As I mentioned in this space before, the Great Cover Up is one of my favorite annual fundraisers, so I'm thrilled to see it making a comeback this year. For those of you who are unfamiliar: Local musicians masquerade as big national acts in half-hour sets. This year, the artists being covered include the likes of Tom Petty, Prince, Springsteen, the Kinks, Led Zeppelin, Tori Amos, the Pretenders, Tom Waits, Marvin Gaye, the Moody Blues, the Doors—and that's less than half the lineup. There are so many acts, in fact, that it takes three nights for everyone to strut their stuff: Next Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 14 through 16, at Flycatcher, Club Congress and 191 Toole. It's a ton of fun that will trigger your nostalgia brain circuits, and it's all for a good cause—this year, Planned Parenthood will get all the money raised. Big kudos to the volunteers behind the scenes who are organizing this event. Feature writer Jeff Gardner has the details.
Speaking of our music section: I'm delighted to announce that Xavier Otero, who has been covering music for us steadily for more than a year now, is launching a new column this week. In XOXO..., you'll find details about what's happening in the clubs this week, as well as notes about shows on the horizon, new CD releases and much more. Reach out to our uncanny X-man with the details so he can get it into print. XOXO... joins our other recently launched Nightcrawler column as part of our effort to keep up with this town's rich music scene.
Speaking of rich scenes: Southern Arizona is home to a lot of terrific authors, so we've rounded up some of the best books of the year released by writers who call Tucson home. I reckon you can find something for someone on your holiday shopping list, so why not support a local author and a local bookstore when you're shopping this month?
We've also got an excerpt from Tucson author William Kalt, who has penned a history of aviation in Southern Arizona. Kalt tells the story of Tucson's first airfield, built 99 years ago to accommodate a squadron of military planes that were crisscrossing the country.
Elsewhere in the book: Staff reporter Danyelle Khmara tells us about the latest student-housing shakedown facing City Hall; arts writer Margaret Regan has the details on the city's two top Nutcrackers; Emily Dieckman explains why the local magicians in the Carnival of Illusion will put a spell on you; film critic Bob Grimm marvels at Three Billboards; food writer Mark Whittaker find extraordinary pizza at downtown's Anello; comedy correspondent Linda Ray tells you all about the morning daily's cartoonist Dave Fitzsimmon's big Christmas show; and I talk with Bruce Bartlett, a former Reagan administration official who is ready to give up hope on the Republican Party.
And there's lots more in the margins, so dig in already!
Thanks for reading, and we'll see you next week.
— Jim Nintzel