Goodbye, Big Jim

Dec, 23 2021 Issue

Tucson lost a local legend last weekend with the death of “Big Jim” Griffith, a folklorist and author perhaps best known as the founder of Tucson Meet Yourself, the annual gathering that spotlights the music, storytelling and—of course—delicious food of the many cultures that make up our community.
Tucson Meet Yourself is a spectacular way to experience the many flavors of Tucson, but Big Jim’s contributions to documenting folk life in Southern Arizona and Northern Mexico are immeasurable. In his books, he captured stories and legends that could be so easily lost as generations pass from the earth. He’ll be deeply missed. The Weekly will be doing a tribute issue to him in early January and I’m looking for contributions from the folks who knew him best. If you’ve got a story to tell about Big Jim, email it to me at
On a brighter note, this week we launch a new column from calendar editor Emily Dieckman. Sonoran Explorin’ will share stories about Emily’s adventures around Southern Arizona as she meets people and digs into what makes this place so special. This week, she’s visiting the new Dirty T Flea, an open-air swap meet at Park Place.
Meanwhile, Christmas is here and New Year’s Eve is right around the country. Managing editor Jeff Gardner has assembled a list of places you can ring in 2022—but do be careful, because the extremely contagious COVID variant, Omicron, has arrived in Pima County, hospitals are as full as the all the inns in Bethlehem, and far too many people remain unvaccinated. (A reminder to get your shot or your booster if you haven’t already.)
Elsewhere in the book this week: Staff reporter Alexandra Pere fills you in on the latest on COVID; States Newsroom reporter Jacob Fischler informs us that Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is still unwilling to bust the filibuster to advance voting-rights legislation; Brother Coyote shares a Christmas ode to the Old Pueblo; contributor Christina Fuoco-Karasinski profiles Cheryl Cage, who has shifted from working in politics to writing children’s books; food writer Valerie Vinyard explores the Gallery of Food; and we’ve got more throughout the book, so give it a quick read before you use it as kindling for your yule log.
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Jim Nintzel
Executive Editor

Hear Nintz talk about all things Tucson Weekly at 9:30 a.m. Wednesdays during the world-famous Frank Show on KLPX, 96.1 FM.

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