Somehow, 2009 managed to be both a year of change and not enough change downtown. While it's easy to focus on the lack of change (i.e., there's still that giant hole) it was good to see the reopening of the Fourth Avenue underpass (even if it came in appallingly over budget) and the beginning of the (hopefully uneventful) construction of the new entrance to the Tucson Convention Center.
Of course, not all of the downtown change was welcome. When restaurateur Kwang C. "Mr." An announced plans to open a bar and restaurant downtown, the current tenants in the Fifth Avenue and Congress Street block were told to vamoose. A salon, a boutique and the artist collective Dinnerware Artspace are some of the tenants forced to look for new homes, a fact we examined last week in Currents, and this week in our Guest Commentary.
In our first video this week, we catch up with Dinnerware manager David Aguirre as he explains what his gallery went through during the whole process, and his decision to relocate quickly rather than stick around to see what happened with the block. (You can now find Dinnerware at 44 W. Sixth St. at the Citizens Warehouse.)
Before the big move, Dinnerware displayed chalk drawings about the new restaurant as well as a sardonic sign out front that said, "Bar Open."
Regarding our other video: Like nearly every other entertainment publication, we're putting out our year-end lists. This week, editor Jimmy Boegle sat down to chat with music editor Stephen Seigel about our critics' picks for the best music of 2009.
Hint: None of the picks rhyme with "Busan Soyle."
Another school semester is finished, and another is about to begin. The Weekly staff was graced with a great batch of interns last semester, and once school starts again in January, we'll host a new set of students who will work with us in exchange for much-needed bylines and experience.
But what does an intern actually do? A while back, Jim Nintzel put together a video with then-intern Matt Kielty on just how many mechanical rodeo bulls potential interns will be required to ride.
"I think people who worry about Build-a-Bear out of all the things to worry about in the world have far too much time on their hands."
Adam Borowitz brought us the depressing news that Austin's Old Fashioned Ice Cream has apparently gone out of business. The delightful diner, which lost a bit of its charm when it moved from Broadway Boulevard and Country Club Road to a new location across the street from Park Place a few years back, has a sign taped to its doors saying the locks have been changed because the rent had not been paid.
Jim Nintzel caught up with UA economist Marshall Vest, who repeated his warnings that the state needs to raise taxes to avoid a financial catastrophe next year. "We're not going to ruin our economy by raising taxes here," Vest said.
Vest also threw cold water on the idea that more tax cuts would stimulate the economy: "(T)ax cuts do not pay for themselves. If you cut a dollar out of your taxes, you might get a nickel back."
Mari Herreras let us know about the environmental plot behind the Build-a-Bear Workshops and informed us that Facebook was encouraging her to become friends with Shawna Forde, a self-appointed border sentry who now sits in the Pima County Jail accused of a double homicide.