Tuesday, August 22, 2017

In The Flesh: The Old Pueblo's Greatest Rapper, Big Meridox, Says Goodbye To Tucson in a Fitting Farewell at The Flycatcher

Posted By on Tue, Aug 22, 2017 at 4:29 PM

Dope flow. Sick rhymes. Loud, deep bass rattled innards. Earplugs were little defense.

“We’ve got three fucking decades of Tucson hip hop up here,” Jivin Scientists’ MC Runt exclaimed. Tucson’s hip-hop community gathered Saturday night at The Flycatcher to pay homage to Marcus “Big Ox” Meridox, who, along with James Ciphurphace and Jivin’ Scientists, in effect, created the scene in the mid-'90s out of Skrappy’s, the now-legendary venue and spawning ground of creativity.

Phoenix duo Fated showed much respect for Big Meridox. - XAVIER OMAR OTERO
  • Xavier Omar Otero
  • Phoenix duo Fated showed much respect for Big Meridox.
Mr. Riot: He helps raise money to fight illiteracy. - XAVIER OMAR OTERO
  • Xavier Omar Otero
  • Mr. Riot: He helps raise money to fight illiteracy.

Newcomer act Fated, a Phoenix B-boy duo comprised of emcees Simple Wizdom and Puritan, kicked off the night with lyrical dexterity, trap beats, synthesized washes and bravado. “My skills are unapproachable …” they claimed.

Another Phoenix emcee, by way of Boston, was next. Mr. Riot drew from Atmosphere, Rakim, Em' and others. Riot’s set peaked when “Ground Tremble” literally rocked the house.

Committed to giving back, Mr. Riot is founder of Gladiator Pen, a collective that raises money for Raising A Reader, a literacy program. 


“Representing the 5-2-0,” Aquafyde Boogey Bros., slammed through their set. “We’re doing this  because we’ve got to stand up. If it ain't building consciousness than it’s bullshit.” A reflection of the times. “Revolution is coming!” They covered every inch of the stage.
Aquafyde Boogey Bros: "If it ain't building consciousness than it’s bullshit.” - XAVIER OMAR OTERO
  • Xavier Omar Otero
  • Aquafyde Boogey Bros: "If it ain't building consciousness than it’s bullshit.”

When asked about Charlottesville, emcee Brody Ave. kept it positive. “[This] is something that has affected America for a long time. Black people have been in the fight since inception. We need white brothers and sisters to get into the fight. To stop something that we have allowed to fester [too long] as a community.”

Amped, former Tucsonan James Ciphurphace & DJ Grapla, were up next. “Let’s make some noise for motherfuckin’ Ciphurphace.” The crowd jeered, moving closer to the stage. Ciphurphace said, “I moved to Jersey City. But I never forgot my roots.”
James Ciphurphace and DJ Grapla: “Take a look inside the mirror/Make a change/Get right.” - XAVIER OMAR OTERO
  • Xavier Omar Otero
  • James Ciphurphace and DJ Grapla: “Take a look inside the mirror/Make a change/Get right.”

Working the crowd, prowling the stage like a cat, confidently. Jumping into the audience, feeding off the energy. The head-nodding beat of “Reflections” set the tone for Ciphurphace's real-world observations: “The rent’s past due/But you’ll spend hundreds at a sneaker store/Walk five miles to wash dishes and sweep the floor.” Urging the listener to “Take a look inside the mirror/Make a change/Get right.”

In a show of respect, Tucson hip-hop institution Jivin Scientists called for a moment of silence for Big Meridox. No easy task in a noisy bar. Yet, the booze-addled abated .. you could’ve heard a pin drop. Church. 
Jivin Scientists: They called for a moment of silence for Big Meridox. - XAVIER OMAR OTERO
  • Xavier Omar Otero
  • Jivin Scientists: They called for a moment of silence for Big Meridox.

Formed in '98, Jivin’ Scientists draw more from analog sounds than sterile beats, after 10 albums, they sure as shit know what they're doing. Their flow killed. Joined by Ciphurphace and Big Ox, they spent more time rapping off stage, and to the crowd's delight.

The energy level in room rose when Big Meridox & DJ Alias went on last. Big Ox’s powerful delivery and cutting lyrics were fierce, enhanced by DJ Alias’ masterful turntablism. After years of gigs, the two are in sync. Straight up, boom-bap beat textures created pumping backdrops for Big Ox's effortless spits and rhymes.

Big Meridox and DJ Alias. - XAVIER OMAR OTERO
  • Xavier Omar Otero
  • Big Meridox and DJ Alias.

Between joints, Meridox fired raw, anti-racist commentary. “Tucson, Arizona. Stay true. And don't call people niggers.” These are the times that we live in.

Meridox leaves Tucson as the champ. (He's moving east for a better job—his day gig is teacher). As evidenced in “Juice,” off his Beast Of Burden EP, with it’s wicked groove and pugilistic, rapid-fire wordplay, Meridox left ‘em wanting more.

By set's end, Big Meridox turned toward the turntables, where DJ Alias had been spinning. They met halfway and exchanged a bro hug. Big Ox, a gentle giant, perhaps too overcome, said to Alias, “I don't know what to tell you man ... But this is it.”

Writer Josh Levine proclaimed Meridox “unquestionably Tucson's greatest rapper.” After witnessing his farewell performance, there's no question.

Here, Meridox homies share words:

“Marcus means so much to me and the hip-hop community. He has been a mentor to most of us. Part of what makes Ox a great MC is his style. MC's aren't built like him nowadays.”—Pike Romero, Director at Tucson Hip Hop Festival

James Ciphurphace: “My brother Big Meridox. We go way back to the Red Dirt Specimen. He was my partner in rhyme. We were wrecking cyphers left and right. Recording mad tracks. I’ve got nothing but love for him.”

Just before he split, Meridox offered his final farewell. “I just want to thank Tucson for everything. Man, I am in awe. I’ll be back. I love Tucson to death. I am going to miss it …”

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Little Birdies To Hit The Golf Course

Posted By on Tue, Aug 22, 2017 at 2:30 PM

golf.jpg


It’s the event that your 3 to 5 year olds have been waiting for for up to 3 to 5 years! The Tucson J’s 2nd Annual “Itty Bitty Open,” a golf tournament for children ages 3 to 5. Plastic putters will be provided, as will a golf professional who goes over basic golf terms and etiquette. (That’s right kids! You want the lowest score possible!)

Each tiny pro-golfer-in-training is required to bring an adult caddy with them (no rolling up to the tournament solo in mom’s minivan), and prizes will be awarded for best-dressed golfer and best-dressed caddy for each tee time.

Tee times are at 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., on Sunday, Sept. 10, with a limit of 25 participants per tee time. Golfers should arrive 15 minutes prior to tee time, and must pre-register by Friday, Sept. 8. $5.


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HOCO Fest Countdown: The Stunning Yves Tumor

Posted By on Tue, Aug 22, 2017 at 1:30 PM

Each Labor Day weekend, Club Congress hosts the HOCO Fest, the city's biggest musical bash. It runs Wed. Aug. 30—Sunday, Sept. 3. We here at TW HQ are so down with it that we're doing power previews like tequila shots of bands and artists performing. Here's the beautifully deceptive Yves Tumor, performing Sunday, Sept. 3.

The music is profound enough to challenge your assumptions. Plus, he's gorgeous. - DANIEL SANNWALD
  • Daniel Sannwald
  • The music is profound enough to challenge your assumptions. Plus, he's gorgeous.

As aural performance artist, Yves Tumor uses repetitive, hypnotic synths and often-distorted clips of the human voice to examine heavy concepts. Like Laurie Anderson or John Cage, dude is more interested in raising questions and making you think than he is in making pretty music. This is post-modern art, yo—stark, confrontational. In “Limerence,” Yves examines context; a woman’s voice clearly states, “Say something.” At first she seems pissed, but when we hear it again, after learning that she wants her boyfriend to “say something” for posterity, the same clip is entirely different. Fucking brilliant. In “When Man Fails You,” the listener is assaulted by endless, atonal bells, and there’s something empty, sadistic yet purposely overwhelming about this tune. Yves’ music is like walking into a museum video installation and taking in dismembered limbs. Open minds and hearts will likely be provoked, shaken and discomforted. Good! So save those psychs for later—but go—this music is profound enough to challenge your assumptions many times over. Plus, he’s gorgeous.
Yves Tumor - Broke in ft. Oxhy from lowlife scum on Vimeo.

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Cinema Clips: Logan Lucky

Posted By on Tue, Aug 22, 2017 at 12:09 PM


A gang of losers plots to rob a NASCAR racetrack on one of its busiest weekends, and they do it in a hackneyed way that makes absolutely no sense. Steven Soderbergh comes out of retirement to direct Channing Tatum as Jimmy Logan, a former football player who has fallen on bad times, then suddenly gets it in his head to rob the racetrack in a way that involves sneaking people out of prison, blowing things up with gummi bears, and secret allies within the establishment.

Soderbergh did the Ocean’s Eleven movies, the first one of them having a reasonably fun and inventive heist. This one is sort of Ocean’s Eleven for rednecks, and their ability to pull off the heist is totally unconvincing.

The film is almost saved by some of the supporting performances, including Daniel Craig as an incarcerated safe cracker who digs hard boiled eggs, and Adam Driver as Jimmy’s one-armed brother. But, for every character that’s a plus, there’s a lame one like Seth McFarlane’s heavily accented millionaire that’s not as funny as he thinks he is.

The movie doesn’t come together in the end, and its robbery scheme is too cute to be realistic. The big reveals feel like a cheat rather than a unique twist. It’s good to have Soderbergh back in action, but this is just a rehash of something he’s done before with a Southern accent. Hilary Swank shows up in the final act, a role that feels entirely tacked on.

It’s much ado about nothing. There are a few laughs, but not enough to justify seeing in theaters.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Bernie Needs a Home

Posted By on Mon, Aug 21, 2017 at 10:00 AM

bernie_841945.jpg

Hi, I'm Bernie!

I am a 5-year-old brown tabby, male looking for the purr-fect home! I came as a transfer from another organization in April. Don't let my tipped ear fool you, I have lived my whole life indoors. I did not like being in a kennel so the nice people at HSSA let me spend my time here in an administrative office.

I am an easygoing cat with a sweet disposition and will allow petting. New people can be scary so I tend to hiss at them to give me some space until I get to know them better. I share my office with Benjy and adore him. I am looking for a home where I can be indoors only and will be the perfect companion for the right person.

Stop by HSSA Main Campus at 3450 N. Kelvin Blvd. and ask to meet me, or call an adoptions counselor at 520-327-6088 ext. 173 for more information!

Lots of Love,
Bernie (841945)

Ally Miller Chickens Out: Under Fire for 'White Pride' Comments, Supervisor Skips Today's Board Meeting

Posted By on Mon, Aug 21, 2017 at 9:30 AM

Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller may have been too busy inspecting potholes to stop by the Board of Supes meeting today. - COURTESY ARIZONA DAILY INDEPENDENT
  • Courtesy Arizona Daily Independent
  • Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller may have been too busy inspecting potholes to stop by the Board of Supes meeting today.
Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller, who made the news last week when she declared her "white pride" on Facebook after would-be Nazis marched in Charlottesville and killed one counter-protester (along with injuring others), decided to skip today's Board of Supervisors meeting.

Miller dashed off an email at 6:13 a.m. this morning letting county officials know she was unavailable for the meeting.

"I am sending this to notify you that I will be unable to cal (sic) in to today's board meeting: August 21, 2017," Miller wrote in her brief message. "Please notify the Chair."

Miller was expected to get roasted during the Call to the Audience segment of the meeting after her Facebook comments earned widespread condemnation outside of her immediate circle of flying monkeys.

"I'm sick and tired of being hit for being white... It is all about making us feel like we need to apologize," Miller wrote in response to a post about Charlottesville on political gadfly's Shaun McClusky's Facebook page. "I am WHITE—and proud of it! No apologies necessary."

Where is the pride this morning?

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

HOCO Fest 2017 Countdown: Mexican Institute of Sound

Posted By on Sun, Aug 20, 2017 at 4:45 PM

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.

We here at
TW HQ so down with it we'll be doing power previews like tequila shots of bands and artists performing the HOCO Fest, local and international. Here's the cliche-destroying Mexican Institute of Art, a must-see on Friday, September Sept. 1.
Camilo Lara is the mighty Mexican Institute of Art. - NACIONAL RECORDS
  • Nacional Records
  • Camilo Lara is the mighty Mexican Institute of Art.

Political, whip smart, ironic. Just one of these three adjectives is hard to pull off with musicality, but Mexico City’s Mexican Institute of Sound gano the triple crown. Whether directly addressing the problems in “Mexico,” where violence and corruption has citizens “saber que el tuyo no es tuyo,” (knowing what is yours is not yours) or playing against Latin-lover stereotypes, “Escribeme Pronto. Soy pasionante, pero yo no soy tanto” (Write me soon. I am passionate but I am not stupid), the singsong/rapped lyrics are always on point—witty and aware of US and Mexican cultural shortcomings. But it’s not just the lyrics in this post-Beck hip-hop outfit that succeed. On “Mexico,” traditional, heroic-sounding horns are slowed down to be clownish; turning a cultural touchstone on its head. In “Escribeme Pronto,” sped up mandates to “Dance!” are dropped in above ’50s Mexico-by-way-of-Hollywood orchestration. This is parody at its finest—razor sharp, danceable, fun. Like Ozomatli, this banda just gets better live. All hail group leader Camilo Lara! Not to be missed.


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Saturday, August 19, 2017

HOCO Fest 2017 Countdown: Willis Earl Beal (AKA Nobody)

Posted By on Sat, Aug 19, 2017 at 7:04 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.

We here at TW HQ so down with it we'll be doing drive-by previews like tequila shots of bands and artists performing the Hoco Fest, local and international. Here's Willis Earl Beal, or "Nobody" as he's called on the streets of Tucson. He's a must-see on Sunday Sept. 3.
Willis Earl Beal and The Thin White Duke  chillin' in some Tucson barrio. - ISAAC KIRKMAN
  • Isaac Kirkman
  • Willis Earl Beal and The Thin White Duke chillin' in some Tucson barrio.

Willis Earl Beal is the real deal, kids. A Chicago-born blues singer with the prowess of R.L. Burnside (“I’ve got nine inches like a pitchfork prong, so honey lift up your dress and help me sing this song”), the gutsy imagination of, yes, Tom Waits (“I cruise through the flesh in my hotrod hearse”) and that all-important connection between brain, heart and throat too-rarely heard in singers today (on a duet with Cat Power, he blows Chan Marshall’s usually-arresting vocals out of the water.) Beal claps hands and plays spoons. He’s a student of African-American roots music the way that Old Crowe is of bluegrass or Gillian is of Americana. So no, there’s no corporate backing here, thank Christ, so he ain’t answering to anyone. Yet, his new, modern take on the devil’s music is swagger-y sexy, authentic, steeped in old Robert Johnson and Willie Dixon. You might have seen him on Tucson streets busking by the telling moniker of “Nobody,” wearing a Zorro cape and mask, but that ain’t no gimmick. He’s been lauded in newspapers the world over, but for, he says, for all the wrong reasons. We assume it’s all about the music, man. Since 2012 he’s released more than a dozen albums, singles and EPs. He's the best musical thing stationed in Tucson at the moment. Hope he chooses to hang here.


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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. In The Flesh: The Old Pueblo's Greatest Rapper, Big Meridox, Says Goodbye To Tucson in a Fitting Farewell at The Flycatcher (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  2. Ally Miller Chickens Out: Under Fire for 'White Pride' Comments, Supervisor Skips Today's Board Meeting (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  3. Bernie Needs a Home (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  4. Little Birdies To Hit The Golf Course (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
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