It's a damn shame the Tucson Festival of Books has been canceled, but with authors worried about traveling in the Age of COVID-19, it sure sounds like organizers had no choice. Still, it's one of my favorite events of the year and I was looking forward to meeting a bunch of terrific authors.
We still have some literary stories in our paper this week that might help cure the book fest blues. First off, congrats to my friend Leo W. Banks, whose second novel in the "Whip" Stark series hits bookstores this month. If you've read his first novel, Double Wide (which won a pair of Spur Awards from the Western Writers of America for best first novel and best western contemporary novel), then you know why you should pick this one up. (And if you haven't read it, what are you waiting for?) In this sequel, Whip mixes it up with a paramilitary crime ring. It's a classic crime noir set in modern-day Tucson. Pick it up for your summer read this year.
In other lit news: Tucson Weekly columnist Brian Smith and his wife Maggie are launching a small publishing house, R&R Press. We've got details on page 19. And in this week's Tucson Salvage column, Brian writes a tribute to Charlie Spillar, a local artist who shuffled off this mortal coil a few months back. I first met Charlie when he was part of an effort to preserve and improve the Valley of the Moon, the secret local fantasyland where fairies still live and kindness is revered. His huge heart will be missed in this community.
Elsewhere in the book: Associate Editor Jeff Gardner tells us the latest—at least as of press time—about coronavirus in our community; The Skinny gives Sen. Martha McSally's new healthcare legislation a troubling diagnosis; columnist Tom Danehy explains why he's voting for Joe Biden in next week's presidential primary; staff writer Austin Counts tells you where you can find a Pop's Hot Chicken sandwich without tracking down the famous local food truck; arts writer Margaret Regan rounds up a few dance performances this weekend; movie critic Bob Grimm says Extra Ordinary might be the best paranormal comedy since Ghostbusters; Cannabis 520 columnist Nick Meyers looks into some of the challenges of expunging the records of those busted for marijuana possession; and there's plenty more to fill your time, especially now that your weekend plans are shot.
— Jim Nintzel Executive Editor
Hear Nintz talk about what's happening in Tucson's entertainment scene Wednesday mornings at 9:30 a.m. during The Frank Show on KLPX, 96.1 FM.