Arts and Culture

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Tour Diaries! The Second Entry (Day Four) of the Marianne Dissard Euro Tour

Posted By on Thu, May 25, 2017 at 8:20 PM

Dissard imbibing on her day off. - ANNE PRESTING.
  • Anne Presting.
  • Dissard imbibing on her day off.
Day 4—May 25, 10 a.m.: I drive Connor to the McDonald's parking lot on the outskirt of Chemnitz. On our first day off, he's catching a car share ride - in a white convertible - to Cologne, a seven hours drive to reunite with his/our old Tucson buddy - and my first Europe tour drummer back in 2008 - Andrew Collberg who now lives in Germany. It's men's day, also known as father's day in Germany. Me and the girls checked out from the Chemnitz hotel at noon. At the first roundabout, three grown men standing in a circle in the middle of the street, peeing, just peeing on the ground and grinning, their flies down, their dicks dripping. We drive past in slow motion, looking at the flow of urine, the shoes wet, their faces red with laughter, alcohol and maybe what constitutes manhood. Further, men in bizarre costumes. Strange rituals. The town itself seems so sedate ordinarily. Is this how you cope with ordinary, once or twice a year? Pressure valve off. Today, 25 May, is a holiday in Germany - father's day - and we drive from Chemnitz to Berlin, then through Berlin with no traffic jams. Berlin feels empty, easy, enjoyable. I drop off the girls in Prenzlauer Berg with an old friend and escape to a refuge in nearby Charlottensburg, a century-old mansion in the woods. I finish my day lakeside with white wine, talks of illicit lovers and open love, fried sardines and watching boats swing by as the sun descends on the water. A day off. They don't usually go down that easy with me but I make it my duty to enjoy every minute of it. Tonight, I sleep in a bed where Howe Gelb slept not long ago. This is getting funny.

Read the previous Marianne Dissard Tour Diaries entry here.

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Tour Diaries! Vol. 1 Finds Tucson Songster Marianne Dissard Galavanting Across Europe, With Old Pueblo Star-Shiners Brittany Katter, Annie Dolan and (Special Guest) Connor Gallaher in Tow

Posted By on Thu, May 25, 2017 at 11:12 AM

The Tucson Weekly blog is today launching an ongoing Tour Diaries series that will see Tucson artists keeping daily, er semi-daily, track of their on-the-road shenanigans, the dirt, the grime, the glory, the hangovers, the warts, maybe even the schtupping. We'll be asking all artists to tell it like it is. For the inaugural Tour Diaries, we present Marianne Dissard ... this first installment features the first three days of the tour.


Day 1—Monday, May 22: A blur already and we haven't yet started. This morning, as I made breakfast —as close to huevos rancheros as I can manage here, baguette for corn tortillas, I thought of a good first story for the tour blog I'd write that evening. As I doubled-down on black coffee, checking live updates for flight arrivals at Charles de Gaulle from my laptop, I swear I had the whole thing figured out. 
The bleary-eyed Tucsonans.
  • The bleary-eyed Tucsonans.

Twelve hours later, it's all lost. I'm drained. Blame it on a full afternoon of rehearsals. Now I pop a melatonin and before crashing, conjure up this one story of today. Here it is. When guitarist Annie Dolan, bassist Brittany Katter and pedal steel player Connor Gallaher got off the plane this morning in Paris, I wasn't waiting for them - take a taxi, I had instructed. But someone was there, pacing the crowded hall. Someone from Tucson, a musician flying home from his own European tour as my band was flying in for our own. Howe Gelb himself, the man, had been waiting for them in the CDG arrival hall. He greeted the bleary-eyed Tucsonans with a handwritten sign that read 'punk'. Yes, welcome to Paris, punks. Let's start that tour. 
Howe Gelb at  Charles de Gaulle.
  • Howe Gelb at Charles de Gaulle.

Day 2—Tuesday, May 23: We're leaving Paris in the afternoon, direction Germany and our overnight Airbnb pit stop in some tiny village near Frankfurt. The Guardian, when I check it online, has an article here on the dark side of touring - Insomnia, anxiety, break-ups ... but the headline news screams Manchester. 
Street hassle.
  • Street hassle.

Ariana Grande, whose show the bomb blasted, tweets to her fans: 'broken'. Yes, broken. Two days after the Paris attacks in 2015, I left to tour. Today, as a little over a year ago, taking to the road and playing is the only fix I have to the breaking. I ask Connor if he would learn a new cover song, "Amsterdam," for our show's encore. Of course, he says, always the trooper, juggling a stir-fry and a bottle opener. Singing that song in the kitchen repairs me some.

Day 3—Wednesday, May 23: Our first show. I'm anxious. This lineup is fresh. How many shows have we got under our belts the four of us together? Two. Last tour, in October, Vicki Brown was with me, Annie and Brittany. Six months later, Connor Gallaher has replaced her. 'Replace' is not the right word. The balance is completely new, to be found anew. I don't want to over-rehearse us, don't want to second-guess myself. This is a fine, fine foursome. 
Photoshop by Connor Gallaher of his face onto that of Vicki on the venue's program.
  • Photoshop by Connor Gallaher of his face onto that of Vicki on the venue's program.

I know it, I've cast it and want to be surprised by us, by myself. And tonight on stage in Chemnitz, I am. Everyone rises to the occasion in a venue I've already played every couple of years for the past seven years—once with Sergio Mendoza, Brian Lopez, Gabriel Sullivan, then the Tucson Tour and Andrew Collberg, and with my French guitarist Yan Péchin. The show ends. We're thrilled. We've clicked. Didn't click with our nice AirBnB from last night, though, the one in the tiny, tidy village on the outskirt of Frankfurt. Their review of us...? "Hi Marianne, I gave you a good (public) rating - just because you have so many good reviews. it is unpleasant when you leave the roof window shutters open, soap and other trifles disappear and the apartment looks as if no one have cleaned there for months … It would be nice if you would not book us again".

Stay tuned ...

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Streets of This Town: Don't 'Toilet' in Front of Mailbox!

Posted By on Tue, May 16, 2017 at 5:00 PM

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"Streets of This Town" is a little photo series featuring random pics I take on long walks through Tucson.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Streets of This Town: Skeleton Crew

Posted By on Thu, Apr 27, 2017 at 1:45 PM

Skelton Crew. - BRIAN SMITH
  • Brian Smith
  • Skelton Crew.

"Streets of This Town" is a little daily photo series featuring random pics I take on long walks through Tucson—to sort of coincide with Tucson Salvage.

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Tucson Superstars Gabriel Sullivan, Brian Lopez, Carlos Arzate and Others to Play Naturalization Benefit for Their Own

Posted By on Thu, Apr 27, 2017 at 12:42 PM

Tom Walbank calls Tucson home.
  • Tom Walbank calls Tucson home.
Yes, the United States has a long history of welcoming immigrants from around the globe. During the last decade more than 6.6 million naturalized citizens were welcomed into the crucible. The cost of citizenship is becoming prohibitive to permanent residents before being able to complete the tedious naturalization process necessary to take the oath of allegiance.

Join the damn cause already. Che’s Lounge will be the site for a weekend-long Benefit for Naturalization—featuring the music of Gabriel Sullivan, Brian Lopez, Carlos Arzate & The Kind Souls, Tom Walbank and guests—to raise money to assist two adopted and beloved Tucson Musicians, Tom Walbank and Thøger Tetens Lund, in their quest for citizenship.
Thøger Tetens Lund (standup bass), here performing with Rosie Starke and Naim Amor. - LISA LEMKE
  • Lisa Lemke
  • Thøger Tetens Lund (standup bass), here performing with Rosie Starke and Naim Amor.

Saturday, April 29 at 10 p.m., globetrotting local heroes Gabriel Sullivan and Brian Lopez will deliver sets accompanied by full band.

Sunday, April 30, Carlos Arzate & The Kind Souls and bluesman extraordinaire Tom Walbank will perform in the evening starting at 6 p.m.

Che’s Lounge, 350 N. 4th Avenue. No cover. A portion of the proceeds from bar sales will go towards the cause.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Documentary Hot Damn Makes its World Premiere in the Old Pueblo This Sunday!

Posted By on Tue, Apr 25, 2017 at 5:02 PM

Still from Tucson Hot Damn. - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Still from Tucson Hot Damn.

With no shame and no regret, award-winning Canadian filmmaker—by way of New York—Jefferson Moneo offers an unabashed look at the eclecticism of Tucson’s arts scene in his 18-minute documentary film Tucson Hot Damn.

Tucson Hot Damn makes its world premiere at the 2017 Arizona International Film Festival as part of The Tucson Happening, a music, performance and film event that closes the fest, which began Wednesday, April 19, and ends Sunday, April 30. (Go here for more info: filmfestivalarizona.com.)

Moneo’s affinity for Tucson served as incubator where the doc’s seeds germinated and took root. “I love Tucson; the town, the desert, and especially the people,” Moneo says. “For the past decade, I've been making the pilgrimage to Tucson for the Arizona International Film Festival. There's a reason I keep coming back.”
Still from Hot Damn: Photographer Eric Kroll and model in his garage at home in the Santa Catalina foothills. - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Still from Hot Damn: Photographer Eric Kroll and model in his garage at home in the Santa Catalina foothills.

A sentiment echoed in wordsmith Billy Sedlmayr’s lyrics (from the song “Tucson Kills” featured in the film).

Well I left a dozen times
But I always crawl back against my will
Yeah, Tucson kills

Without borders—rising from 6th Avenue underpass downtown, whose surrounding warehouses have served as fertile spawning ground for artistic creativity, to the grit, symbolic decrepitude and skeletal remains of the once iconic Spanish Trail Motel sign off of I-10─Tucson Hot Damn takes the viewer on a journey in vignettes that capture artists at work and play; from the rawness of a soulful blues mouth-harpist to the effortless technicality of a classically trained violinist. In filmic prose, this short promises to be a trip down the rabbit hole on a wild and magical ride through "The Weird Capital of the World" featuring the music of beloved homeboys Brian Lopez, Gabriel Sullivan and Sedlmayr.

Continue reading »

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Friday, April 21, 2017

In The Flesh: Let's Live A Little at Invisible Theatre is a Mouthful That Rewards, Challenges

Posted By on Fri, Apr 21, 2017 at 5:05 PM

Sam Scarborough (Jack Neubeck) tries to convince his granddaughter Lily (Lucille Petty) to stay in town and help out at his florist Shop while Lily has dreams of moving to NYC to become a writer! - TIM FULLER
  • Tim Fuller
  • Sam Scarborough (Jack Neubeck) tries to convince his granddaughter Lily (Lucille Petty) to stay in town and help out at his florist Shop while Lily has dreams of moving to NYC to become a writer!

There’s a little gem of a play now treading the boards at the Invisible Theatre. Kathleen Clark’s Let’s Live a Little is the last show of the season, and it’s a lovely way to end Invisible Theatre’s 46th year.

The show tells several stories, related in some ways, although often quite generally. Their chief connection is their location in the small town of Mine Hill, New Jersey. Their lives often intersect in a glancing way, say, like most of ours do merely because we reside in the same country, or are all members of the human race. We may share dentists or find that we were born in the same city, or that we all struggle to survive, and for us who are lucky enough not to have to worry about where our next meal is coming from, to survive with a modicum of grace.

Lily is a college-aged woman trying to figure out how to extricate herself from the small town, but not leaving her granddad, who's struggling with issues of aging, without help in his florist shop. Granddad is married to grandma, who is also on the inexorable journey to decrepitude. Their daughter (and Lily’s mom) is trying to take care of them by lining up in-home caregivers. The candidates, although related only by their candidacy, are part of other stories Clark weaves into her play. She touches on themes like how we perceive ourselves and how we can free ourselves from those perceptions to blossom (like the flowers in granddad’s shop?) in ways more to our liking; how we can dig deep to commit to the things we want to do; how less is more; how we compromise ourselves but find that we can be reawakened in surprising ways; and just another little idea: how we need, quite literally, to write our lives.

Clark’s play is a mouthful. It’s probably too much of one. Although it’s plotted well—Clark knows what she’s doing as a playwright—she gives us so much that we are overwhelmed. She offers us multiple ideas to chew on, but not much time to chew them. It’s akin to one of those hot dog eating competitions. There's a lot to absorb in only 90 minutes. Consequently, sometimes things feel contrived or overly sentimental or way too obvious as she tries to stitch everything together. The seams show.

Continue reading »

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Keep On Poppin' On: Pop-Up Shops Gain Popularity in Tucson as Entrepreneurs use the Concept to Reinvent Their Craft

Posted By on Fri, Apr 21, 2017 at 9:30 AM

ELENA GONZALEZ
  • Elena Gonzalez

The “pop-up” trend has gained much attention in Tucson in the last few years thanks to an up and coming chef, an innovative restaurant owner, and a couple of creative entrepreneurs. Pop-ups—temporary shops or events that typically last anywhere from a day to a few months—have been popular in big cities, but Tucson has recently become a hub for a variety of inventive pop-ups.
Traditionally, pop-ups are retail stores offering a variety of goods for a short amount of time.

Cultivate Tucson co-owners, Claire Seizovic and Kristin Tovar, saw Tucson as the perfect location for pop-up shops and decided to start their own shop brand in 2015.

“Tucson is definitely going through a creative renaissance right now,” Seizovic said in regards to why it is the right time for these unique markets in Tucson. Cultivate Tucson’s shops feature local artists and designers and are hosted in under-utilized spaces. Seizovic said the benefits of having a pop-up shop in comparison to a regular brick-and-mortar retail store include cost, momentum, and marketing. She said since the markets are a once a-year, one-day event the need for constant marketing isn’t there and the temporariness adds a hype aspect that encourages people to attend. “If you know its always available, it becomes less exciting,” Seizovic said.

Though Seizovic and Tovar weren’t the ones to create the pop-up concept, they’ve come up with ways to innovate the idea. An important part of Cultivates mission is donating to local non-profits.

By participating in the pop-up, all vendors agree to donate 20 percent of their sales to either a non-profit Cultivate highlights at the event or a non-profit of their choosing. Seizovic said that incorporating non-profits into the pop-up was “there from the very beginning.” At their December 2016 market, they were able to donate $10,000 to non-profits. Cultivate also stands out by the spaces they use. Their pop-ups are hosted in unused spaces that were not originally meant for retail stores. They used an old tire shop south of downtown for their last pop-up. By utilizing these unused, perhaps forgotten spaces, Seizovic said it is “a way to highlight a space for someone else to permanently buy.”

Cultivate Tucson recently announced their first spring pop-up shop. “The Flash” pop-up shop will be on Saturday, May 20 from 9am to 4pm. The shop will take place at an old appliance store, Flash TV and Appliance.

Chef Riley Chandler has also used location as a way to reinvent the concept of pop-ups. Chandler created his business, Pop-up Tucson, to bring pop-up dinners to Tucson. He first got the idea from Scottsdale chef, T.J. Culp. Culp had been successfully hosting pop-up dinners throughout the Scottsdale area and Chandler thought Tucson would be a good place for the concept. Since his first pop-up in May of 2016, he has hosted a total of 5 pop-ups in Tucson and 5 in different U.S. cities. Chandler has had success in bringing pop-up dinners to Tucson and said it is largely because people are attracted to the uniqueness of the event. “You’re not confined to four walls inside a restaurant, you’re literally outside the box,” Chandler said.

Besides the inventive location, Chandler uses other unique elements like collaborations with chefs and entertainment for guests. Collaborating with other chefs is one of Chandler’s favorite aspects of the pop-ups because it not only benefits him but the guests as well. He said it brings in other influences and allows him to learn from other culinary minds. “It elevates my style.”

He often brings in chefs from Phoenix, which allows the guests to taste their food without having to go to Phoenix. As for the entertainment aspect, Chandler always incorporates the arts into the dining experience. He says though it is not a necessary element, it is something important to him. “It ties the knot around the whole vibe,” he said. Past pop-up dinners have featured a jazz trio and a live painter.
Restaurant owner, Scott Stiteler, revamped the pop-up trend to fit his passion for history and restaurants. Stiteler opened up his pop-up bar, Martin Drug Co., in February as a way to utilize an old building while he creates his long-term plan for the space. Stiteler hopes that by first using the space as a pop-bar while he plans the restaurant, he can reintroduce the space to the public and bring it back into people’s lives. The pop-up bar is only utilizing about 1,000 square feet of the space. The inspiration for the pop-up bar came from an old drugstore that used to reside in the building in the late 1880’s to mid-1960s. When Stiteler discovered this he knew it made sense to respect that history while also adding, “a dose of fun.”

The space gives ode to its history through black and white images of the Martin family and their drug store that hang on the walls of the pop-up. The traditional black and white pictures are met with funky and modern décor, giving the space the perfect blend of old and new. Stiteler said that since the bar is temporary, there was a lot more latitude when it came to interior design. Unlike most pop-ups, Martin Drug Co. will remain open for a generous 6 months. It will then be reinvented again into a more family-friendly, traditional eatery Stiteler said.

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Frida al Fresco

On the fourth Friday of every month, the Gardens will be the center of all things Frida… More

@ Tucson Botanical Gardens Fourth Friday of every month, 5-8 p.m. Continues through May 26 2150 N. Alvernon Way.

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