Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Red and the Black

Posted By on Thu, Mar 22, 2018 at 5:30 PM

We may have one thing to thank Trump for—if our democracy survives his presidency, that is. Protests have seen a resurgence in numbers, frequency and intensity since he's been in office. Even if they're not all about the Trump agenda, the anger and anxiety he fuels on a daily basis is finding outlets in a variety of important causes.

We've seen massive Women's Marches and other anti-Trump demonstrations. Women voters may lead the way to flipping the Congressional balance of power from R to D. The nationwide student movement against gun violence is accelerating. It looks like it has the legs to stick around. Our young people may lead the rest of us to some common sense gun regulation—not as much as we need, but some.

And now teachers are hitting the streets demanding much-deserved salary increases. Arizona's teachers are gaining national attention with their #RedforEd movement, which follows a successful teacher strike in West Virginia and coincides with strike rumblings in Oklahoma. Wednesday's sick-outs closed schools and brought teachers to the Capitol demanding a raise to get them out of the salary cellar. Ol' Doug "HalfPercentForTeachers" Ducey must be feeling a wee bit uncomfortable these days.

West Virginia teachers demanded a 5 percent raise, and they got it. But the part of the story which has gotten less attention is that the raise will cost $20 million the state doesn't have. The Republican Senate Finance Committee Chair threatened that some of the money will come out of Medicaid, maybe in an attempt to turn public opinion against the teachers, maybe because he doesn't like health care for low income people. The governor says no, it'll come out of other parts to the budget. But it has to come from somewhere. Oklahoma is in the same situation. It doesn't have the money for teacher raises unless it shorts other parts of the budget.

And there's the rub. Raising teacher salaries by 5 percent—in the neighborhood of $2,200 per teacher, which is really the minimum our teachers deserve—takes serious money. In Arizona, which has a much larger population than West Virginia, the bill comes to about $150 million, and that's only a portion of billion a year Arizona schools need just to get even with 2008 levels.

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Watch and Learn About 'Pizza & the Art of Living'

Posted By on Thu, Mar 22, 2018 at 4:28 PM

  • Courtesy of Matteo Troncone
Pizza and philosophy are two things that go together better than one would think.

The Loft Cinema will show Arrangiarsi (Pizza & the Art of Living), a documentary film that shows a character’s quest to find the meaning of life through pizza.

Matteo Troncone, who’s the director, writer and star of the documentary, will be at the showing in person. His film is about getting in touch with your roots and history, finding yourself and the  insurmountable importance of pizza. Arrangiarsi was well-received at the Mill Valley Film Festival which showcases internationally acclaimed films.

Arrangiarsi (Pizza & the Art of Living) will begin at 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 24 at The Loft Cinema (3233 E. Speedway Blvd). Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.

Laughing Stock: Game Show Block Party

Posted By on Thu, Mar 22, 2018 at 4:02 PM

Contestants Kristal Pino and Tina Jennings, left with host Kurt Lueders, try to guess clues acted out by improvisers, left to right, Jordan Wilson, Corey Jenks and Jessica Stapp in TIM’s Game Show Show. - JEREMY SHOCKLEY
  • Jeremy Shockley
  • Contestants Kristal Pino and Tina Jennings, left with host Kurt Lueders, try to guess clues acted out by improvisers, left to right, Jordan Wilson, Corey Jenks and Jessica Stapp in TIM’s Game Show Show.

Since Kurt Lueders is the only actual rocket scientist we know, we like to imagine all of them share his love of bad puns, old game-show references and classic lines from popular movies.

Lueders coaches Tucson Improv Movement’s Throwdown team, the family favorite in the 7:30 p.m. slot Saturdays. That show’s fast-paced, faux-competitive games inspired him to launch a show of his own creation, The Game Show Show, featuring pairs of Tucson celebrities facing off to win (not) fabulous prizes.

Leuders premiered his show last May in TIM’s 36-hour Improvathon. Literally an overnight success, it’s now featured at 7:30 p.m. the last Saturday of every month. March 31 contestants are Todd Getzelman, who, with his wife, Celene, owns Revel Wine Bar, and Jared Hood, front-of-house manager at The Coronet. Those two establishments flank TIM in its new location at 414 E. 9th St.

To date, Lueders says, his most successful show featured Kristal Pino of 106.3, The Groove, and Tina Jennings from Morning Blend on KGUN 9. “Our competitors are always friendly with each other.” April guests will be KXCI DJs Brigitte Thum and Gwen Hernandez.

Each show includes three improv games around suggestions collected in advance from the audience. Suggestions are secret until shown on a monitor that only improvisers and the audience can see. The improvisers act out scenes that reveal clues until a contestant guesses correctly.

“We have three games we play regularly,” Lueders says. “In Mix and Mash-Up, we take two movies or TV shows and mash them up together. The improvisers act out what that might look like. The example we use is When Harry Met Sally mashed up with Dirty Harry to make When Dirty Harry met Sally. The improvisers might use famous lines like ‘Do you feel lucky, punk?’ And then someone might scream like they’re shot, and another actor might say. ‘I’ll have what she’s having’. When we had two burlesque dancers as contestants, we mashed up the Robin Williams movie Flubber with Cher’s movie Burlesque to make Flubberlesque.’

“The final game is a lightning round where contestants have 90 seconds to guess 8 suggestions. Our improvisers act them out using only mime and gibberish.”

Contestants who win at least two rounds have taken home such fabulous prizes as an MTV alarm clock and a set of refrigerator magnets in the shape of insects. “They’re not really fabulous prizes,” says Lueders. “That’s the show’s running gag.”

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The Weekly List: 21 Things To Do In Tucson This Week

Posted By and on Thu, Mar 22, 2018 at 9:47 AM

Your Weekly guide to keeping busy in the Old Pueblo.


Sculptural Gourd Vessel. Admit it. You’ve always wanted a sculptural gourd vessel to display in your home. And what better sculptural gourd vessel to display in our home than one you’ve stippled, couched and papered yourself? If you don’t know what a sculptural gourd vessel is, it’s a really beautifully detailed, curvaceous piece of art made out of (obviously) a gourd. And you can make one in these seven-hour class at Tohono Chul—so bring a lunch. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 24. Tohono Chul Education Center #2, 7211 N. Northern Ave. $100 general public, $90 members.

Star Wars “Stormy Night” Painting. Finally! A mash-up that lets you combine our love of Van Gogh with our love of Star Wars. Tipsy Picassos hosts this event where they’ll walk you through a painting and—if you’re over 21 and so inclined—you can drink your way through the experience. Painters under 21 are welcome, as long as they’re accompanied by parents or guardians. Wear something you don’t mind getting paint on, and don’t stress about making your painting perfect. It’s supposed to be fun, and besides, “Do or do not. There is no try.” 6 p.m. Friday, March 23. HighWire Lounge, 14 S. Arizona Ave. $35.

Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon. This could be an oversimplification, but there are pretty much two types of people in the world, right? The people who are strictly readers of Wikipedia, and the people who actually make edits and contributions to the site. Now’s your chance to move into the second camp for a good cause, especially if you’re a woman, or identify as a woman—only 10 percent of all editors on the site are!—but people of all gender identities are welcome. Art + Feminism and the UA Poetry Center are partnering to improve the coverage of transgender women, feminism and the arts on Wikipedia by updating and expanding bibliographies on poets’ Wikipedia pages. Easy, fun and important! Noon to 3 p.m. Friday, March 23. University of Arizona Poetry Center, 1508 E. Helen St. Free.

Spring Festival of the Arts. It’s finally here! The Spring Festival of the Arts is one of the largest regional art events in Southern Arizona, and is so big that it has to be held twice annually and spread across two days each time. Check out art from up to 150 artists, and enjoy the classic double whammy of supporting local artists and picking up some new pieces to decorate your home. Plus, enjoy lots of food trucks, live music and hands-on family art activities. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 24. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 25. Oro Valley Marketplace, 12155 N. Oracle Road. Free.


Frida. The Artifact Dance Project has put together this performance piece, filled to the brim with different forms of art, to honor one of the most iconic female artists in history. With original music by Lane Harmon and Roger King and original choreography by artistic director and choreographer Ashley Bowman, the piece tells the story of Kahlo’s complicated relationship with her partner, Diego Rivera, of her boldness, of her playfulness and of the art that was born of it all. Claire Hancock dances as Kahlo, and David Alexander Johnston dances as Rivera. The group of talented musicians will be joined by the Tucson Girls Chorus in a special appearance. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 22 through Saturday, March 24. 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 25. Stevie Eller Dance Theatre, 1737 E. University Blvd. $31.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Minx Needs a Home

Posted By on Tue, Mar 20, 2018 at 4:45 PM


Remember me? My name is Minx!

I am a 2 year old girl looking for the purr-fect family! I can be shy at first but once I get to know you I love attention! I am a very sweet girl who enjoys talking with my favorite humans.

Do you think I could be a part of your family? Come visit me at HSSA Main Campus at 3450 N. Kelvin Blvd. If you have questions give an adoptions counselor a call at 520-327-6088, ext. 173.

Many Meows,
Minx (852293)

Is Education the Best Message For Democrats To Boost Voter Turnout?

Posted By on Tue, Mar 20, 2018 at 4:06 PM

  • Courtesy of BigStock
Maybe it's as simple as a mother saying, "My kids are going to get an education, start a business, earn a good living, make me proud. Education is my priority. That’s why I’m voting Democratic."

That was the most effective message among African Americans in Alabama's recent Senate election pitting Democrat Doug Jones against the racist, child dating Republican Roy Moore. With so many ways to attack Moore, it turned out the positive message about education had the greatest impact on people's desire to vote.

Would a similar message help Arizona Democrats drive voter turnout, the first necessary step to winning close elections?

A column by the New York Times' David Leonhardt discusses a company testing ads to increase African American turnout for Doug Jones in Alabama. A number of ads targeted Roy Moore's negatives, but this is the 15 second ad that tested strongest.
“My kids are going to do more than just survive the bigotry and hatred,” a female narrator says, as the video shows a Klan march and then a student at a desk. “They’re going to get an education, start a business, earn a good living, make me proud. Education is my priority. That’s why I’m voting for Doug Jones.”
The video flashes a shot of white supremacists carrying tiki torches at the Charlottesville march last August and Trump giving a thumbs-up at a campaign rally, but most of the ad shows a boy in school, a mother, and a young African American businessman behind an office desk.

It's "Make American Great Again" for families: "Make the future bright for our children. Vote Democratic."

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Interior Department Boss Visits Border Wall

Posted By on Sun, Mar 18, 2018 at 1:01 PM

U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke: “Our country’s made of immigrants, so we have to have a policy that’s fair, that’s sustainable over the course of time.” - DANYELLE KHMARA
  • Danyelle Khmara
  • U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke: “Our country’s made of immigrants, so we have to have a policy that’s fair, that’s sustainable over the course of time.”

U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke rode horseback along the border wall in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge during his first official visit to the border, on March 17.

He rode alongside Tucson Sector Border Chief Patrol Agent Rodolfo Karisch to discuss border security.

“Clearly border protection is mine and the president’s priority,” Zinke said in front of the towering border wall of rust-red metal posts cutting through hills, rolling into the horizon. “Clearly we’re supportive of a wall. Clearly we’re supportive of multiple technologies. And going through what we saw today was a lot of litter, a lot of traffic, a lot of activity—at least signs of activity—and we want to make sure our border is secure.”

Zinke said border security measures should include not just a wall, but technology and sustainable policy.

“We love immigration,” he said. “Our country’s made of immigrants, so we have to have a policy that’s fair, that’s sustainable over the course of time.”

Zinke said that a border wall is important but so is protecting the environment. The Interior Department is the steward of wildlife and Zinke said he needed to ensure the department's actions don't damage that mission. He's leaving it up to the department's expert to determine how to protect wildlife from the environmental damage of a wall.

“Clearly, you want to make sure that a barrier doesn’t adversely affect wildlife, takes into consideration the floodplains,” he said.

The existing wall has already had adverse environmental effects, fragmenting habitats and wildlife corridors.

And during monsoon season, the wall has become a damn, intensifying flooding. In the summer of 2008, when debris piled up against the fence as water rose two to seven feet high, flooding the border towns of Lukeville, Arizona, and Sonoyta, Sonora, and eventually toppling the multi-million-dollar fence.

Chief Karisch, who was showing Zinke around the border, said the footprint created by the wall is less damaging than the traffic it has deterred.

“A wall is just simply another piece that helps us on the border security side,” he said. “It’s not going to solve every problem. But if you can imagine, years ago, volumes of people streaming across here—you’re not hearing that.”

More than 80 percent of the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector is public land, most of which is managed by the Department of Interior. Zinke said the biggest environmental problem he saw was litter.

“Mostly what I saw out there from environmental damage is the unconstrained illegal traffic and the trash left behind,” he said.

Leaving Buenos Aires, Zinke was headed to the Tohono O’odham Nation—whose leadership been staunchly against a border wall on their tribal lands—to talk border security.

“We need a wall. We also need, as the president said, a nice door,” Zinke said. “It’s important for me to go down and talk to the great citizens of Arizona, talk to the tribes and get a tenor of what the temperament is, where there’s an opposition to fences. Our Native Americans have a strong opposition to fence. I’m going to talk to them about that, and then go back to Washington, D.C., and talk to the president.”

Saturday, March 17, 2018

SXSW 2018: The Boys Are Back In Town

Posted By on Sat, Mar 17, 2018 at 12:20 PM

Luna Lee on the Gayaegum - EMILY DIECKMAN
  • Emily Dieckman
  • Luna Lee on the Gayaegum
Our boss, Jim Nintzel, wasn’t wrong when he wrote in his last blog entry that the there’s lots of good girl power vibes at this year’s SXSW. Today, we saw Luna Lee, in all the way from Korea with her traditional (and insane looking) Korean string instrument, the Gayaegum. She started her set with a traditional Korean tune, but was really in her element playing pieces by the likes of Nirvana and The White Stripes. Between watching her fingers fly across the strings and hearing her announce cheerily “Let’s go!” before every song, it was hard not to love her.

But the guys came through today as well. Two of my favorites? Chihuahua, Mexico’s Coma Pony and Hawthorne, CA’s Cuco.

Coma Pony guitarist Marco - EMILY DIECKMAN
  • Emily Dieckman
  • Coma Pony guitarist Marco
Coma Pony has been around since 2011, if you include a hiatus of about two years in the middle. Their 2016 breakout hit was “En Doming Las Niñas Van A Jugar al Parque.” If you don’t speak Spanish, no worries—they’re an instrumental band that somehow makes dreamy math rock that’s completely groovy. Audience members were dancing throughout the set, and the guitarist—a guy named Marco with an enviable afro—was rocking out so hard that his glasses flew off at least five times. (He said afterwards that, despite his rocking out with wild abandon, he’s never broken them because he’s very, very careful.)

Cuco at the Mohawk - EMILY DIECKMAN
  • Emily Dieckman
  • Cuco at the Mohawk
Cuco, or Omar Banos, is 19, and he’s on the rise. It’s hard to write about him without using the word “heartthrob.” Girls in the front row are losing their minds as he sings “Baby don’t trip, I’m coming home. Kick it with me—I don’t care if the sun is gone.” But he had more to offer than boy band-esque lyricism and charm. His show was fun. There were colorful projections on the wall behind him, he joked around with the audience and he even pulled out a trumpet few times. (What's more fun than a trumpet?) Perhaps his fun, mildly self deprecating humor is best summed up by his Twitter handle: @Icryduringsex

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Staff Pick

Carnival of Illusion: Magic, Mystery & Oooh La La!

This top-rated illusion show is "Revitalizing Magic" by blending an international travel theme with all the charms… More

@ Scottish Rite Grand Parlour Saturdays. Continues through April 14 160 South Scott Ave

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  1. The Weekly List: 21 Things To Do In Tucson This Week (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
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