Thursday, June 22, 2017

How's the New 'Anyone Can Teach in Arizona' Law Working Out So Far?

Posted By on Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 1:00 PM

In 2008, Ed Supe Tom Horne had a great idea to get more science and math teachers in the classroom. Why not have businesses let some of their STEM-based employees teach one high school class a year as part of their job? Brilliant! After Horne's announcement, did you see the stampede of people rushing from the private sector to be volunteer teachers? No, neither did I. I never heard of anyone taking him up on his offer.

The legislature this year had a better idea: let anyone with a bachelor's degree in a subject taught in middle or high school teach, no training, no education classes, no subject matter testing required. And if they've spent time working in a STEM field or teaching in a post-high school institution, the college degree isn't even a requirement.

So how's that working out? It's a little early to tell, but at this point, it looks like people aren't beating down school districts' administration building doors demanding teaching applications.
A highly-touted law passed by the legislature earlier this year was supposed to help add candidates to the teaching pool. It loosens credentials needed to become a teacher and paves the way for qualified professionals in certain fields to get easier access to classrooms.

Wing said the impact of the law appears minimal so far.

“The Washington Elementary School District has received just a few contacts from some of those related to those certification changes,” said [Justin] Wing, who is now the human resources director for the Washington Elementary School. “From what I hear from other human resource professionals in other school systems, they have not received waves of candidates because of that new law. In my opinion, it didn’t address the root cause of the teacher shortage.”
It's early yet. The word may not have gotten out, and when it does, school districts may still have the opportunity to fill some of their empty classrooms with unqualified, unprepared teachers. But wouldn't it be something if the legislature threw the teacher certification doors open wide and nobody showed up? Teaching in Arizona may be so underpaid and undervalued, broadening the applicant pool won't be much help. Maybe, if the legislators really care about addressing the state's crisis-level teacher shortage, they'll have to try some other ideas, like, say, increasing salaries and improving working conditions . . . if—and it's a big "if"—they really care about addressing the state's crisis-level teacher shortage,.

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Laughing Stock: Where Does Comedy Come From?

Posted By on Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 11:00 AM


In the last few months, Tucson has lost three important comedy “workshops.” These were not open mics, per se, but sessions in which comedians and aspiring comedians write together, try out new material, and get feedback from other, usually more experienced comics.

Two of the former workshops’ venues are or were closing. The third, at the Screening Room, lost out as part of a nightly comedy idea that ultimately failed to meet the venue’s needs. (The Screening room now hosts one comedy night a month on the first Friday.)

Fortunately for the Tucson comedy community, its longest-standing supporter, Laff’s Comedy Caffe, began a year ago to host its own workshop. Laff’s is Tucson’s only comedy venue that can offer a new comedian a paid hosting gig or an unpaid guest slot in front of a large audience, with nationally known comedians who can potentially give their careers a boost. With the workshop, the club expanded its commitment from encouraging local comedians to also helping to develop them.

In the wake of other workshops’ closing, Laff’s staffer and professional comedian Michael Celi says Laffs is stepping up this commitment with a new program, Comedy Outreach. Whereas the original workshops were for anyone who showed up with new ideas to hone or jokes to practice, Comedy Outreach will have more structure and include a schedule of experienced comics charged with giving feedback. Comedy Outreach starts June 22 and continues at 6 p.m. every Thursday, ending just as open-mic signups begin at 7 p.m.

Celi says, “The main difference between what I'm doing and what (the other workshops) were doing is that this is not for an audience. I wouldn't turn an audience away, but I’ll be working to have an audience composed entirely of other comics.”

Laff’s longstanding 8 p.m. open mic continues to attract as many as 40 comics every week. No one would dispute that it’s the most popular free comedy show in town, although your mileage will vary from comic to comic. Laff’s Comedy Caffe is at 2900 E. Broadway Blvd. Find info about upcoming shows at

Summer Movie

Tucson Improv Movement’s summer feature, “The Movie,” continues at 9 p.m. Saturdays until further notice. Based on an audience suggestion, the TIM cast creates scenes and populates a script-less improv “movie” with plots, subplots and characters. Hilarity ensues. TIM Theatre, 329 E. 7th St.; $5.

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Quick Bites: Wings of Desire

Posted By on Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 10:00 AM


Throw down at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 25 as Rincon Market, 2513 E. Sixth St., invites Tucson locals to reap the rewards of an inaugural Summer Slugfest Food Competition.

With six of Tucson’s finest eateries going head-to-head, the competition is sure to heat up. The first round in this summer’s series includes chicken wings and a $20 cover charge allows for wing samplings from all competitors and your choice of craft beer. All participants are encouraged to vote on their favorite eatery, granting the winning competitor the chance to make a cash donation to their favorite local charity.

The Weekly List: 15 Things To Do In Tucson In The Next Week

Posted By on Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Your Weekly guide to keeping busy (and staying cool!) in the Old Pueblo.

Food & Booze

Chorizo and Sonoran Hot Dog Challenge. Tucson is well known as the Sonoran Hot Dog capital of the U.S. Less well known is how great the chorizo in town is. Ask any Phoenician with family in the Old Pueblo: Tucson has it going on when it comes to good chori. Now in its second year, KLPXs' Chorizo and Sonoran Hot Dog Challenge aims to settle any dispute about who's the best when it comes to two Tucson staples. Desert Diamond Casino hosts, while the winner in each category will walk away with a cool $1,000. 2-5 p.m. Saturday, June 24. Desert Diamond Casino, 1100 W. Pima Mine Road, Sahuarita, AZ 85629.

Summer Wine Tasting. Summer in Tucson is looking a little extra hot this year, so you might as well drink a little more than usual. Vintage Wine Estates is bringing Middle Sister Moscato, Cosentino The Blanc, and Clayhouse Adobe Red Blend. Stop by and sample each offering. Bottes will be available for purchase, so the fun can continue when you get home. 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, June 27. Tucson Hop Shop, 3230 N. Dodge Blvd. Free.


Moana at the Cactus Drive-In. Indulge in the iconic drive-in experience at the Tanque Verde Swap Meet this Thursday, June 22. The Cactus Drive-In Theatre Foundation presents Disney's latest film about an adventurous young woman (Auli'i Cravalho) on a journey to save her people. 8 p.m. Thursday, June 22.

Cinema La Placita Summer Series. Learn to stop worrying and love Cinema La Placita’s screening of Dr. Strangelove, director Stanley Kubrick’s suspenseful parody examining the comedy of errors that occur when an insane general triggers a path to a nuclear holocaust. In addition to the showing, audiences are invited to enjoy the cash bar and food truck on site. 8 p.m. Thursday, June 22. Tucson Museum of Art outdoor plaza. $3.

Summer Classic Films at the Temple. You can catch James Dean in his final role before his untimely death with a screening of Giant, an epic tale of dysfunctional family dynamics set amid Texas oil rigs that also stars Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor. 7 p.m. Friday, June 23, at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. $10.

Jackson. Movies are fun, sure, but they’re also culturally significant. Take part in the Loft Cinema’s Social Justice Summer, a free weekly series with talks lead by local experts. This week’s film, Jackson, explores the conflict between religious freedom and reproductive rights in the Deep South. When state restrictions threaten to shut down the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the tensions between leaders of the pro-life and pro-choice movements come to a head. Wednesday, June 28. The Global Justice Center, 225 E. 26th St. Free.

Frida. The Loft Cinema is teaming up with the Museum of Contemporary Art-Tucson for a series of free outdoor screenings. First up: Frida, a biopic about the life and career of one Frida Kahlo, one of Mexico’s most prominent, iconoclastic painters. Bella’s Gelato food truck will be on site selling tasty treats, or BYO picnic food. 8 p.m. Friday, June 23 at MOCA, 265 S. Church Ave. Future screenings take place on the fourth Friday of the month in July, August and September. Free.

Maniac Cop. June is Cracked Cops month for the Loft Cinema’s Mondo Mondays, and it’s not too late to enjoy a campy police fun. Watch as young cop Jack Forrest finds himself as the main suspect in the investigation about his wife’s murder. As the cops dig deeper, the death toll rises. What’s a cop to do when the maniac he’s investigating also has a badge? 8 p.m. Monday, June 26. The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. $3.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Song of the Day: Billy Sedlmayr on Esther Phillips' Brilliant Take of 'Home is Where the Hatred Is.'

Posted By on Tue, Jun 20, 2017 at 4:06 PM

"Home is where the needlemarks try to heal my broken heart ..." - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • "Home is where the needlemarks try to heal my broken heart ..."

Little Esther Mae Jones was born in Galveston, Texas. Her folks' early divorce saw her to bounce between Texas and Watts, California.

She'd discovered early on that music was one thing that couldn't be taken from her. It stuck to her ribs. Just listen to her first hit record—a 1950 orchestral take on Johnny Otis's "Double Crossing Blues"— it's one of the earliest examples of her top-heavy vocals.

Her Savoy label put out four singles, among them "Mistrusting Blues" and "Cupid’s Boogie." She'd soon leave her "Little" moniker behind and forge ahead as Esther Phillips. She was a now stylist in the studio, one who could hold back just enough to deliver the goods, with a tender, emotive street heart. The voice was, unmistakably, all hers.


For the next decade, she walked with ghosts—cold, afraid, trying not to succumb to dismissive re-plays of successes gone by. It was now time for Phillips to harvest whatever was left of a dying dream.

Esther penned some 40 songs, and in that bloodletting—a performer's bread and butter—she hit one home run with a number called “Ring-a-Ding-Doo” (and I can only guess that it may have been a lesser favorite then the other 39 songs).

But enter the '70s with it's urban renewal and open-air drug markets, which changed the sound on the material being written by new masters like Gil Scott-Heron. In fact, Scott-Heron's monster song, "Home Is Where The Hatred Is,” very likely spoke to Ms. Phillips' dream to take a perfect song and make it her own. In 1972, Phillips recorded one of several albums for Kudo Records, first was From a Whisper to a Scream, featuring her cover "Home ..." (Aretha Franklin won the Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance and said the award should've gone to Phillips and her From a Whisper album.)

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Dems Ask Judge To Knock Indie Candidate from November City Council Ballot

Posted By on Tue, Jun 20, 2017 at 3:28 PM

You may not get a chance to vote for independent City Council Candidate Gary Watson
  • You may not get a chance to vote for independent City Council Candidate Gary Watson
It looks like Tucson City Council candidate Gary Watson needs to lawyer up.

Watson, a firefighter who is running as an independent for the open Ward 3 seat, is facing a legal challenge to his candidacy.

Attorney Vince Rabago, representing plaintiff Sheila Yamanaka, has filed a lawsuit alleging that Watson does not have enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Watson needs 377 signatures to qualify. He turned in 536, but Rabago alleges in a court filing that 294 are invalid, leaving Watson well shy of the minimum number of signatures.

A review of Watson’s nominating petitions from the Pima County Recorder’s Office showed that he was shy by just one signature.

But Rabago says the Recorder’s Office does not check all the various technicalities that could lead to disqualification.

Watson told the Weekly last Thursday, June 15, that he was having trouble finding legal counsel for less than $10,000. That’s a steep price to pay for a political rookie who faced an uphill battle to win a council in the first place.

If Watson is bounced from the ballot, the August Democratic primary would decide the future of the Ward 3 seat, which is now held by the retiring Karin Uhlich. Three Democrats are in the race: Paul Durham, Tom Tronsdal and Felicia Chew.

The case is set to be heard in Pima County Judge Catherine Woods’ courtroom on Friday, June 23.

In The Flesh: Toilet Paper Dress-Up! Cheeky Tassel Queens! Flashy Butts! It's Culture Shock at H2O

Posted By on Tue, Jun 20, 2017 at 3:23 PM

Matt Finish shows some skin during his burlesque routine during Culture Shock at H2O in Tucson, Arizona, on Thursday, June 8. - BRIEANA SEALY
  • Brieana Sealy
  • Matt Finish shows some skin during his burlesque routine during Culture Shock at H2O in Tucson, Arizona, on Thursday, June 8.

On a recent Thursday night on the outdoor patio of H2O, drag queens in stiletto heels towered over showgoers and divas strutted in sequined gowns. LGBTQ and cis-gendered people gathered for Tora Woloshin's opening act. Woloshin hosted an event called Culture Shock to fight against prejudice by showcasing different cultures. The majority of acts were people of color and LGBTQ performers. Woloshin opened and closed the show, singing and dancing some of todays most distinguishable pop songs.

Flight School Acro, was up next. A yoga mat was placed on the ground and the acrobatic duo went straight into their routine. The two transitioned smoothly into difficult acrobatic yoga poses and made handstands and planks look easy, never off balance or struggling to complete their poses.

Seasoned burlesque performer Matt Finish began his act wearing but a shimmering gold robe which eventually came off. Finish's explicit routine was filled with and tease (flashes of his butt cheeks, indeed). The burlesquer taunted audience members in nipple tassels and a shiny banana hammock, and went down to perfect full splits while half naked! He controlled the entire room, kept the crowd on edge and a little uncomfortable.

Lip-sync performer Mama made her entrance emerging from the ladies bathroom covered in toilet paper. Her cheeky performance sort of defined the very idea of a drama queen. MC and lip-sync performer Jenna DuMay heckled the crowd when they were less than thrilled about waiting more than an hour for the show to begin. She called us "emo kids" cause we said "yass queen" with lacking enthusiasm. It was great.

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Grand Glazed Opening

Posted By on Tue, Jun 20, 2017 at 10:35 AM

Amy's Donuts, purveyor of some of the most unique donuts you'll ever see, before it's soft opening on June 19. Demand for the donuts was so high, the official opening was pushed back to Saturday, June 24 according to the shops official Facebook page. - AMY'S DONUTS/FACEBOOK
  • Amy's Donuts/Facebook
  • Amy's Donuts, purveyor of some of the most unique donuts you'll ever see, before it's soft opening on June 19. Demand for the donuts was so high, the official opening was pushed back to Saturday, June 24 according to the shops official Facebook page.
Having lived in Phoenix, I'm of the opinion Tucson suffers from a dearth of quality 24-hour restaurants. Particularly when it comes to pick-'em-up-anytime donut establishments.

If you're trying to satisfy your after-hours sweet-tooth, you're totally out of luck. Want a long-john? Ha, you'll have to wait till 6 A.M. when the grocery store opens.

Unless a sleeve of store-bought, cellophane sealed donut-holes is your idea of a quality midnight snack, you're going to have to drive to Ahwatukee for your glazed fix.

Until now.

Amy's Donuts, located at 101 E. Fort Lowell Rd., opened on June 19 to much fanfare and long lines. With current locations in Columbus, Ohio and Colorado Springs, Amy's Donuts are known for being candy-coated, creme-filled and over-the-top; much in the same vein as Portland's Voodoo Donuts.

Armed with over fifty varieties of doughy goodness, Amy's theoretically offers something for everyone. From the traditional glazed, maple and chocolate offerings to the more exotic strawberry-cheesecake and rocky-road, Amy's aims to please.

With all that in mind, I headed down to Amy's for their 4 A.M. Grand Opening. Between yawns and bed-head, I was able to acquire half a dozen pastries ranging from the traditional to the off-the-wall. Here is one interns take on six of Tucson's newest confectionery treats:

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Staff Pick

Tucson Kidsfest

Tucson Kidsfest is an event for kids and their families taking place in June at the TCC.… More

@ Tucson Convention Center Sat., June 24, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sun., June 25, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 260 S. Church Ave.

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Popular Content

  1. The Weekly List: 15 Things To Do In Tucson In The Next Week (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  2. How's the New 'Anyone Can Teach in Arizona' Law Working Out So Far? (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  3. Quick Bites: Wings of Desire (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  4. Dems Ask Judge To Knock Indie Candidate from November City Council Ballot (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  5. Trial Over TUSD's Mexican American Studies to Begin in Tucson June 26 (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)

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