Friday, December 4, 2020

Posted By on Fri, Dec 4, 2020 at 3:22 PM

While it might not be safe to take your kids to sit on Santa's lap this year, that doesn't mean ol' Kris Kringle won't be back downtown for the annual Miracle on Congress Street.

Starting Friday, Dec. 4, Santa will be up on the rooftop at Playground, 278 E. Congress St., to wave to kids from the proverbial safe physical distance. Kids can drop their letter to Santa in a mailbox on Fifth Avenue next to the Tucson Together mural painted on the side of Playground.

Plus, all good boys and girls get a free scoop of peppermint ice cream from the HUB Ice Cream truck, which will be on hand to bring us all a little more holiday cheer.

And if the grownups in your group have been good, HUB
Restaurant and Ice Creamery has put together a new cocktail menu to celebrate the season. Among the offerings:

- Santa’s Peanut Butter Cookies (Screwball peanut butter whiskey, creme de Cacao, half/half)

- Red wine and winter spices (Orange, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg)

- Spiced Rum (cream of coconut, vanilla, cinnamon

- Tucson Boulevardier (Del Bac, Campari, Sweet Vermouth

Santa will be on duty between 4 and 6:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday every weekend through Dec. 19. (After that, Santa has a lot of work to get done!) Free parking is available at the nearby AC Marriott Downtown.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Posted By on Mon, Oct 12, 2020 at 10:14 AM

click to enlarge JEFF GARDNER
Jeff Gardner
Public Brewhouse enjoyed its final weekend on Oct. 10-11 after more than five years of selling unique craft beers just off of Fourth Avenue. Citing COVID-19 as a primary contributor to their closing, the "nanobrewery" thanks locals for the years of support.

While Public Brewhouse offered a wide variety of beers from seasonal stouts to Sonoran sours, they also carved out a niche for themselves with trivia nights, board games and live music.

“Our name, Public, comes from the idea that a pub is a public house. We really wanted to create an environment people feel comfortable coming into," head brewer Mike Gura previously told the Tucson Weekly.

Shortly before the pandemic hit, Public Brewhouse expanded in February with a sister location, Public Taphouse at 6720 E. Camino Principal, which remains on COVID hiatus.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Posted By on Tue, Sep 15, 2020 at 2:30 PM

click to enlarge Damage to the storage-shed at Putney's Sports Bar and Grill after Tuesday morning's suspected arson fire. - FERNANDO GOMEZ
Fernando Gomez
Damage to the storage-shed at Putney's Sports Bar and Grill after Tuesday morning's suspected arson fire.

The storage shed of Putney’s Pitstop Sports Bar and Grill, located at 6090 N Oracle Rd, was set ablaze in a suspected arson fire in the early hours of Tuesday.

Owner Fernando Gomez said his security cameras show a male wearing a black hood and COVID mask pouring gasoline on the business’ storage-shed and then placing two Duralogs under the wooden fence surrounding the bar's patio. A quick flick of the wrist ignited a match and the structure went up in flames.

Gomez suspects the arson’s motive is due to their COVID mask requirement as directed by the state for reopening during the pandemic.

“With requiring people to wear masks, we’ve been having to turn away a lot of people. We always tell them we’re trying to stay open. If we don’t comply, we’ll be shut down,” Gomez said. “We even give out free masks if they don’t have one. But a lot of people start talking shit to us or our staff.”

Only the storage-shed and an exterior wall enclosing the establishment’s patio was scorched. While the official tally of damages has yet to be determined, Gomez estimates around $15,000-$20,000 in damages was caused by the blaze.

“We’ve only been open two weeks and now this shit happens,” Gomez said. “But the bar wasn’t hurt at all, thank God,” Gomez said. “The main thing that got destroyed was our tables and chairs we had pulled out of the place to follow occupancy guidelines.”

The fire started at 3:36 a.m., according to Putney’s exterior security cameras. Local firefighters were on the scene within four minutes, helping reduce the amount of damage to the bar itself. Police were called to the scene and found what they believe to be the suspect’s COVID mask which might be able to provide clues to who started the fire.

“(Police) can get DNA from that mask. If that person’s DNA is in the database, (police) are going to catch them,” Gomez said. “They did say they had a strong lead. I really hope they catch this asshole.”

Putney's will still open for business during clean-up efforts by staff and management.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Posted By on Fri, Jul 24, 2020 at 3:55 PM

click to enlarge Dillinger Brewing co-owners Eric Sipe and Aaron Long. - COURTESY PHOTO
Courtesy photo
Dillinger Brewing co-owners Eric Sipe and Aaron Long.
Downtown Tucson will be getting another fantastic taproom, by a fantastic local brewery in one fantastic location by 2021.

North-central Tucson's Dillinger Brewing Company is opening a second location at the southeast corner of Ninth Street and Fourth Avenue in the former space of The Coronet. 

"To have that level of visibility is going to be awesome," Dillinger Brewing co-owner Eric Sipe said.

Sipe and his business partner, Arron Long, said they had been looking for a new space to open a more central located taproom, but the pandemic put the brakes on that—at first. They're excited to be opening a second location in the heart of downtown, according to Long

"This kind of fell into our lap and we couldn't turn it down," Long said. "It the right size for us and it's got a great outdoor area that has great foot traffic."

The two owners still plan on keeping their original taproom open but plan on explaining their brewing capacity, according to Long. While brewing won't take place at the new spot, the owners plan on creating a barrel-aging program in the the space's two 200 square-foot rooms.

"Our current spot is going to host production and brewing atmosphere," Long said. "The downtown location will feature our specials and barrel-aged releases."

Long said the property's landlord has been willing to work with the brewery over concerns of opening during the pandemic, considering Gov. Doug Ducey extended the order to keep bars, movie theaters and tubing events closed until the virus' number decrease.

"We have complete confidence (the landlord) is willing to with us completely in the event at the shutdown lasts longer," Long said. "Every apprehension we was eased by how cool the landlords are being."

Down on the other end of Fourth Avenue on the corner of University Boulevard, Epic Cafe—the hipster coffee house loved by artists, students and aspiring writers—has decided to call it quits due to slow sales during the pandemic.

Owner Kimberly Flagg said she planned on reopening on Aug. 15, but with coronavirus lingering on and uncertainty looming, the owner decided it's better to close the doors and try to sell the late-night hangout spot. Flagg took over Epic Cafe in 2016 when the business was previously experiencing hard times. It's been in business on Fourth Avenue for roughly a quarter century.

"I'm pretty devastated at the moment. We really hoped to reopen on Aug. 15 on the condition the pandemic would be under control, the U of A would be open and doing face-to-face classes, that we would get some more funding to dig ourselves out of the COVID hole," Flagg said. "But it didn't happen so I put the 'for sale' sign up because if somebody could come in and buy it, Epic doesn't die."

Flagg said she's received several offers to take over her lease but only if they can change the concept. That's a non-starter for Flagg.

"I don't want someone to buy it and turn it into something else. I want someone to buy it and keep it Epic," Flag said. "I bought it because I didn't want to see this cafe close. If somebody loves Epic and wants to keep it Epic, come see me."

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Posted By on Tue, May 26, 2020 at 8:12 AM

Do you love chimichangas? I mean do you really love chimichangas?

If you grew up in Tucson during the late ’80s to early ’90s, there's no doubt you saw commercials for the beloved all-you-can-eat Mexican restaurant of yesteryear: Gordo's Mexicateria.

 John Henry's Bar in downtown Tucson played tribute to Gordo's famed commercials by recreating one to announce the limited-capacity reopening over Memorial Day weekend.

"I've always had an affinity for TV ads and radio jingles growing up. Being a Tucson kid, I can still remember the Golf 'n Stuff song in its entirety," John Henry's Bar co-owner Sean Humphrey said. "Gordo's whole line of, "Do you like chimichangas?" has such a super-Tucson feel and I fell in love with it."

Humphrey said he wanted to remind Tucsonans of a "happier times pre-COVID." Tyler Lidwell of Tyler Lidwell Videography LLC, who shot the Tips For Tucson video last month at John Henry's, signed on to film the commercial.

"I wanted to do an ad for my spot, something that was retro and pay homage to another Tucson establishment to remind people of happier times Pre-COVID," Humphrey said. "Tyler and I talked about filming it for a week and then shot it one day in about an hour-and-a-half."

Monday, April 27, 2020

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2020 at 11:00 AM

Want to help out service industry workers across Pima County who are hurting as the governor-mandated shutdown continues? A local barman has made it easy for the public to tip their favorite bartender or server using the interwebs.

The group is called Tips for Tucson, hosted by a Facebook page and a google docs spreadsheet. Tips for Tucson even made a video, shot and produced by Tyler Lidwell Videography, and features many bartenders from around Tucson’s nightlife scene helping get the word out.

The idea came to local bartender Kyle Blessinger over a morning whiskey with his friend Eric Smith, a bartender at the temporarily shuttered Kingfisher. Earlier, Smith had forwarded Blessinger a post about what bartenders in Indianapolis were doing to raise cash during the pandemic—a virtual tip jar.

“I was having a morning whiskey because it’s quarantine and there are no rules. Eric had forwarded me this idea,” Blessinger said. “We got to talking and I said, “Dude, we have to do something and this is easy.'”

Bartenders and servers depend on tips to supplement their income since they are paid a lower minimum wage rate—currently $8 per hour in Arizona. While applying for unemployment benefits may seem like the best option, Blessinger notes there can be a lot of down-time between applying and actually being approved for assistance. It took more than five weeks for Blessinger to receive benefits, he said.

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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Posted By on Thu, Feb 27, 2020 at 9:29 AM

click to enlarge Find out who you are to others and to yourself, onstage and off, with workshops by Shannon Stott at the Cactus Flower Comedy Festival. - STEVE ROGERS PHOTOGRAPHY
Steve Rogers Photography
Find out who you are to others and to yourself, onstage and off, with workshops by Shannon Stott at the Cactus Flower Comedy Festival.
Cactus Flower blooms Feb. 27-30

Created and performed entirely by funny female, binary and gender-nonconforming humans, the four-day Cactus Flower Comedy Festival will spark loads of laughs in anyone who is not looking for a lot of dick jokes.

The event, which takes place at Tucson Improv Movement's TIM Comedy Theatre, offers storytelling, stand-up, improv and sketch shows to watch, and workshops to exercise your own sense of humor and improve listening and communications skills. All shows are $5 or $7. An all-festival pass is $30, and workshops are $40 each. Reservations are via

Workshop leader Shannon Stott says she has seen improv change lives on and off the stage. She has performed and taught improv for 20 years and now regularly highlights that crossover.

The most important thing, she says, is “to listen to yourself and answer yourself honestly. Your body tells you so much information, and because of society's eyes (a.k.a. the audience) we often don't listen. The consequences can be painful.

That self-awareness makes all the difference in relationships. "Understanding what your relationship is to anyone will inform your scene," Stott says. "Much of the feedback I get sounds like ‘I didn't know I was doing that’. When you are unaware, choices are often made for you, on stage and off.”

Regarding festivals focused on women and non-gender-conforming performers, Stott says, “We must have safe places to practice being strong, outspoken, leading, being loud, silly, emotional and ourselves. Once you experience being heard and seen, you can recognize and internalize it so you can seek it out, on and off stage.”

The CFCF kicks off at 7:30 pm. Thursday, Feb. 27, with F*sT! (Female Storytellers) sharing their best of 2019. It’s likely to be the Fest’s first sell-out. The 9 p.m. show opens with improv duo Allreddy, featuring standup comedian Allana Erickson. Omega creates a long-form Harold, then Baby Fish Mouth Omega performs original sketches.

The 7:30 show Friday, Feb. 28, opens with duo team, I Was Promised Magic. Gretchen Wirges and Ally Tanzillo follow as Ex-Boyfriend. Then comes Phoenix’s RatQween, spontaneously formed at a recent Phoenix festival for female/non-binary/gender non-conforming people.

At 9 p.m., TIM’s premier team, Soapbox, create scenes inspired by true anecdotes from the lives of community leader and former mayoral candidate Randy Dorman and the Fest’s two nationally recognized workshop leaders, Stott and Jill Bernard. A founding member of Minneapolis’ HUGE Theatre, Bernard has been a principal in that city’s ComedySportz franchise since 1993. She has taught improv all over the US, Europe and South America.

Following the Soapbox, at 10:30 p.m., Nicole Riesgo hosts Beginners and Veterans, a standup showcase featuring Rebecca Tingley, creator of the Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby comedy panel, and her frequent co-host, Cami Anderson. Also performing is Steena Salido, co-creator of Tucson's popular standup show Cunts Being Cunts Talking about Cunts and the all-Spanish-Language standup and improv show, Carcajadas, that features TIM’s Como Se Dice team. The rest of the bill comprises comedians who completed TIM’s standup class led by Mo Urban, founder or co-founder of five comedy series in Tucson. Graduates are multiple Moth award-winning storyteller Molly McCloy, TIM Company improviser Holly Hilton, and high-energy newcomer Brandi Dierinzo.

On Saturday at 6, TIM indie teams Three-Headed Monster, #PurseWine and Rough Around the Curves lead up to Unscrewed Theater’s From the Top musical improv team. At 7:30, Urban hosts an especially diverse CFCF Stand Up Comedy Showcase, featuring Jackie Kibler, Andrea Carmichael, Andrea Salazar, Savannah Hernandez and Bethany Evans.

The 7:30 p.m. show features Como Se Dice, TIM’s premier all-female team The Riveters and Jill Bernard performing her one-woman show, Drum Machine. It’s described as a “sweepingly epic, unscripted musical featuring multiple characters.” It’s been featured in more than 40 improv festivals.

Stott and Bernard each lead two workshops on Saturday and Sunday.

The Switch switches to Skybar

Fans of The Switch, where comedians riff off-the-cuff on suggestions texted in by the audience, must remember to head to Skybar at 8:45 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27. The event has moved following a long run on Mondays at The Hut. The lineup for the debut includes Phoencians Anwar Newton and Erick Biez.

Standups sing, now

Both Tucson’s improv companies have musical teams, and there’s the child of Musical Mayhem known as One Rehearsal Short. Young, brash, awkward and twisted genius Jeremy Segal now has created Show Tune ShowCase, in which seven favorite Tucson Comedians sing show tunes in their sets. We hold our breath for voices we didn’t know existed, but Mo Urban’s always knocks us out in her rock duo. Others in this debut include Joe Tullar, Steena Salido, Tim Maggard, Eli W.T., Jesus Otamendi and Chris Quinn. It’s $5 at 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 29 at The Screening Room.

Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby

Rebecca Tingley’s no-holds-barred panel of comedy experts returns to Club Congress at 8 p.m., Tuesday March 3. The show pokes fun at taboos, silliness, awkward moments and other somewhat less than graphic aspects of the act, (because, after all, we all know the actual mechanics). Panelists and guests include Cami Anderson, Paul Fox and Charles Ludwig.

Even More Laughs!

Friday, Feb. 28, standup with Andrew Rivers (see last week’s Laughing Stock), 8 p.m., The O ($15, $30 VIP, via; $30, door); Patrick Deguire featuring Zach Pugh, 8 and 10:30 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe ($12.50, $17.50); and Last Friday - Last Laughs featuring Roxy Merrari, Ali Musa, Phoenix comic Noni Shaney, Battle at the Roast Room winner Allana Erickson, Michael Barnett, Stephanie Lyonga, Jeremy Segal and Eden Nault. Family-friendly improv with Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m.($5 kids and $8 adults),and Free Form Friday Fight Night 9 p.m., Unscrewed Theater (free).

Saturday, Feb. 29, Standup with Patrick Deguire featuring Zack Pugh, 7 and 9:30 p.m., Laff’s Comedy Caffe ($12.50, $17.50). Family-friendly improv with (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m., Unscrewed Theater ($5 and $8)

Free Open Mics

Sunday, March 1, 6:30 p.m., The O, and 8 p.m., Chuckleheads in Bisbee.
Monday, March 2, 6:45 p.m., The Surly Wench; 9 p.m., Kava Bar.
Tuesday, March 3, 6:45 p.m., Neighborhood Comedy. The Music Box Lounge.
Wednesday, March 4, 7 p.m., The Screening Room; 8:30 p.m., The Rock.
Thursday, March 5, 8 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe and 8:30 p.m., Rockabilly Grill.

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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Posted By on Thu, Feb 20, 2020 at 9:20 AM

click to enlarge Just a hard-working guy taking all roads to the top with his gift for comedy, Andrew Rivers performs at The O, Friday, Jan. 28. - FACEBOOK.COM/ANDREWRIVERSCOMEDY
Just a hard-working guy taking all roads to the top with his gift for comedy, Andrew Rivers performs at The O, Friday, Jan. 28.
Laughing Stock
By Linda Ray

In a backwards ball cap, Andrew Rivers looks a little like Eminem without the pout or the baggage. His affect is a that of a slightly more animated Seinfeld. There’s no threat to his roll, but his comedy won’t let you get away.

Easily relatable, his jokes emerge unexpectedly from stories of life on the road with a not-that-weird upbringing in the rearview. His Dad was a well-known local radio personality and, as he tells it, his mom a lifelong chain- pot-smoker. Looking for love just leaves him bewildered.

Rivers’ laser-focused commitment to the comedy grind keep him on the road half the year. “Now that I’ve had some accomplishments and a comedy special. I’m hoping to take advantage of (it) and just book my own tours.

“I can’t keep plants or animals alive,” he says, “but there is something growing in my fridge right now. I haven’t named it yet.”

The comedy special Rivers’ cites drew 15 million Facebook views. His Dry Bar show, a 42 minute video of clean comedy, is available from his website along with two, full length CDs and a recording of jokes he made on his cell phone for each town he visited in 2016. He’s also in lots of podcasts.

“Having more outlets means more eyeballs on comedy. People can read this and then Facebook stalk me and buy tickets to the show within 5 clicks!”

Rivers performs at 8 p.m., Saturday, February 28 at The O. Tickets are available on Eventbrite for $12 to $30.

Estrogen Hour: Leap of Faith

There may never be a better name than “Leap of Faith” for this loosely-quarterly fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Like some ancient ritual, the event always coaxes a couple of Tucson’s leading women off the cliff into their first-ever standup comedy set. Miraculously, they find thunderous applause from a room full of friends and well-wishers. It almost always sells out.

On Sunday, Feb. 23 at 6:30 p.m., long-time crime reporter, journalist and author A.J. Flick takes the plunge, along with former soldier, radiologist and attorney Ramie Fisher.

The rest of the lineup is seen more often on Tucson’s standup, improv and storytelling stages. Amy Beson, Andrea Victoria Carmichael, Cathy Sproul, Claire Maguire, Mo Urban, Nicci Radhe, Rebecca Tingley and Suzie (Agrillo) Sexton. Estrogen Hour co-founder and Tucson Comedy royalty Nancy Stanley hosts.

Reservations are available for $15 via co-organizer Mary Steed’s LLS fundraising page at Laff’s has a two-item minimum.

My Bloody Valentine: A Comedy Showcase

Comedy at the Wench explores all the ways love can go wrong with its monthly comedy showcase at 7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 24. Comedians include locals Allana Erickson-Lopez, the stand-up half of the improv duo Allreddy; Aaron Panther, Eden Nault and recent Austin ex-pat Joe Tullar. Headlining is Curt Fletcher, who has been compared to Steven Wright and Mitch Hedberg. Also featured is Tamale Sepp, stopping by while living the dream on a two-year tour in her van.

This event has been selling out, and the layout makes it wise to arrive early to get a seat and order food and drink before the show. Reservations are $5 on

Cactus Flower Comedy Festival

This great annual festival of female funny runs Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 27 through 29 at TIM Comedy Theater. There will be lots more about this in next week’s Laughing Stock, but it kicks off Thursday, with Tucson’s beloved F*ST (Female Storytellers) sharing their favorite stories of 2019 a 7:30 p.m. The 9 p.m. show features women from Allreddy, Harold Team Omega and sketch comedy by the women of TIM’s Baby Fish Mouth sketch team. The shows are $7, or included with a $30 fest pass.

Even More Laughs!

Friday, Feb. 21, Intimate Magic with illusionist Rod Wayne Housley, 8 p.m., The O ($15 via; $20, door). Standup comedy with Gabriel Rutledge hosted by Mo Urban, 8 and 10:30 p.m., Laff’s Comedy Caffe ($12.50, $17.50). Improv with Harold Beta and Improv 101 Showcase, 7:30 p.m. ($5) and The Soapbox featuring Cero Tucson, 9 p.m., at Tucson Improv Movement (TIM Comedy Theatre) ($7 or $10 for both shows). Family-friendly improv with Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m.($5 kids and $8 adults), and Free Form Friday Fight Night 9 p.m., Unscrewed Theater (free).

Saturday, Feb. 22, Standup headlining local comedy award winner John Raymond with John “Jon Jon” Hernandez, Nick Chant and host, Rich Gary, 8 p.m., The O ($5) Standup-improv mash-up, Set Unlisted, 7:30 p.m., and The Dating Scene at 9 p.m., TIM Comedy Theatre ($7 each, $10 both). Standup comedy with Gabriel Rutledge hosted by Mo Urban, 7 and 9:30 p.m., Laff’s Comedy Caffe ($12.50, $17.50). 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)

Wednesday, Feb. 26, Stand Up Science with Shane Mauss and a cast of scientists and comedians 7 p.m., 191 E. Toole. ($22)

Free Open Mics

Sunday, Feb. 23, 6:30 p.m., The O, and 8 p.m., Chuckleheads in Bisbee.
Tuesday, Feb. 25, 6:45 p.m., Neighborhood Comedy. The Music Box Lounge.
Wednesday, Feb. 26, 7 p.m., The Screening Room; 8:30 p.m., The Mint; 9:30 p.m., The Rock.
Thursday, Feb. 27, 8 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe and 8:30 p.m., Rockabilly Grill.

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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Posted By on Thu, Feb 13, 2020 at 1:00 AM

click to enlarge Vanessa Hollingshead will be your cupid at Laffs Comedy Caffe’s Love and Laffter: Dinner Date at 8 on Valentines Day. - VANESSA HOLLINGSHEAD
Vanessa Hollingshead
Vanessa Hollingshead will be your cupid at Laffs Comedy Caffe’s Love and Laffter: Dinner Date at 8 on Valentines Day.
Romantic Comedy stars Vanessa Hollingshead

Maybe Laff’s should offer a prize for the first engagement of the evening. Valentines Day date night starts with dinner at 8, featuring dreamy “sirloin medallions with roasted garlic and bacon, smothered in a creamy Marsala sauce” or similarly salacious sounding chicken and salmon options. Sides include salad, vegetables and steamed basmati rice.

The main course, so to speak, are the laughs, delivered with style and sass by the estimable Vanessa Hollingshead. Classy and vulnerable under a veneer of New York brass, Hollingshead is an actor and playwright as well as a comedian. At age 18, she won a scholarship to study at the Lee Strasberg Theatrical Institute.

Her upbringing, though, was weird and awful, with occasional twists of psychedelic color. Spawned by self-absorbed, committed drug addicts in stereotypically hippie camouflage, Hollingshead has told interviewers that her mother rewarded her house housework with amphetamines. A tour of foster homes ensued. At least some prestige was involved: Her Father apparently introduced Timothy Leary and Sir Paul McCartney to LSD.

Once she learned she could make people laugh she worked as much as possible. Among her jokes, she’s created enough hilarious characters to populate a madhouse. Within two years, she began supporting herself with comedy. When personal tragedy took her off-track for a few years, she says, a cruise-ship booking eventually rescued her. Call it a Love Boat.

Reservations for Love and Laffter: Dinner Date at 8 are $30 via Beverages, tax and tip are added after the show, Hollingshead also performs at Laffs’ regular showtimes: 10:30 Friday, and 7:30 and 9 p.m. Reservations are $12.50 and $17.50 via

Minting Mishka

If you’ve been looking for a reason to revisit The Mint, here’s a great one. Author, guitarist, songwriter and comedian Mishka Shubaly performs there at 8 p.m., Wednesday, February 19. Admission is by donation.

The Mint's interior has benefited from some deft remodeling by its most recent owners. The bar feels lighter and roomier. The stage is smaller, but brighter and ideal for the Wednesday, 9 p.m. open mic hosted there most of the year by long-time Tucson comedian Joey Giron.

Shubaly released his 12th Amazon book last December in audiobook form,  It’s his fifth since his 2011 bestseller, The Long Run. Jeff Bezos is a fan. Titled This Van Could Be Your Life, the new work explores the meaning of family as revealed over a thousand-mile journey in a rickety van with seven family members in crisis.

Shubaly is best known in the comedy world for having composed the soundtrack for The Unbookables, a raunchy film frolic through the travails of Stanhope’s friends and acolytes on a tour of sketchy midwestern comedy clubs. Among the film's comedians is Kristine Levine, now co-host of The Frank Show on 96.1 KLPX. Levine frequents The Mint open mics, and Stanhope has made unannounced visits there to perform with friends.

Shubaly's official featured comedian is Ray Porter whose main hustle is narrating audiobooks. According to industry resource Audiofile, Porter can speak with 27 accents. That could be a whole set.

Comedy A – Z at The O

Ali Musa and Matt Ziemak, two of Tucson’s hardest working, and commensurately popular, local comedians, play on their names for the title of their show at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 15 at The O. Tickets are $5. It’s a chance for Tucson comedy fans to see them stretch into much longer sets than local showcases allow.

Ziemak co-hosts, with Rory Monserrat, the monthly comedy showcase Brew Ha Ha at Borderlands Brewery. He also co-hosts, with Green Shirt Guy Alex Kack, the popular concept show, The Switch, which moves from The Hut to Skybar starting Thursday, Feb. 27 at 9 p.m. The Switch invites audience members text fun words for the night's lineup of comedians to riff on. The show is free.

Register to vote by Feb. 18!

Thank goodness for Capitol Steps. Founded in the Reagan era, they’ve continued to remind us that politics can be funny, and that without the First Amendment, we might not be able to laugh about it. On Saturday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m., the D.C. comedy troupe performs at the Fox Tucson Theatre to benefit the UArizona Hillel Foundation’s annual campaign. Tickets are $65 to $145 via, and $180, which includes a $90 donation to the Hillel Annual Campaign, at

Lots More Comedy

Thursday, Feb. 13, improv showcase for Improv 101 and 201 at 7:30 ($5), and a free public improv jam at 8:30, TIM Comedy Theatre (Tucson Improv Movement), and standup

Friday, Feb. 14, standup with The Amazing Cop Comic Jim Perry with locals Chris Haughton and Allana Erickson-Lopez, 7 p.m., Coyote Trail Stage, 8000 N. Silverbell Rd. ($10); long-form improv with Harold Team Alpha and The Dating Scene at 7:30 p.m. ($5) and The Soapbox at 9 p.m. ($7) at TIM Comedy Theatre (TIM)($10 for both shows). 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, Feb. 15,  improv with The Laugh Tracks and Game Show Show at 7:30 p.m., and Standup 101 Showcase and The Dating Scene at 9 p.m. at TIM ($7, both shows for $10, $2 off with Cat Card). Family-Friendly Improv with NBOJU at 7:30 p.m., and House Team Double Feature at 9 p.m., Unscrewed Theater ($5 and $8).

Free Open Mics

Sunday, Feb. 15, 6:30 p.m., The O, and 8 p.m., Chuckleheads in Bisbee.
Monday, Feb. 16, 7 p.m., Comedy at the Wench,
The Surly Wench Pub.
Tuesday, Feb. 17, 6:45 p.m., Neighborhood Comedy, The Music Box Lounge.
Wednesday, Feb. 18, 7 p.m., The Screening Room; 8:30 p.m., The Mint; 9:30 p.m., The Rock.
Thursday, Feb. 19, 8 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe and 8:30 p.m., Rockabilly Grill.

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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Posted By on Tue, Jan 28, 2020 at 12:15 PM

Every culinary competition worth watching comes down to those final moments when contestants skillfully arrange their creations on the plate before the dish is judged.

That’s where the drama unfolds.

Tucson Foodie understands this and will present their 2nd annual Art of Plating competition at the Copenhagen Furniture Store on Thursday, January 30. The best chefs from across the Old Pueblo will showcase their plating skills and duke it out for bragging rights. Proceeds benefit the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

“It's a fast-paced competition that’s a combination of delicious food that has to be beautiful,” said Jennifer Teufel Schoenberger, event organizer and partner at Tucson Foodie. “It has to be beautiful, interesting and have a creative presentation, but at the same time it has to taste delicious.”

Chefs will be paired up and compete head to head in five-minute rounds until the top plating chef emerges. This year’s event will feature 11 chefs, such as last year’s Art of Plating winner, Chef Gina Skelton of First We Eat Catering and Confections, and Dominique Stoller, owner of Doma’s Delights, who won last year’s Knife Fight, a local underground culinary competition.

Newcomer to the competition, Wendy Gauthier, owner of Chef Chic Catering and Events, says she’s a little nervous since the best of the best in Tucson’s culinary community will be competing, but she’s also excited to show what she can bring to the table.

“We’ve been playing with how to plate it and I think we’re ready,” Gauthier said.

Her staff at Chef Chic helped her come up with their dish, a goat cheese custard with a celery sorbet and roasted beets. While they may be ready, Gauthier said they’re still testing things out just to see if anything can be visually improved.

“No matter what I think in my head of how something is going to look, it’s never how it turns out,” Gauthier said with a chuckle. "In our heads we were going to put this one component on, and then we put it on and we were all"

Guests at the event will be able to view the dishes in their full culinary glory before sampling the beautiful creations. Drinks from Sand-Reckoner Vineyard and Ten55 Brewing Company will also be complementary to attendees.

The event will be judged by international food and beverage writer Edie Jarolim, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona CEO Michael McDonald and Tucson Museum of Art CEO Jeremy Mikolajczak.

This year’s Art of Plating will start at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 30. Tickets are $55 and can be purchased at Copenhagen Furniture Store is located at 3660 E. Fort Lowell Road. 

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