Arts and Culture

Friday, March 27, 2020

If You Don't Have Plans To Go Out Tonight: Fox Tucson Theater Presents "Friday Nights In"

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2020 at 3:04 PM

  • Courtesy Fox Theater
It's Friday, which usually means going and doing something fun to cap off the end of the work or school week. What's that you say? Everything is closed? Well, not to worry! Tonight, Fox Presents Friday Nights In!

Co-hosted by Tucson Weekly, tonight's "Friday Nights In" features Acoustic Crossroads with singer/songwriters Billy Shaw Jr. & Amy Munoz right in your living room. Stream starting at 7 p.m. to take part in this virtual concert, without having to worry whether you're standing six feet away from the closest concertgoer.

Billy Shaw Jr. is a Tucson native and country music award-winning entertainer. Amy Munoz is a rocker who hails from Bakersfield, California, but has become a beloved Tucsonan. Get a taste of their tunes from your couch or dance like nobody's watching in your room.

For more information, visit the Facebook event here. We'll see you there!

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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Pima County Public Library temporarily shutting down

Posted By on Tue, Mar 17, 2020 at 4:01 PM

  • Courtesy photo
The Pima County Public Library announced Tuesday afternoon that all its locations and book drops will close at the end of the day.

Due dates have been extended until further notice. Digital materials will be available.
The announcement was made in a memo released by Pima County Administrator Chuck  Huckelberry, who said the closure was made “based on recent recommendations from the Arizona Library Association” and new guidance from the Centers for Disease control regarding public gatherings of more than 10 people.

According to Huckelberry, library staff will review the possibility of limited re-openings to include either limited hours at all 26 locations or limiting hours to “a single shift each day.”

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Bookmans Closes Amid COVID Shutdowns

Posted By on Tue, Mar 17, 2020 at 10:23 AM

  • Logan Burtch-Buus
As if the Book Fest and Rialto closing their doors weren't enough of a sign that these next few weeks will be rough, on Monday, March 16, Bookmans Entertainment Exchange announced it would be closing all of their stores for the next two weeks. As the pandemic spreads, Bookmans will reassess the situation and consider reopening their stores on Saturday, March 28.

"This decision was not taken lightly. We consider ourselves a community resource that can provide an oasis of calm when the world seems to have turned upside down. This is a critical moment on a global and personal scale. It is so important to be compassionate, supportive, and understanding at this time," read Bookmans' closure announcement.

Bookmans will also extend their return policy past the standard date for the next few weeks, "assuming, of course, that the items purchased are returned in the same condition they were purchased." 

For more information, visit

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The Rise of the Online Avatar

Posted By on Tue, Mar 17, 2020 at 8:15 AM

While the cancelation of events and changes to schedules here in Tucson are relatively new, closures are happening everywhere all over the world and have been for months now. Because of this, people are having to identify alternative means of gathering in groups for activities.

Although online avatars have been a thing for some time now through video games and other casual online forums, businesses have been trying to break into the online space for a few years for professional reasons. And, sure, live-streaming your event (a la SXSW) is also a great alternative, but it's definitely not as engaging or interactive.

Now, there's an even greater purpose than just creating your inner self into an online world. With the rise of social distancing comes the rise of the online avatar. For the most part, we don't even need newly created software. Everything we need is already available to use.

Japan, like other Asian nations, has been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic for some time now. Schools have been closed, and other ways of learning have been instituted. This hasn't stopped students from enjoying things like graduation.

In the below tweet you can see students using online avatars in Minecraft to hold a graduation ceremony.

click image "The venue is also very well made." - @BACKYENNEW
  • @backyennew
  • "The venue is also very well made."

Of course, this isn't the first time that Minecraft has been used for something outside of just being a game. Recently, Reporters Without Borders opened, "The Uncensored Library" in the game so that people from all over the world could share banned news articles from other countries.

VR Chat is another place where people from all walks of life gather in a virtual space. Most of the time it's silly chit chat, but every so often there are more serious talks. YouTuber Syrmor holds interviews with various people inside the game on sometimes difficult topics.

Second Life has been around for a long time but still has a strong group of hardcore users, some of which have experienced shopping, selling, dating, marriage, divorce, pride parades, and more. There's even an American Cancer Society Relay for Life event scheduled in June.

Then there's World of Warcraft. While technically it's not meant to be anything other than a Role Playing Game, because of this it can really be whatever you want it to be. Hardcore role-players have known this for years, and you can find them on many of the roleplaying servers that are provided for play. Others, though, have found different uses.

Of course, not every meeting held in World of Warcraft goes down as expected.

For a more professional take on the online avatar, there's XPlaneVR, who has made its software available for parties interested in hosting large events, classes, or symposiums.

  • XPlaneVR
There are other examples all over the internet if you just take a look. You never know which one might be right for you, and what you may use it for in the future. 

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Monday, March 16, 2020

MLB Season Postponed Due to COVID-19

Posted By on Mon, Mar 16, 2020 at 11:43 AM

  • Courtesy photo
Major League Baseball's 2020 season is being indefinitely postponed due to the growing coronavirus pandemic. The MLB statement:

Today Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. conducted a conference call with the 30 Clubs of Major League Baseball.  Following last night’s newly updated recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) restricting events of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks, the opening of the 2020 regular season will be pushed back in accordance with that guidance.

MLB will keep fans updated on decisions regarding plans for the 2020 schedule in the days and weeks ahead.  The Clubs remain committed to playing as many games as possible when the season begins.  We will continue to monitor ongoing events and undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts, and urge all baseball fans to follow suit.  MLB extends its best wishes to all the individuals and communities who have been impacted by the coronavirus.

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Thursday, March 12, 2020

Fox Tucson Theatre Announces It Will Cancel Shows Starting Monday, March 16; Asks Community for Financial Support

Posted By on Thu, Mar 12, 2020 at 4:51 PM


While downtown's Rialto Theatre said today it would continue with its upcoming shows, the Fox Tucson Theatre announced earlier today that it would suspend programming starting Monday, March 16, through Sunday, April 5.

"It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to suspend public performances at the Fox beginning Monday, March 16th through Sunday, April 5th," a notice on the theatre's website notes. "At that time, we will reevaluate the situation and continue to work with our touring artist partners to determine if and when rescheduling is possible."

The Fox team also made an appeal for financial support to make up for the losses it will suffer without programming:

Now we must ask for your help. There are serious financial consequences to such a decision, with literally hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line. This is nothing compared to the risk of loss of human life. However, such extreme losses coming all at once could threaten the viability of the Fox in the near term. In the nonprofit arts industry, profit margins are slim and we invest roughly 90% of the cost of an event upfront, funds we cannot recover. When events are canceled, refunding the related ticket revenue results in a complete loss.

In this unprecedented and unexpected moment, we are asking our community to rally around us. While each ticket holder is typically entitled to a refund in those rare circumstances when events are canceled, in this atypical situation we respectfully ask our audiences to consider crowdsharing the financial impact of this pandemic on the Fox.

Please donate back the value of your purchase to support the Fox Tucson. If this approach does not feel right for you, as a second option, we ask you to consider accepting a credit toward a future Fox event. If you do require a refund, we understand and will be happy to accommodate.

These are going to be tough months for the performing arts community.

Here's the complete statement from the Fox Tucson Theatre:

Continue reading »

Rialto Theatre Says the Show Will Go On, At Least For Now

Posted By on Thu, Mar 12, 2020 at 12:01 PM

The Rialto Theatre
  • The Rialto Theatre
The performing arts community has plenty to be concerned about with the pandemic now raging across with globe, with major festivals like SXSW and Coachella either canceling or postponing their 2020 events. And while there is only one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Pima County, there remains a lot of uncertainty because there are so few test kits that at this point that testing has been extremely limited here and across the country.

Already, this weekend's Tucson Festival of Books has been canceled (although that was more about the reluctance of authors to travel than concern about being in danger of catching COVID-19 at the University of Arizona). Other major events are on the horizon, including the Fourth Avenue Street Fair, the Tucson Folk Festival and the Pima County Fair. As of this morning, all those events are moving forward.

The show is going on at downtown's Rialto Theatre and 191 Toole, according to an email from Rialto Theatre Foundation Executive Director Curtis McCrary, who says that staff is taking additional steps to sanitize surfaces, wash their hands and stay home if they are sick. Likewise, the Rialto asks patrons to stay home if they are not feeling well or have recently traveled to an overseas COVID-19 hot spot.

Here's the letter from McCrary:

Dear Rialto and 191 Toole patrons, ticket buyers, and the Tucson community at large:

We wanted to let you know that we are very closely monitoring the rapidly developing situation with the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic, as it has officially been deemed as of today.

Although there are very few known cases in Arizona, and only one to date in Pima County, we understand the importance of doing everything possible to mitigate its spread. To that end, we are following CDC guidelines, any governmental guidance or strictures be they local, state, or federal, and we are in close communication with touring artist management as we collectively assess the situation as it unfolds.

We also have instructed our staff that it is of paramount importance they stay home if they are feeling even the slightest hint of sickness, and we will take any recommended measures, such as working from home or other social distancing, should they become necessary. In addition, we have issued extensive instruction to staff regarding hand-washing and sanitation practices that reflect the seriousness with which we take this matter, and will continue to do so on an ongoing basis.

It is our understanding that the spread of the COVID-19 virus comes most readily from surface contact transmission, so we’re taking every precaution possible regarding handwashing, use of hand sanitizer, and disinfection in bathrooms, bars and elsewhere.

For now, as shows and events on our calendar are still going on, we advise anyone planning to attend a show to consider carefully the potential risks, and follow best practices according to the CDC:

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Laughing Stock: Stock pot

Posted By on Thu, Mar 12, 2020 at 1:00 AM

A bigger Brew Ha Ha

A regular on Sirius FM and winner of festival awards across the US, Grant Lyon headlines this month’s Brew Ha Ha showcase at Borderlands Brewing. The show’s producers, Tucson comedians and co-hosts Matt Ziemak and Rory Monserrat, thus continue to expand their reach into the national talent pool while somehow maintaining a $5 admission price. Get it while it lasts at or at the door. The show is at 8 p.m., Monday, March 16,

Comedy fans might recognize Lyon from the Comedy Central Show, Corporate, and his starring role in the Amazon Prime feature film Killer Kate. He’s been on Funny Or Die, the nationally syndicated Bob and Tom Radio Show and the popular podcast Doug Loves Movies, as well as national commercials for AT&T and Johnsonville Sausage.

What sets him apart comically is a smart approach and surprising insights. Reviewers often cite his originality and fresh humor, rooted in fun facts and unassailable logic.

Local support includes Austin, TX’s favorite expat comic Joe Tullar; Nicole Riesgo, producer of Tucson Improv Movement’s Beginners & Veterans series, and Darryl Graves, who recently created the Shitz & Giggles open mic on Wednesdays at The Rock.

Kids’ comedy at the Tucson Festival of Books

Kids can play at improv comedy with F.O.M.P. (Friends of Make Pretends), at 10 a.m., Saturday, March 14, at the East Food Court (Science City) Stage. The stage is on the east side of Cherry Ave. on UArizona mall just south of Flandrau Planetarium. Presented by Tucson Improv Movement, this free show is usually performed every second Saturday at TIM Comedy Theater.

Terry Fator: America’s Got Talent

At age 42, Terry Fator’s family-friendly comedy flair swept season two of America’s Got Talent. That’s when his career veered from itinerant county fairs to a ten-year residency in Las Vegas. Fator returns to Desert Diamond Casino on Saturday, March 14. The show is at 8 p.m.; reservations are $40 to $69.50 through

Impressions are Fator’s stock in trade, but he also mixes music and puppetry into his sets. The Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas dubbed him “The VOICE of entertainment.”

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

If drag ballet were an Olympic sporting event, The Trocks would have retired the gold for gag. Theirs is, in a sense, a sport; training is grueling and often painful. The corps must perform with the precision and delicacy of ballerinas, but with the unbridled spirit of a pratfall. The costumes are, as Ru Paul fans would say, sickening.

The Trocks experience is a timely antidote to whatever hurts. You literally can’t be serious. They perform at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 18 at Centennial hall. Tickets are $38 to $60 via

Majestic Magic

Elias “Lefty” Caress presents his Majestic Magic Show in Clean Comedy Tucson’s Marana Laughs series, 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 13, at the Coyote Trail Stage, and in its Vail Laughs series at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 14, at Vail Theatre of the Arts. Reservations are $10 via and

Keep Laughing!

Friday, March 13, Family-friendly improv with Improv Blox Student Showcase, 6 p.m. (free); Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU), 7:30 p.m., ($5 - $8), and uncensored Free Form Friday at 9 p.m. (free), Unscrewed Theater. Improv with 3rd Beats, Harold Team Beta, and Leaning Towards Darby, 7:30 p.m. ($5) and The Soapbox featuring Cameo Davis and Jacquez Gray, 9 p.m. ($7), Tucson Improv Movement ‘s TIM Comedy Theater, ($10 for both shows). Standup with Matt Sadler featuring Derrick Lengwenus and host Ben Lewis, 8 and 10:30 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe ($12.50, $17.50).

Saturday, March 14, improv with Unscrewed Family Hour by Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU), 6 p.m., Unscrewed Theatre ($5-$8). NBOJU Uncensored is at 7:30 p.m., Unscrewed Theatre ($8). Sketch with Baby Fish Mouth and improv with Good Money, 7:30 p.m.; and Improv Madness duo team bracket at 9 p.m., TIM Comedy Theatre ($7 each; $10 for both shows.) Standup with Matt Sadler featuring Derrick Lengwenus and host Ben Lewis, 8 and 10:30 p.m., Laff’s Comedy Caffe ($12.50, $17.50). Thursday, March 19, Improv with Choice Cut and Improv 101, 7:30 p.m. ($5); open improv jam, 8:30 (free), TIM Comedy Theatre.

Free Open Mics

Sunday, March 15, 6:30 p.m., The O; 8 p.m., Chuckleheads, Bisbee; 8:30 p.m., The County Line Lounge and Grille.
Monday, March 16, 6:45 p.m., The Surly Wench; 9 p.m., Kava Bar.
Tuesday, March 17, 6:45 p.m., The Music Box Lounge.
Wednesday, March 18, 7 p.m., The Screening Room; 8 p.m., The Mint; 9:30 p.m., The Rock.
Thursday, March 19, 8 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe; 8 p.m.

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Canceled: Sahba Home and Patio Show

Featuring more than 300 exhibitors come and see what is new in home improvement trends, remodeling and… More

@ Tucson Convention Center March 6-April 5, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 260 S. Church Ave.

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