Thursday, November 11, 2021

Posted By on Thu, Nov 11, 2021 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge A letter home from WWI: 'It sure was some scrap'
Charlie Nintzel, circa 1918

Editor's note: My father passed along a four-page letter written by my grandfather, Charlie Nintzel, in November 1918, recounting his military experience in WWI. In honor of Veterans Day, I share it here with minor edits.

France, Nov. 24, 1918

Dear Pop:

The “army” has called this day Pop's, dad's, father’s or governor’s letter day, whichever you prefer, but I picked out “Pop” because I always called you by these three little letters. They have also given us permission to write anything we please, describe the battles, etc., which is pretty nice of them. I will try and give you the dope from the very start, that is, when we left the Wadsworth camp.

Here it goes. It will be pretty punk.

We left Spartanburg on the 6th of May and boarded a train around 2 o'clock in the afternoon. I will never forget it as it was roasting hot and with full packs, “wow,” the old sweat poured off me and we only hiked about four miles. The old “choo choo” pulled out and took a course towards north and everybody was yelling “Mineola” or “Merritt,” and then it went east passing Columbia, South Carolina, and from there we took a northern course on the Seaboard Air Laine. Everyone was sure we would go to some camp up north and we finally arrived at Philadelphia had “poke” cigarettes and eats from the Red Cross.

You know how anxious a bunch of soldiers are and naturally, a lot of the fellows questioned the trainmen where we were bound for and, of course, they all mentioned Mineola. The train pulled out past Trenton and we surely thought we would go through the tunnel. I forgot the name of the station but we went through to Jersey City. This was about 12 o'clock on the 7th (of May), mother's and George's birthdays. There wasn't any doubt we were going to Camp Mills.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Posted By on Mon, Oct 18, 2021 at 8:30 AM

Four years ago, Liverpool, England, the city that begat the Beatles, commissioned renowned choreographer Mark Morris to create a dance that would honor the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, one of the Beatles' most influential albums.

Two years ago, the Mark Morris Dance Group was touring the U.S. with the piece, dubbed Pepperland.

A tribute to the Beatles, the 70-minute dance was a jazzy explosion of color, with innovative modern dance moves and plenty of music, including six Beatles songs. The Washington Post found the dance ravishing.

“Pepperland is an ecstatic and provocative Beatles tribute,’’ dance writer Sarah L. Kaufman declared, “and like no land you’ve been to before.”

Regrettably, that dancing Beatle land did not come to Tucson that year. Because in the midst of all the praise, Pepperland went dark. COVID had descended and the tour shut down. Tucson would have to wait.

Like every other choreographer, Morris spent much of the past year and a half stuck in the studio, but he used the time to experiment with new ways to dance.

Instead of leading some of the nation’s best modern dancers across America’s stages, he put them in dance videos, filmed in lonely New York apartments, with the performers dancing solo. The online videos were a hit, and bit by bit, the troupe ventured carefully back into the world. During the past month, the ever-innovative Morris debuted new works created during the pandemic time. The dancers performed them outdoors in different parts of the Big Apple.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Posted By on Thu, May 13, 2021 at 10:30 AM

click to enlarge Japanese Americans imprisoned at Arizona camps during WWII found solace in baseball
Alina Nelson/Cronkite News
Dr. Richard Matsuishi was 4 when his family was displaced from its home in California in 1942 and brought to the Poston internment camp near Parker. Here he stands next to handcrafted birds made by his parents while imprisoned.

PHOENIX – Thirty miles southeast of Phoenix, on sacred land belonging to the Gila River Indian Community, lie the remnants of an internment camp that once housed more than 13,000 people, mostly Japanese Americans, during World War II.

Concrete foundations and cisterns remain, but gone are the fences, barracks and gun tower that revealed the purpose of the place was incarceration rather than internment, at a time when Japanese Americans were suspected of being spies and saboteurs.

“These internment camps were less like camps and more like prisons,” said Koji Lau-Ozawa, an archeology doctoral student at Stanford University whose grandparents were incarcerated there. “There’s a complicated history, but it’s important to note that.”

Gone, too, are the bases, bleachers and foul lines made of flour that represented a form of escapism for those inside the wire: baseball.


Two months after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the U.S. government issued Executive Order 9066 authorizing the incarceration of an estimated 120,000 Japanese Americans on the West Coast. They often were given just 48 hours to sell their homes, businesses and possessions before assignment to one of 10 locations.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Posted By on Wed, May 5, 2021 at 11:44 AM

The owners of El Charro Cafe are collecting stories from patrons to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the restaurant's opening.

The Flores family is asking the community to submit "memories of special occasions, favorite dishes, and stories that are a part of the lore and love of this iconic restaurant," according to a news release. The best 100 stories will be featured in publications, social media posts, newsletters, etc. The writers of each of the selected 100 stories will receive a $100 Si Charro gift card. Entries will be accepted through December at

“Over the years, our guests have generously shared their wonderful memories, as they have celebrated the special occasions of their lives with us. We would love to have a permanent record of these stories to commemorate the hard work and dedication that started with our dear Tia Monica in 1922 and has taken us through to today,” said Carlotta Flores, who along with her husband, Ray, and their children moved from California in the 1970s to take over the restaurant operations from her ailing aunt.

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."

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Posted By on Wed, Jul 17, 2019 at 1:07 PM

If you've been watching the third season of Stranger Things, you should know that the Flandrau Planetarium is doing a laser Stranger Things show. Like in Freaks and Geeks when Lindsay and her friends go to a Pink Floyd themed laser show in the episode "The Garage Door."

It might seems strange that the Flandrau Planetarium would be hosting a Stranger Things show, but laser shows have been popularly shown in planetariums since the 70s, frequented by psych and prog rock fans. A laser show is then well-paired with the retro stylings of Stranger Things.

Lay back in the reclining seats to become part of an immersive laser show experience, surrounded by colorful lights and hypnotic sound. Maybe they'll even play "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by the Clash.

Laser Stranger Things at the Flandrau Planetarium
Courtesy Arizona Daily Star
Tickets are $16 for adults, $12 for kids 4-17, and free for kids 3 and under.

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Friday, July 5, 2019

Posted By on Fri, Jul 5, 2019 at 3:09 PM

Tony Kuchar sequesters himself among piles of vintage magazines from the 1940s through the 1980s in his studio, a pair of scissors in hand. He sifts through the pages, looking for an image he likes. 
Collage Artist Tony Kuchar hangs his kaleidoscopic art at Tiny Town
"Making collage art is a very meditative experience for me," Kuchar says. "Which his probably why I enjoy it so much. I don't think or plan any piece in advance, I just find a scrap that I like and start building off of it with other scraps. No expectations, no destination. I turn my brain off and just make an art  piece that I find pleasing to look at or that speaks to me in some way. It's very therapeutic."

His recent work plays on recurring images - hands, eyes, a face. It's fragmented and kaleidoscopic.

This month, he will be hanging his work at the Tiny Town Gallery on 4th Ave. The small gallery space will host about 20 collages, all framed and for sale. The works range in size from 2"x3" to 15" by 16".

He will also be hosting a live collaging station in the space on July 12 during his art show reception. The station will be full of magazines, paper, glue, scissors, knives, etc., to collage along with Kuchar while he works through his creative process.

Tiny Town is located at 408 N. 4th Ave.
The reception and the store are open to the public, free of charge.

View Kuchar's art on Instagram at

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Friday, May 31, 2019

Posted By on Fri, May 31, 2019 at 1:30 PM

Smartphones may take sharp pictures, but there's nothing quite like analog film. Kikie Wilkins, local film photographer, uses his film cameras loaded with new and expired film to capture ordinary and candid moments in Tucson. His new zine, Views from Tucson, Issue 2 is out now.

The photos in Issue 2 are all taken using his Kodak Brownie Hawkeye box camera. He described the camera as being meant for the amateur photographer "who was more interested in taking pictures of the family vacation or a child's birthday party."

"I decided to use the Hawkeye to take these photographs as a personal challenge to see what results could obtain from such a basic camera."

The combination of Wilkins' use of the Hawkeye and old film creates a sun bleached, dreamy image. The colors drift into dusty pastels and feel like they're from a different time. He photographs familiar landmarks, old cars, images of childhood.

This issue features views of the flooded Rillito river at the Camino de la Tierra crossing, the downtown jazz fiesta, some cars of Tucson and neighborhood views in a self-published book. The 44-page issue is printed in high quality color and black & white on gloss paper.

Issues can be picked up for $15 at Wooden Tooth Records at 426 E 7th Street, Tucson, AZ 85705, or ordered directly from Kikie for $12.

Instagram: @kikiewilkins

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Monday, May 13, 2019

Posted By on Mon, May 13, 2019 at 2:49 PM

Online previews are currently available for the 75-piece “Robert Shelton ‘Old Tucson Collection’” as part of a 600-piece Hollywood Auction run by RR Auction. Highlights of the selection include a rifle gifted to Shelton by John Wayne, a collection of Old Tucson film scripts, and multiple wardrobe and set pieces. Estimated auction prices of these items run from $200 to $8,000.

Bidding begins Friday, May 17 and ends Thursday, May 23.

click to enlarge Old Tucson Props Being Auctioned
RR Auction
A deck of Bonanza playing cards gifted to Shelton by Lorne Greene, available for bidding.

Originally a country club developer, in 1959 Shelton leased the Old Tucson property from Pima County and began to restore the facility originally built by Columbia Pictures in 1939 for the movie Arizona. Shelton was involved with Old Tucson production for decades, working when classic Westerns such as Gunfight at the OK Corral, Cimarron, and Rio Lobo were filmed at the studios.

The props are especially rare considering they survived the 1995 fire that destroyed much of the Old Tucson studios.

RR Auction worked with Shelton's widow, Carolyn Olson Shelton, to properly place "these rare relics in the hands of people who will treasure them."

For more information and to see the collection, visit RR Auction’s website.

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Thursday, May 9, 2019

Posted By on Thu, May 9, 2019 at 10:38 AM

click to enlarge D-Day Doll Visits Tucson on Commemorative World Tour
Jeff Gardner
“Oh my, here it comes,” said World War II veteran Gwen Niemi, who, even at 99-years-old, could hardly contain her excitement as the C-53D Skytrooper airplane landed at the Tucson International Airport.

The historic aircraft, nicknamed the “D-Day Doll” flew in the Normandy Invasion of France in 1944, dropping paratroopers, delivering supplies and evacuating the wounded. Now, 75 years later, it is flying across the U.S. for a seven-week, 12,000 mile journey back to France. The plane is returning to Europe as part of a commemorative gathering of World War II aircraft honoring veterans. This June, the C-53D will join 250 other historically significant aircraft for the “largest gathering of war birds since WWII.”

click to enlarge D-Day Doll Visits Tucson on Commemorative World Tour
Jeff Gardner
The C-53D can hold 26 paratroopers, plus two pilots. But now instead of troops, the plane holds cargo to take the pilots on their historic tour from the states to Greenland, Iceland, England and finally France. In total, only 380 C-53 Skytroopers were ever constructed.

Starting its tour in Riverside, California, the C-53D was not originally planned to stop in Tucson. But support and interest from the Tucson aerospace community brought this historic aircraft into town the afternoon of Wednesday, May 8.

“There was a lot of interest and help for this program out of Tucson,” said D-Day Doll pilot Bill Prosser. “And we’re here to thank them for supporting us.”
click to enlarge D-Day Doll Visits Tucson on Commemorative World Tour
Jeff Gardner

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