoff on drums and Zach Hitner on guitar."
"Black Flag at The Backstage on 4th Ave., May 13, 1983. I got on stage next to Greg Ginn soon after they started playing because I knew taking photos in front of the stage would have been difficult with the crowd movement. Luckily no one kicked me off stage." - ED ARNAUD
  • Ed Arnaud
  • "Black Flag at The Backstage on 4th Ave., May 13, 1983. I got on stage next to Greg Ginn soon after they started playing because I knew taking photos in front of the stage would have been difficult with the crowd movement. Luckily no one kicked me off stage."

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Laughing Stock: Fringe Freedom Finds the Funny

Posted By on Thu, Jan 10, 2019 at 12:56 PM

Bill Santiago presents his comedy set, The Immaculate Big Bang, as part of the Tucson Fringe Fest 2019, Jan. 10 through 13. - MORGAN SHORTELL, KMESTUDIO12.COM
  • Morgan Shortell, KMEstudio12.com
  • Bill Santiago presents his comedy set, The Immaculate Big Bang, as part of the Tucson Fringe Fest 2019, Jan. 10 through 13.

The first time actor, director and Rincon High School drama teacher Maryann Green staged a play she’d written herself, she sold out the house. Twice. Those two shows were part of the 2013 Fringe Festival that hooked her on fringe for life.

Now she heads up a volunteer crew of 15 to produce the Tucson Fringe Festival 2019, from Thursday, Jan. 10, through Sunday, Jan. 13. The fest includes 50 performances in 12 local venues. Admission to each show is $10, but a range of multi-show options are available, from a $15, two-admission pass to a $95 all-access pass.

A growing phenomenon around the globe, fringe theater is unique in its artistic freedom. Fringe productions often radically disregard conventions of structure, space, physical language and audience engagement. Acts self-identify as Fringe, pay an artist’s fee and get their names drawn from a hat, or not, as luck will have it.

Green says, “The first week of September, we hold a party where guests take turns pulling shows out of the hat until we have a full line up.”

Tucson Fringe sometimes pays a price for that artistic freedom. “Comedy shows tend to do better, ticket-sales wise,” Green says. “But some of my favorite past shows have been thought-provoking, heavier pieces.

“I was also really happy to be able to offer The Esperanza Dance project a last-minute spot in the festival,” she adds. “They help victims of childhood sexual violence heal through dance and multi-media performance.”

For comedy, we especially look forward to the first entries we’ve seen whose subject matter is entirely about work life: Name Tag Blues, Shane “Scurvy” Spears’ send up of the ignominies along the path to a window office; and Moira Keefe’s, Life as An Associate ...AKA F**ing Cashier, about a retiree’s return to the workforce.

We also like the funny, full-frontal feminism of Mo Urban and Steena Salido’s C*nts vs C*nts Talking About C*nts variety show and Elaine Orion’s Delightfully Rude, winner of the “Best Comedic Performance” award at the 2018 Boulder Fringe Festival.

And we’re looking forward to the Tucson fest’s first straight-up stand up performance, Bill Santiago’s The Immaculate Big Bang, a parody of every deeply believed origin story of everything.
Complete descriptions and tickets for all performances are at squareup.com/store/tucsonfringe.

From 3 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13, the Comedy Alliance of Tucson and the Tucson Fringe Festival co-host “What Are You Laughing At,” a free, audience-participation panel discussion about the comedy scene in Tucson. Details are at catcomedy520.org. 

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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Laughing Stock: Fitz's Arroyo Cafe Radio Hour

Posted By on Wed, Dec 19, 2018 at 4:00 PM

David Fitzsimmons, left, and Marty Bishop will produce the fifth Arroyo Café Radio Hour at the Rialto Theatre on Sunday, December 22. - DAVID FITZSIMMONS
  • David Fitzsimmons
  • David Fitzsimmons, left, and Marty Bishop will produce the fifth Arroyo Café Radio Hour at the Rialto Theatre on Sunday, December 22.

David Fitzsimmons once dreamed of hosting his own Prairie Home Companion. It was 2008, and at the prompting of radio personality Bobby Rich, he began creating celebrity-studded radio plays to benefit the Southern Arizona Diaper Bank. “Attendance swelled,” Fitzsimmons says. He was onto something. 

In recent years, he’s translated the format into The Arroyo Café Radio Hour, a live show and AZPM broadcast he produces every December at the Rialto Theatre. This year’s event is Saturday, Dec. 22. Tickets are $15 at rialtotheatre.com. The show always sells out. 

“We’ve raised more than $20,000 in the (four) years we’ve been at the Rialto,” Fitzsimmons says. “This year the funds are going to AZPM (Arizona Public Media), because I love NPR, Reveille Men’s Chorus because I love their mission and music and Mariachi de Pueblo High School because Pueblo educator John Contreras has a wonderful music program that deserves support.”

Reveille’s Grandsons of the Pioneers are a regular feature of the show, performing in the almost-forgotten harmonies of the popular Western music genre. The 20-year-old organization promotes excellence in music, but also human rights, diversity and advances against AIDS.

“Our musical director Lindsay McHugh is the heartbeat of our show,” Fitzsimmons says. “She is a music teacher and a classical opera virtuoso. She gives us our Gaslight melodrama flavor.”

Besides the Grandsons of the Pioneers, the show’s musical guests include Mariachi Aztlan de Pueblo High School, the popular folk and roots quartet French Quarter and Tucson’s American Idol contender Crystal Stark. Fitzsimmons says, “Her comedic chops always delight us.” 

Each year, an all-star cast of comedians begin meeting in September with veteran radio producer Marty Bishop to write the show. Regulars include Estrogen Hour co-founder Nancy Stanley; KXCI personality and podcaster Brigitte Thum; veteran sketch writer Mike Sterner; comedian and attorney Elliot Glicksman; in-demand local Josiah Osego, and, shaking off the cobwebs of comedy retirement, adman Jay Taylor.

Also featured are Wilbur Wildcat and, and a mystery guest. Fitzgerald says only that “It isn’t Santa Claus.” 

AZPM Producer John Booth, who formerly worked for the PBS documentary series Frontline, edits the show. Fitzsimmons says Booth hopes to take the show statewide one day.

Rialto executive director Curtis McCrary says the venue’s staff looks forward to the Arroyo Café Radio Hour to kick off the holiday season. “It really brings the spirit of the season alive—corny jokes, uncomfortable events with your relatives, music that drives you crazy, hokey Christmas fashion, and at the center of it all, Mr. Dave Fitzsimmons, serving as the Ham that no Christmas celebration should be without! We all get to have super Christmas fun while raising money.”

Comedy Family Christmas at The Mint

Drown your family-holilday-anxiety hangover at The Mint on December 25. The club’s Tuesday comedy night, hosted by Jose Joey G, takes a hiatus in January, but closes out the year with headliner Polo Cisneros and feature comedian Bri Giger. An open mic follows. 

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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

In The Flesh: The Juilliard String Quartet Bears Gifts

Posted By on Tue, Dec 11, 2018 at 10:51 AM

The Juilliard String Quartet - CLAUDIO PAPAPIETRO
  • Claudio Papapietro
  • The Juilliard String Quartet
Tucson was gifted with a pre-Yuletide performance by the world-renowned Juilliard String Quartet last Wednesday, Dec. 5. Taking the near-capacity audience at the Leo Rich Theater through the gamut, from pianissimo to fortississimo, at times galloping furiously in mellifluous harmony and, at others, building tension. Playing off the intentional push/pull of contrapuntal discord, crescendo followed by diminuendo, they stewarded the music to dizzying heights until allowing it to rupture into sharply pointed spires.

Formed in 1946, as the quartet-in-residence at the Juilliard School, this lauded assemblage perdures. The present incarnation consists of cellist Astrid Schween, violist Roger Tapping, second violinist Ronald Copes and Areta Zhulla, the most recent violinist to occupy the first chair. Its forebearers’ intent: “To play new works as if they were established masterpieces and established masterpieces as if they were new.” These descendants stayed true to the mission statement.

Composed circa 1798, the Juilliard String Quartet executed Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet in D major, Opus 18, No. 3 with striking aplomb. Despite its numbering, it's actually the first quartet Beethoven composed. With gentleness and a sense of wonder the ostinato delighted throughout the composition until the fourth movement. During the presto the Juilliard String Quartet shifted the centre of gravity attacking the motif in dramatic ways driving headlong to a breathtaking resolution.

Teetering between consonant and dissonant harmonic intervals, creating tension that leaves the ears of a Western audience longing for resolve, the Juilliard String Quartet explored during Lembit Beecher’s One Hundred Years Grows Shorter Over Time.

“The movements of this quartet are like successive generations retelling the same story. As I wrote, a melody kept coming into mind: A waltz written by my Estonian grand-uncle in the 1950s. I first played this music with my brother when we were teenagers. Over the years we kept returning to it. The waltz appears fully realized, as if an old recording,” Beecher said of his piece.

Schween provided contrapuntal anecdotes while Tapping and Copes sautilléd their bows off the strings in powerful unison leaving Zhulla free to soar.

After the intermission, the Juilliard String Quartet returned for Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet in F Major, Opus 77, No. 2. It seemed fitting to close the program as Haydn is widely considered the creator of the genre. Achieving delicate equilibrium, they masterfully created sublime contrast between the galant style of the 18th century and the dignified seriousness of the Baroque.

Executed as by the unfailing hands of surgeons, over the course of the evening, the Juilliard String Quartet performed with barely containable ardor—that at moments impelled their bodies to rise upward from the benches and chairs they sat upon—displaying unparalleled artistry, effortlessly laying claim to a shared sovereignty as one of the world’s finest.

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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Laughing Stock: Now n' Later

Posted By on Thu, Dec 6, 2018 at 4:07 PM

Jason Russell headlines four shows featuring Monica Nevi at Laffs Comedy Caffe this weekend. - JASONRUSSELL.NET
  • jasonrussell.net
  • Jason Russell headlines four shows featuring Monica Nevi at Laffs Comedy Caffe this weekend.
Weekend Laff’s

Monica Nevi is featured supporting Jason Russell at Laff’s Comedy Caffe this weekend. We’re starting with Nevi because, at this writer’s age, it could be time to start sucking up for an interview in her hilarious Amazon Prime documentary series, 80 for 80, featuring interviews with folks 80 and over.

Nevi turned to stand-up comedy in college when injuries stymied her basketball career. She appeared in several Northwest comedy festivals and on FOX TV’s nationally syndicated show Laughs. She also co-hosts the popular podcast, HugLife and toured the US in the adorably named Blanket Fort Tour.

Jason Russell says he grew up a comedian.

“Every Saturday night, we’d have a family party with chips, candy bars and watch SCTV and SNL,” he remembers. Russell would imitate the characters. Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor were favorites. Soon he started creating voices and performing skits for family and friends.

He says his silly humor endeared him to most teachers and fended off the fights other biracial kids endured. Hosting the high-school talent show inspired him to try stand-up.

Russell’s comedy style is clean, silly and full of memorable characters. His performance credits include shows with Patti LaBelle and Martin Lawrence, and with Tommy Davidson of In Living Color. He also was part of a documentary about interracial comedians called Crossing the Lines.

Nevi and Russell perform with local openers at 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, and 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8. Admission is $12.50, $17.50 for preferred seating. There’s also a two-item minimum. Details and reservations are at laffstucson.com.

Holidays at the Wench

Bunny Boom Boom, Stormy Leigh, Lela Rose, Natasha Noir, Nikki Riot, Kitten Minx LaFemme, Divina Moorephina, Taryn Garters and Ms. Trixie Phillips are featured in the holiday edition of First Fridays Burlesque at the Surly Wench Pub.

Roxy Merrari promises a holiday extravaganza starting at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 10, at the club, where she hosts a weekly open mic and monthly showcase. Watch for details on the Facebook page, Comedy at the Wench.

Family-friendly comedy

Clean Comedy Shows in Marana and Vail feature popular stand-up comedian and hypnotist Jim Kellner in their monthly series. He performs at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, at 8000 N. Silverbell Road, Marana; and at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22, at Vail Theater of the Arts, 10701 E. Mary Ann Cleveland Way. Tickets are $10; $30 for a family.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Three Great Things to Do in Tucson Today: Tuesday, Dec. 4

Posted By on Tue, Dec 4, 2018 at 1:00 AM

BROADWAY IN TUCSON
  • Broadway in Tucson
Waitress. Sarah Bareilles is not going to write you a love song, but the six-time Grammy nominee is going to write the original music and lyrics for this hit musical, and you're going to love it. Inspired by Adrienne Shelly's film, the musical tells the story of a small-town waitress with big-time dreams who thinks a baking contest and the cute new doctor in town might be just the ticket. The all-woman creative team features screenwriter Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam), choreographer Lorin Latarro (Waiting for Godot) and director/Tony award-winner Diane Paulus (Hair, Pippin, Finding Neverland). Don't wait-ress to buy tickets! Tuesday, Dec. 4 through Sunday, Dec. 9., with shows at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd. $19 to $125+. Details Here.

Sleepspent. Drawing inspiration from the nocturnal shoegaze acts of the 90s, El Paso indie rockers Sleepspent manage to be lethargic and passionate at the same time. Still a young band (only releasing their debut EP earlier this year), they've crafted a unique sound of moody guitars, subtle vocals, and plenty of shifting layers. Occasionally they'll throw in some jangly acoustics to shake things up, which works out perfect for a band refusing to focus on one sound too long. Drift into Sleepspent at Monterey Court. 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4. 505 W. Miracle Mile.

COURTESY
  • courtesy
An Irish Christmas. Take a more untraditional way to get into the holiday spirit! Award winning  Irish dancers have worked hard to host a great show. Learn the traditions of Irish culture such as butter making but don't worry, they'll throw some songs you are familiar with. Between sining and dancing it will be an unforgettable night. Tuesday, Dec. 4. 7:00 p.m. Fox Tucson Theatre. Details Here.

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Events compiled by Brianna Lewis, Emily Dieckman, B.S. Eliot and Jeff Gardner.

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Monday, November 26, 2018

Widescreen Wednesdays Presents "Day for Night"

Posted By on Mon, Nov 26, 2018 at 10:55 AM

click image UA School of Theatre, Film and Television presents Day for Night on Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. - CARPE DIEM
  • Carpe Diem
  • UA School of Theatre, Film and Television presents Day for Night on Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 7 p.m.
On Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. Michael Mulcahy, associate professor in the School of Theatre, Film and Television will introduce Day for Night, a 1973 film directed by Francois Truffaut. This French film is a melodrama about a film director watching the actors in his film drama while trying to get his movie made. Try to keep up with all that!

This film shows that sometimes the drama behind the camera is more interesting than the drama in front of it. This film is considered by many to be Truffaut’s masterpiece and one of the greatest foreign films of all time.

The film won the 1974 BAFTA Award for Best Film, the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress for Valentine Cortese from the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics. The film was also screened out of competition at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival.


“Widescreen Wednesday” is a series of screened movies about film and television from the School of Theatre, Film and Television. At each screening, a faculty member introduces a favorite film of their choice and talks about the film’s history and its importance to the entertainment industry. A Bachelor of Fine Art film student will enhance select screenings with a presentation of a short film.

The film will be shown at the UA Center for Creative Photography. Find more details about the event here.

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Friday, November 23, 2018

Chef Janos Wilder Dinner Celebrates Tucson's Gastronomic Designation

Posted By on Fri, Nov 23, 2018 at 2:00 PM

click image COURTESY DOWNTOWN KITCHEN + COCKTAILS
  • Courtesy Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails
Janos Wilder, the James Beard Award-winning head chef at DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails, will host a special tasting event from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6 at Carriage House, downtown.

The event will feature flavors from three sister cities of gastronomy including Florianopolis, Brazil, Macao, China and Phuket, Thailand. Devon Sanner from The Carriage House and Travis Peters from The Parish will also be in the kitchen at the event. Each of the three chefs will prepare meals inspired by one of the three cities.

Tucson earned a designation as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy in 2015, making it the first and only World City of Gastronomy in the United States. Tucson was chosen because of our 4000-year history of continually cultivated agriculture, the longest in North America.

Tickets for the event are $40 per person. The proceeds will go to support the Tucson City of Gastronomy Traveling Chef Exchange Program that will help fund chefs from other cities of gastronomy to travel to Tucson and learn our food history while sharing their own.

Last year Wilder, Peters and Sanner traveled abroad to different cities of gastronomy and they’re now looking to return the hospitality.

Find out more about the dinner here.

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Staff Pick

Pink Martini and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra

PINK MARTINI performs its multilingual repertoire on concert stages and with symphony orchestras throughout Europe, Asia, Greece,… More

@ TCC Music Hall Sat., Jan. 19, 7:30-9:30 p.m. and Sun., Jan. 20, 2-4 p.m. 260 S. Church Ave.

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