Thursday, December 5, 2019

Laughing Stock: We need clones

Posted By on Thu, Dec 5, 2019 at 1:00 AM

This is black belt comic Anna Valenzuela who’s performing at The O on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the same time Cristel Alonzo is performing at the Rialto. We need clones. - ANNAVALENZUELA.COM
  • annavalenzuela.com
  • This is black belt comic Anna Valenzuela who’s performing at The O on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the same time Cristel Alonzo is performing at the Rialto. We need clones.
CBCTAC presents Anna Valenzuela

“Latinas make 54 cents to every white male dollar, which is why I have to take a roll of toilet paper from every business I enter for rest of my life.”

So tweeted Anna Valenzuela recently, making us spew our coffee while holding up a mirror to the privilege in our white feminism. We can expect a whole set of such darkly colorful insights, delivered with authentic warmth and much laughter, at 8 p.m., Saturday, December 7 at The O. Tickets are $5 via Eventbrite.

A legit black belt in karate, Valenzuela slayed the field with snaps on a recent Comedy Central Roast Battle. She appears regularly at the Comedy Store and The Improv and was a favorite at Second City’s Los Angeles Diversity in Comedy Festival. She also hosts two podcasts: 12 Questions, an in-depth look at sobriety, and Bruja-ja, where three Latinas dish on all things Latinx.

A Los Angelean, Valenzuela will be the first touring headliner featured in the cheekily titled comedy show series Cunts Being Cunts Taking About Cunts. Organizers Mo Urban and Steena Salido have lately shortened it to CBCTAC in print, presumably for convenience, because: Why else?

The show opens with an improv set by AllReddy, comprising Allana Erickson-Lopez of Unscrewed Theatre and Katherine Morter. The lineup also includes Phoenician Alice Valpey and Tucson comics Andrea Salazar, Chinna Garza, Em Bowen and Kathie Hedrick.

As at every CBCTAC show, feminine hygiene products will be collected for Project Period, a program of the YWCA of Southern Arizona.

Cristela Alonzo visits with her idol, Dolores Huerta - CRISTELAALONZO
  • cristelaalonzo
  • Cristela Alonzo visits with her idol, Dolores Huerta
Cristela Alonzo: My Affordable Care Act

Cristela Alonza performs at 8 p.m., Saturday, December 7, at the Rialto Theatre. Tickets are $19 to $36 at rialtotheatre.com.

Alonzo is comedy’s answer to Dolores Huerta, her idol. Her website, cristelaalonzo.com, devotes as much space to her causes as to her comedy. She writes, “I am a first-generation American born to an undocumented mother that taught me to love this country. I believe it is my duty to give back and fight so that everyone can get the same thing my family got: a chance.”

And then she quotes Huerta. “Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world.”

Alonzo created her own bully pulpit five years ago with Cristela, a network sitcom that she wrote, produced and starred in herself. Soon after, she began guest-hosting the daytime roundtable show, The View. In 2017, she became the first Latina lead in a Pixar film, voicing the part of Cruz Ramirez in Cars 3. Lower Classy, her first standup special, is streaming on Netflix.

Last month a Simon & Shuster imprint published her book, Music to My Years: A Mixtape Memoir of Growing Up and Standing Up. The stories reveal her vulnerability and her challenges, like the tap shoes she made for herself with bottle caps, and how standup comedy helped her process her grief when her mother died.

When not doing comedy, Alonzo devotes her time to activism around immigration, universal healthcare, social justice, HIV AIDS awareness and prevention, reproductive rights, Special Olympics and LUPE, La Union del Pueblo Entero, founded by Huerta with César Chávez. She’s on their board.

From the struggles she sees in others and in her own life, Alonzo crafts comedy that welcomes us into her world with the light of her humanity.

Mishka Shubaly at The Wench

Comedy at the Wench breaks its open-mic format at 7 p.m. Monday, December 9, to bring us comedian and pan-genius Mishka Shubaly.

Best known as a writer and musician, Shubaly has the wits and the wit to have turned a self-made disaster of a life into a livelihood. His childhood broke his heart, youth was a struggle and he was an alcoholic by the time he graduated college at 15. Yet at 22, he received the Dean’s Fellowship from the Master’s Writing Program at Columbia.

A dissolute life ensued, yielding six record albums, one with Brooklyn’s goth, post-punk band, Freshkills. Shubaly’s six Kindle Singles all have been best sellers. In 2016, Public Affairs published his memoir, I Swear I’ll Make It Up To You: A Life on the Low Road. He also teaches writing at the Yale Writers Conference. Luckily, he got sober at 32, inspired by marathon running.

The Wench show also features Jake Flores. Not to be reductive but we’re running out of space. Flores’ website URL says it all: feraljokes.com Reservations are $5, or $10 for preferred seating in the show room. These special shows at The Surly Wench have been selling out, so we recommend reservations via donate@wenchcomedy.com on PayPal or @wenchcomedy on Venmo.

Arroyo Café Radio

David Fitzsimmons is having a busy weekend. Last week we wrote about his project for fellow old folks, Still Standing up. Featuring five comedians over 60, the show makes fun of things only old people know about. Take that, millennial smarty-pantses.

To recap, Still Standing Up is at 6 p.m., Sunday, December 8, at Laffs Comedy Caffe. Reservations are $10 via Eventbrite.com.

On December 7, though, at 1 p.m., Fitzsimmons hosts another epic production of his annual Arroyo Café Holiday Radio Show at the Rialto Theatre. More than 20 local celebrities perform a loosely scripted radio play around musical guests and other entertainments and surprises, Including Wilbur Wildcat.

It’s all staged in an old-time radio show format with an iconic reconstruction of a ‘40s microphone. Comedians in the cast include KXCI’s Bridgitte Thum, Mike Sterner, Josiah Osego, Elliot Glicksman, Jay Taylor, Priscilla Fernandez, David Membrila and Bobby Rich. Tickets are $20 via Eventbrite.com. Proceeds benefit three local organizations that help immigrants and Arizona Public Media, which broadcasts the show on Christmas Eve.

Lots More Comedy

Friday, Dec. 6: Standup with Geoff Asmus featuring Brian Mollica at 7 and 9:30 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe ($12.50 and $17.50). Improv with Improv 201 and 301 Student showcases at 7:30 p.m. and The Soapbox featuring rugby captain Kristin Pope at 9 p.m. at TIM Comedy Theatre (TIM)($5). Family-friendly improv with Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m., Unscrewed Theater ($5 and $8).
Saturday, Dec. 7: Standup with Michael Carbonara at 7 p.m. at Desert Diamond Casino ($27.50 to $47.50) Geoff Asmus featuring Brian Mollica at 7 and 9:30 p.m., at Laffs Comedy Caffe ($12.50 and $17.50). Improv with Ugly Sweater Improv and Pilot Season at 7:30 p.m., and the 101 Student Showcase and The Dating Scene at 9 p.m. at TIM ($5). Family-friendly improv with Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m. and musical improv with From the Top at 9 p.m. at Unscrewed Theater ($5 and $8).
Monday, Dec. 9: Standup with John Waters at 8 p.m. at the Rialto Theatre ($33 to $110) and Mishka Shubaly with Jake Flores at The Surly Wench.

Free Open Mics

Sunday, Dec. 8, 6:30 p.m., The O, and 8 p.m., Chuckleheads in Bisbee.
Monday, Dec. 9, 7 p.m., Comedy at the Wench, The Surly Wench Pub.
Tuesday, Dec. 10, 6:45 p.m., Neighborhood Comedy at The Music Box Lounge.
Wednesday, Dec. 11, 7 p.m., The Screening Room and 8:30 p.m. at The Mint.
Thursday, Dec.12, 8 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe and 8:30 p.m., Rockabilly Grill.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Ducey Signs Bill for Missing and Murdered Women and Girls Study

Posted By on Tue, Aug 13, 2019 at 2:24 PM

  • Office of Governor Doug Ducey
Earlier today, Governor Doug Ducey officially signed House Bill 2570, which intends to create a study committee to address the high number of Indigenous women and girls that are killed or go missing each year. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Jennifer Jermaine and passed unanimously in the House and Senate chambers earlier this year.

With Ducey's signature, the committee can begin working toward finding causes and solutions to these crimes, which starts with better collaboration and record-keeping between different law enforcement entities. Those solutions could lead to future legislation introduced to the Arizona legislature.

The committee will include members of state, local and tribal law enforcement, representatives from several Arizona tribes, family members of the murdered and missing women and girls and additional victim advocates.

“In some tribal communities American Indian women face murder rates 10 times the national rate, yet, there is little to no data to show what exactly is happening,” Senator Victoria Steele said in a press release. “We can’t allow our Native sisters to just disappear at this rate and not draw attention to it. Today, we are taking action by shedding light on this issue and finally giving it the attention it deserves.”

Ducey said this crisis has been endured by Indigenous communities "for far too long." He extended thanks to Sen. Steele and Rep. Jermaine for taking on the task of getting this bill passed.

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Monday, July 22, 2019

Taco Sauce talks their latest tour

Posted By on Mon, Jul 22, 2019 at 3:24 PM

  • Courtesy photo
Local Garage rock/surf-punk rockers Taco Sauce just returned to their Old Pueblo home after a mini tour in the southwest. Ambur Wilkerson had the chance to ask them about the tour and upcoming projects.

Check out Taco Sauce tonight at Club Congress.

1. How's the tour going?

Isabella: So, a few weekends ago we went on the first leg of our mini tour in Las Cruces and El Paso and it was dope! We brought our friend Jenn and she pretty much acted as our photographer and tour manager and the four of us had a ton of fun.

Gabi: Yeah those first few tour dates gave us an idea of how people would react to us outside of Tucson and it was all very positive.

Maya: Loved the food and scenery. Had my first margarita at La Posts in Las Cruces.

2. Where have you been so far on the tour and where are you guys headed?

Gabi: We went to Las Cruces New Mexico (my hometown) and El Paso then we have a few Tucson dates, Phoenix on July 19 and Albuquerque on July 20.

3. What's been your favorite place to perform so far during the tour?

Gabi: We only did two so far since it's a mini tour but Little Toad in Las Cruces and Monarch in El Paso were both very hospitable with a pretty solid crowd who were happy to see us.

4. What's it's been like to go on tour with Seanloui and Maya from YUM?

Isabella: Seanloui is only on the Owls Club date but we play shows with him all the time because he's my best friend and we're very supportive of each other. Maya is a great travel companion. She's very levelheaded and brings a lot of calm to the group.

Gabi: Maya is pretty much our rock already. She's so in tune with us on stage and in day to day life. And she's hilarious and badass so it's an honor.

5. How do you want audience members to feel after attending one of the shows?

Isabella: Energized, like they can fuck shit up and take on the world and catcallers and say fuck you to anyone you want to say fuck you to.

Maya: I want them to be in awe and to have had a good time but I don't want them to walk away feeling nothing. As long as it evokes a reaction I'm happy.

Gabi: Yeah I just want to get a reaction. I'd be just as thrilled to see people wanna fight me after hearing my lyrics, especially because a lot of our music targets misogynists and racists, but mainly I'm so excited to see how our music just gets people pumped and makes women feel empowered and validated.

6. What are some upcoming projects you're working on?

Gabi: We're in the studio with Ty Engle working on some new singles currently and also writing new songs, a few of which we're playing at tges6e upcoming shows. I'm also trying to finish scoring the short movie La Motochorra for one of my best friends so I'm very excited/exhausted right now.

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Friday, June 21, 2019

Laughing Stock: Jill Kimmel at the O and a Boy-Free Stage at Hotel McCoy

Posted By on Fri, Jun 21, 2019 at 1:18 PM

Autumn Horvat—comedian, host, booker, rabble-rouser—is at Hotel McCoy on Friday, June 28. - CLAY BRAASCH
  • Clay Braasch
  • Autumn Horvat—comedian, host, booker, rabble-rouser—is at Hotel McCoy on Friday, June 28.

A boy-free stage at Hotel McCoy

Tucson comedians tell no jokes on their private Facebook page. It’s all about stage time, except when interrupted every few weeks by the kind of dustup typical of that medium. Last week a flurry of emotional debate circled around how few local women are seen on local comedy stages. When comedian Autumn Horvat called out a particular local open mic on the matter, a feeding frenzy ensued. 

No one denied that local comedy lineups rarely include more than zero to one woman, but men defended the status quo objectively: Women are a small fraction of Tucson’s comedian population, and even they are frequently unavailable for shows. 

“I think that just going up as a woman is more of a challenge,” Horvat says. “I think people are conditioned to think men are funny, but women have to prove themselves. I feel like some men in our scene already have decided that we aren’t funny and they won’t listen to us.” 

Wait. Men don’t listen? 

“I also feel like men have an easier time getting started,” Horvat adds. “Other men will (mentor) them, take new male comics under their wings, pay attention to their sets and offer them tips.”

With women comics, she adds, that situation often feels like a dating dynamic. Also, some men apparently still have a problem relating to women who may be as smart and funny as them. We feel a facepalm coming on.

Chad Lehrman, a Tucson show promoter who also runs a local comedy series, is very aware of the issue. He already had planned a comedy show to address it: Comedians Who Are Not Boys, at 8 p.m. Friday, June 28 at Hotel McCoy.

He invited Horvat to book the comedians and host the show. “I just named it Comedians Who Aren’t Boys at the McCoy because it rhymed,” Lehrman says, not even wincing. “I wasn’t sure, but Autumn liked it.”

Asked if he thought women are more difficult to book, he answers with a firm and simple “no.” He notes, too, that there are more women than ever now on the national scene. “There’s more of everybody though,” he says, “Indians, Asians, gay comics and women.”

As part of the McCoy Hotel’s Last Friday, Last Laugh series, the Comedians Who Are Not Boys show is free. The bar is open and a food truck is available. Besides Horvat, who also hosts, the lineup includes Mo Urban of The C*nt Show and The Dating Game, and Priscilla Fernandez, host of the long-running Retro Game show at Hotel Congress. Others are Chinna Garza, Rebecca Tingley, Nicole Riesgo and Cierra Renee Miranda.

Jill Kimmel is just like us, at The O, Saturday, June 22. - JILL KIMMEL COMEDY
  • Jill Kimmel Comedy
  • Jill Kimmel is just like us, at The O, Saturday, June 22.

Jill “Yes, She’s Jimmy’s Sister” Kimmel comes to The O

Since we’re on the topic, Jill Kimmel has life stories to share about being a woman in comedy. She’s a mother of two teenage children, and the first to say that all by itself motherhood is a barrier to the open-mic training and travel required to be a comedian. 

“If I didn’t have my parents (to take care of the children), I don’t think I would have been able to start doing comedy, to go out on the road and do it full time,” Kimmel says.

A Phoenix native, Kimmel performs at The O, 2000 N. Oracle Road, at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 22. Tickets are $10 on Eventbrite or at the door.

Asked to describe her own comedy, she quickly denies political content but doesn’t turn down a comparison to Roseanne Barr. 

“She always was the overweight housewife talking about her relationships and raising kids and being married and how horrible it was,” Kimmel says. “I’m not talking about politics, I’m not insulting people, I’m talking about myself, my life. Every time I go somewhere I haven’t been, people tell me I’m not going to be young enough, cool enough, sexy enough. But no matter where I go, people relate to a 40-year-old woman who’s divorced, back in the dating pool, has children in school, has lost weight, gained weight.... It’s just a lot of stuff that’s very relatable. (People) go ‘Yeah, that happened to me. Oh my God!’ I love that!”

Kimmel has worked with Jimmy Fallon, Norm Macdonald and Jeffrey Ross. She’s performed at Stand Up Live, the Improv comedy club and The Comedy Store, among other well-known venues. She creates the weekly segment “What A Mouth” on the “Lu Valentino Show.”

Kimmel suggests that women who don’t get booked enough should start their own shows. She names Tucson comics Mo Urban and Roxy Merrari as examples who have not only benefitted from their own shows but have used them to lift up other women comedians. Autumn Horvat, for example, got her start on Merrari’s Comedy at the Wench series.

For others, she advises, “Just be seen more and network more. I find that the women … booked on shows are the ones who hustle. They’re out there, they’re working and networking. They’re nice and they’re funny.”  

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Thursday, March 7, 2019

Laughing Stock: Faith and the Funny

Posted By on Thu, Mar 7, 2019 at 3:57 PM

“The Country Comic” Chonda Pierce makes lemonade at The Fox March 12 - REBECCA HUTCHISON STEPHENS
  • Rebecca Hutchison Stephens
  • “The Country Comic” Chonda Pierce makes lemonade at The Fox March 12
Modern Woman Tells All

We are trying not to refer to Carol Leifer as a Michaelangela of comedy, but there it is. She started her standup career in college in the 1970s, when that was not at all the done thing. Most recently, she’s been a writer for our favorite TV shows: Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Modern Family and Saturday Night Live. An actor and producer as well, she’s also written books with compelling titles: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying and the irresistible-as-chocolate When You Lie About Your Age, The Terrorists Win.

At 10:30 a.m., Sunday, March 10, Leifer shares stories from her incredible career as well as her thoughts on women’s issues, her Jewish roots, LGBT perspectives and her four rescue dogs at a benefit for Women’s Philanthropy of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona. The event is at the Westin La Paloma Hotel and reservations are $40 for those who already have donated at least $180 to the JFSA. Surely you know someone? Visit jfsa.org/connections-2019 for details.

Think Positive

Billboard Magazine has called Chonda Pierce “the country comic,” so even though Larry the Cable Guy is cancelled at Casino del Sol Saturday, the week shouldn’t be a total loss. Pierce performs at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 12, at the Fox Tucson Theatre. Tickets are $21.20 to $52 via awakeningevents.com.

Like most of the Awakening stable, Pierce is Christian; her website has a tab for “Prayer.” It’s given her a bright outlook, though, in the way of lemons making lemonade. Her first film, Chonda Pierce: Laughing In The Dark, was based on her struggle to overcome depression. While it may not be every comedy fan’s taste, her positivity has made her the top-selling female comedian, per RIAA data.

A preacher’s daughter, Pierce got her start in show business playing the role of Minnie Pearl at Nashville’s Opryland theme park. She so loved telling jokes as Minnie Pearl she decided to make it her career. According to her website bio, “she credits her southern upbringing both for her warped sense of humor and her solid roots.”

Speaking of Women

March 28 through 30 are set for this year’s all-female, multi-genre Cactus Flower Comedy Festival. Details about selected standups, storytellers and improvisers are still being sorted, but festival hosts the Tucson Improv Movement will feature their popular female teams the Riveters, the bilingual Como Se Dice and female members of Throwdown. 

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Friday, February 22, 2019

In The Limelight | Katie Haverly Celebrates The Divine Feminine

Posted By on Fri, Feb 22, 2019 at 3:29 PM

  • Julius Schlosburg
In a collaborative project—with photographer/videographer Julius Schlosburg and writer/broadcaster Hannah Levin—singer-songwriter Katie Haverly is set to unveil her latest video to the world. Tuesday, Feb. 26 marks the release of “Titanic” a song from her fifth studio album Pluto. The video is a celebration of 38 Tucson women—the badass artists, musicians, movers and shakers that make this dusty town tick.

But, there is more to the story than that.

XOXO sat down over coffee with Haverly, Levin and Schlosburg at Casa Libre for a chat. Gird your loins.

The song “Titanic” is from your 2018 release, Pluto. How did the inspiration for the video come about?

Katie Haverly:  The day that Aretha Franklin died I had a vision of doing this video. It was inspired by a desire to highlight and have many women be seen, that maybe aren’t highlighted enough in our community, for the contributions that they make and creativity they bring to our city—and the value that they hold. I sent an email reaching out to sixty women to describe the project. Then I tried to figure out how to do it… And I talked to Julius and he said, “Yes.” Then, Hannah heard about the project and got excited. From there we started collaborating together.

From listening to the song and reading the lyrics, it strikes me as a cautionary tale. What was your intended meaning or thought when you wrote “Titanic?”

Katie Haverly:  I read Russell Brand’s book Revolution (Random House). He uses this metaphor, over and over again, in the book. Which is, this school bus is filled with forty people that control 98 percent of the world’s resources and wealth. And these forty people have this enormous political power to impact policies and change big things, like our environment. This song is really about our environment. And the ways in which we are not waking up to the call to arms that we should be tasked with to stop these insane massive changes. So these forty people on the bus, are there on the top deck of the Titanic. They are lounging on fancy linen sheets under diamond chandeliers. And all the decks below are the people who are influenced by their decisions. [The forty] hold the steering wheel to this vessel—one that we are all on together—that is about to hit a fucking iceberg.

The undercurrent to the song is how The Divine Feminine energy needs to come up and out to correct this masculine energy that has created this shift in the vessel. It is definitely a cautionary tale.
When you reached out through your email what was the message that you were conveying?

Katie Haverly:  Hannah, I would be curious what you felt the message was when you received the email?

Hannah Levin:  The message was clear, that you wanted to pull more women into the spotlight that weren’t necessarily in the spotlight. Aside from the feminist and necessary implications of the work. I was impressed. She articulated a very lucid vision. She wanted to create a space where each woman would be represented in her own way; Each woman’s power, strength and creativity was going to be illuminated.

How does Julius factor into all this?

Julius Schlosburg:  Katie and I were in a band, Copper & Congress, for years. We became close friends. We’ve made music videos before. We respect each other's work. It’s really joyous to work with Katie.

Where was the video shot?

Katie Haverly:  At my house.

And, what was the vibe like having all these dynamic women in one room?

Katie Haverly:  I think it was like the best day of my life. It was so beautiful and full of love and support. There was such a sense of community during a time when we all felt so violated, not seen or heard. It was a healing experience. Very inspiring and nourishing.

What message would you like someone watching this video to get?

Katie Haverly:  The first thing, is to spark curiosity as to who these women are. I want people to get a sense as to how powerful these women are and how underrepresented they have been in our community. And to create a space for these women to be seen.
  • Julius Schlosburg
You’ve been cultivating your career in Tucson for several years now. Do you feel that you have experienced discrimination as a female artist in having access and doors open for your performances?

Katie Haverly:  That’s a very complex question…

It is.

Katie Haverly:  Because there are lots of different levels to those experiences. I’ve had to learn how to assert myself in a certain way, to not be treated that way. I’ve spent my whole life feeling like I’ve been treated differently by men in the music industry.

You have?

Katie Haverly:  Oh absolutely. Especially booking shows.

Julius Schlosburg:  Even when we would play shows… It’s like Katie Haverly and The Aviary. But, the sound person would come up to one of the guys in the band, “Hey, what do you need?”

Hannah Levin:  I’ve been sitting with her after a show and some guy in the audience would come up and start giving her feedback about how she could do a better job.

Katie Haverly:  That started when I was fifteen. And it was always white guys in their fifties and sixties. I fucking swear to god.

I suspected there was some sexism involved in the process. I am sorry to hear that…

Katie Haverly:  My strategy to overcome that is to be insanely professional and really good at what I do. So people can’t ignore me. I feel that I have to do this better to be considered for the same thing.

Ultimately, and maybe that will be our saving grace as a society, is that talent always rises above. And, I think you have risen based on your abilities as opposed to anything else. Your persistence has paid off.

Katie Haverly:  Thanks.

Your work touches on social and environmental issues. Is “Titanic” a political statement?

Katie Haverly:  Absolutely. Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement is horrendous. I don’t know where to start…

Please, I think you should start.

Katie Haverly:  I don’t understand how the idea of climate science is not being recognized by our political leaders. It’s like a nightmare. I don’t know how… All of the tragedies that we are dealing with right now are human generated. And, I am a culprit. We all are living in this luxury that affords us this experience right now. But, we are really not prepared to have a safe and healthy place for future generations to live.

The bitter truth.

In an encore performance, Katie Haverly and The Aviary debut the video for “Titanic” on Saturday, Feb. 23 at Exo Roast Co. With Jillian Bessett.
  • Julius Schlosburg

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Friday, January 18, 2019

Community Members Release Statement In Opposition of Tucson Women's March

Posted By on Fri, Jan 18, 2019 at 1:30 PM

2017 Women's March in Tucson - TIRION MORRIS
  • Tirion Morris
  • 2017 Women's March in Tucson

Yesterday Tucson Weekly published an article about the upcoming Tucson Women’s March on Jan. 20. The story did not include information about the communities that have felt mistreated during the creation of this event.

Summer Aguilera, a member of the Chukson Tucson Water Protectors, went to the first public organizers meeting for the Tucson Women’s March almost a year ago. From the beginning, she began to notice problematic behaviors from within the organization’s leadership.

She said the leaders, many of whom are white, gave titles but no real decision-making power to some of the groups they claim to represent. They wouldn’t allow Spanish-speaking women to give speeches at the march, claiming their accents were too thick. She said they tokenized women of color and LGBTQ+ groups by believing they had done their part just by scheduling people of those identities to speak at the event.

In response to these actions, a community statement was released in opposition of the march. The community members who drafted the statement made it clear they are not speaking for everyone, since there are women of color and LGBTQ+ folks who will participate in the event and have had different experiences with the leadership.

In December, Aguilera brought her concerns to the leaders of the Tucson Women’s March, but was told she was being “uncivil.” She was accompanied by white allies who repeated her exact concerns, to which the leaders welcomingly acknowledged. Aguilera said she and organizers like her were told they are the cause of the divide in the women’s march, and that they were creating the problem.

The national women’s march movement has struggled with inclusivity since the beginning. The public fallout of the Women’s March, Inc. organization over accusations of keeping organizers of color powerless and anti-Semitism beliefs echo similar rifts happening in women’s march organizations across the country. In some of the most liberal cities, women of color and LGBTQ+ folks have experienced pushback from the very organizations that claim to champion their daily struggles.

Here in Tucson, Aguilera believes the women’s march is not really for marginalized people, it’s for those with privilege to feel good about themselves. She said organizing an event makes them feel like they’re being allies, but by maintaining control of it they are only taking resources away from those who actually need it. She said they don’t talk about their own complicity and actions that perpetuate oppression or attend community events organized by the marginalized groups themselves, they only focus on putting together this symbolic march.

Local groups in support of this position include Black Lives Matter Tucson, Coalición de Derechos Humanos, Chukson Water Protectors, Border Patrol Victims Network, Sustainable Nations, TYLO (Tierra Y Libertad Organization), Free the Children Coalition, Flowers and Bullets, Sex Workers Outreach Project, Bruv Luv, Pan Left, Split Seeds Production, O’odham Anti Border Collective, Alliance for Global Justice, Take Back the Night, Borderlinks, Tucson Lobaz, GLOO Factory, Green Party of Pima County Chair Sara Mae Williams (Tohono O’odham) and Tucson Brown Berets - Citlamina Xochitlquetzalli along with numerous local activists. Aguilera said the list has grown longer since they released it.

Cynthia Bistrain, the chair of the Tucson Women’s March, said she was very saddened to see their statement. She said this is a difficult space to be in and everyone is plagued by making their own assumptions, but she and the other leaders, many of whom are older women, are still willing to have those difficult conversations.

Marla Pacheco, a representative of the Coalición de Derechos Humanos, said they have received support from across the country since they released the statement. Groups in other cities have had the same problems with women’s marches in their cities that claim inclusivity but don’t support it.

Their opposition to the women’s march has actually united communities that have equally been sidelined from the mainstream liberal movement, according to Aguilera.

She and others are planning their own demonstration for International Women’s Day in early March. She said they will give a genuine platform for marginalized groups to speak and will be a safe space for all. More details will be available in the near future.

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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Laughing Stock: Fringe Freedom Finds the Funny

Posted By on Thu, Jan 10, 2019 at 12:56 PM

Bill Santiago presents his comedy set, The Immaculate Big Bang, as part of the Tucson Fringe Fest 2019, Jan. 10 through 13. - MORGAN SHORTELL, KMESTUDIO12.COM
  • Morgan Shortell, KMEstudio12.com
  • Bill Santiago presents his comedy set, The Immaculate Big Bang, as part of the Tucson Fringe Fest 2019, Jan. 10 through 13.

The first time actor, director and Rincon High School drama teacher Maryann Green staged a play she’d written herself, she sold out the house. Twice. Those two shows were part of the 2013 Fringe Festival that hooked her on fringe for life.

Now she heads up a volunteer crew of 15 to produce the Tucson Fringe Festival 2019, from Thursday, Jan. 10, through Sunday, Jan. 13. The fest includes 50 performances in 12 local venues. Admission to each show is $10, but a range of multi-show options are available, from a $15, two-admission pass to a $95 all-access pass.

A growing phenomenon around the globe, fringe theater is unique in its artistic freedom. Fringe productions often radically disregard conventions of structure, space, physical language and audience engagement. Acts self-identify as Fringe, pay an artist’s fee and get their names drawn from a hat, or not, as luck will have it.

Green says, “The first week of September, we hold a party where guests take turns pulling shows out of the hat until we have a full line up.”

Tucson Fringe sometimes pays a price for that artistic freedom. “Comedy shows tend to do better, ticket-sales wise,” Green says. “But some of my favorite past shows have been thought-provoking, heavier pieces.

“I was also really happy to be able to offer The Esperanza Dance project a last-minute spot in the festival,” she adds. “They help victims of childhood sexual violence heal through dance and multi-media performance.”

For comedy, we especially look forward to the first entries we’ve seen whose subject matter is entirely about work life: Name Tag Blues, Shane “Scurvy” Spears’ send up of the ignominies along the path to a window office; and Moira Keefe’s, Life as An Associate ...AKA F**ing Cashier, about a retiree’s return to the workforce.

We also like the funny, full-frontal feminism of Mo Urban and Steena Salido’s C*nts vs C*nts Talking About C*nts variety show and Elaine Orion’s Delightfully Rude, winner of the “Best Comedic Performance” award at the 2018 Boulder Fringe Festival.

And we’re looking forward to the Tucson fest’s first straight-up stand up performance, Bill Santiago’s The Immaculate Big Bang, a parody of every deeply believed origin story of everything.
Complete descriptions and tickets for all performances are at squareup.com/store/tucsonfringe.

From 3 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13, the Comedy Alliance of Tucson and the Tucson Fringe Festival co-host “What Are You Laughing At,” a free, audience-participation panel discussion about the comedy scene in Tucson. Details are at catcomedy520.org. 

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