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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Dating From Home: How to Find or Keep Love Alive in the Time of Coronavirus

Posted By on Wed, Apr 22, 2020 at 1:30 PM

Mireya Treviño and Joe Rodriguez officially became a couple in December, before she learned she’d been exposed to the novel coronavirus. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MIREYA TREVIÑO
  • Photo courtesy of Mireya Treviño
  • Mireya Treviño and Joe Rodriguez officially became a couple in December, before she learned she’d been exposed to the novel coronavirus.
PHOENIX – Whether speed-dating on Zoom or making plans for a virtual movie night, couples are getting creative in making and maintaining romantic connections during these times of social distancing.

Even those already in long-distance relationships and accustomed to communicating virtually are finding the forced quarantines and physical separation challenging.

Mireya Treviño, a senior at the University of Texas in Austin, met her boyfriend when he visited from San Antonio for a Halloween party. Despite the distance – the cities are a 90-minute drive apart – the two started talking and officially began a relationship in December.

Treviño, who is studying public health, wasn’t too worried about COVID-19 at first. Then she learned she’d been exposed, leaving her boyfriend to console her from afar.

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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Laughing Stock: On genders, sex, switches and surprises

Posted By on Thu, Feb 27, 2020 at 9:29 AM

Find out who you are to others and to yourself, onstage and off, with workshops by Shannon Stott at the Cactus Flower Comedy Festival. - STEVE ROGERS PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Steve Rogers Photography
  • Find out who you are to others and to yourself, onstage and off, with workshops by Shannon Stott at the Cactus Flower Comedy Festival.
Cactus Flower blooms Feb. 27-30

Created and performed entirely by funny female, binary and gender-nonconforming humans, the four-day Cactus Flower Comedy Festival will spark loads of laughs in anyone who is not looking for a lot of dick jokes.

The event, which takes place at Tucson Improv Movement's TIM Comedy Theatre, offers storytelling, stand-up, improv and sketch shows to watch, and workshops to exercise your own sense of humor and improve listening and communications skills. All shows are $5 or $7. An all-festival pass is $30, and workshops are $40 each. Reservations are via squareup.com.

Workshop leader Shannon Stott says she has seen improv change lives on and off the stage. She has performed and taught improv for 20 years and now regularly highlights that crossover.

The most important thing, she says, is “to listen to yourself and answer yourself honestly. Your body tells you so much information, and because of society's eyes (a.k.a. the audience) we often don't listen. The consequences can be painful.

That self-awareness makes all the difference in relationships. "Understanding what your relationship is to anyone will inform your scene," Stott says. "Much of the feedback I get sounds like ‘I didn't know I was doing that’. When you are unaware, choices are often made for you, on stage and off.”

Regarding festivals focused on women and non-gender-conforming performers, Stott says, “We must have safe places to practice being strong, outspoken, leading, being loud, silly, emotional and ourselves. Once you experience being heard and seen, you can recognize and internalize it so you can seek it out, on and off stage.”

The CFCF kicks off at 7:30 pm. Thursday, Feb. 27, with F*sT! (Female Storytellers) sharing their best of 2019. It’s likely to be the Fest’s first sell-out. The 9 p.m. show opens with improv duo Allreddy, featuring standup comedian Allana Erickson. Omega creates a long-form Harold, then Baby Fish Mouth Omega performs original sketches.

The 7:30 show Friday, Feb. 28, opens with duo team, I Was Promised Magic. Gretchen Wirges and Ally Tanzillo follow as Ex-Boyfriend. Then comes Phoenix’s RatQween, spontaneously formed at a recent Phoenix festival for female/non-binary/gender non-conforming people.

At 9 p.m., TIM’s premier team, Soapbox, create scenes inspired by true anecdotes from the lives of community leader and former mayoral candidate Randy Dorman and the Fest’s two nationally recognized workshop leaders, Stott and Jill Bernard. A founding member of Minneapolis’ HUGE Theatre, Bernard has been a principal in that city’s ComedySportz franchise since 1993. She has taught improv all over the US, Europe and South America.

Following the Soapbox, at 10:30 p.m., Nicole Riesgo hosts Beginners and Veterans, a standup showcase featuring Rebecca Tingley, creator of the Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby comedy panel, and her frequent co-host, Cami Anderson. Also performing is Steena Salido, co-creator of Tucson's popular standup show Cunts Being Cunts Talking about Cunts and the all-Spanish-Language standup and improv show, Carcajadas, that features TIM’s Como Se Dice team. The rest of the bill comprises comedians who completed TIM’s standup class led by Mo Urban, founder or co-founder of five comedy series in Tucson. Graduates are multiple Moth award-winning storyteller Molly McCloy, TIM Company improviser Holly Hilton, and high-energy newcomer Brandi Dierinzo.

On Saturday at 6, TIM indie teams Three-Headed Monster, #PurseWine and Rough Around the Curves lead up to Unscrewed Theater’s From the Top musical improv team. At 7:30, Urban hosts an especially diverse CFCF Stand Up Comedy Showcase, featuring Jackie Kibler, Andrea Carmichael, Andrea Salazar, Savannah Hernandez and Bethany Evans.

The 7:30 p.m. show features Como Se Dice, TIM’s premier all-female team The Riveters and Jill Bernard performing her one-woman show, Drum Machine. It’s described as a “sweepingly epic, unscripted musical featuring multiple characters.” It’s been featured in more than 40 improv festivals.

Stott and Bernard each lead two workshops on Saturday and Sunday.

The Switch switches to Skybar

Fans of The Switch, where comedians riff off-the-cuff on suggestions texted in by the audience, must remember to head to Skybar at 8:45 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27. The event has moved following a long run on Mondays at The Hut. The lineup for the debut includes Phoencians Anwar Newton and Erick Biez.

Standups sing, now


Both Tucson’s improv companies have musical teams, and there’s the child of Musical Mayhem known as One Rehearsal Short. Young, brash, awkward and twisted genius Jeremy Segal now has created Show Tune ShowCase, in which seven favorite Tucson Comedians sing show tunes in their sets. We hold our breath for voices we didn’t know existed, but Mo Urban’s always knocks us out in her rock duo. Others in this debut include Joe Tullar, Steena Salido, Tim Maggard, Eli W.T., Jesus Otamendi and Chris Quinn. It’s $5 at 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 29 at The Screening Room.

Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby


Rebecca Tingley’s no-holds-barred panel of comedy experts returns to Club Congress at 8 p.m., Tuesday March 3. The show pokes fun at taboos, silliness, awkward moments and other somewhat less than graphic aspects of the act, (because, after all, we all know the actual mechanics). Panelists and guests include Cami Anderson, Paul Fox and Charles Ludwig.

Even More Laughs!


Friday, Feb. 28, standup with Andrew Rivers (see last week’s Laughing Stock), 8 p.m., The O ($15, $30 VIP, via Eventbrite.com; $30, door); Patrick Deguire featuring Zach Pugh, 8 and 10:30 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe ($12.50, $17.50); and Last Friday - Last Laughs featuring Roxy Merrari, Ali Musa, Phoenix comic Noni Shaney, Battle at the Roast Room winner Allana Erickson, Michael Barnett, Stephanie Lyonga, Jeremy Segal and Eden Nault. Family-friendly improv with Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m.($5 kids and $8 adults),and Free Form Friday Fight Night 9 p.m., Unscrewed Theater (free).

Saturday, Feb. 29, Standup with Patrick Deguire featuring Zack Pugh, 7 and 9:30 p.m., Laff’s Comedy Caffe ($12.50, $17.50). Family-friendly improv with (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m., Unscrewed Theater ($5 and $8)

Free Open Mics

Sunday, March 1, 6:30 p.m., The O, and 8 p.m., Chuckleheads in Bisbee.
Monday, March 2, 6:45 p.m., The Surly Wench; 9 p.m., Kava Bar.
Tuesday, March 3, 6:45 p.m., Neighborhood Comedy. The Music Box Lounge.
Wednesday, March 4, 7 p.m., The Screening Room; 8:30 p.m., The Rock.
Thursday, March 5, 8 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe and 8:30 p.m., Rockabilly Grill.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Jellywink is Back!

Posted By on Tue, May 28, 2019 at 3:00 PM

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On Saturday, May 25, 2019, Jellywink Boutique made its return to Tucson and celebrated with their "Grand Opening" event. 

Previously owned by Ally Booker, new-owner Erin Voss stepped in and has brought back the welcoming, inclusive vibe of this unique sex toy shop.

Those 18 and up can walk in and find educational books, attire and of course, sex toys!

Shop-owner Voss offers uplifting words and knowledge.

The store can be found on 416 E. 7th Street.

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Thursday, April 4, 2019

A Sexhibiton Without Inhibition: Tucson Erotica Festival Kicks Off its Ninth Year

Posted By on Thu, Apr 4, 2019 at 10:39 AM

INNA ROHR
  • Inna Rohr

Sculpture Resource Center artist Joshua Woodhall says he’s been doing art ever since he had the motor skills for it. He has this memory of checking out a library book in middle school and drawing something lewd on its pages.

“The silly librarian took it all over looking for who drew it,” he says. “Everybody got to see my boob drawing.”

This weekend, Tucsonans will have their own chance to see Woodhall’s erotic pieces at the ninth annual Tucson Erotica opening reception at the Sculpture Resource Center, 640 N. Stone Ave., 7 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, April 6. Past iterations of the festival have included pieces ranging from traditional nudes to the type of sculpture you really can’t resist walking around to see from every angle to arguably over-the-top depictions of orgies. But that’s the thing: Nothing is over-the-top at this sex-positive festival. This year, the event will include literary art for the first time as well.

Event organizer Inna Rohr met two burlesque performers at last year’s event, and was so impressed by their sexual energy that she created a series of paintings featuring them.

“They were both really strong an powerful, and the had this absolutely magnificent presence about them,” she says. “The series addresses same-sex relationships and intimacy and how it doesn’t matter who you are because love is still love.”

This is Rohr’s fifth year being involved with the festival. Last year, her featured pieces were playfully positioned bananas and donuts. But she spent much of her last year traveling the world, including visiting family in Estonia. In some places she visited, same-sex relationships aren’t yet normalized.

“The work I was inspired to do there inspired some conversations, and inspired some mind changing,” she said. “That was a cool conversation to have… It’s such a beautiful thing to be in love and to express your feelings and to be okay with it and not worry about what other people would think.”

The cover art she created for the festival also features two women. One of them (the one holding the whip), who goes by the stage name Fiametta Mink, is in charge of organizing the performers for this year’s event. Mink didn’t find her way to burlesque until her 40s, and she said last year’s Tucson Erotica was a particularly good place to perform – she and the other dancers weren’t on a stage, so they were practically face-to-face with audience members who were as respectful as they were enthused.

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Laughing Stock: “Southern” Accents.

Posted By on Thu, Nov 15, 2018 at 4:45 PM

Allen Strickland Williams dresses up for laughs at Borderlands Brewing Nov. 19 - OMNIPOP TALENT GROUP
  • Omnipop Talent Group
  • Allen Strickland Williams dresses up for laughs at Borderlands Brewing Nov. 19
Allen Strickland Williams comes to Brew Ha Ha

How much love can Tucson muster for a prep-school-named comic in a suit and tie? You’re not from Stanhope country, are you, son? Somehow on him, though, the anomalous sartorial choice is kinda hot. You know he could beat the pants off Idris Alba in trivia. Then there’s that telltale Southern accent.

Allen Strickland Williams has performed twice on Conan and been named to Comics to Watch lists on both Comedy Central and the Los Angeles Times. He’s performed at South by Southwest, Portland’s Bridgetown Comedy Festival and LA’s Riot Fest, among many other festivals. And he trained with UCB in both improv and sketch.

An iPhone flip through his YouTube channel is the best choice in any waiting room. Plus, he plays guitar, writes for Vice and, in an impossible case, landed a role in the 2018 season opener of Corporate.

Brew Ha Ha co-producers Rory Monserrat and Matt Ziemak regard his booking for their Nov. 19 Brew Ha Ha a big step in the project’s growth.

“Our main goal for Brew Ha Ha has always been to produce a quality stand-up showcase,” Zeimak says, “so being able to bring in these comics we respect and enjoy lets me know that the hard work we’re doing is paying off.

“(Partnering) with such a caring local business (Borderlands Brewing Company) has definitely helped make this a show people come back to month after month.”

The rest of the Nov. 19 bill includes New Yorker Brian Bahe, Phoenicians Tristan Bowling and Dana Whissen, and Tucsonan Eli W.T.

There’s a Brew Ha Ha every third Monday at Borderlands Brewery. The cover is $5, payable at the door and includes one of any Borderlands brew.


Blame it on Estrogen

Our top women-run comedy show, The Estrogen Hour, and the upstart Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby, both play for your adventurous mind this week.

A benefit for cancer research, The Estrogen Hour isn’t entirely about sex, but it always sells out. The show is at 6:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 2. It’s $15 plus a two-item minimum. Go to Estrogen Hour on Facebook for reservation details and the lineup.

Rebecca Tingley says her “Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby” on Thanksgiving, is all about giving and receiving. That show’s gift is that we always learn something new. It’s at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 22, at Club Congress; $3. 

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Dan Savage’s HUMP! Film Festival Coming to Tucson

Posted By on Tue, Sep 18, 2018 at 3:26 PM

Get a load of this: the Screening Room will get extra kinky this October with Dan Savage’s HUMP!, a home-made-porn film festival. The festival features short porno flicks, five minutes or less, all made by people who aren’t porn stars but get to be one for the weekend.

The self-proclaimed filmmakers and stars shoot their movies to show the audience what they think is sexy, wild or wacky. The films showcase a veritable pornocopia of different body sizes, shapes, ages, colors, sexualities, genders, kinks, and fetishes.


"It’s hard to believe HUMP! has been going strong for 13 years,” Savage says of the festival. “We are always amazed at the variety of films we receive each year. Choosing the films that ultimately make it in the festival is a huge challenge. Audiences will be watching things that take them outside their comfort zones. Some of it is hilarious. Some of it is romantic. Some of it is totally raunchy.” 

So if you feel like experiencing over a dozen new and adventurous homemade movies with a bunch of strangers in a dark room, get on over to The Screening Room. All-in-all, HUMP! is a celebration of sexual freedom and inclusion.

See the HUMP! Film Fest Oct. 11 - 13. The Screening Room, 127 E. Congress St. $20. humpfilmfest.com

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Friday, August 24, 2018

Reason's In-depth with Backpage.com's Founders

Posted By on Fri, Aug 24, 2018 at 2:42 PM

Sex Workers and their supporters gathered in Minneapolis to protest the recent raid and arrests at Backpage, in October 2016. Protesters say sites like Backpage.com allow them to work independently to screen clients and shutting them down exposes them to more risk. - FIBONACCI BLUE
  • Fibonacci Blue
  • Sex Workers and their supporters gathered in Minneapolis to protest the recent raid and arrests at Backpage, in October 2016. Protesters say sites like Backpage.com allow them to work independently to screen clients and shutting them down exposes them to more risk.

For an update on the Backpage.com shutdown and a deep dive into what led to the website's closure, check out Elizabeth Nolan Brown's great reporting.

Backpage started as the literal back page of the Phoenix New Times. Co-founders Michael Lacey and James Larkin started the weekly paper in 1970. And from the get-go, they were radical.

In Arizona, that meant taking ample swipes at Sheriff Joe Arpaio—who would eventually demand years' worth of personal data on New Times readers and have Lacey and Larkin jailed for writing about it—as well as anyone who cozied up to Arpaio, Republican Sen. John McCain, or his wealthy wife, Cindy. The paper would report on the McCains for their involvement with savings-and-loan scammer Charles Keating; dredge up Cindy's dad's connection to mobsters and murdered Arizona Republic journalist Don Bolles; and out Cindy as an opioid addict who forged prescriptions and stole pills from the children's charity she founded.

"We weren't trying to curry favor," says Larkin. "We didn't line up with the establishments in any city that we were involved in….We didn't really care what politicians saw in us. And that's come back to haunt us."

Nolan Brown speaks with the two men, arrested in Backpage's closure last spring, and looks at the case against the media moguls and the history of the Phoenix New Times and Backpage. 

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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Laughing Stock: Going with the flow

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

mo_at_flycatcher.jpg

“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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