By Bob Grimm
on Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 3:00 PM
This throwback to John Carpenter/Clive Barker horror films is completely insane, horribly acted, and totally great for anybody who likes their horror served up with a side of cheese.
A brash policeman (Aaron Poole) picks up a stranger on the side of the road and takes him to a sparsely populated hospital (shades of Halloween 2). While there, a possessed nurse (shades of Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness) murders a patient, then promptly turns into a messed up monster (shades of Carpenter’s The Thing) while the hospital is besieged by a zombie-like throng of people dressed in white cloaks (shades of Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13).
Shortly thereafter, the head doctor dies, but comes back, promptly skins himself, and unleashes a world down below filled with mutants (shades of Barker’s Hellraiser). That’s just some of the homages, and they all come together to make little or no sense. Still, the style of the movie, which features schlocky special effects and both over and under acting, makes the whole mess work in an effective horror revival sort of way. If you hate horror films full of blood and puss where skinless doctors are bellowing devilish incantations, this one isn’t for you.
If you are a fan of the recent Stranger Things and the Carpenter fare of old, this one will satisfy you.
The Tucson sun is heating up again, which means indoor air conditioning will be everyone's best friend soon enough. For those days that it is too hot to do anything, including to leave your bed, kick back and relax in the comforts of your makeshift igloo with one (or all) of Casa Video's top 10 best-sellers of the week.
Once again, BASIS swept the U.S. News & World Report's list of best public high schools, taking five of the top seven places. University High placed number 15. Does that mean BASIS has five of the seven best schools in the country and University High is the 15th best? Only if you think "best school" means a place filled with high achieving students who take lots and lots of Advanced Placement classes and tests. The more AP courses seniors have taken and the more tests they've passed, the higher a school's ranking. AP courses are the basis of the BASIS curriculum. University High emphasizes the courses, but not quite as much.
To get a high U.S. News ranking, you have to jump over a few hurdles, like performance on state tests and graduation rates, to be in contention. Once you've cleared those hurdles, a school's ranking is based totally—not partially, totally—on how many Advanced Placement classes seniors have taken and how well they do on the tests. That's it. This year, the contest didn't even include the International Baccalaureate program as it has in the past. It was all AP, all the time.
Someone who read the Star article would think the ranking uses a more complex, inclusive formula where AP course work is "considered." Nope. Not so. Here's what the Star wrote about the ranking process with my comments and corrections in brackets.
The list, published annually, looks at data from more than 22,000 schools focusing on student outcomes with an emphasis on graduation rates [Nope. If graduation rates are 75 percent or higher, you make it into the all-important AP round.] and state proficiency tests [Nope. If you're in the top 10 percent in state test scores, or lower if you have more economically disadvantaged students, you make it into the all-important AP round]. Diversity [Doesn't matter if you're in the top 10 percent in state test scores], enrollment [Of very little importance], participation in free and reduced-price lunch programs [Nope. BASIS schools don't have free/reduced lunch, so under that category, U.S. News simply says "Not Applicable"] and Advance Placement are also considered [Misleading. AP isn't simply considered, it's the only thing that matters once a school makes it into the all-important final round].
With no shame and no regret, award-winning Canadian filmmaker—by way of New York—Jefferson Moneo offers an unabashed look at the eclecticism of Tucson’s arts scene in his 18-minute documentary film Tucson Hot Damn.
Tucson Hot Damn makes its world premiere at the 2017 Arizona International Film Festival as part of The Tucson Happening, a music, performance and film event that closes the fest, which began Wednesday, April 19, and ends Sunday, April 30. (Go here for more info: filmfestivalarizona.com.)
Moneo’s affinity for Tucson served as incubator where the doc’s seeds germinated and took root. “I love Tucson; the town, the desert, and especially the people,” Moneo says. “For the past decade, I've been making the pilgrimage to Tucson for the Arizona International Film Festival. There's a reason I keep coming back.”
Still from Hot Damn: Photographer Eric Kroll and model in his garage at home in the Santa Catalina foothills.
A sentiment echoed in wordsmith Billy Sedlmayr’s lyrics (from the song “Tucson Kills” featured in the film).
Well I left a dozen times
But I always crawl back against my will
Yeah, Tucson kills
Without borders—rising from 6th Avenue underpass downtown, whose surrounding warehouses have served as fertile spawning ground for artistic creativity, to the grit, symbolic decrepitude and skeletal remains of the once iconic Spanish Trail Motel sign off of I-10─Tucson Hot Damn takes the viewer on a journey in vignettes that capture artists at work and play; from the rawness of a soulful blues mouth-harpist to the effortless technicality of a classically trained violinist. In filmic prose, this short promises to be a trip down the rabbit hole on a wild and magical ride through "The Weird Capital of the World" featuring the music of beloved homeboys Brian Lopez, Gabriel Sullivan and Sedlmayr.
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Quality child care is helpful to children and their parents, and though it's expensive in the short term, it's cost effective in the long term. And we spend half as much of our Gross National Product on it as the average industrialized country.
All this information is in a New York Times article. The surprise is, it's in the business section, not a section about child rearing or education. But it's not out of place among articles about finances and the economy, because, even disregarding its value as a societal good, quality child care makes good economic sense.
[R]ecent studies show that of any policy aimed to help struggling families, aid for high-quality care has the biggest economic payoff for parents and their children — and even their grandchildren. It has the biggest positive effect on women’s employment and pay. It’s especially helpful for low-income families, because it can propel generations of children toward increased earnings, better jobs, improved health, more education and decreased criminal activity as adults.
A recent study out of the University of Chicago looks at two long-term studies out of North Carolina where young children from low-income families received free, full-time child care. The children and their families were compared to a control group. The mothers of the children in child care earned more than those in a control group, which is no surprise, but they were still earning more twenty years later. The children stayed in school longer, and they earned more as well. The study found that at age 30, the men who had been in quality child care earned almost $20,000 more a year than the control group and the women earned $2,500 more. The researchers admit that the small sample size of the study means that $20,000 figure for the men likely isn't representative, but even if it were considerably less, it would still be significant.
Sam Scarborough (Jack Neubeck) tries to convince his granddaughter Lily (Lucille Petty) to stay in town and help out at his florist Shop while Lily has dreams of moving to NYC to become a writer!
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.