Feminism

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Laughing Stock: Going with the flow

Posted By on Thu, Jul 5, 2018 at 3:28 PM

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“I like how shocked people are when you say 'c*nt.' It's like I have a nuclear bomb in my underpants, or a mad tiger or a gun.” So says Caitlin Moran, London Times journalist and author of "How to Build a Girl." She recently confirmed that "Lady Bird" star Beanie Feldstein will play the lead in that bestseller’s film adaptation.

While we’re waiting for that, we can continue to enjoy Tucson comedy's celebratory riffs on a girl’s anatomy.

Mo Urban and Steena Salido present another in their series, C*nts being C*nts Talking About Their C*nts! at 8 p.m., Friday, July 13. The show is 21+ and admission is $5 at Can’s Deli, 340 North 4th Ave. A portion of the proceeds goes to the YWCA of Southern Arizona Project Period, a program that provides sanitary menstrual products to those who can’t afford them. Donations of sanitary products for the program are also welcome.

Standup comedians include imports Amy Blackwell, who performs regularly at the Scottsdale Laugh Factory; Phoenix area favorites Leslie Barton, April Walterscheid and Kerrilynn Gallagher plus Hannah Tighe of Gilbert and Nikki Dinnella of Chandler. Tucson newcomers Chinna Garza and Megan Gossen make their C*nts debut.

Tucson Storyteller Gina Grande Santos and music by DJ Plastic Disease round out the show.

Estrogen Hour Remembers J-Fin

On Sunday, July 15, The Estrogen Hour, launchpad for a dozen or so women now prominent in Tucson comedy, honors one of the funniest, Jennifer Finley, who died last month of cancer.

Organizers Nancy Stanley and Mary Steed launched the Estrogen Hour a decade ago to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. According to Stanley, “We're departing from our usual fundraising to celebrate the life and comedy of our late friend whose candor and creativity made her a crowd favorite.” Proceeds go to Finley’s family to help defray her funeral expenses.

Stanley will host the show, a lineup of top local women comics and one featured “Guestosterone,” Dominic DiTolla. Comedians include Amber Frame; KXCI’s Bridgitte Thum; Cindell Hanson; Edna Meza Aguirre; Jessica Stapp, who also performs with Tucson Improv Movement; Mo Urban and Steena Salido, co-hosts of C*nts being C*nts Talking About Their C*nts!; Noel Hennessey of FST (Female Storytellers); and Suzie Sexton, host of the annual Comedy for Charity show at the Fox Theatre.

The Estrogen Hour takes place at 6:30 p.m., Sunday, July 15 at Laff’s Comedy Caffe. Tickets are $15 and there is a two-item minimum. The show is 21+ All proceeds benefit Finley's family.

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Friday, February 9, 2018

Laughing Stock: Marga! Plus Parts and Flowers

Posted By on Fri, Feb 9, 2018 at 11:17 AM

Marga Gomez channels her father in Latin Standards Feb. 14 through 18. - MARGA GOMEZ
  • Marga Gomez
  • Marga Gomez channels her father in Latin Standards Feb. 14 through 18.

Marga!

“I grew up thinking I'm an artist because I didn't know any other way,” says actor, stand-up comedian and writer Marga Gomez. “My parents were both creative. All their friends were performing artists, so I was very comfortable in this world.”

Thus did Gomez become a Cuban Liza Minelli, only lesbian, del pueblo and a lot more savvy.

Her mid-century upbringing, although periodically rocky, surrounded Gomez with humor and filled her with drive. Her mother was a professional dancer; her father was a comedian and songwriter, and a producer of popular, Follies-scale variety shows for New York’s large community of Spanish-speaking immigrants. The hustle to stay on top of the entertainment business defined her family.

Between them, her parents have inspired half Gomez’ output of a dozen popular solo stage shows. The latest is Latin Standards, her tale of the father-daughter entertainer dynamic. Its title refers to the genre of her father’s music; “The comedy is a survival tool,” Gomez says. The New York Times named the show a Critic’s pick when it opened last year at The Public Theatre (Hamilton).

Borderlands Theatre presents Gomez performing Latin Standards February 14 through 18 at the Steinfeld Warehouse, 101 West 6th Street. The run opens with a Valentine’s day fiesta, including live music and food. Details and reservations are available at tinyurl.com/LatinStandards.
“I started writing solo shows because my parents were important but forgotten,” Gomez says. “I wanted the Latino community to know about these people and their times.

“At the end of the show, the great thing that people tell me is, even though I'm a Latina, I'm a lesbian, I'm from New York and I'm neurotic, people can totally relate to the father-daughter story, and they see their own father.”

Parts & Flowers

Mo Urban and Steena Salido bring their third C*nts Being C*nts Talking About C*nts Comedy Show to Flycatcher, free, at 9 p.m., Sunday, February 11 (after the Estrogen Hour benefit at Laff’s at 6). C*nts, etc., features seven comedians, including Genevieve Rice from Phoenix; poet Janet Spencer, and the all-woman rawk band, Sugar Stains. The event benefits the YWCA’s Project Period.

For Valentine’s Day, Hotel Congress presents Rebecca Tingley’s talk-show-format comedy show, Let’s Talk About Sex Baby, also featuring Randy Ford and Tammy King. Local comedians play truth or dare and answer audience questions.

Also on Valentine’s day, comedy siren Lisa Landry headlines a show at Laff’s where every woman will get a rose. Visit laffstucson.org for details.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Anti-Racist Protesters Demand Supervisor Miller Resign

Posted By on Wed, Aug 23, 2017 at 10:09 AM

About 600 protesters waving familiar posters gathered in front of Pima County’s Administration Building on Tuesday evening: Refugees Welcome, Black Lives Matter, No Human is Illegal. In an age where almost every week, people take to the streets to voice their outrage with the government, people are getting creative. “Dumbledore's Army accepting members” and “Ctrl+Alt+Delete” are a few of the more creative signs.

The focus of Tucsonans Against Racism Protest and Rally was County Supervisor Ally Miller, who announced her white pride on Facebook, only hours after a white supremacist mowed down a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12. For the last week, citizens and fellow board members implored her to apologize for her comments.

And now it seems the time for apologies has passed, at least for the hundreds that gathered on Tucson’s downtown. People want her gone. It was no accident this rally was planned on the day Trump addressed supporters in Phoenix. Inside the Phoenix Convention Center, Trump hinted at pardoning former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio for illegally continuing racist practices, and Trump decried the “very dishonest media,” blaming them for the backlash to his “many sides” statement following Charlottesville. Outside, thousands protested and were finally dispersed when police set off tear gas into the crowd. In Tucson, people chanted—families with toddlers in strollers, old ladies waving American flags, teenagers standing up for their future.

People of every age, creed and color shouted, “This is what democracy looks like,” and held their signs high as cars passed, honking their approval.


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Thursday, July 13, 2017

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading »

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Secret Sisters and Other Indie Heartbreakers

Posted By on Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 9:40 PM

The Secret Sisters play an Americana Ladies Night at SXSW. It's the first time Lydia and Laura Rogers bring their melancholy old-timey ballads to the festival in Austin, Texas. - DANYELLE KHMARA
  • Danyelle Khmara
  • The Secret Sisters play an Americana Ladies Night at SXSW. It's the first time Lydia and Laura Rogers bring their melancholy old-timey ballads to the festival in Austin, Texas.

The Secret Sisters are as joyful on stage as their songs are depressing. Laura and Lydia Rogers love the dark days.

“We sell antidepressants at our shows,” Laura jokes on stage at Cooper’s BBQ’s Americana Music Association showcase, which became Americana Ladies’ Night when the organizers realized all their headliners were women.

In front of a brick wall with a neon Budweiser sign over the shape of Texas, the Alabama women sing “Bad Habit,” a song their mother calls “intense.”

The huge head of a longhorn bull looks down on them as they harmonize with a rapturous twang. Over 100 people sit on the floor, fill the tables and stand along the walls. The whole room is silent, enchanted.

Between songs, Lydia tunes her guitar, and Laura chats with the audience, joking and telling stories. Chewing gum, she tells them about meeting the Everly Brothers. Laura says she was so excited, she burst into tears, and they weren’t pretty tears. She looked like she’d “just been born—red and shiny and wet."

The sisters love music from another time, and most of their favorite musicians are dead. It shows in their music—an old-timey feel with a sadness that’s older than they are.

“And now we’re going to segue into happier material by playing a murder ballad,” Laura says. It’s a sequel to their first murder ballad and will be on their next album, “You Don’t Own Me Anymore,” produced by Brandi Carlile and out this summer.

“Don’t tell us if you don’t like it,” Laura tells the audience, laughing. “That’s like telling someone they have an ugly child.”

The women get a lot of their inspiration from failed relationships, which is why Laura hasn’t written a song she likes since she got married to a “redneck from Alabama” last April. So they play the last good song she wrote: “He’s Fine,” about the last man who broke her heart.

Continue reading »

Saturday, January 21, 2017

At least a 1/2 a Million New Friends at the Women's March in DC!

Posted By on Sat, Jan 21, 2017 at 10:00 PM

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Amazing day! We heard there were 500,000-800,000 people joining us at the Women's March on Washington

We apologize for not posting during the day but overall we heard everyone had problems reaching the internet...

Here's our summary of the March on the ground.

Priscilla: Immediately when we reached the Washington Mall area, we saw a lot of people giving their perspective on Donald Trump and how he treats women, especially from all the speakers.

Ella: There was chanting from the crowd with lots of different chants. Chants like: "show me what democracy looks like" and "thank you Obama" and "thank you Michelle."

Priscilla: The weather was dark and in the morning we couldn't see the Washington Monument through the fog. We arrived at the Mall around 8:30 a.m. and stood at 4th and Independence.

Ella: It was humid and damp and our Arizona shoes/feet got cold and chilly.

Priscilla: Ashley Judd was my most memorable speaker. She read a poem from memory. It was inspirational and she said everything from her heart.

Ella: She had such confidence and all agreed it was really passionate. Michael Moore was really funny and was talking a long time and they had to cut him off to get him to stop talking. Everyone agreed that he was talking to us like a friend. He gave us ideas of what we could do, like call our legislators every day for 100 days.

Priscilla: We didn't like getting surrounded by tons of people next to the street and three out of four of us felt like we might pass out. We went up by a building and we met new friends and we played games to relax after the crowd-stress and we waited for the crowd to thin.

Ella: It was cool because so many people felt the same way and the signs inspired me.

Priscilla: Some signs were shocking but still accurate.  

Here are some pictures we took today! We are exhausted from our long day. We had to call to get a ride back to my Uncle's because the subway was sooo full that it stop letting people in. We met a lot of new people today from all over the country! We aren't alone, that's for sure.

We'll post more tomorrow! Thanks for reading about our awesome day.
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Editor's Note: Priscilla and Ella, ages 12 and 9, are Tucsonans traveling to Washington DC for the Women's March on Washington. Ella is a 4th grader and likes playing volleyball, traveling, playing with her cats, and designing clothes. Priscilla is in 7th grade and loves gymnastics and television. The comments section is going to remain closed on their posts.


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Friday, December 2, 2016

After Orlando: An International Theatre Action

Posted By on Fri, Dec 2, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Theaters across the globe are teaming up in response to the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida on June 12. Now, actors and theater goers alike are paying respect to the victims, their families and all those affected that night through live acting.

This summer, a gunman shot and killed 49 club goers at the Pulse Nightclub—a venue known for its LGBTQ+ community. This attack is marked as the worst shooting in modern U.S. history. Authorities later found that the attacker had pledged allegiance to ISIS, a terrorist group based in Iraq and Syria, according to CNN.
ADRIAN GRYCUK/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Adrian Grycuk/Wikimedia Commons


After the shooting, playwrights from across the globe curated a collection of new plays in response to the shooting in conjunction with the Missing Bolts Productions and NoPassport Theatre Alliance & Press, according to Playbill.

Members of the Tucson community are invited to watch the UA graduate and undergraduate students in dramaturgy perform a free, staged reading of the 17 plays curated in the special collection. The reading will be held Monday, Dec. 5 from 7:30-8:30 p.m. in the Harold Dixon Directing Studio, UA Drama Building Room 116, 1025 N. Olive Road.

Playwrights include: E.M. Lewis, Jeff McMahon, Jordan Tannahil, Arturo Soria, Georgina Escobar and many others. Some of these plays involve adult content, profanity and scenes of violence.

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Friday, November 18, 2016

Laughing Stock: Laugh at the Patriarchy

Posted By on Fri, Nov 18, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Alisha Ratan and Meredith D. Howell of Overtly Sensitive. - SHAUNTÉ GLOVER
  • Shaunté Glover
  • Alisha Ratan and Meredith D. Howell of Overtly Sensitive.

“I don't want to be disrespectful,” said Alisha Ratan recently in a Phoenix New Times interview, “but a lot of misogynistic humor gets a free pass. I think we felt more and more like, 'I feel less safe as a woman onstage, and in the audience.'"

In response, Ratan and a colleague, Meredith D. Howell, formed an improv team, Overtly Sensitive. The name refers to a phrase women would like you to stop saying when they make their feelings known. The duo pokes fun at “the patriarchy,” at the pitfalls and life hacks of millennial females and, in a recent show, at stress-relieving meditation, coaxing their audience into centering the heart chakra on the mattress of the body’s core.

Affiliated with the Torch Theatre in Phoenix, Overtly Sensitive will perform on Tuesday, Nov. 22, in Comedy at the Wench, a monthly comedy showcase at Surly Wench Pub. The show starts at 9 p.m.
Also on the bill is Tucson favorite Steven Yanez Romo, host of the popular local talk show Romo Tonight Live. His concoction of chaos, hilarity and special guests was broadcast monthly from the Flycatcher until Romo recently moved to Bisbee. Fans will want to catch what may become a rare stand-up appearance in the Old Pueblo.

Writer and storyteller Em Bowen, salty army vet Stephanie Lyonga and Californian James Quinn round out the bill.

Tucson comics Roxy Merrari and Mo Urban host and perform in the showcase every fourth Tuesday, and an open mic every second Tuesday, at The Surly Wench Pub Bar and Grill at 424 N 4th Ave. Admission is free; a donation is requested. Artist information is available online.

Staff Pick

@ Mission Garden Saturdays, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. Continues through Nov. 24 Corner of Grande Avenue and Mission Lane.

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