Arts and Culture

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Trees Speak Release Ohms

Posted By on Thu, Jan 23, 2020 at 12:02 PM

As depicted in many of the world's religions, a tree represents the link between the underworld, the Earth and the heavens. Led by acclaimed artist Daniel Martin Diaz, this Tucson experimental rock band’s architecture is a sentient ecology of the cosmos.

If you listen closely; Solar winds speak, oceans speak and Trees Speak.

Using sound, signals and vibes. They speak constantly, even if quietly, communicating above and below ground, connecting with everything that exists, and just possibly you. Scientists increasingly argue that humans can learn to hear this ancient form of communication.

Although "tree" is used in common parlance, there is no universally recognized definition of what a tree is botanically. Much like the band. By incorporating elements of avant-garde, minimalism, neo-psychedelic and electronica—”along with violin-bowed guitar, theremin and a glut of effects pedals”—Trees Speak transcend the mainstream: Their branches extending towards the sky.

And, similar to photosynthesis, Trees Speak capture energy and convert it into something else.
Trees Speak's setlist - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Trees Speak's setlist

“Our intention is to create music with an unrehearsed minimalist approach performing simple beats, riffs, and sequences that take one inward. We let the musical performance sculpt its own destiny and create imperfect perfection. Our tool of creation is the anxiety one feels when they are unrehearsed or prepared for a performance. We believe this approach brings us closer to the authentic self. The result is genuine music without an agenda that captures the unfiltered spirit.”

In keeping with the lofty dialectic of kosmische musik (cosmic music, in German), a genre of electronic music which originated in West Germany in the 1960s—where titanic and barbarous forces struggle mysteriously with an underlying unity—Trees Speak seek to patch their hearts onto your soul.

Avant-experimentalists Trees Speak—joined on stage by Birds and Arrows with vocoder and guitar treatments—fête the release of Ohms with a visually provocative live show. On Friday, Jan. 24. At the historic Club Congress. Performances by Ryan Alfred (on modular synthesizer) and modern dancer Ravenna add appreciably to the event.

For the uninitiated, here is a taste. 

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Thursday, January 16, 2020

Laughing Stock: The Sound of Music

Posted By on Thu, Jan 16, 2020 at 9:14 AM

Neil Hamburger is a mess, a joke and a very smart guy. - SIMONE TURKINGTON
  • Simone Turkington
  • Neil Hamburger is a mess, a joke and a very smart guy.

Comedy so outsider it’s insider

Neil Hamburger is an awful comedian. His affect is palpably awkward. A Sartorial disaster, his clothes look like Goodwill rejects from the sixties. His hair needs a hot bath. His singing is like Leonard Cohen’s as it might sound in The Upside Down, which is to say it’s near perfect in spite of itself.

As colorful and character-drenched as his most obvious features are, they say little about the man. They provide cerebrally irreverent Gregg Turkington with cover for his subversive take on contemporary culture and values. If you don’t laugh at your life, you’re not listening. “Some might say this is a lowbrow show,” Turkington says. “but when I’m making doo doo jokes or jokes about Elton John, it's all in service of, you know, making larger points.”

He acknowledges that his Hamburger character requires a little more intellectual commitment than the average club comic. But his fans also expect more music. Turkington’s been recording for Drag City’s venerable indie record label for more than twenty years, from the moment he overthrew youthful punk immersion for fanzine-level commitment to deeply sincere emotional expression and top shelf musicianship.

“It’s got nothing to say,” says Turkington of current punk music. Perhaps it’s enough to say it’s just another genre, now. “I feel like punk became more regimented than just about any other style of music. Now, my favorite stuff to listen to is really well-produced pop records from the sixties. I just want something with some personality.”

Hamburger’s musical performance owes roughly 20% to Tiny Tim and another 20% to Steve Allen. The music, though, is splendid. Drag City, released his 12th record, Still Dwelling, a year ago in all formats. It inspired half a dozen visual artists around the world to create videos for it; four are now available online, including one animation and a puppet show.

“When Still Dwelling came out, people said the music is incredible because of the musicianship,” Turkington says, Songs include compositions by Paul Simon, Paul McCartney, Mark Eitzel and Nancy Wilson. Instruments include a sitar, a saw and a clarinet. Jack Black contributes vocals.
“But I’ve got people saying, ‘Yeah, but I don’t know about the vocals.’ I’m thinking 95% of the songs on the charts are autotuned. That sounds like robotic voices.” No one would confuse Turkington or and Hamburger with robots, though. In fact, they are sui generis.

Turkington appears as Hamburger at 191 Toole on Friday, Jan. 17. Tickets are $20 and $25, including fees, at rialtotheatre.com

Funnier than he looks

John Green was named “Best of the Fest” at the Burbank comedy festival, no mean feat in metropolitan area where you can’t swing a blunt without a half-dozen comics taking a hit.
Green was a long time coming back to his childhood dream of standup notoriety. He studied music through school, then trod the path to success as a Phoenix-area businessman. In his ‘30s, he fell in love with improv. First as a fan, then as a talented improviser, he honed the skills and, even more, the confidence to face an audience alone, even with what he calls his “resting murder face”.

Now Green’s set occasionally includes a song improvised at an audience member’s request to embarrass their friend or mate. Mainly, though, Green’s comedy backbone is good, clean fun. He says in his bio, “There seems to be a stigma about calling yourself a ‘clean’ comic, almost like you’re not a true artist. My only mission with comedy is to make people laugh and feel good about laughing.”

Green is featured at The O at 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 18. Reservations are $7, $5 in advance via Eventbrite.

MLK Weekend reminder

John Roy’s Jesuit father and psychotherapist mom may have had higher aspirations for him than to be a standup comedian. Alas for them, he absorbed the influence of their diverse, artsy and gritty Rogers Park, Chicago, neighborhood. It gave him the breezy confidence and wide-ranging comic flair that made him champion of CBS’s 2003 Star Search and led to appearances on The Tonight Show, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing and Conan. He’s also performed regularly on cable network TV, independent comedy shows and satellite radio via his record, Dressed for Recess.”

Roy appears at Laffs Comedy Caffe on Friday at 8 and 10:30 p.m., Saturday at 7 and 9:30 p.m., And Sunday at 7 p.m. Reservations are $12.50 and $17.50 via laffstucson.com.

More Laughs!

Friday, Jan. 17, long-form improv with TIM Teachers Lounge and The Flower Boys at 7:30 p.m. ($5,) and The Soapbox featuring Bryan Sanders (flag shirt guy)($7) at 9 p.m., at Tucson Improv Movement (TIM) (both shows $10). Family-friendly improv with Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m., Unscrewed Theatre ($5 kids and $8 adults).

Saturday, Jan. 18, Improv with The Ugly Sweater Show and Harold Alpha at 7:30 p.m., and another Ugly Sweater Show with The Dating Scene at 9 p.m., TIM ($5). Family-friendly improv with Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m., and Unscrewed Double Feature at 9 p.m., Unscrewed Theater ($5 and $8)

Monday, Jan. 20, standup showcase Brew Ha Ha features Leland Long, Jimmy Callaway, Monte Benjamin and Stephanie Lyonga at Borderlands Brewing at 8 p.m., $5.

Wednesday, Jan. 22, standup with Tom Briscoe at the Desert View Performing Arts Center at 7P30 p.m. ($22)

Thursday, Jan. 23, standup showcase Casa de Comedy is at Casa Marana at 8 p.m., free.

Free Open Mics

Sunday, Jan. 19, 6:30 p.m., The O, and 8 p.m., Chuckleheads in Bisbee.
Monday, Jan. 20, 7 p.m., Comedy at the Wench, The Surly Wench Pub.
Tuesday, Jan. 21, 6:45 p.m., Neighborhood Comedy at The Music Box Lounge.
Weds, Jan. 22, 7 p.m., The Screening Room
Thursday, Jan. 23, 8 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe and 8:30 p.m., Rockabilly Grill.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Bonnie Schock Named Executive Director At Fox Theatre

Posted By on Wed, Jan 15, 2020 at 9:51 AM

COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
Hailing from the Sheldon Theatre of Performing Arts in Red Wing, Minnesota, Bonnie Schock was selected to lead the Fox Theatre. She will begin her tenure March 9, 2020.

Schock said she is delighted and honored to join the Fox Theatre, built in 1930 in downtown Tucson.

“I believe in the performing arts as a space for community building, where we get to know ourselves, our neighbors, and our world better,” Schock said in a statement announcing the move. “And, after 30 years in this work, I have come to know that historic facilities play a particularly vital role in the arts ecosystem, for all the memories they hold and the connections they foster.

Schock has been the executive director of the Sheldon Theatre since 2015, and was found after a national search conducted for the Fox Tucson Theatre Foundation Board of Directors. She will fill the position left vacant by former longtime executive director Craig Sumberg, who was recently selected to lead The South Orange Performing Arts Center in South Orange, New Jersey.

“The Fox is truly a rare treasure - the kind of special place that works across time, as a tangible link between past, present, and future,” Schock said. “I am excited to begin work with the board, the vibrant Tucson arts and cultural community, the Fox's many and diverse supporters, and the skilled staff to build on the Fox's many past and current successes, and to imagine together a vibrant future."

The Fox announced that informal community meet and greet events are in the planning stages to welcome Schock to Tucson and the rest of Southern Arizona.

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Friday, January 10, 2020

Soul Box Project Honors Those Affected by Gun Violence

Posted By on Fri, Jan 10, 2020 at 1:28 PM

Meg Pradelt with the Soul Box Project shows two young girls how to make the origami style boxes at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library on Jan. 8. - AUSTIN COUNTS
  • Austin Counts
  • Meg Pradelt with the Soul Box Project shows two young girls how to make the origami style boxes at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library on Jan. 8.

“If you could save a life by folding two pieces of paper together, would you do it?”

That’s the question asked by the Soul Box Project, a Portland-based gun safety advocate group that travels across the country, giving communities an artistic view of those affected by gun violence. The project was at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library on Wednesday, Jan. 8.

Soul Boxes are origami-style boxes made by people who have either been affected by gun violence and/or want to show support for those who have. The boxes are a way to honor those killed by gun violence and help give survivors solace, according to the project’s website.

Meg Pradelt, representative for the project, said she felt Tucson was an appropriate place to encourage Tucsonans to participate since so many here have been affected by gun violence, before, during and after the 2011 Tucson shooting.

“We want to send (the boxes) to Portland to be incorporated in quilt-like panels that can be set up to give a visual impression of the number of people killed and injured by guns in the country every year,” said Pradelt.

The panels are assembled to hold 98 soul boxes and can be displayed adjacent to other panels so the ultimate effect looks like one giant piece of fabric, according to Pradelt. This way the project can display thousands of boxes at one time, Pradelt said.

Continue reading »

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Thursday, January 9, 2020

Laughing Stock: Fringy, sketchy and forward-looking

Posted By on Thu, Jan 9, 2020 at 1:00 AM

Are the Cosmonauts fighting over who will ride shotgun on the drive from Phoenix to the Tucson Fringe Festival? - THE COSMONAUTS ON FACEBOOK
  • The Cosmonauts on Facebook
  • Are the Cosmonauts fighting over who will ride shotgun on the drive from Phoenix to the Tucson Fringe Festival?
Funny at the Fringe

By definition, Fringe Fest performers don’t fit any category, but many of them are comedy acts, and this year’s Tucson Fringe Festival, January 9 through 11, features more than most.

“There's so much comedy!!!” fest honcho Maryann Green texted us. "’<=2’, (less than or equal to two) is sketch comedy from the directors of the Elgin Fringe Festival. 'How To Contract Lycanthropy' is dry humor from award-winning Minneapolis Fringe Festival artist Matthew Kessen. 'Sexology the Musical' promises to be a rockin’ good time.” And Green is just getting started.

Tucson Fringe Fest is popular for a wide range of great, little-known talent. Green and her team see, screen and invite plenty of fringe acts they know will find a Tucson audience. But their strategy of short shows and low prices all but guarantees a good time. If you don’t love the show you’re seeing, there’s another within the hour that could blow you away.

Admission to the fest is $3 for a button. Shows are $10 each, but passes are available for two, five or eight shows each for $18 to $64. Tickets and details of all the shows are at shop.tucsonfringe.org.

Twenty-two shows will be performed more than 50 times in five venues that are less than a mile apart downtown. They include The Screening Room, Steinfeld Warehouse, StudioONE, the Cabaret Theatre at the Temple of Music and Art and The Circus Academy.

Much excitement around this year’s fest is about the 16 acts appearing for the first time, including Phoenix sketch comedy team The Cosmonauts. The eight-year-old ensemble has performed in multiple festivals. They suggest that the audience think of them “like Saturday Night Live, but R-rated”

Green continues, “Space Force is a political farce.” And then she touches on the one we want to see most: “‘Silly Woman’ is about two young comedians discovering the comedy genius of funny females of the past, like Phyllis Diller and Lucille Ball. ‘Tammy's Bachelorette’ is an interactive comedy romp through a ‘Whiskey Tango’ wedding.” We think she means “white trash,” but she wouldn’t ever punch down.

“(Longtime local favorite) Tom Potter is doing a set he calls ‘The History of American Musical Humor’," she says, comparing him, a little hesitantly, to Dr. Demento. We get that one! He’ll have funny lyrics to songs we recognize.

"’What Will You’, Green says,"is a modern queer take on Shakespeare’s comedy, Twelfth Night, and, finally, ‘You've Got To Be Kidding Me’ is a live comedy podcast about carrying the emotional baggage of childhood."

If you’re reading this on Thursday, you can head over to Café Passé for a preview party from 6 to 9 p.m. Fest acts perform two-minute samples of their sets, and audience members win raffles and prizes.

Martin Luther King Day weekend

There is so much comedy headed your way, you should just block out the next two weekends. Upcoming we have an impossible choice among three top comedians plus the usual great improv shows. And from Jan. 25 through Feb. 1, every night has at least one and up to eight shows for the Tucson Comedy Crawl. It’s more than two-dozen shows, produced by and with members of Tucson’s burgeoning comedy scene, and it’s all sponsored by Tucson Weekly and Tucson Local Media.

Here’s a head start on next weekend, though, with comedy booked especially for Martin Luther King Weekend.

Matt Kearney’s LOL Jam returns to The Viscount Suites at 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 18. Tickets are $15, or $20 for VIP seating, via grownsexy.ticketleap.com. Rob Rodriguez hosts, reminding us once again that we don't see him often enough in Tucson. The Lineup includes BET Allstar Drew Frazer, Kool Bubba Ice and local newcomer Janize.

Laffs Comedy Caffé hosts Jon Roy for five shows the same weekend. Clever and clean, with a megawatt resume, Roy riffs like a funny best friend on cultural anomalies, dilemmas of childhood, racial tolerance and the chaos that is contemporary media. His jokes can land with impressions or inspire a song. Jimmy Calloway features. Details and tickets are at laffstucson.com/coming-soon.html.

More Comedy

Friday, Jan. 10: Standup with Tyler Boeh featuring Jeff Horste at 8 and 10:30 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe ($12.50 and $17.50). Improv Happy Hour at 7:30 p.m. ($5) and The Soapbox at 9 p.m. ($7) at TIM Comedy Theatre (TIM)($10 for both shows. All shows $2 off with Cat Card). Family-friendly improv with Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m. and Freeform Friday at 9 p.m., Unscrewed Theater ($5 and $8).

Saturday, Jan. 11: Standup with Phoenix prop comedian, Dan Hanson, featuring local favorite Josiah Osego opening and Nick Chant as host at 8 p.m., The O ($7 door; $10 Eventbrite. Tyler Boeh featuring Jeff Horste at 7 and 9:30 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe ($12.50 and $17.50). Kids improv, F.O.M.P. (Friends of Make Pretends) at 2 p.m. at TIM Comedy Theatre ($5) Improv at 7:30 and 9 p.m. at TIM ($7, both shows for $10, $2 off with Cat Card). Improv with Unscrewed Family Hour at 6 p.m., Family Friendly NBOJU at 7:30 p.m., and NBOJU: Uncensored at 9 p.m., Unscrewed Theater ($5 and $8).

Free Open Mics

Sunday, Jan. 12, 6:30 p.m., The O, and 8 p.m., Chuckleheads in Bisbee.
Monday, Jan. 13, 7 p.m., Comedy at the Wench, The Surly Wench Pub.
Tuesday, Jan. 14, 6:45 p.m., Neighborhood Comedy, The Music Box Lounge.
Wednesday, Jan. 15, 7 p.m., The Screening Room and 8:30 p.m., The Mint.
Thursday, Jan 16. 8 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe and 8:30 p.m., Rockabilly Grill.

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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Davis Dominguez Gallery Closing After 43 Years, Lerua’s Mexican Restaurant Eyeing Move into Downtown Space

Posted By on Wed, Jan 8, 2020 at 1:37 PM

"Patio Table With Chairs," by Tucson artist Joanne Kerrihard, will be in the Davis Dominguez exhibition opening this Saturday.
  • "Patio Table With Chairs," by Tucson artist Joanne Kerrihard, will be in the Davis Dominguez exhibition opening this Saturday.

Davis Dominguez, a long-running gallery of contemporary art and a respected venue that shows many local artists, will close its doors at the end of June.

After that, the gallery’s elegant warehouse space at 154 E. Sixth St. may house the popular Mexican restaurant Lerua’s, which lost its own longtime space to the Broadway widening, Lerua’s is in negotiations, says building owner Mark Berman, but no contract has been signed.

Wife and husband gallerists, Candice Davis, age 72, and Mike Dominguez, age 73, say that they had been considering closing the gallery for some time.

“Candy and I have been semi-retired for the last couple of years,” Dominguez said Wednesday afternoon, with painter Juan Enriquez(cq) running the gallery several days a week. The two owners are devoted hikers and, Davis added, “We’re in good shape. There are lots of things we can do.”

Berman said that their current lease actually ends March 1, but he’s allowing the pair to keep the gallery going until June 30, when Davis Dominquez typically ends its season.

The gallery will stage three more shows, including Pure Abstract: Paintings by Joanne Kerrihard, collage and paintings by Amy Metier and sculpture by Steve Murphy, which opens with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday night. (See info on all three shows below.)

It will be a scramble to clear out the gallery in the short time after the final exhibition ends June 13. Among the many tasks, the owners will have to ship years of artworks back to the artists.

“I’m nervous about getting it all done,” Davis says.

Dominguez and Davis have rented the space from Berman for some 20 years, and they say they’ve had a productive relationship.

“Mark is the finest landlord and a great supporter of the arts,” Dominguez said.

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Thursday, December 26, 2019

Laughing Stock: Laugh this year outta here!

Posted By on Thu, Dec 26, 2019 at 12:05 PM

Ron Feingold is a one-man musical comedy, standup pro and New Year’s Eve party at Laff’s Comedy Caffe. - RON FEINGOLD
  • Ron Feingold
  • Ron Feingold is a one-man musical comedy, standup pro and New Year’s Eve party at Laff’s Comedy Caffe.
Most funny for your money

Laff’s Comedy Caffe is the place for the that New Year’s date: fancy dinner, champagne and a show to help count down the old year, then home in time to cuddle up and watch the fireworks around the world. Or hit the late show for champagne and sweets with your sweetie. Or your Meetup Group or your homies or BFFs. Entertainer Ron Feingold couldn’t be a better choice for an evening everybody wants to leave happy.

A Feingold show is literally all things to all people. He has movie-star looks and swagger but can sing like Kermit the Frog with a vocal technique that makes it sound like a duet. All his impressions are spot on, and his observations craftily twisted.

He can mix things up with intelligent innuendo and a remarkably sophisticated dick joke, when the occasion permits. His website includes clips of his original songs, F-You Button and Prostate. And yet, his career cornerstone is as a comedian and emcee for squeaky clean conference formats. He also offers his own conference presentation, The Power of the Smile, which combines his music and comedy with an almost scholarly grasp of how smiling affects life and work.

Feingold has been acting since he was 10, mostly in musical comedies. By the time he was in college, he was leveraging his comedy theatre experience into a standup career. He became a licensed pilot and earned a psychology degree, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. His life since then has been a steady stream of comedy clubs, cruise ships and corporate events.

Showtimes are 7:30 for the dinner show and 9 p.m. for the dessert bar. Admission is $30 plus drinks, tax and gratuities. Visit laffstucson.com/newyears or call for information and reservations.

TIM’s Year-End Laugh Out

Wear your ugly holiday sweater one last time at Tucson Improv Movement on New Year’s Eve. It’s good for $1 off beer, wine and White Claw all night, and the theater has stocked champagne for the occasion.

TIM’s intimate, 45-seat theater can be cozy like a party with friends. Its New Year’s events have sold out in years past. Tickets are $10 for two shows, 7:30 and 9 p.m., or $7 each. Advance reservations are via squareup.com or tucsonimprov.com.

The evening’s entertainment, New Year, Who ‘Dis, features a 7:30 extravaganza of 16 ugly-sweater-clad, top TIM improvisers playing for audience interaction and laughs-per-minute. At 9 p.m., TIM’s premier team, The Soapbox, will riff on stories told by five of the most popular monologists who performed with them in 2019.

To help give the year a laugh-loaded send-off, the team welcomes back TIM member and producer of Keep Tucson Sketchy Rich Gary, Unscrewed Theatre member and standup comedian Allana Erickson-Lopez, fashion designer Carmen Melero, founder of the Tucson Fringe Festival Maryann Green and journalist, crime reporter and author, AJ Flick.

Last laughs for 2019 at Hotel McCoy


Hotel McCoy’s popular free monthly comedy showcase, Last Friday, Last Laughs, wraps up its first year with a great local lineup from 8 to 9:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 27. Full houses have been the rule lately, so plan to arrive early for seating. Pinche’s food truck will be on hand for dinner.

The lineup includes Autumn Horvat, Kev Lee, Dom DiTolla, David Ross, Eli Turner, Paul Fox, Andrea Salazar and Monte Benjamin. Visiting former Tucsonan Noah Copfer rounds out the bill. Copfer now plies his comedy and acting skills in L.A., but apparently returns for holidays. He also stopped in for The Mint open mic over Thanksgiving weekend.

After the show at Hotel McCoy, you can head on over to SkyBar for …

What Really Happened?

Josiah Osego and Alex Kack return to SkyBar for another edition of What Really Happened from 9:30 to 11 p.m., Friday, December 27. The original show invites standup comedians to tell five short stories each, and then let the audience decide which one is not true. Winning audience members get prizes and discounts with their bragging rights.

This month’s comedians include Bisbee comic and open mic host Maggie O’Shea, newcomer Abigail Chesney and up and comers Jesus Otamendi, Tim Maggard and Nick Chant.

Even More Laughs


Friday, Dec. 27, Standup with Ron Feingold at 8 and 10:30 p.m. ($12.50 and $17.50), Laffs Comedy Caffe. Improv with The Riveters, Portmansplain and Choice Cut at 7:30 p.m., and The Soapbox at 9 p.m. ($5), Tucson Improv Movement (TIM). Family-friendly improv with Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m. ($5 and $8) and Free Form Friday Fight Night, 9 p.m.(free), Unscrewed Theater.

Saturday, Dec. 28, Standup with Ron Feingold at 7 and 9:30 p.m. ($12.50 and $17.50), Laffs Comedy Caffe, and comedian-magician Rod Wayne at 8 p.m. ($10 via Eventbrite, $15 at the door), The O. Improv with Laugh Tracks and The Game Show Show at 7:30 p.m., and The Dating Scene and Pilot Season at 9 p.m. ($5) TIM. Family-friendly improv with Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m. Uncensored improv with NBOJU at 9 p.m. ($5 and $8), Unscrewed Theater.

Free Open Mics

Sunday, Dec. 29, 6:30 p.m., The O, and 8 p.m., Chuckleheads in Bisbee.
Wednesday, Jan. 1, 7 p.m., The Screening Room.
Thursday, Jan. 2, 8 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe, and 8:30 p.m., Rockabilly Grill.

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Thursday, December 19, 2019

Laughing Stock: Quality Comedy Week!

Posted By on Thu, Dec 19, 2019 at 1:00 AM

Kristine Levine is the frosting and the cake at Brew Ha Ha’s 4th Anniversary show, Friday, Dec. 20 at Borderlands Brewing. - JIMI GIANNATTI
  • Jimi Giannatti
  • Kristine Levine is the frosting and the cake at Brew Ha Ha’s 4th Anniversary show, Friday, Dec. 20 at Borderlands Brewing.
Kristine Levine heads up an anniversary bash

Almost any comedy club in the country would welcome the lineup for Brew Ha Ha’s fourth-anniversary show. Kristine Levine headlines a bill that includes Jamie Kilstein, who just co-headlined with Ian Harris at 191 Toole; perennially popular regional headliner Pauly Casillas; and Michael Longfellow, who headlines at The O on Tuesday, December 21.

After four years of getting better almost monthly, Tucson’s longest-running independent comedy show is also its best value. Incredibly, tickets are still just $5. The celebration is at 8 p.m., Friday, December 20 at Borderlands Brewery. Make reservations on squareup.com or pay at the door. Dogs are always welcome.

According to her biography at kristinelevine.com, “Kristine is best known for her role on the hit Netflix series Portlandia, and her starring role in the recently re-released film, 'The Unbookables'."
The Unbookables, produced by comedian Doug Stanhope, introduced the world to what’s been called The Doug Stanhope Family. Often recognized as one of America’s top comedians, Stanhope is cursed, or blessed, with a blazing intellect and unique cultural fluency in the midnight realms of human opportunity.

For The Unbookables, first released in 2012, Stanhope loaded an unreliable van with hand-picked acolytes and dispatched them on a tour of sleazy midwestern comedy clubs. The results, hilarious, provocative and defiant, were re-released last year on Amazon Prime Video.

Levine also appeared in Welcome to Bridgetown, a documentary about the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, starring Patton Oswalt; Stanhope’s TV special documentary, Beer Hall Putsch; and the TV series, Permanent Comedy with Todd Armstrong.

In 2018 she released a popular recording of her explicit spoken word and comedy performance, “Hey Sailor,” on the Stand Up! Records label. It’s available via Amazon.com Music and other online outlets.

Levine’s comedy endearingly and alarmingly revolves around more than a decade working in a porn store and raising three children. By all accounts, she did an exceptional job at both.

Since moving from her Portland home town, she has become a local standup icon and radio star in Tucson, co-hosting The Frank Show on 96.1 KLPX from 6 to 10 a.m., weekdays. The show can be heard streaming live at klpx.com.

Her bio says it best, “A mother of three, married four times, with stories of love, disaster and 14 years clerking in a porn store, this woman has lived to see it all.” She also is the first female comedian to have toured all 50 states.

Casillas is the only local in the lineup. He’s the devoted, hometown-bound dad of two very young daughters. The nationwide popularity of his Twitter account launched him into standup when his wife was pregnant with their first daughter. His stage range has since extended primarily to Phoenix, where he is as popular as he is here. He founded The Switch, a combination improv, and standup show, that still runs at The Hut, hosted by Matt Ziemak. Casillas now hosts it periodically in Phoenix’s trendy Crescent Ballroom.

We wrote about new Tucsonan-via-Los Angeles Jamie Kilstein last week when he co-headlined with Ian Harris at 191 Toole. It was a festival of nerdish comedy and the people who love it. Kilstein’s laugh lines come in a rush of bemusement about paradoxes the rest of us take for granted.

A late addition to the bill is Michael Longfellow, about whom you’ll find more, below. He also headlines at The O on Saturday, December 21.

Michael Longfellow at The O

At the age of 25, Michael Longfellow has a solid grounding for a successful comedy career. He's placed second in Atlanta’s storied Laughing Skull Comedy Festival. He also has performed on Conan and was tapped by Turner Broadcasting (TBS) as one of its Comics to Watch. Fans now can follow him on Hidden America with Jonah Ray and Bring The Funny on NBC.

It just shows how far good looks, ambition, talent and hard work can take some people. Longfellow started comedy and college at the same time in his home town of Phoenix. He performed regularly at the Tempe Improv and Stand Up Live. Importantly, he also helped run The Big Pine Comedy Festival in Flagstaff, where he met comedians and producers from all over the country.

Longfellow headlines at The O at 8 p.m., Saturday, December 21. Reservations are $7 via Eventbrite and $10 at the door. The club has a two-drink minimum. The O encourages audience members to enjoy its new, free after-show tradition of karaoke with the comedians.

More Laughs!

Friday, Dec. 20, Standup with Michael Malone, 8 and 10:30 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe ($12.50 and $17.50) and Beginners and Veterans Comedy at 10:30 p.m. at Tucson Improv Movement (TIM)($5) Long-form improv with Choice Cut, Improv 401 and Como Se Dice at 7:30 p.m. and The Soapbox at 9 p.m., at Tucson Improv Movement (TIM) ($5). Family-friendly improv with Completely Unscrewed (NBOJU full cast) at 7:30 p.m., Unscrewed Theatre ($5 and $8).

Saturday, Dec. 21: Standup with Michael Malone at 7 and 9:30 p.m., at Laffs Comedy Caffe ($12.50 and $17.50). Improv with The Ugly Sweater Show and Harold Alpha at 7:30 p.m., and another Ugly Sweater Show with The Dating Scene at 9 p.m., TIM ($5). Family-friendly improv with Elves Gone Bad: A Pirate’s Christmas at 1 p.m., Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m., and Unscrewed Double Feature at 9 p.m., Unscrewed Theater ($5 and $8)

Free Open Mics

Sunday, Dec. 22, 6:30 p.m., The O, and 8 p.m., Chuckleheads in Bisbee.
Monday, Dec. 23, 7 p.m., Comedy at the Wench, The Surly Wench Pub.
Tuesday, Dec. 24, 6:45 p.m., Neighborhood Comedy at The Music Box Lounge.
Thursday, Dec. 26, 8 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe and 8:30 p.m., Rockabilly Grill.

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