I’ve been far luckier than many folks throughout the pandemic. My kids and I have somehow dodged the bug (so far) and my wife’s encounter with COVID was very mild. I still have my job and no one close to me has suffered a long hospitalization or died from it.
But until last week, I hadn’t had a chance to board an airplane to get out of town in two years, so it was a thrill to return to South by Southwest, Austin’s legendary music festival. SXSW felt like it was on smaller scale, but that still meant hundreds and hundreds of bands were playing. It was simply glorious to hear so much music again, whether it was a young British band in a small club or an entourage on an outdoor stage in front of thousands of people.
Plus I got a chance to see Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down, an extraordinary documentary about our local former congresswoman’s recovery from the assassination attempt that claimed six lives back in 2011. The movie was directed by Julie Cohen and Betsy West, who previously did RBG, the Ruth Bader Ginsberg documentary. They have created a film that is sad, funny and inspiring. I will say I cried more than once as I watched what Gabby went through in the wake of the shooting, but left the theater lifted by what President Barack Obama called Gabby’s “indomitable spirit.” I can’t wait to see it again. (Rumor has it a Loft Cinema engagement is on the horizon.)
Elsewhere in the book this week: Veteran journalist Ford Burk hart writes a tribute to the late Tony Burgess, a desert rat who helped develop Biosphere 2’s various biomes; UA School of Journalism intern Cameron Jobson gives you a taste of a new book about the history of the Southern Arizona Community Food Bank; managing editor Jeff Gardner catches up with the Craig Green Band ahead of a record-release party this Friday at Monterey Court; XOXO columnist Xavier Omar Otero guides you through this week’s live music offerings; calendar editor Emily Dieckman tells you where to howl this week; Tucson Weekly columnist David Abbott digs into how prosecutors in Mohave County are still bending the law to find ways to prosecute people for possession of cannabis, even though voters passed a proposition to put an end to such nonsense; and, of course, there are the usual comics, columns and such spread throughout the book.