It’s Beginning to Taste a Lot Like Christmas

It’s Beginning to Taste a Lot Like Christmas

For the Past several years, my friend Amy Silverman, with the help of her co-conspirators, has organized a Phoenix storytelling event called Bar Flies. The stories range from dramatic to heartbreaking to funny. And now many of them have been collected in a book, Bar Flies: True Stories From the Early Years.


Police Dispatch

A super-high woman was caught behind the wheel after a late-night Dairy Queen run, according to a Marana Police Department report.

Northside showdown

Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller announced last Monday, Dec. 2, she would not seek reelection to the District 1 seat she has held since 2012.

Breaking the Ice

The Roadrunners’ early season success has been sparked by an offense that includes sharp-shooting Lane Pederson, who leads the team with 13 goals in 21 games.


I can’t let 2019 go by without looking back at one more ugly historic episode, that of the Wyoming Black 14, a group of thoughtful and talented young men caught in the roiling confluence of sports and politics. It was one of those things that, in retrospect, just seems exactly right for those times, even though it turned out oh-so-very wrong.

Eating Christmas

I was awakened by a text message at about 2 a.m. following Thanksgiving of 2014: “911!! 911!! I’m not bringing the rolls for Christmas. I’VE BEEN ASSIGNED THE SWEET POTATOES! WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?”

Take Home ‘Bar Flies’

Since 2015, Phoenix residents have gathered at a downtown bar once a month to listen to true stories told live on stage. The show has popped up at museums, bars, parks, and even Tucson’s Hotel Congress—and now, for the first time ever, Valley Bar’s popular monthly reading series Bar Flies is a book. “Bar Flies: True Stories From the Early Years” features 60 favorite essays from the show’s first four seasons, collected by the show’s co-founders Amy Silverman and Katie Bravo.

Flow Job

Our cover package this week highlights Science Be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River, a new book from our friends at UA Press.

Impeachment Update

Democrat Raul Grijalva has represented Southern Arizona in Congress since he was first elected to the U.S. House in 2002. He recently appeared on the community radio KXCI program Zona Politics with Jim Nintzel to talk about impeachment, immigration and other issues.

Police Dispatch

A young man was so aggressively intoxicated he started not only fighting people but also “charging” and attacking running cars, according to a Marana Police Department report.

Bartender in Jeopardy

Eric Smith’s lifelong dream came true in front of a studio audience in Culver City earlier this month.

The Skinny

Ally Miller announces she won’t seek another term on the Pima County Board of Supervisors


Seeing as how we’re getting into the Holy Season, I’ve been thinking about Kanye West’s miraculous conversion from washed-up rapper to sorta-Christian.

Sinking Feeling

Authors Eric Kuhn and John Fleck bust a longstanding myth that the Colorado River is facing a shortage today because when our elected officials decided how to divvy up its water, they used measurements from particularly good years and over-allocated the river’s bounty. But as Kuhn and Fleck reveal in the book, scientists knew at the time that the river was being over-allocated, but the politicians ignored their warnings.

A River in Deficit

The Colorado River once dumped millions of gallons of water annually into the Gulf of California, but now dries up before it ever reaches the sea.

What’s in a Name?

In this industry, you can smoke it or ingest it, but no matter your preferred method of input, the days of nameless weed in a plastic baggie are long gone, according to a report in Maximum Yield Cannabis magazine.


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! See you at the dinner table!

Police Dispatch

A couple of beer bandits bamboozled a convenience store, then apparently felt that donating a dollar to charity made up for their deed, according to a Pima County Sheriff’s Department report.

Dancing to a New Tune

Lola Torch has almost 15 years of experience in the cabaret, owns a burlesque fitness workshop downtown, trains a growing number of newcomers at her own burlesque production, the Tucson Libertine League (TLL), and recently launched a lingerie brand named “Hi Tiger!”

Eastbound and Down

The Department of Homeland Security said it will bus asylum seekers from Tucson to El Paso, Texas, where they will be sent back to Mexico to await a decision on their claims under the Trump administration’s Migration Protection Protocols.


This week, Tom has a big list of what local and national folks should really be thankful for.

Step by Step

Supported by gung-ho team din and Technotronic’s “Pump Up the Jams,” Marquez “Quezzy” Johnson saunters to the plate, grins wide, and pops a hip-hop dance move. Bases loaded, the green team pitcher backs up, deliberates a second or two and underarms a fast bouncy one toward home plate.

High Holidays

Between the CBD explosion and medical marijuana renaissance, there’s no shortage of unusual craft product reaching the shelves in local dispensaries. And with the holiday season in full spring, there’s may be no better gift for the cardholding patient in your life than a medicated iced coffee, craft brownie or small-batch chocolates.

Happy Birthday, Hotel Congress

You don’t turn 100 every day, so a big congrats to Hotel Congress for hitting the century mark. Home to landmarks like Club Congress and the Cup Café, Congress has become a cultural centerpiece in Tucson. You never know who you’re likely to see when you pop in for breakfast: Is that a U.S. senator? An indie rock star? A renowned artist?

Police Dispatch

A soda-can recycler claimed a female bus driver assaulted and injured him using her bus’ door as a “weapon,” according to a Pima County Sheriff’s Department report.

A century in the making

For their centennial celebration, Hotel Congress is looking backward as well as looking forward, but they’re not the only ones doing so.

Who Guards the Guardsmen?

WASHINGTON–Dozens of House Democrats renewed calls last week for the Defense Department to investigate the legality of President Donald Trump’s decision to deploy thousands of active-duty and National Guard troops to the U.S-Mexico border.

Supreme Showdown

The Supreme Court Grappled last Tuesday with the push to end the DACA program, with some justices suggesting that the Trump administration’s justification for the move was flimsy and did not take into account its full impact.


For those of you who are relatively new to our fair community, it may come as a surprise that they used to make movies in Tucson.

Making History

It was a story that had to be told, Henry Barajas repeated to himself, year after year. The story he needed to tell was about a forgotten slice of Tucson’s history, a story about a proud but stepped-on community, a story about unlikely heroes who overcame insurmountable obstacles.

Natural Remedies

The inaugural AZ Plant Medicine Conference is coming to the Tucson Convention Center Dec. 6 through Dec. 8. The conference will feature discussions by alternative medicine professionals who treat issues ranging from anxiety and depression to glaucoma and arthritis with psychedelics, cannabis, CBD and more.

Presenting: Great Spots To Find the Perfect Gift!

Your ultimate list to shopping local this season

Parades! Concerts! Gingerbread Houses! Light Shows! And, of course, Nutcrackers!

If what makes your holidays happy is nestling up on the couch every night with some hot chocolate and Netflix, then have a cozy holiday season! But if what gets your bells a’jinglin’ is attending festive events (or doing some combination of nestling and event-attending), then check out the list below.

Memory Lane

It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since reporter and author Charles Bowden died at age 69. But even though Chuck—famous for his investigations into the drug trade along the border as well as his environmental writing—is no longer with us, his words are.

Police Dispatch

A good-natured guy who seemed high on uppers was busted for carrying a downer-filled syringe, according to a Pima County Sheriff’s Department report.

Cats on the Court

If you’ve attended an Arizona Wildcats basketball game over the past two decades, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve met Robert Wagner.

The Skinny

Romero wins mayor’s office, voters reject sanctuary prop, no pay raise for all-Democratic City Council.


Transgender people deserve every protection under the law in the workplace, in housing, in education, in marriage, and in life. They deserve our respect, our patience and our understanding. But, in my opinion (formed by decades in believing in the fairness of sport), they do not automatically deserve to compete against ciswomen. They just don’t.

Interviewing a Tire

Remembering Chuck Bowden: An excerpt from the new book America’s Most Alarming Writer

If Memory Serves

On a bend, I will see it, a piece of ground off to the side. I will know the feel of this place: the leaves stir slowly on the trees, dry air smells like dust, birds dart and the trails are made by beasts living free. The stars do not complain. They live, explode, die and send no messages of regret. Sometimes, as the darkness grows I can hear them, always a low hum but I never quite catch the melody.

Arts, Big and Small

We’ve got a lot of arts in this week’s issue, including Tucson Salvage columnist Brian Smith’s profile of Mario Patino, who creates astonishing miniatures from his memories of growing up on Tucson’s south side.

Police Dispatch

A man might’ve gotten away with petty shoplifting some candy had he not randomly shouted that he was guilty of much worse and then treating a cop like a Lyft driver, according to a Pima County Sheriff’s Department report.

Combining Forces

Nearly a decade after he joined the military, 30-year-old Daniel died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, down the street from his home in Phoenix. His carefully written suicide note detailed the exact reasons why he decided to take his own life. He expressed remorse over the lives he took in combat, frustration with the Department of Veterans Affairs that failed him in his time of need, and questioned the lack of federal action on a widespread issue that causes 22 veterans on average to die by suicide every day.

Stewards of the written word

Sun Sounds of Arizona is a radio station that provides audio access to print information, such as newspapers and short stories, to people who cannot read or hold print material due to a disability. This service is available via three affiliate stations in Tucson, Tempe and Flagstaff, and covers a wide range of content for a wide range of listeners.

The Skinny

As the U.S. House moves forward with its investigation into the Ukraine matter, the political stakes are high for many of Arizona’s congressional delegation.


Tom reveals his ideas of romance, and it involves Blazing Saddles and Pizza Hut.

Tucson Salvage

A profile of Mario Patino, who creates astonishing miniatures from his memories of growing up on Tucson’s south side.

Market Forces

Analytical data from the cannabis industry shows yearly consumption of medicinal marijuana to be in excess of 122,000 pounds involving 204,000 qualified patients as of mid-year.

Silver Screen Spectacular

If you like movies—I mean, if you really like movies—then you might as well request a few days off from work for the Loft Film Fest.

Police Dispatch

A man wearing pants on his head purposefully unzipped the ones on his bottom half and nearly exposed himself to a school bus full of kids, according to a Pima County Sheriff’s Department report.

At the Finish Line

With less than a week before the Nov. 5 Election Day, it looks like the contest for an open Ward 1 City Council seat is Democrat Lane Santa Cruz’s race to lose.


Now that the temperature is finally in the 70s, we Tucsonans are undergoing the Transition. All it takes is three consecutive days where the daytime highs are in the 70s and the nights are cool and crisp and we forget all about how hot and nasty the preceding six months were (although this past May was delightfully cool).

Screen Savors

For its tenth anniversary, the Loft Film Fest is bringing Tucsonans films from Hungary, Sweden, Guatemala, South Korea and more. As with previous Loft Film Fests, this year’s event does not stick to a core theme, but rather celebrates all forms of film, from classic to cutting-edge, and even some that push the boundaries of what is considered film at all. 


Loft Cinema Executive Director Peggy Johnson says that film festivals “give you a sense of the world.” “Film is such a dynamic medium,” Johnson says. “It’s now so easy for people to make films; you don’t need a big budget or big camera. So you get films like The Cave, one of our fest documentaries, about a woman doctor in Syria treating war victims in a cave. A film festival broadens your worldview.”

Growth Industry

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized production of industrial hemp and some early birds were waiting to jump on that opportunity.


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