Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Weekly List: 20 Things To Do in Tucson In The Next 10 Days

Posted By on Thu, Aug 17, 2017 at 9:03 AM

Your Weekly guide to keeping busy in the Old Pueblo.


Kitty Quinceañera. Celebrate the senior kitty-zens of the Hermitage No-Kill Cat Shelter & Sanctuary, and maybe even take one home to love. Aside from food and fun, the event will be offering adoption fees of only $5 for cats over 7 years old. Show your support for a local shelter and try to process the fact that you could theoretically take home 20 of these lovable furballs for only $100. (I’m not saying you should, I’m just saying you could). If you’ve been wanting a calm, older cat, now’s the time to go for it. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19. Hermitage No-Kill Cat Shelter & Sanctuary 4501 E. 22nd St. Free.

Hiking with Dogs in the Desert. Have you sat down with your pup to have a chat about safety when hiking? What about trail etiquette? Do you know which trails in the area are dog-friendly? Sandy McPadden Animal Behavior Consulting is hosting this educational event about the best hiking practices when bringing along your best friend. This is a woman who worked as an animal trainer on the national tour of 101 Dalmatians, so she knows her dog stuff, and lots of it. 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 17. REI, 160 W. Wetmore Road. Free.

(Shop) Local

August Indoor Rummage Sale. The WomanKraft Art Center, a nonprofit which works to validate and empower women artists and other under-represented groups, is hosting its biggest biannual fundraising bash. From toys to tools to tech gizmos, they’re practically guaranteed to have something that will strike your fancy. And since it’s held in an air-conditioned sanctuary and not in a driveway, you can browse to your heart’s content, without worrying about coming across a melting lamp, or having a heat stroke. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18 and Saturday, Aug. 19. 388 S. Stone Ave. Free.

Rescue Blooming Barrel Sale. If you’ve thought about getting a rescue dog, but weren’t quite ready to make the commitment, try starting with a rescue plant, which is an option, apparently. The nonprofit Tucson Cactus & Succulent Society is holding a sale of plants that would otherwise be plowed away by developers or AZDOT when new roads are built. Sales of specialty cacti and succulents will begin at 7 a.m., and the rescue mission begins at 8. There’s a limited number entry system (to keep things efficient). Native barrels are a’bloomin, so selection ranges from yellow to red. Stop by and brighten your home with a feel-good investment. Gates open from 7 to 10 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 20 Amphi Land Lab, 4342 N. 4th Ave. Free entry.

You Say It’s Your Birthday

Tucson’s 242nd Birthday Celebration! Ah, Tucson. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been 242 years since our saguaro-y, monsoon-y foodie mecca started playing The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Loft every month. Okay, maybe the monthly screenings haven’t been around that whole time, but 242 years of the Old Pueblo is something to celebrate either way. Mariachi music, speeches and birthday cake will abound. Noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19. Historic AMTRAK Tucson Train Depot 400 N. Toole. Free.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Song of the Day: Billy Sedlmayr Weighs in on Old FM Staple 'Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo' and Johnny and Edgar Winter

Posted By on Wed, Aug 16, 2017 at 4:12 PM

The brothers Winter: Two albino kids who grew up absolutely adoring music from the black American south. - COURTESY
  • courtesy
  • The brothers Winter: Two albino kids who grew up absolutely adoring music from the black American south.
Johnny Winter was born in Beaumont, Texas in the early '40s. He and little brother Edgar would often catch blues musicians such as Muddy Waters, Bobby Bland and B.B. King on the Chitlin Circuit's lower stops.

By the time the bros began gigging they knew firsthand what prejudice could do to those inflicted, and to those inflicting. And, while they embraced black music and black culture, they felt like freaks so they chose to flaunt their albinism, long white hair, hard pale eyes and pearl skin. There has been nothing like them before or since. The best argument ever in favor of white people playing the blues.

Those boys were meant to shine.

Johnny signed a big money deal with Columbia Records on the praise of blues axeman Mike Bloomfield and the ever growing rock 'n' roll community in Texas. He had was an original voice, a searing steel guitar sound, while fearless with a hand-me-down Fender, turning rock 'n' roll tricks to further his true love—the Blues.

Edgar had started White Trash, an R&B and jazz-inflected rock 'n' roll outfit while Johnny
hit full stride with remaining members of The McCoys, (yes, Hang on Sloopy). He
carved out a whole new sound, thumb picking on the guitar to free up his fingers.

In 1970 Johnny put out Johnny Winter And, which featured the Rick Derringer-penned "Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo," a two-guitar barnburner and the consummate '70s rock song. This version is spotless, tight and avoids cliche.  Johnny's voice is weathered at a young age—he was already deep into the spoon—and his vocals and guitar work are almost pleas for deliverance. He had a relationship with Janis Joplin around this time. Things were moving very fast; his heart was in blues music but his label had a full-on marketing campaign to make him a pop star of sorts, and for awhile he bought in. The records from that time are very good. He would shepherd covers, like Dylan's "Highway 61" and The Stones' "Silver Train," turning them into electrical showstoppers. He was something to see playing rock star but it'd be a matter of time till he went back to pure blues. He produced his idol Muddy Waters and erned Grammys for his trouble.
Edgar would have huge success with the instrumental "Frankenstein" (someone had to) and the FM-radio mighty "Free Ride." The brothers would do live projects together, most of which are really quite good. Lastly, Johnny and Edgar are portrayed in DC Comics' Jonah Hex (a fave of mine), a half-dead Civil War soldier/bounty hunter who crosses paths with a Johnny and Edgar Autumn, a pair of albino bros who are Texas bounty hunters.

Johnny passed away on tour, summer 2014. A real Texas bluesman.

"Lawdy Mama, light my fuse ..."

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TUSD Enrollment, 2000 to 2017

Posted By on Wed, Aug 16, 2017 at 2:02 PM

For the past few years, I've put up a chart of TUSD's enrollment numbers beginning in 2000. The district has a detailed table of daily enrollment for those years separated out by grade, ethnicity and gender. However, it wasn't updated last year because, I was told, of a change in computer operations. I recently received the 2016-17 numbers from the district and was told the daily enrollment count will return to the district website toward the end of this year.

Here is the updated chart.
A few things before I look at the numbers. I've consistently used the enrollment numbers on the 175th day because they seem to have less random variation than other days during the year. However, the numbers I'm using this year are somewhat different than last year's. The reason is, I hadn't noticed until I looked over the numbers for this post that I had included preschool enrollment in the count, which skews the count, especially for the past school year. Preschool numbers have increased slowly over the years, but they made a big jump this past year, increasing by 300 children. If I included them in the chart, the enrollment loss for this past school year would be smaller. This corrected chart only includes K-12 numbers.

The chart shows an average decline in district enrollment of about 350 students a year from 2000 to 2007. The numbers take a plunge from 2008 to 2012, averaging about 1600 a year, then the yearly decreases slow. Over the last three years, the average loss has been about 650 students, which is an improvement from the previous seven years but still a serious problem for the district.

My chart only shows the total numbers year to year. A look at the grade-by-grade changes in the detailed district tables reveals a few problems and one bright spot.

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Cinema Clips: Brigsby Bear

Posted By on Wed, Aug 16, 2017 at 12:37 PM

Saturday Night Live
’s Kyle Mooney stars as James, a man who loves a kid’s TV show called Brigsby Bear, and loves his parents (Mark Hamill, Jane Adams). As it turns out, he’s also a kidnapping victim, his parents aren’t his real parents, and the TV show was produced by his fake dad for him only. When authorities rescue him and he’s returned to his real parents (Matt Walsh and Michaela Watkins), James understandably has a few emotional and social issues, having never really been outside a small dwelling his entire life. His obsession with the fake TV show continues, and he aspires to continue the story of Brigsby Bear, even if it was a byproduct of his captivity.

Director Dave McCary, working from a script co-written by Mooney, delivers a surprisingly heartwarming, funny sleeper with this movie, a film that pays tribute to geek fandom (Hey…Mark Hamill!), the importance of family, new friendships, and forgiveness.

Mooney is essentially playing one of his spacey SNL characters here, and he fits in perfectly. Greg Kinnear, as a helpful policeman with acting aspirations, lends to a terrific supporting cast. Yes, it is a little weird how James remains somewhat cool headed and affectionate for his fake captor dad but, hey, it’s Mark Hamill! (there’s a nice touch involving voiceovers that just makes total sense).

This is actually one of the better films starring and SNL alumni to come out in the last few years, and shows Mooney to have a promising movie career.

HOCO Fest 2017 Countdown: Ho99o9

Posted By on Wed, Aug 16, 2017 at 8:44 AM

Each Labor Day weekend, the fine folks at Club Congress host the city's biggest musical bash of the year. It runs Wed. Aug. 30-Sunday, Sept. 3. The Tucson Weekly is down with it.

So down with it we'll be doing drive-by previews of bands and artists performing the Hoco Fest fest, local and international. Here's a bit about the heady, adrenaline-stoked combo Ho99o9, playing the fest on Thursday, Aug. 31:

Ho99o9: Tension is critical. - COURTESY
  • courtesy
  • Ho99o9: Tension is critical.

Those who caught New Jersey’s Ho99o9 (pronounced Horror) when they hit the Moldy Pueblo on Mike Patton’s Dead Cross tour will know how much of a spectacular mindfuck they are live. Mashing Ministry’s grimy industrial scrum with Manson-esque (Marilyn and Charlie) goth-horror, some Suicide minimalism, and smart, skull-crush hip-hop that’d do Massive Attack proud, few new bands excite more than Ho99o9. The main duo of theOGM and Eaddy work together because of their musical and, perhaps, subtle ideological differences—sorta like a brainy, punk-rock Outkast. Tension is critical. On record they’re great, but live is the shit.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Puppy Love and Feline Fondness: Get Yourself A Pet for (Nearly) Free This Weekend

Posted By on Tue, Aug 15, 2017 at 12:20 PM


Meet Harley, a two-year-old female Staffordshire Bull Terrier. This weekend, she and all of the animals at the Pima Animal Care Center can be adopted with no adoption fee, as a part of PACC’s participation in the nationwide “Clear the Shelters” campaign.

Adoption fees will be waved Saturday, Aug 19, and Sunday, Aug. 20. The usual $18 licensing fee for adult dogs will apply, but what’s $18 for a new furry best friend? Not to mention that every adopted pet (all the time, not just for the weekend) comes spayed or neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and with a free vet visit.

Clear the Shelters, an event hosted by NBC and Telemundo-owned stations, has led to the adoption of over 73,000 pets since its expansion to the national level in 2015, 50,000 of which took place in 2016. Help break last year’s record by taking home one of the more than 650 pets at PACC that are waiting to meet you.

Look at available pets online or visit them in purr-son at the shelter, 4000 N. Silverbell Road.

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Harley Needs a Home

Posted By on Mon, Aug 14, 2017 at 4:33 PM

Hi there! I'm Harley!

I'm a cute little 1 year old boy and I need a new home! I came to HSSA as a stray so they don't know a lot about my history, but they do know that I'm a sweet boy!
I'm looking for a home that is willing to give me ample time to adjust to my new environment and get used to my new forever home!

Once I warm up to people I really enjoy going for walks and giving doggy kisses!
If you're looking for a fun dog to join your family I might be the perfect fit! Contact HSSA Main Campus at 520-327-6088 ext. 173 to check on my availability and exact location!

Wags and Kisses,
Harley (842211)

A Look At TUSD's AzMERIT Scores

Posted By on Mon, Aug 14, 2017 at 3:30 PM

  • Courtesy of PhotoSpin
The state has released scores on the AzMERIT tests given this spring, meaning we can compare TUSD's 2017 scores with its scores two years ago when students took the first AzMERIT tests, and with the state scores. I'll lay out the results the numbers first, then I'll try to figure out what they mean, and don't mean.

But first, let me repeat my intense dislike of our obsession with high stakes, standardized tests. They only test what's testable in a fill-in-the-bubble format. They're susceptible to being gamed, meaning the better teachers are at teaching to the test, the better their students' results. That means the reliability of the results as a measure of student achievement is questionable. Also, the emphasis on the tests distorts the curriculum at the same time it stifles teachers' creativity and their ability to tailor their teaching strategies to their students' needs. The yearly tests make the education we give our students worse, not better. Nonetheless, the tests are out there, and people will talk. So with these caveats in mind, I'll talk too.

Here's a summary of the AzMERIT results, without analysis or interpretation. Statewide, fewer than half the students passed the test in every grade. The passage rates range from 25 percent to 48 percent. However, the average passing rate rose about 4 percentage points since the first test was given in 2015. TUSD's passing rate is considerably lower than the state's, averaging 11 points lower in Language Arts and 13 points lower in Math. The district's average passing rate didn't change in Language Arts from 2015 to 2017 and went up one percent in Math, meaning TUSD's scores showed less improvement than the state as a whole. White and Asian students scored considerably higher than Hispanic, Native American and African American students at the district and the state level.

Now, some analysis. First, the passing rates. As any teacher knows, you can create tests that are easier and harder, and you can move the grade curve up or down depending on where you set the cut scores. The old AIMS test was thought to be too easy and too many students passed it, so the state created a harder test and set the passing scores at a level that fewer students passed. So the fact that far fewer students passed AzMERIT than AIMS doesn't mean our students know less than they did a few years ago. It just means we have a tougher curve on a tougher test.

Fewer TUSD students passed than the state average, and at both the TUSD and state levels, White and Asian students scored higher than Hispanic, Native American and African American students. That information is about as surprising and revelatory as saying the yearly temperature in Tucson is higher than it is in Seattle. Of course Tucson is warmer, that's how the global climate is structured! Of course Whites and Asians outperform Hispanics, Native Americans and African Americans on standardized tests, that's how the households' economic and educational status is structured! And of course the state outperforms TUSD on standardized test scores, the district has a lower percentage of high scoring White and Asian students and a higher percentage of Hispanic, Native American and African American students than the state as a whole.

None of this is a judgement on any group. Far from it. It's a judgement of our society's shameful economic, racial and ethnic inequality. If we lower the levels of inequality, the gaps in student scores will close as a result. It's overstating things, but not by much, to say we could learn as much about student achievement, and save ourselves a whole lot of money, by getting rid of the tests and just looking up students' zip codes.

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Staff Pick

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Cool Summer Nights

Beat Arizona heat and enjoy a family-friendly outing during the Desert Museum’s Cool Summer Nights. The stunning… More

@ Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Saturdays, 5-10 p.m. Continues through Sept. 2 2021 N. Kinney Road.

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Popular Content

  1. TUSD Enrollment, 2000 to 2017 (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  2. Song of the Day: Billy Sedlmayr Weighs in on Old FM Staple 'Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo' and Johnny and Edgar Winter (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  3. Cinema Clips: Brigsby Bear (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  4. Here's What a Skills-Based Curriculum Means In Finland (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  5. Puppy Love and Feline Fondness: Get Yourself A Pet for (Nearly) Free This Weekend (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)

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