Thursday, August 23, 2018

Posted By on Thu, Aug 23, 2018 at 4:17 PM

click to enlarge Steve Martin (L) and Martin Short perform Aug. 26 at the Tucson Convention Center. - NETFLIX
NETFLIX
Steve Martin (L) and Martin Short perform Aug. 26 at the Tucson Convention Center.

I jump at opportunities to say I discovered Martin Short, at least in my office. On Johnny Carson, he was the funniest person ever, so the next day I asked the break room comedy fans, “Have you ever seen Martin Short?” It turned out to be a mic drop moment.

Short appears with Steve Martin at the Tucson Convention Center Arena on Sunday, August 26, in “An Evening You Will Forget For The Rest Of Your LIfe.” One hopes that’s a joke given the ticket prices: $55 to $175 via tucsonarena.com.

Short is a smart and physical comic, generating laughs with the merest gesture of any visible body part. A veteran of Second City and SCTV, he is the person Robin Williams first reminded me of, and, to me, he is the star of The Three Amigos.

You know that 1986 movie was made at Old Tucson, right? Steve Martin co-wrote it with Lorne Michaels. Martin, Short and Chevy Chase starred. You should own it.

Titan-of-comedy Martin has been brilliantly picking banjo since he started in show business. He has said he started telling jokes in his juggling and banjo act. Comedy’s won him two Grammys, but songwriting and banjo have won him three, including a Best Country Instrumental.

The show represents a throwback to an era of duo comedy that virtually ended with the Smothers Brothers (Google Laugh In, kids.) and the gamut of TV variety shows once hosted by popular comedians. It includes, in addition to amusing back and forth banter, side-splitting bits from Short’s one-man show, a ventriloquist segment featuring Short as the dummy, a slide show of baby pictures, Martin’s playing solo and with The Steep Canyon Rangers, and a story swap of encounters with Elvis and Frank Sinatra, complete with imitations.

There will be no politics, though. Short told the Los Angeles Times, “We're not social satirists. We're more clowns.”

For the budget conscious, Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget is available on Netflix. It’s been nominated for four Grammy awards, but obviously won’t include inevitably entertaining live adlibs.

Note: The Hope After Dope show scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 25 at House of Neighborly Services is being rescheduled. We'll have updates as they are available.

 

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Friday, June 29, 2018

Posted By on Fri, Jun 29, 2018 at 4:24 PM

click to enlarge About 100 neighbors and people invested in the outcome of the Benedictine Monastery gather on June 28 to hear architect Corky Poster's latest proposal for the sanctuary's future. - DANYELLE KHMARA
Danyelle Khmara
About 100 neighbors and people invested in the outcome of the Benedictine Monastery gather on June 28 to hear architect Corky Poster's latest proposal for the sanctuary's future.

The latest proposal for development around the Benedictine Monastery didn’t receive much support from the 100 or so neighbors who attended a public meeting at the historic chapel on June 28.

Architect Corky Poster with Poster Frost Mirto, a local design firm that emphasizes preservation and sustainability, framed the proposal as being their last effort at compromise before the property and monastery itself is turned into student housing, allowed under the current zoning.

“Plan B is our firm is no longer involved with the project and it proceeds under current zoning,” Poster said.

The current zoning allows for 40 feet (four stories) of high-density residential, which could be used for student housing. The zoning also allows for a maximum 222 living units, given there is ample parking and setbacks from the road.

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Posted By on Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 1:00 PM

click to enlarge Willie Barcena headlines at the Fox Tucson Theatre on Saturday, June 16. - WILLIE BARCENA'S FACEBOOK PAGE
Willie Barcena's Facebook Page
Willie Barcena headlines at the Fox Tucson Theatre on Saturday, June 16.
Comedians Willie Barcena and Gilbert Esquivel bring their combined 50 years’ experience in high-energy showmanship and irreverent comedy to the Fox stage at 8 p.m., Saturday, June 16. Tickets for the 18-and-over show are $22 to $47 via foxtucsontheatre.com.

Barcena, a 12-time guest on the "Tonight Show," is known to fans for appearances on several TV series, tour stops all over the world, and his own stand-up specials on Comedy Central, Showtime and Netflix. He also hosted Si TV’s "Latino Laugh Festival: The Show." Barcena’s live appearances are said to cover everything we wouldn’t talk about in polite company.

Esquivel was practically born a road warrior having grown up following the harvest seasons across the U.S. with his migrant-worker family. Now he tours comedy clubs, colleges, prisons and the Las Vegas strip, taking time out to reap TV credits and produce a commercially available DVD, "Thou Shalt Laugh."

Take the kids retro!

See "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 23, and "Clueless" at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 30 at Fox Tucson Theatre. Tickets are $7, $5 for students and free for Fox members and kids under 12. Did you know that the Fox was Tucson's first air-conditioned entertainment venue?

Unscrewed Theatre Lives: Neighborly and kid-friendly.

As its new space in Midway Business Park #39 (4500 E Speedway Blvd.) is being transformed, Unscrewed sustains its fans with free weekly comedy, hosted by two of its new neighbors. Four of the company’s house teams cycle through shows at 7 p.m. Fridays at Dedicated Gluten-Free Coffee Shop, #41, and 7 p.m. Saturdays at Mama’s Famous Pizza & Heros, #79. Visit the Unscrewed Theatre page on Facebook for updates on the new theater’s progress.

Unscrewed also offers summer camps for teens. Two, one-week sessions for ages 12 to 14 and 15 to 18 take place July 16 to 20, and 23 through 27. Kids can have fun building listening and communication skills, teamwork, character development and the selflessness of making their scene partner look good, all within the context of improv games that encourage noisy, active fun. Visit unscrewedtheater.org/teen-workshops/ for more information and to register.

Date Night!

With the fabulous Lola Torch as host, the Tucson Libertine League features a DJ throw down as the sound track for its burlesque show at 9 p.m., Saturday, June 16 191 E. Toole. Tickets are $12. DJ Herm and B-Rad provide the beats. Acorn B-Corn perform live music with dancers and Lela Rose is a special guest among the dozen dancers featured.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Posted By on Wed, May 23, 2018 at 3:03 PM

click to enlarge The high-rise buildings that developers wanted to build around the Benedictine Monastery, represented in the architects' renderings, has been halted by the Tucson City Council seeking Historic Landmark designation. - COURTESY PHOTO
courtesy photo
The high-rise buildings that developers wanted to build around the Benedictine Monastery, represented in the architects' renderings, has been halted by the Tucson City Council seeking Historic Landmark designation.

Tucson City Councilmember Steve Kozachik is taking a new tack in the battle over the future of the midtown Benedictine Monastery.

Kozachik initiated a process that could give the monastery a Historic Landmark designation, which the City Council unanimously approved during a May 22 study session. The Historic Landmark designation would protect it from being torn down and create added guidlines about what types of developments can surround it.

“The building remains one of the last expressions of this architectural style in the Tucson area,” Kozachik wrote in his proposal for the Council. “It has been a cultural, architectural and spiritual landmark in Tucson since 1940.”

Local architect Roy Place developed the monastery for the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration 80 years ago, in his signature Spanish Revival style. The sisters sold the monastery to local developer Ross Rulney in September 2016 for $5.9 million.

Before the sisters sold the monastery, they put it on the National Registry of Historic Places, thinking that would protect it from demolition. The certification is framed, hanging on the wall of the monastery. But the national registry doesn’t protect the historic structure—it’s purely honorific.

The current zoning in that area is for offices and high-density residential—aka student housing. There’s also a maximum 222 living units and a 40-foot height, or about four stories. There’s no restrictions against tearing down historic structures and no requirement for neighborhood participation or design review.

Architects for the project, Poster Frost Mirto, Inc., said at a March community meeting that they were helping Rulney develop the site and making sure the monastery is protected. It would be the seventh Roy Place creation Poster Frost Mirto, Inc. has worked to preserve.

Together, the architects and developer proposed the Historic Landmark designation, but in exchange, the city would have to allow Rulney to build higher than 40 feet around the monastery and expand the number of allowed apartments or condos. As part of the deal, Rulney would agree to prohibit renting by the bedroom—the typical student-rental arrangement—and to hold several reviews for public input.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Posted By on Fri, Apr 21, 2017 at 5:05 PM


There’s a little gem of a play now treading the boards at the Invisible Theatre. Kathleen Clark’s Let’s Live a Little is the last show of the season, and it’s a lovely way to end Invisible Theatre’s 46th year.

The show tells several stories, related in some ways, although often quite generally. Their chief connection is their location in the small town of Mine Hill, New Jersey. Their lives often intersect in a glancing way, say, like most of ours do merely because we reside in the same country, or are all members of the human race. We may share dentists or find that we were born in the same city, or that we all struggle to survive, and for us who are lucky enough not to have to worry about where our next meal is coming from, to survive with a modicum of grace.

Lily is a college-aged woman trying to figure out how to extricate herself from the small town, but not leaving her granddad, who's struggling with issues of aging, without help in his florist shop. Granddad is married to grandma, who is also on the inexorable journey to decrepitude. Their daughter (and Lily’s mom) is trying to take care of them by lining up in-home caregivers. The candidates, although related only by their candidacy, are part of other stories Clark weaves into her play. She touches on themes like how we perceive ourselves and how we can free ourselves from those perceptions to blossom (like the flowers in granddad’s shop?) in ways more to our liking; how we can dig deep to commit to the things we want to do; how less is more; how we compromise ourselves but find that we can be reawakened in surprising ways; and just another little idea: how we need, quite literally, to write our lives.

Clark’s play is a mouthful. It’s probably too much of one. Although it’s plotted well—Clark knows what she’s doing as a playwright—she gives us so much that we are overwhelmed. She offers us multiple ideas to chew on, but not much time to chew them. It’s akin to one of those hot dog eating competitions. There's a lot to absorb in only 90 minutes. Consequently, sometimes things feel contrived or overly sentimental or way too obvious as she tries to stitch everything together. The seams show.

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

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


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.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Posted By on Fri, Dec 2, 2016 at 2:10 PM

Have you always known you're a witch or wizard at heart? Well, shed your muggle-ness for an evening of holiday celebration and magic at your local Barnes and Noble for the Harry Potter Magical Holiday Ball.

Barnes and Noble locations across the country will hold a Yule-ball inspired dance party at all stores in the U.S. on Friday, Dec. 9 from 7-9 p.m. Muggles of all ages are welcome to join in on the holiday fun. 

Whether you want to come in your best-dressed, as your favorite Potter character or in your Hogwarts uniform, there will be festive activities to celebrate all things Potter.

Because of the obvious popularity of this free event, Barnes and Noble said customers should call their local store ahead of time for capacity limits or special instructions.  

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Friday, September 16, 2016

Posted By on Fri, Sep 16, 2016 at 1:12 AM

In case you haven't noticed, hardly anyone that lives here is a Tucson Native. I kid you not. You can ask five different people where they are from and you will likely get the following answers: New York, Illinois, Michigan, and two other frozen over states that Satan will never step foot in. Just about everyone comes from somewhere else, and settles in here, ready to take on the hell hot summers like a champ. Because 106 degrees on a good day beats five below zero any day, right? 

Then there are those of us who aren't from here, but were dragged here by our parents as some sort of gentle take on biblical punishment. Our parents did not believe in "Spare the rod, spoil the child," but they did fully buy into "and the meek shall inherit the earth," so this was their way of wearing us down. "Bring the children to the surface of the sun," they said. "Eventually they will be so weak from their futile attempts to leave, they will have everything their hearts desire!" they said. *Insert evil laugh* 

I fall into that second category. Moved here with mom, from the coolest city in the world, New York, when I was 11. I cried when we left; she cried when we landed. Fitting. I had very little say in the matter (read: NONE), and I remember being shocked out of my mind that this desert of death with the silent "C" actually had grocery stores, stop lights, and BUSSES!  But alas, it wasn't The Big Apple, and I tried like hell to go back home. I mean, I couldn't even get a slice of pizza here! What was this place that makes you buy an ENTIRE pizza pie just so you can eat ONE STINKIN' SLICE? Every summer I lobbied, albeit unsuccessfully, for a one way ticket back to my concrete paradise. Every. Damn. Summer. And then finally, I gave up. I admitted defeat. I couldn't have my pizza, but I did have my Eegee's, so I guessed that was better than nothing. Now don't get me wrong, it was no Mario's Italian Ice in a yellow cup with a wooden spoon and the syrupy, sugary bottom—but it was somethin'. 

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Friday, September 9, 2016

Posted By on Fri, Sep 9, 2016 at 12:30 PM

Get ready for a flashback weekend, because The Zombies are coming to Tucson.

No, not undead, brain-eating humans, but the 1960s band that graced us with the sultry song “Time of the Season” and the twangy love song “Can’t Nobody Love You.”

Sorry, newsletter readers, this performance is happening over the weekend: Saturday, Sept. 10 at 8 p.m., the English rock band will grace the Rialto Theater, 318 E. Congress St., with local musician Brian Lopez. The show is all ages and and tickets range from $30 to $51 on Ticketfly. Doors open at 7 p.m. 

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Posted By on Tue, Jul 12, 2016 at 1:46 PM

The Loft Cinema (3233 E. Speedway Blvd.) is hosting A Hard Day’s Night Sing-A-Long on Saturday, July 16 at 7:30 p.m. featuring the film that typifies the height of the Beatles' revolutionary career. The movie follows John, Paul, George, and Ringo as they prep for a London TV gig in the midst of shenanigans and screaming fans. Directed by Richard Lester, A Hard Day’s Night includes some of the Beatles' most famous tracks like, “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “I Should Have Known Better,” “Tell Me Why,” and “If I Fell."

The 87-minute film will have all the lyrics to your favorite Beatles tunes displayed on screen for the optimal sing-a-long experience, and pre-show entertainment includes Beatles music videos and a costume contest. 10 bucks won't 'buy you love' but it is the general admission price, and children under 12 get in for $8. 

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