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TUCSONWEEKLY.COM

SEPTEMBER 16, 2021


SEPTEMBER 16, 2021

SEPTEMBER 16, 2021 | VOL. 36, NO. 37

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The Tucson Weekly is available free of charge in Pima County, limited to one copy per reader. Additional copies of the current issue of the Tucson Weekly may be purchased for $1, payable at the Tucson Weekly office in advance. To find out where you can pick up a free copy of the Tucson Weekly, please visit TucsonWeekly.com

STAFF

CONTENTS THE SKINNY

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Republicans freak out over Biden’s vaccine requirements

FEATURE

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You can now gamble on sports in Arizona!

ARTS & CULTURE

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Three books by Tucson authors nearly vanished under the waves of the coronavirus

MUSIC

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ADMINISTRATION Steve T. Strickbine, Publisher Michael Hiatt, Vice President

EDITOR’S NOTE

Jaime Hood, General Manager, jaime@tucsonlocalmedia.com

What’s My Line?

Tyler Vondrak, Associate Publisher, tyler@tucsonlocalmedia.com Claudine Sowards, Accounting, claudine@tucsonlocalmedia.com

BACK IN MY MISSPENT YOUTH, my eyes lit up when I saw a sportsbook had opened at the Vina del Mar resort down in Rocky Point’s Old Port. It seemed like a little slice of heaven—a dark cavern filled with banks of TVs where my older brothers and the rest of our crew would hunker down to place bets in the morning and watch games in the afternoon, after we returned to the hotel after a day on the Las Conchas beach. I learned something important about myself in those years: I’m not very good at gambling on sports. Sure, I won once in a while, but my parleys usually got busted by one game and even my teasers fell through. It was still a hell of a good time, but my interest in placing bets faded as my wallet got thinner. I understand why so many people are excited now that sports betting is legal in Arizona. Gov. Doug Ducey scored his biggest win at the Legislature with the deal that not only expanded table games and sports betting for the tribes, but also helped boost the fortunes of Ducey’s pals—the owners of big sports franchises here in Arizona. (It never hurts to be a friend of Ducey when it comes to leveraging the law or the tax code to make more money.) I never expected to see legal sports gambling at stadiums in Arizona, but this world is full of

surprises even at my advanced age. Tom Danehy takes a look at what’s happening in the sports betting world in this week’s cover story. Elsewhere in the book this week: Staff reporter Alexandra Pere brings us the cautiously optimistic news that the Delta wave may have plateaued in Arizona; Dr. Larry DeLuca urges Congress to pass legislation lowering prescription drug costs; arts writer Margaret Regan has a roundup of three books by local authors you should check out; calendar editor Emily Dieckman explores the fun to be had this week around town; XOXO columnist Xavier Omar Otero rounds up the local and touring acts playing around town this week; Tucson Weedly columnist David Abbott looks at the challenges that veterans face if they try to use cannabis as medicine; and we’ve got all the usual stuff spread throughout the book. Dig in and enjoy!

Jim Nintzel Executive Editor Hear Nintz talk about what’s fun to do in this burg at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday mornings during the World Famous Frank Show on KLPX, 96.1 FM.

RANDOM SHOTS By Rand Carlson

Sheryl Kocher, Receptionist, sheryl@tucsonlocalmedia.com EDITORIAL Jim Nintzel, Executive Editor, jimn@tucsonlocalmedia.com Jeff Gardner, Managing Editor, jeff@tucsonlocalmedia.com Mike Truelsen, Web Editor, mike@tucsonlocalmedia.com Alexandra Pere, Staff Reporter, apere@timespublications.com Contributors: David Abbott, Rob Brezsny, Max Cannon, Rand Carlson, Tom Danehy, Emily Dieckman, Bob Grimm, Andy Mosier, Linda Ray, Margaret Regan, Will Shortz, Jen Sorensen, Clay Jones, Dan Savage PRODUCTION Courtney Oldham, Production Manager, tucsonproduction@timespublications.com Ryan Dyson, Graphic Designer, ryand@tucsonlocalmedia.com Emily Filener, Graphic Designer, emilyf@tucsonlocalmedia.com CIRCULATION Alex Carrasco, Circulation, alexc@tucsonlocalmedia.com ADVERTISING TLMSales@TucsonLocalMedia.com Kristin Chester, Account Executive, kristin@tucsonlocalmedia.com Candace Murray, Account Executive, candace@tucsonlocalmedia.com Lisa Hopper, Account Executive, lisa@tucsonlocalmedia.com NATIONAL ADVERTISING Zac Reynolds Director of National Advertising Zac@TimesPublications.com Tucson Weekly® is published every Thursday by Times Media Group at 7225 N. Mona Lisa Rd., Ste. 125, Tucson, Arizona. Address all editorial, business and production correspondence to: Tucson Weekly, 7225 N. Mona Lisa Rd., Ste. 125, Tucson, Arizona 85741. Phone: (520) 797-4384, FAX (520) 575-8891. Member of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN). The Tucson Weekly® and Best of Tucson® are registered trademarks of Times Media Group. Publisher has the right to refuse any advertisement at his or her discretion.

XOXO: Rockin’ in the Free World... Safely

TUCSON WEEDLY

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VA sending mixed messages to vets about cannabis use to treat PTSD

Cover design by Ryan Dyson

Copyright: The entire contents of Tucson Weekly are Copyright Times Media Group No portion may be reproduced in whole or part by any means without the express written permission of the Publisher, Tucson Weekly, 7225 N. Mona Lisa Rd., Ste. 125, Tucson, AZ 85741.


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SEPTEMBER 16, 2021

CURRENTS

WAVE GOODBYE? Latest AZ COVID wave may have peaked

before the Delta wave started to rise. Garcia’s cautiously optimistic assessment was shared by Dr. Joe Gerald, an epidemiologist with the UA Zucker College of Public Health who said case THE DELTA WAVE OF COVID CASES counts in the state during the week endmay be hitting a plateau in Southern ing Sept. 5 were down 19% from the peak Arizona but health officials warn that hit during the week ending Aug. 20. hospitals remain crowded. Gerald said hospital occupancy was “We appear to be plateauing or perplateauing and it appeared that deaths haps starting to go down,” said Dr. Fran- would remain below 200 per week, but cisco Garcia, director of the Pima County he warned that “this recent improvement Health Department. “And although we could be disrupted in the wake of the are not yet ready to have a party, I think Labor Day weekend.” that this is, in general, a good sign. This Gerald also noted a “sharp decline in continues to be something that we watch transmission among children over the very carefully.” past two weeks” and that while it was Garcia noted that Pima County is still “difficult to draw causal conclusions, seeing more cases than in June and July, recent mask mandates in certain districts, By Alexandra Pere apere@timespublications.com

GRAPH COURTESY OF THE ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES

Daily COVID deaths in Arizona. Our state is seeing around 15 to 20 COVID deaths daily, down from more than 150 deaths daily during the Winter wave.

aggressive case identification and limited classroom closures are likely helping as the steepest declines were among schoolage children 5-19 years (old).” As of Sept. 8, 2,061 COVID patients

were in general ward hospital beds, accounting for 24% of capacity. A total of 689 beds remained available in Arizona hospitals, according to Gerald. COVID patients occupied another 561 ICU beds,


SEPTEMBER 16, 2021

an increase of 2% from the previous week, and an additional 143 ICU beds remained available for COVID or other patients. “As a lagging indicator, hospital occupancy appears to be plateauing as expected following declining case rates,” Gerald wrote. Even with the good news, health officials are urging people to get the flu vaccine in response to unexpectedly high cases of seasonal diseases. Pima County Public Health Director Dr. Theresa Cullen reported 150 influenza cases in Pima County during a press conference on Wednesday, Sept. 8. Cullen qualified this report by saying there are more cases than this because most people who get the flu won’t be tested and will be treated by their healthcare provider before a case can be reported. “As we enter this flu season, we remain concerned that we will see an acceleration of the cases compared with last

year,” Cullen said. “It’s important for people to remember that you could get COVID and influenza at the same time.” Cullen recommended Pima County residents receive both the COVID vaccine and the flu vaccine in the next two months to prepare for winter viruses. Flu vaccines are readily available throughout Tucson at local pharmacies and some grocery stores like Fry’s. Cullen said two cases of the Mu COVID variant have been confirmed in Pima County. Mu has been deemed a “variant of interest” by the Centers for Disease Control. The Delta variant is the most prolific variant in the United States and is labeled a “variant of concern” by the CDC. NEW CONCERN FOR PARENTS: RSV PARENTS SHOULD KEEP THEIR eyes open for the respiratory syncytial virus this season. Chief Clinical Officer

Dr. Marjorie Bessel at Banner Health said RSV hospitalizations and ER visits have increased rapidly in the past four days during a press conference on Wednesday, Sept. 8. “As a reminder, this is an unseasonable spike,” Bessel said. “Typically, RSV is not a big concern during summer months.” RSV can have symptoms like a normal cold such as fever, runny nose, and wheezing. Most adults overcome RSV within a week, according to the CDC, but it can be dangerous for children. RSV can lead to more dangerous respiratory infections like bronchiolitis and pneumonia. “We know that respiratory-type viruses and illnesses often circulate when we are together, when we are indoors and have our masks off. So certainly, as we begin to emerge out of some of the behaviors that we put into place during COVID we might see a rise in viral illnesses,” Bessel said. “We are also

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watching closely the coinfection rates of COVID and RSV. Currently, only 5% of our pediatric COVID patients are also testing positive for RSV. This is quite different than what some hospitals are seeing in other parts of the country like Texas, where about half of their pediatric COVID patients are also testing positive for RSV... RSV hospitalizations and emergency room visits at Banner have increased in the past 3 weeks, with a significant increase over the past 4 days.” Parents who think their child has RSV are asked to visit a healthcare provider to get accurate testing. RSV and COVID have similar symptoms and children can be infected by both illnesses. Health officials advised last week that adults who have children or have close proximity with children should get the COVID vaccine to protect kids under 12. The COVID vaccines have yet to be FDA approved for children under 12. ■


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THE SKINNY By Jim Nintzel jnintzel@tucsonlocalmedia.com

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN FINALLY came down on the unvaccinated last week. Biden announced a plan requiring anyone working for a company with more than 100 employees who hasn’t been vaccinated to be tested weekly to ensure they are not COVID-positive. Biden announced similar requirements for federal contractors and anyone working in health care facilities that receive federal dollars. But the Biden administration left an out for anyone who is refusing to get vaccinated. They are requiring the unvaccinated to get tested once a week so that people who are vaccinated don’t have to worry about working next to COVID Mary. Is it an inconvenience to get tested? Yeah, probably. It’s also inconvenient to watch the pandemic drag out and see 200 people die a week in Arizona because a bunch of numbnuts who did their own research have concluded that this is a plot to put microchips inside their bodies. Or whatever weird argument they have this week about how vaccines kill people and blah blah blah. Republicans across Arizona, of course, lost their marbles after Biden made the annoucement. Gov. Doug Ducey decried the plan as “authoritarian” and “a war on our Constitution.” Ducey returned

to his newest theme: It’s somehow Biden’s fault that Republicans have turned COVID prevention efforts into a political battle. Ducey himself has happily volunteered for duty in that battle in recent months. While he’s at least pro-vaccine, he’s made a number of moves to prevent mitigation at schools where many kids are still too young to get the shot. Ducey isn’t just making threats against schools that require masks, he’s actually sending additional federal dollars designed to reduce the spread of COVID to school districts that refuse to enact mask mandates. In other words, he’s creating financial incentives to reduce mitigation efforts. (The Biden administration is stepping on Ducey’s strategy with a promise to use federal funds to backfill any funding that schools go without because they require masks.) And we shouldn’t forget that under Ducey’s strategy, Arizona twice became the worst place in the world for the spread of COVID and we’re now in a third wave. Not much to be proud of there, Doug. Ducey’s obsession with blocking mitigation efforts makes no sense, unless he just wants the pandemic to drag out for another two years so he can run for president by claiming Biden and the Democrats didn’t do enough to fight COVID. Ducey’s law prohibiting mask mandates is the subject of a lawsuit heard in Maricopa County Superior Court this week that just might un-

JIBBER JAB Arizona Republicans lose their marbles over new vaccine requirements from the Biden Administration

wind a lot of policy elements that are passed each year in the budget. The Arizona School Boards Association and other groups are suing the state because they say the ban on mask mandates isn’t related to the budget, so it’s in violation of the Arizona Constitution’s single-subject rule. Ducey is complaining that Biden was undermining confidence in the vaccine with his new proposal—which is a pretty funny spin on things, given that Ducey has no stomach for criticizing those who actually do undermine confidence in the vaccine. That’s because the biggest vaccine skeptics are in the GOP base that already views him as a quisling for signing off on Arizona’s election certification of Biden’s win in Arizona. Attorney General Mark Brnovich is also assailing Biden’s new rules, calling the plan a “devastating step toward the nationalization of our healthcare systems and private workforce.” Brnovich announced this week that he was filing suit against the Biden administration because the new plan “is one of the greatest infringements upon individual liberties, principles of federalism and separation of powers ever attempted by an American president.” Brno has an odd fixation against keeping Arizonans healthy. His desperate effort to throw out the Affordable Care Act in recent years was so absurd that even the current Supreme Court told him and his fellow state AGs that they were just

wrong on the law. Brno has his own problems within the Republican Party as he seeks the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly next year. We’ve seen him devolve over the last year from an independent thinker who vouched for Arizona’s election results to a pandering clown with a first-class ticket on the conspiracy train. Like Ducey, Brno knows the GOP base doesn’t trust him, so he’s fighting on behalf of the embarrassing Cyber Ninja’s audit of the Maricopa County election. He’s gone so far as to threaten to withhold $676 million from Maricopa County unless they turn over sensitive information to the knuckleheads in charge of the fraudit. No matter how much Brno throws in with the conspiracy crowd, he’s still going to get hammered by Tucson rich kid Blake Masters, who has the financial muscle to run ads targeting Brno that are filled with nonsense and false claims. But even if the media calls out those lies, the GOP base will continue to believe them. And Brno doesn’t have the financial resources to discredit Masters on his own. You almost have to feel sorry for Brno, but he’s among the Republican office-holders who have encouraged voters to believe all the bullshit that has been fed to them. At the end of the day, he’s just getting what he deserves from Masters. ■


SEPTEMBER 16, 2021

DANEHY

LESSONS* LEARNED FROM MORNING TALK SHOWS By Tom Danehy, tucsoneditor@tucsonlocalmedia.com ISAAC ASIMOV ONCE inadvertently summed up the essence of right-wing talk radio when he wrote about what he called “the cult of ignorance in the United States.” There is “a strain of anti-intellectualism” in our culture and politics that is “nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’” For the past few weeks, I have been out on the road in the morning, listening to crackpot radio, to which I am sadly addicted. The Host and his call-in listeners prove Asimov’s contention on a daily basis. The Host is really good at what he does, which is mostly keeping the white folks in a constant state of rage. We don’t want Afghan refugees in Arizona! They’re an even darker shade of brown than the Mexicans! Some lowlights from the past few weeks: • So, this woman calls in and identifies herself only as someone who “works in the healthcare industry.” She’s railing against the school district and the school because her son had been exposed to someone who was COVID-positive and it was keeping him from participating in football practice. She just kept on wailing, “Let the kids play!” The Host tried to guide her to a strong

CLAYTOONZ By Clay Jones

finish by asking if her son was actually sick and she said, “Well, he’s had COVID. He has no sense of smell or taste, but he has no symptoms.” Um…what?! Here’s hoping that her position in the “healthcare industry” doesn’t go beyond cleaning out bed pans. • For days on end, he ranted about how school districts were breaking the law by installing mask mandates. But after it was announced on the news segment of his own show that the courts had ruled that laws cannot be implemented retroactively, he continued to claim that districts were breaking the law, which was, you know, a big fat lie. • The Host: “School districts are flaunting the law.” People flout the law, they don’t flaunt it. We shouldn’t use big words if we don’t know what they mean. • There was a situation at Walden Grove High School where parents were verbally abusive and threatening a school administrator, and police had to be called. So, The Host launches into this tirade about school officials, rants on and on, then finishes with, “And that Superintendent of the Vail District (John Carruth) is the worst. He’s

just terrible.” Well, he may be, but Walden Grove is in the Sahuarita District, not Vail. • One morning, he spent an entire segment on how some clown in Israel claimed that Ivermectin could be used to treat and perhaps even cure COVID-19. This de-wormer is just the latest completely-fake “miracle” cure to sweep through the Moron-o-verse. The next day, The Host starts off with, “Israel did a study on Ivermectin…” No, Israel DID NOT do a study on Ivermectin. Some guy in Israel experimented on some people and then wrote a paper that has since been debunked because it’s fraudulent. Sometimes he just engages in halftruths. After the completely-expected backlash against the Ivermectin/COVID hoax, he started saying things like “Ivermectin is completely safe for people to take…” or “The CDC recommends that people coming to the U.S. from the Middle East should take Ivermectin…” Both of those statements would be true if he finished the sentences with “…to treat head lice or scabies.” • Quick question: Is it 3rd grade or 4th grade where people stop thinking that intentionally mispronouncing somebody’s name is funny? He wants people to take his rage seriously and then he does stupid stuff like that. And, big surprise, the names he intentionally mangles are those of women, not men. Also, you can hate on Sharon Bronson all you want, but many of us remember that freak morning storm. Her almost drowning

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that day will NEVER be funny. • Seeing as how I’m an American and an adult, I know that (even in these horribly fractured times where expectations of common decency have all but disappeared) there are two things that you never, EVER call somebody unless that person has been convicted of that offense in a court of law. You don’t call somebody a child molester and you don’t call somebody a traitor. He thinks it’s cute to call elected officials who are sincerely trying to protect the health of kids “child abusers.” That’s a bitch move. Now he has taken to calling the President of the United States a traitor. He even whines, “Why isn’t anybody else joining me in calling (Biden) a traitor?” Well, it’s probably because his listeners, no matter how bent out of shape they are on other matters, know that that’s crossing a line. If they were decent professionals, the people who run his station would suspend him and bar him from ever using that word again. But, in this case, they’re as gutless as he is vile. • Finally, we’ve all suffered through 18 months of COVID, made exponentially worse by the previous administration’s unwillingness to accept COVID as fact and then to deal with COVID in a responsible manner. So, when the crappy August job report (made crappy by COVID) comes out, what does the anti-vaxxer, anti-mask cheerleader for Team Death recommend as a solution? More COVID! He claims to be a critical thinker, but he acts like a critic of thinking. ■


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thing to do—it’s overwhelmingly popular with voters across the political spectrum. A January 2021 Morning Consult poll found that 96% of voters said lowering drug prices is an important challenge facing Americans. Despite countless promises to take action, for four long years, former President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress blocked proposed Democratic reform addressing this very issue at every turn. Instead, they rewarded Big Pharma companies—and their CEOs—with record profits. In his first address to the Joint Session of Congress, President Biden struck a markedly different tone: “Let’s give Medicare the power to save hundreds of billions of dollars by negotiating lower drug prescription prices,” he said. “Let’s PHOTO COURTESY 123RF.COM do it now.” Democrats in the House of Representatives are following his lead. In late April, House Democrats reintroduced H.R.3, the Elijah E. Cummings It’s time for Congress to finally address prescription drug costs Lower Drug Costs Now Act. This bill would allow Medicare to negotiate lower consumers often have no alternative drug prices on behalf of all Americans (not By Dr. Larry DeLuca just those on Medicare), which is the tucsonweekly@tucsonlocalmedia.com choice, and even when multiple options are available, it may be the insurer rather single most effective way to reduce drug than the patient and physician who make prices. It also establishes strong protecIF YOU’VE HAD TROUBLE PAYING the ultimate decision about which medi- tions against price gouging and redirects for prescription medicine for yourself more funding to the National Institutes cation is best for the patient. or family members—regardless if you of Health for life-saving research and It is not uncommon in my emergency are insured or not—you aren’t alone. development. Finally, H.R.3 would also medicine practice to see patients who Americans pay three times more for penalize drug companies that increase medications than people in other coun- are struggling to pay for medications. prices faster than the rate of inflation, a tries. As the cost of lifesaving medica- In some cases, they personally try and shockingly common practice. tions like insulin skyrocket, Arizonans “prioritize” which medications they can Insights from a Gallup survey show the face impossible tradeoffs, like deciding afford to take and which they cannot. In American public supports the provisions whether to pay rent or to purchase the the worst case, this might mean a patient in H.R.3 meant to lower the cost of pretaking no medications at all for extended medications that keep them alive. scription drugs. Separate polling conveys periods of time. The COVID-19 pandemic has further The net effect is patients who are sicker that 93% of respondents—Democrats, laid bare the inequities in our health Republicans, and independents alike— system, and now more than ever, we must than they have to be, with poorly consupport giving Medicare the power to be working together to lower health care trolled diseases. For a diabetic patient, negotiate with drug companies for lower this might mean the difference between costs for everyone. Particularly, we must prices. focus on communities disproportionately manageable foot care and an amputation It’s horrifying to know there are Aridue to difficulties with blood sugar conimpacted by the high cost of drugs: Sezonans who ration their medications or niors, women, communities of color and trol. For a patient with heart or vascular delay care because the costs are too high. even children are especially vulnerable to disease, not “prioritizing” their anticoag- Legislation like H.R.3 would help change ulant (blood-thinning) medications can these skyrocketing costs. result in stent occlusion (blockage) and a that reality for millions of people and It doesn’t always have to be this way. reform is long overdue. With President The United States has historically empha- recurring heart attack or loss of limb. And Biden’s support, we can get this done. sized patent exclusivity as an incentive to whether patients make better or worse guesses about which medications to pri- Now is the time for Congress to take bold drug makers. This tilts the table heavily action and pass this bill. ■ in the favor of drug companies, which es- oritize, the reality is their doctors would sentially maintain monopolies on popular not prescribe medications that are not Dr. Larry DeLuca is an emergency room drugs for extended periods of time. While necessary, so any trade-off is a gamble on medical doctor and Tucson resident. future health. it is important to foster competition to Working to lower the cost of prescrippromote innovation, the current system tion drugs is more than just the right is having the opposite effect. Individual

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YOU CAN NOW GAMBLE ON SPORTS IN ARIZONA By Tom Danehy, tucsoneditor@tucsonlocalmedia.com LET’S SAY THAT YOU’RE INVOLVED in a series of coin tosses and you have a certain amount of money with which to wager. On each toss of the coin, you wager half of the money in your possession. Just by chance, over a series of tosses, you alternate wins and losses. After an even number of tosses—and an equal number of wins and losses—will you have more money than you started with, less money than you started with, or the exact same amount that you started with? It is most disconcerting that, when asked that question, the initial response of more than 80% of the respondents was that you would have the exact same amount as you started with. Another few people thought that you would have more than you started with, while only one person in seven correctly responded that the player would lose money. That’s why Las Vegas exists, why Indian tribes across America are raking in the

dough, and now, why, in a moment of boredom, you can whip out your cellphone, call up an app and bet your mortgage payment that the Arizona Wildcats will lose to Oregon in a couple weeks by fewer than 35 points. There are two main truths here: It’s fun to bet, and a deep understanding of math is just such a buzzkill. As for that problem, let’s say that you have a dollar. You bet 50 cents on the first toss (I said that you bet half of the money in your possession). You win, so now you’re at $1.50. You then bet 75 cents on the second toss, lose, and you’re down to 75 cents. Or you lose the first toss, drop to 50 cents, bet 25 cents and win and you’re at 75 cents. It doesn’t matter if it is winloss or loss-win. With each pair of tosses, you lose 25% of your total. This exercise might or might not come in handy now that Arizona has joined a growing number of states offering betting on sports events. That’s right. There’s

gambling going on right here in (Colorado) River City! Although not in Colorado City, because the Jeffs family won’t allow it. The law that went into effect last Thursday, Sept. 9, is hoped to generate substantial revenue for the state via a tax bite that is 8% on retail revenue (bets placed at the casinos) and 10% of online betting revenue (via computer or cellphone). Estimates of that revenue are in the modest range of $10 million in the first year, but some people view those estimates as far too modest. Whatever the case, sports betting will provide the state with a new source of income. It’s been 40 years since Arizona became the first state west of the Mississippi to institute a state lottery. The first “Scratch It Rich” lotto tickets were sold on July 1, 1981, with a top prize of (hold onto your hats!) $10,000. The Lottery still provides the state with a few million dollars a week for programs such as higher education, health and human services, economic and business development, and environmental conservation. That’s all well and good, but Arizona is now entering a whole different world of gambling. An organization named BetArizona.com commissioned a YouGov survey to try to determine how hot Arizonans are to bet on sports. Apparently, a lot of Arizonans are

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hotter than July for online betting.

AMONG THE FINDINGS: • Nearly 20% of Arizonans already bet on sports, either on offshore websites or by traveling to other states to do so. That percentage might double when sports betting becomes as easy as opening an app on one’s phone. • Of those who say that they will bet on sports when it becomes legal, more than half said that they would do so at least once a week. With sports leagues back up and running and highly unlikely to shut down again no matter how bad the Delta outbreak may become, bettors will be able to gamble basically every day of the year. • One in four Arizonans have traveled to another state just to put down a legal bet. This suggests that sports wagering in the state was pretty much inevitable and that, if anything, Arizona was somewhat slow to join the movement. They already have sports betting in place like Iowa, Indiana and West Virginia. • Many people surveyed expressed a special interest in betting on college sports, which are more likely to have outliers and surprise results than the professional leagues. • Nearly half of those surveyed said that CONTINUED ON PAGE 10


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PLACE YER BETS

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they would bet on election results, if such a betting option were available. (I bet Arizona Senate President Karen Fann would have gambled a bundle on Trump winning Arizona in 2020. And then, after the loss, she would have doubled down and bet even more on the replay.) • This is bizarre. Nearly half of the people who identified themselves as sports bettors said that they would also wager on such things as the Oscars and the Emmys, as well as on reality shows! Yeah, a hundred dollars on Bachelorette No. 23. (I’m sorry, that reminds me of Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack asking the judge’s wife if she’d “like to earn $13 the hard way.”) As it turns out, BetArizona.com is a free-to-use website designed to help (encourage?) Arizonans with their wagering. Created by Gambling.com Group Limited, a NASDAQ corporation, BetArizona. com has a number of features, from gambling-centric articles written by Tucson Weekly alum Christopher Boan to guides on how to sign up to the various sportsbook apps to explanations of parlays and other exotic bets. One of the services it is offering is a guide to all of the various companies vying for the bettors’ loyalty (and money). The marketplace is awash with crazy free-money deals designed to get new customers signed up and playing. It’s all bright and shiny and inviting in a Brady Bunch/Crack Dealer kinda’ way.

I JUST HAVE TO MENTION THIS: Jason Barr, the longtime sports guy on the ABC affiliate, KGUN 9, has always been very solid and almost stolid. (He’s basically the anti-Paul Cicala.) Barr gives a straightforward, unvarnished account of the sports without getting too high or too low. Anyway, in late August, a couple weeks before the start of online betting, Barr did a segment on the news (brought to you by, ahem, Caesar’s Sportsbook) in which he went through some of the basic wagers that can be placed on sporting events. And he did so in language suited for a fourth-grade audience. “So, the over/under wager requires you to determine if you think that the combined scores of the two teams will be over a certain number or under that number.” I really felt bad for him. He looked constipated.

SOMEWHAT SURPRISINGLY, Tucson’s local casinos were not out in front of the curve on this, especially in terms of their physical plants. Longtime sportsbooks in Las Vegas offer open seating for bettors who can sit and watch games as they wager, eat, drink and communicate with one another. The social setting is very popular with bettors, offering a multi-layered experience that tends to create repeat customers. (One person likened the difference between being at an in-person sports book instead of wagering on one’s phone app to being at a party as opposed to drinking alone.) Casino Del Sol is putting the finishing touches on its 4,000-square-foot sportsbook, but casino officials blamed COVID-related production delays and shortages on its not being open in time for the first day of sports betting (which, not coincidentally at all, was also the first day of the NFL season). Desert Diamond Casino officials say that they are planning to open a sportsbook, but give few details as to what it will be like or when they hope to open it. It is important that the Casino Del Sol, run by the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, open its sportsbook as soon as possible. As part of the opening up of sports wagering, the State of Arizona issued 18 licenses to run off-site sports books (via phone apps). Ten went to Indian tribes, including the somewhat obscure Quechan Tribe near Yuma and the San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe, an offshoot of a Utah-based tribe that is headquartered in Tuba Coty and completely surrounded by the Navajo and Hopi Nations. The Tohono O’Odham Nation got one of the licenses, but the Pascua Yaqui did not. So, the sportsbook at Casino Del Sol takes on a major importance. (Through one of the quirks in the law, people can download an app that will allow them to place bets remotely with the Casino Del Sol site as long as they are located somewhere on the Pascua Yaqui Reservation. While the Pascua Yaqui and five other Arizona Tribes got aced out in the handing out of licenses, eight licenses went to pro sports teams/venues. Licenses were granted to the Suns, Cardinals and Diamondbacks (although it’s hard to count the D-Backs as professional any more). Other licenses were granted to a golf course in Scottsdale and a (car) race track in Phoenix. Anyone who has attended a Phoenix Suns game in recent years knows that it is a non-stop assault on the senses, with loud


SEPTEMBER 16, 2021

music and flashing lights filling every second when the game is not going on. Now people will also be able to gamble as the game is progressing and the point-spread is updated. If you ever want to read yourself into a coma, look up Arizona House Bill 2772 online. It’s 19 pages of gobbledygook with a handful of incredibly specific items thrown in, plus a few hair-splitting distinctions like: “Deems a promoter for a national association for stock car auto racing national touring race as eligible for an event wagering operator license, rather than the promoter of a sanctioned national touring motorsports racing event.” Apparently, those are two different things. I’m not a betting man, but I’d be tempted to wager that this law was NOT written by one or more members of the Arizona Legislature. It’s much too professional and much too specific in parts. It reads like a reaction to things that have happened elsewhere and need to be dealt with proactively here. Then there’s this: “Requires ADG (Arizona Department of Gaming) event wagering standards and procedures to include requirements, rather than contracting, for geolocation services.” That “geolocation services” phrase pertains to the fact that, in order for the gambling apps to work on the phones, the person using the phone must be doing so inside the state of Arizona. Phones can be tracked to make certain that the law is being followed. You know the hypocrites scream bloody murder when spending on social programs causes an increase of budget deficits but are oddly mute when equally large budget deficits are caused by tax cuts for the wealthy? So, too, will “privacy hawks” who fear Big Brother just shrug at the thought of a private company pinging a private individual’s phone as long as said individual is able to lay that $50 on the Cardinals covering the spread.

JIM G. IS A WALKING SPORTS encyclopedia. He remembers names and games, highlights and lowlights. He was all set to be a contestant on Sports Jeopardy when the show got canceled. (Oddly enough, while the show hasn’t had a new episode since December 2016, its producers say that it’s “on hiatus,” so maybe there’s still hope for him.) He’s a successful businessman with a wife and a couple kids. Sports are still very important to him, but there was a time a few years back when his passion turned to

obsession and the obsession led to near ruin. We had both read an article in Sports Illustrated about a guy who lived seven-figure large on the fruits of his nerve-wracking labor. The guy was a millionaire and it all came from betting on NBA games. Not football or baseball, not even college basketball. Just the NBA. It all seemed so glamorous until you found that he had banks of computers crunching data non-stop. He was deeply into basketball analytics long before the math poison had spread from baseball to other sports. He also had an army of paid tipsters throughout the league, not doing anything illegal (like providing inside information on injuries), but rather sniffing out pertinent gossip. You know, like which two guys on one team are feuding over a woman or an unpaid debt and are therefore less likely to pass the ball to one another. The kicker to this whole thing was that, even with him working 16-hour days— every day—for the entirety of the eightmonth NBA season, the guy only won about 53% of his bets. He had amassed a fortune by skating barefoot on a razor-thin edge. Now, to some, 53% might sound substantial. But, look at it this way. For every 17 bets he would make, he would, on average, win nine of them, but lose eight! I’m sorry, you’d have to have nerves of titanium and a complete, unflinching belief in what you’re doing to make a career out of 53%. So, not surprisingly, Jim read the article and said, “Yeah, huh?!” He decided that he, too, could earn a living that way. He spent much of one summer studying the situation, learning how point spreads are determined, what makes the line move, and how to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to determining what is important and what is a mere distraction. He ran the numbers and looked into his chances with the various sports. It’s pretty much common knowledge that nobody wins betting on the National Football League over time. That league is so tightly wound that everything converges back to the mean eventually. Same with Major League Baseball. He settled on college basketball. He figured that there was enough volatility in the sport that an astute observer should be able to identify and then make a home on an edge. Yes, he had a System, but then, casinos and their sportsbooks LOVE people with systems. He would have to travel to Mexico or

Las Vegas to put down his bets and his work began to suffer. His tales of woe were unrelenting. It was as though Poe and Kafka had gotten together to write a story about the guy with the worst luck in the world. The 10-point favorite he had bet on had a 15-point lead late in the game, only to give up two three-pointers in the final minute. A team in a pick-’em game (one with no favorite and therefore no point spread) was down one with three seconds left, but their All-American guard was at the line, shooting two. Bricks ’em both. He lost a lot—several friends, all of his savings—and almost lost his job and his fiancée. He didn’t even make it to the end of that first college basketball season. When that March Madness came to an end, his fever broke somewhat and he straightened out before completely crashing to Earth. He got married, started a family, and moved up the ladder at work. But, ask him today if he believes that his system just needs a bit of fine tuning which might be facilitated by the technology at his fingertips, he’d probably answer in the affirmative. I’d probably bet on it. ■

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16 days, and it did not resurface when CCP reopened its doors in August this year. One good thing in this sorry story is that books last longer than exhibitions. And Senf’s tale is interesting. Adams fans love his dramatic deep-black and white photos of mountains and cliffs “but his photographs Three books by Tucson authors nearly vanished beneath the waves of the coronavirus did not always look that way,” Senf writes. “Adams’s work of the 1920s and 1930s offers a more intimate, familiar, subtle and human-scaled landscape. Those early prints are warmer and softer, and they emphaBy Margaret Regan He’s written five ethnographic books, three about size shape and abstract form much more than do tucsoneditor@tucsonlocalmedia.com the U.S. Mexico border, including a well-received those in his mature period.” study of the Tunnel Kids in Nogales. Tales, his sixth Adams himself thought he did his best work from book, is his first work of fiction, and, he would say, his the 1940s and beyond; he changed his style, Senf LAWRENCE J. TAYLOR HAD A GREAT LAUNCH first “ethnographic fiction.” plan last year for his book Tales from the Desert That doesn’t mean Tales is a difficult academic read. discovered, after the National Parks Department commissioned him to photograph the parks. It was then Borderland. Enhanced by photos by Maeve Hickey, it’s a gripThe novel is set across the desert southwest, from ping volume whose linked stories tell the truth about then he began to switch to “bold contrast, operatic treatment and sense of grandeur,” she writes. California and Baja California to Arizona and Sonora, the heartbreaks of the border. The cast of characters Interestingly, various important photographers and and Taylor had arranged to introduce the book right wander through desert landscapes and dusty towns: a critics prefer early Adams. The late John Szarkowski, on the border line, in the Mexican Consulate in Nocouple of Border Patrol agents, one hardcore, another a respected—and acerbic—curator at MoMa in New gales, Arizona. And he had plenty of readings lined up not so much; a young undocumented woman barely York thought the early works were best. He called the in Tucson and southern Arizona. surviving in Yuma; Canadian snowbirds who take on later work “melodramatic and, at its worst, bombasBut, he says, “The darkness descended and all was an unexpected enterprise. tic”—fightin’ words for Adams aficionados canceled.” Near Ajo, there is a troubled young Tohono Coincidentally, Dr. Julie Sasse, chief curator at The date was April 2020 and that darkness was O’odham man and his aunt, a traditional Hia-Ced the Tucson Museum of Art, published a rigorously COVID-19. It nearly buried the book. woman. Closer to Tucson, vigilante rangers scour Coresearched art book at the same time Senf brought out Taylor did get a little help from his friends. He lives chise County for undocumented prey; an indigenous her deep-dive Adams tome. After four years of Sasse’s both in Tucson and in Ireland, where he was long a young mother and her baby try to get to the promised writing and researching, Southwest Rising: Contemprofessor of anthropology at Maynooth University land; and a band of teenagers hang out inside the porary Art and the Legacy of Elaine Horwitch was near Dublin. Now emeritus at Maynooth, he is affiliat- treacherous tunnels of Nogales. released. The date: Feb. 29, 2020. ed at the UA’s Center of Latin American Study. So the It’s not hard to see why Taylor calls it an ethnoSasse had worked for 14 years with Horwitch, a colteam there, along with the Southwest Center, orgagraphic novel. In his beautiful writing about the tradiorful dealer who was a powerful force in the southwest nized a virtual launch. Book clubs here and there intional religious walk to Magdalena, just for example, art world. Operating from 1964 until her death in 1991, vited him to speak. And this Friday he’ll lead a virtual we can see the anthropologist at work as well as the she opened multiple galleries and propelled hundreds talk from the UA, explaining how this book of fiction storyteller. of artists into successful careers. Sasse’s book details converges with anthropology. las.arizona.edu/events Taylor’s not the only local author whose book was her influence on Southwest Pop, and a companion almost smothered by the pandemic. Rebecca A. Senf, the chief curator at the UA’s Center show she put together for the museum displayed the work of Horwitch artists. for Creative Photography, wrote Making a PhotograA gala opening at the end of February did double pher: The Early Work of Ansel Adams. The book takes duty: introducing the big exhibition to patrons and a fresh look at Adams, zeroing in on his early years, and it was published by the prestigious Yale Universi- providing a book signing. On the bleak day of March 17, when TMA shut down, the glittering evening ty Press, in association with the CCP. already seemed like a dream. The book came out in February 2020, just a month But Sasse has had some good luck. TMA opened at before Taylor’s, and the CCP went all out to celebrate. the end of July 2020. The Horwitch show was still up Senf put together a companion exhibition, “Ansel Adams: Signature Style,” On Feb. 29, leap year day, her on the walls; it ran until Sept. 20. The exhibition has book had a lively launch. The center hosted an Ansel already traveled to the Booth Western Art Museum in Adams birthday party, complete with cake. Senf gave Georgia, and this month Sasse is off to the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe for a slightly different a talk about her show and the book, and then had a Horwitch show. Sasse will give a talk and do a book joyful book signing. Fourteen days after that merry party, the CCP—and signing. And in 2024, Briscoe Western Art Museum in San Antonio, will host the Horwich show. art spaces across the nation—shut down to evade the By that time, we can hope, COVID will have been deadly pandemic. Senf arranged zoom talks to help conquered. And good riddance. ■ the book along, but various invitations to give book talks were postponed or canceled. Her show lasted just

ARTS & CULTURE

BOUND BY COVID


SEPTEMBER 16, 2021

CINEMA

PHOTO COURTESY OF WARNER BROS. / NEW LINES CINEMA

SCARED SILLY

Malignant is enjoyable junk-food horror kid through a curtain, and, well, the kid isn’t at all natural. Now, if you are really intent upon solving the film’s mystery early, pay attention to all details in this scene and the footage underneath the DIRECTOR JAMES WAN HAS credits. They mean something. certainly had his moments when it The action then moves to somecomes to horror. The original Saw where closer to present day where a was almost good, while the first two pregnant Madison Mitchell (AnnaConjuring films and Insidious were belle Wallis) is dealing with an abusive legit scary. husband (Jake Abel). A confrontation With his latest, Malignant, he is followed by a grisly death, and (thankfully) takes a break from AquaKekoa Shaw (George Young) is sent in man and returns to his happy horror place with mixed results. It’s a balls-out to investigate. What follows are a lot of crazy gorefest with an obvious love for misdirection and—perhaps purposefully to heighten the camp factor—bad ’80s camp horror working off a pretty acting leading up to a final act where decent mystery at its core. The style Wan basically loses his mind. There’s a and story owe a lot to the likes of Evil major WTF factor with this one. Dead, Basket Case and Re-Animator. The movie has a monster, and that Translation: If you didn’t like those movies, you most certainly will not like monster has a crazy origin. Leading up to the final act, the film’s many plot this one. Things start in the early ’90s, when threads make it feel like it is all over the place, but it all makes sense in a mad scientist doctor (Jacqueline an insane sort of way in the end. The McKenzie) is dealing with some sort movie monster reminds a bit of Asian of mischievous kid that has caused a lot of mayhem in her ward. We see the horror ghosts mixed with your average

Evil Dead demon. It’s a memorable creation. This is definitely Wan’s goriest film to date, with many limbs being snapped in two and stomachs getting slashed. Malignant doesn’t go for the creepy scares of The Conjuring and aims more for the splash factor. The final scenes feature some solid, choreographed carnage that are more Matrix than Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The acting is bad in the way Cary Elwes chewed the scenery way too much in the final minutes of Saw. It is melodramatic on a grand scale, and it’s a bit grating at first. If you just sort of let go and take it in as sort of a tribute to campy horror, it can work. If you judge on the same level as, say, your typical Jane Austen film, then you will have a pretty bad time. The film in Wan’s repertoire that has the most in common with this one isn’t a horror film; it’s Furious 7. Furious 7 was a car chase movie that was completely out of its mind, with para-

TUCSONWEEKLY.COM 13

chuting cars and cars jumping from one skyscraper to another. Wan takes the horror genre and goes crazy in much the same way he entertainingly lost it making a car chase movie. And, let’s face it, this isn’t high art so don’t go in expecting to have your mind expanded. We’re all a little dumber after watching movies like this one. As for that mystery, all of the clues are there for you to take in, but you are a pretty solid sleuth if you guess the eventual outcome without cheating. When the big reveal comes, it’s an “I should’ve known!” head smacker. It’s also a gross blast. Malignant is the sort of guilty pleasure you’ll watch once and then move on. It’s not a classic, and it’ not all that good when you really get down to it. It’s an enjoyable junk food movie that should delight genre enthusiasts while leaving those who prefer a more gothic horror out in the cold. ■

By Bob Grimm tucsoneditor@tucsonlocalmedia.com

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Editor’s Note: While we are delighted to see Tucsonans once again gathering for fun events, we are also aware that the new Delta variant is circulating and case counts in Arizona are on the rise. Please consider getting vaccinated against COVID if you haven’t yet and following CDC guidance, which includes wearing masks at crowded indoor events. Keep yourself and others safe—the pandemic isn’t over yet.

The Cat Show: A Stand-Up Comedy Showcase. Get ready to get laughin’, because this weekend’s comedy show is going to tickle you like a cat’s tail. Roxy Merari and Cindell Hanson are hosting this delightful lineup featuring Jennifer St. Germaine, Jen Lamfers, Kathie Hedrick, Stephanie Lyonga and Leslie Barton. September has felt a little long and weird and lame, right? I think a night at the Surly Wench laughing your butt off is just what the doctor ordered. 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19. Surly Wench Pub, 424 N. Fourth Ave. $7. Joel-Peter Witkin: Journeys of the Soul. Congratulations to the lovely Etherton Gallery for 40 years! They’re kicking off their anniversary celebration this weekend with an exhibition featuring internationally renowned photographer Joel-Peter Witkin, whose work examines tensions between heaven and hell, sexuality and death, and real bodies and conventional standards of beauty. The exhibition will be on display through Nov. 27, but this weekend is special. On Saturday, Sept. 18, the gallery is holding a reception from 7 to 10 p.m. with Witkin himself. This is at their new location on 340 S. Convent. On Sunday, Sept. 19, Witkin & Witkin is showing at the Loft Cinema (3233 E. Speedway Blvd) at 2 p.m. Chef Chic’s 20th Anniversary. Wendy Gauthier started Chef Chic as a personal chef service back in 2001. It was an instant hit, and it’s only grown bigger and better over the years. Gauthier’s collected all sorts of recognition over the years, including a top 40 Under 40 young professional in 2007 and being the first female chef to win the title of Tucson’s Iron Chef in 2019. 2019 was also the year she opened her first restaurant. All of that sounds worth celebrating with a day of complimentary tastings, face painting

and cornhole, right? 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19. Chef Chic, 1104 S. Wilmot Road. Bloomsday. This sweet, extremely Irish story at Live Theatre Workshop tells the story of Robbie and Caithleen, who fell in love many years ago during a James Joyce literary tour in Dublin (told you it was extremely Irish). When they reunite after 35 years apart, they travel back in time to relive the unlikely, unstoppable events that brought them together. This show is by Steven Dietz, one of America’s most prolific playwrights. Showing Thursdays through Sundays from Sept. 2 to Oct. 9. 7:30 p.m. evening shows and 3 p.m. Sunday matinees. Live Theatre Workshop, 3322 E. Fort Lowell Road. $20 GA, $18 military/senior/student, $15 Thursdays and previews.

by Emily Dieckman Whiskey Del Bac x HUB Ice Cream Pairing Experience. In a sense, I would consider every time I eat ice cream to be a memorable experience, because I love ice cream. But this is next level. This is a CURATED, THREE COURSE ice cream and whiskey pairing. You’ve got “Sweet City Love” infused with Del Bac Classic, “Santa Cruz Yacht Breeze” infused with Del Bac Old Pueblo and “Let’s Go Camping, Sweetheart,” infused with Del Bac Dorado. You can also take a tour of the Del Bac’s distilling space and purchase a pint, if you want. I mean, talk about a Saturday! 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18. Whiskey Del Bac, 2106 N. Forbes Blvd., suite. $60. Powder: A film by José María Yazpik. This powerful film tells the story of El Chato, a man who left his hometown of San Ignacio in hopes of becoming a Hollywood star. Years later, he gets caught up in trouble when the Tijuana mafia enlists him to retrieve a supply of cocaine mistakenly dumped in San Ignacio. And there’s a love story too! And even a secret child! I am already hooked on this plot, so I will see you for this screening at the Fox Theatre. Don’t miss the directorial debut by actor José María Yazpik. 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19. The Fox Theatre, 17 W. Congress St. $6. (Screening is followed by an afterparty at Borderlands Brewery, 119 E. Toole.)

Rhythm & Roots Concert Series: Ruthie Foster. There’s nothing like a concert on Hotel Congress’s outdoor plaza. It’s starting to cool down, right? I’m thinking if we just start acting like it’s cooled down and going to plaza concerts, the weather will catch up shortly. Anyway, Rolling Stone has described Ruthie Foster as “pure magic to watch and hear,” so what more do you even need to know? One of Austin’s most lauded musicians, she draws from influences like Mavis Staples and Aretha Franklin in her genre-defying music. 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19. Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St. $30 to $40. Arizona Pomegranate Festival. This festival is held in a different part of the state every year, and this year it’s Mission Garden’s turn, here in Tucson! So, wow, maybe 2021 really is going to be an OK year, overall. Pomegranate growers and experts from around the state will be sharing COVID-safe samples and tons of knowledge about the different varieties of pomegranates (including white pomegranates!). They’ll also have speakers including Imad Rasheed, an herbalist from the University of Baghdad, and Gary Nabhan, an ethnobotanist and author. See the dozens of pomegranate trees at Mission Garden, then take some fruit, juice, or a whole dang tree (seriously, there are trees for sale) home for yourself. 8 a.m. to noon. Saturday, Sept. 18. Mission Garden, 946 W. Mission Lane. Diaspora Showcase AFRICA – TUCSON. Join Diaspora Showcase AFRICA for an evening of high fashion, dance performance, and music, featuring South Sudan Acholi dancers, Kora instrumentalists, and other international African artists. Award winning designers from Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia and the U.S. will be spotlighted, and food from Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria will be served as well. This is a wonderful night for all five of your senses to experience something new. 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18. Savoy Opera House, 6541 E. Tanque Verde Road, Ste. 22. Tickets start at $69.


SEPTEMBER 16, 2021

By Xavier Omar Otero tucsoneditor@tucsonlocalmedia.com

“ROCKIN’ IN THE FREE WORLD,” SAFELY...

MARK YOUR CALENDARS… THURSDAY, SEPT. 16 The staggeringly fantastic indie pop of Perfume Genius permeates into every part. On Club Congress Plaza. Staging queer stories against a wistful Americana backdrop, L.A.’s Hand Habits lend support... Plagued by postmodern anxiety, All Time Low pump out their energetic, punk-glazed confection. At Rialto Theater. Tempe alt-rockers The Maine open... “The lovechild of John Prine and Mitch Hedberg.” John Craigie carries on the legacy of classic singer-songwriters. At 191 Toole. Backed by the poetic and contemplative folk of Daniel Rodriguez... If you haven’t got tickets for these shows, what are you waiting for?

FRIDAY, SEPT. 17 Raised in St. Louis, Shawn Barker was first moved by the almighty spirit of music while singing in the church choir. After cutting his teeth performing in coffee houses and such, in 2004, Barker auditioned for the Broadway production of Million Dollar Quartet—a dramatization of a momentous jam session at Sun Studios where Elvis, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash shared a microphone. Director Floyd Mutrux said of Barker, “We have 100 people who can play Elvis, but we only have one that can play Johnny Cash.” Bearing a striking resemblance and a spot-on baritone voice, The Man In Black: A Tribute to Johnny Cash celebrates a beloved musical icon. At Rialto Theater... As for the future, these “Supermagical” indie rockers “plan to tour until their van dies again, like it did in Michigan that one time.” Wildermiss make a stop at Club Congress. Adopted Tucsonans Birds + Arrows add formidably to the lineup... EDM artist Jace Mek brings his imaginative sound design, savage drum patterns and intensive approach to house music to Gentle Ben’s...

SATURDAY, SEPT. 18 It’s not easy being a Tejano superstar. As a youth, the “King of the Accordion” began performing in cantinas, under his parents’ supervision, to contribute to the household. Perseverance and his prodigious talent soon paid off. As a teenager in the early ’60s, Ramon Ayala hewed a distinct sound with singer/bajo sextist Cornelio Reyna, catapulting folksy conjunto music into

the mainstream. Not unlike the subject matter germane to hip-hop, Tejano wordsmiths spin rough-and-tumble tales of booze fueled romps, two-timing lovers, bullet-riddled revenge and odes to narcotraficantes. Folktales became real life in 2009, when Ayala (and band members) were caught up in a raid by Mexican troops—that left three gunmen dead—at a lavish party hosted by the Beltran-Leyva drug cartel where the band was hired to perform. Ayala and crew were detained, questioned and then released; officials found no grounds for charges. But, what a story, eh? Master acordeonista Ramón Ayala y sus Bravos del Norte play the hits. At AVA Amphitheater... Local Love, a showcase for homegrown talent, features Nocturnal Theory, Then When, Black Cat Bones and The Dark End Of The Street. At Rialto Theater... Revel in an evening of Spanish, classical, and Flamenco music with two accomplished guitarists, Ismael Barajas & Domingo DeGrazia, performing in concert. Una Noche de Guitarra at Sea of Glass - Center For The Arts...

SUNDAY, SEPT. 19 In 2010, double bassist Patricia Day filed a lawsuit against Barbie™, the subject of numerous controversies since Mattel introduced the doll in 1959. Rockin’ an ornately painted upright bass, ’50s pin-up hair and makeup, sleeve tattoos and pencil skirt, Day alleges that Mattel created Hard Rock Cafe Rockabilly Barbie in her likeness, without her authorization. The case settled out of court. Hell Yeah! Danish rockabilly punks HorrorPops Kiss Kiss Kill Kill. At 191 Toole... In the musical hotbed of Austin, if you can bring it, word gets around fast. The unbridled talent and unique sound Ruthie Foster possesses—her soul-stirring voice and mastery of blues guitar—has led to her duetting with Bonnie Raitt, standing onstage with the Allman Brothers at NY’s Beacon Theater and trading licks with Susan Tedeschi. Three-time Grammy nominee and winner of the Blues Foundation’s Koko Taylor Award Ruthie Foster marches to the beat of her drum. On Club Congress Plaza...

MONDAY, SEPT. 20 “I like indicas,” Jeremiah Green specified in a High Times interview, offhandedly. The drummer started smoking to alleviate depression. “It’s like cheap therapy.” Before cannabis he was on antidepressants. “I was acting hella weird,” Green explains. “I ended up in the hospital.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 16

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XOXO

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15

Green chose to leave the band. Frontman Isaac Brock recalls, “When he got back, he was getting super-high.” Which affected his meter. “It was never right.” Brock continues, “Then he got super-good at weed smoking, master-expert level. [Now] he can walk on tightropes and do trigonometry and shit.” Modest Mouse exhume The Golden Casket. At Rialto Theater. Indie rockers, The Districts open...

TUESDAY, SEPT. 21 Originally formed in Phoenix, these heavy metalists’ eleventh studio album, Ritual, mashes up political and religious themes. “Bow down to the greatest corrupter. Evil in place of power.” Preparing to unleash a metallic ceremony of the highest order, founding member Max Cavalera enthuses, “Let’s get ready to pit and destroy this fucking place.” Soulfly hit it hard. At Encore… Striking out on his own, after the demise of Toy Soldiers,

PHOTO BY ELI BROWNELL

Modest Mouse brings their blend of indie rock and pop to the Rialto on Monday, Sept. 20.

Ron Gallo left Philadelphia to make a name for himself in Nashville. “When I was in Philly, I would just sit in my apartment and feel stuck,’’ Gallo told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “When I moved to Nashville, it all just kind of clicked.” He resurfaces with a new album, Peacemeal (2021), foregoing previous genre-bending

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exploits for a decidedly lo-fi pop/hip-hop approach. At the outset of his tour, Gallo tweeted, “Excited to see if bathroom [sic] venues still have no soap or paper towels.” Hailed by NPR as an “insurgent poet and rock ’n’ roll disruptor.” Ron Gallo proclaims that “All The Punks Are Domesticated.” At 191 Toole. Described by the New York Times as “Stereolab gone Nashville,” indie folkster Becca Mancari shares the bill... Originally from the Mesabi Iron Range of northern Minnesota, and a member of the Anishinabe Nation, this seven-time Native American Music Award winner has been dubbed “the Neil Young of the Native rock world.” Keith Secola and The Wild Javelinas recite from the “Book of Life.” On Club Congress Plaza...

heaven.” Lucy Dacus was 13, when she attended Bible camp. On “VBS,” from Home Video (2021), she sings, “In the evening everybody went to worship and weep. Hands above our heads, reaching for God.” Aside from the sermons preaching abstinence alongside the “slightly erotic God-loving songs” at worship times, her foremost remembrance is of her first boyfriend. In a Rolling Stone interview, Dacus expands, “He was into Slayer, and a stoner, and I told him that if we dated, he’d have to stop smoking weed.” In the outro to “VBS,” Dacus concludes, “You said that I showed you the light. But all it did, in the end, was make the dark feel darker than before.” Critically acclaimed singer-songwriter, Lucy Dacus delivers emotional knockout punches. At 191 Toole. With the “Healthier Folk” of Palehound Riders... Reverberating and surreal, Aestheticadelica (2020), TV Girl’s latest release, bestrides the shadowy, transitional state between wakefulness and sleep—where it’s not uncommon to perceive the sensations of floating, spinning or falling. Hypnagogic electronic popsters, TV Girl ease into dream state. At Club Congress. With Dallas indie pop artist Jordana...

THURSDAY, SEPT. 23 “Honky-tonk ain’t what it used to be. Somewhere along the way the lines got blurred.” Guitars ablaze, Ryan Chrys & The Rough Cuts dole out their Southern fried, honkyfied, backseat rhythm & blues for mass consumption. On Club Congress Plaza. With a set of psycho post-country damage by Hank Topless... Until next week, XOXO...

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HIGH ANXIETY

VA sending mixed messages for vets about cannabis use to treat PTSD

By David Abbott tucsoneditor@tucsonlocalmedia.com DESPITE INCREASING LEGAL access to medical and recreational cannabis in states across the U.S., veterans face unfair treatment and stigmatization because the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs refuses to recognize marijuana as a viable treatment option. While the VA has embraced the federally illegal status of the drug, agency policy does not allow discrimination against veterans who acquire medical cards in states where it is allowed, although those who do get their MMJ cards do so with their own resources and at their own risk outside the purview of the Veterans Health Administration. But that isn’t always the case, said attorney Derek Debus of Stone Rose Law in Scottsdale. A Marine veteran who now specializes in military law and VA benefit

issues, Debus said having rules in place doesn’t guarantee fair treatment for veterans who legally use cannabis. “I’ve had clients in the past that, if they admit to medical marijuana usage, won’t get any medication at all through the VA,” Debus said. “I’ve had clients that have gone to the VA for acute injuries like kidney stones, or even a broken arm, who were denied pain medication because they tested positive for cannabis and/or have a state medical marijuana card.” According to Debus, the level of stigmatization often correlates with where a veteran might seek treatment, as some state VAs are run by more progressive leaders than others. “That prohibition (against denial of benefits) alone doesn’t tell the whole story when you have individual providers who have their own animus towards cannabis use,” he said. “So, even in states that are very permissive with medical marijuana, like Arizona, the fact that the VA won’t assist veterans in obtaining the necessary

certification does harm veterans.” Debus cites the cost of obtaining a medical marijuana card and the stigmatization of cannabis as impediments to veterans gaining access as a reason for the pushback by vets on the issue. VA POLICY AT ODDS WITH VA POLICY A recent study published on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website appears to counter the spirit of Directive 1315, VA policy that does not allow discrimination against medical marijuana users, and the issue remains murky for vets with certifications in states where it is legal. The April 2021 report found “growing

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interest and concern” over increased usage among veterans, as more states legalize cannabis use. The study—and the VA—states that “research to date does not support cannabis as an effective PTSD treatment, and some studies suggest cannabis can be harmful, particularly when used for long periods of time.” The issue is growing in the veterans community as more and more states liberalize cannabis laws, either for adult-use recreational purposes or for medical use. There are currently 36 states where medical marijuana is legal and 18 (plus the District of Columbia) that have legalized it for public consumption. CONTINUED ON PAGE 18

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Cannabis is still listed as a Schedule I narcotic by the U.S. government though, meaning it has no “currently accepted medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse.” Other drugs on that list include heroin, LSD, peyote, methaqualone and methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy, or MDMA). LACK OF EVIDENCE DUE TO DEARTH OF CLINICAL STUDIES According to the VA, evidence of can-

nabis as an effective treatment of PTSD is primarily based on “anecdotal evidence from individuals with PTSD who report that cannabis helps with their symptoms or improves their overall life and functioning.” Citing a lack of randomized controlled trials (RCT) on the drug’s efficacy to relieve the symptoms of PTSD, the report references the only RCT that has been completed on the plant released earlier this year that found “no significant difference in PTSD symptom reduction between placebo and any of the active cannabis preparations.” The study that the VA cited was conducted in part by Dr. Sue Sisley of the Scottsdale Research Institute and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies,

a nonprofit research and educational organization focusing on psychedelics and marijuana as viable treatment options. Sisley has spent more than a decade maneuvering the bifurcated system that allows legal use in many states but is heavily restricted by its federal status. The results of the SRI trials, however, were likely affected by the poor-quality cannabis available for study. Until recently, cannabis researchers were required to only use plants grown at the University of Mississippi. Often referred to as “lawnmower clippings,” cannabis mandated by the U.S. government through the National Institute on Drug Abuse has been described as sub-standard, usually containing stems and seeds and sometimes even mold. It is often stored in freezers for years at a time. And it has no more than 9% THC, the active compound in cannabis—far less than the 20% to 30% in the cannabis sold at medical and recreational dispensaries. Concentrates can contain even higher amounts of THC. As a result, SRI/MAPS concluded there was no significant difference found within three groups that used varying levels of THC/CBD versus a group given a placebo. At the time, Sisley stated that it was sometimes difficult to get subjects to use the marijuana and much of it was returned unused.

But the tide is turning: In May, the Drug Enforcement Agency announced new regulations allowing the use of commercial-grade cannabis and began the process of certification for a number of growers in the U.S. SRI recently entered into an agreement with MAPS to do a second FDA-approved clinical trial and has been awarded nearly $13 million in grant funding from the state of Michigan’s 2021 Veteran Marijuana Research Grant Program. That program is designed to evaluate “the efficacy of marijuana in treating the medical conditions of U.S. armed services veterans and preventing veteran suicide.” “Suicide among veterans is an urgent public health crisis, but it’s solvable if we invest in researching new treatments for pain, depression, and PTSD,” Sisley stated in a press release announcing the partnership. “This grant enables more rigorous study, overseen by the FDA, which may lead to cannabis flower becoming prescribable medicine someday. Veterans are demanding objective cannabis drug development research, and the state of Michigan is fulfilling our collective obligation to our beloved veteran community.” The study will be the second clinical trial ever that compares the safety and efficacy of cannabis against placebo, and the first to use high-THC cannabis.


SEPTEMBER 16, 2021

Setting up the study has highlighted the differences in VA administration across the country, as SRI and MAPS have enlisted VAs in Tampa, Florida and Ann Arbor, Michigan to identify 320 veterans to participate in the study. The Phoenix VA has refused, despite medical cannabis being legal in the state since 2010. “The Phoenix VA has indicated that it will not refer vets with PTSD to an FDA and DEA-approved study of cannabis for PTSD,” Rick Doblin, founder and executive director of MAPS, wrote in a recent email to the Arizona Mirror. “The Phoenix VA ill-serves the vets it is responsible for treating by declining to assist federally legal scientific research. This study will help generate essential data about cannabis for PTSD in vets, so we hope the Phoenix VA reconsiders.” Questions directed to Samuel Aguayo, MD, associate chief of staff for research at the Phoenix VA Health Care System, were deferred to VA spokesperson Bobbi D. Gruner, who in an email stated that, “On a national level, VA does conduct research on medical marijuana, providing all regulatory approvals are in place for a Schedule I drug and involved investigators have no ethical and financial conflicts of interest. “In addition, an Institutional Review Board is required to review research protocols and related materials to ensure pro-

tection of the rights and welfare of human subjects of research.” FEDERAL ATTEMPTS TO HELP VETERANS IN THE WORKS As the momentum for legalization continues to gain strength on a state level, the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate have proposed legislation to change marijuana’s legal status federally through bills such as the SAFE Banking Act and the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act that have both passed the House, but died in the Senate. A recent bill proposed by Sen. Mark Schatz (D-Hawaii), the Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act, was introduced in April and would allow the VA to legally prescribe and provide marijuana to veterans in states where it is legal. The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.). There is also a companion bill in the House of Representatives, cosponsored by Representatives Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Dave Joyce (R-Ohio). ■ This story was originally published by the nonprofit news agency Arizona Mirror. Find more coverage of state issues at azmirror.com.

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FREE WILL ASTROLOGY

By Rob Brezsny. Go to RealAstrology.com to check out Rob Brezsny’s EXPANDED WEEKLY HOROSCOPE 1-877-873-4888 or 1-900-950-7700 $1.99 per minute. 18 and over. Touchtone phone required.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “Books are mirrors: You only see in them what you already have inside you,” wrote author Carlos Zafòn Ruiz. Let’s take that a step further: “Other people are mirrors: You only see in them what you already have inside you.” And even further. “The whole world is a mirror: You only see in it what you already have inside you.” Have fun playing with these meditations, Aries. The coming weeks will be a fertile time to explore how thoroughly your experiences reflect the activity transpiring in your own brain.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): “I lie to myself all the time, but I never believe me,” writes Cancerian author S. E. Hinton. Ha! As a Cancerian myself, I confess to the same crime. But I am looking forward to a shift in the coming weeks. I suspect we Crabs will be inspired to cut way back on the fibs we try to get away with. You know what that means, right? We’ll be more inclined to trust ourselves, since we’ll be more likely to tell ourselves the truth. Our decisions will be shrewd, and our self-care will be rigorous. Hallelujah!

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Some spiritual teachers say things like “I am not my body” or “This body is not me.” I don’t understand that. It’s an insult and disparagement. It’s dismissive of our bodies’ sublime beauty and our bodies’ inspired role in educating our souls. I agree that we are not ONLY our bodies. I agree that a part of us is eternal, not confined to flesh and blood. But hell yes, I am my body. You are your body. It’s a glorious aspect of who we are. It’s a miraculous creation that has taken millions of years to evolve into the masterpiece it is. So yes, you are your body, and yes, this body is you. I hope you love your body. Are in awe of it. Are pleased to be inside it. If anything is lacking in this department, now is an excellent time to make corrections.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): My object in this horoscope is to stimulate your imagination in ways nobody else in your life will. You need an influence like me, from outside your inner circle, to administer friendly, playful shocks to jolt you out of habitual ways of thinking. Here we go. 1. If you were to stow seven parts of your soul in seven objects, what objects would they be? 2. If you could change one thing about your past, what would it be? 3. If you were a character in a fairy tale or a movie, who would you be? 4. If you could travel to a place that would teach you what you most need to know, where would it be? 5. If you had a magical animal as your special ally, what animal would it be? 6. If you could sing a song with uncanny healing power for someone you care about, what song would it be? 7. If you could improve your relationship with some part of your body, what would it be?

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): “I know someone who kisses the way a flower opens,” wrote poet Mary Oliver. I’d love for you Geminis to have that experience. The astrological omens suggest it’s more likely than usual to occur sometime soon. Other experiences with a better-than-average chance of unfolding in the coming days: allies who speak of intimate subjects in ways that resemble a flower opening; partners who co-create with you in ways that resemble a flower opening; spiritual helpers who offer guidance and help in ways that resemble a flower opening.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): “There’s nothing wrong with reading a book you love over and over,” writes Virgo author Gail Carson Levine. Adding to that encouragement, I offer you the following authorizations: There’s nothing wrong with seeking a pleasure you love over and over; or doing a necessary task you love over and over; or performing an energizing ritual you love over and over; or expressing key truths you love over and over. And these permissions will be especially crucial for you

SAVAGE LOVE HANDS ON

By Dan Savage, mail@savagelove.net

I’m a 35-year-old straight woman living in the Midwest. I was seeing a massage therapist for three years and we became very close friends. I referred my friends to him and helped him grow his business. He eventually disclosed to me that he had developed feelings for me. I went into instant shock and said that I had no idea and I thought we were only growing in our friendship. He told me that he had to tell me and wanted to leave it up to me if I felt comfortable continuing to see him. I was really numb from my shock and thought I was OK at first, only later realizing how upset and violated I felt. I never went back to him.

I found out that he closed his practice during COVID. My question is, should I report him to his ethics board? —Really Upset By Bewildering Erotic Disclosure No. This guy was initially your massage therapist, RUBBED, but you eventually became very close friends. I’m going to assume this was one those consensual friendships—meaning, your former massage therapist didn’t force his friendship on you—and that you welcomed his friendship. So, while you may have gotten to know him in a unique profes-

to exult in during the coming weeks, dear Virgo: because it’s a time when mindful repetition will be one of your strengths and a key to stimulating the deepening experiences you need. LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): “If I’m a bitch and a fake. Is there nobody who will love a bitch and a fake?” Libra author Graham Greene wrote that in his novel The End of the Affair. Here’s my extrapolation: I believe that every one of us, including me, is a bitch and a fake now and then. We all go through periods when we are not at our best, when we fail to live up to our own high standards. Is it possible that you have recently flirted with such a phase? If so, the cosmos has authorized me to absolve you. You are free you to reclaim your full exquisite beauty. And if you haven’t been a bitch and a fake, congratulations. It means you have weathered a gnarly storm. SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Poet Yves Olade writes, “I’ve started thinking of people as wounds that don’t heal.” To me, that idea is idiotically cynical. Moreover, I think it’s wrong for most of us. The truth is, humans have a natural instinct for healing. They are predisposed to attract experiences that might aid their recovery from difficulties—that might teach them the healing lessons they need. I believe this will be especially true for you in the coming weeks. (PS: Dr. Andrew Weil writes, “Any level of biological organization that we examine, from DNA up to the most complex body systems, shows the capacity for self-diagnosis, for removal of damaged structure, and for regeneration of new structure.”) SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Research suggests that most people think everyone else has more fun than they do. But I’m guessing that only a small percentage of Sagittarians feel that way. You tend to be extra alert for fun, and you have intuitive skill at tracking down fun. In addition, you often take the initiative to precipitate fun. You understand you have a responsibility to generate fun, and you have a talent for generating it. All these capacities will serve you well in the coming weeks. I recommend you raise your mastery of the art and science

sional setting, you wound up in a kind of two-track relationship with him: he was your massage therapist and also your friend. It’s not uncommon for friends to catch feelings for each other and it would seem to be in that capacity—in his capacity as your friend—that your massage therapist caught feelings for you. Given that he developed feelings for you, I don’t see how he could avoid making this disclosure. Indeed, keeping these feelings to himself while continuing to see you as a client—or dropping you as a client without explanation (an explanation that you, as a friend, would have felt entitled to)—would have constituted an ethical violation. “What he did was borderline, but not unethical,” said a physical medicine practitioner that I shared your question with. “That he brought up the fact that

of having fun to a new level. Be the Champion of Fun and Games for your entire circle. CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): I’m not engaging in empty flattery when I say that you are unlike anyone else who has ever lived in the history of the world. Your absolute uniqueness is a fundamental fact. Maybe you don’t reflect on this truth very often. Perhaps you feel that it’s not helpful to think about or that it’s irrelevant to your daily decision-making. But I propose that in the next three weeks, you give it a central place in your understanding of your destiny. Allow it to influence everything you do. Make it a major factor in your decision-making. AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Welcome back from the underworld, Aquarius. I hope your time wandering through the maze-like twilight brought you as many fascinating mysteries as confusing questions. I trust you took advantage of the smoky riddles and arresting dilemmas to fortify your soul’s wisdom. I suspect that although your travels may have at times seemed hard to fathom, they have provided you with a superb education that will serve you well in the immediate future. PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In Oscar Wilde’s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, the lead character says to a friend, “You filled me with a wild desire to know everything about life.” Is there a person who might inspire you like that, Pisces? Maybe a person from your past with whom you’ve fallen out of touch? Or is there a person hovering on the outskirts of your life who could stimulate you to have such feelings? Now is a favorable time to seek these influences. I advise you to be bold in your quest to associate with allies who will stimulate your lust for life and teach you crucial lessons. (PS: For extra credit, make abundant use of another theme from Wilde’s book: “The search for beauty is the real secret of life.”) ■ Homework. Tell me why you HAD to do the thing that some people question or misunderstand. https://Newsletter@FreeWillAstrology

she could/should consider no longer seeing him keeps it just in bounds. The most correct thing would’ve been to maintain boundaries and not become friends in the first place.” A massage therapist I shared your email with told me that your former massage therapist handled this the way he was trained to handle similar situations in the professional ethics courses he was required to take to get his license: disclose and discontinue the professional relationship. Another massage therapist I spoke to did think your former massage therapist was guilty of an ethical lapse. He referred me to the professional code of conduct published by his professional association—the College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia—which bars entering into a “close personal rela-


SEPTEMBER 16, 2021

tionship” with a client. He felt the friendship was the ethical violation; if your massage therapist had done the right thing and kept your relationship strictly professional, he wouldn’t have caught feelings for you the way he did. And if he hadn’t caught feelings for you the way he did, RUBBED, he wouldn’t have put himself in the position of having to disclose those feelings to you. Or put you in the position of having to listen to him make that discomforting disclosure. I understand not wanting to to see this massage therapist again, RUBBED, and I understand feeling squicky about this. If I were in your shoes, I would probably wonder how much time, if any, passed between my friend/massage therapist becoming consciously aware of his romantic feelings for me and the moment he disclosed those feelings—and I might find myself thinking back on our previous sessions and feeling a little goobed out. But while it’s uncomfortable to contemplate a massage therapist taking his own pleasure in your sessions, RUBBED, that’s always a risk. (Kind like friends catching feelings for friends is always a risk.) We rely on massage therapists to be professionals and to quash feelings of sexual attraction during a session, regardless of how long we’ve been seeing them. And regardless of what kind of relationship we might have with them outside the treatment room. Some of the massage therapists I spoke with felt you should report him, but the majority did not—and I’m going to stick with my advice not to report him. But you get to make your own call. I’m a healthy and active 72-year-old man who found love the second time around. In fact, I have discovered not only a depth of love I never knew existed, with my new mate I have the most active and satisfying sex life I’ve ever known. My question is this: During nearly a year of solitary processing after my marriage ended, I chanced upon writings about

Tantric lovemaking practices and was fascinated by them. I began to practice withholding ejaculation, which is a Tantric practice that has tremendous benefits. One of those benefits is existing in a state of perpetual desire for my partner and this lovely hum of continual sexual energy between us. But after two years of practicing withholding semen, I now find it almost impossible to come at the time of my choosing. It is almost as if my inner Tantric Shaman has taken hold of the controls. The wonderful woman in my life consistently has multiple orgasms, but I come about once every seventh or eighth time, and only when we have a long, involved, and deeply connected sex session. While the release, when it comes, is always spectacular, I would like to have more control over my orgasms. Do you have any suggestions?   —Wanting A Direction Men who practice orgasm denial— whether they’re withholding their own orgasms or being denied orgasms by their dominant partners—often report existing in a pleasantly buzzy state of perpetual horniness. Doms who lock their lover’s cocks up in chastity devices (instead of relying on them to refrain climaxing or jacking off) often report that their perpetually horny partners are more attentive. And while those are attractive perks, I’ve never been tempted to go the orgasm denial route myself. First and foremost, I enjoy coming too much to give it up. And coming in a close second, multiple studies have shown a link between frequent ejaculation and a lower incidence of prostate cancer. Maybe at 72 you’re not worried about prostate cancer—seeing you haven’t gotten it by now—but guys who don’t want to risk prostate cancer should err on the side of busting those nuts (which is not to be confused with busting those balls). As for your problem, WAD, if withholding orgasms is making it difficult for

you to have ’em when you want ’em, well, then you might wanna stop withholding ’em. But considering how much pleasure you get out of withholding them—that buzz, those spectacular orgasms when you do come—maybe unpredictable orgasms are a price you’re willing to pay. It’s also possible that age caught up with you and your orgasms became a little less reliable at the same time you took up Tantric sex practices. (For the record: Tantra is a nearly two-millennia old tradition/body of wisdom that originated in India and is typically practiced by Hindus and Buddhists. While sex is a part of tantra, sex isn’t the only thing tantra is about.) I am new to your wonderful column. I have two questions: 1. Do you personally respond to each email you receive? Or do you only respond to inquiries in your column? (I sent an email this morning and haven’t heard back yet.) 2. Is it possible to get email updates from you on a daily basis, since I would like to read the column every day? —Response Sought Very Persistently 1. I can’t respond to every email I receive; there are too many of them and just one of me. And while I’m the kind of

Comics

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progressive who feels bad about anything and everything, I don’t feel too bad about this. Because after hearing from so many people who’ve said that just the act of writing to me was helpful—that putting their problem in an email helped them—and hearing from just as many people who’ve said that my advice is terrible, RSVP, I long ago concluded that the people I don’t respond to are the ones I’m helping most. 2. I have a brand-new website—courtesy of the tech-savvy, at-risk youth— where you can sign up for my new weekly email newsletter, which includes links to new columns and old ones, my weekly podcast, upcoming book events, and more. And while new columns only come out once a week, RSVP, there are enough old columns in the archives for you to read a brand-new-to-you column every day for the rest of your life. mail@savagelove.net Follow Dan on Twitter @FakeDanSavage. Check out my new website at Savage.Love!


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Crossword Answers H O H O E P I C H U G H S H O H A O N E R E E F C A L L A T S E A A C T K O A L E C U A R O N D S A T Y

D A F O T R B U R S I A L L V I A M D O O R

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T A N G E D N I O T T L I T E A O L M A R S R H A K E K S A S

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ACROSS

Alternative to a Ding Dong 5 It’s found near a trap 9 Sped 14 To be remembered for all time 15 Shade akin to turquoise 16 Sister publication of Jet magazine 17 Actor Laurie of “House” 18 *Sensitive part of the elbow 20 *Oft-wished-upon sighting 22 When doubled, “Good one” 23 Heart chart, for short 24 Part of A.B.S.: Abbr. 25 Common typo for an exclamation point 27 Sprout 30 Serving with dal makhani 32 Hazard in maritime travel 34 With 51-Across, something to “read” 36 Passed out 40 What each asterisked clue’s answer does, to correct a misnomer? 43 In the main? 44 Word with sport or spirit 45 One might stand on a table 46 French greeting 48 It was once sold medically under the commercial name Delysid 50 Great time, informally 51 See 34-Across 54 Dynamism 55 Not well 1

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Sound of a snicker “Mr. Holland’s ___,” 1995 film for which Richard Dreyfuss received a Best Actor nomination 3 Grate pains? 4 Golf great Lorena 5 Preposterous 6 Lead-in to -vocal 7 Sally ___ (English teacake) 8 Beside the point 9 Obama’s Secret Service code name 10 Help wanteds? 11 Computer processor parts 12 Figure in international relations 13 Some textile specialists 19 Org. with gym memberships 21 Globe 25 One in a pod 26 “Good stuff!” 28 Sch. with a campus in Narragansett 29 " " " 31 Author Gaiman 33 Kind of market 35 José ___ (frozen foods brand) 1

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Michelle who was FIFA’s Female Player of the Century continuously 52 Warmer in the winter functioning university 53 Needle in the Americas (since 1551) 56 Lawful 58 “___ Bird” (2017 film) 39 Spice qtys. 41 First name in Surrealism 59 Titaness of myth 60 Store near Rockefeller 42 Tour de France units: Center, familiarly Abbr. 61 Sporty vehicles 47 Stretch of the red 62 Some summer carpet? deliveries 65 Channel with the slogan 49 Leave inconspicuously, “Boom.” with “out” 37

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