Sunday, January 31, 2010

In Our Own Voices: African American Filmmakers

Oscar Micheaux

In Our Own Voices: African American Filmmakers

(African American filmmakers symposium hosted by the School of Media Arts)

Wed Feb 3, 4pm – Sat Feb 6, 6pm

The University of Arizona

Reframing Race Movies: Oscar Micheaux and His Audiences : February 4, 2010,

4 PM-6:30 PM

Film scholar and author Pearl Bowser will discuss Oscar Micheaux—the most prolific African-American filmmaker to date and a filmmaking giant of the silent period. Both artist and showman, Micheaux stirred controversy in his time as he confronted issues such as lynching, miscegenation, peonage and white supremacy, passing and corruption among black clergymen.

Presentation followed by Screening of Body and Soul; dir. by Oscar Micheaux, 1925, starring Paul Robeson. (102 min.) With live piano accompaniment by Suzanne Knosp, Professor of Dance/Music Director for Dance, University of Arizona School of Dance

University of Arizona, Hosclaw Hall, 100A, 1017 N Olive Road, N Tucson, AZ 85721

Contact Hanson Film Institute program director Victoria Westover at:



In Person: Documentary filmmaker Noland Walker : Saturday, February 6th, 4 PM

Noland Walker is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker whose films have premiered at Sundance Film Festival, screened in festivals worldwide, and have been broadcast nationally on television. His work includes wriiting and co-producing the acclaimed documentary, Jonestown: the Life and Death of People's Temple, co-producing and co-directing Citizen King, a two-hour film about the last years of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life, and producing an episode of the groundbreaking 1998 series Africans in America.

The symposium will end with a 20-minute clip introduced by Pearl Bowser of a work in progress: Oscar's Comeback: Festival of the Unconquered; dir. by Lisa Collins and Mark Schwartzburt.

UA Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering Auditorium Rm. S202

1130 N MOUNTAIN AVE (SE corner of Mountain Ave. & Speedway Blvd.

Tucson, AZ 85721

Contact Hanson Film Institute program director Victoria Westover at:



When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint Them Weird and Race Them Over Two Days

These "criminal scum" pay a penalty a la Joe Arpaio.

The race has commenced.

This Volkswagen Rabbit spent most of the corners on 3 wheels.

The winner: the Alice in Wonderland Mazda Miata. It says "Drink me" on the front bumper and "Eat me" on the back. If you look closely you can see the tea set bolted to the trunk.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for a Z car.

The current recession, and perhaps prior recessions (Google it), have put a tangible dent in the fender of auto sport culture. The SCCA has had declining attendance at their reasonably priced autocross events, F1 was financially and morally bankrupt (it made bankers seem angelic), NHRA shit-canned several employees, and major manufacturers dropped out of both F1 and the World Rally Championship. Not to mention Jimmie Johnson can suck it (he's making NASCAR even more boring). But I digress.

No I don't. That last one is important. NASCAR, long thought to be the common man's fete voiture, has had more and more fans and critics lament the loss of the recognizable car in NASCAR. Before they unveiled the Car of Tomorrow, it was nearly impossible to distinguish your favorite marquee in the field. Even with the new cars that now have psuedo-bumpers and tuner wings instead of spatula rear decks, all of the cars are identical excepting their Ford, Chevy, Dodge or Toyota stickered badges and "headlight assemblies." Many long for difference in the field, when you could watch the race on Sunday, and buy a reasonable approximation of the same winning vehicle on Monday! I would buy that Toyota Camry!

I made up fete voiture, because it sounds French, just like the seeming savior of auto sport, the 24 hours of LeMons. LeMons, not LeMans, is only 4 years old, but its spirit is timeless. The rules; you can't spend more than $500 for the car (without penalty), and you must have fun. Ultimately, the car with the most laps after two days can "win," but there are also Index of Effluency (most with least), Judge's choice, Good-Bad-Ugly, Most Heroic Fix, and Dangerous Homemade technology awards, to name a few. The penalties are equally esoteric; Hit a cone? bolt one to your cars roof. Go off the track? Pitch a tent Arpaio style. This goofy grading has the simultaneous ability to be entertaining and keep tempers, stress, and seriousness low. The event, which started in California, has resonated so much with auto sport fans, that it has spread to cities throughout the U.S., including Phoenix!

My awesome wife surprised me this January with a trip to Phoenix's first LeMons event, held at Firebird International Raceway, and it did not disappoint. LeMons participants look like mostly serious racers, with trailers, matching fireproof suits, and even sponsors, but each car usually has a not so serious theme that even kids will understand. This years winner was an Alice in Wonderland themed Mazda Miata. There was also the B-team, B.A baracus BMW (with mohawk), and a Volkswagen Rabbit, with ears! It was a small field in comparison to other venues, but every bit as exciting as a multi-million dollar open wheel race (of which I've been to two, both Indy car events). You may not recognize the drivers, but once you witness the field, regardless of your technical knowledge, you have picked your favorite. Do you like the matte black sedan with the skull for the headlight, or the ingenious roadster with a PVC plumbed turbo and intercooler?

What to Expect When You're Expecting To Ski

Blow-up Doll is ready to sled.

Would-be ski bunnies.

The ski lift in its full glory.

My appreciation for Tucson almost always leads to comparisons to my former hometowns. One of Tucson's advantages, I like to pronounce, is that it has the best of both worlds; you can find yourself in the most beautiful desert in 100 degree ass-charring heat, and in one hour drive to a cool Alpine-esque escape. I of course am thinking of Mt. Lemmon when I pronounce such things, part of the Santa Catalina range and by no means an unblogged-about topic on this site. However, I do sometimes reminisce positively about various winter practices when I think about the Midwest, such as sledding, skiing, bundling, and shoveling. Most of the year, these things aren't possible or necessary in Tucson, but driving home from work this week I caught a glimpse of my past and my near future: the snow capped Catalinas, and the most Southern ski slopes in the Continental United States (I don't know if Hawaii or Puerto Rico has any mountains or snow, but you can't drive there easily from Tucson anyways).

As I mentioned, Mt. Lemmon and the ski area (there's no room to call it a resort) has been blogged about before, but more as a novelty. It's hard to imagine when you're standing at the foot of the slopes in summer that any snowfall might accumulate enough to recreate James Bond chase scenes. But when you drive up Catalina Highway and pass the 6000 foot marker, Bing Crosby invariably croons in your head. And you won't be alone either, as most of the population of the Mexican state of Sonora is there, too! Relax, there's plenty of snow for everyone to take some home in their truck bed or on the roof of the SUV. Just don't let the county deputies spot you.

Back to my commute. I resolved to take advantage of this sliver in snow-capable time and by the miracles of Facebook, I had united a posse to determine Mt. Lemmon's ski-worthiness. Everyone was seemingly resolute about being able to say they had done what few Tucsonians have ever done before; Ski the Lemmon (.com)!

And they still can't say that. It wasn't for lack of enthusiasm, because if we had had any less, we would have given up at the bottom of Ski Run road, which they had just closed due to lack of parking. No, no, we'll park a ways up the highway and walk the 1+ mile, 13% grade to The Iron Door and have lunch. Which we did. And the Iron Door was suitably good-eats as well as suitably overpriced. Alright, lunch done, let's get our ski on. Well, we'll have to wait for rental skis, oh, and we stop renting at 2 p.m., or now, whichever is sooner. Where is this on their website!?

I give mad proper respect to my friends for not being dejected at that point. Some of them had already went out and bought some of the more specialized snow hardware from a previously unknown (to me) Tucson ski shop, Peter Glenn, in anticipation of this adventure. With some clairvoyance, one of them at least brought a saucer sled, so we were able to participate with the commoners on make-shift sledding hills, full of broken necks for everyone! And we were ahead of the game even then, as many Tucsonians didn't have recognizable sleds, using cardboard boxes, car floor mats, yoga mats, inflatable air mattresses, and boogie boards. Additionally, I'm convinced someone was using an inflatable sex-doll. For sledding.

We all resolved to come back the next day at the butt-crack of dawn, make the hour long trip up the mountain again, and risk life and limb for the status of "Arizona skiier!!!!111lol". But as God had giveth us snow, he doth takest awayath our skiiath. Life intervened, as it usually does, and the trip will not be made so soon.

The snow may melt, but our determination is frozen for good! See you next year, Ski Valley!

Text: Andrew
Photos: Eva

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Apache Trail

The Apache Trail (Route 88) closed at Tortilla Flat due to Tortilla Creek running over the road.

Nothing can stop this group of hikers; not even a freezing creek.

The water runs fast.

A view of Canyon Lake from the road.

A view of Canyon Lake from a scenic lookout.

The Superstition Mountains as seen from the Elvis Presley Chapel.

As you may have heard, on Monday Gov. Brewer declared a state of emergency for Arizona after wicked awesome storms rocked our state bringing badly needed rain to some parts and snowing people in at higher altitudes and in the north. In the midst of all this dramatic weather, I was fortunate enough to drive part of the Apache Trail and take pictures of the moody sky and changing light.

We were only able to drive from Apache Junction to Tortilla Flat and back, given that the road was closed. This limitation only left me hungry for more. The Apache Trail is so gorgeous that I can only count the days before we go back.

Some of the attractions on the stretch of the Apache Trail that we drove by were:
Goldfield Ghost Town
Superstition Mountains Museum
Lost Dutchman State Park (to close June 3!)
Canyon Lake
Tortilla Flat

Man v. Sonoran Hot Dog

This message was circulated by Eric Wilson, El Presidente of El Güero Canelo Enthusiasts:

The Travel Channel is inviting all El Güero Canelo superfans

to the South Tucson location (12th Ave)

Friday, January 29th and Saturday, January 30th

for an event where they will pit El Güero Canelo against a challenger to find out who has the top Sonoran Dog in Tucson.

Fans will be interviewed, and the #1 fan will be featured in the show, which will be part of a companion series to Man V. Food.

If you think you're the ultimate El Guëro Canelo fan and want to come to the shoot, or have any questions, please email

POSTDATA: Here are links to the Man v. Food episode shot in Tucson:
Guero Canelo, Mi Nidito

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Jojoba Oil and the Oil Cleansing Method

By no means is this a cosmetic blog, but being that Jojoba oil is a natural essence of the Arizona desert, I have no reason to conceal my delight upon discovering its use for skin care--it's a local thing :)

I have previously spent a small fortune on Aveda products, the Outer Peace skin care line, to be exact. It worked quite well for me for a long time, but recently I found that the cleanser--despite being super high quality and natural--was just drying out my face too much. Even after using a moisturizer my skin was still over-compensating by getting too oily in the afternoon. I was using the Aveda clenser, the pads, the lotion, and oil blotting sheets. And I hate an involved beauty regime. I have better things to do.

A friend had told me about the oil cleansing method (OCM), so I decided to stop use of all other products and just try it with Jojoba oil. (You can use other oils depending on your skin type.) These are my steps:

1. Put a few drops of the oil in the palm of one hand.
2. Use clean fingertips to massage it in to the entire face, loosening dirt and dead skin cells.
3. Drape a steaming hot washcloth over the face for a few seconds to open pores.
4. Use the washcloth to remove the oil, dirt and exfoliate.

Being that there's no soap involved, a very light residue of the oil remains on the skin, leaving the skin soft and hydrated instead of over-dry.

A bottle of Jojoba oil that could last up to a year costs about $10 at Whole Foods. Not to mention, it has a myriad of uses, such as make-up remover, cuticle oil, hair serum, etc.

What's better than maintaing perfect skin using one natural ingredient while saving a ton of time and money? It's a no brainer! Viva Jojoba.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Copper Country Antique Mall and Tucson Antiquing

Buffalo Bistro and Amelia Grey's Tea Garden is a long name for a small space.

Good sandwich and they carry Pepsi Throwback. Nobody carries Pepsi Throwback.

It is deep into winter break and I just got back from a week in Illinois, where I got a cold. I'm sort of miserable, but also suffering from cabin fever so I go out-- alone and moody-- into the gray afternoon, embarking on a voyage: a search to find the magical teapot that will brew my cold away. I'm driving a sun burnt, dirty beast: a '97 Crown Vic who in a past life was an Iowa City Cop Car. I can't get rid of this car because Andrew was driving it when I fell in love with him, nearly a decade ago.

First I sail my boat into the harbors of the romantic, cottage, chic Paris Flea Market, and notice its same-veined neighbor is out of business. I walk a few doors down to the tiny, cluttered Pink Elephant. Then I hop back on my boat and head to the Goodwill on 1st or the Goodwill on Speedway (where my sister and I were recently flashed. Peek-a-boo eighties shorts, you know who you are.) I then cross the street to the Elegant Junque Shop, and finally, its sister store: Christine's Curiosity Shop. Together they carry a surprising array. I find a vintage copper tea pot, clean enough inside to safely heat water. It comes with a matching copper stand. Its handle is white porcelain with blue flowers; a nice touch. The kindly couple who own the store give me a deal on the teapot and on a cigar box.

Just a little down the road, Copper Country Antique Mall does not only carry an impressive variety of goods, including objects d'art, but holds a secret in its heart: Buffalo Bistro and Amelia Grey's Tea Garden (owned by Annette Hartman.) Being there felt a little like being in one of the quaint shops and cafes that have lived brief lives in my grandmother's Iowa town of 1,000 people...

Have other favorite Tucson antique and thrift stores? Please comment!

Tohono Chul Tea Room

Is between two and five? Are you in the mood for an exquisite high tea taken in a peaceful hummingbird garden, followed by a sunset stroll down a nature trail? You'll find just that at Tohono Chul Park. Delightful.

San Xavier del Bac Mission

I hadn't been to San Xavier since they took off the scaffolding. It's gorgeous.

Built by the Tohono O'odham and Padre Kino in 1699, its Moorish elegance and dazzling whiteness are amazing. In the museum you can watch a brief documentary (narrated by Linda Ronstadt) on the history of this unique structure and the people who built and cared for it.

Also, if you are a tourist, this is the perfect place to pick up free San Xavier glasses for candles (pictured above) to recycle as momentos from your trip.

p.s. Don't forget to leave some room in your tummy for fry bread sold in the parking lot.

Seven Falls

View from the trail as we head back to the parking lot.

The falls.

Now is a good time to hike Seven Falls in Sabino Canyon. After five years of living in Tucson, I finally saw them on Friday. I had never made it to the falls before because I couldn't cross Bear Canyon Creek on the way there (too deep). Right now the creek is mostly dry yet there are a few lovely pools at the falls.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

A Resolution for the New Year: Support Tucson's Local Businesses (Before It's Too Late)

Photo taken at the Tanque Verde Swap Meet by Andrew Haberboch.

Loss #1

My sister was in town this week, escaping zero-degree Iowa for a few days. On Sunday she flies in, we hop right into the convertible and head to my beloved Tanque Verde Swap Meet. When we get there, the parking lot that I had in a bygone era trolled painstakingly for a spot was mostly empty. Only a few vendors straggled inside despite the big "Open" sign at the entrance. I don't know if it has something to do with the ICE recent seizure of over $785,000 worth of counterfeit goods and I don't know if the place will bounce back. I feel sad. I miss the pony rides, the incense shop, the sonoran hot dogs, the chihuahuas, the climbing wall... And I don't see how the siezure equals more sales for somebody like Coach, for example. It's not like I can really afford an authentic Coach bag now.

Loss #2

Sis asks me for a unique local sandwhich shop. I go directly to Asian Sandwich Deli only to find it dark, locked and empty. NO! NOT ASIAN SANDWHICH DELI!! It closed in May, 2009. Major frownie face.

Loss #3

The lady on Broadway who used to do my alterations is gone. The zipper on my green velour tracksuit broke, and at Mendel's Wife the Tailor they can only replace it for $25 because they have to treat it as velvet. The whole suit didn't cost me that much at Ross. Currently searching for cheap tailor.


Loss #4

I just remembered De Anza Drive In Theaters.
It seems just yesterday I was sitting under the stars in a lawn chair, wrapped in a blanket, the smell of smoke wafting in the air, catching a midnight showing of Forty Year Old Virgin with my pals...sniff! This sucks!

Go Icecats!

That's ice.

Zamboni driver giving everyone high fives through the wall.

ASU sucks. (This is one of the oldest collegiate rivalries in the country, gotta keep it up.)

Pluggy the spark plug? Plumbie the PVC pipe?

It's a Saturday night and we have planned to go to an actual ice hockey game with some friends and neighbors. Morgan and Caroline set out for the box office at 5:00 to get tix for the 7:00 game. We get a text message from Caroline: "traffic is crazy. maybe we should try this some other time." I'm thinking to myself, "When have we ever abandoned plans because of Tucson traffic?"

Andrew uses Google maps with traffic view to plot a route, avoiding Broadway's bumper to bumper gridlock. WTF? Oh yes, the ballet just got out and everything is blocked off for the Parade of Lights.

Eventually we make it to the TCC and I'm enjoying the crisp taste of overpriced light beer, the clacking of sticks, and the cheers of the crowd when the fight breaks out. Two young dudes get into it, one of them falls backward into his girlfriend, who is wearing one of those slightly ridiculous DIY sexified Arizona tee shirt top things. When he hits the ground, the other dude and his friends pounce like a pack of wild hyenas. The cops are watching the game when this happen. Eventually they jog over, laughing.

After the game, when the crowd starts pouring out, a fan throws a Coke at the opposing team, which explodes onto the ice.

"How savage!" our anthropologist friend remarks.

To read more about the story of how an ice hockey team's popularity blooms in the desert, check out this recent piece in the Tucson Weekly.*

*In response to what coach Golembiewski said about getting the players to give a damn, I don't know anything about ice hockey but these guys did not always appear to give a damn. One player seemed not to realize a play was in progress until the puck flew past him.