Arts and Culture

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tour Diaries! XIXA on Their Ongoing Bloodline Tour (Part IV). Day 1: 'Put in a Sack and Thrown in the Back.'

Posted By on Thu, Jul 13, 2017 at 5:49 PM

The Tucson Weekly Range is continuing its Tour Diaries series. Check in daily to keep track of on-the-road shenanigans, dirt, grime, and glory, and all the hangovers and warts. All artists are asked to tell it like it is. This time it's the monolithic Tucson badasses XIXA, swinging through Germany, France, Italy, the Czech Republic and beyond.

July, 12. Day 1:

God laughs when you make plans. So do airlines. The weather had its way with Chicago and us. In typical fashion, we got it together, got to the airport early, got upgraded to first class only to be turned around by an alert notice on my AA app. "Flight cancelled due to storms, we have accommodated you on another flight, but your class of service will be changed." Translation: Put in a sack, and thrown in the back. 
"Flight cancelled due to storms, we have accommodated you on another flight, but your class of service will be changed." - XIXA
  • XIXA
  • "Flight cancelled due to storms, we have accommodated you on another flight, but your class of service will be changed."

Even the weather channel conspired against us with its scary radar reports. Three uneventful, non-bumpy hours later, here we are at the ORD Admirals Club, with an almost eight-hour layover. That's a lot of free hummus, soup and Bloody Mary's.  All of this was a blessing in disguise, because according to Chicago Admirals Club staff, yesterday was such a nightmare, half of the staff wanted to quit. They had been overrun by surly, entitled, angry passengers ... hundreds of them. So, in leaving a day late, we actually came out better for it. I think. One hour until we board our 787 Dreamliner.


You ready?

We are about to do it all over. Again.

Stay tuned.

-Winston Watson | Chicago, IL

Quick band refresher:

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Stories Can Change Our World: How Kore Press Keeps Fighting the Good Fight, Despite the Odds

Posted By on Thu, Jul 13, 2017 at 4:31 PM

Kore Press Grrls: Bowden and three participants from Kore's Grrls' Literary Activism Workshop at Cornel West lecture. - COURTESY KORE PRESS
  • Courtesy Kore Press
  • Kore Press Grrls: Bowden and three participants from Kore's Grrls' Literary Activism Workshop at Cornel West lecture.

The mighty Kore Press is a Tucson-based nonprofit independent publishing house and literary justice organization. For 24 years, the press has worked to ensure that marginalized voices: women, people of color, queer and trans folks, have a forum. Founder Lisa Bowden is trying to raise $20,000 for book printing, publishing staff, anthology editorial/artist fees. The Indiegogo campaign has currently raised 13 percent of its goal. Funding for literary endeavors is never easy, and the odds are stacked. Fewer people are reading books for one thing. That, and Bowden and Kore are publishing voices that’d go unheard into the mainstream.

Creating a people-powered publishing house has become the most sustainable route for extending Kore Press. A significant portion of the budget comes from support by the NEA, NEH and associated funding sources. With NEA and NEH funding on the chopping block in Trump’s 2018 budget, here Bowden opens up about what mainstream publishing is missing today and what we can expect for Kore Press' fall season.
  • Courtesy of Kore Press
  • Lisa Bowden.

Kore Press has been running since 1993. What made you want to create this press?

After graduating from the UA and working in the Tucson literary community, I wondered why we weren't exposed to more women writers in school, especially when Tucson is so rich with talent. After working for five years with another press learning printing and binding, and acquiring my own equipment, Karen Falkenstrom, Kore Press co-founder, and I discovered we both wanted to make a feminist/social justice impact with the literary arts, and so, Kore Press was born.

The way people consume media has largely shifted to an online format. What is it like running Kore Press in 2017? How has it adapted?
We publish online as well as in print, and have been growing our digital presence as reading, activist and communications culture has shifted. Digital printing allows us to keep producing books in much smaller runs of our titles, which is more economically feasible for small presses.

What does Kore Press look for in a prospective author?
We are focusing in recent years on writers who are interested in experimental forms, or content, that have potential for social impact. We have done, and plan to continue doing, community programming around certain artists or works to create larger public conversations which engage folks in innovative ways.

What is mainstream publishing missing? Why aren’t marginalized groups able to tell their stories in that forum?
Mainstream publishing is commercially driven, market-driven, so, it's missing a lot in terms of diversity. That is and has always been the strength of small presses—to take risks, work with all kinds of writers and voices.

With the proliferation of social media and personal technology, we have experienced a democratization of "publishing"—anyone with access can tell their story, can have an audience. Mainstream publishing, like mainstream media of all kinds, is largely governed by corporate forces, so you tend to see the same issues of systemic racism, sexism, capitalism—intersecting oppressions—that we see in large institutions and governments.

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Monday, July 10, 2017

In the Flesh: Tiny Town Times Debut Issue Release Show at Saint Charles Tavern! With The Rifle, Good Times Great Oldies, Treasure Mammal and Host Frank Powers (99.1 FM)

Posted By on Mon, Jul 10, 2017 at 4:00 PM

The importance of a free press, now more than ever, is immeasurable. Who’ll carry the torch next?

Why, it’s ... the Tiny Town Times, a newly launched quarterly community newspaper, offering a blend of “fiction, poetry, opinion, comics, illustrations, artist features, science and nature writing”... plus a really cool piece of foldout art.

TTT publisher Jeik Ficker got into printing young; when he needed t-shirts and stickers for his band. Ficker is also the proprietor of Tanline Printing the press where TTT is made by hand.

Tiny Town Times proudly celebrated the release of their handsome debut issue with a mad bash at Saint Charles Tavern this past Saturday night. Emceed by the effervescent Frank Powers (Comics Editors at TTT and host of "After Hours" on Downtown Radio 99.1 FM), in his best made-for-radio voice with good-natured banter between bands. The shindig featured performances by The Rifle and Phoenix’s inimitable Treasure Mammal with locals Good Times Great Oldies kicking things off.

Good Times Great Oldies
Good Times Great Oldies: “The next band is going to be nothing like this ... ummm. They are really good.” - XAVIER OMAR OTERO
  • Xavier Omar Otero
  • Good Times Great Oldies: “The next band is going to be nothing like this ... ummm. They are really good.”

There were bemused expressions at set’s start.

At the foot of the stage, one musician hammered on percussion instruments, creating an exotic Middle Eastern-tinged rhythm. He was joined by a drummer and guitarist—whose low, grungy tone took things in a different direction. Settling into a rhythm-heavy experimental jam, it was at first uncertain if the fourth person who jumped on stage mid-song was part of the band or not. He began manipulating effects boxes and creating wild oscillations, and unleashed hellish noise into a mic with otherworldly vocalizations. The band didn’t succeed in imparting a sense of musical organization or that they even bothered to rehearse much. But, tossing the rulebook aside embodied the spirit of the evening; and that’s what made GTGO’s performance pretty glorious.

Before leaving the stage the guitarist quipped, “The next band is going to be nothing like this ... ummm. They are really good.”

The Rifle
The Rifle: "I think if a person is paying attention, and they care, it’s impossible not to be outraged right now.” - XAVIER OMAR OTERO
  • Xavier Omar Otero
  • The Rifle: "I think if a person is paying attention, and they care, it’s impossible not to be outraged right now.”

Performing material predominately off of their new, debut full-length album, Anabasis.  The vibe was decidedly ’70s.

Continue reading »

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Saturday, July 1, 2017

In The Flesh: WTF AF with The Exbats, Jade Helm and Dani Boi at Club Congress

Posted By on Sat, Jul 1, 2017 at 11:24 PM

The Exbats perform at Club Congress in Tucson, Arizona Sunday, June 25. - BRIEANA SEALY
  • Brieana Sealy
  • The Exbats perform at Club Congress in Tucson, Arizona Sunday, June 25.

Last Sunday night was full of curious eyes and open ears. People crowded around Miranda Worthington's sculptures of decaying humans while swaying to the folk melodies of Dani Boi. The Exbats drew in a crowd with their two-piece band. WTF AF is a monthly show hosted by Club Congress dedicated to creating a safe space for voices of the women, trans, and femme (WTF) community.

Local Boi performed a raw solo, singing sweet nothings about growing up and falling in love to the gentle strumming of her guitar. Pinon, Arizona's The Exbats rocked the stage next. The daughter of the Exbats' Inez McLain held down both drums and vocals. Dad Ken McLain was riffing on guitar and vocals. The duo remined of early California punk rock, and pop, like the Simpletones.

Phoenix band Jade Helm raged after Exbats. The punk band heaved and thrashed their instruments throughout their set. Blood pressure rose.

Art was showcased on the side of the venue. Rose Clements had her zine Concealer, which explores femme identity through the contents of people's bags.

Miranda Worthington showcased her hauntingly beautiful sculptures full of insects, copper and decaying human skulls and skeletons.

The venue wasn't packed which allowed free movement to appreciate the art and easy access to the artists. People from multiple backgrounds were pulled together by art, literature, folk and punk; individuals true to themselves, and supported by their community.

click image Rose Clements' Concealer featured at Club Congress Sunday, June 25. The zine is about exploring femme identity through the contents of their bags. - WTF AF
  • WTF AF
  • Rose Clements' Concealer featured at Club Congress Sunday, June 25. The zine is about exploring femme identity through the contents of their bags.
click image Sculpture work by Miranda Worthington featured at Club Congress in Tucson, Arizona Sunday, June 25. - WTF AF
  • WTF AF
  • Sculpture work by Miranda Worthington featured at Club Congress in Tucson, Arizona Sunday, June 25.

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Friday, June 30, 2017

Artist Richard Zelens Stages Open Studio and Sale at His Home This Weekend

Posted By on Fri, Jun 30, 2017 at 10:04 AM


Expressionist painter Richard Zelens has been showing his colorful works in many galleries of late. He had a lovely sky-and-mountain piece in the Day for Night show up at Tohono Chul this past winter and he’s turned into a regular at Raices Taller and Contreras. In fact, right now he’s working on several small pieces for Tropical Heat Wave, the August show at Contreras. Back in 2011, he made it into the prestigious Arizona Biennial at the Tucson Museum of Art.

“I seem to be known for my luxurious florals,” says Zelens, a former professional dancer with American Ballet Theatre in New York City. “But some friends consider my portraits and esoteric (work) the most interesting. Then there is my addiction to pinching pots.”

Not to mention his painted silks. (Last year he published a book on his silk art.)

Right about now, we could use his charming “Monsoon Serenade,” a painting show at Raices last summer that had two benevolent rain gods throwing lightning bolts to the parched desert and blowing dark rain clouds across the mountains.

Local art lovers can get a look at the whole of the current Zelens oeuvre at a two-day open studio and sale he’s hosting at his house and studio this holiday weekend. Located west of the Humane Society, south of the Rillito, and a stone’s throw from an industrial zone, Zelens’ yard is a spacious surprise, as colorful and as eccentric as his paintings. Full of plants and patio chairs and piles of tiles and painted cloth drying on clotheslines, the place is an artwork in its own right. Inside, the house is equally colorful, with big, bright paintings taking over entire rooms.

Zelens’ two-day studio sale opens at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 1 and 2, and continues into the afternoon both days. The address is 3250 E. Kleindale Road., Tucson, 85716. Phone is 301-9057. Call if you’re arriving late in the day.

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Review: Danny Lyon—Present Future, the Silverman Museum Collection

Posted By on Mon, Jun 19, 2017 at 8:11 AM

Danny Lyon (1942-) - Aerial View of Manhattan (variant), 1966 vintage gelatin silver print - © DANNY LYON/MAGNUM PHOTOS, COURTESY ETHERTON GALLERY
  • © Danny Lyon/Magnum Photos, courtesy Etherton Gallery
  • Danny Lyon (1942-)Aerial View of Manhattan (variant), 1966 vintage gelatin silver print

A black-and-white New York City skyline that's receded from the vantage of a helicopter. Once the city resembled something one could hold in a fist, the photograph is snapped. It’s 1966. Yet the photo vibrates for contemporary eyes as contemporary thru its darkness. It's a sight of the '60s we can enter, because its black-and-white noir world conveys a '60s we now live with—a '60s not nostalgically dreamt of in day-glow face-paints, psychedelic celebrations and love-ins, but one whose heart beats in this haunted aerial shot. It resonates with photographer Danny Lyon's other '60s American subjects, like Texas prison life, the civil rights movement, biker gangs, migrant workers. The photo is from Lyon's series The Destruction of Lower Manhattan.

It can be seen seen as a translation of the 1960s, as a past darkness that never lightened, one that's only darker now. Lyon's photographic contraction of Manhattan in size, expands it into something ominous, a feeling of something wrong, that makes the present day observer viscerally feel something like what Mia Farrow's character suggests in Rosemary's Baby, the premonition of the city as metallic belly of things to come: a rising of towers, a falling of towers, elections without paper trails, results of such elections, more planes hitting towers.

We see it there, waiting in New York City, way back in 1966, having contractions, shrinking the future's promise, a past more futuristic dystopia than many a wised-up observer has yet seen manufactured for the screen.

Danny Lyon's first hit book, The Bikeriders, put him in high position. From 1963 to 1967, Lyon became part of the Chicago biker club/gang The Outlaws. What those photos capture are so truthful to human nature they represent the occult side of our here and now. Every "model" in The Bikeriders, whether posing for the camera, or ignoring it, or half following what Lyon asks them to do or not do, gives a look of irrevocable distance in their eyes. This isn't right-time-right-place photography. This is pure sensitivity and truth in documentary.

Lyon later explained that he became one of them during the shoots, and that they were always the rare type of guys (and gals) who didn't want to be photographed. That's part of the record. There's also the death threats involved in some of the exhibitions of the photographs.

This show at the Etherton gives a good example of how Danny's work stays alive some 40-plus years later. When you look at the photography of Danny Lyon, you see clearly the dark America that TV sitcoms helped parents erase from their children's view of the world, the darkness they feared. Erasing facts always backfires. Looking at America thru the lens of Danny Lyon, delivers a picture of the past America that shows us who we still are.  Then, as in this very moment, we are the heart of darkness.

Danny Lyon: Present Future, the Silverman Museum Collection runs through Aug. 31 at The Etherton Gallery, 135 South 6th Ave.; 624-7370.

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Monday, June 5, 2017

Tour Diaries! Final day of the Marianne Dissard Euro Tour: No Dirt, Jacques Brel and Wooden Sailboats!

Posted By on Mon, Jun 5, 2017 at 4:30 PM

Day 12, and last show- June 2.  Düsseldorf​: ​
I live in dread of not performing ever again. It's not an irrational fear. Tonight's show at the Düsseldorf Jazz Festival marks the end of our European spring tour, the "Woman, Who's A Woman" + special "man" guest tour. I did it all. Booking, promotion, hiring, firing, buying flights, driving and singing. Time to scream. We play a loud, raging set with hefty doses of sweetness and spunk alike to a very attentive audience. I speak little to our audience tonight, circling back to the image of the Titanic, deck chairs reshuffled and those words: "make the planet great again." I can't think of much else all day. Shivering, I nail "Amsterdam." the Jacques Brel cover, and shatter when I get off stage, unable to stand. Darkness pierced by smiles of strangers and friends, hugs. Is this it? What changed during the course of this tour? Sylvie Simmons now owns my Tucson home as of yesterday. I've fallen in love every single night with a different sound man—with my bandmates too, my wonderful, supportive, talented and wickedly fun and unencumbered bandmates Annie Dolan, Connor Gallaher and Brittany Katter. Dear Brian and Tucson Weekly, I have no dirt for you. No one got in trouble on this tour. No one got hurt. We weren't tar and feathered. Howe Gelb, our own homebrewed Casper, haunted the tour from Paris to finish. This has been easy. Not much else from this point will be. The return to mundane reality. Silence. In the morning, we will drive back to Paris and return flights to Tucson for the band. On Tuesday, I will go back home to my wooden sailboat in England. Thanks for reading. Till next!

Read the previous Marianne Dissard Tour Diaries entry here.

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Friday, June 2, 2017

Tour Diaries! Day 10 and 11 of the Marianne Dissard Euro Tour: Why Are We Such Needy Monsters and a Night at the Bumfuck Mitteleuropa Radisson

Posted By on Fri, Jun 2, 2017 at 6:00 PM

Connor Gallaher pondering his pedal board fix. - MARIANNE DISSARD
  • Marianne Dissard
  • Connor Gallaher pondering his pedal board fix.

Day 10​—May 31.
​Breakfast on tour is a hit-it-now or forever hold your tongue. Scrambled eggs make my heart leap. I rate ours **** this morning at the bumfuck Mitteleuropa Radisson. At the music mega store, we emergence Connor's power supply - his many pedals sucked dry the previous. Oh, how I wished we'd stayed put on that retail floor until proven the new power was key-turn easy and ready to pounce that rack of slugs and sloop benders, wheeze tuners and tone coughers that Connor nicknamed "my pedal board." 
Our show boat in Frankfurt - MARIANNE DISSARD
  • Marianne Dissard
  • Our show boat in Frankfurt

Springing life back onto the daisy-chained checker board will occupy most of our sound check time allowance in Frankfurt that evening and I try not to blow a fuse, not to beat myself too hard for letting it happen. Sound check is an ace-it-now or forever bite your tongue. But the show goes on and what a show! Again, we rock - the boat, yes truly as we are playing on a barge on the sleek and ducks river. A storied reunion of sort, with old friends and bookers from Das Bett, and a bright-eyed sound man with a full sleeve of scorpios black as midnight ink. Hotel that night sucks bad. Trip Advisor reviews warned us: "worst hotel in Europe." I love this life.

"Snail-pacing through Germany, Europa, trucks a wall of metal and money. " - MARIANNE DISSARD
  • Marianne Dissard
  • "Snail-pacing through Germany, Europa, trucks a wall of metal and money. "

Day ​11—May 31. Frankfurt:
Yep. That hotel sucked. But there was a bathtub. Hot water. Electricity. Wifi. It's 1 a.m. and I'm taking a bath, at last a bath. The phone rings. Connor forgot an adapter at the venue. I scream. Must drive back there now. Gas. Power. Frankfurt. Our hotel a block from the European Central Bank building. Power.​ And machines adding lanes on kilometers after kilometers of highways. Reconstruction. Autobahns. Snail-pacing through Germany, Europa, trucks a wall of metal and money. We make it at last to Nuremberg, a two-hour trip turned into a five hours acid wash. In town too, the traffic is insane. Our show? I drag myself on stage, muscles tense, mind a blank, with little force or consciousness. Power? From that pit of fear - to suck, to have nothing to give—come a shower of surprises. Here, a new way of singing, more meaning, there better fun, surprises between instruments, hilarious turn of syllables, notes bouncing on vocal walls. What do I fear most? I live in dread of never being able to be on stage again. Our venue tonight? Used to be a military caserne during the war. Our war today? We are our own worst enemy. Hot water. Electricity. Gas. Food. Power. We are so blind. You ask, why such tension on stage, why the rage—and the sweetness too? Aren't you enraged, aren't you? We are such fools, suckers, such needy monsters.

Read previous Tour Diary entries by Marianne Dissard here.

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Staff Pick

The Harry Potter Charity Ball

Strada Company presents a celebration and cosplay party of all things Harry Potter for the benefit of… More

@ Tucson Scottish Rite Cathedral Sat., July 29, 6-10 p.m. 160 S. Scott Ave.

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