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.”
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.
Moneo takes a never-before-seen look at the artistic heart and rebellious soul of Tucson's amazing talent. Some of the artists featured in Tucson Hot Damn include: musician Salvador Duran, muralist Gonzalo Espinosa, artist Rudy Flores (Army Man Project), musician Al Foul, filmmaker/dancer Katherine Ferguson, Howe Gelb, artist/sculptor Nick Georgieu, musician George Howard, muralist Danny Martin, musician Tom Walbank, the freakshow that is The Strange Family Circus and many more.
The Tucson Happening, with master of ceremonies Magic Kenny Bang Bang, a program combining live music, performance and film, featuring Billy Sedlmayr, Golden Boots Tropical Trio, renowned aerialist/acrobatic/pyrotechnic troupe Flam Chen happens Sunday, April 30, 7:00 p.m., at The Rialto Theatre, 318 East Congress; 740-1000. Advance tickets ($6) can be purchased at The Rialto Theatre box office. All ages.