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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Pastorela Laughs in the Mirror of 2017 Politics

Posted By on Wed, Dec 13, 2017 at 3:00 PM

For a 6,000-year old entertainment, The Pastorela sure gets around. It’s performed all over the world every Christmas, perhaps most devotedly and hilariously in Mexico. The satire and personalities change every year, but there’s always a protagonist, shepherds, wise men, angels, Lucifer and Satan. The demons create trials and temptations the protagonist must overcome to assure Jesus’ birth. Two animals traditionally act as a Greek chorus.

A dog and sheep open this year’s Borderlands show by taking a knee; the satire and send ups roll from there, nonstop. Borderlands presents its 21st Pastorela Thursday through Sunday, Dec. 14 through 17, at the Leo Rich Theatre. Visit the Borderlands website for details and reservations.

Writer Milta Ortiz says, “The animals let the audience know it’s going to be a fun show. You can holler and sing along and laugh.” This year’s news, she says, offered almost too much fodder for the show’s political comedy. “It was ‘How do we pick?’,” she says. “I never like to give spoilers,” she says, “but I really didn’t even have to parody some things that happened because they were already funny.”

Our spies tell us, spoilers aside, that Vladimir Putin’s ways with the ladies, his swagger and bravado made excellent Pastorela material, as did the Russian manipulation of “fake news.” Immigration issues continue to provide balloons for Pastorela puncturing. The current show highlights the plight of DACA children – those brought to the U.S. by their parents as children and now under threat of deportation. And, in an epic scene, torn from actual headlines, Donald Trump throws corn and paper towels.

Thankfully, some things never change. Asked who’s performing pre-show warm-up music, Ortiz says, “It's always Gertie and the TO Boys.” They’re the pride of the Tonono O’odham Nation’s, irresistible Waila dance tradition.

This year, Borderlands revamped more than just the Pastorela’s political content, though. Producing director Marc David Pinate also gave it an updated look and a fresher feel. “It’s like when there’s a new cast on Saturday Night Live,” he says. The comparison is apt.

Pinate credits a series of improv workshops he held for the show’s all-new cast over the summer. “I hoped the (players) would get more comfortable with each other, just to have that openness to play like improv does. I told the actors first thing, ‘If you have an idea, just go for it. If it works, we'll put it in the script.’

“The temptation scenes are straight-out comedy sketches.”

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Friday, December 8, 2017

Laughing Stock: Holly Jolly Edition

Posted By on Fri, Dec 8, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Cartoonist David Fitzsimmons hosts Arroyo Café Holiday Radio Show at the Rialto Dec. 16. - DAVID FITZSIMMONS
  • David Fitzsimmons
  • Cartoonist David Fitzsimmons hosts Arroyo Café Holiday Radio Show at the Rialto Dec. 16.

Fake News? Fun Tradition!

Cartoonist and comedy impresario David Fitzsimmons reprises his Arroyo Café Holiday Radio Show at the Rialto Theatre on Saturday, December 16 at 1 p.m. Tickets are $15 via, in advance or at the door.

It’s become such a popular Old Pueblo tradition that even the POTUS has noticed. Trump went so far as to tweet to organizers that he’s not interested in making an appearance. “Lame. Why drag me into your Christmas spectacular? Sad, really.” Naturally, Fitzsimmons and crew immediately added him to the bill. Fitzsimmons suggests, however, “Trump supporters may want to skip this one. Ho,ho, ho!”

The production has an old-time radio show format, a la Prairie Home Companion, chock-a-block with Tucson celebrities. In addition to Fitzsimmons, the Arroyo Café Players include KVOA’s Lupita Murillo; American Idol contender Crystal Stark; long-time radio announcer Bobby Rich; and comedians Elliot Glicksman, Jay Taylor, Nancy Stanley, Nick Seivert, Josiah Osego, Mike Sterner and Bridgitte Thum. The Grandsons of the Pioneers, comprising members of Reveille Men’s Choir, round out the bill, along with Wilbur Wildcat and the President of the United States, all under the musical direction of soprano soloist and sound designer Lindsey McHugh.

Light Family Fare at Gaslight

Sweet and smooth as the froth on your eggnog, Christmas in the Big Apple is a grand time for any family gathering that includes both the youngest and oldest members. The villainy is paper-thin and the survival of the Santa spirit is never in doubt. Lots of opportunities for interactive play include in simple, repeated lines and hilariously groan-worthy jokes, straight out of the third-grade joke book. Costumes are as spectacular as we’ve come to expect of the Gaslight Theatre. The red dresses in the olio all but stole the show for this scrivener.

Hurry to book this holiday treat as some performances have been sold out since May. Visit for details; call for reservations.

Tops and Bottoms at Borderlands Brewery

Ten dollars buys a beer and a show on from 7 to 10 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 10, when Borderlands’ monthly showcase Brew Ha Ha presents The Tops and Bottoms Tour featuring Carmen Morales and Anthony Desamito.

Morales’ has won fans on Punchline, Sirius XM radio, two seasons of Laughs on Fox and multiple festivals. She also co-hosts a New York Times comedy podcast. Desamito has appeared on Laughs on FOX and The Doug Stanhope Podcast. He co-hosts a podcast recapping episode of the Golden Girls, and a monthly show at the Hollywood Improv Lab.

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Hello, Winter! Tips For Surviving Tonight's Big Chill

Posted By on Thu, Dec 7, 2017 at 2:00 PM

It's gonna be a cold one in Tucson tonight....
  • It's gonna be a cold one in Tucson tonight....
Happy winter ladies and gentlemen, as the scorching torrent of summer slams into the muscle-stiffening months of winter.

We'll get our first real taste of winter tonight, with the National Weather Service issuing a Freeze Warning for Tucson, with a low of 34 degrees in Tucson, which puts those who live in the elements in immediate danger.

Luckily, the City of Tucson and several nonprofits have programs in place to assist those who find themselves without a shelter this evening.

The Salvation Army, for example, is officially in Operation Deep Freeze, opening its doors at its Tucson Hospitality House (1002 N. Main Avenue) on any night between now and March 30 when the temperature falls below 35 degrees (or 40 degrees with precipitation).

The organization asks the public to donate items to keep people warm, such as coats, blankets, gloves, socks and sweaters.

Donations are accepted at any Naughton's Plumbing location, Vantage Bowling Center, or at the Hospitality House itself. Anyone with questions about the operation can call the shelter at (520) 795-9671.

Operation Freeze

The Tucson Department of Transportation is undertaking preventative measures on all bridge decks around town, to prevent any ice buildup that could cause trouble.

The operation, which kicks off at 2:30 p.m. today, involves placing "Wet Road Ahead" signs at bridge entrances, in addition to spraying magnesium chloride on bridge decks. A total of 58 bridge decks will be sprayed and monitored by the City, and motorists are advised to be extra vigilant of ice buildup while driving.

Also, remember to cover up all plants, or bring potted ones inside to prevent frost, and check any plumbing you have to ensure pipes are well-insulated from the cold.

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The Weekly List: 26 Things To Do in Tucson This Week

Posted By and on Thu, Dec 7, 2017 at 11:06 AM

Your Weekly guide to keeping busy in the Old Pueblo.

Ho, Ho, Shows

Season of Light. The Flandrau Planetarium is one of the best places in Tucson to be filled with a sparkly sense of wonder, and Christmas is one of the best times of year to do that same thing. This annual show is a celebration of the history of the holidays, the marvels of our solar system and the sense of rebirth that comes with the Winter Solstice. Narrated by Noah Adams of NPR and featuring a light show set to holiday music, it’s a star-studded way to get into the holiday spirit. Begins Monday, Dec. 11. 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday, with 7 p.m. shows Fridays and 8 p.m. shows Saturdays. No shows Dec. 18 through Dec. 20. Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium 1601 E University Blvd. Call to reserve tickets at 520-621-4516.

The Russian Grand Ballet Presents the Nutcracker. There’s something about Russian dancers that just makes them seem like they mean business. Like they were specifically designed to be doing ballet. Don’t believe us? You don’t have to go any further than Congress Street to see some of Russia’s finest dancers perform. 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 12 and Wednesday, Dec. 13 Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St. $41 to $77.

68th Annual Winterhaven Festival of Lights. Celebrate many holidays with many lights at one of Tucson’s most magical events, which, incidentally, has been going on for many more years than most festivals of this kind in the country. Experience the neighborhood’s gift to the community on a hayride wagon, a trolley limo, a decked-out party bike or on foot. If driving is more your style, attend Drive Through Night on Dec. 26 and, if you celebrate Christmas, beat the day-after-the-holiday blues. The festival is free, but attendees are encouraged to bring a donation to the Community Food Bank. Most needed items: cereal and canned varieties of the following: meat, tomato products, veggies and fruit. 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9 through Tuesday, Dec. 26. Winterhaven Neighborhood, with entrances on Ft. Lowell, Tucson, Country Club and Prince. Free.

Mister Bing’s the Supper Club Experience. Hacienda Del Sol’s night of classic entertainment and scrumptious food is back, this month with international entertainers Crystal Stark, Annemarie Rosano and Brian Levario. Khris Dodge and the Music Makers, show club dancing, and magicians Norm Marini and Steve Ehlers are also on the docket. The menu has everything from strawberry salad to your choice of tiger prawns or chicken breast to white velvet cake with peppermint buttercream. Mister Bing’s come through once again. 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10. Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort, 5501 N. Hacienda Del Sol Road. $75 plus tax/gratuity.

Holiday Parties

Victorian Christmas Ball. The Seven Pipers Tucson Scottish Society is giving everyone a chance to put on their finest Christmas kilts or fanciest Victorian vests for this period celebration full of dancing, fun and food. The official dress is costume from 1840 to 1890, but you can just dress Scottish or dress formally if you’d like. Society members will be teaching lessons in traditional Scottish dance throughout the night. 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9. First United Methodist Church, 915 Fourth St. $15.

Holiday Party & Tree Celebration. Are you one of those people who put your Christmas tree up on November 1, and now you’re feeling ready to put it up again? Head over the the merry Madaras Gallery to celebrate their tree going up, with food, drink and holiday decorations. Carolers will also be present to really maximize Christmas cheer levels. Ho ho go to the gallery! 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7. Madaras Gallery, 3035 N. Swan Road. Free.

Sing-le Bells

Sound of Winter. The Tucson Girls Chorus, directed by Marcela Molina and assistant directed by Chris Fresolone, invite you to their annual Christmas show. The chorus has been introducing young girls and young women to choral singing techniques for over 30 years, and attending events like these supports choral education programs. 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10. Fox Theatre, 17 W. Congress St. $15 to $18 adults, $8 kids 3 to 10, free for kids 2 and under.

Blue Suede Christmas starring Scot Bruce. Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Elvis is the King. One of the most widely recognized Elvis performers in the country is coming to Green Valley to get you “All Shook Up." If you’ve had it with the "Burnin’ Love" weather in Tucson, get in the spirit with hits like “Blue Christmas” and “Santa Bring my Baby Back.” And, Christmas aside, you’ll basically be seeing Elvis live, and that’s an opportunity none of us should take lightly. 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7. Green Valley Recreation Performing Arts, 1070 Calle de las Casitas. $30 members, $33 guests, $38 GA.

TSO’s Messiah. Are the holidays really the holidays without a performance of one of the OG holiday bangers? We don’t think so. The Tucson Symphony orchestra, conducted by Bruce Chamberlain, will be joined by soprano Teresa Wakim, alto Misty Bermudez, tenor Matthew Chellis, baritone Marcus DeLoach and the TSO chorus to bring you one of the most Christmasy, powerful and popular works in the history of choral literature. Hallelujah! 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10. Catalina Foothills High School, 4300 E. Sunrise Drive. $22 to $75.

The LoBros Christmas Concert. Known for their the classical/Latin jazz/funk rock combo that they call “Caliente Classical Crossover,” the LoBros are coming to Monterey Court with some serious Christmas vibes. They’ve got Christmas songs, they’ve got Santana covers, they’ve got Earth Wind and Fire tributes and, of course, they’ve got their signature CCC. They’ll be joined by special guest singer Diana Olivares. 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9. Monterey Court, 505 W. Miracle Mile, 85705. $8.

Patranato Christmas at San Xavier. It’s now been more than 21 years since Linda Rondstadt headlined the first concert at the mission to kick of the holiday season in Tucson. Since then, the concerts have only grown and become more beloved. The Sons of Orpheus and the Tucson Arizona Boys chorus perform to raise funds for Patronato, a nonprofit dedicated to restoring and preserving Mission San Xavier. 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12, Wednesday, Dec. 13 and Thursday, Dec. 14. Tickets are still available for a 6 p.m. showing on Tuesday, Dec. 12 as well. Patronato San Xavier, 525 N. Bonita Ave. $100 or $125.


Desert Gift Boutique. Here’s another chance to get some holiday shopping done! With more than 120 vendors selling everything from jewelry to books to lipstick to juice, you’re sure to finally find something for that hard-to-shop-for family member you’ve been struggling to find a gift for. And don’t worry, there will be lots of food to keep you fueled on your holiday shopping brigade. 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8 and 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9. Pantano Christian Church, 1755 S. Houghton Road. Free.

Mercado Flea Market. This vintage-only extravaganza is back for the fourth month in the parking lot across from Mercado San Augustin. About 40 local vendors will be selling antique, vintage, collectible and hand-me-down goods to you so that you can get your Christmas shopping done, or so that you can treat yourself to something neat. It’s free to get in, it’s free to park, and you’re free to peruse and purchase to your heart’s content! 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10. Mercado San Augustin, 100 S. Agenda del Convento. Free entry.

Fourth Avenue Winter Street Fair. Get on your Santa and scurry on downtown for this big, beautiful, biannual blast. This food-filled, entertainment-packed, local merchant-stuffed event is nearly 50 years old, and brings more than half a million people to the heart of the city every year. Amidst all of the holiday hubbub, it’s a great way to step back and remember how lucky we are to live in a city like Tucson. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8 to Sunday, Dec. 10. Historic Fourth Avenue, 434 E. Ninth St. Free.

Meet Santa

Santa Claus is Coming to Little Anthony’s Diner. No one can say it quite like Buddy the Elf. “SANTA! Oh my god! Santa’s coming! I know him! I KNOW HIM.” If you know Santa too, then this is a great chance to catch up with him, and if you don’t, then now’s your chance to finally meet him! Bring a can of food for the Community Food Bank and receive a free pic with the man in red himself! 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 23 (except for Sunday, Dec. 10, when the times are 6:30 to 8:30). Little Anthony’s Diner, 7010 E. Broadway. Free.

Zoo Lights 2017. There’s not much that this event doesn’t have. For starters, Santa himself will be there, beneath falling snow and surrounded by thousands of twinkling lights. Then there’s live music, carousel rides, light displays and animal-themed light sculptures. AND there’s s’mores, cinnamon rolls and hot cocoa (with or without alcohol—your pick). And you get a buck off from Dec. 7 to Dec. 19 if you bring donations for the Humane Society, Tucson A List or the Community Food Bank. 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7 through Saturday, Dec. 23, with encore nights Dec. 26 through Dec. 30 (Santa won’t be there for those because a man needs to rest after Christmas Eve.) Reid Park Zoo, 3400 Zoo Court. $10 adults, $6 kids 2 to 14, free for kids under 2, and $2 off for members.
Miracle on Congress Street. This week, the Tucson Roadrunners Give Back is sponsoring one of the holiest, jolliest events in the downtown area. Santa will be there! Churro popcorn and cookies from HUB Ice Cream Factory will be there! Live retro entertainment, a craft class for kids, and the Roadrunners’ mascot Dusty will be there! You should be there! 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10. 260 E. Congress St. Free.

Santa Comes to Trail Dust Town. We used to wonder how Santa could see us when we were sleeping, know when we were awake and know if we’ve been bad or good, but now that we know he can be in so many different places at once, we’re starting to get it. Trail Dust Town is rolling out the red carpet for the big man and his adoring fans by providing a petting zoo, hot cocoa, rides and a performance by the Sahuaro High School Guitar Ensemble and Chamber Orchestra. Bring a donation for Casa de los Niños and enjoy a free Trail Dust Town attraction! 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10. Trail Dust Town, 6541 E. Tanque Verde Road. Free.

Non-Holiday Activities

Net Neutrality Picket Line. If you read last week’s issue, or if you’ve been on the internet lately, then you probably know that net neutrality’s a pretty big deal, and that everyone is pretty upset with Ajit Pai, the former Verizon lawyer who is now head of the FCC. This protest will be held at a Verizon store and make an attempt to show Congress that we’re not letting net neutrality go down without a fight. Remember how much the internet means to you! And also, remember you’re protesting the actions of Verizon executives, not of the employees at the store, so be nice. 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7. Verizon Store, 4405 N. Oracle Road.

Tucson Marathon, Marathon Relay and Half Marathon. Nothing like running 13.1 miles to make you feel all cozy and Christmasy and ready for the sweet embrace of death. Except maybe running 26.2 miles. And now’s your chance! Or, if you like running and it doesn’t make you want to die, then this also might be for you. You can register for these races up until Friday, Dec. 8. There’s lots of information about packet pick-up and transportation on the website,, but the gist of it is that all three races kick off at 7 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8. Racers need to take shuttles (which leave from 4:40 to 5:20) to the starting line, which is on Cody Loop Road off Mount Lemmon Highway. If you haven’t already registered, the fee is $120.

Life Along the River: Ancestral Hopi at Homol’ovi. The newest exhibit at the Arizona State Museum will use artifacts, maps and the voices of present-day Hopi to share the story of the people who lived near lived along the Little Colorado River near Winslow in the 1300s. Today’s Hopi refer to the villages their ancestors settled in as Homol’ovi, or “place little hills.” The Homol’ovi Research Program’s director, Charles E. Adams, is retiring at the end of the year after 32 years at the museum and 48 years as a professional archaeologist. Opening festivities 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9. Exhibit preview, panel and discussion 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8. Arizona State Museum, 1013 E. University Blvd. Gallery open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday through June 2019. $5 adults, free for members, those under 17 and Cat Card holders.
MeteorMania! Here come the Geminids! First observed in 1862 (which isn’t long ago at all compared to the first sightings of other meteor showers), the Gemini’s come from this big thing we think is an asteroid called 3200 Phatheon. This makes the Geminids, together with the Quadrantids, the only major meteor showers that don’t come from a comet. Neat! Scientists think this shower gets more intense every year, and 120 to 160 meteors per hour have been spotted under the right conditions. Hooray! 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 13 to Thursday, Dec. 14. Meet at the picnic area a mile below the summit of the Kitt Peak National Observatory Visitor Center. $50 adults, $37 kids 8 to 16. Free for tribal members.


MC Chris. No, he ain’t your average rapper. He’s more like a nerdy comic-book kid, who also adds cartoon voiceovers to Adult Swim and pen tunes for Kevin Smith podcasts. His witty, skillfully executed hooks and disarming high register make him the Frank Zappa of rap. In “Pizza Butt” he dreams of putting “DiGiorno’s in porno,” over a trashy Peaches synth beat. His humor is randy and silly not insulting and pejorative. It’s music to inspire stop-motion experiments with your trusty Star Wars action figures, or to help you through rainy-day house cleaning after Friday night’s sex-in-every-room, Xanax-enhanced house party. Yes, the Beasties are mos def a key influence (“Brass Monkey,” natch). Bust out the Adidas track suit and imagine you too are a “mercenary adversary sorcerer surfer.” Thursday, Dec. 7, 191 Toole. Doors: 7 p.m. $14-$16, All ages.—B.S. Eliot

The Tony Furtado Band. Never underestimate or devalue the precise power and blinky beauty of the banjo. Back in ’87, many said Tony Furtado—who’s played with everyone from Bela Fleck to Gregg Allman to Earl Scruggs—was America’s best banjoist. Then he but the banjo aside and focused on his vocals, slide guitar and songwriting. In short, the dude is really something now, full of the kind of wisdom that comes from eyes-wide living and deep musicianship. But that’s not even why we should go see him and his five-piece band play. The latest studio record, The Bell, is moody and personal, bolstered by Furtado’s best songwriting across his well-decorated, dozen-album career. More, he’s returned primarily to banjo and songs like “Astoria” are equal parts anthem and mood, with enough high-wire tension to grace a John Wick soundtrack. A tender call-and-response between Furtado’s gentle vocals and his understated-yet-virtuosic clawhammer makes “Tired Lion” sound like gratitude. These are the relentlessly rhythmic (and hypnotic), dulcet tones that result from letting a banjo lead the band. Smooth and skilled like Acoustic Alchemy, the songs promise to gain depth, tension and drama live. With Hank Erwin on Friday, Dec. 8. Courtyard Stage, Monterey Court, 505 W. Miracle Mile. 7 p.m. $15 advance, $18 at door.—B.S. Eliot
Boosie Badazz. Dude’s the real deal. Hailing from Louisiana and recently freed from five-year prison stint but, “On parole, still can’t get me not to ride with my pistol.” His nasally, rat-a-tat staccato flow is below-the-belt nasty, and his relentless gangsta aggression and unchill vocal tone will have you longing laid-back trap. “I dance on a niggaz head—can you hear the rhythm? All my enemies dead, that’s just how I’m livin’.” But Boosie is as prolific as he is profane, so once you’re hooked, there’s lots of cranial gangbangin’ to go around. Whether big guns or big choad, Boos and his crew are packing. Tuesday, Dec. 12 at Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Doors at 7 p.m. $30-$35. All ages.—B.S. Eliot

L.A. Guns. Tracii Guns is a guitar hero and singer Phil Lewis is a rock star of the classic variety, and, like the model set forth by Jagger/Richards, Johansen/Thunders, and Robinson/Robinson, the two forever-fighting, back-together leaders of Hollywood’s L.A. Guns were never as good apart as they are working together. That alone makes them pretty damn rock ’n’ roll in the traditional sense. And Lewis came up in the UK, the punk and glam years—he was way more Mott the Hoople and The Faces than Judas Priest and Ronald Reagan, like every other ersatz “glam” band out of Hollywood who got signed to major labels in late 1980s. L.A. Guns were better than all of that, despite some shitty stuff they made that matched the times. They hit greatness, too: History has shown that their near-giant single “It’s Over Now” is the best rock ’n’ roll song from that Sunset Strip era. Hell, it belongs in the Top 100 list of the best ever rock songs out of America. It betters anything by Guns N’ Roses, by a long way. The tune hits on all levels, mixing Duane Allman sway with Faces strut and heart. A sweet and perfect rock ’n’ roll distillation and smart acknowledgement of what came before. If L.A. Guns called it quits (again) tomorrow, they could go to the grave happy. Rare Tucson show with Push, Scare Card, and The Jack on Saturday, Dec. 9. Club XS, 5851 E. Speedway. Doors at 7 p.m. $20. All ages.—B.S. Eliot

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Friday, December 1, 2017

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

Posted By and on Fri, Dec 1, 2017 at 4:10 PM

Your Weekly guide to keeping busy in the Old Pueblo.

Holly Jolly

Holiday Choirs at Tubac Luminaria Lights. TaliasVan’s Bright & Morning Star Choir & Orchestra are here to wish you a merry Christmas, wish you a merry Christmas, bring good tidings for you and your kin and to wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year. Their performance in Tubac will be preceded by the CosmoYouth choir’s melodic stylings, and holiday refreshments, holiday cheer and holiday gifts will be available throughout the night for purchase (the cheer is free). Rumors are flying about a possible appearance by the big man in red himself, and who wants to be the one who has to say they skipped out on an opportunity to meet the real Santa Claus? 6 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1, and Saturday, Dec. 2. Tubac Plaza next to Sacred Treasures, 29 Tubac Plaza. Donations appreciated.

  • Wikimedia Commons
Smile with Santa. It’s truly astonishing that Santa Claus has never won TIME’s Person of the Year Award. He travels all around the world making children happy, provided jobs for the elf population before it was required by affirmative action, and eats cookies in households across America so that Americans won’t, thus helping to keep obesity levels down. In between all of this, he’s finding time to let children (even the four-legged variety) pose for free pictures with him at Tucson Premium Outlets, and to host a story time on Saturdays. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays have storytime from noon to 1 p.m. and photos from 1 to 5 p.m., Sundays have pet photos from 4 to 5 p.m. and on Sunday, Dec. 24, there will be Santa Photos only from 10 a.m. to noon. Tucson Premium Outlets, 6401 Marana Center Blvd. Free.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Laughing Stock: X-Mas is for Overindulging!

Posted By on Wed, Nov 29, 2017 at 5:52 PM

Breaking good at the casino

Ranked in the top 20 of Rolling Stone’s 2017 list of favorite stand-up comedians, Bill Burr rolls into the Tucson comedy scene via the Southern Arizona route on Friday, Dec. 2. He’s performing at Desert Diamond Casino, Sahuarita as one of that venue’s select few comedy offerings. The show is at 8 pm; tickets are $35 to $60.50. Visit this website for tickets and more information.

Burr has produced five, hour-long stand-up specials, and the streaming, animated Netflix series, F is for Family, freshly picked up by the network for a third season. Burr also delivers a twice-weekly rant via his popular Monday Morning Podcast. He has appeared on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and the Tonight Show with Jimmy Falon. Yet some will remember him best as Patrick Kuby in Breaking Bad.

Estrogen Hour’s offering up virgins, again.

Jill Kimmel headlines The Estrogen Hour, Sunday, Dec. 3 at Laff’s Comedy Caffe. - THE ESTROGEN HOUR
  • The Estrogen Hour
  • Jill Kimmel headlines The Estrogen Hour, Sunday, Dec. 3 at Laff’s Comedy Caffe.
At first, Jill Kimmel didn’t want to be known as Jimmy Kimmel’s sister. Naturally, it’s the one thing everyone wants to know since she recently reclaimed her maiden name. The issue was that she wanted to make it as a comedian on her own. Her accomplishments, including a featured role on season two of Comedy Central's Kevin Hart Presents: Hart of the City, and performances for US armed services around the world, have since tucked that under her belt. So with her family name, Kimmel headlines the December edition of Tucson’s celebration of women’s comedy, The Estrogen Hour. The show is at 6:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 3, at Laff’s Comedy Caffe. Make reservations at All proceeds from the $15 admission benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Veteran Tucson comedian Nancy Stanley hosts TEH, which she co-founded with Mary Steed. Dec. 3’s first-time comedians, called Comedy Virgins, include Linda Chorney, Shann Oliver, and Leigh Spencer. Repeat Estrogen performers are Tucson comedians Lisa Andris, Charlotte Bellflower, Jennifer Finley, Cindell Hanson, Edna Meza Aguirre, Suzie Sexton and your humble scribe, Linda Ray.

Aw. Remember kvelling for that li’l tree?

Hearts warm. Tear ducts leak. And everyone is that broken little tree, looking for love. Arizona Rose Theatre Company, the little theater that could, is staging Charlie Brown’s Christmas in their pop-up space across from the Container Store in Tucson Mall. Following the short play, the show includes a revue of familiar holiday music.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday; through Dec. 10. Admission is $15; less for children and military; $2 more at the door. Make reservations online.

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Monday, November 27, 2017

Laughing Stock: Let's Talk About Sex, Baby

Posted By on Mon, Nov 27, 2017 at 3:20 PM

Sari Baliak of Phoenix headlines Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby, Nov. 30 at Club Congress. - MATT SANTOS
  • Matt Santos
  • Sari Baliak of Phoenix headlines Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby, Nov. 30 at Club Congress.
“From an intellectual academic level,” says Rebecca Tingley, a fine arts Ph.D and former cast member of Chelsea Handler’s show, Girls Behaving Badly, “I have been exploring how things surrounding women and their sexuality is always a secret.

“If you have an abortion it's a secret. If you're having your period it's a secret. If you are a woman that’s sexual, that’s supposed to be secret.” And, as we lately have been reminded, repeatedly and deeply disturbingly, molestation and harassment are always secret. Until they aren’t.

“Being able to talk frankly about sex from a female perspective demystifies it,” Tingley says. As a veteran New York and LA standup comic, she decided, “Let's just make a comedy show about sex so we can talk about whatever we want.” The result, Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby, debuted successfully in October, and returns to Club Congress from 8 to 9:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 30. Doors open at 7:30; admission is $3.

Tingley’s wheelhouse is “feminist comedy,” a genre that undermines the dour stereotype of feminism with a fun-house mirror perspective on the culture that’s spawned it. “Feminist comedy is a nice niche,” Tingley says. “But I also wanted (the sex show) to have broader appeal

Her concept evolved over a year’s worth of weekly counsel from ballet moms at the studio where she enrolled her daughter. She describes them as ‘very progressive women,” who happened to have family ties to Hotel Congress.

“I told them about my idea,” Tingley says. “What could we do that would just be across the board something people would talk about? How could we draw people to it as a fun thing to do? Go laugh about sex! Have some drinks downtown!”

The outcome was a talk show, with Tingley in the Johnny Carson role, sidekick Tammy King as Ed McMahon and Tucson favorite Randy Ford as what Tingley says is a cross between Doc Severinsen and Vanna White. Tingley opens the show, then leads a segment called “Catching up with Tammy,” wherein she queries King, just divorced after 25 years, about her latest discoveries in the single life. “I describe her as going through puberty again,” Tingley says.

Four guest comedians do ten -minute sets, then field questions from the audience about sex. Phoenician Sari Beliak, headlines the show; Tucsonans Josiah Osego, CJ Lundblad and a special guest round out the evening.

“We really are talking about sex and we want comics to do jokes that are headed that way.”

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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Traditional Irish Musicians and Dancers Celebrate an Irish Christmas in America Tonight at The Fox

Posted By on Sun, Nov 26, 2017 at 8:18 AM

Vocalist Niamh Farrell - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Vocalist Niamh Farrell
Charismatic fiddler Oisín Mac Diarmada returns to Tucson Sunday, Nov. 26, with his merry band of Irish musicians—and one American—to stage the popular Irish Christmas in America concert of Irish song, music and dance.

The troupe skipped Tucson last year, but makes up for it with a cohort of talented musicians and a team of local dancers from the Celtic Steps Irish dance school in town. Mac Diarmada, an All Ireland Fiddle Champion, member of award-winning band Téada and graduate of Trinity College, learned his fiddling in his native County Clare, home to remarkable fiddlers of the likes of Martin Hayes, and up north in County Sligo, where he now lives.
Always good with the gab, Mac Diarmada serves as a host to an evening that evokes nostalgia for Christmas in the Ould Sod, dishing up jokes, showing slides and telling the old stories. The Irish diaspora only heightens the bittersweetness of an Irish Christmas.

“One of the most heartfelt themes of Irish Christmas is emigration,” Mac Diarmada said in press materials. “Music was a way that people stayed close to home.”

New this year to the enterprise is the young singer and flutist Niamh Farrell, born into a musical family in Sligo. Still in her 20s, Farrell has mastered the ancient sean nós style of highly ornamented singing. Farrell is the counterpart of singer and accordionist Séamus Begley, a regular in the Christmas concert and a native of the Gaeltacht of County Kerry, where the Irish language is still spoken and sean nós is still sung. Now in his late 60s, Begley links the young band to older traditions. The singers are adept in both Irish and English.

Also in the ensemble: Ginne Hambly on harp and concertina, Sean Gavin on Irish pipes and whistles, Patrick Doocey on guitar and the American-born Samantha Harvey, dancer and keyboardist. Harvey, who married Mac Diarmada a few years back, will dance solo as well as side by side with the Tucson youngsters.

Irish Christmas in America concert is at 7 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 26, at the Fox Tucson Theatre, Tucson, 17 W. Congress St. Tickets are $20, $30 and $35 at 547-3040 or All seats reserved. Presented by In Concert Tucson.

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