Arts and Culture

Friday, September 29, 2017

Laughing Stock: The Gaslight's Phantom Never Gets Old

Posted By on Fri, Sep 29, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Heather Stricker as Christine and Armen Dirtadian as the Phantom in The Gaslight Theatre's current comic adaptation of Phantom of the Opera. David Fanning performs the Phantom through Nov. 5. - THE GASLIGHT THEATRE
  • The Gaslight Theatre
  • Heather Stricker as Christine and Armen Dirtadian as the Phantom in The Gaslight Theatre's current comic adaptation of Phantom of the Opera. David Fanning performs the Phantom through Nov. 5.

Heather Stricker was still a rookie the first time she played Christine opposite Armen Dirtadian’s Phantom of the Opera. The year was 2001 and it was The Gaslight Theatre's third run of Peter Van Slyke’s original comedy adaptation. Dirtadian had played in all of them, as had Joe Cooper, currently portraying a prat-falling Madame Giry. Cooper’s been with the company 31 years.

Dirtadian says reprising that first performance with Stricker is his favorite aspect of the production’s current run, which continues through Sunday, Nov. 5. It’s part of Gaslight’s fortieth anniversary season. “She was out of college at the time, trained in opera as a grad student,” Dirtadian says. “When she called me (for the current production) I jumped on it.”

Stricker now acts in every production and serves as the company’s public relations director. “This is really the best talent in Tucson,” she says. “We do so many shows here that it's a full-time job for a lot of us. The opening cast tends to be the same for each run, so anybody who comes to see every show will always see the same faces.”

Repeatable, long-running productions with multiple stagings each week enable the company to budget for cast continuity and production values that smaller, more risk-taking companies can only dream about. The costumers who create the Phantom’s lavish look operate a retail shop that provides another onsite profit center as does Little Anthony's Diner, which supplies the theater’s food service.

The profitability of its enviable business model may contribute to the Gaslight’s perennial wins in Tucson Weekly’s Best of Tucson, but people come for the fun. “This is something that non-theater people enjoy,” Stricker says. “You can see live music, live performers, comedy ….” She might add that it’s as family-friendly as a Disney movie. Actors take pains to engage the young ones at the front tables, especially throughout the olio after each show. It’s a short, unrelated variety entertainment played almost entirely for laughs.

Putting the Phantom in context, Dirtadian says, “It might be a little serious here at the Gaslight.” That’s like calling Mabel a tragic figure in Pirates of Penzance. But Stricker explains, “The fall shows are a little darker, so you're seeing a kind of spookier one for Halloween. They're still hilarious!”

Gaslight tickets are $20.95, less for children and veterans. Details are can be found online. Tickets are available by phone or in person.

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Film On Poisoned U.S. Soldiers Coming To Loft

Posted By on Mon, Sep 25, 2017 at 8:23 AM

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Plastic, paint, chemicals, tires, trash, batteries, appliances, human waste and even some body parts. All of these were incinerated by the US military and private contractors in burn pits during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Thousands of soldiers who were exposed to the toxic smoke returned home and found themselves sick with respiratory diseases and rare cancers.

Delay, Deny, Hope You Die, a recently completed documentary about the burn pits and their effects on soldiers, is screening at The Loft Cinema (3233 E. Speedway Blvd.) ,at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 12.

Director/producer Greg Lovett first heard about the story when he read Joseph Hickman’s book, The Burn Pits: The Poisoning of America’s Soldiers, two years ago.

“When I read the book, I was just really disturbed and mad and upset that this is going on, and that nobody is really doing anything about and nobody really knows about it,” he said.

Lovett started the documentary a year later, and it took about a year to complete. The film interviews doctors, lawyers, journalists and sick soldiers, like Sgt. Brian Alvarado, who was exposed to the burn pits as a Marine in in Iraq and now has cancer, hyperthyroidism and a feeding tube that leaves him unable to work.

In a promotional clip of the film, Hickman explains that soldiers were producing at least nine pounds of trash a day in the early days of the way, and the military turned to burn pits to dispose of waste. But a temporary solution became a permanent health hazard when the burn pits remained open despite new options becoming available.

“I think most people don’t understand that this is even happening,” Lovett said. “Maybe with knowledge comes change”

Here’s the thing: in order to make sure the film’s one-night-only screening at the Loft actually happens, the showing needs to sell 74 tickets by Oct. 1. Buy your ticket today here for $10 and click here to view the trailer.

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

New TSO Director Kicks Off A New Season

Posted By on Thu, Sep 21, 2017 at 7:15 PM

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Tucson Symphony Orchestra opens its 2017/2018 season with a program designed by new music director José Luis Gomez.

“All of them, in a way, present me to Tucson,” Gomez said. “It’s like a way of saying, ‘hi, this is me.’”

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

HOCO Fest Countdown—The, Um, Effervescent Lana Del Rabies Picks the Five Albums That Changed Her Life!

Posted By on Tue, Aug 29, 2017 at 12:45 PM

Lana Del Rabies: Unapologetically brutal .
  • Lana Del Rabies: Unapologetically brutal .

Know Your Product (Special Blog Edition!)
Stars Pick Their Top 5
This week: Lana Del Rabies

You have to love that name. We suspect even Lana Del Rey loves that name. When Phoenix media artist Sam An decided she wanted to create a solo electronic music project, Lana Del Rabies was born, and with it some of the most unapologetically brutal and almost-unmusical noise imaginable. German industrial and horror scores are likely influences, but it doesn’t matter. This is the stuff of nightmares. Del Rabies/An herself told us about the five albums that changed her life to celebrate the fact that she’s performing at the climax of HOCO

With Jock Club, Violence and Altrice on Sunday, Sept. 3 at the HoCo aftershow, secret venue. See hotelcongress.com/hoco for more information.

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1. Nine Inch NailsThe Downward Spiral
I was 14 the first time I heard The Downward Spiral, and my interests in music were never the same after. The way Trent Reznor uses textures on this record influenced my production work later, and how I view what makes a "great" album- strong individual tracks that collectively execute a concept well.

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2. PortisheadThird
I was a teenager when this album came out, and growing up in Tucson during this time, I didn't experience a lot of exposure to electronic music. This was the first Portishead album I heard, and it is still is my favorite of theirs. Third expands beyond the boundaries of "Trip Hop" and uses gritty but minimal production to enhance Beth Gibbons's beautifully melancholy songwriting.

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3. Einstürzende Neubauten—Kollaps
I lived in Detroit for four years, and while I was there I was fortunate to help with an event while working at The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, surrounding the history of the Berlin music and art scene in the 1980's/90's. Alexander Hacke of Einstürzende Neubauten and his wife, artist Danielle de Picciotto, were guests at the event who spoke of their projects and experiences. I dove into Neubauten immediately after and was never the same.

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4. Giles Corey—Giles Corey
Dan Barrett is a true underground musician, who for me has always expressed what it is like to experience true depression in the most authentic and raw manner possible. His first album as his solo project Giles Corey is an atmospheric journey into an emotional and existential breakdown of the most heightened extremes. Of course I love it.

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5. Pharmakon—Abandon
The first time I found out about Pharmakon, a friend was showing me a video of her performing at a gallery somewhere, this was around 2011. For the first time, I saw a woman performing exactly what I felt inside myself and never gave myself a chance to express. Margaret Chardiet is still an innovator in her genre, and it's undeniable that her work empowered me to do Lana Del Rabies in the first place.





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Young Art History Scholar Speaks Today at CCP on Controversial Photo Exhibition. Free!

Posted By on Tue, Aug 29, 2017 at 11:21 AM


Emilia Mickevicius - COURTESY
  • courtesy
  • Emilia Mickevicius
Back in 1975, the George Eastman House in Rochester put together the influential New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape exhibition, with photos showing an America scarred by ugly new subdivisions, rotting coal towers and mind-numbing office parks. The pristine landscapes prized by the likes of Ansel Adams were nowhere to be found, and many recoiled at the rebellious photographers’ “radical shift” from beauty. By 2010, when Tucson’s Center for Creative Photography re-created the now-famous show, photo audiences were far more accustomed to photographs that depicted the desecration of the land.

Emilia Mickevicius, a scholar visiting the Center for Creative Photography on a fellowship from the Photographic Arts Council of Los Angeles, will speak at 5 p.m. today about the public’s reaction to the groundbreaking 1975 show. Her lecture, "Photograph/Viewer/Landscape: Revisiting the Reception of New Topographics, 1975," is free and open to the public.

Mickevicius is a doctoral candidate in art history at Brown University, where she’s writing a dissertation on the original New Topographics exhibition. A graduate of the University of Chicago, she’s also held positions at the RISD Museum in Providence and at the Art Institute of Chicago.

For a review of the CCP re-creation of the original exhibition see Tucson Weekly, March 18, 2010

5 p.m. - 6 p.m. today, Tuesday, Aug. 29
Center for Creative Photography Auditorium
1030 N. Olive Rd.
creativephotography.org

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Weekly List: 22 Things To Do In Tucson This Week

Posted By and on Thu, Aug 24, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Your Weekly guide to keeping busy in the Old Pueblo.

¡Cultura!

ART BY TIMOTHY SCHIRACK, UPCOMING FEATURED ARTIST AT TOHONO CHUL.
  • Art by Timothy Schirack, upcoming featured artist at Tohono Chul.
Día de los Muertos Opening Reception. Tohono Chul’s next exhibit honors and remembers the dead in a celebration that is full of color and joy. Pieces by local artists will be displayed until the exhibit ends on Nov. 8, and artists whose work is on display will be present at the opening night reception. 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24. 7366 Paseo del Norte. Free.

Closing Reception and Sewing Circle. Bordando por la Paz y la Memoria is a group made of citizens from Mexico and other cities abroad who embroider the names of victims of Mexico’s War Against Drug Trafficking onto white handkerchiefs. These stitched stories are a beautiful and sobering visualization of the suffering real people face in the reality of war. Handkerchiefs will be displayed in the café area, and, while supplies last, materials for visitors to embroider their own tributes and testimonies will be provided. 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 27. Joel D. Valdez Main Library 101 N. Stone Ave. Free.

Museums

Space Night 2017. Sleepovers at friends’ houses are fun, but are they educational? Are there opportunities to use state-of-the-art telescopes? Are there real meteorites available to be touched? We didn’t think so. The Children’s Museum Tucson will be showing sleepover guests how to get a party started with pizza, pajamas, binoculars, thermal cameras, and even meteorite-touching ops. Families are welcome to pitch tents in designated areas in the museum and in the main courtyard, for that highly sought after “pitch-a-tent-in-the-living-room-or-backyard-but-still-be-surrounded-by-fascinating-artifacts-and-unique-educational-opportunites” feel that many a sleepover party host has strived for and not attained. 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 26 to Sunday, Aug. 27. Children's Museum Tucson 200 South Sixth Ave. $50, $45 for museum members.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

HOCO Fest Countdown: The Stunning Yves Tumor

Posted By on Tue, Aug 22, 2017 at 1:30 PM

Each Labor Day weekend, Club Congress hosts the HOCO Fest, the city's biggest musical bash. It runs Wed. Aug. 30—Sunday, Sept. 3. We here at TW HQ are so down with it that we're doing power previews like tequila shots of bands and artists performing. Here's the beautifully deceptive Yves Tumor, performing Sunday, Sept. 3.

The music is profound enough to challenge your assumptions. Plus, he's gorgeous. - DANIEL SANNWALD
  • Daniel Sannwald
  • The music is profound enough to challenge your assumptions. Plus, he's gorgeous.

As aural performance artist, Yves Tumor uses repetitive, hypnotic synths and often-distorted clips of the human voice to examine heavy concepts. Like Laurie Anderson or John Cage, dude is more interested in raising questions and making you think than he is in making pretty music. This is post-modern art, yo—stark, confrontational. In “Limerence,” Yves examines context; a woman’s voice clearly states, “Say something.” At first she seems pissed, but when we hear it again, after learning that she wants her boyfriend to “say something” for posterity, the same clip is entirely different. Fucking brilliant. In “When Man Fails You,” the listener is assaulted by endless, atonal bells, and there’s something empty, sadistic yet purposely overwhelming about this tune. Yves’ music is like walking into a museum video installation and taking in dismembered limbs. Open minds and hearts will likely be provoked, shaken and discomforted. Good! So save those psychs for later—but go—this music is profound enough to challenge your assumptions many times over. Plus, he’s gorgeous.
Yves Tumor - Broke in ft. Oxhy from lowlife scum on Vimeo.

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

HOCO Fest 2017 Countdown: Mexican Institute of Sound

Posted By on Sun, Aug 20, 2017 at 4:45 PM

Each Labor Day weekend, the fine folks at Club Congress host the city's biggest musical bash of the year. It runs Wed. Aug. 30-Sunday, Sept. 3. The Tucson Weekly is down with it.

We here at
TW HQ so down with it we'll be doing power previews like tequila shots of bands and artists performing the HOCO Fest, local and international. Here's the cliche-destroying Mexican Institute of Art, a must-see on Friday, September Sept. 1.
Camilo Lara is the mighty Mexican Institute of Art. - NACIONAL RECORDS
  • Nacional Records
  • Camilo Lara is the mighty Mexican Institute of Art.

Political, whip smart, ironic. Just one of these three adjectives is hard to pull off with musicality, but Mexico City’s Mexican Institute of Sound gano the triple crown. Whether directly addressing the problems in “Mexico,” where violence and corruption has citizens “saber que el tuyo no es tuyo,” (knowing what is yours is not yours) or playing against Latin-lover stereotypes, “Escribeme Pronto. Soy pasionante, pero yo no soy tanto” (Write me soon. I am passionate but I am not stupid), the singsong/rapped lyrics are always on point—witty and aware of US and Mexican cultural shortcomings. But it’s not just the lyrics in this post-Beck hip-hop outfit that succeed. On “Mexico,” traditional, heroic-sounding horns are slowed down to be clownish; turning a cultural touchstone on its head. In “Escribeme Pronto,” sped up mandates to “Dance!” are dropped in above ’50s Mexico-by-way-of-Hollywood orchestration. This is parody at its finest—razor sharp, danceable, fun. Like Ozomatli, this banda just gets better live. All hail group leader Camilo Lara! Not to be missed.


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Staff Pick

The Purple Rain Sing-A-Long

Time to bathe in the funky majesty of The Purple Rain Sing-A-Long and a collection of vintage… More

@ Loft Cinema Sat., Oct. 21, 7:30-9:30 p.m. 3233 E. Speedway Blvd.

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