STAGGERING NEWS: To put a post-modern spin on an adage, Man cannot live by vitriol alone. Fortunately for those who find there's nothing quite so entertaining as someone else's misfortune, there's Staggering Heights, a weekly strip and now self-published comic by local cartoonist, painter and musician Joe Forkan. This modest collection of the cartoonist's personal favorites is our recommended irony supplement for the living-impaired. Forkan's urbane pen-and-ink drawings bring caricatures of hapless barflies and bastardized pop-culture icons to life in one great celebration of the human cesspool.

In the author's own words, "Feel the regret! Enjoy the cheap sex! Drown in the nameless longing! Ennui! Hangovers! Car chases and more!" Where else but our own Capt. Spiffy's Super Hero Emporium, 944 E. University Blvd., can you get all that for only $5.95? Well, actually you can get it at Fantasy Comics and all ZIA locations, too.

Staggering Heights has been a regular fixture on The Weekly's comics page since 1994, but you'll also find it in the Albuquerque Alibi (if you happen to be passing through) and online at

REVIEW REVUE: This Sunday's line-up at Club Congress just might make a poetry lover out of you. Those plucky MFA candidates who publish the Sonora Review, a national literary magazine out of the UA creative writing program, are hosting a fundraising benefit featuring The Weird Lovemakers, Greyhound Soul and Maggie Golston. This rockin' good time for the literary cause begins at 9 p.m. Sunday, March 30, at the Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Suggested donation is only $4, with all proceeds helping to fund the magazine, which is run solely on grant money and the sweat of its volunteer staff. Now that's not too much to ask, is it? Call 622-8848 for information.

GIANT STEPS: It's doubtful undergrad Tom Jones imagined showing up for class every day would earn him a seat on the space shuttle Endeavor. But since he earned his PhD in planetary sciences from the University of Arizona back in 1988, Jones' career has quite literally sky-rocketed, with posts as program management engineer for the CIA, and senior scientist for Science Applications International Corp. in Washington, D.C. He performed advanced program planning for NASA's Solar System Exploration Division, investigating future robotics missions to Mars, asteroids and the outer solar system; and in 1994 he flew as a mission specialist on successive flights of the Endeavor, logging nearly 40 days in space in his young NASA career. Far out.

Chew on that, Flat Earth Society members and UFO conspiracy theorists. Jones shares footage from space at 7 p.m. Monday, March 31, at the Pima Air & Space Museum Stitt Auditorium, 6000 E. Valencia Road. Admission is $3, free for children 17 and under when accompanied by an adult. For information, call 574-0462.

GO, GO GRYGUTIS: Congratulations to Tucson sculptor Barbara Grygutis, who's one of four recipients of the Arizona Commission on the Arts Visual Arts Fellowship in Three Dimensional Media. The fellowship carries an award of $5,000, which we're certain the artist will put to good use, judging from the initiative she's shown with projects like the internationally acclaimed Alene Dunlap Smith Memorial Garden on Granada Avenue (in the El Presidio neighborhood), and at least four public commissions completed in recent years: 1995's piece for the Tucson Public Safety Academy (the largest public commission yet awarded at $87,000) a solid granite sculpture on PCC's new Rio Nuevo Community Campus (west of I-10, south of Saint Mary's Road) a sculpted metal divider with cast objects which just went up a couple of months ago at Tucson International Airport; and ceramic seating for a small section of the renovated Santa Cruz linear park, now in progress between Speedway and Mission Road.

Other fellowship winners include Thomas L. Kerrigan, a ceramic artist residing in nearby Bisbee, and Tempe artists Dana Fritz (installation) and Victoria K. Weaver (sculpture). TW

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