PumpedThose gas prices just go up, up, up, up, up! Our researchers at AAA Arizona tell us that the average cost of regular unleaded gas in the state broke a new record for the fourth consecutive week, reaching $2.37 a gallon. That's the fifth-highest in the nation, but at least we're not shelling out $2.64, like our neighbors in California. Yet.
Tucsonans were paying an average $2.30 a gallon, up from a buck-91 at this time last year, which has spoiled The Range's summer plans to buy a brand-new Hummer.
AAA spokeswoman Yvette Ortiz Lopez informs us that a proposed refinery in the Yuma area may provide relief, if it ever gets built.
The Curtain RisesFun-lovin' Tucsonans who headed downtown for TW's Club Crawl hootenanny last Saturday got the first look at the all-new Rialto Theatre, which re-opened after shutting down for rehab last summer. Rialto Master of Ceremonies Doug Biggers (who, it should be noted for the sake of full disclosure, gave The Range our big break in the biz back when he was this rag's publisher) has brightened the theatre with a classy makeover, including sharp new acoustic tiling on the auditorium walls, a freshly plastered and repainted lobby featuring earth-tone walls, and a new curved ceiling painted a lovely blue streaked with clouds. Also, new bars = shorter waits!
More work lies ahead, including a brand-new marquee coming this summer, but the doors are open for business. Upcoming: Tesla on May 11, Loudon Wainwright III on May 13 and Kenny Wayne Shepherd on May 14. (Details: www.rialtotheatre.com.)
Also: The Arizona International Film Festival will throw its wrap party at the Rialto at 8 p.m. this Saturday, April 23. And don't miss your chance to see TW film critic James DiGiovanna's vile filmmaking effort, A Forked World, on Friday, April 22, at 11 p.m. at the Screening Room. (Details on the film fest: www.azmac.org).
Down the street at the Fox Theatre, Herb Stratford reports that the dust is flying faster than ever, thanks to the City Council's recent decision to loan the Fox Foundation $5.6 million to get the job done. With the city taking over the construction work, Stratford is projecting an opening by the end of the year.
"We're thrilled that the Rialto is back in business, and we're looking forward to joining them on New Year's Eve," says Stratford.
Get a peek at the theatre's new entryway during the Fox's 75th birthday party, between 1 and 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 30. It's ol'-fashioned fun for the whole family right on Congress Street, with vintage cars, a couple of bands, a jumping castle and--best of all--birthday cookies! On the same day, you can enjoy pickin', strummin' and protestin' at the Folk Fest in nearby El Presidio Park, and some sorta reading celebration at the downtown library, so why not make a day of it? For more info, call 624-1515 or visit www.foxtucsontheatre.org.
Wheels of JusticeA dramatic turn of events for the winner of last week's Hassled-by-the Man contest: Dan Timmerman, the bike mechanic who got popped with more than $600 in tickets for various bike infractions after he scootered through the intersection of Fourth Avenue and University Boulevard, had his case dismissed when the cop failed to show in court to testify against him.
In other Hassled-by-the-Man news, Cathy Waterman wrote to tell us how she was riding her bike, outfitted with all the proper lighting, about 6:20 a.m. last month when she crossed against the light at Stone Avenue and University Boulevard, because cars were scarce, and she wasn't even sure the light was working so early in the day.
Waterman was swiftly stopped by a police officer who laid a $235 ticket on her.
Waterman says she couldn't help unloading on the officer after she got her ticket: "Every day I witness outrageous illegal maneuvers performed by fast-moving, 2,000-pound machines. I see red lights run, vehicles racing around pedestrians in designated crosswalks at 20 miles over the speed limit, drivers on cell phones taking three lanes to make a left-hand turn because they're limited to one hand on the wheel, bicyclists nearly run down because a driver has failed to notice them, bicyclists nearly run down because a driver has noticed them but decides there's enough time to cut them off, drivers constantly using the bike lane for right-hand turn lanes, etc., etc., etc. Where are the cops then?"
Passport PoopPresident George W. Bush expressed displeasure with recently announced plans to require passports for travel between the United States and nearby neighbors such as Mexico and Canada.
We kinda liked the idea, if only because it might have slowed down the rapacious development of Rocky Point into a hideous parody of a vacation paradise.