Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Yesterday we had our very own twelve-hour Christmas marathon/party. It involved ritualistic over eating and drinking, Christmas music, Christmas movies, dominoes, cigar smoking, a pack of ham-stealing small dogs, and even a few presents. One of our guests, who has apparently acquired every television Christmas special aired over the past thirty years, brought in this little gem.
I had never seen Will Vinton's Claymation Christmas before, and I must say I was mesmerized. I think it embodied the spirit of our party perfectly, so I decided to make it (well, one part of it) my Christmas present to my blog: so happy holidays, Tucson Querido!
p.s. Do NOT watch a Claymation Easter with children or hits of acid!
Sunday, December 23, 2007
I've been to P1 Kart Circuit twice now and both times have been a blast. It helps that my awesome driver friends (pictured above), never fail to "bring it" - each with their own unique racing styles (i.e. spin out master flash, pokey, dale earnhardt reincarnation, etc. etc.) And I commend you, my fellow drivers, for not flipping me the bird while passing!!
I finally got to the point where I can almost take the whole course pedal to the metal (of course, I'm talking about the slower rentals here). It is truly fun to do all the reckless driving you've always wanted to do without getting your license revoked (okay, not that reckless - I don't want to pay for kart damages).
At $20 for members and $30 for non members (yearly membership is $50), karting for fun once in a while is actually affordable. You get 12 minutes which is quite enough for the novice in my opinion. (After 12 minutes I'm sorta spent.)
My advice to the novice is don't press the speed issue if you aren't comfortable with it yet - the first time will probably be your slowest, but that doesn't mean it won't be fun! It helps to put it all into perspective when you think on the fact that with top speeds around 30, it's virtually impossible to flip your kart.
Thanks Charlie, for being such a genuine laid back guy and fun to do business with. Hope the new track goes up soon with plenty of ass dance - I mean assistance.
Why is it The Taco Shop Co and not just The Taco Shop? I never say the "Co" part and I doubt anyone else does. This plagues me.
Anyhoo, thank the creative energies of the cosmos for bringing this 24 hour blessing into our town. Late night cravings are a threat no more. There's certainly something to satisfy at the Taco Shop Co. Inc. Bros. Etc. any time of day or night BUT - here's the big BUT - you have to know what to order. The Arizona Burro is awesome if you like potatoes and the Carne Asada Burro is delicious but the Carnitas Burro for example, is way too fatty.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
So if you're like me, headed out to The Lemonheads show tonight, but you're not that interested in opening bands Raccoon (I hated the video for Love You More. I enjoyed the Raccoon Steals Carpet video more.) or The New Rivals (I also hated the video for Mudslinging), there is an awesome, free pre-show alternative: Jose Saavedra plays at Plush at 9:30 pm. Get your drink on to the sound of nueva cancion.
POSTDATA: If you missed this show in the lounge, don't fret because the best is always yet to come. Pepo is playing with Dan Zacarias at Club Congress Dec 26 at the Post Mortem Early Christmas Show.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
This is last year's poster. I will replace it with this year's if it becomes available.
This is the email I got from Annie Holub, reprinted without permission, but I think she'll forgive me anyway because I baked for her final exam:
"I have joined forces with some of my friends' bands and am participating in the
10th Annual Great Cover-Up at Club Congress Thursday, Dec. 6.
The Cover-Up is a three-day extravaganza (Dec. 6-8) of local bands covering other "real" bands, with all of the proceeds going to benefit local charities (usually the Brewster Center). Even if you can't come see me and my friends butcher beloved pop hits Thursday, definitely check out at least a little of the event itself another night, because it's wicked fun.
Anyway, I'll be performing somewhere around 9:30 or 10 p.m. Thurs. Dec. 6... and I can't tell you what band we're covering. That's part of the fun. Our name is Nowhere Pago and the Center Men (which is a combination of Nowhere Man, The Ten Percenters, and my old band, The Pago Pago.) I'll be playing the keyboard, which is not my primary instrument, so hilarity should ensue."
POSTDATA: The show was way fun. Read reviews at TucsonScene.com si vous plait.
This image drawn on post-it notes is part of Jorge Porrata's eportfolio. He'll be performing tomorrow with a number of other artists for the 7 Up Performance Night at Dinnerware Artspace.
I knew Jorge as a positively charged human being before I knew him as an artist. As a teacher in the department, I would regularly see him at meeting and parties - always spreading love somehow: wearing a genuine, huge smile; laughing; playing with someone's child; kissing his partner; telling a story...
Finally this semester I saw one of his installations. It invited one to sit down and look through a book of drawings. In them was a story about leaving Cuba: whimsical, sad, hopeful, dreamy, longing...all the things that diaspora is. When I closed the book I was disappointed that the "journey" had to end so soon.
I don't know much about performance art, but if Jorge's ten minutes are as rich as his drawings, I'll be satisfied.
More event details below.
Jorge Porrata & Laura Milkins
Natalie Nguyen & Dave DeSoucey
Anne Pollack & Capoeira Mandinga
Each of the 7 artists, or duets, will have up to 10 minutes to perform
Monday, December 3rd @ 7pm
$3 suggested donation
264 E. Congress St.
What is performance art?
Performance art has its roots in ritual, but resides on today’s cutting edge of cultural values. Each performance is a staged situation. There is no bill of sale. It is not a protest against the art market, yet it is free from the glut of material production. Performances are interactive experiences for both the performer and the audience. Some are deliberately amusing, but there is no way to anticipate what reactions might take place. Through its ephemeral nature, performance art is a way of producing something and nothing at the same time.
This is the first in a series of performance art to be held at Dinnerware Artspace.
Special reception after the last performance at the new Griffonage Studios, 270 E. Congress.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
The Lemonheads - or to be more precise, Evan Dando, Bill Stevenson and Karl Alvarez - are playing a show at Club Congress Dec 5th.
I'm sure they will play a quick version or two of Lemonheads classics, but we all know going in to this show with the wrong expectations could be a big mistake. Dando's not a summer chicken anymore, as enticing as that sound was.
That's why I wanted to post the lyrics to my favorite Evan Dando song. It's not about living like a rock star. It's about growing up, living like yourself, and having that be even better.
This is the town i'm living in
This is the street i'm walking down
These are the friends i'm visiting
These are the clothes i'm wearing now
This is the house i'm building here
This is the girl i'm marrying
This is the chord i'm strumming now
This is the faith i'm leaning on
This is the child i'm bearing now
This is the love that i've always had
This is the face i make when i'm sad
This is the town i'm living in
This is the hard drive...
This is the ocean
have you ever felt yourself in motion (x2)
These are the feet i'm standing on
These are the hands that build a world
This is the bed i'm sleeping in
This is the shirt i'm buttoning
This is the pace i'm moving at
This is the tune i'm humming now
This is the road i'm walkin' down
These are the lips that form my words
This is the stone that i wanna turn
These are the people that i love
These are the eyes that look above
This is the town i'm living in
This is the hard drive...
This is the ocean
have you ever felt yourself in motion (x2)
POSTDATA: Thanks to Danite21 I have posted 18 seconds of footage from the show above. This show was one of the weirdest I've ever been to. There were about thirty of us there. The Lemonheads didn't go on until midnight and by then I was so cracked out tired that I thought I was hallucinating. For a while it was mostly Dando just playing songs on his own, as if we were all hanging out in his dark and cold living room. (It would've been better with overstuffed sofas, but then I really would've fallen asleep.) It was intimate all right, and Dando gave off good vibes, like we could've hung out after the show if I hadn't been ready to collapse. But I guess the whole experience kind of burst my bubble. I thought everyone was as big a Lemonheads fan - but still, how much can you ask for on a Wednesday in Tucson at midnight?
So, the Club Congress DJ Battle wasn't exactly like a scene from It's All Gone Pete Tong (2004), (clip above). The Tucson DJ scene is small. But since when do we get off comparing real life to movies anyway? Frankie Wilde is a fictional character. DJ Rodrigo is a real person - which makes his story even better.
A Brazilian culinary artist, this sweetheart came to the U.S. to support his girl in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and to make incredible chocolate cake. I know because I've eaten it.
With little English at his disposable, the move was certainly a huge culture shock. Even so, a year later - on his birthday no less - he made the brave move to spin in a commercial venue in the United States for the first time. It paid off. He got second place.
I especially enjoyed the Andino music he mixed in right at the start. In fact, his whole set got us talking about Ibiza and have you ever been to a rave in the United States? So, does anyone rave in the desert? Please enlighten us.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
I don't usually do movie reviews because lots of other people online are already doing that, but after I went to see The Darjeeling Limited I ended up having to explain my reading of it repeatedly and finally decided to just blog about it.
I'll begin by saying that the movie is very funny and hip. Part of that being the absurd cultural expectations (increasing in spirituality by treating it as a commodity?) of these bumbling dysfunctional brothers. And although that makes it seem that their ignorance is not endorsed but rather criticized due to its inadequacy - overwhelmingly we are made to relate to these brothers, sympathize with them and really like them by the end of the film.
In The Darjeeling's structure itself, it's no different than all the other mainstream U.S. films about white men in the "Third World" that historically have promoted a discourse of degrading neocolonialism. If you don't know what I'm talking about, watch Gringo in Mañanaland (1995).
We begin The Darjeeling with white people who are traveling abroad with the expressed purpose of exploiting the resources of the foreign land (spirituality as a commodity). They are not interested in seeing what they can learn from the native culture in much the way that Christopher Columbus's attitude can be seen in his travel writings.
India becomes a colorful, quaint, exotic backdrop for the visual pleasure of the white, male gaze (read Laura Mulvey). The Indian characters, in a similar fashion, are all static props. Even Peter's romantic diversion is an Indian woman who's only name in the film is "sweet lime". She's named after the one of the commodities she serves. She is trapped on the train, while the white brothers are able to "get off" (in Peter's case, both literally and figuratively.)
Well what of the feel-good part where the white brothers save two out of three Indian brothers? Great. Another movie where the white guys get to make out like heroes, good guys and saviors (similarly to their mislead mother) while the native are so stupid that they go getting themselves killed - even in their own element. Retarded.
The whole structure smacks of Ronald Reagan saving Rhonda Fleming's banana plantation in Central America and roughing up some bad guys as expatriate freedom-fighter Dan McCloud in Tropic Zone (1953). Movies don't matter, you say? Could it be that there is some link between Dan McCloud's attitude towards Central American natives and Reagan's bloody foreign policy effects in Central America in the eighties?
The Indian son's funeral scene is a saving grace in that it is an interesting parallel - not superior or inferior to the white father's funeral - and it seems to be a respectful and culturally-sensitive representation. BUT, this is still, after all, a movie about wealthy white males.
I'm certain Wes Anderson didn't intend to increase inequality in the world by directing The Darjeeling Limited, but that's not reason enough to let him off the hook. Anyone making films of such scale needs to take on the responsibility to be culturally sensitive, learn about the hegemonic structures of their genre, and be mindful about whether they are reproducing or subverting oppressive structures. If Anderson would move away from using "token exotics" and towards making "Third World" characters dynamic protagonists, he'd be making a truly revolutionary cinematic move.
The Darjeeling Limited is currently playing at The Loft.
The winter is here and it's time to hike like crazy. This shot was taken off the Soldier Trail, the latest notch on my hiking belt. We did this one on Black Friday and I'm still a little sore. We drove up Catalina Highway, parked the car at the trail head at the Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Site and hiked down for a little over two hours, ending up back at the highway. The one-way hike was fairly easy and as you can see, the vistas were precious. We hitchhiked back to Gordon Hirabayashi in a style he would have honored. The very first car picked us up - no problem. We then had lunch at the newly remodeled Miss Saigon. Great new look, same awesome food.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Photo from www.compusteelinc.com.
The new bridge connects the bike path at the Park Avenue/14th Street cul-de-sac to bike path west of Euclid Avenue, which in turn connects to the Diamondback Bridge over Broadway Boulevard. (Construction cost approximately $3.4 million.)
I love Aviation bikeway, and I'm thrilled that it's going to get even better.
Also known as the "basket Bridge", it represents a Tohono O'odham woven basket, according to designing artist Rosemary Lonewolf.
Basket Bridge Dedication
Friday, Nov. 16, 2007
Light refreshments to be served. Yum.
Image from Wikipedia by J.J. Del Rio.
Yesterday we went to a few studios/galleries that were part of the Tucson Open Studio Tour. (It's going on today too.)
I love this sort of thing because it gives you a reason to go into studios/galleries you wouldn't visit otherwise, which makes the event into an adventure. We went to Ilyena Kaghan's house for example, which was a trip in itself - even independently of the awesome jewelry. (And thanks for the tasty hibiscus ice tea, Ilyena.)
Artfare also was one of those spaces we wouldn't have ventured into otherwise. Full of colorful characters, it was one of those weird experiences. The kind where Andrew walks out and goes "What just happened?". At Artfare they showed us the trailer for Mary Shelley's The Last Man (2007) directed by James Arnette. It's a Mary Shelley novel adapted in futuristic action movie style filmed entirely in Tucson combining a lot of stylized CG - I mean, I have to see a CG Boeing 727 airliner land on downtown Congress St. in a zero budget action flick based on a Mary Shelly novel!
But I guess the piece I enjoyed the most of the whole afternoon was, ironically, not a part of the Tucson Open Studio Tour. We happened upon Moca, which I had passed many times but never so much as peaked in. They are featuring an installation by Paco Velez entitled "Bajo la Frontera/Under the Border" which I found especially creepy and violent, but justifiably. My favorite part was that the Santo Niño de Atocha - who usually appears as painted above - was represented by a smiling mannequin in sneakers sitting in front of a strobe light. It gave me the same feeling I get when I go to the border: this very creeped-out feeling about the fake-ness of it all: that fake line that got randomly established by history and how everyone treats it like it's real. How can life be so different on either side, when the land on that side looks just like the land on this side, for as far as the eye can see?
Saturday, November 10, 2007
I have not posted for a while - but I have a good excuse. I've been putting all my efforts into the wedding blog: http://andrewandevaweddingblog.blogspot.com/.
I have made this into a record of our wedding planning process, but also a resource for anyone planning a wedding in the Tucson area. I give my unsolicited opinion from cake hunting to bachelorette parties. If you are in involved in a Tucson wedding in any sort of way - don't miss it!
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Don't forget that Tucson Eat Yourself is this weekend, October 12, 13 and 14! My personal favorites: eating a little of everything, getting wired on Turkish coffee, dancing crazy samba to the beats of Batucaxe, going to The Buffet afterwards for beer and shuffleboard.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
This is our baby/dog being baptized/blessed by Rev. Lee Morrison last Sunday at Saint Francis in the Foothills United Methodist Church. Lee Morrison is the Spiritual Director of the church and the officiant of our upcoming wedding.
We started going to this church a few months ago, mostly looking for an officiant. Andrew and I both come from a Lutheran background but don't feel especially churchy for what I guess are the regular reasons. That doesn't mean we've completely abandoned spirituality, though. Au contraire. (His mom calls us "Neo-Lutherans".)
When we went to Saint Francis and heard Rev. David Wilkinson speak for the first time, I was hooked for several reasons, but mostly because he worked "postmodernism" into the commentary. With articles like "St. Francis UMC of Tucson: Strange Theology Unrecognizable to Most Christian UMs" floating around the internet, I should have known I was going to love it.
It's a ministry based on inclusiveness, fragmentation, diversity and openness while at the same time being committed to unity and social justice - well, why don't you just read the mission statement.
There are basically three reasons why Andrew and I (I think I speak for both of us) find ourselves doing something we didn't foresee: going to church regularly.
1) This is a church that accepts that there are as many different paths to God as there are people. Until now, I had never been to any other church that isn't out to prove that theirs is the only true path or theirs the only true religion.
2) This is a church that was founded on the importance of breaking down church power hierarchy by giving members an active, leadership role. During the "sermon" we aren't passive receivers of the message, but rather are passed a microphone and encouraged to make the moment a two-way dialog by sharing our thoughts and feelings. Granted, this doesn't mean the power is totally balanced, but it is a happy medium for those who still feel most comfortable with a semi-traditional service set up. Not to mention, in my case, my relationship with "God" has been mostly intimate and private - much easier to blog about it than to speak about it in front of a congregation!
Speaking of power hierarchies, this church is very careful about removing as much of that turn-off language as they can. The reason why I didn't follow through with confirmation in the Lutheran church when I was a teenager? The handbook was so loaded with patriarchal language and ideology from page one that I basically gagged. (For more on this, check out this Arizona Daily Star article: "'Lord' is fading at some churches"
3) Every Sunday we've been to Saint Francis so far, Andrew and I come out feeling emotionally moved and intellectually challenged. Every time we feel the message is relevant to our lives - and frequently to something we've been discussing that same week. We walk out with a lot to talk about.
I'm not saying that I know much about the congregation yet or that I think the leaders are flawless or that the theology is perfect...no way. That would be dangerous to think or say. But I do believe that we all have a spiritual appetite that we need to feed to stay healthy. There are many ways to satisfy one's spirit, and St. Francis is one of those worth trying.
I love to eat and drink, and I love out of the way places with charming ambiance, so I was especially delighted when Andrew took me to Barrio Food and Drink. Since in a strange twist of fate, downtown is out of the way for most Tucsonans, Barrio strikes me as a hidden gem.
I had the dried papaya and mango, grilled chicken reduced in a chipotle chardonnay cream tossed with linguine and finished with basil chiffonade. It was a little too sweet - which I think could easily be fixed by replacing the dried papaya and mango with fresh pieces - but otherwise I was in heaven.
My rating: totally worth it!
Here's a link to a Tucson Citizen interview with chef Jeff.
I had the dried papaya and mango, grilled chicken reduced in a chipotle chardonnay cream tossed with linguine and finished with basil chiffonade. It was a little too sweet - which I think could easily be fixed by replacing the dried papaya and mango with fresh pieces - but otherwise I was in heaven.
My rating: totally worth it!
Here's a link to a Tucson Citizen interview with chef Jeff.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
This is a picture of me romancing a monitor last weekend at the herpfest. It was fun, but I left feeling deeply dissatisfied.
I was so excited about the event, that I actually wrote this:
"The Tucson Reptile & Amphibian Show and Sale is coming up in just two weeks! I am so excited that I'm actually posting about something coming up as opposed to after the fact. I mean, that's foresight.
I was in a class in The Writer's Studio with Mark Wolfson a few months ago when he wrote this awesome short story about a snake. It was the first piece of fiction that Sonoran Herpetologist ever published. Congrats, Mark!"
Okay so, I still love Mark. He's such a nice guy. But Mark, you have to hear this:
The venue chosen for this event was way too small. We need a bigger space! Everyone was packed in there so tight that I left before I was ready to because I was just feeling too damn claustrophobic.
Now, if the event was stressful for me, what about the animals? I've never seen so many snakes and turtles in Tupperware before. And what about the the tortoises who were in the Rubbermaid storage so small for them that their heads and legs were pushed up under their shells the whole time; like the alligator we all enjoyed petting but who must have been freaking out, unable to bite our heads off due to the electrical tape around his snout; like the freedom-loving lizard who pushed the lid right off the cream cheese container he was imprisoned in before my very eyes. I should have fended off the vendors while he made a run for it.
The thing is, when I added all this stuff up, all the things that made me uncomfortable at the herpfest, I realized why it all bugged me. It seemed that, although there is obviously real love and dedication for reptiles there, the bottom line is definitely $$$. And it felt like some vendors love their animals in the same way that farmers love their cattle.
I would have been much more satisfied if there had been a stronger educational push at the event. Even the Phoenix Herpetological Society van didn't bother to post more detailed information about their critters. How old was that albino python? What part of the world are they originally from? What does he eat? What does he weigh? Could he really have me for dinner?
I guess I could have stuck around for Bill Love's talk on "Beyond Photographing Reptiles: Strategically Placed Snakes and Naked Latinas", but as a feminist Latina that just didn't appeal to me. (No, that wasn't really the name of his presentation, but from his posters I judge it could've been.)
So I walked away not knowing the difference between a lizard and a gecko, why bearded dragons are so popular, what kind of monitor I had just made out with, or why our Reeve's turtle, Fred, can't get a girlfriend. There could have been at least some more posters or labels or speakers. Tucson's Reptile and Amphibian show could have been thrilling (they even sell beer!) but alas, I felt let down.
Footnote: Why do so many weird people go to the herpfest? (I use the term "weird" with all due respect.) It was like that the week previous at the Tucson Alternative Energy Expo, too. Andrew's answer: "Pets on the fringes = pet owners on the fringes. Alternative energy = alternative lifestyles." That seems too predictable to me, but whatever...
Picture yourself sitting here, having your morning coffee outside comfortably in an alpine forest...
Last weekend I really wanted to get out of the heat, at least just for 24 hrs. So we dropped some cash and took our selves (including Frida, pictured above) to Pinetop for little hikes, grilling out, reading in a hammock and roasting marshmallows by the fire to the sound of mournful coyotes. It was just what I needed.
I found an add for the "cabin" on craigslist. Some cabin! The place is huge. It actually sleeps nine people in beds. Then it has room for more in sleeping bags, etc. We're itching to get our friends out there. It would be a great place to do Thanksgiving.
The cabin does back the national forest, but it's also in a subdivision, so it's not as far away from civilization as I would have liked. There are neighbors, but mostly it's more private quiet and spacious than what I'm used to, which is immensely refreshing...I just would like to have a chance to come down a long, dirt road to find a cabin that's really on it's own. (If you know of one let me know, 'cause I'd pay good money for that!)
This cabin has all the amenities, which is convenient but not rustic. (I think that for hanging out with friends, convenient is better, but if it were just Andrew and I again I'd opt for rustic.) It's nice because you don't have to pack much: the cabin includes all appliances, furnishings, dishes, silverware, towels, etc.
The other thing that gives this place special charm is that it's custom decorated. The details are nice, but also weird, because it feels a little like a staging. (For example, there are framed pictures of children in the master bedroom, and you almost expect them to be somebody's grandkids, but they are obviously just the pictures that came with the frames.) I really like those quirky details.
So, the drive is at least four hours there and four back from central Tucson, but it's gorgeous almost the whole way. The drive really seems shorter because it's so lovely.
If this sounds like heaven, contact Irene by clicking on this link to her craigslist post. Tell her Eva sent you. The lower, fall rate has kicked in now, but there is also a cleaning fee and a refundable deposit that aren't mentioned in the add, so make sure you talk to her about that first.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Nine framed photographs, (most of which have appeared on this blog), are on exhibit at Espresso Art this month.
Support your local blogger/poor grad student by ordering prints for $25 or framed prints (in the most sophisticated, Swedish modern frames from Ikea) for $50.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
No, I didn't personally take this pic of Condi. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain per 17 U.S.C. § 101 and § 105.
Below is a copy of a poem I found in Modern Languages:
Condaleeza Rice I want to marry you
because you are agreeable
to vegetarians, carnivores, and vegans,
Also like a potato, you are brown on the outside,
and cold white and hard on the inside.
I know you would never fuck up the laundry,
because you are an expert at segregating
the colors from the whites.
You like your Starbucks like you like your men:
Foamy milk with no coffee,
extra light and white.
If we have problems with the neighbors,
I can send you to delegate,
because you learned a thing or two from your uncle Tom,
who was also a master of listening to the problems of white men.
Condaleezza Rice if you were on the slave block,
I would buy you.....
And that is the most fucked up shit I've ever said,
but to Condi,
that shit is just dirty talk.
Vote Condi in 08,
The Experiment (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Saturday, September 01, 2007
This is my dear friend Copernicia. Well, that's not her real name, but anyway. She lives in Paraguay and I haven't seen her for a year. She's making money with a site called Spymac which is basically a multi-level marketing plan based on uploading original content. Because it actually pays out, it's quickly becoming wildly popular in Paraguay, which I think is cool because I like Paraguayan content. There isn't that much of it online.
So here's a cyber toast in support of Copernicia. She is a great friend, an excellent photographer and a sexy subject to photograph! Check out her content to see for yourself.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Just gotta tell all you alls who weren't there, you missed a very fun time. (But you're excused if you went to see Pepo and Elise.) Nortec sounded great, it was a lovely evening for drinking Miller Chill outdoors (how à propos) while cooling off after the heat of the dance floor. A certain fixture of the Tucson Scene was dissing people's fashion statements and calling others "jackasses" for not having myspace pages. A certain star of Pancho Goes to College gave us his inside perspective on the making of the movie. By the end of the night we ended up at The Grill eating tater tots and French Toast, making dirty jokes about Tucson Weekly's Police Dispatch when to top it all off, we spotted a certain SPanish teacher en un estado mucho mas intoxicado que nosostros!!!
Friday, August 24, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Finally! The moment you all (read: I) have been waiting for! My book is out!
Well, no - it's not my book - but it is a book in which one of my short stories was published. My first short in English. (You can read my first short story in Spanish published by Divergencias by clicking here, on "Un regalo de Andres".)
It all started about four and a half years ago when I took a creative writing mini course with Paul McComas at Northwestern University's Norris University Center. I was freed from a nasty writer's block that had lasted for what seemed like an eternity.
Paul invited me to join the Advanced Fiction Writing workshop he does out his very own, very wacky living room. It was great. I met some extremely supportive and extremely talented writers. (I didn't believe such a thing existed at the time, after getting sledgehammered at The University of Iowa.)
I left Chicago to start grad school here in Tucson. A year later Paul insisted I contribute to this book. If it weren't for his constant - I mean constant - encouragement (read: nagging), I would have never finished "Out of Focus". Thanks to the workshop's collaborative, long-distance effort I was able to take the story from an idea to something really readable.
And of course, thanks to my friends in Paraguay for inspiring me. Rohaihu.
So if you want to experience the story of "Eva Karene Romero's restless, heartsick young lesbian in Paraguay" then you better buy a copy of Further Persons Imperfect
For more info about the authors, upcoming readings and reviews, check out the Further Persons Imperfect myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/furtherpersonsimperfect
p.s. If you are a local thinking about getting your own creative writing tools sharpened, I took Level 1 at The Writer's Studio Tucson recently and it was a pretty positive experience. It is much more focused on technique and less romantic than kickin' it with other writers over brownies in somebody's living room under a framed family portrait of The Simpsons, but for everything there is a season.
Info on other local creative writing groups would be highly appreciated. Leave your comments!
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
It's my last week of summer vacation. I'm broke, hot, and depressed. Yes, my whiny little ass has to go back to school. But if vacation has to die, it's going to go with a bang - a really cheap, semi-small, not-so-outrageous bang.
First of all, it's Wednesday. Besides all the free-to-cheap activities Tucson normally offers, Wednesday is special because it really wants to help you get over the hump in a champagne of beers kind of way. I'm talking about starting out with Funtasticks Ten Dollar Tuesday - that means unlimited video games and miniature golf for ten dollars. Wait a minute, it's Wednesday. Oh. Well, anyway, Ten Dollar Tuesdays are fun if you're like myself and love love love Cruis'n Exotica. The tracks are at places like Korea, Atlantis (under the sea), India, Mars(!) and "The Amazon".
Footnote: Notice how India and Mars somehow end up in the same "Exotic" category - it's telling. By the way, the realism and cultural accuracy of this game is so great that while racing in India your car gets shat on by an elephant - repeatedly. BTW, don't hit the sacred cows! And as if that weren't bad enough, check out the Mayan Ruins (really in Guatemala) and the dinosaurs in "The Amazon"! The reason why I find this arcade game really hilarious (as opposed to offensive) is because I am lead to believe that it is actually an acknowledgment of U.S. ignorance of the rest of the world - not a manifestation of it. (Many of the developers of the game are Indian, which you can see by their names in the credits.) Can you say meta-video game? It makes me want to write a paper about it.
Next I will catch a movie at Grand Cinemas for $3.25 (If you didn't see Knocked Up I strongly recommend it - it's a surprisingly smart film.) I'll be getting a Pepsi Freeze for me and a free Pepsi Freeze for my date. But Wednesdays are dollar days so I'll also buy him a bag of popcorn because I'm generous like that.
Then it's off to Golden Pin Lanes for a cheap hooker and Half a Buck Night (from 9pm - close) where a $5 cover charge gets me free bowling, 50¢ nachos, 50¢ hot dogs, 50¢ sodas and 50¢ draft beers. (That said, I'll confess that the 50¢ beer is worse than making love in a canoe, the hot dogs are 100% lips and assholes, and the shoe guy is really annoying at the microphone; all night with his nagging about men playing with the wrong balls! Play with your own!) The music, however, is pretty good and you can't beat the seventies Tucson-themed decor featuring foothills, the downtown skyline and the San Xavier Mission.
Pretty please with sugar on top post about your cheap and free Tucson recommendations!
Thursday, August 09, 2007
This is a baby picture of Frida taken by Andrew and cropped by Purpleflor.
A year from the time of this picture, Frida is napping on my lap...so what better time to write about the perfect dog date? A day we take advantage of all the dog-friendly fun Tucson has to offer? A day packed with tail wagging ecstasy?
We would start off by having breakfast outside at the Cup Cafe, then jump in the car and head up to Mount Lemmon for a mountain hike. By the time we wrap up, it will be time for lunch at The Mount Lemmon Cafe.
Then (since we're in Frida's dream world and we never get tired), we'll drive down the mountain and over to the Pima Air and Space Museum. After roaming around the old planes, we'll go to Bookman's to relax and read about chihuahuas. We'll inevitably get hungry again, and our stomaches will take us to Enoteca, where we'll eat al fresco while a downtown parade goes by. Our last stop will be The Hut, for drinks and live music to wrap up our long, dog-friendly adventure.
Find other dog-friendly Tucson establishments at DogFriendly.com. Also, please leave your comments if you have more doggy adventure ideas to add!
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
This is Andrew and Chris donning some hot pink paint splotched in front of one of the paintball fields by the end of the morning.
So it was Chris's birthday (the one on the right) and he wanted to play paintball so off we went to Sudden Impact. I had never played before, so I really had no idea what to expect.
Andrew (on the left) and I went to Goodwill to buy some clothes that we could get "paintballed" without fear of staining and that would give us some protection. He wore army fatigues and I, a vinyl coat a la Trinity from Matrix. Ridiculous.
Anyway, it turned out to be much more fun than I would have expected. There were a lot of people there, 99% male, and with a ton of gear - which was a little intimidating, but everyone was nice to us (especially nice to Liz and I - perhaps because we were two of five or so token females present.)
We rented our guns and bought our ammo there, which had its drawbacks. (My gun for example, was not working, which I didn't realize until the third time I got out onto the field. Note to self: check your gun at the target practice before you go into a game.) We got a brief training spiel from staff but it didn't stick - I got reprimanded a bit for poor etiquette, so this is what you REALLY have to know:
1. Put your mask on before you get on the field and don't remove it until after you have entirely exited the field. This is hard to remember because it's hot and the mask gets dirty so it obstructs your vision and it kind of suffocating. You'll want to rip it off before you should. Also, part of the problem is that sometimes you might think the sidelines are not part of the field, but let's face it, if you can still get shot in the eye by a stray paintball, you should really have your mask on.
2. Put your barrel bag on as soon as you're out.
There were at least four different fields, so by the time I was semi familiar with all of them I was exhausted, but getting to know them was exciting. I think the best advice would be, once you know the layout of the field, within the first few seconds of the game sprint to a spot that will give you an advantage. Don't stay in the back in hopes of moving forward eventually because you might never get that chance and then you'll miss out on all the action.
So perhaps your big question is, does it hurt? I would say it depends on from how far away you get hit. Usually, however, it does not really hurt because you are so into the game that you hardly feel it, but yes, it leaves a bruise. They get bigger and develop more interesting colors as the week goes on.
Of course, it was hot out there, which was a little exhausting. In the winter I imagine you would be much more comfortable because you would be able to wear more layers of protective clothing and you'd be at a better body temperature - less sweat would run into your eyes under that damn mask!
Yee haw. So, paintball was hot, dirty, mildly painful, frustrating for me as a novice and a little intimidating, but all that said, I still had fun! Strangely enough, we were quite literally bruising each other, but I didn't find it particularly violent. I don't know exactly how to explain that...
Saturday, July 28, 2007
We spent a great 4th of July in Mexico.
Actually, we were there for a whole week. Five of us packed ourselves and our beach gear into a car, arriving in Puerto Peñasco four or so hours later, itching to place our sweaty selves directly into the Sea of Cortez.
We stayed at the Mayan Palace where our friends have a time share. Since it's actually outside of town, it was the perfect place to stay in terms of our goals: peace and quiet on a secluded beach but with all the amenities.
I was actually surprised at how great the beach was. The water was warm, (maybe a little too warm at bath water temperatures) but very clear and full of schools of little fish. We were followed by some tiny tiger-striped fish, which was weird. (I mean they actually followed us around in the water.) The only hazards were jelly fish, but with their bright blue tentacles they were easy to spot and avoid. There were crabs too, but they were pretty shy. We were warned about it being sting ray season but we didn't see any.
The beach is great because everyday it's different. The tide changes, washes new things in and takes other things away. The pelicans, seagulls and sandpipers keep a soul company while seashell hunting, but they are usually the only ones.
We did go into town a few times to buy groceries and beer, or even splurge and have dinner served to us. We had dinner at El Perico Marinero and ended up with enough fish to take home and make into lunch time fish tacos for a the whole week. After our sunset catamaran cruise (see Del Mar charters) had a pretty good pizza at Max's Cafe. (That cruise was 100% awesome, by the way.) One evening we had dinner at The Point, (which you can't miss, because it's the only restaurant literally built over the water). The food was okay, but the sunset was better.
My only complaint about Mayan Palace was the walls were too thin and the beds were hard. I would not recommend horseback riding on Playa Bonita. We had bruises for weeks due to poor saddles. And of course, it is always majorly fucked up to see how disrespectful some tourists can be, but in general, vacationing in Rocky Point is very pleasant. It's affordable, people are nice and it's sort of warm and fuzzy to know that you're putting some juice into the economy to the south of the border.
More things to love about vacationing in Puerto Peñasco:
1. cuban cigars
2. small time snorkeling
3. golfing on the sea with coyotes, rabbits and gophers
4. buying earrings at the port
5. taking pictures of the sunset
Friday, June 15, 2007
Did you watch the footage? (Brought to you by http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=one97hotss.) So, Salt River Tubing is totally like that.
Besides that, I just want to say as a follow up to my 2005 post about tubing the Salt River, that I think things have evolved a bit. I've come to the conclusion that the Amsterdam of the American Southwest constitutes of a community built by drunk and stoned hicks in inner tubes on a little river in the middle of Arizona. And much like Amsterdam, if you've never visited the Salt River, then you ain't living.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
I started doing yoga in 2001 and I didn't like it. I tried. In fact, I did it at three different places. It was a drag. I forced myself to go. I got some flexibility out of it but not much else.
Around six months ago a very stubborn friend dragged me to Yoga Oasis. At first I was like, "Everyone in Tucson does friggin' yoga. Been there, done that" and rolled my eyes. That said, within the first ten minutes of class I could feel my body, mind and soul thanking me for being there. It was the most relaxing and satisfying thing I could have done at a very high pressure moment in my life: exam time.
Now I like to go twice a week. I can walk in there pissed off, anxious or stressed out and emerge completely relaxed, with new perspective and positivity.
I take basics with Bruce Bowditch. I like Bruce because he's hilarious, and he somehow simultaneously challenges and nurtures. He takes the time to give very important, detailed instruction about how the pose is supposed to feel and be done, while giving variation options and watching out for potentially painful errors. The detail he puts into basics instruction has meant a world of difference to me. I finally realize that the poses are all truly active. I think that perhaps the most common misconception about yoga is that the poses are passive and boring. If you find that's the case for you, your pose is actually missing something.
I also like that Bruce gives more verbal instruction as opposed to visual, which allows me to go more deeply into my body/temple instead of watching/being distracted by what someone else is doing.
Yes, my body has responded to the practice by growing stronger, more flexible and increasing in balance and grace, but the physical cannot be separated from the mental or the spiritual. Not only does my mood always improve after yoga, but a few times I have truly tapped into a "spiritual state". I know this sounds really fruity and New Age, but I've had a few intense moments that deserve to be shared and honored.
Recently I experienced a really bright feeling, right at the start of shevasana, that was exactly like the feeling I had as a child when I was still able to fully accept the power of the mystical presence of God in me. It's a feeling I can't really explain any other way. I hadn't felt that way since I was probably six years old. The reason why I find this kind of remarkable is because I wasn't really looking to make yoga a spiritual experience. That said, I am completely grateful for what I've been given.
In an era where we are so pressed for time, into multitasking, and lost for religious/spiritual options that seem to truly "fit" with us, it's no wonder so many people are into yoga. Not only can it offer us exercise, flexibility, strength, balance, grace, relaxation and joy all at once - but it can also turn out to be a kind of "church" you walk into unexpectedly...
The Found Footage Festival came through town and I just have to say that it was a freaking blast - my face hurt from laughing so hard. Let us join together to request its prompt return to Tucson.
Andrew and I cast our vote for Best of Tucson and we wanted to make our love public, especially for places that probably won’t win. They should know they have a special place in our heart anyway.
Best Tourist Attraction: Mount Lemmon
Best Annual Festival: Tucson Eat
Best Park: Reid. Let's face it. They have a duck/turtle pond, dog parks, concerts, an aquatic center, a zoo, marathons, celebrations, a golf course, etc. etc. etc.
Best Public Servant: Janet Napolitano. She rocks!
Best Local TV Newscast: KGUN. We haven’t actually watched any other, but we watch KGUN news every night because we love to make fun of them. We laugh a lot at their technical errors, ridiculous editorial comments and tactless transitions. (For example, Guy on the morning news: "Maybe someday I'll get up that early!") We also have nicks for the newscasters, like Guy Crotchly and Jennifer Waddle.
Best Radio Station for News: KUAZ. Duh.
Best Local Website: TUCSON QUERIDO!!!
Best Bowling Alley: Lucky Strike. Specifically during Cosmic Bowl. The characters there include that guy wearing the "Of course I love you - my dick is hard ain't it?" tee shirt and the pregnant blond wearing pink short shorts, smoking a cigarette.
Best Yoga Studio: Yoga Oasis
Best Auto Repair: Jimmy’s Broadway. Andrew trusts them and says they are good guys.
Best Art Museum: The Center for Creative Photography.
Best Public Art: The Glownut. See photo above.
Best Local Performing Artist: Devotchka
Best Movie Theater: The Loft and Century Park 16. (When you want mainstream, Century Park 16 spells awesome because of the early eighties decor. (We saw Grindhouse there - it was perfect.) Also, it's the only theater I know that got grandfathered in, escaping the no outside food or drink policy.
Best Sports Bar: No Anchovies
Best Gay/Lesbian Bar: I actually don't know and wanted help on this. Are there any Gay/Lesbian bars in Tucson to dance at? If not, could someone address the business need already??
Best Lowbrow Bar Ambiance: The Buffet
Best Cocktail Menu: Kon Tiki
Best Beer Selection on Tap: The Grill
Best Magarita: El Charro, but you have to order it with Patron.
Best Signature Cocktail: The Scorpion from Kon Tiki
Best Liquor Store: Plaza Liquors
Best Delicatessen: The Sausage Deli
Best Burger: The Sueño Burger from Cushing Street
Best sandwich: Anything from The Asian Sandwich Deli
Best Pizza: Andrew says Rocco’s. I say it's the Magpie from Magpie's.
Best Ice Cream: Frost
Best Burrito: El Checo (usually parked near Country Club and Valencia)
Best Sonoron Hot Dogs: El Perro Loco (the one at the Tanque Verde Swap Meet)
Best Diner: The Grill. Let's face it: it's the most convenient way to get a bite after a show, they have live music, they have a great beer selection, it's the most supremely grunge/trendy ambiance you could possibly muster, and celebs walk in when you least expect it. (We saw Bill Irwin there when he was in town to do Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf with Kathleen Turner.)
Best Indian: Sher-E-Punjab
Best Italian: Giacomo’s
Best Middle Eastern: Sinbad’s
Best Steakhouse: Flemming’s
Best Sushi: Sushi King
Best Outdoor Seating: Cushing Street
Best Late-Night Eats: The Grill
Best Vietnamese: Miss Saigon
Best Mexican Fast Food: The Taco Shop
Best Veggie Burger: Bentley’s. Get it with everything.
Best Café Hangout: Espresso Art.
Best Used Bookstore: Bookman’s. And I’m not just saying that because they publish me on their new website. They allow dogs.
Best Video Store: Casa Video. Owned by Iowans who moved to Tucson to make their video store dreams come true. Authentically indie.
Best Women’s Fashions: Toque de Pasión. It carries Latin American folk chic while honoring fair trade and it's the only store in the US that carries my favorite Paraguayan designer, Pombero. (Thanks to moi!)
Best Resale Clothing: Buffalo Exchange
Best Artesian Jewelry: Toque de Pasión
Best Bike Shop: Fairwheel Bikes. They are nice to me.
Monday, May 21, 2007
So I went to see Los Amigos Invisibles at the Rialto in May. They delivered the funk. They delivered the gozadera. It was by ALMOST all means the funnest show I've been to in a long time.
So about the "ALMOST". I'm sure Julio Briceño thought his tee shirt tracking the recent history of female public hair styles was hilarious. I have something to say to you, Julio: in the words of my friend the irreverent Ellen Johnson, you CANNOT get every cooder in the room. In fact, you're just not that hot! Furthermore, your tee shirt demonstrates how shallow and sexist you are by essentializing all women to the point of a literal caricature of three variations on a vagina on a tee shirt.
Let me guess, you must be single?
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Since Andrew's coworkers have made it a yearly pilgrimage to debauchery, this isn't the first time I post on Bisbee, Arizona and it won't be the last.
The main thing to stress is that Bisbee is a perfect former-mining-town-turned-arts-community for a weekend drinking getaway. The weather is mild, the food is good and if you stay in one of the many hotels in the heart of Bisbee, multiple bars are within walking distance of your crashing site.
We stayed at the infamous Copper Queen Hotel where we tried to harass ghosts but to no avail. It has a good bar and a charming historical atmosphere but the rooms are small, the beds are hard, and our AC broke. Even so, reading the guests' "Ghost Register" was totally worth it ("The toilet flushed by itself!...Awesome!!!")
We ate at The Bisbee Grille (just okay Mediterrean Salad); Cafe Roka (apparently the leg of lamb kicked ass); The Bisbee Breakfast Club (excellent French Toast); and the Subway Shop, which just opened three months ago (get the number ten with all the veggies and mayo).
Other activities to enjoy in Bisbee besides eating include playing shuffle board while drinking at The Stock Exchange Saloon, dancing while drinking, photographing the town while drinking, antiquing while drinking, and visiting The Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum while drinking. (Note: some of the aforementioned drinking involves a certain amount of subtleness and a well-hidden flask.)
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Reasons I love going to baseball games in Tucson:
$4 beers are worth it when you are sitting outside on a perfect spring night.
Eating copious amounts of junk food is condoned as normal.
Listening to the conversations of strangers sitting around you and jumping in on them is not rude, it's inevitable.
Screaming, flailing your limbs and hurling insults is all par for the course.
The possibility of getting socked in the noggin by a foul ball at any time makes waiting in concession lines exciting.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
It was a Saturday night. I felt a little restless, a little rebellious. I wanted to get my kicks somewhere unusual. I wanted to be wild.
I ended up at the Pima County Fair.
I hadn't been to a county fair in years. It was even more than I imagined it would be. It was downright bizarre. And an absolute blast.
There was weird fair food, (like the King Arthur sized Turkey leg I could only eat a fifth of); an Elvis impersonator; live tigers (!); sea lions with which families can have their photo taken (see image above); wild rides (all featuring hip hop music - a few rides even had MCs. I mean, there's no better way to keep it real than on the "G Force", right?); a hypnotist; a personality analysis computer (it was huge, and they actually pressed buttons)...oh yeah, that was along the lines of the computerized palm reader, (which was an old fax machine with a manikin dressed like a gypsy glued to it); beer and drunk people; alternative hair styles; games; music; and last but not least, adorable farm animals (including baby lambs and goats - too cute).
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Saturday, March 31, 2007
5437 E Pima St
Tucson, AZ 85712
The best thing that Andrew brought to this relationship is his vacuum cleaner.
I'm kidding. Sorta.
Andrew has this great Kirby from the seventies or something that his mom gave him. It is pretty heavy, but it does the job right. Essential for a completely carpeted apartment inhabited by two people and a chihuahua.
It seems that part of living in the states today involves expecting that everything be cheap, convenient and disposable. It's a mentality that has brought us overflowing landfills and depletion of natural resources. It's sad.
That's why I want to make this post a nod to Kirby. Their vacuums are heavy and expensive, but they do the job right and last forever gosh-darnit.
I got one of Frida's tennis balls stuck in the head and the belt burned up. We replaced it this weekend. Kirby is back in service.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
I've been going to the Catalina State Park more often now that Frida is here and she loves to hike as much as I do. It is a mostly dog-friendly park.(You can't take dogs into the big horn sheep mating area. Bummer.)
It's a worth while place to go because it has:
1) Some great views
2) Good birding
3) The Romero Ruins
The water isn't always flowing, but when I went yesterday it sure was. Water in the desert is always special.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
After reading a review in Tucson Citizen that called 'Pancho' an 'Animal House' with heart, I was determined to make it to The Screening Room.
Pancho Goes to College not only sounded like a good time, but my colleague, Bardo Padilla, plays Kiko.
It definitely did turn out to be a good time, especially for a person like me, familiar with Tucson, certain Chicano issues, and the college experience. However, some of the acting, writing and editing could have been vastly improved. If you watch it with an open mind, it can be pretty fun.
Also worth noting, despite the film's lack of production, it does a few things that are especially important: a) it shows difference not just between a Hispanic minority and a white majority, but more importantly among young Mexican Americans, Mexicans, and self-identified Chicanos; b) one of the main characters is a disabled person, but the film isn't about his disability. That was interesting to me because it was unlike Hollywood, where any character who belongs to a physical minority can only star in the movie if it is about their disability.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
I've been a student at the University of Arizona for two years now, and I never realized there was a turtle pond on campus until about a week ago when our neighbors told us.
The turtle pond is right off of Park and some other street nearish to the music building whose name I can't remember.
We took Frida there today. Since our other child (Fred) is a turtle, we figured she'd be well behaved. She was pretty good.
We had fun hanging out with the Koi and the frogs, too.
This is a real letter published in The National Turtle and Tortoise Society newsletter:
I am wanting to help turtles.
I like turtles because they are fun.
I wish the turtles were not endangered.
I am sad for turtles when they die.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
So the seasons are changing and you open your closet to find that nothing from last summer appeals to you. You want to refresh your wardrobe, but are on a tight budget. That's when Tucson thrift stores come in.
Goodwill is my personal favorite. I like the one on Speedway and Swan, but there's a new one on First that's pretty nifty. The cute Indian sun dress I'm wearing in this pic is from Goodwill.
Twice as Nice can be very nice indeed, if you get in-store credit for your old threads. Otherwise, it's overpriced.
Savers and Value Village are owned by the same company. I've never had much luck at either store, but friends have.
And of course, there is Buffalo Exchange and the thrift stores on Fourth, but you are getting into another price range there. (Unless it's one of Buffalo's one dollar sales, which are insane but totally worth it.)