Best Of Tucson®

The End-of-Days Exit Interview: Joe Pagac

Painter Joe Pagac may be best known for his murals highlighting the bands playing at the Rialto Theatre, but his work has been popping up all over downtown walls these days. Pagac also does commercial work and fine art—you might have seen his work on display in the lobby of Hotel Congress—and earlier this year, he joined comedian John Hodgman onstage at the Rialto, and created a massive mural of the apocalypse while Hodgman shared his vision of the end of the world.

A meteor is going to hit the planet tomorrow. Where in Tucson would you go for your final meal?

Saffron Indian Bistro. I've been known to finish off a large helping of their chicken tikka masala and slump back in my chair, rubbing my stomach and contently moaning that I could die happy at that moment.

Our new robot overlords want to ban alcohol. Where would you want to have your final drink?

Downtown Kitchen has an amazing cocktail with passion-fruit juice and habañero-infused vodka that burns so good. If I'm going down swinging, I want to do it with a sweet taste on my lips and fire in my belly.

Global warming has increased outside temps to 130 degrees in the summer. Where do you go to cool off?

Breakers Water Park. I can't even imagine how bad my feet would burn while running back up to the top of the water slides if it's that hot out, but that's the roller-coaster of life, man.

Aliens have landed in your backyard and say: "Take us to your leader." Where in Tucson would you send them?

I'd take them to the Meet Rack. If there is anyone who can simultaneously play the role of diplomat and entertainer to an alien race, it's God. His back-room tour will give us precious time to plan a counterattack if things go sour, and if things go well, the burgers there are the best bar food in town. What better way to welcome our space brethren than by tricking them into buying a condom and then sounding an alarm?

The mole people are invading the surface world through a tunnel that opens in your backyard. What local business would you turn to for help?

There's a retro-style Ace Hardware within running distance of my house. I'd bet a nickel they sell some pretty large mallets there.

If a zombie apocalypse were to happen in Tucson, what shopping center would you like to hole up in?

Can I hole up in the Chicago Music Store? It's the least-practical place, but the possibility for creativity would make it totally worth the complete lack of critical supplies. Imagine one of your friends shredding on the guitar while you thump out a bass beat on the timpani using a zombie as a drumstick, or jabbing (a zombie) repeatedly in the belly with a trombone slide during an allegro rendition of "Baby Elephant Walk."

What Tucson band or musician would you like to have write the soundtrack to the end of the world as we know it?

Sergio Mendoza y la Orkestra. I love to dance to it, so I assume I would also love to die to it.


If you had only one sunset left in Tucson, from where would you watch it?

My favorite place to watch the sunset has always been from the little peaks around Gates Pass. I often drive up there around sunset with good friends, talk life and pass a bottle of wine around the circle as the sky gets all prism-y. Although, if the world were ending, I'd probably drink a whole bottle by myself—because no hangover tomorrow, buddy.

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