Thursday, December 25, 2008

Frida's Christmas Surprise

We hope this will bring you a little Christmas joy. Shot in 3 hours, edited in 3 hours, audio in 2. Shot entirely with a Sony Cyber-shot and edited on some free software Andrew happened to have.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

In Search of Cheeseburgers

It was Andrew's birthday yesterday. We spent all weekend in pursuit of cheeseburgers as part of the celebration.

Cheeseburger #1: Barrio Brewery. Cheeseburger okay. Shuffleboard better.

Cheeseburger #2: Lucky Strike. The best of all four. Unanimous consensus on this one.

Cheeseburger #3: Great American Cattle Company. The staff was really nice, but it was so far away it was like going to another town, and the place was in a strip mall (and felt like it. I need to specify because there are a lot of good restaurants in strip malls in Tucson that don't necessarily have "strip mall vibe"). Tasty steaks but overpriced in my opinion.

Cheeseburger #4: The Flying V at Lowe's Ventana Canyon Resort. I got the idea to take Andrew out there since I believe they have the biggest Christmas tree in town in the hotel lobby (pictured above), and I was hoping we could sip a cocktail by it. Also they boast lovely views of the valley (pictured above). Alas, the place was so empty and poorly lit...there was this depressing lounge singer...the decor was not old enough to be retro, but just old enough to be outdated. Once in the restaurant we were further disenchanted by the motif--a hodgepodge of whatever some tasteless designer with no real knowledge of Southwestern art thought was "Southwesty". It reminded me of the economy, it seemed to scream "'Resort living' belongs to a bygone era". I had a vision of Lowe's Ventana Canyon slipping into abandon, becoming a lovely ruin to visit and a refuge for Javalinas, coyotes and bats...

Cheeseburger #0: We were gonna have a cheeseburger at Daisy Mae's or Lindy's but both were closed :(

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cafe Zope

A Swedish dude named Niklas opened Cafe Zope (coffee shop/crêperie) with Sabine Blaese (owner of Cafe Passe, pictured above) on 4th (344 N. 4th Ave. across the street from Hippie Gypsy right next to Che's lounge). "His intention is to wedge a bit of Europe into that strip [...]" source: email forwarded from a forward. The opening of Cafe Zope was Friday, December 5th and included art, food, wine and Naim Amor.

"What the Animals Had to Say" and More Art News

Jorge Porrata's MFA thesis show, the book of fables: What the Animals Had To Say, is at Tooley's on 278 E. Congress; that's the SW corner of Congress and 5th.

Also Raices, 6th on street, east of 6th Ave has three prints.

Make a day of it:

Arts Incubator Gallery
108 E. Congress
Jim Boehme/Leigh Spigelman

Rocket Gallery
270 E. Congress
Shara Rowley Plough

Central Arts Gallery
274 E. Congress
Celebration of Line

276 E. Congress
Black and White Show

Tooley's on Congress
278 E. Congress
Jorge Porrata

Dinnerware Artspace
264 E. Congress
(Next 7 UP is January 5th, 2009)

Hotel Congress Lobby
311 E. Congress

New blog launch: Tu Scene for Tucson's art bloggers

New art gallery on 4th--Center for Creative Chaos--is looking for submissions:

"We are in need of art work of all kinds of which 70% goes to the submitter and
30 % to the gallery for social change activities. Contact:

Ron Austin: chakazuluu[at]gmail[dot]com

Sonia Sosa: sosason[at]hotmail[dot]com

The Near At Hand

People sometimes ask me why I love Tucson. Maybe this echoes part of the answer:

"One of the hardest lessons we have to learn in this life, and one that many persons never learn, is to see the divine, the celestial, the pure in the common, the near at hand--to see that heaven lies about us here in this world."
--John Burroughs (1837-1921) Naturalist

Cosmic Bowling at Lucky Strike

I love cosmic bowling because:

1. I love hanging with my co-bowlers.
2. I like bowling non-competitively. It's hard to be competitive under disco lights.
2. I like to dance between turns.
3. I like to drink light beer.
4. Lucky strike does a mean cheeseburger.

My favorite cosmic hits of the evening:

JLo: "Doing it Well"
Madonna and Timberlake: "Four Minutes"
Katy Perry: "I Kissed a Girl", not to be confused with Jill Sobule's "I Kissed a Girl"

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Gila Woodpecker

The territorial, noisy rubythroated hummingbirds could never top the Gila Woodpecker. She is beautiful, but louder than a rooster. Our dog thinks she must rush and bark at her. I have a Gila woodpecker ringtone from Rare Earthtones. It reminds me of my annoying, feathered friend. You should get one, too.

Apparently others feel similarly. "Real" citation from Wikipedia on the Gila Woodpecker: "the desert woodpecker is the dumbest woodpecker in the desert"

John Mizell and Kira Runtzel at No Anchovies

Weird story. This couple of young hikers, John Mizell and Kira Runtzel, got stranded in a snowstorm recently. As we were celebrating Dr. D-ivine's D-fence at No Anchovies the news came on. Right as the anchors were talking about Mizell and Runtzel, they happened to walk through the gate. We noticed because a group of friends was apparently waiting to welcome them home and they cheered. We were then watching Mizell and Runtzel watching themselves on TV and I took a picture of the group which is now posted on the internets.

Postdata: Check out Mizell's comment below "Get the whole scoop at Rad indeed.

Golden Nail Spa

I've gotten my nails done in about five different places, but Golden Nail Spa is da bomb-diggity because:

1. They are careful and detail-oriented.
2. They are considerate.
3. They have awesome massage chairs and a huge TV.

Tip: take your own nail polish, (like Sally Hanson's No Chip 10 Day Color), and also follow-up at home with a more heavy duty topcoat than theirs and your manicure will last longer.

Yes, I am a girl.

Sushi-Cho, the Lucky Cats and Us

One night after doing the aforephotographed damage at Sushi-Cho, (our friendly neighborhood sushi restaurant), my husband--who had the good graces to get "a little snookered" with me and my friends--decided he wanted to buy one of their Maneki Neko, a.k.a. lucky cats. You know, like the aforephotographed one?

They wouldn't sell it to him; the cats are not for sale. But my husband won't take no for an answer. He wants me to convince them, tell them I write a local blog, etc.

I probably don't know enough about the cultural background involved, but I can imagine it would be bad luck to give-in to a white--albeit sincere--guy experimenting with monopoly rent.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Tucson Thanksgiving

I'm thankful for Tucson. This Thanksgiving we hiked the Sendero Esperanza to the Hugh Norris trail towards Wasson Peak in Saguaro National Park West. We didn't make it all the way to the peak because weather moved in. (We were nearly drenched. As the car pulled out of the parking lot, the downpour began.)

Sometimes I get sad when I think I'll have to leave Tucson when I finish grad school. Sometimes I'll be living a moment and I'll say to myself "You're going to really miss this and look back on it nostalgically when you are gone". Last week while I was walking Frida it dawned on me: Tucson is my first real home. When I was a kid home was rough, I was usually looking for a way out. Immediately after high school I got married - that marriage and home didn't work out so great either. When I moved to Chicago I lived alone in a studio: it was a base, but once again, it didn't quite qualify as a home. Now - for the first time - my partner, our dog, our turtle (and his fish) have a functional little family in a wee apartment that we don't even own, but it's the first home I've ever had and I am really, really thankful for it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

French and Francophone Film Festival - Oct. 16 to Nov. 13

Still from Mondovino.

The Department of French and Italian at the University of Arizona will hold a French and Francophone Film Festival from October 16 to November 13, 2008. There will be 5 films with free admission on the UA campus, in ILC 120 at 7pm. From 6:00-7:00 pm, prior to each film screening (except on November 6th), there will be French or Italian food for sale. Yum.

The Tournées Festival, a program of FACE (French American Cultural Exchange), was made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the French Ministry of Culture (CNC), the Florence Gould Foundation, the Grand Marnier Foundation, high brow entertainment, agnès b., and the Franco-American Cultural Fund, as well as the support of the following units at the UA: the Department of Anthropology, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Department of French and Italian, the College of Humanities, and the Office of International Affairs, and the Alliance Française of Tucson.

Tucson Eat Yourself...and dance to Toa Toa

I don't even have to tell you that Tucson Eat Yourself started today, right? I plan to eat a little of EVERYTHING of course, get wired on Turkish coffee, dance crazy samba with Brazilian rockers Toa Toa, (they play tomorrow, Oct. 11 at 3:30)... but instead of going to The Buffet afterward for traditional beer and shuffleboard I will be celebrating a radical boriqua at her place. Happy Birthday, Zule :)

Puedo escribir los versos mas tristes esta noche...

Brag moment: this is one of my ex-students. He called this recitation a result of my "Spanish-teaching legacy". Poetry performed on YouTube? Those naysayers who insist the internet is killing literature are wrong for so many reasons...

Randy Pausch, Achieving Your Childhood Dreams, and Spiritual Growth in Tucson

I frequently think of Tucson as a place with a special "spiritual aura", but maybe that's just because in my heart of hearts I'm a hippie earth mother. What do you think? (Insert Sarah Palinesque wink here.)

While you think about it, you can watch this lecture by Randy Pausch, known as the Last Lecture. I don't agree with his work ethic, but his life, death and lecture present a lot of important stuff to think about...

Also, if you are a women interested in an affordable support group specifically designed to address the process of personal transformation, I could refer you. The doc's approach is "eclectic, cognitive behavioral, feminist and experiential." Sounds pretty cool, huh?

Both groups will be offered this Fall and are scheduled to begin as soon as they are filled. Space in the groups is limited, and admission to the groups is by interview only. Interested participants may schedule an initial 30-minute individual interview at no cost.

One group will be offered on Thursdays 5:30-7pm and the other group will be offered on Saturdays 10-11:30am. The fee for each 90-minute group session is $35.00. The groups will be facilitated near the Tucson Mall.

If you're interested I can forward you a flier. Here's a bio from the doc:

"I received my Master's degree in Counseling and Guidance from the University of Arizona in 1984 and established my private practice in 1985. I am experienced in social service, educational and clinical settings, and as a consultant, community organizer, and advocate.

My clinical specialties include adults (individuals and couples), marital/partnership, relationship and parenting issues, conflict resolution and mediation, LGBT concerns, depression, anxiety, loss or grief, emotional, physical and sexual abuse issues and trauma resolution. For more details about my professional experience, or for any questions about my services, please contact me directly."

Feijoada at Fiorito's - Saturday, December 13

Good Brazilian eats alert!!!

The complete FEIJOADA with all the trimmings will be served at Fiorito's this Saturday, Dec. 13, 2008 from 12 pm to 3:30pm.

Complete feijoada, Black Bean and Meat, Pork and Sausages Stew served on rice and accompanied by collard greens,orange slices, salsa and cassava meal (farofa)

Vegetarian Feijoada, Black Bean and Tofu products and legumes stew is also available

Brazilian traditional drink: Caipirinha

Brazilian desserts:

Queijadinha (milk,coconut and cheese pudding)

2702 e. GRANT ROAD

Dog Sees God - Live Theater Workshop

So Andrew is in the living room watching a play on T.V. and I just thought to myself, "I can't take theater acting" and walked away. Then I remembered that I really enjoyed this great play two weeks ago and wanted to give some props on mi blog.

We saw Dog Sees God performed by Live Theater Workshop as part of their Etcetera Late Night Season. I read a great review of the play in Tucson Weekly and Tucson Citizen. I've never seen local theater, so I thought it sounded like a fun experiment.

I dragged some friends along and we weren't disappointed. Everyone agreed the play was good and the acting was really good. Plus, the vibe at the local venue was young, fresh, hip, and excited. It's cool to see that kind of crowd bubbly about an art form that's become less and less mainstream.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Best of Tucson 2008

For all you die-hard fans (I make up) who have been wondering (in my mind) what happened to the Tucson Weekly's Best of Tucson Category "Best Local Blog", I have an answer for you.

I wrote the editor and he explained that the voting was so low they just scrapped the category. (Tucson Weekly's Blog got six votes and Tucson Querido got five.) Considering the category got scrapped, Tucson Querido didn't even get an honorable mention.

So, if you want Frida to have her moment in the lime light, remember this for next year: a legitimate on-line vote has to be submitted on a ballot that has 20 categories filled out, a name, a mailing address and an e-mail addy or a phone number.

Hall of Frames




I've been to the Hall of Frames on Grant and Swan twice and I'd like to give a shout out to Jeffrey - not only because he has spiders tattooed on his arm and stars tattooed on his face - but more importantly because he has solid aesthetic judgment when it comes to custom framing.

So today we went to Hall of Frames with the "guest book" drawing from my sister for our wedding, and a Migliorisi painting I've had since I was a child: two pretty important pieces.

Jeffrey wanted to check out the Migliori's matting right away, so when he got it out of the frame we realized it had two sides, and the wrong side had been exposed all these years. It was like going on Antiques Roadshow. The original side is so much better.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Splashdown for dogs at YMCA pool - Sept. 27

Splashdown for dogs at YMCA pool was today, Saturday, Sept. 27
8:00-3:00 at Lighthouse/City YMCA, 2900 N. Columbus Blvd. It was $5 per dogs (humans got in free, dogs only in the pool).

It was mass chaos; wet dogs running amok; I had flashbacks to traumatic swimming lessons from when I was a kid; but generally it was fun. Frida mostly hated it, I think, but that didn't keep her from being photogenic. Check out the Tucson Citizen Slideshow.

It was fun just to watch the dogs. All shapes, sizes and attitudes about getting into the water. There was another chihuahua who was a much better swimmer than Frida, but it's not a competition, right? OMG, our dog is such a child stand-in. Andrew said I need to get knocked-up just so that we can do this stuff with a kid and it won't seem so neurotic and Dog Show-esque.

A special thanks to the lifeguards and to Francisco Medina for the cool pix.

The Writer's Studio Tucson: Afternoon for Writers - Sept. 27

Once I did an intro writing course at the Writer's Studio that was kinda fun. (To read an awesome piece of herp fiction that came out of the course, click here.) Below is a blurb about their upcoming season for interested parties.

THE WRITERS STUDIO, founded more than 20 years ago in New York City by 2008 Pulitzer Prize winner in Poetry, Philip Schultz, is now in its fourth year in Tucson. AN AFTERNOON FOR WRITERS will be held on Saturday, September 27th at 1:30 – 4:30 PM. to kick off the fall season. The afternoon will include a talk and Q&A with Jerry Simmons on “The Business of Publishing.” The talk will be followed by a free introductory class and a Fiction and Poetry reading (a $5 suggested donation to cover costs.) Please contact Eleanor Kedney at eleanor[at]writerstudio[dot]com or call 520-743-8214 to register. Space is limited. Level I classes start 9/24 and 10/4. Level II begins on 9/25.

Mount Lemmon Getaway

From our bedroom window.

From the top of the ski lift.

A phone with a dial tone. How quaint.

The new visitor center.


The Cookie Cabin.

The bedroom in the morning.

We were given a truly thoughtful wedding present, a gift certificate to a cabin on Mount Lemmon. We hadn't used it yet, and I didn't want it to expire, so last weekend we went to the The Mt. Lemmon Getaway.

In tiny Summerhaven, about 1/2 a mile from The Mt. Lemmon Cafe, is a cabin of two units, an upper and a lower. We stayed in the lower. (The exhibitionist lesbians stayed in the upper).

Now I dunno what you think when you think cabin, but I would call the place a sort of shabby house, with cabiny touches. Even so, those touches made the place special, specifically the Franklin fireplace and the magnificent deck. Imagine the setting: cool mountain air, a rushing crick, sunny days, piney solitude (Thanks for the term, Keith)...

With the The Mt. Lemmon Cafe, The Cookie Cabin, and the Iron Door Restaurant all within walking distance, we were able to get away with another one of our trademark "hasty road trips". (It's not that we didn't plan, it's just that we didn't execute all the plans, such as going to the supermarket.) We didn't pack hardly any food but the gamble paid off. We got the last pizza of the day from The Cookie Cabin, took it home and made a fire. Andrew watched Dirty Jobs while I read Gayatri Spivak. Que romantico, eh?

The cabin is on Turkey Run Road, which ends in a riparian corridor of Upper Sabino Canyon closed for restoration. The road becomes a hiking trail which, if followed stubbornly for an hour - like Andrew, Frida and I did - goes all the way to the top of the Ski Valley Ski Lift. I appreciated the trail and the workout, but I wouldn't call the trail a hiker's delight or anything because it was too rowdy (with all the ski lift riders: in this case, a slew of horny teenagers) to warrant the ass-kicking incline for as long as we did it. (Recommendation: trusty standby Aspen Trail never disappoints).

After we hiked from the cabin to the top of the ski lift, we walked all the way down the road to the Mt. Lemmon Cafe where I had a Reuben and Andrew had a cheeseburger. They were super busy but it was so satisfying.

Two of our friends and their dog/child came to play with us and our dog/child. We went to dinner at the Iron Door. It was sorta lame, except for the hummingbird feeders. Just stick your head out by one of the feeders on the porch and they will whiz past your face so boldly I dare you to stand still. But do it. Seeing a hummingbird hovering inches from your nose in mid flight is celestial. After that we went back to the cabin, hung out on the porch and ate fudge from the Mount Lemmon General Store and Gift Shop. Try the peanut butter chocolate fudge. So good...

We took turns trying to build a fire that initially would not start because of wet wood, but finally ended up so huge and hot that we opened the doors and windows just to cool off. I thought we were going to burn the cabin down. It was fun.

The lower unit has a kitchenette, a full bath, a fairly comfy bed, a sofa sleeper, a TV and a propane grill but you have to take your own towels and bedding, wash your own dishes and pack your own trash. If you're squeamish about bugs, this is not the place for you. It smells funny in the bathroom. It's $125.00 per night and there's a two night minimum. But as far as getaways go, Mount Lemmon is the most radically different environment you can get to in one hour from central Tucson. It's cool, quiet, verdant, secluded and beautiful while central Tucson is hot, noisy, dusty, congested and beautiful. It's a great retreat.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Brazilian Week - Sept 1 - 7

During the Week of September 1-6 not New York, not Los Angeles, not Miami - but Tucson! - will celebrate the arts, the music, the literature, and the history of Brazil. The Honorable Mayor Bob Walkup has agreed to officially declare the week of September 1-6 Brazilian Week! Fancy!

For more info on all the food, workshops, music, dance, screenings, exhibits and events that will take place during Brazilian Week, go to The Brazilian Week web page by clicking here.

In my opinion, the crown jewels of the week will be the presence of Brazilian artist and percussionist Ari Colares - who will not only perform, but also hold a percussion workshop - and the Brazilian Independence Carnaval at Club Congress.

Parabens, Tucson!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I know this posting comes late, as the encore screening was Aug. 13, but I have a good excuse! I've been doing research in Paraguay with limited internet access for the past four weeks.

Anyhoo, my personal adventures aside (don't worry, a blog dedicated to the trip will follow),I'd like to give this film some attention. Jorge Luis Urbina, a local Tucson Filmmaker and UA employee of The School of Media Arts, directed it with fellow filmmaker Benjamin Lopez, who wrote and produced the project.

In Urbina's own words, Caramelo follows the relationship between Miguel, a free spirited young student and Jose, a school janitor who carries the burden of a tragic-filled past of the Tlatelolco Student Massacre of 68'.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Nogales 2008

This year when Summer I ended, friends suggested we celebrate by taking a day trip to Nogales. I think we started a tradition.

Bearing passports, snacks, comfortable shoes, water and cameras, we headed for the border. This was the first time I had ever gone to Nogales with a group of girls, and the experience was pretty hilarious.

We had lunch and margaritas at La Roca where we were waited on hand and foot by several waiters. It was expensive, so I think it was a fair deal. I've always loved that place. As a matter of fact, we hired the Trio Hermanos Estrada that regularly plays there for our wedding ceremony and reception. They were 100% worth it.

Then we went shopping, and every shop owner tried to lour us in with catch phrases. Their favorites were "Hey ladies, I'm single!" and "Come into my shop. If you don't look you'll never know..."

At one point I bought a Cuban cigar from the shop owner pictured above. He personally escorted us to the despensa pictured above where we bought water. He was delighted to show off his newly acquired harem of güeritas. And us four hard-core feminists went along with it. Well, we also study performance theory so maybe we felt obliged to perform the role that was expected of us. Why not? How often do we get to giggle about being shamelessly hit in our ivory tower? There's something refreshing about passes when our everyday roles require us to be practically asexual teacher/scholars.

At one point I decided to go back to a curio alley to buy a yellow fruit bowl I had seen earlier in the day, but I couldn't remember exactly what store it was in. Suddenly, all the shop owners realized I was back and this time they knew I was going to buy something. So they all asked me what I was looking for, and simultaneously produced yellow fruit bowls, trying to convince me that theirs was the one. The funny part is that none of them were. I eventually found the one I was looking for. I felt bad that I had gotten all their hopes up and caused them to scramble so wildly. I really like my yellow fruit bowl tho. It's the center piece of my living room.

I also have an even greater appreciation for Nogales after seeing Riley Merline's presentation, "A Century of Border Fence Construction and Community Transformation: Ambos Nogales, 1898-1998" at the RMCLAS conference this year. I thought about all the old pictures and all the history of this town when it used to be fused with Nogales, Arizona in a seamless, transnational community. It made me nostalgic for some pre-militarized border that I've never experienced.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Why didn't the mainstream media jump all over McCain calling his wife a cunt?

I generally leave the political blogging to those who are solely dedicated to it, but this does involve one of Arizona's very own and it's really not so much about politics as it is about feminism. I couldn't sleep last night because I was thinking about this question:

Why didn't the mainstream media jump all over McCain calling his wife a cunt?

The following excerpt is from The Real McCain by Cliff Schecter:

Three reporters from Arizona, on the condition of anonymity, also let me in on another incident involving McCain's intemperateness. In his 1992 Senate bid, McCain was joined on the campaign trail by his wife, Cindy, as well as campaign aide Doug Cole and consultant Wes Gullett. At one point, Cindy playfully twirled McCain's hair and said, "You're getting a little thin up there." McCain's face reddened, and he responded, "At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt." McCain's excuse was that it had been a long day. If elected president of the United States, McCain would have many long days.

The reason why I think this story may be true, is because McCain was confronted about it by a Baptist minister on tape at an Iowa town hall forum in May and he didn't deny it. Here's a link to The Huffington Post piece on the subject and a video of McCain being asked the question and his reaction.

But my concern is not really with the truth or McCain. My concern is with a double-standard. Why is it that the mainstream media will engage so gleefully in other types of smear campaigns, (“We live now in an era where everything and everyone is fair game,” recently stated Douglas E. Schoen, who was a pollster and adviser to former President Bill Clinton from 1994 to 2000.) Yet when it comes to something so damaging to women, nearly everyone is willing to look the other way? As far as I know, the Cunt Incident hasn't been touched in television, radio or mainstream print media. It was surprising to me to stumble onto the story online.

On one hand we could respond to this question as did a good friend of mine who is also an excellent journalist: "No mainstream media can write about it because they can't confirm it; these are anonymous sources and the material is too inflammatory to print without people willing to put their names behind it." But to give a specific example of the double standard I'm perceiving, consider that CBS news is reporting about Michelle Obama "allegedly" using a derogatory term for white people ("whitey") but no one so mainstream can be found mentioning McCain "allegedly" calling his wife a "cunt".

No one jumped on McCain for calling his own wife the most derogatory of slanders against women? Really? Why didn't anyone play Arnold Assgrabber's video above (and other similar clips) more often when he was seeking office? Does the mainstream media assume that this brand of sexism is perceived as irrelevant by the public? Is it? Or is the mainstream media afraid that they will come under fire for reporting in "bad taste"? Isn't that a guise for skirting the issue? (No pun intended)...

Story on The Migrant Walk - KUAZ 4th of July

Image from

I first became aware of the Migrant Walk when I went to see a screening of Jason Aragón's PRESENTE: inside the migrant trail walk. Aragón's film conveys "a reflective look into the Migrant Trail Walk of 2005. The 7 day/75 mile walk from Sásabe, Sonora, Mexico to Tucson, Arizona, USA that raised awareness about the deadly journey to the U.S., the tragic cost of border militarization, and also an opportunity to walk in solidarity with migrants."

Maisa Taha, a great friend of mine from anthropology did the walk this year and wrote a personal essay about it. I read it. It's honest and excellently written. It's level-headed without being dismissive and raw without being preachy. It's airing on Arizona Spotlight tomorrow at 9:30 am and 6:00 pm and you can't miss it.

She invited me to welcome her back into Tucson as the march returned home. I had been traveling to see friends, going to BBQs, lounging poolside. That's what summer means to me. When I saw the marchers with their white crosses, I was reminded that for some, summer is seared in their minds as the most deadly season.

When I saw them march in, I was hot from just standing around. I couldn't fathom what the trip had been like for them. They were dirty, sunburned, sweaty, dried up and exhausted. Some people burst into tears spontaneously. Many hugged and cried, hugged and cried in the midst of all those white crosses. I cried too, because this is what I saw in their faces: "I'm so fucking exhausted I want to collapse, but the only reason we're here is because of those who didn't make it. My walk ended in a picnic, their walk ended in a grave. And the only real difference between us is which side of the border we happened to be born on."

How could you not cry?

POSTDATA: Missed the show? Listen to the July 4, 2008 Edition of Arizona Spotlight online by clicking here.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tuesday Night Ride Goes to Dia de San Juan Fiesta

Photo from

This Tuesday's ride took a somewhat dangerous route across Freeway to make a stop at Tucson's 11th Annual El Día de San Juan Fiesta, which "continues the tradition of celebrating the beginning of the "season of monsoon rains". I suppose it was apropos that we were showered with water balloons all throughout the ride.

In case you want a heads up for next year's date, it was celebrated on Tuesday, June 24, from 5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. at West Congress St. at the Santa Cruz River (south side, west bank).

The fiesta featured the Traditional Procession and the Blessing of the Altar. The public is welcome to join in the procession followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the site.

El Día de San Juan Fiesta features charros and escaramuzas performing on horseback; mariachis, folkloricos, live music, games and activities for children and families, and booths and tables offering information on services available to area residents. Food and refreshments were sold and attendance was free.

The celebration of St. John's birthday was once one of the most important and colorful events in Tucson and the Southwest. It was brought to this region by the Spanish missionaries in the 1600s. Residents of Tucson's west side neighborhoods resurrected this tradition in 1998 and proudly continue a celebration that helps us remember the importance of water in our desert. St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of water, was asked that he help bring the rains so the crops would be plentiful. Legend says that on June 24, 1540, Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez Coronado stood on the banks of the parched Santa Cruz riverbed and prayed for rain. It rained, and in an ardent declaration of faith, Coronado deemed that from that day forward the summer rains would come on the 24th day of June, and according to tradition, this begins the monsoon rain season.

El Día de San Juan is sponsored by a partnership of public, private, and neighborhood organizations.

Info from media contacts,
Lillian Lopez Grant, Chair: (520) 791-0925
Rose J Nenninger: (520) 573-7138
Carlos Romero, Ward 1: (520) 791-4040

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Tucson Dives: The Silver Room and The Bay Horse

Killing time before/after a wedding yesterday, we went to The Silver Room and The Bay Horse.

The Silver Room is remarkable because: it's the only bar on Plumer, (we caught a Rush Soccer game afterwards); its wood paneling makes it feel "lodgey"; if they open up the divider, you can see right into the restaurant next door - which as seen in the photo above - sometimes hosts kids birthday parties. Most importantly, everyone there is nice, even if you are overdressed.

The Bay Horse Tavern is remarkable because: they have a cozy little beer garden with misters; they have a gigantic wooden chair - as pictured above - in which you can have your picture taken and then tacked on the wall; they have an old-timey wooden phone booth with a working pay phone in there. However, they are not as nice to overdressed strangers. (I was curtly advised that we should clean up after ourselves. I guess that beer glass I left next to the MegaTouch was just the last straw. BTW, Tres Tigres - that's us with the highest score in Photo Hunt, thank you very much.)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Girls Bike Out Ride and Photoshoot This Sunday!

Girls Bike Out is happening this Sunday, June 22. Dress up to cycle in style. Ladies only. (They say "heels + wheels = fun time", but I've biked in heels before and it's a pain in the ass. However, the idea of ladies dressing up for ladies is highly appealing. Meow.)

Time 6:30

Place: Time Market

Venus Zine which calls itself "the leading source for coverage of women in music, art, film, fashion, and DIY culture" is looking for pictures of ladies and their snazzy bicycles. Bring your hot bikes, hot looks and hot cameras. Here's a notification from their blog:

"Calling all lady bike riders: We're working on a photo-spread for the Fall issue of ladies and their customized bikes. We're not talking just fixed gear here; we're talking streamers, sound systems, sparklers, crazy paint jobs, double-deckers – the whole shebang!...If this sounds like you, or if you know of some rad lady in your town with a bike that's impressive, let Venus know at: Please send us a couple photos and a brief description about why your bikes so awesome."

My bike is really boring but I'd like to take photos. And while I'm at it I might put on a dress or something.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Tucson Querido is Boycotting GoDaddy

I know Go Daddy's advertising has been considered "edgy", and I even chuckled at the Beaver Commercial above, but CEO and Founder Bob Parson's Video Blog bugs the crap out of me. I even wrote Danica Patrick an email:

"Dear Danica,

I've been using Go Daddy as the Registrar for my websites until recently. When I saw this Video Blog posting by their CEO, Bill Parson's, (Episode #9) I decided to take my business elsewhere:

It's offensive to me because:

1. It assumes a predominately male heterosexual audience, again. It ignores me as a female consumer of Go Daddy services. I'm not gaining pleasure from the buxom brunets. (I am one, and get to see myself in the mirror every day so this isn't exciting to me.)

2. It's patriarchal. Mr. Parson's "advice" to the Go Daddy girls is ludicrous and patronizing. The girls are only there so men can have a laugh and a chubby at their expense.

3. It makes you look bad. I know that it must be hard to straddle the line between professional race car driver and sex symbol and be taken seriously, but in this Video montage, your image clearly gets shoved to one side of the line. To see you - a female pioneer in racing - lumped in so casually with a bunch of Barbie dolls! This wouldn't happen to a male driver. Is Danica Patrick a "Go Daddy Girl" or a professional race car driver? Please don't ignore this double standard.

Divorce this sponsor!


Eva Romero
Tucson, AZ"

I did a little Google searching on Bob Parsons and GoDaddy and found that sexism isn't the only reason to boycott. There's also the issue of censorship (GoDaddy Silences and condoning torture(Does your Web Host condone torture? does!).

FioRito's FEIJOADA Summer Special This Sat. June 21

Good Brazilian eats alert!!! (If you can't afford to spend Summer in Brazil, at least you can bring Brazil to your taste buds...)

The complete FEIJOADA with all the trimmings is now $ 11.75.(including, soda,coffee or tea). VEGETARIAN FEIJOADA is available, too.

Brazilian drinks:
Caipirinha $4
Guarana (traditional Brazilian soda beverage) can $l.80
Maracuja (passion fruit beverage) can $1.60

Brazilian desserts:
Pudim de leite (flan) $4
Goiabada com queijo fresco $4
(guava and fresh cheese)

Come experience these "sabores" of Brazil (eat in or take out)

Saturday: June 21st

12pm to 3:30pm


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Jose Saavedra's Farewell Show

A message from Pepo:

"After several years of being part of this beautiful and supportive music scene it is time for us to say goodbye. Me and Elise will be moving from our beloved old pueblo and heading towards the east coast. Come and join us in our farewell show this Friday at Plush. Two of Tucson's greatest, Leila Lopez and The Jons will also be on the bill. There will be a $5 charge. There will also be CDs available."

9:30 Leila Lopez

10:30 Pepo Saavedra and La Desgracia Music Ensamble featuring: Elise Dubord (Violin), Michael Hummer (Drums) & Becca Hummer (Viola)

11:30 The Jons

Thirsty Thursday with the Tucson Sidewinders

POSTDATA: If the photo above is any indication, Thirsty Thursday turned out to be as fun as predicted, especially considering the shenanigans of Sexy Sandy - our favorite flirty side-winding mascot. I think I've never watched so little baseball at a baseball game before. The stuffed reptile courting ritual was way more entertaining. Plus I had babies to visit, tamales to eat and several beer runs to go on...

There are a few early summer activities that get less and less bearable as the heat creeps even further into the evening in Tucson. That's why I invite you to take advantage of the $1 beers at the Thirsty Thursday Sidewinders game. Like the Sidewinders say, it's a Tucson tradition! Enjoy $1 beer, lemonade and soft drinks for 2 hours after the first pitch. It's practically your duty as an American.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Party with a Purpose at Dr. Dan's Saturday

POSTDATA: I took the above photo at Dan's. It's Elise listening to Pepo after her violin part was over. I think it captures the intimate mood of the evening, and some of the bittersweetness in knowing that this was one of their last performances in Tucson.

Saturday, June 07, the place to be is Dr. Dan's house for "Playa Guacamaya."

When: Saturday, June 7th 9PM

Where: North First Avenue near 8th Street

What: Live Local Music, Snacks, and Beer (a keg)

Suggested donation: $5 to $10. All proceeds will go toward eyeglasses, reading glasses, eye drops, sunglasses, and other medical supplies for the people of La Guacamaya, Honduras.

Local musicians will play intimate acoustic sets all night long.

Jimmy Carr
Leila Lopez
Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl (almost for sure)
John De Roo
Andrew Collberg
Jose Pepo Saavedra

A Message from Dr. Dan about the medical clinic in Honduras:

Guacamaya is little town in Honduras that was hit hard many years ago by Hurricane Mitch. In 2001/2002, an optometrist from Washington helped to build a medical clinic in Guacamaya, and now the University of Arizona College of Medicine has become involved. In June and July, a bunch of doctors and medical students will go there to provide health care for the needy. I will be holding an eye clinic from June 28th through July 4th. I will pay my own airfare and hotel, but I need money to buy eye glasses, sunglasses, eye drops, and medical supplies. I am accepting donations of old eyeglasses too.

Small Musical Aside: This Sunday is one of the last chances to catch the Tucson Pops Orchestra in Reid Park this year, there are only two more concerts: this Sunday June 8 and next June 15th. You HAVE to go this Sunday: Nancy Davis Booth is going to sing selections from The Great Muppet Caper (1981)! Free, dog friendly event!

Thursdays at Cinema La Placita

Isn't this photo by A.T. Willett gorgeous?

We went to Cinema La Placita for the first time last night. We watched A Star is Born (1976) and it was hilarious. First of all, after the organizers rattled off a list of rules, (Don't drink, don't smoke, don't do illicit drugs, don't be loud and obnoxious, etc.) The film proceeded to roll and Kris Kristofferson's character does ALL that!

Then Barbara Streisand's character keeps saying things that are supposed to make her this hip woman connected to sexual liberation and "Woman Power", but from today's vantage point "Strawberry Douche" is only an endless source of off-colour jokes. So is "I want you to come life." Also, the fact that she's part of a trio with two black female back-up singers called "The Oreos" is wrong in so many ways.

Yes it was funny and wrong, but slow, so actually we found ourselves forced to go to The District for shots after the second intermission. You gotta get all that seventies out of your system somehow. (By the way, the jukebox at The District is sort of awesome.)

For more about what happened at The District from the viewpoint of a Pima County Occasional Dater, click here...

Here's the Film Schedule for JUNE:

June 12: Forbidden Planet (1956) Starring Leslie Nielsen, Anne Francis and Walter Pidgeon

June 19: Pillow Talk (1959) Starring Rock Hudson and Doris Day

June 26: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) Starring Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell and James Coburn. Directed by Howard Hawks. Sponsored by THE CRUISE PLACE.

Footnote: This is a dog-friendly venue :)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Tucson Tusday Night Bike Ride

POSTDATA: Now that it's HOTTT later into the day, the ride is meeting at 8:00 instead of 7:00 p.m..

I did the ride tonight and it was so fun! Talk about cheap, environmentally-friendly, community-building thrills. You can read up on it at Tucson Bike Lawyer or read "Tucson on Two Wheels" from the Tucson Weekly.

Generally I just want to stress the following: the event is not as much of a boys' club as it might appear to be at first glance, (especially when your first glance is the above footage). You don't have to have a penis or do fancy tricks. You don't even have to be in shape to keep up (a few "rebels" even smoke on the ride which is kinda like taking a crap right after a shower but whatever). The point is you don't have to be hard core at all. You only need to have just enough control not to run into anyone.

The ride is lovely at 8:00 pm when the temp is nice these days. It's great to just be a part of the pack, not even knowing (or caring) about where you're going - just go, just be, just ride, one pedal at a time.

The route tonight was diverse which kept it interesting. There were a few bottlenecks but I think that just adds to the flavor flav.


Bring bike lights. (Do as I say not as I do.)

Don't zig zag if you don't want to get rammed. Give the person in front of you a little space.

Stay in one lane, away from oncoming or passing traffic. Duh.

Respect the trolley tracks because otherwise you may biff so fast you won't even know what happened.

Bring some water. And cookies to share. (I heart birthday cookies, thanks Sara)

If you find yourself going up a ramp or something try as hard as you can not to put your foot down!


The World Naked Bike Ride is this Saturday, June 7. Nudity encouraged, but not required. No pix without permission, please. Gather at 7:00 pm at 10th Ave. and 4th St. Email tucsonnakedbikeride[at]gmail[dot]com for more info.

Rice and Beans benefit for Renato's "ecological round-the-world trip" this Sunday, June 8th. Event starts at Dry River Radical Resource Center at 4:00 pm. Join world tour Brazilian cyclist Renato Campinho in a neighborhood bike ride. Rice and beans served at 5:00 pm. The event will conclude with a sideshow of his trip.

Wilko (Park and University) does pre-ride bike lubes next Tuesday, June 10 from 6:00 - 8:00 pm to raise funds for their liquor license.

POSTDATA: In case you haven't noticed the recent media flurry, local officials have their panties in a bundle over the potential nudity of this Saturday's World Naked Bike Ride. Know the law before you take off your bra!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Tucson Webcams

This shot is from The Arizona Webcam.

If you read Foucault you may be familiar with some of his ideas about being watched and feeling like you're being watched... We recently installed a surveillance camera in one of our windows: an unblinking eye gazing upon our courtyard 24-7. We hoped it would deter bike theft, but really I think all it has done is make us into voyeurs. On that note, here's a list of Tucson web cams for your voyeuristic pleasure:

University of Arizona Webcams:

Arizona Webcam is a bird's eye view of the University of Arizona campus.

The Student Union

East Mall

Old Main

Athletics Facilities Construction

Family and Consumer Sciences

College of Law

Rec Center Construction

Tomatoes. I'm not kidding.

Tucson Panoramas Maintained by Pima County

City of Tucson Webcams:

Tucson Freeway Cameras - there are 12 of 'em!

The following cameras are so freaky; you can control them by zooming in and our or even right to left and up and down...

Presidio Park

Fourth Avenue Construction Web Cam

Downtown North East

Downtown South East

KVOA's CityCam located on Tumamoc Hill

Downtown North West

Downtown South West

Downtown West

Downtown East

Iowa City Summer 2008

These pix are from the Sutliff Bridge, near Iowa City.

My baby brother graduated from high school in Iowa this month, so we ventured out north to celebrate. I just have to give props to him for surviving high school in small town Iowa, but also to give props to some of my favorite Iowa City establishments:

The Soap Opera: They have a shit ton of soap.

Prairie Lights: Great independent bookseller.

Giovanni's: We never go back to Iowa without eating the Gnocchi d'Oro

Whitey's: Such good ice cream, it makes me wanna puke.

John's Grocery, aka Dirty John's: Nestled in a historic building, the charm begins at the door. Their owners call it "a marriage of the traditional corner grocery store and epicurean oasis". Personally, I call it one of the best liquor stores ever. I mean, it has a BEER CAVE!

Granny's: Best re-sale jewelry, antiques, plus so much other stuff and so CHEAP! But Granny is retiring. I can't stand it. I wanna cry.

Also, this trip we made a new discovery. About 30 minutes drive from Iowa City (along lovely winding, country roads) is the Sutliff Bridge. This bridge made of iron and wood is over 100 years old. Deliciously located in what is now sort of the middle of nowhere, it's a charming, quiet, lush, green setting for leisurely drinking a PBR LIGHT. I had no idea that PBR light even existed, but I have proof now. See the photo above.

The Sutliff Bridge Tavern not only serves this unheard of PBR light, but pub grub at historical prices. Just look at the menu.

POSTDATA: I'm sad to report that since the time of this posting, the 110 year old historical Sutliff Bridge has been mostly washed away by the disastrous 500 Year Flood in Iowa. I feel fortunate that I got to enjoy the bridge at least once in my lifetime, but to see the loss is still heartbreaking...and I don't even live there...

Jamie Lidell in Tucson

So last night we went to see Jamie Lidell at The Rialto. We had not heard of him until my friend Andrea invited us to the show. (Read Annie Holub's interview with Lidell in Tucson Weekly.)

To say the least, I was pleasantly surprised. The soul and energy of the show lived up to expectations. The sound deconstruction that threatens to converge into pure chaos was present, too. The VJ was awesome. Bottom line: Catch Lidell in a city near you!

Ballot for Best of Tucson 2008

Best Nail Place: Golden Nail Spa. You see that flower? That's hand-painted, baby.

Once again I'm making my ballot for Best of Tucson public, just for shits and giggles. (That's such a weird expression, isn't it?)

Bee tee dubs, there's still time to vote before June 4. Click here to vote online.

Best Local Blog: Tucson Querido shamelessly self-promotes here.

Best Annual Festival: Tucson Eat Yourself

Best Park: Reid. Recently as I was flying back to Tucson I noticed just what a huge green patch it constitutes in the middle of our desert town.

Best Local Advocacy Group: Borderlinks

Best Radio Station for News: KUAZ

Best Bowling Alley: Lucky Strike. Cosmic bowl rocks!

Best Hair Salon: The Coyote Wore Sideburns

Best Yoga Studio: Yoga Oasis

Best Fine Art Gallery: DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun. I love it because of DeGrazia's incorporation of native elements, but I also have a problem with some of the rhetoric found there, such as the idolatry of Kino as beneficent Indian savior, etc.

Best Art Museum: The Center for Creative Photography

Best Local Performing Artist: Jose Pepo Saavedra. Last chance to vote for Pepo, because by the end of this summer he won't be local anymore. Boo hoo. Well, before he moves closer to the city that doesn't sleep, he's giving a last show on June 13.

Best Indoor Venue: Club Congress

Best Movie Theater: The Loft

Best Lowbrow Bar Ambiance: The Buffet

Best Nightclub: Club Congress

Best Margarita: El Charro

Best Wine/Liquor Store: Rum Runner

Best Burger: Lindy's

Best Sandwich: The Asian Sandwich Deli

Best Pizza: Zachary's. Two pieces does me. Plus, I dig the weird beer garden in the back.

Best Ice Cream: Frost. But actually it's gelato.

Best Sonoran Hot Dogs: Tanque Verde Swap Meet

Best Fish Tacos: Rubio's. But they are not as good for you as you think.

Best Empanadas: My friend Derek's but otherwise, Mama Llama's

Best Diner: The Grill

Best Indian: Sher-E-Punjab

Best Italian: Giacomo's

Best Sushi: Sushi King

Best Thai: Vila Thai

Best Casual Dining: Zemam's

Best Outdoor Seating: Cushing Street. Try the Sueño Burger.

Best Late-Night Eats: The Taco Shop Co.

Best Vietnamese: Miss Saigon

Best Mexican: Crossroads, for the nopalitos.

Best Vegetarian/Vegan: Lovin' Spoonfuls

Best Veggie Burger: Bentley's

Best Birthday Party Place: P1 Kart Circuit

Best Fun for the Whole Family: Tanque Verde Swap Meet

Best Used Books: Bookman's. Duh.

Best Video Store: Casa Video

Best Fashions: Toque de Pasion

Best Resale Clothing: Buffalo Exchange

Best Home Furnishings: The Paris Flea Market

Best Pet Supplies Store: Muttropolis

And now for my own categories...

Best Tapas: Casa Vcente. Okay, probably the only tapas in Tucson but that shouldn't make light of their quality...

Best Laundrette: Campbell Coin Laundry and Cleaners. Their slogan is "Where Cleaning Your Clothes Can Be A Pleasant Experience". It's true. The owners and employees have always been nice. Andrew and have our "laundry date" there every two weeks, combining clean clothes, sushi, video games, enchiladas, frozen yogurt, manicures and other fun things the strip mall has to offer.

Best Nail Place: Golden Nail Spa. They are kind, they have a nice locale, the prices are competitive and they are very careful, professional and talented. (See hand-done pedicure art above.)

Best Sunset Watching and Post-Sunset-Watching Drive Into Town: Gates Pass

Best Place Spiritual Historic Site to Take Nudie Pix Not That I've Ever Done It: Signal Hill

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Vote Tucson Querido Best Local Blog

Photograph by Andrew Haberbosch. Eva and Frida at the Tanque Verde Swap Meet.

Tucson Weekly is compiling the votes for 2008 Best of Tucson. Click here to cast your vote for Tucson Querido as Best Local Blog.

Ten Good Reasons Why This Blog is Tucson's Best:

1. I don't blither on and on with irrelevant details about my personal life. Usually.

2. I cover the stuff you wouldn't find out about otherwise. Sometimes.

3. I rarely use my blog to give a bad review and get back at an establishment for a horrible experience. Rarely.

4. I won't suggest a place unless I personally really enjoyed it.

5. I have eclectic taste.

6. I'm a good photographer.

7. I didn't delete your blog from my blog roll, even if you did insult me while you were drunk at a show.

8. This site's easy to read and navigate, if nothing else.

9. I tell it like it is, mostly.

10. You're hip because you read my blog, and you want the world to know it.