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TUCSON

WEEKLY SEPTEMBER 23 - 29, 2021 • TUCSONWEEKLY.COM • FREE

Pride 2021 Sex columnist Dan Savage explains what it means to be Good, Giving and Game in an excerpt from his new book Savage Love from A to Z

Plus THEM Youth Ensemble IBT’s Drag Shows TIHAN’s Support Systems CHOW: A Wine for Zoo Animals XOXO: Rickie Lee Jones, John Legend, Metalachi and More in Town This Week


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SEPTEMBER 23, 2021

SEPTEMBER 23, 2021 | VOL. 36, NO. 37

TUCSONWEEKLY.COM

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

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Groups demand Mark Kelly ‘not hide’ behind parliamentarian opinion on citizenship

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PRIDE

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A chorus for trans youth, an interview with sex columnist Dan Savage, speaking to local drag queens and more

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Clint Eastwood’s latest film isn’t a grand return to Westerns, but it isn’t too bad for a 90-year-old

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

EDITOR’S NOTE

Jaime Hood, General Manager, jaime@tucsonlocalmedia.com

A Matter of Pride

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

TUCSON’S ANNUAL PRIDE PARADE and festival have been postponed to next year, but COVID can’t stop our Pride issue from coming out. We’ve got an interview with America’s best sex columnist, Dan Savage, and an excerpt from his new book, Savage Love: From A to Z, a delightful read that sums up much of the advice he’s given over the last three decades with essays organized by the alphabet. That means you get Dan’s thoughts on everything from DTMFA to the Price of Admission. In our excerpt, he explains why it’s so important to be GGG with your partner. If you’re familiar with Dan’s column, you’ll know what he’s talking about. If you’re not, give it a read and learn all about it. In either case, buy his book! Our Pride section also includes a look at the work of the THEM Youth Ensemble, a choral group open to all persuasions, and a guest commentary from Scott Blades, executive director of the Tucson Interfaith HIV/ AIDS Network. Elsewhere in TW this week: Managing editor Jeff Gardner looks at the work being done at Mission Garden; contributor David Abbott catches up with some Peace Corps veterans to find out how they are continuing

their good work today; Christina Fuoco-Karasinski talks with JB Smoove about his gig as ambassador for Caesar’s Sportsbook; columnist Tom Danehy reflects on 9/11; Chow writer Matt Russell sips a wine that’s benefitting the Reid Park Zoo; arts writer Margaret Regan is dazzled by a show of work by young London artists at Pima College’s Bernal Gallery; movie critic Bob Grimm says legendary filmmaker Clint Eastwood seems out of gas in Cry Macho; Xavier Omar Otero rounds up the astonishing number of live acts coming through town this week, including Ricki Lee Jones, John Legend, Metalachi and others; and there’s a whole bunch more, from our weekly calendar to a profile of local musician Rachel Eckroth’s new album to a look at how immigration reform has stalled once again in Congress. Jim Nintzel Executive Editor Hear Nintz talk about all the fun stuff there is to do in Tucson during the World-Famous Frank Show at 9:30 a.m. Wednesdays on KLPX, 96.1 FM.

RANDOM SHOTS By Rand Carlson

Rachel Eckroth returns to her jazz roots on The Garden

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.

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Certification center owners represent LGBTQ+ in cannabis community

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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safely,” said Kendall Kroesen, outreach coordinator for Mission Garden. “We were getting people who were cooped up and looking to get out of the house, or maybe couldn’t volunteer at other locations. It really helped us get through the almost rainless summer of 2020, which was a tough time for the garden.” Almost concurrent with the first COVID wave, Tucson sweltered under record-breaking heat; July and then August 2020 were the hottest months ever recorded in Tucson. Pair this with the second-driest monsoon on record, and 2020 was a formidable year for local agriculture. However, Kroesen credits the dedicated community and agriculture practices like PHOTO BY HEATHER HOCH drip irrigation with getting Mission Garden through last summer. In fact, Mission Garden saw more than 200 different volunteers throughout 2020, which is more than their average number of volunteers Mission Garden still growing, despite weather and world extremes during a normal year. “It’s also a combination of being on the historic floodplain and good gardening practices,” Kroesen said. “Our staff and Today, Mission Garden serves as a By Jeff Gardner volunteers have done a great job getting “living agricultural museum,” comprising plants in the ground; a lot of tree roots jeff@tucsonlocalmedia.com multiple garden plots that exhibit early reach down and break up the soil. And agriculture and heirloom crops. The even areas we don’t plan to plant yet, volunteer-supported Garden also reguBEING ONE OF THE LONGEST we cover with a thick wood chip mulch, larly hosts community events, including continually inhabited and farmed areas which creates an insulating layer above gardening classes, fruit and vegetable in North America, it should come as no the soil, keeping it cooler, moister, and surprise Mission Garden on the flanks of festivals, roundtable discussions, and creates more soil microbes and insects. cooking demonstrations. Sentinel Peak was well-poised to survive That alone helps the soil.” Of course, most of these came to an both pandemic and drought. In addition, Friends of Tucson’s Birthabrupt halt in spring 2020 with the onset place received pandemic benefits as a Mission Garden is one of the main of the pandemic. However, Mission projects of the nonprofit Friends of Tucnon-profit, including a Capacity-Building son’s Birthplace, which works to preserve Garden staff says they handled the social Grant in fall 2020 from the Community distancing better than many, thanks to the Food Bank of Southern Arizona. This and restore the “cultural heritages and nature of gardens. While they did suspend capacity-building grant was aimed at historic landscapes” of Tucson’s origin: large community events, Mission Garden creating and streamlining sustainable systhe Tohono O’odham settlement at the base of Sentinel Peak, where valley natives never closed their regular visitor hours. tems for garden operations to allow more “We’re fortunate we have a large outhave practiced agriculture for more than time and energy for staff and volunteers door setting where people can volunteer 3,000 years. to devote to garden work and outreach activities. Kroesen says this type of financial T I support was especially important due to M HU UM T the reduction in donations throughout the S pandemic. While Mission Garden is one of the main projects of Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace, it’s only part of a larger proposed mission and garden complex. Parts of the historic Mercado District, mission and garden area fell into decay during the 1800s and 1900s, and were only set up for archeological work and reconstruction OCTOBER 2, 2021. following Rio Nuevo legislation approved by Tucson voters in 1999. Plans for a larg5251 E. Speedway Blvd. | 7745 N. Oracle Rd. | SummitHut.com er “Tucson Origins Heritage Park” were

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conceptualized in 2003 and work began. However, economic downturns in 2008 resulted in only parts of the originally planned Mission Garden being completed. “Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace has always had the dual mission of recreating this historic garden, and also advocating for creating the entire Tucson Origins Heritage Park. The garden was designed as just one component of that park,” Kroesen said. “We came through 2020 in reasonable shape, but going into this year we still were not hosting large public events until about June for a garlic festival and mesquite milling events.” For one of their largest recent events, Mission Garden hosted the Arizona Pomegranate Festival on Saturday, Sept. 18, which featured food tastings, art exhibits, speakers, and produce sales from the garden’s dozens of pomegranate trees. In a reversal of last summer, just as visitor traffic began to pick up, so did the rains. Monsoon 2021 ranks as Tucson’s third-rainiest monsoon on record, dumping more than a foot of rain across the Tucson area since mid-June. While the deluge was mostly a welcome site for drought-stricken Arizona, it also resulted in a fair share of property damage, flash floods and swift water rescues. But again, Mission Garden endured and came through stronger. “We have garden and orchard areas that are sunken down a bit below our pathways, which results in a good amount of rainwater harvesting. At times over the past 10 years, there have been times when rainfall caused those areas to fill up with standing water because it can’t soak in fast enough. But this year, because of the gardening work and soil cultivation we’ve done here, the soil has become much spongier and the rainwater really infiltrates better,” Kroesen said. “The soils here, as they are on the entire floodplain of the Santa Cruz River, are better than in most parts of town because they are sedimentary soils laid down by river water and canals. They’re finer silts and clays. We have an advantage as compared to the foothills. But that’s also the work that Mission Garden staff and volunteers have done to improve the soil.” ■ For more information, visit missiongarden.org


SEPTEMBER 23, 2021

Cohen. In 2007, Smoove not only earned the “SNL” honors, but he began his career-defining role as Leon Black on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” “I joined in season six after my fictional sister, Loretta Black (played by Vivica A. Fox), was displaced during Hurricane Katrina and moved in with Larry David,” Smoove says. His character also moved into David’s palatial California mansion despite already living in Los Angeles and never experiencing Edna himself. “I moved in and never left.” Smoove’s masculine, ultra-confident freeloading character quickly became a fan favorite on the highly improvised series, which follows “Seinfeld” co-creator David as he plays a version of himself living semi-retired and always annoyed in Los Angeles. “Most people don’t know, but JB actually stands for Jerry Brooks, so I am technically the second Jerry to hilariously COURTESY PHOTO JB Smoove: Sports and Caeser terrorize Larry on TV,” Smoove says. After being derailed by COVID-19, Smoove and David will return to the small screen later this month for the much-anticipated 11th season of the series. “While I can’t give anything away, this JB Smoove welcomes sports betting, Caesars Sportsbook to Arizona season is a sure bet for viewers,” Smoove says. “And you can trust me, because I am now the grand emperor of the betting world.” While that may sound like hyperbole, By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski television show. Smoove is only half joking. tucsoneditor@tucsonlocalmedia.com In 1999, Smoove also landed a guest On September 9, Smoove rolled into spot on HBO’s “The Chris Rock Show,” Phoenix on a chariot—a luxury Uber where he would work for the first time wrapped like a chariot, to be more specifwith Rock. In fact, Smoove eventually THE EMMY AWARDS, HBO AND ic—to serve as Caesars Entertainment’s worked on Rock’s “Everybody Hates sports betting in Arizona have one thing Caesar to usher in sports betting across Chris” TV series in the mid-2000s and in common. JB Smoove has a hand in Arizona. He joined executives from Caethen starred with Rock in the 2014 feature sars Entertainment as well as Derrick Hall them. film, “Top Five.” Earlier this year, Smoove received and Luis Gonzalez of the Arizona DiaDuring the nearly 15 years in between his first career Emmy nomination for mondbacks for the public celebration. “The Chris Rock Show” and “Top Five,” Best Actor in a Short Form Series for his “The Caesars Sportsbook at Chase Smoove worked as a cast member on “Ce- Field, home of the Arizona Diamondperformance as Chief Billy Bills in the dric the Entertainer Presents” and earned backs, is going to be a state-of-art enter“Mapleworth Murders.” The nomination was a long time coming for the acclaimed a writing position on “Saturday Night tainment destination unlike any other in Live,” which, in 2007, earned Smoove and Arizona,” Smoove says. showman. his fellow writing partners a Writers Guild “I got my start in the industry in the During the ceremonial first bet on 1990s on the comedy circuit in New York award for Best Comedy/Variety Series. September 9 Smoove provided a $20,000 He also appeared in “Date Night” with donation from Caesars to the Arizona Diand then with Def Jam Comedy, and Steve Carell and Tina Fey and the Farrelly amondbacks Foundation to fete the parteventually with a gig on MTV, just like Brothers-directed comedy “Hall Pass,” Snookie,” says Smoove with a laugh. nership and the organization’s commitas well as “The Sitter” with Jonah Hill, Technically, his MTV break came with ment to the community. The sportsbook, “We Bought a Zoo” with Matt Damon a 1999 recurring role on the channel’s sports bar and broadcast studio, made “The Lyricist Lounge Show,” not a reality and “The Dictator” opposite Sacha Baron possible through Caesars’ exclusive sports

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betting and daily fantasy partnership, will be located at the former Game 7 Grill space located just outside of Chase Field. It will feature a sports betting experience befit for an emperor and an all-inclusive experience for nonsports bettors alike. The approximately 20,000-square-foot, two-story venue will feature indoor and outdoor seating options including two floors of sports betting space, a full-service bar and VIP lounge, an extensive menu, and wall-to-wall flat screens. The space will be open year-round, but no wagering is allowed on game days. The venue will have flexible hours of operation to cater to specific sporting events. • Bet like a Caesar: Two floors of sports betting space provide a next-level atmosphere to bet. Whether it’s with a teller at a kiosk, or on the Caesars Sportsbook app, customers will have many choices to easily place a wager. • Watch like a Caesar: With around 1,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor LED screens, Caesars Sportsbook at Chase Field will be a sports environment worthy of any Caesars emperor. With many major sporting events being displayed, customers will never have to worry about asking to change the channel again. • Dine like a Caesar: A sports betting experience befit for an emperor needs a menu to feast like one. Customers can indulge in top-notch food in 10,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor dining space. • Hydrate like a Caesar: Caesar never walks around without his goblet, so customers can make sure to have a drink in hand, too. Emperors can grab their preferred beverage of choice at the inside or outside bar, or even at the private bar in the VIP lounge. • Arrive like a Caesar: Caesar never strolled far to get where he wanted once he stepped off his chariot. That will be the case at Caesars Sportsbook, where the action is easily accessible from parking areas surrounding Chase Field. “The Caesars Sportsbook at Chase Field will be the premier sports betting and entertainment destination in downtown Phoenix,” said Hall, the president and chief executive officer of the Arizona D-backs. “D-backs fans, Arizona residents and out-of-state visitors, whether they are CONTINUED ON PAGE 10


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BEATEN PATH

Groups demand Mark Kelly ‘not hide’ behind parliamentarian opinion on citizenship

By Laura Gómez AZ Mirror IMMIGRATION COMMUNITY advocates are pushing U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly to find “whatever means” to pass a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants following a setback on Sunday when the policy change to secure a permanent immigration status for millions was blocked from being part of the budget reconciliation process. On Sunday, Sept. 19, the U.S. Senate parliamentarian—who is a nonpartisan advisor on the Senate rules and process—turned down the plan Senate

Democrats included in a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package to provide the Senate Judiciary Committee with $107 billion for “lawful permanent status for qualified immigrants.” Gathered near Kelly’s office in central Phoenix on Monday, members of the We Are Home coalition said the Senate parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, does not “have the last say” on providing permanence to some undocumented immigrants. “She should not be the decision-maker… Our leadership in the Senate, in the White House, are the decision-makers to provide a pathway to citizenship for our people, for our community” said Karina

Ruiz, leader of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition. Ruiz has temporary protection from deportation and a two-year renewable work permit through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. While the Senate proposal on budget reconciliation doesn’t specify which immigrants would be included, the House version would include DACA beneficiaries, farmworkers, essential workers and those with Temporary Protected Status. Ruiz said many immigrant community leaders used their networks to help elect Kelly and Sinema, so they should raise their voices and leverage their power to get a pathway to citizenship past the finish line. “Many of us have walked the streets of Arizona for these candidates to represent people like ourselves,” she said. “And now it’s time for them to do the right thing and not hide under this parliamentarian opinion but continue pushing until they deliver by whatever means.” On Monday, Jordi Santos said he was one of those who canvassed to get support for Kelly and Sinema.

SORENSEN

The North High School graduate went door-to-door in west Phoenix and met other families like his: undocumented, struggling, hopeful. “The community has contributed and they did it because they believed they’d find help,” Santos said. “It’s time they do this for the undocumented community.” Jesus Vazquez, who is eligible for DACA but has been blocked from benefiting from the program, said Kelly and Sinema should support the people that help them get elected. “We are always left out,” he said. Vazquez added that instead of acting on the parliamentarian’s opinion, he wants the Arizona senators to hear the stories of the young immigrants who are impacted by the lack of meaningful congressional action to give permanence to millions of immigrants and their families. “This really does affect our lives in many ways,” he said. In a statement to the Arizona Mirror, Kelly’s office said the first-term senator CONTINUED ON PAGE 10


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“I had four months of service left when we got evacuated globally,” said Bailey Hollingsworth, Desert Doves co-president and youngest member. “There have been evacuations plenty of times before, but nothing like a global pandemic evacuation.” Hollingsworth, 26, was in the Republic of Moldova from 2018 to 2020 working as a health education volunteer when the Peace Corps started bringing people back to the U.S. He estimates that 3,000 to 4,000 volunteers worldwide were suddenly evacuated and many of them did not get a chance to say goodbye to communities where they served. “When I got evacuated, there was a whole big ordeal,” he recalls. “The U.S. embassy and the Peace Corps director COURTESY PHOTO of the country had to negotiate a deal Ford Burkhart, circa 1967 in Malaysia with Moldovan government to open the airport again and have special flights out.” Hollingsworth believes the same Desert Doves carries on mission of Peace Corps dynamic played out throughout Africa and Southeast Asia, as more and more countries shut down for the safety of their people. Fortunately, he was close enough to the end of his program that By David Abbott Arizona,” said Katy Tucker, co-president he received his certificate of completion tucsoneditor@tucsonlocalmedia.com of Desert Doves, Returned Peace Corps for his service. Since service is in his blood, HollingVolunteers of Southern Arizona, a nonsworth returned to Arizona and improfit organization based in Tucson. mediately went to work in Winslow as FRANK ZAPPA ONCE FAMOUSLY The Desert Doves, a member orgaan EMT, commuting from Tucson for asked “Who needs the Peace Corps?” nization of the National Peace Corps 72-hour weekend shifts serving the Nabut apparently a lot of people have Association, is a group of roughly 500 needed it in the decades since the 1968 Peace Corps alums who have settled in vajo Nation that was “getting hit pretty release of the Mothers of Invention Tucson and bring their sense of philan- badly” with the coronavirus. After one summer, he returned to UA album We’re Only in it for the Money. thropy and service as they continue to work on his master’s degree in public Founded by President John F. Kentheir mission in southern Arizona. health, but he has not ruled out signing Tucker estimates the nonprofit nedy in March 1961, the iconic orgaup for another round of service some distributes $4,500 to $5,000 a year in nization that has helped developing day. grants that range from $500 to $2,000 countries the world over is celebrating per project. its 60th anniversary during a global THE EARLY DAYS One of the draws to the Tucson area pandemic that has suspended opera-

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order establishing the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961. Within days, Kennedy appointed R. Sargent Shriver as the organization’s first director. Shriver established programs in 55 countries with more than 14,500 volunteers. Since 1961, more than 240,000 Americans have served in more than 142 countries, according to the Peace Corps website. Phil Lopes served in Colombia in the early days from 1961 to ’63 and was director of the program in Ecuador in the late ’70s. He said that in the beginning, volunteers did not necessarily have specific roles in their host countries, but usually joined the Peace Corps for adventure or as an alternative to going to Vietnam as a soldier. Now, he says, roles are more specialized and host countries will ask the Peace Corps to provide volunteers with specific talents and abilities. “In the early days, while we didn’t know what we were doing, we just did it because it was an adventure,” he said. “Volunteers later were much more focused on how this might help their careers.” Likewise Ford Burkhart, who served in Malaysia from 1966 to ’68, was one of the early participants who signed up and set off into a world that was still largely unknown to the American people. The Peace Corps prepared him by teaching the local language, in his case a dialect of Malay spoken by Muslims in the poorer sections of the country, but once he arrived in the country he realized learning one language was not enough. “I went to Malaysia where 25 languages are spoken, and most of them are Chinese dialects,” he said. “There’s one language that no business man ever for RPCVs is the Coverdell Fellows Protions for more than a year. learns, and that’s Malay, the language THE PEACE CORP HOLLINGSWORTH Even with international operations gram at the University of Arizona, which of the poorest peasants. People were signed up for was a far cry from the in flux, local chapters of Peace Corps provides funding to Peace Corps volstunned that we came in there speaking alums are making a difference in their unteers for post-graduate degrees. The early days of the program. Malay.” Shortly after his inaugural speech communities through civic engagement program has brought alums from across Since he was only taught Malay in wherein President Kennedy called on at home. the generations, from those who served his training, Burkhart says he had to Americans to serve the greater good “At Desert Doves our mission is to during the Kennedy administration to learn Chinese on the fly while he was in by asking not what their country could continue working for peace, understand- the young members currently serving do for them, but what they could do for during the recent global pandemic that ing and well-being with an emphasis their country, he signed an executive CONTINUED ON PAGE 8 on bringing the world back to southern shut everything down in March 2020.

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country. His language skills improved even more his first Christmas in service when he joined a two-day trip by longboat to a small village in Borneo, where he learned the Diack language in order to give a speech at a going-away party. “That shows you the kinds of stuff that we did,” he said. “And we just did it because that’s who we were. I think we brought that with us.” But serving in the Peace Corps was not always seen as a good thing in host countries that were wary of the intentions of Americans bringing service. At times, those on the receiving end of American largesse would think the purpose of the Peace Corps was to spy on them. “Whenever people asked me if I was a spy I told them ‘no’ for three reasons,” Hollingsworth said. “There are rules for the CIA: They are not allowed to pre-

tend to be priests, politicians or Peace Corps volunteers.” Suspicions usually turned quickly to gratitude for selflessly helping communities with basic services, such as water and agricultural projects or bringing health care to remote villages. Most volunteers assimilated with the families that took them in, creating relationships that have lasted for decades. Desert Doves Vice President Susie Qashu served in Argentina from 1993 to ’94 and Chile from 1994 to ’96 a few years after the ouster of Agusto Pinochet, who took over the country in 1973 via an American-backed coup d’état that deposed Salvadore Allende. “We changed the image of Americans,” Qashu said, adding that years later, that was confirmed when she was visited by friends she had worked with in conjunction with the National Parks in Chile. “The most heartfelt thing that I heard 25 years later was [from] one of my friends who said, ‘Because of you, my whole attitude towards U.S. citizens changed,’” Qashu said. “On the ground,

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that’s kind of who we are, but it had meaning 25 years later to me.” STILL BUSY TODAY

will grow to $600 million annually by the year 2025. “The Peace Corps has always had broad bipartisan support in Congress,” Lopes said. “The National Peace Corps Association has some great examples at npca.org about the specifics of the bill that’s going through Congress.” To celebrate its anniversary the National Peace Corps Association is holding a virtual conference at the end of September that will focus on the future direction of the organization in the wake of the global pandemic and in the context of world events. ■

BACK IN TUCSON, DESERT DOVES hosts monthly membership meetings for about 40 “regulars,” and social gatherings featuring food from their host countries every other month. “Generally, our biggest piece of business is giving away money to the Peace Corps partnership project,” Tucker said. “I think one of the most amazing things about that is the opportunity to meet people who ran the gamut of Peace Corps, right from when it started in the A report titled, “A Community Report early ’60s up to folks who just came on How to Reimagine, Reshape, and back.” Retool the Peace Corps for a Changed The group’s biggest fundraiser of the World” can be found at www.peacecorpyear is at the 4th Avenue Street Fair, sconnect.org. where volunteers help feed vendors from a hospitality cart. The money For more information about the made by the volunteers goes to fundDesert Doves, go to www.rpcvtucson.org. ing grants. Tucker estimates the Desert Information about the Peace Corps can be found at peacecorps.gov. Doves has given $49,000 since 2011, for community projects in 21 countries around the world. Projects have included a health center clinic renovation in Ghana, a hammer mill in Zambia, and compost latrines in Belize as well as community projects in Southern Arizona. Given the state of the Peace Corps during the pandemic, Tucker said donations this year will be focused on local organizations such as the Community Food Bank, Family Housing Resources, Flowers & Bullets, Literacy Connects and Owl and Panther, which helps refugee families assimilate in the Tucson area. “Those are all significant projects, because many of our Desert Doves volunteer with those organizations or they’re involved with those organizations,” Tucker said. “So there’s a really strong thread of community service that runs through the Desert Doves.” On a national level, the Peace Corps COURTESY PHOTO has been an organization that has consistently received support and funding Katy Tucker, co-president of Desert Doves from across the political spectrum, so it continues to receive funds through the Peace Corps Reauthorization Act that


SEPTEMBER 23, 2021

DANEHY LESSONS TO REMEMBER 20 YEARS AFTER 9/11 By Tom Danehy, tucsonweekly@tucsonlocalmedia.com WHEN THE DEFINITIVE HISTORY of this era is written, the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 will loom large, but perhaps not in the way many people might think. It is a widely held misconception (there’s a lot of that going around these days) that participating in sports builds character. It had correctly been pointed out that such is not the case. It doesn’t build character; it reveals it. So, too, I’m afraid, did the attacks on 9/11. Oh, for a time, we were as one. We circled the wagons, mourned the dead, and displayed all of the outward (and often clichéd) signs of patriotism. We connected with our families, we were nicer to strangers, and we ALL believed that America was the right place and would do the right thing. I remember yelling with joy when President George W. Bush grooved a semblance of a fastball when he threw out the first pitch of the delayed World Series, seven weeks after the deadly attacks. (There’s a really good “30 For 30” on ESPN about how Yankee captain Derek Jeter came upon Bush as the President was warming up in the bowels of Yankee Stadium. They

CLAYTOONZ By Clay Jones

chatted as Bush was waiting for the Secret Service to give him the okay to even go out onto the field.) But, it didn’t last. Within months, the pride in America had curdled into blood lust. The bad people around Bush convinced him to flail outwards and 20 years of American misadventures began. I wrote at the time that America should spare no expense to track down Osama bin-Laden. Find him, capture him, and put him on trial. That’s what America does and we should have been able to do it better than anybody else in history. Instead, we attacked Iraq and the folly was on. Gutless politicians on both sides of the aisle displayed their true character. Even Hillary (By Golly) Clinton, her moistened index finger to the wind, voted to invade Iraq instead of focusing on bin-Laden. It was a tragic mass rush to insanity. Thus began an inexorable slide into paranoia, jingoism, and racism wrapped in a cloak of “national security.” It led us to where we are today, where a bombastic minority wants to destroy our institutions and eviscerate democracy in order to hang on to some distorted vision of what our coun-

try should be (but never really was). They want to destroy America in order to save “America.” There are people who would risk their own lives and those of others by not getting a vaccination because it might help America have a better economy under a Biden Administration. What makes that so mind-numbingly stupid is the irrefutable fact that, for almost 100 years now, the American economy has performed better when a Democrat is in the White House than it did under the preceding Republican Administration or the GOP Administration that follows. (You should look that up; it’s amazingly consistent.) In the two decades following 9/11, while America sorta-fought an Orwellian war that had faded from a public drumbeat into a nagging little ache in the back of the collective head, it became okay to be publicly wary or even terrified of The Others. The people flying those planes into building were Arabs, so let’s lash out at all Arabs. And some Arabs look like some Black people, so…? Most of us who lived through 9/11 probably believed that the attacks would make America a better place. We were horrified that 3,000 Americans died that day, but it’s not even close to being the bloodiest day in American history. And now, another 3,000 Americans die every two days from a deadly virus that we could have wiped out months ago were it not for a political madness, the origins of which can be traced

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back to 9/11. The fear of terrorism (and of people who don’t look like many of us) has poisoned our society and led to the rise of everything from widespread xenophobia and Christian nationalism to overt white supremacy. It also helped elect a dim-witted xenophobe who was just savvy enough to play what should have been a losing hand of racism, ignorance and fear. And it led to an all-out assault on our way of life on January 6th. I don’t care what your political leanings are. Just try to tell me that, as small evidence of the unraveling of our society, you haven’t noticed that some drivers have become more openly disdainful of the law and, in the process, more dangerous to all the rest of us. Sadly, not a day goes by that I don’t see someone run a red light. And I don’t mean by a split second. It’s by one or two or even more seconds, without even a thought of braking. They barrel on through the intersection with the mentality of “the government can’t tell me to get a shot, so it can’t tell me to stop at a red light, either.” Those terrorists who flew into the building that day didn’t succeed in the way they probably intended. They were not followed into Murderers’ Heaven by thousands of copycats. They didn’t initially weaken America’s will, but they helped spread the seeds of division that are threatening us today. We’ve got to do better. All of us. ■


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sports bettors or not, should look forward to this state-of-the-art, year-round location that will feature first-class dining, betting and hospitality experience—all while taking in their favorite sporting event or watching their favorite team. This sportsbook will transform the sports viewing experience in Arizona.” While the permanent space is being built, according to Smoove, fans can make a bet at Chase Field at ticket windows 21 to 25, marking the first MLB stadium where sports fans can place an in-person wager. Leading up to the grand opening of the retail space, bets can also be placed at five betting kiosks on the north side of PHOTO BY LAURA GOMEZ the plaza being installed in the interim. Jesus Vazquez speaks on Sept. 20, 2021, outside of Sen. Mark Kelly’s office. “As Caesar, I would be remiss if I didn’t also note my reign over sports betting through modern technology in Arizona as well,” Smoove says. need policy change now!” was short-sighted. Arizonans can download the Caesars The American Business Immigration “The budget reconciliation process is Sportsbook app, register and place bets at Coalition, which represents business the only vehicle available in this Contheir fi ngertips as well. leaders from different political affiliagress to expand the legal labor market in The easy-to-navigate app integrates tions, said the parliamentarian’s opinion times of critical labor shortages across mobile sports betting with Caesars’ all sectors, and to repair our economy as industry-leading loyalty program, Caesars we battle the COVID pandemic,” said SERVICE Rewards, where every bet, win or lose, NO CITY Rebecca Shir, ABIC executive director, AFTER rewards the bettor with Tier Credits SALES TAX THE SALE in a statement. “We urge Congress to DEDUCTIBLE and Reward Credits that can be used to work around the Senate Parliamentariunlock unbeatable experiences within the an’s ruling by developing an alternative Caesars portfolio of properties and partto meet the urgent needs of our econonerships, including access to VIP experiWe have finally started to receive our New Gulfstream RV’s! my and families.” ■ ences with the D-backs at Chase Field for Come check them out- 4 models now in stock! Of course we still carry Jayco’s that come with “the Best in the Industry 2 YEAR Warranty! registered app users in Arizona. Reporter Laura Gómez Rodriguez NEW! “We are all Caesars now! Let the bets New Gulfstream Vintage 98 Fleetwood Terry 27’ 19’ Travel Trailer- Dry 5th Wheel- 1 slide, sleeps covers state politics and immigration begin, Arizona!” Smoove says. ■ Wt: 3,090 lbs. Vintage 4 Rear Kitchen-Will make TU-0008571045V01. TU-0008571045V01. Dinette, a/c, walk around a nice Home! for the Arizona Mirror, where this article INDD TU-0008571045V01. TU-0008571045V01. INDD SaleINDD Bed, sleeps 4, TV LED Price: $14,990* INDD TU-0008571045V01. originally appeared. Find more news at lights & Much More! INDD Sale Price: $31,990* azmirror.com.

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PRIDE

SEPTEMBER 23, 2021

SAVAGE THOUGHTS Tucson Weekly’s Pride section 2021

DAN SAVAGE IS AMERICA’S BEST sex columnist—and I don’t just say that because his column appears every week in Tucson Weekly. Savage has been providing level-headed sex advice for roughly three decades, starting his column in Seattle alt-weekly The Stranger. Over those three decades, he’s coined a neologism or two—i.e., santorum, named for the former Pennsylvania senator—and added all sort of acronyms to the sex lexicon. Savage has a new book coming out, Savage Love from A to Z: Advice on Sex and Relationships, Dating and Mating, Exes and Extras. The book is filled with essays

covering all the letters of the alphabet, from A (anal sex, of course) to Z (Zilch, which is what you’re entitled to in bed from other people). This week, we have an excerpt from the book examing the concept of GGG—aka Good, Giving and Game, which is a good attitude to bring to the bedroom (or wherever you’re game to get down). We also have an interview with Savage as he reflects on his career as a sex columnist. Find out more about what Dan is up to at his newly redesigned website, savage.love, which you’ll also find his podcast and a bunch more. Elsewhere in our annual Pride issue:

Calendar editor Emily Dieckman gets in tune with the THEM Youth Ensemble, a musical group that’s a safe space for all orientations; staff reporter Alexandra Pere looks at what’s happening with IBT’s drag show; and Tucson Interfaith HIV/AIDS Network Executive Director Scott Blades talks about how TIHAN has weathered the pandemic. You’ve no doubt heard that this year’s Pride parade and festival has been canceled until October 2022. As the organizers said: “We do not feel confident the community can come together safely at this time in large numbers. The health and safety of our community is our utmost priority and concern.” It was undoubtedly a tough decision, but the right one. Here’s hoping the pandemic will be behind us by then! Jim Nintzel Executive Editor


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PRIDE like, ‘I like that!’ and then I kept moving along that path until I figured that out.” Now 20, Rosanova identifies as nonbinary, and has transitioned to a point where they feel more comfortable in their body. They’re double majoring in music and law, and are also a member of THEM Youth Ensemble, Tucson’s first LGBTQ+ music ensemble for youth ages 13 to 24. There, Rosanova says, it feels like there’s a space for them and other nonbinary people. “THEM is this really excellent synthesis of the comfort and also the musicality… the idea that comfort doesn’t have to be exclusive of music or vice versa,” they say. “You don’t have to sacrifice your comfort as a singer to engage with music in a way that helps you grow and is something that you enjoy.” COURTESY PHOTO

THEM Youth Ensemble during their 2019 RISE performance.

EXCLUSIONARY SPACES

NICKY MANLOVE IS THE FOUNDER and director of THEM, where they strive to build a culture of affirmation and self-acceptance for all participants. Manlove, who is also the director of music THEM Youth Ensemble moves beyond the binary at St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church, earned his Master of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of Arizona in 2020. By Emily Dieckman sounds awfully dry. Many trans people’s “I’m a trans person, and I have very tucsoneditor@tucsonlocalmedia.com descriptions of dysphoria are much more convicted professional ideas about what vivid. it means to include and make space for MIKAH ROSANOVA WANTED TO One 18-year-old participant in a 2021 trans singers,” Manlove says. “By and sing tenor in high school. Their choral di- study published in the Psychology of rector told them they’d need to stay where Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity large, choral spaces are hostile toward they’re at—as a mezzo soprano. described it as “a living hell, a nightmare trans people, or, at the very best, unintentionally exclusive.” “Choir was the space where I felt like I one cannot ever wake up from,” while a Manlove thinks choral spaces can be belonged, simply because there were oth- 20-year old said “It feels like wanting to problematic, but that these spaces are er queer people there. But I felt like I didn’t tear off my skin. It is the constant remindworth being improved, fixed, subverted. belong because I wasn’t singing the voice er I’ll never truly be who I am… It makes In fact, many of their own experiences part I wanted to sing,” Rosanova says. me feel ugly and wrong.” A 24-year-old “The idea that I couldn’t sing a vocally said, “When I’m really feeling the dyspho- in choirs have been powerful sources of affirming part, that was a huge source of ria, I won’t talk because I hate my voice so connection. They grew up in a small town in Montana, where, they say, most high distress for me in high school.” much I just burst into tears.” Rosanova doesn’t blame their teacher, After high school, Rosanova picked up school students did most extracurricular activities just because there was nothing who they figure hadn’t received training a job as a singing server and was able to on how to work with transgender or non- try out singing tenor. It felt right, and they else to do. So, in choir, they found themself interacting with all sorts of people, includbinary students. The teacher was support- started taking hormones, of which the ing F150-driving football players. ive in other ways, like using Rosanova’s most noticeable result was a lower voice. “[These were] people I never would name and pronouns. But still, Rosanova The former mezzo soprano is now a bass. says not singing tenor was one of their “A lot of times, with being trans, the idea have associated with, but because we sat next to each other in choir, we got to have biggest sources of dysphoria. The DSM is that you do something, and if it feels relationships that were important and defines gender dysphoria as “a marked right, you keep doing it, and if it doesn’t incongruence between one’s experienced/ feel right, you go in a different direction,” generative for both of us,” they explain. “I think about that often as a professional expressed gender and assigned gender, Rosanova says. “That was definitely part of at least six month’s duration,” which of my path, where I sang tenor, and I was now, sort of the disarming power of the

FINDING THEIR VOICES

choral ensemble to build bridges across identity lines in ways that are really subtle and sneaky.” This is how some people think of choirs, right? Either as clean, bright spaces where all the people of the world join hands and sing “kumbaya,” or high school classrooms with linoleum floors covered in glitter, where flamboyantly gay men are not just welcome, but often abundant. Choirs do traditionally have a higher representation of queer people. A 2012 national survey by the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network found that 45.6% of young LGBTQ+ respondents were members of a school music ensemble. There’s even a whole body of research on how to try to get more young men to participate in choir, because many young straight men view it as a strictly “gay” or “feminine” space. Bernie Gay, a 60-year-old gay man and member of the Tucson Desert Voices, a local chorus for LGBTQ+ people and allies which collaborates with THEM, says the same was true for him back in the ’70s. “Back in those days, it was nearly impossible to be out, and especially in high school, I was not able to hide in the closet as well as many others, so it was pretty obvious that I was gay. I would get beat up frequently on the way home from school,” he says. “Music was my safe space back in high school—a place where I could be myself and I could enjoy music with other people.” So, while choirs are sometimes more accepting of queer identities than other places, many traditional choirs still exist within the accepted binary of “male” and “female,” within the accepted formulation of “SATB” (soprano, alto, tenor, bass). Effeminate men, or masculine women, are welcome, but there’s not always a clear place for others. Rosanova suggests this idea mirrors society itself. “I think we’re finally starting to accept trans binary folks on a pretty standard basis—though obviously there’s the issue of whether you are ‘passing’ well enough and all that business,” they say. “But, I think the next big issue is how to fit in gender nonconforming people, and it works like that in choir too.” So what does a space built by and for nonbinary singers look like?


PRIDE “ALL GENDERS, ALL VOICE TYPES, NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY” THEM IS OPEN TO ALL LGBTQ+ youth aged 13 to 24, but almost all of the singers who are or have been in the ensemble identify as trans. “Our first rehearsal, we had, just, like, a gaggle of trans people, and it was brilliant,” Manlove says. “I was floored. It was literally a dream come true.… I never imagined myself leading or conceiving of a program like the one that THEM has become, but I’m super grateful that I have had the chance to do that.” Manlove says many singers were coming to THEM after feeling unwelcome in high school choir programs. While Manlove is working to make sure that students feel welcome and safe in THEM, they also offer training to early music educators on how to create these spaces in their own choruses—the kind of training that Rosanova’s choral director may have benefitted

from. In these sessions, they often talk about different forms of implicit and explicit inclusion young people may experience. Some, like Rosanova, aren’t allowed to try singing vocal parts that don’t match their perceived gender. Others might attend a school with separate choirs for men and women and feel like they don’t have a place. Some are uncomfortable with the choir world’s famously gendered concert attire: tuxedos for men and gowns for women. “Many directors are really rigid about this—arbitrarily,” Manlove says. “It’s a stupid thing, because it’s expensive, it’s uncomfortable, it often doesn’t look good. But we feel so attached to this idea that some people should wear tuxedos and some people should wear dresses. And that’s the only way it’s legit music.” Needless to say, there is no gendered dress code in THEM Youth Chorus. Actually, the group doesn’t even use words like “soprano” or “tenor.” Be-

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cause no experience is required to join the chorus, some members are unfamiliar with the terms anyway. Others have had bad experiences with being stuck singing a part that causes dysphoria. Manlove simply numbers the parts, or refers to “higher voices” and “lower voices.” Joining a choir usually involves a choral director “voicing” singers, which is when a singer stands in front of everyone while a choral director plays notes up and down a piano to see how high and low the person can sing. It’s nerve-wracking for anyone to be publicly made aware of their limits, but important for establishing a person’s vocal range and appropriate part. Manlove’s approach to voicing is a bit more nuanced. After hearing the person sing, Manlove explains where, in their opinion, a singer’s voice sounds the strongest. Then, they ask the singer how it feels to sing in that range. A singer might say it feels just fine, and be assigned to that part.

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“Or they might say, ‘Oh, actually, singing here makes me feel super dysphoric, and I’m trying to sing in this other register instead,’” Manlove says. “And they might say ‘Oh, and I’m also working on adjusting my speaking voice to be in this other register instead.’” If that happens, Manlove talks to singers about how to keep their voices healthy, and about ways to safely seek a comfortable speaking and singing range without causing damage. There’s a whole industry of voice training for trans people who want their voices to sound higher or lower, but Manlove shares knowledge gained from years of music education freely. Health is another theme of THEM. A healthy approach to adjusting speaking and singing voices. Flexibility for members who need to miss rehearsal due to mental or physical health challenges. RuthAnn Grumbling is a THEM CONTINUED ON PAGE 17


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member who experiences hip pain that makes standing for long periods difficult. At one of their first rehearsals, when Manlove asked everyone to please stand, Grumbling felt comfortable saying they needed to sit to be comfortable. “Being in a space that’s affirming of my gender and my sexuality makes me feel comfortable bringing myself as a disabled person,” they say. “I really feel like I can bring my whole self to the space.” “NO MORE HIDING OUR BRILLIANCE” THEM’S FIRST CONCERT WAS ON the Trans Day of Resilience in November 2019. The day was originally called “Trans Day of Remembrance” to honor trans people who had been murdered, but in the past few years, many have taken to calling it by its new name,

to celebrate the joy and life of trans people as well. During COVID-19, the group also wrote two original songs, including “And We’ll Be Free” for Trans Day of Resilience in 2020. “The singers wrote this series of texts imagining what the best possible trans futures will look like, what it will look like when trans people are emphatically affirmed in every situation,” Manlove says. “It’s one of my favorite things of all time. When we were writing the piece, I was just sobbing.” An excerpt: No more hiding our brilliance Our strength and resilience We’re no longer living in shame. We will sing and we’ll shout ’til we all can be out, Every part of me proudly I’ll name. And we’ll be free. The group’s last in-person concert was in February 2020, shortly before COVID-19 shut the world down. But they’ve been able to produce a few videos and, as mentioned, original songs,

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TUCSONWEEKLY.COM 17

since then, using a combination of Zoom and one-on-one meetings to film. Grumbling says one of their favorite memories is being backstage at concerts, full of giddy pre-show jitters. Manlove loves seeing the way people of different ages interact and support each other. Rosanova vividly remembers the group’s first concert. They’d only been in the choir for a few weeks, and they weren’t sure what to expect. “It was a smallish room full of just the queerest people ever, and all queer people on stage,” they say. “It was a different choir experience in that I’m very used to a really strong choral sound, COURTESY PHOTO and that’s not what THEM sounds like. THEM Youth Ensemble during their 2019 But that’s because we’re subverting the RISE performance. entire narrative to achieve something different from it.” Manlove says it’s this can-do attitude ken, the rest of the world becomes so among trans youth, this total willingopen to possibilities for you,” they say. ness to look past tradition and not be “I’m just convinced that trans young held back by norms, that makes them people will save the world—and are powerful, full of integrity, and ready to saving the world.” ■ effect change. “Once you take for fact that broken For more information on THEM things don’t have to continue to be bro- Youth Chorus, visit themyouth.org.


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PRIDE

CROSS PURPOSES Drag shows continue at IBT’s

By Alexandra Pere apere@tucsonlocalmedia.com

queens,” Dee said. “Instead of a dressing room there used to be a trailer outback where everyone got dressed.” FROM WEDNESDAY TO SUNDAY, Dee is in her sixth year of doing drag full glam entertainment is bringing Tuc- and began hosting her drag show Nail sonans out of their pandemic fatigue Polish at Sky Bar, down the street from and into a world of sass, class, and smart IBT’s. This show was for all ages and ass. provided a space for youth to become We’re talking about IBT’s drag shows. involved in drag. IBT’s gay bar on Fourth Avenue “I made it that way so it could provide opened in 1985 and touts itself as being some sort of real-life experience for the No. 1 gay bar in Tucson. queer youth and queer performers who “Since the inception of IBT’s there may not be 21,” Dee said. have been drag shows,” said Allonna Dee recently moved her show to IBT’s. Dee, a drag queen hostess at IBT’s. Dee Nail Polish is hosted by Dee every first is a Tucson local and remembers when and third Thursday of the month at 9 the bar used to be called It’s About p.m. Dee said Nail Polish tends to draw Time. a college crowd with live DJing and new “There have always been drag drag challenges. Dee hosted a kamikaze

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“You manufacture your own confidence, which means if I want this to be a confident person when I’ve put on my outfit and when I put on the best makeup…. She is confident, she is secure in herself, she knows who she is,” said drag queen Beth Salts.

knockout show in the past based around the reference.) Unlike Drag Race, this lipsync competition leads to cash tips the Lipsync For Your Life competition. for queens. (Fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race will know


PRIDE During the pandemic, drag queens transitioned to perform on live streams or perform live with face shields. “We had to Lysol our dollar bills at the end of every show,” Dee recalls. Audience members quickly started to fill IBT’s again after seeing the effort put forward by queens to entertain safely. Dee said drag brought customers out to the bar again and made them feel more comfortable. However, Tucson drag wasn’t made popular by post lockdown fatigue. Tucson has produced some of the most unique drag queens in Arizona. “I feel like Tucson is highly slept on in terms of our drag,” Dee said, “Our Queens in Arizona are actually really sick and interesting. They do a lot of amazing things and people don’t realize just how polished we are.” Dee has traveled to other places across the country where drag seems to focus more on quirky personas, like Trixie Mattel. Dee said Tucson queens are entertaining and incorporate so-

phisticated dancing styles. One of these unique queens includes IBT’s season six drag race winner Beth Salts. Beth Salts was born and raised in Marana. Although early in her drag career, Salts blew away the drag race judges with her commitment to character. “You manufacture your own confidence, which means if I want this to be a confident person when I’ve put on my outfit and when I put on the best makeup…. She is confident, she is secure in herself, she knows who she is,” Salts said. Salts is always doing the unexpected. Her range includes portraying a crazy murderous ex-girlfriend, classic Liza Minnelli, and Florence and the Machine impersonations. “When I wake up, I never know what’s next,” Salts said. Salts is currently hosting IBT’s season seven drag race on Sundays. The season finally began last Sunday after several pandemic postponements.

“I have to say in Arizona, we bring something different and there is a lot of talent here,” Salts said. The talent is comprised of a community of endearing queens. Salts said IBT’s three main show directors (Diva, Janee and China) are motherly and the dressing room “is always good vibes— always laughing and supporting each other.” Dee and Salts are both in the winner’s circle of IBT’s drag race. Dee said winning the drag race was how she began her career. For Dee, drag is a celebration of confidence that extends into her personal life. “With hosting drag shows, it’s helped with public speaking,” Dee said, “It’s helped me to gain skills that help in my personal life, but it’s also given me some people that are now my chosen family who I wouldn’t give up for anything in the world.” ■ Catch Allonna Dee hosting the Nail Polish drag show at 9 p.m. every first

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and third Thursday of the month. Keep up with season seven of IBT’s drag race, hosted by Beth Salts on Sundays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. IBT’s is open 12 p.m. to 2 a.m. every day, 616 N 4th Ave.


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G IS FOR GGG

Why being Good, Giving and Game makes for a better sex life DAN SAVAGE started his groundbreaking Savage Love column 30 years ago. Through his column and Savage Lovecast, he has helped millions of people the world over enjoy better sex and communication. To celebrate this milestone comes Savage Love from A to Z, an illustrated collection of 26 edgier-than-ever essays that showcase Savage’s signature candor, phrases, and philosophies. Illustrations by longtime collaborator Joe Newton complement topics like:

ruin it. All of that’s a lie. Unlearning sexual shame discovering who or what Fuck First ♥ F is forand for GGGon (Good, ♥ G isyou turns takes time and conscious Giving, and Game) effort. You might GOOD, GIVING, AND GAME FOR ♥ M is for Monogamish be attracted to the ♥ X is for kinds ofXXX people you’re “supposed” to anything—within reason. A modern guidebook the find attractiveforand into the kinds of sex That’s what makes someone a good bedroom and beyond, this book is for anyone who’s had, is having, acts understood to be “normal,” e.g., sex partner. It seems obvious to me. or hopes to have sex. opposite-sex partners, conventionally Well, it seems obvious to me now, beautiful faces/ bodies, intercourse that after reading three decades’ worth of ends when the person who brought the mail from my readers about their sex penis to the party gets off. But odds are lives. (Snail mail then, email now.) If better that you won’t fit neatly into that you wanna have a good sex life (and mold. You may be attracted to same-sex not everyone does)—particularly if you wanna have a successful monogamous partners, you may see beauty where others do not (or have been convinced relationship (and not everyone does)— not to), you may naturally be wired to you need to find a partner who’s good respond erotically to acts or objects or in bed, who takes pleasure in giving situations or sounds that other people pleasure, and who’s game for almost anything. And you’ll have a much easier don’t find arousing. Even if we accept ourselves and our time attracting someone like that if you’re good, giving, and game yourself. desires, very few of us arrive at partnered sex with the emotional maturity GOOD. Just as some people can to communicate about them, particjust fucking sing, some people can just ularly if we’re concerned about being fucking fuck. But people with the sexual judged, shamed, or attacked. And equivalent of perfect pitch are rare. developing the skill set required to pull Most of us have to practice, practice, off more complicated kinks might even practice. And getting good at sex often require taking a class. means unlearning a lot of what we’ve been taught. We grow up consuming GIVING. Consider the blowjob. mainstream movies, television, and They’re called blowjobs, as the old joke porn, and they all make good sex look goes, because getting someone off with like something that just happens. We’re your mouth is work. And while most led to believe that good sex is effortless cocksuckers enjoy sucking dick, a good and that when two people are right blowjob involves not just the mouth for each other—when two people have but both hands—if you don’t want that chemistry—the sex is naturally going blowjob to take all night, you gotta to be good and, coincidentally enough, work (there’s the w-word again) the it’s going to look like the sex we’ve seen balls, shaft, and tits too. Reciprocity is in movies, TV, and porn. We’re also essential and sexual pleasure should be told that good sex is spontaneous, not mutual, of course, but a good sex partscheduled or premeditated. If you think ner sometimes takes pleasure in giving about it in advance—if you go and, say, pleasure. And as all good cocksuckers get your hands on some birth control or and pussy eaters know, the return buy duct tape in bulk—you’re going to doesn’t always have to be immediate. By Dan Savage tucsoneditor@tucsonlocalmedia.com

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Columnist Dan Savage has a new book to guide you through your sex life Sometimes you give that blowjob— sometimes you do the work—without getting “yours” at the exact same time or even in the exact same session. GAME. This is the only “G” that comes with a qualifier. We should be game for anything our partners wanna try—within reason. If your partner wants to do or try something that isn’t on the list of expected or default sexual activities— kissing, mutual masturbation, oral sex, penetrative sex—you should at least be willing to entertain the idea and, if at all possible, indulge their request. Being “game for anything … within reason” doesn’t mean you have to do whatever your partner wants, and it doesn’t obligate your partner to do whatever you want. But if a particular sex act or kink is something your partner has been masturbating about for years—and, if it is, it’s central to your partner’s sense of sexual fulfillment, not some trivial thing they can “get out of their system” by doing once—you should be open to considering it. Once again, considering it ≠ doing it. But you never know: trying something CONTINUED ON PAGE 22

By Jim Nintzel jnintzel@tucsonlocalmedia.com SYNDICATED SEX COLUMNIST Dan Savage has teamed up with illustrator Joe Newton to create a new book, Savage Love from A to Z: Advice on Sex and Relationships, Dating and Mating, Exes and Extras. The book is filled with essays covering all the letters of the alphabet, from A (anal sex, of course) to Z (Zilch, which is what you’re entitled to in bed from other people). The breezy and humorous book went on sale this week. The Weekly caught up with Savage, whose column has run in the Weekly for decades, to discuss the book and the changes he’s seen in the sexual landscape over the three decades he’s penned the column. How did you get started as a sex advice columnist? I met Tim Keck, who was creating The Stranger in 1990, in Madison, Wisconsin. He was telling me about the paper and I said, “You should have an advice column in the paper you’re going to start, because everybody reads those. You see the Q&A format, you can’t not read it.” And he basically said, “Excellent advice. Why CONTINUED ON PAGE 23


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GGG

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 21

your partner wants to do—trying something your partner needs to do—could awaken a sexual interest you never knew you had. (You meet two kinds of people at big kink events: the people who were always kinky and the people who fell in love with those people and got kinky.) And going there for a partner—being game—could bring you closer together. And that’s not just my opinion. While I’ve been hammering away at the importance of being GGG forever, the science caught up to me a few years ago. “People who were highly motivated to meet their partner’s sexual needs . . . reported higher levels of daily sexual desire as a result,” writes sex researcher Amy Muise, who has studied couples where one partner stepped outside their sexual comfort zone to meet the other partner’s needs. Research conducted at the University of Arizona

PRIDE and Hanover College found that both halves of couples who made more “sexual transformations,” which Dr. Debby Herbenick of Indiana University described as a “nerdier” way of saying “game for anything,” reported higher levels of relationship satisfaction. (The headline of the piece Herbenick wrote about sexual transformations for Salon? “Science Proves It: Dan Savage Is Right.” I had it stitched on a pillow.) Since some people tend to get hung up on that last G—since some people incorrectly argue that I advocate doing anything a sex partner asks, even if it’s traumatizing—I’m going to provide a couple of “game” examples. Be warned: I’m gonna get graphic. If someone you love—or someone you’re merely into—works up the courage to tell you they have a foot fetish, you should be game enough to let that person “worship” your feet, a.k.a. slobber all over your feet the way a “normal” person might slobber all over your tits or cock. If it turns your partner on when

you shove your feet in their face, you should be game enough to shove your feet in their face. You may not understand why feet turn your partner on the way tits and cocks and pussies turn other people on, but a thing for feet is easily accommodated. It’s a perfectly reasonable request, a small ask, a need the non-kinkster in the relationship should be game enough to meet. (And be warned: dump the honest foot fetishist and you will marry the dishonest necrophiliac.) Some kinks, on the other hand, aren’t small asks. If the person you’re dating opens up to you about their kink and it’s mummification, that is, wrapping their partner from head to foot in cling film and then duct tape, well, that’s a big ask. (The initial layer of cling film is there to prevent the duct tape from ripping every hair on your body out when the duct tape is removed.) While fantasies about bondage are incredibly common—most women (85 percent) and almost as many men (73 percent) have fantasized about being tied up during sex, according to research conducted by Dr. Justin Lehmiller—it would be unreasonable to expect someone who wasn’t into bondage to submit to an intense form of bondage play like mummification— hell, it would be unreasonable to expect someone who was into light bondage to submit to mummification. Some of our kinks can only be indulged by a person who shares them. Or let’s say you were with someone who wanted to piss on you. If you weren’t into piss, it would be unreasonable of your partner to expect you to do that for them. But I gotta say: there’s a big difference between in you and on you—and there’s a big difference between concentrated morning piss (the piss people think of when the subject of piss play comes up) and well-diluted late evening Bud Light piss (the piss most likely to make an appearance during piss play). After a pitcher or two of beer, piss is just warm water. In reality, requests for things like

mummification or piss play—or flogging or fisting or sounding or ball busting—are far likelier to be made by the person who wants those things done to them than they are by the person who wants to do them. The sub in a mummification or piss play scene is likelier to ask to be wrapped in duct tape or peed on than the Dom—which can tip the scales toward the “within reason” side for some otherwise vanilla folks, even if the thing itself is still a big ask. If you don’t want to mummify or piss on your partner or let your partner slobber over your feet, instead of telling your partner that being with you—and getting to have all the good things that come with being with you—means never getting to act on these desires, you could allow your partner to get this need met elsewhere. This kind of accommodation instantly makes being with you an even better deal because being with you means they can have their loving, stable, mostly monogamous commitment, and mummification or foot worship or whatever else they’re wired to want too. ■ ©2021 by Dan Savage. Excerpted from Savage Love From A to Z by permission of Sasquatch Books.


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don’t you write the advice column?” And while from the perspective of 2021, it seems almost a given that a gay man would write a sex advice column primarily for straight people, that wasn’t the case 30 years ago. So you know, this idea that we were toying with me giving sex advice to straight people was kind of a stunt then, and not something I thought I’d end up doing for the rest of my life. And the column started as a kind of a joke: I was going to treat straight people with the same contempt that straight advice columnist had always treated gay people with. And for straight people, this was a new and novel experience being treated this way. And they kind of liked it. And the column I thought I would write for six months, or maybe a year, as a joke became a real advice column. And by accident. The straight folks enjoyed the humiliation, perhaps? Yeah, turns out, but also the columns stumbled into something that’s sort of true about the way straight people feel about their gay friends: Straight people intuit, I think correctly, that their gay friends know more about sex and are better at sex than they are. And that’s true. You know, when sex is the primary conflict in your life, the thing that makes your life difficult or hard, you’re going to think a lot about it. As a gay person, you

think a lot about sex, and you tend to know more about sex, because you’re trying to figure out who you are and how you got to be different in this way sexually. And gay people are better at sex, because we have to communicate with each other and straight people don’t have to, and so often don’t. Gay people really must communicate every single time and we get very good at very good at communicating about it, which makes us better at sex. That’s what I tell straight people all the time. If you’re going to communicate and get better communication, you’ll get better at sex, as straight people or as gay people. We can’t have sex until we’re good at communication. Because you have to tell someone you’re gay, you have to ask for what you want. When two men go to bed together for the first time, what’s going to happen next can’t be assumed there are no gender roles to default to. No PIV to default to. You’re going to have to keep talking. And as I write in the book, that’s the big difference between gay people and straight people and where we function. Straight people get to consent, and they stop talking. And gay people get to consent and it’s the start of the conversation. How have the letters you’ve gotten over the last 30 years changed? I used to get a lot more how-to questions. I used to spend more time explaining how to fist someone, how to have anal sex, even just regular old anal sex. How to give blowjobs. I remember a column many years ago, where a guy who is a

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bondage expert—and this was before bondage experts all had blogs and Tic Tocs and YouTube and Instagram and Twitter accounts—explained how to do a little simple bondage if that was something you wanted to experiment with for the first CONTINUED ON PAGE 26


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Q&A

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 23

time. All of that is online, though. You don’t need me to do a how-to column on tying a knot around someone’s wrist for the first time in your life, you can find instructional videos on the internet very easily. You know, how to give really good head, there are great instructional videos. So all my questions now are really situational ethics and not sort of nuts-and-bolts sex advice. Your new book Savage Love: From A to Z really seems to distill down a lot of the advice you’ve given over the last few years. What was the inspiration to put it all together like that? It was really Joe Newton’s idea. Joe Newton was the art director of The Stranger for many years and has been doing the illustrations for my column for 20 years. And his illustrations are always so funny and witty and charming. And kind of in contrast to a lot of what we talked about in the column, because illustrations look like children’s book illustrations.

PRIDE And so there’s some tension and humor there. And he came to me a couple of years ago and said, “Why don’t we do a collection of short essays to go with some illustrations and do a book?” And I looked at the calendar and thought, well, the 30th anniversary is coming up, maybe I could do a little bit of summing up on some of the major themes that we’ve touched on over the three decades I’ve been writing this column and distill it down into something fun and simple that people can reference. The COVID pandemic just keeps rolling along. Is it OK yet to have one-night-stands and hookups? Well, if you’re vaccinated, yeah. If you’re unvaccinated? No, but what’s stopping unvaccinated people from showing us their asses in every other way. I think that’s yet another incentive to get vaccinated. Do you think that Savage Love can take credit for the increased mainstream acceptance of the LGBT community since you started to write the column?

No. I like to think that I can look at the column and say it contributed. I don’t think I can claim credit for it. But certainly when I started writing the column, there were a lot of young people who were reading the column who didn’t know a gay person. There weren’t as many out gay people 30 years ago as there are now and nothing undoes someone’s homophobia like knowing a gay person. And for folks who had no one in their social circle, or their high school, or even their college even was out, I was the gay person they knew and they kind of liked me. And I do think reading me opened some people’s minds up. I was an activist in college for gay rights and Savage Love was an extension of my activism, very much. First, because I wrote about straight people 85% to 90% of the time, the 10% of the time when I wrote about gay marriage or gay people adopting children or the HIV AIDS crisis, straight people who normally wouldn’t read writing on those subjects would read my column out a force of habit. And I like to think that that made a difference for some people, brought them around on our issues. You know, the kind of writing I was doing about gay marriage or HIV was the kind of writing you might find in a gay magazine or occa-

sionally—rarely, especially then—an op-ed in a mainstream paper by a gay person or a gay rights organization. But because I was funny, and because the column was almost always about straight people having sex, straight people would read my columns about gay marriage or HIV and be educated—columns that were similar to opinion pieces they might find in The New York Times, but they weren’t going to read it. What do you think led to the greater acceptance of LGBT people by straight people over the last three decades? The secret weapon of LGBT people is that we’re randomly distributed throughout the population. We’re born into all families, mostly, almost invariably, into straight families. And the movement to encourage gay people to come out, you know, the ’87 March in Washington theme was “Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are.” Harvey Milk’s message was that if he was taken down by an assassin’s bullet, he hoped he would shatter every closet door. Because if you knew us, you were less likely to lie about us. And what really changed everything was gay, lesbian, bi, trans people,


PRIDE average ordinary, everyday gays and lesbians and bi and trans people that no one’s heard of. People who weren’t on TV, those people coming out changed everything. What do you make of the #metoo movement in terms of workplace harassment, even in in places like Hollywood, which has always been famous for having casting couch. People would joke about the casting couch bitterly. A lot of the humor about casting couches was sour, ultimately, because it just felt like something that no one could ever change. But it wasn’t a good thing. I’m a fan of the #metoo movement. I think it was necessary and has done a lot of good. That said, people do meet at work. Whenever we think there might be a power imbalance in a relationship where one person can end up being exploited or manipulated because of that power imbalance, we need to be very conscious of it and attempt to address it and defuse it if possible. But we can’t have a blanket policy that no one can date at work. Forbidden love is enticing. Gays and lesbians

were told we couldn’t love the people we loved and how did that work out? Your power like someone that Telling people that something they want is wrong and they can’t have it doesn’t make them want it less. And there’s a difference between two people dating at work and one person sexually harassing someone else at work. And we have to be able to make that distinction. You’ve expressed outrage about this new Texas law that essentially bans abortion after six weeks and establishes vigilante bounties on anyone who has had an abortion or performs an abortion or assists in any way on an abortion. Were you surprised Texas lawmakers would go so far as to pass a law like this? No, there’s no there’s no bottom for Texas lawmakers. We’re seeing so much more acceptance of sexuality out there, yet the anti-abortion movement keeps . Canada got the French and Australia got

the convicts and we got the Puritans. We will eternally be struggling with puritanical, sex-phobic, controlling, judgmental and those who want to control women’s bodies and punish people for having consensual sex outside of the very narrow window permissibility of their opinion. And we will have to fight them. Always and we may never deceive. You also curate an amateur porn festival, Hump!. How has COVID affected submissions for the festival? We had a festival in 2019 that was supposed to tour in 2020. We took Hump! online and began streaming it. But which we’ve never done before. Hump! was never online, it was only in theaters. And filmmakers were excited about doing that, willing to do that it, and it allowed us to bring Hump! to audiences all over the world. So we’re probably gonna keep the streaming online component. Also bring it to theaters, but still be able to bring Hump! to people in Europe and Australia and Asia and places where people have never been able to see Hump! in the past. But we got just as many submissions and a lot of people had

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a lot of time on their hands and had phones in their hands and were home with their lovers and made films for Hump! during quarantine, during the shutdowns, and we hope people will continue making films for him. I hear doctors are always being asked at parties about various ailments by the people they meet. Does that happen with you? When people meet you do they bust out with questions about problems in the bedroom? They do often. Yes. It can be awkward, like when it happens in public, when it happens in bathrooms and airports. But I don’t mind. Sometimes I can’t help anybody, because you know, I’m busy. I’m going to catch a plane, I’ve got a flight to be on. But often I’m totally willing to help with impromptu advice. I actually enjoy my job. I enjoy what I do. And so, you know, when somebody collars me in a bar or a restaurant or at the airport and asks me to quickly discuss their problem with them, I’m always happy to. ■

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IN THE NAME OF LOVE

harm. I’ve seen it too many times. As a society, we’ve made great progress in the decades since I was Pride isn’t just about sexuality—it’s about who we are a struggling queer kid. There are positive representations in media, a growing number of out and proud elected officials, and marriage equality By Scott Blades bers did not survive, killing themselves is (for now) the law of the land. Some school districts have comprehensive, tucsoneditor@tucsonlocalmedia.com directly (or perhaps indirectly) in the face of pressures to pretend to be some- medically-accurate sex education and life education curricula. Many local one else. jurisdictions have ordinances making it FOR MANY OF US, OUR I can’t tell you why I didn’t become illegal to discriminate in employment or orientation is much more than our one of the horrifying statistics, one of public accommodations on the basis of sexuality—it’s fundamental to every part those gay youth who succumb to the sexual orientation or gender identity or of our being. And our pride is in much effects of depression and bullying. more than the people with whom we LGBTQ+ youth are much more likely to expression. Still, there is a movement backwards, sleep—it’s a pride in who we have behave attempted to take their lives not attempts to prevent trans youth and come, our way of living, having created because of something wrong with them, adults from experiencing the life, liberty a reality where we can be ourselves and but based on lack of acceptance from live with integrity and dignity. families, institutions, communities that and pursuit of happiness promised to us. There are attempts to terrorize We have a sense of pride that we are attempt to force them to be someone school boards and state legislatures surviving in a society filled with hoelse. to turn back the clock and push our mophobia, heterosexism and cisgender Even if not a direct physical attempt progress back into the closet. We’ve witnorms, and that we have opportunities to end the pain, sometimes it’s a slow, to create a better community every day. drawn-out suicide by means of abuse of nessed recently how easy it is to demonToo many of our community memalcohol or drugs or another form of self- ize and scapegoat any segment of our

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community, with elected officials issuing executive orders to institute discrimination and installing administrators and judges in positions where they can do severe long-term damage despite the increasing numbers of Americans who support full equality. To counter both the most vocal and the subtle efforts to divide and distract us, there are many local groups focusing on building community as well as creating systems of support and advocacy. There are countless opportunities to donate your time and your money to key programs in our community such as Southern Arizona Gender Alliance (SAGA), Mariposas Sin Fronteras, Tucson LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Southern Arizona Senior Pride, Reveille Men’s Chorus, Tucson Pride, Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation, Desert Voices, Project Visibility at Pima Council on Aging, the Alliance Fund at the CONTINUED ON PAGE 31


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Celebrate Pride In Arizona!


PRIDE IN THE NAME OF LOVE CONTINUED FROM PAGE 29

Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, Rainbow Families, Equality Arizona and many more, including many at the University of Arizona. I have the honor to serve as staff with one of the longest-standing organizations in the LGBTQ+ community, the Tucson Interfaith HIV/AIDS Network (TIHAN): • Providing direct support for immediate needs, as well as efforts to help people with HIV live well long term • Increasing the volunteer capacity of caring community members to make a difference • Decreasing HIV stigma • Promoting HIV testing, awareness of PrEP, and U=U (Undetectable = Untransmittable) • Advocating for additional efforts to build bridges, increase our understanding of intersectionality, and address the disproportionate impact of HIV on communities of color (and the systemic racism that has contributed to this). There are 36.9 million people living with HIV around the world, with more than 1.1 million in the US, and several thousand people here in Pima County. With new medications, people with HIV can live longer and healthier lives. Treatment can keep you healthy and get the amount of virus in your system to an “undetectable” level that can prevent you from transmitting HIV to

your partner. We see a wide diversity of people coming to TIHAN for help and support. In addition to having HIV, most of the people we serve live at or below the federal poverty level. Most have little or no family support. Many of them have been beaten down by the impact of this disease upon their bodies, but also too often upon their minds and souls. They’ve faced discrimination and rejection— from families, friends, employers and faith communities. The vast majority of people have been marginalized because of their life circumstances. Stigma remains strong, and isolation and depression are still too prevalent. So people come to TIHAN and we offer care and companionship, hope and hospitality. We offer meals and emotional and social support and care packages. We provide advocates and CareTeams and resources of empowerment. We make sure they know that they are not alone and that we will provide support to help them live with HIV as well and as fully as possible. TIHAN is proud of our work in the community. We’re proud to have caring volunteers, compassionate faith communities and businesses, and fabulous and courageous CarePartners living with HIV. Many of us at TIHAN are LGBTQ+ and many of us are not— but we are friends and allies who have joined this march towards justice and equality. TIHAN reaches across lines of sexual orientation, building bridges

SEPTEMBER 23, 2021

of understanding and support and increasing the number and impact of allies. We are proud of our coalitions and collaborations—between people, between progressive faith communities of diverse faith, and between segments of society that have misunderstood each other for too long. We have four immediate needs you can consider: • Donate toiletry, cleaning, and personal care items for CarePackages (toilet tissue, bar soap/body wash, shampoo, paper towels, facial tissue, disinfecting wipes, bleach, household disinfecting cleaners, liquid hand soap, dish detergent, toothpaste, dental floss, mouthwash, toothbrushes, disposable razors, shaving cream, deodorant, hand sanitizer and laundry detergent). • Contribute funds for $25 food cards to local grocery stores for people with HIV living in poverty. We are short, but with $5,000 more, we can provide these gift cards to the 200 people most in need through December.

TUCSONWEEKLY.COM 31

• Learn about and share the life-saving information about PrEP, medication that people at high risk of HIV can take to minimize the chance of contracting HIV. • Engage with your community, the people with whom you identify, as well as those who seem so different—until you find your commonalities. Your connections and activism, with your time and your dollars, is critical right now. Whether it’s with the Tucson Interfaith HIV/AIDS Network or one of many more groups working on social, racial, and economic justice: Find ways to contribute. Together, we’re creating a better future for ourselves, and for those who will follow us. ■ Scott Blades is the Executive Director of the Tucson Interfaith HIV/AIDS Network (TIHAN). More information is available at tihan.org

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SEPTEMBER 23, 2021

CHOW

ANIMAL ATTRACTION

COURTESY PHOTO

Vineyard bottles Wine of the Wild to benefit Reid Park Zoo By Matt Russell tucsoneditor@tucsonlocalmedia.com HAVE YOU HEARD THE ONE ABOUT the African elephant, squirrel monkey, giraffe, flamingo, white rhino, and anteater that walk into a bar? A wild time was had by all. Ba-dum, bump. But in this case, premium wine is the foundation of the festivities, and whenever a love of animals and passion for wine intersect, Rancho Rossa Vineyards always seems to be at the heart of the story. This winery located about 50 miles southeast of Tucson has been supporting animal welfare and rescue programs since they planted their first vines in 2002. As the 20th anniversary of this historic moment in AriSelf Serve Buffet is back!

zona viticultural history draws near, they’ve released a special wine that pays tribute to six of the more than 250 animals that reside at Tucson’s Reid Park Zoo. And in collaboration with Rescued Hearts Cellars, their sister non-profit organization, Rancho Rossa Vineyards will be donating 100% of the profits from bottle sales to the zoo. The “Wine of the Wild” is a Bordeaux-style red blend made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes that were grown onsite at the winery’s 24-acre estate in the Elgin-Sonoita wine region. Each of the more than 1,500 bottles produced features one of six animals that call our local zoo home, with a corresponding color and creative design on the label to make it unique. In evaluating the styles of wine that

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would be a suitable fit for their philanthropy, the winery’s owner Breanna Hamilton knew right away that some of the five grape varietals that define the iconic Bordeaux region would need to be in these bottles. “We really love Bordeaux wines and we grow Bordeaux grapes, and it’s the style of wine that our fans love the most,” said Hamilton. “We blend Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot every year, sometimes adding other Bordeaux varietals like Petit Verdot and Malbec, and our goal is always to produce nice, well-rounded blends.” The six animals that made the cut for the Wine of Wild series are the African elephant, squirrel monkey, giraffe, flamingo, white rhino, and anteater. Though many individuals have purchased all six bottles in the series as a collector’s set—I mean, wouldn’t you?—the one that’s sold the most so far is the African elephant. “Everyone loves big animals, especially kids who think they’re out of this world,” she said. “Elephants are big, cool, fun, and funny, with great personalities.” While the elephant currently leads sales, Hamilton’s personal favorite is the rhino which represents the one at Reid Park Zoo who she refers to as “a big puppy dog.” “Here you have this huge scary animal that enjoys being rubbed and just wants to

be loved,” she said. Hamilton’s winemaker husband Chris reportedly relates best to the squirrel monkey, testimony that didn’t surprise her because “he’s a little bit of a monkey himself,” she revealed. Wine of the Wild bottles are $25 each and can be purchased at the Rancho Rossa Vineyards tasting room at 201 Cattle Ranch Lane in Elgin. They can also be ordered online at RanchoRossa.com/shop. Samples of the wine will be poured at ZOOcson as well, an evening gala at Reid Park Zoo on Friday, Oct. 8, featuring cuisine from local restaurants, samples of local wine, beer, and spirits, auctions, animal ambassador presentations, and live music. Tickets can be purchased at ReidParkZoo. org/event. As I take my own walk on the wild side, I think my Wine of the Wild choice would be the anteater. Ants can ruin a backyard party, and I have a reputation to uphold. ■ Contact Matt Russell, whose day job is CEO of Russell Public Communications, at mrussell@russellpublic.com. Russell is also the publisher of OnTheMenuLive.com as well as the host of the Friday Weekend Watch segment on the “Buckmaster Show” on KVOI 1030 AM.


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. Día de los Muertos at Tohono Chul. Modern celebrations of this holiday, which recognizes and celebrates death, are a rich and beautiful part of Tucson’s cultural heritage. This exhibit features 61 works from 42 different Arizona artists, who bring the spirit of the holiday to life in works with both personal and universal meaning. Manuel Fontes, who studied fine art photography at Phoenix College and earned his BA and MA in ecological anthropology from ASU, is joining Tohono Chul’s team as co-curator for the exhibit. His art has been shown in 11 Tohono Chul exhibitions since 2015. On display through Nov. 8 at Tohono Chul, 7366 Paseo del Norte. Galleries open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. $15 adult entry, $13 seniors/military, $6 kids ages 5 to 12. Fugitive, a Tribute to Merle Haggard. Merle Haggard is one of those people who lived a life full of excitement – the type of excitement you want to hear about, but not live out. Like, he started writing bad checks at 13, he brewed alcohol while he was in prison at San Quentin, and he was married five times. Kevin Sterner and the Strait Country Band honor the man/myth/legend in this special concert at the Gaslight. From “Lonesome Fugitive” to “Today I started Loving you Again” to “Working Man Blues,” you’ll be soakin’ up the hits! 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 26. Gaslight Music Hall, 13005 N. Oracle Road. $27. 37th Annual Tucson Folk Festival Kickoff. TKMA (The Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association) is the group that puts on the Tucson Folk Festival in and around downtown Tucson every year. This event is a fundraiser to help raise money for the big fest. But, oh, do we love a good fundraiser where you really get something cool for your money.

SEPTEMBER 23, 2021

Catrina Paper Mache Día de los Muertos Workshop. If you didn’t know, La Calavera Catrina was originally a zinc etching by Mexican artist Jose Guadalupe Posada from the early 1900s. It was of a skeleton woman wearing a flowered hat, and different iterations of the image have become one of the most recognizable icons of Day of the Dead. In this workshop with Luna’s Paper Designs, you’ll make your very own Catrina doll out of paper mache, wire, paint and ribbon. Seriously, the cutest decoration for this time of year, and you get to make it yourself! So cool. 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25. Catalyst Arts and Maker Space at the Tucson Mall, 4500 N. Oracle Road, #110. $55. Email sandy@lunaspaperdesigns.com with questions.

by Emily Dieckman Art of Planetary Science 2021: Space Travel. Oh, science. We love you. We’re always praising you for your critical thinking abilities and your intelligence, but, with this exhibit, we pause to celebrate your beauty. The UA’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory is featuring works of art inspired by the solar system, the universe and the scientific data we use to explore it. You’ll see fine art and data art side by side, and on this opening weekend, they’re offering all sorts of activities and prizes. Come see the art from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 24, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25 and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 26. Kuiper Space Building, 1629 E. University Blvd. See lpl. arizona.edu/art for info on virtual display dates as well. Thin Mint Sprint. So, yeah, a thin mint is a lot more enjoyable than a 5K run on the face of things. But imagine how well-deserved a thin mint will feel after a 5K run. You could eat a whole box of them, and no one could stop you! The Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona has announced the return of the in-person version of this annual event, though you can still participate virtually if you prefer. And if you’d rather not commit to a 5K, there’s always the 1-mile Do-si-do Dash (wow, that is adorable). All proceeds support the Girl Scouts. Online registration has ended, but you can register the morning of! $45. Brandi Fenton Memorial Park, 3482 E. River Road. 7 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 26.

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Head over to Monterey Court for a night full of performances by Steff Kayser, JC & Laney, Wayback & Friends, and Sophia Rankin & The Sound. Of course, food and libations will abound. 6:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25. Monterey Court Café, 505 W. Miracle Mile. Reservations requested. $10 donation. Over the Border Festival. You know what we need in Tucson? Another festival! Seriously. You can never have too many, and this one has a Tecate Alta Lounge, a Margarita Village and a Tequila Expo, so… it sounds fun, right? But if you’re not a drinker, there’s still plenty here for you to enjoy. Live mariachi music, artisans selling their work, and plenty of tacos make this a family-friendly festival for all 16 and up. Doors open at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25. Rillito Race Track, 4502 N. First Ave. $18 GA to $50/$55 for the 21+ Margarita Village/Tequila Expo, or $95 VIP. Use code SAACA at checkout for 25% off. Song My Mother Taught Me… and Songs I will Teach My Daughter. This faculty recital at Pima Music features soprano Kirsten C. Kunkle and pianist Kassandra Weleck (who just happen to be former college roommates)! The show features some classic favorites from childhood, lullabies, and gems that the two have discovered throughout their lives. It’s a wonderful, musical opportunity to think about how we both carry on and create new traditions for their children. 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 26. Pima Community College West Campus, Center for the Arts Recital Hall, 2202 W. Anklam Road. $5/$6. Make It! Workshop: Flying Things. This event series over at the local children’s museum is really neat. Bring your kids over to Curiosity Courtyard to work with hammers, saws and glue guns and become little makers! Kids learn about problem-solving, open-ended creative thinking and how to use tools to create something all their own. The cost of the workshop includes all of the supplies. Use code BOGO for buy-one, get-one free admission. 5:30 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25. Children’s Museum Tucson, 200 S. Sixth Ave.


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SEPTEMBER 23, 2021

ARTS & CULTURE

Egress – Works on Paper by George Little, Alice Browne and Anthony Banks Through Oct. 8 Louis Carlos Bernal Gallery at Pima College West, 2202 W. Anklam Rd. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday -Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday. Free 520-206-6942, www.pima.edu/cfa-gallery. Masks required indoors

When you walk into the radiant white gallery, the first things you notice are George Little’s out- of-this world colors. Andres sees in them the glorious hues of Matisse – red, orange, blue, green and white. Interestingly, Little’s work is more Three young London artists bring fresh new art to Pima College’s Bernal Gallery like that of the modernists of the early 20th century – Matisse included -- than the contemporary artists of today. Little grew up in London in a family of By Margaret Regan Andres, the gallery’s respected curator, chefs and restaurateurs. He spent plentucsoneditor@tucsonlocalmedia.com lined up an exhibition for the UK artists ty of time clearing tables and washing to be mounted in the 2020-2021 school dishes, eventually worked as a chef and WAY BACK IN 2019, IN THE CAREFREE year. That didn’t happen, of course; the bartender. In these new paintings, he uses pandemic forced the gallery to go dark for days before the pandemic, David Andres his beautiful colors to conjure up plates, a year and a half. flew all the way to London to see art. tables, menus and even leftovers. But there are silver linings. The three Traveling with members of the ContemAt first glance, these restaurant-inspired porary Art Society of the Tucson Museum artists all used the lockdown year to do in- paintings seem to be pure abstractions, of Art, Andres scoured art studios all over tense work, laboring alone in their studios made of appealing shapes and curves and and creating whole new suites of art. And the old town and hit gold in the warelines. “Tossed,” for instance, is a cheery now they have the honor of reopening the houses of south London. He met a trio of medley of small irregular forms colored gallery with art shipped overseas from talented young Brits who had studied at in green and red and orange. But Little England. Each of the artists made works the prestigious Royal College of Art and manages to make his work both abstract exhibited their work abroad. Andres invit- on paper, richly layered in a raft of mateand figurative: squint at the ebullient ed all three –– Alice Browne, George Little rials, from oil and acrylic to gouache and “Tossed,” and you’ll see it’s also a portrait charcoal to pen and pencil and wax. and Anthony Banks –– to display their of a salad. Their fresh work, made in a historic work in faraway Arizona at the Louis CarLikewise, “Menus” is a cascade of white time of sorrow, is like the proverbial balm los Bernal Gallery at Pima College West. shapes, embedded in abstract curves and in Gilead. lines, framed by rich colors. Those white shapes are also a set of restaurant menus. Little’s inventive new suite also conjures up the loneliness of the pandemic. In all the clutter of his painted restaurant, there is not a single human being. Alice Browne’s gripping paintings are more solemn than Little’s. A few of her pieces are colored in pretty pinks and sky blue, but others are somber and even scary. A fetid yellow here, a midnight purple there, give an ominous backdrop to painted ropes, arrows and chain link. In her artist statement, Browne says, “Tossed” by George Little

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

COURTESY PHOTO

“There is no perfection, no truth; instead, I hope to make works … that embrace the mutability and failings of human experience.” The painting “Sebastian,” Browne’s contemporary version of the story of St. Sebastian, seems to fulfill this sorrowful goal. The work is covered in square patches of that unhealthy yellow, and dangerous tree branches vault across the scene. In the middle of this troubling work is a human hand, and a host of arrows piercing flesh. The martyr St. Sebastian, of course, was regularly painted by artists of the Renaissance; they showed him nearly naked and shot through with arrows. The artist’s version makes the saint almost invisible; in 2021 this Sebastian is just a suffering everyman. Much bigger arrows fly across the midnight purple of “Untitled.” In another piece, another batch of arrows sails past the moon and above a treacherous chain link fence. Its chilling title? “Portent.” But there is some relief. In the painting “Portal,” a doorway to a house that’s a pleasant pink and blue, seems to offer a shelter from the doom. Of the three artists, Anthony Banks is engaged with nature and the outdoors. His 12 works are full of birds and boats and the land around the sea. But these pieces of familiar subjects are by no means saccharin. “Fruit Bowl and Coastline” is an abstraction that boldly breaks the images into quickly dashed outlines. “Sailing Boat” is more a collection of colorful curving boards than a portrait of a seaworthy dinghy. Banks has perhaps the most interesting layering technique. He does a lot of collaging and he prefers a long “slow layering” of his paper. He welcomes accidental mistakes, he writes, and waits “for the works to finish themselves, for marks and paint to accumulate, for the dust to settle.” The result is a marvelous, muted texture that reminds me old-fashioned prints in children’s books. The aviary in “British Birds and Finches” nearly disappears in luminous pale green, and the lovely “Heron under Willow,” a mixture of deep navy, golden tan and white, turns into a guessing game of find the beautiful bird. ■


SEPTEMBER 23, 2021

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would sleep with 90-year-old film star and legend Clint Eastwood. I’m sure they are clamoring to see his bony ass naked. He has a lot of money, an interesting squinty forehead and he knows Tom Hanks. In the fictional movie world, Eastwood’s character is a cranky, broken, old-assed ex-rodeo star alcoholic and drug addict (granted, sober in the movie) who might be coming up a little short on the sex appeal side. In short: It’s a little hard to buy these women falling for this character inside of five minutes, although one of them might’ve been drunk at the time, so there is that. Structurally, the movie is all over the place, a mark of somebody just going through the motions. Minett and Eastwood have zero chemistry on scene, making all of the intended endearing dialogue between them forced and weird. The laughs in the movie are mostly unintentional, like watching Eastwood stumble through romantic dance scenes. He’s no hoofer. I watched half of this movie in the theater and drove home to watch the second half of the movie on HBO Max. Why? Because I could. I enjoyed the PHOTO BY WARNER BROS. second half more because there was that feeling that this is what watching this garbage would’ve been like had I not driven to the theater and spent $20 bucks It’s remarkable that movie legend Clint Eastwood is still making movies, but Cry Macho is a mess on a ticket and popcorn, along with one of those Propel drinks. (Trying to cut down on the soda.) Cry Macho sucks for a variety of reasons, biggest one being Eastwood has dreadfully miscast himself, By Bob Grimm of Eastwood basically just driving around. tucsoneditor@tucsonlocalmedia.com Eastwood’s Mike is a horse trainer fired by his boss followed by the script being crap and the supporting (Dwight Yoakum) then inexplicably hired a year later performances leaving much to be desired. I’m going to watch Unforgiven as the antidote, the irony being to track down his boss’s estranged 13-year-old son, AT 90+ YEARS OF AGE, CLINT EASTWOOD that Eastwood’s totally forgiven for shitting the bed Rafo (Eduardo Minett) in Mexico. The embittered has cemented his status as a very good filmmaker. cinematically this time because, you know, he made Mike, who called his boss small and weak the year He’s made a lot of movies, some great, some good, Unforgiven. before, pretty much says, “Yeah, I guess I owe you and some truly bad ones. OK…I’ll shut up now. ■ one,” and agrees to kidnap the son from his mother Cry Macho, his latest directorial effort, is one of the (Fernanda Urrejola). truly bad ones. On that mission to essentially kidnap the boy, Again, the man is over 90 years old. It’s AMAZING Mike encounters that mom, a much younger than that he still has the gumption to not only act in a him woman who outrageously invites the 90-yearmovie, but direct it, too. And here he is, putting on a old Mike to sleep with her after knowing him for 30 cowboy hat and growling through his latest role as seconds. Mike spurns the advance because his dick Mike, the ex-rodeo star given a chance to do someprobably fell off two decades ago, and that puts some thing other than sit in his lonely home and waste nonsense about the boy’s mom seeking revenge away. against Mike into effect. If this sounds remarkably To be clear, this is not Eastwood’s return to weststupid and inane, that’s because it is. erns, which would perhaps have been a nice capper The boy is “wild,” according to the mom. Drinking, to his career. Nope, Unforgiven, a film he made nearly stealing, and attending cockfights with his trusty 30 years ago, stands as his last true western. rooster, Macho. (Hence, the movie title!) He agrees No, this cowboy hat is more or less something to to travel with Mike because he is promised a horsey put on the movie poster to make you think Eastwood on the other side of the border, but the chance for is back in a western, and you would have to see that, a thrilling road picture dies when Mike and the kid right? The guy who did The Outlaw Josey Wales is wind up stranded at a cantina because their car isn’t saddling up again? Sign us up! holding its oil. This triggers another ridiculous subNo, this actually is a “grown man shepherds a plot where another woman much younger than Mike young boy to salvation” story, with very little in the wants to sleep with him. way of saloons and zero gunfights, and much footage Hey, in the “real world,” I’m sure a lot of people

CINEMA

ENDING IN TEARS


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SEPTEMBER 23, 2021

MUSIC

The Garden by Rachel Eckroth Released Friday, Sept. 3. Rainy Days Records racheleckroth.com rainydaysrecords.bandcamp.com/album/thegarden

SPROUTING ANEW

PHOTO BY EUGENE PETRUSHANSKIY

Rachel Eckroth returns to her jazz roots on The Garden By Jeff Gardner jeff@tucsonlocalmedia.com

AS THE ABSURDITY OF THE LAST 18 months would have it, it took musician and singer Rachel Eckroth returning to the desert to release an album titled The Garden—admittedly, it’s not a standard album, either. So the story of how The Garden came to be might actually make sense in its own scattered, jazzy way. When the pandemic first started, Eckroth and her husband Tim Lefebvre still lived in Los Angeles. Eckroth has multiple releases both as a solo artist and a featured artist, playing piano, singing and performing with artists like St. Vincent and Rufus Wainwright. Lefebvre is also a musician and producer, playing bass and guitar. Needless to say, during those early days of social distancing, Eckroth and Lefebvre had plenty of time to jam at home. Eckroth describes it as improvising “crazy music” with all the instruments, keyboards and pedals in their house. The founder of a Russian jazz label, Rainy Days Records (who Lefebvre has worked with), heard their home improvs and thought it would be great to turn them into a full album. Eckroth began formally writing the album after moving to Tucson toward the end of 2020. Eckroth grew up in Phoenix and earned her master’s in jazz, so The Garden served as a kind of literal and musical homecoming.

“So I was a jazz musician from the beginning, and around 30 I started writing songs with lyrics,” Eckroth said. “I sort of went that direction for a while and had personal success writing lyrics. I was able to take my songwriter songs and open for people like Rufus Wainwright. So it wasn’t like I ever fully left jazz, I was putting something else at the forefront. But for this, we had a lot of time to play around with sound and figure out what kind of record we wanted it to be.” The Garden is an unique jazz record, led by Eckroth on a variety of synthesizers, but still leaving room for multiple saxophones, guitars and drums. Songs like “Under a Fig Tree” and “Low Hanging Fruit” combine busy jazz rhythms with electronic elements, bass and piano grooves, and a dark production style. Eckroth says the album’s theme comes from every sound having “different colors and textures” like a garden. However, she says most of the music on the album came before the tracks had thematically linked names. “It’s very free yet angular, and there are a lot of strange textures. In that way, it’s definitely not like a traditional jazz vibe,” Eckroth said. While there are some wild avant-garde jazz horns and drumming, many songs still leave enough room for brass solos and some beautiful piano sections. Eckroth says some of her biggest influences going into The Garden were jazz pianists Carla Bley and Herbie Hancock, though

she maintains that the album is “less like a Herbie Hancock synth record and more like a Miles Davis electrified record.” Because The Garden was written and recorded during a pandemic, recording sessions were kept small. The Garden was recorded at Sonic Ranch near El Paso and overdubbed here in Tucson. “It was a pretty small group of us who were able to lay out the basic parts of the songs. We did some improvisation there, as well. But the other four players were overdubbed,” Eckroth said. “In my mind, I had most of it planned out. At least where the guys were going to play. It was a little different with [guitarist] Nir Felder on ‘Dried Up Roots,’ because we needed him to do solos and play over the whole track. So we did a virtual session, listening along to him in New York. Basically we were producing it from Tucson while he was recording.... But for the saxophone players, I actually left space in the arrangements. I trade off with Donny McCaslin on one of the songs, so I literally just left space when we were recording.” “Dried Up Roots” is a clear standout track, and not only because it’s the only one with lyrics. The longest song on the album at more than seven minutes, “Dried Up Roots” works as a kind of progressive centerpiece. The hushed intro leads to Eckroth’s soulful vocals about alienation. Just as she sings “My roots dried up and I began to lose my way,” an off-kilter synthesizer sends the song into a claustrophobic middle passage. The whole song stays in a murky blend of rock, ambient and jazz, leaving just enough room for an uplifting guitar solo and Eckroth’s powerful singing. “Most of the records of me online are as a singer, but I wanted to distinguish myself as a keyboard player as well. So adding those few vocals in kind of puts it all together,” Eckroth said. “It fits, because I’m returning to my roots in a way. Returning to Arizona was a very similar experience, exploring familiar territory. And Tucson is also where I started as a composer. I found myself here writing the way I used to write music.” ■

By Xavier Omar Otero tucsonweekly@tucsonlocalmedia.com

MARK YOUR CALENDARS… This week sees John Legend, Rickie Lee Jones, Jack Russell’s Great White, Zoé, Waxahatchee, Metalachi, and more, pass through town. Read on...

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...

FRIDAY, SEPT. 24 It was poet J. Ivy who christened this R&B/soul singer. “You sound like one of the legends [from the old-school]. Ivy muses, “That’s what I’m going to call you...John Legend.” Before the release of Get Lifted (2004) propelled Legend to Grammy Award-winning success, he was simply mild-mannered John Stephens—background singer, keyboardist and collaborator on Kanye West’s breakout album The College Dropout and subsequent tour. As his star ascended, Legend remained reticent, careful not to cause any waves. Robert Christgau, the éminence grise of rock critics, tabbed him an “ordinary soul man.” But that’s all changed. These days, Legend stands as a “political firebrand dosed in petrol,” using his platform to rail against trigger-happy cops, white supremacists and abusive, narcissistic ex-presidents (drawing Trump’s ire in tweets). He’s advocated for the #MeToo Movement, spoke out against R.Kelly and championed Black Lives Matter. Despite constraints created by the pandemic, his badassery continues. In 2020, Legend and Common dueted on “Glory” (from the motion picture Selma)


SEPTEMBER 23, 2021

PHOTO BY MOMENTO MORI ON FLICKR / CREATIVE COMMONS (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

John Legend brings the Bigger Love Tour to AVA Amphitheater on Friday, Sept. 24

at a Joe Biden rally in Philadelphia on the eve of the presidential election; he reverently rendered “Never Break” at the 2020 Democratic National Convention; and, in January 2021, Legend belted out Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” at the Biden-Harris Celebrating America inauguration event in Washington, D.C. Multi-platinum artist John Legend brings the Bigger Love Tour to AVA Amphitheater... “Once Bitten, Twice Shy?” Well, maybe not. Formed in Los Angeles (1977), Great White peaked during the late 1980s with singles “Rock Me” and the Ian Hunter penned gem, “Once Bitten, Twice Shy,” moving over 10 million copies worldwide. Fast-forward to 2011, following a series of accidents, legal entanglements, tragedies, and addictions, after numerous falls, a now sober Jack Russell wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. Tucson guitar legend Robby Lochner recalls, “Jack decided he was firing his old band and asked if I wanted to join. I was reluctant, but said, ‘Yes.’” Since then Lochner has become an integral part of the band. “It’s a powerful band,” Russell proclaims. “The music is dynamic and gone where I’ve never gone before.” Recognizing his talent early on, Russell credits Lochner’s as being a catalyst for moving forward. “He’s my copilot and one of my best friends.” Jack Russell’s Great White is still on a feeding frenzy. At Rialto Theater. Backed by the ultimate tribute to AC-DC, The Jack...

SUNDAY, SEPT. 26 Truly, a songwriting great, Rickie Lee Jones’ 15 critically acclaimed albums know no musical boundaries—rock, R&B, pop, soul and jazz. She is both a character in the songs and the storyteller who brings them to life. Recently adding author to a résumé teeming with accomplishments, Jones published her memoir: Last Chance Texaco: Chronicles of an American Troubadour (Grove Press, 2021). “With songs [you have] about 10 lines to create the whole fiction,” says Jones. In her memoir, over the span of 400 pages, the 66-year-old performer looks

back on the adventures of a fierce-hearted girl, taking desperate chances, who grew to become one of the most legendary artists of her time. “I’ve sat quietly for a lifetime now. Let me set [the record] straight, without any bitterness.” With eclectic boho-chic stylings and sometimes brazen sexuality, the Duchess of Coolsville, Rickie Lee Jones continues to defy convention. At Fox Tucson Theatre... Coming of age in Sonoma County, California. Just “Downstream” from the Valley of the Moon—a mystical place where early settlers claimed to see the moon rise and set seven times. Freddy Parish credits his Arkansas born father—and their Ozark family heritage—for inspiring a lifelong love of country music, informing his folk and bluegrass imbued neotraditional style. Arising from the dread when one’s very existence is in question, yet, offset by one certainty, that there is no turning back, on “Back Anywhere” Parish chokes back the tears. “And I miss what we started and where I come from. I was trying to get home. Not enough to get me there. You can never really go, back anywhere.” Like a fine single-malt Scotch, possessing a voice that carries “just enough sweetness to make the heartbreak go down smoother,” Freddy Parish celebrates the release of A Cold July (2021). On Club Congress Plaza... Preceded by an R&B force of nature, Connie Brannock’s Little House of Blues, as they return for a monthly Congress Cookout... Recorded at famed Village Studios in Los Angeles, Faster—revealing her affinity for North Mississippi blues heroes like R.L. Burnside and wild innovators like Prince—captures Samantha Fish’s extraordinary inner power in combustible guitar licks, primal rhythms and adrenalizing vocal work. “The whole record has a theme of taking charge and taking the reins, in a relationship or in life.” Fish adds, “I fell in love with music from going to shows. I know how cathartic it can be. It heals your heart,” Wild Heart Samantha Fish will Kill or Be Kind. At 191 Toole. With the “gnarly riffs” and bluesy soul of Jackson Stokes... CONTINUED ON PAGE 38

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XOXO

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 37

MONDAY, SEPT. 27 Recorded in the windswept Texas borderlands, following Katie Crutchfield’s decision to get sober, Saint Cloud (2020) is a departure from the guitar-driven, sharp-edged noise of Out in the Storm (2017). Stripping away inessential layers, foregrounding her voice and soul-baring storytelling. The time spent healing between records, in bulldogged self-examination, became the record’s conceptual polestar. Addiction and codependency, she says, “are the twin demons that necessitated this record.” Coming to a deeper understanding of love, on “Fire” she sings, “If I could love you unconditionally, I could iron out the edges of the darkest sky.” Waxahatchee stoke the flame with twigs and dried flowers. On Club Congress Plaza. Performing “prayer music for agnostics,” Texas indie rock practitioner Katy Kirby opens... During

the late 1960s and early ’70s, this guitarist honed his chops on the rough and tumble side of San Jose, California. A place where street-tough Mexican Americans, with their soul music, and counterculture hippies, with their blues and rock, came together to party and listen to tunes. He learned well; earning accolades from guitar hero Joe Bonamassa. “Tommy has always been top of the heap among blues guitar players.” Traveling untold miles, Tommy Castro & The Painkillers fête the release of A Bluesman Came To Town. At 191 Toole...

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 29 Formed in Cuernavaca, Mexico in 1997, before signing their first recording contract (the following year), faced with a lack of venues to stage performances, these Mexican rockeros embraced the DIY spirit, self-published demo and organized concerts. Flooding the internet, the word of mouth began to spread, helping them gain airplay on radio stations in the U.S. Determined as ever, Zoé are touring in support of their

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latest release, Sonidos de Karmática Resonancia (2021). At Rialto Theater. From Barcelona, Spain, electronic/indie/new wavers Dorian open...

THURSDAY, SEPT. 30 Heavy metal has a pleasurably sordid affair with mariachi music? Say it isn’t so? Copious amounts of tequila must’ve been involved, without doubt. “From Juarez, Mexico via Hollywood,” quite possibly this band of dissenters rose from unconsecrated graves. Like at El Tiradito, where Juan Oliveras rests not so peacefully after being murdered by his father-in-law who caught him in flagrante delicto with his enraptured mother-in-law. Metalachi, “The world’s first and only heavy metal mariachi band,” do unholy things to metal classics. Bring your holy water aspergillum. At 191 Toole... Remembering her childhood fear of arachnids, bassist Shannon Shaw says, “My mom always told me that they were drawn to me. They’d drop down and dangle in my face or get in my bed.” A few years ago, during a time of tribulation, Shaw consulted an astrologer, when emotional threads began to unspool. The astrologer advised her to invoke Durga—the Hindu goddess of protection whose eight arms hold weapons—when she felt powerless. “The symbolism of the spider made a full turn,” she says, knowingly. “I was getting protection from the thing I feared the most.” Infusing neo-psychedelic garage rock with Motown flourishes, Shannon & The Clams pay deference to the Year Of The Spider (2021). On Club Congress Plaza. With the fuzzy-wuzzy, classic horror flick campy, softcore porn pop of The Paranoyds... Until next week, XOXO...

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He was called by some “the greatest country singer in the world,” while others might say a “piece of work.” Ned Sutton was born in Belleville, Illinois, to an Air Force father and a gospel piano playing mother. He start-

ed singing as a youth in the Methodist church before the family relocated to Tucson. Sutton took up guitar while attending Catalina High School where he graduated in 1966. “I had awful little folk country combos with names like The Travelers Three,” Sutton said in an interview with Tucson Weekly (April 8, 2021). He studied to be an EMT, graduating from the University of Arizona. Over the years, Sutton performed roots country and old time rock-n-roll with various bands: Fast Eddie and the Rodeo Kings, the Disco Ramblers, Ned Sutton and the Rabbits, Ned Sutton & Last Dance and others. In 1978, he released his only album, with The Rabbits. The long out-of-print, German release Drugstore Cowboy, produced by George Hawke (The Dusty Chaps). Sutton’s influence went way beyond his musical milieu: Rainer Ptacek, Howe Gelb and Giant Sand, Billy Sedlmayr, The Band of Blacky Ranchette, all owe a debt. Al Perry named Sutton “a personal and musical influence for decades.” His deep knowledge and relationship to country music was said to be “astounding.” Dave La Russa, former KWFM disc jockey, remembers Ned’s influence on the burgeoning music scene of the 1980s. “Ned’s local rep...everyone knew who he was; his voice was angelic. People responded to that.” In 2012, Sutton was inducted into the Tucson Musicians Museum Hall of Fame. He was a man of many talents. After perfecting his cartooning skills, Sutton’s work appeared in the pages of the Tucson Weekly, City Magazine, Phoenix New Times and more. His book Grey Matter was published in 1981. “Ned coached little league, went to school band meetings, PTA meetings, worked the snack bar, all of it while doing freelance graphic work.” Katherine, his wife of nearly 50 years, recalls, “He was really the stay-at-home dad.” “The Grandpa. The Man. The Myth. The Bad Influence,” read the imprint on one of Sutton’s favorite sweatshirts. Late last week, Ned Sutton left this world. He was 72 years old. ■


SEPTEMBER 23, 2021

TUMBLEWEEDS CONNECTION Certification center owners represent LGBTQ+ in cannabis community By David Abbott tucsoneditor@tucsonlocalmedia.com THE PEOPLE AT TUCSON’S Tumbleweeds Health Center have a lot on their plates these days, so while they will miss the annual Pride Festival at Reid Park (which was postponed until 2022 due to the ongoing pandemic), there is still plenty to keep them busy. “It’s just a postponement so when we’re all clear to go out together again, we will do it safely and with pride,” said Kim Williams, who owns Tumbleweeds with Dana Rae Zygmunt, her partner of nearly two decades.

While the duo and their staff members were planning a presence at this year’s festival, having that commitment off their plates may be a blessing in disguise as they prepare to open a second location, the Good Leaf Hemp and CBD marketplace, at 6224 E. Speedway Blvd. A grand opening with prizes, raffles, giveaways and samples is planned for Oct. 11. But the festivities will not only celebrate the new endeavor. Tumbleweeds will also celebrate its 10th anniversary on Nov. 11 and Williams and Zygmunt will mark 20 years together as well. Williams is a Northern California

transplant, born in Oakland and raised in Napa, California, and Zygmunt, a U.S. Marine veteran, is from Grand Island, New York, southeast of Niagara Falls on the U.S.-Canadian border. The pair met when Zygmunt and her mother took a road trip in 2001 to the Kate Wolf Festival in Laytonville, California, about 160 miles north of San Francisco. Wolf was a popular folk icon in the San Francisco Bay Area who died in 1986 at the age of 44 after a long battle with leukemia. The festival that bore her name began in 1996. “I’d gone the year prior with a friend just because I loved Kate Wolf,” Zygmunt said. “My mom used to know a lot of the performers because she ran a Folk Festival in Buffalo, so I said ‘Mom, we have to go.’” After they arrived at the festival, Zygmunt’s mother introduced the two women and before long Williams headed east so they could be together. During their time in New York, Williams worked as an American Sign Language interpreter and Zygmunt found her calling as a nurse. Eventually though, the cold weather and snow became less and less attractive to Wil-

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liams, who grew up in sunnier climes. “I don’t miss that shit at all, but I really liked Buffalo,” she said. “We had a lot of fun with her Marine buddies and the city is really freaking cool.” But the call of the West proved to be too much and when medical marijuana became legal in 2010, they decided to move back and get into the business. “When I found out that Arizona passed its medical program, I was like, ‘Holy cow, we need to go back out there,’” Williams said. “I’d lived here three times already, twice in Tempe and once in Tucson, so I said, ‘Hey, we gotta go.’” They loaded up their belongings and moved to Camp Verde, but that did not last long. On the day they arrived, they unpacked and went to “the vegetarian cafe” for dinner. Along with the meal, though, they received some sage advice from the restaurant owner, who told them “you shouldn’t be here … you shouldn’t live here.” “It was a horrible night, we unpacked everything, slept with our dogs all night and then packed it up and left in the morning,” Zygmunt said. “It was scary there: Our kind was not welcome.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 41


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Williams had attended Pima College to learn ASL, so they decided to try their luck in Tucson. It has worked out well for the couple, given the success and longevity of Tumbleweeds. In the early days, before dispensaries were given the green light to provide cannabis to patients who legally had the right to purchase it, Tumbleweeds provided “meducation” to patients, providing cannabis products as part of the class fees. “This was a way to get people their medicine prior to them being able to get it themselves,” Williams said. “Three nights out of the week we had teachers of various sorts come in and instruct on anything from law, how to roll joints, how to grow plants, how to make butter to how to make hash.” Guests would pay the fee and in return get an educational experience as well as “an eighth of medicine or cookies” infused with cannabis. “We did that for two years until the dispensaries opened, then we didn’t do that anymore,” Williams said. “After that,

we launched into a full-blown certification center.” The lag between legalization and sales was due to the actions of former Gov. Jan Brewer, who, along with former Attorney General Tom Horne, filed a federal lawsuit in 2011 questioning some of the initiative’s provisions, citing concern about state employees being open to federal prosecution for providing cannabis. The lawsuit was dismissed in January 2012 and Brewer lifted the moratorium on dispensaries. The first licensed dispensary opened to the public in December 2012. By then, Tumbleweeds was fully ensconced in the community, and now the couple has enjoyed acceptance from their customers and peers in the business. One of the few times they have seen any discriminatory behavior was from a longtime customer who took issue with email announcements about the Pride festival a few years back. “One person said, literally, I will never do business with you again because I don’t support gay people,” Williams said. “[It was] a longtime patient, and that was really shocking.”

Reactions like that have been rare, though. “I don’t think people really say anything at all, for the most part,” Zygmunt added. “They love having us here.” Willians says it is not necessarily their sexual identity that puts up roadblocks as much as their gender in a society dominated by males in many cases. “I think probably one of the bigger challenges is being women owners,” she said. “That can be pretty challenging.” Four months after they opened up shop, they started their live cannabis podcast, Weedsday Wednesday, featuring cannabis luminaries from all over the world, including “the Guru of Ganja” Ed Rosenthal; the late Dr. Lester Grinspoon, a Harvard psychiatry professor who spent his life advocating for pot legalization, and Steve DeAngelo, the “Father of the Legal Cannabis Industry.” “Everybody has been on our show,” Williams said. “It’s been great during the pandemic. I’m getting requests from people that want to come on the show and get the word out.” The podcast, Belle Star & The Cannabis Kid, has received accolades from across the industry and streams every Wednesday morning from 8 to 9 a.m.

TUCSONWEEKLY.COM 41

A link to the broadcast can be found at tumbleweedshealthcenter.com. In addition to the podcast, visitors to the Tumbleweeds website can find information about the advantages cardholders have over recreational users, as well as information about its doctors and staff and and access to its telemedicine program for those who cannot get out of the house or are still squeamish about going out in public. Overall, Williams and Zygmunt love being desert dwellers and have grown to love Tucson and the support they get from customers and the community. “We just kind of stick around and keep our nose to the grindstone,” Williams said. “We’re really, really grateful and feel blessed. Especially during the pandemic: We’re coming right out of it. Full steam ahead.” ■ Tumbleweeds Health Center, located at 4826 E. Broadway Blvd. is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday’s from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, go to the website, call 520-838-4430 or email thctucson@gmail.com.

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SEPTEMBER 23, 2021

TUCSON AREA DISPENSARIES Bloom Tucson. 4695 N. Oracle Road, Ste. 117 293-3315; bloomdispensary.com Open: Sunday through Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Hana Green Valley. 1732 W. Duval Commerce Point Place 289-8030 Open: Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Botanica. 6205 N. Travel Center Drive 395-0230; botanica.us Open: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily

Harvest of Tucson . 2734 East Grant Road 314-9420; askme@harvestinc.com; Harvestofaz. com Open: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily

Desert Bloom Re-Leaf Center. 8060 E. 22nd St., Ste. 108 886-1760; dbloomtucson.com Open: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily Offering delivery Downtown Dispensary. 221 E. 6th St., Ste. 105 838-0492; thedowntowndispensary.com Open: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., daily D2 Dispensary. 7105 E 22nd St. 214-3232; d2dispensary.com/ Open: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., daily Earth’s Healing. Two locations: North: 78 W. River Road 253-7198 South: 2075 E. Benson Highway 373-5779 earthshealing.org Open: Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sundays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Offering delivery The Green Halo. 7710 S. Wilmot Road 664-2251; thegreenhalo.org Open: Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Nature Med. 5390 W. Ina Road 620-9123; naturemedaz.com Open: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily The Prime Leaf Two locations: 4220 E. Speedway Blvd. 1525 N. Park Ave. 44-PRIME; theprimeleaf.com Open: Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Purple Med Healing Center. 1010 S. Freeway, Ste. 130 398-7338; www.facebook.com/PurpleMedHealingCenter Open: Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Southern Arizona Integrated Therapies. 112 S. Kolb Road 886-1003; medicalmarijuanaoftucson.com Open: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily

Green Med Wellness Center. 6464 E. Tanque Verde Road 520-281-1587; facebook.com/GreenMedWellnessCenter Open: Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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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): Aries author Steve Maraboli says, “The best way to love someone is not to change them, but instead, help them reveal the greatest version of themselves.” If that strategy appeals to you, the next eight weeks will be an excellent time to put it to maximum use. You’re entering a phase when you can have an especially beneficial effect on people you care for. You’ll be at peak power to help them unleash dormant potentials and access untapped resources. TAURUS (April 20-May 20): It’s a good time to ruminate about things you wish could be part of your life but aren’t. You will be wise to develop a more conscious relationship with wistful fantasies about impossible dreams. Here’s one reason why this is true: You might realize that some seemingly impossible dreams aren’t so impossible. To get in the mood for this fun exercise, meditate on a sample reverie: “I wish I could spend a whole day discovering new music to love. I wish I owned a horse and a boat and a vintage brown and orange striped bohemian cardigan sweater from the 1970s. I wish I knew the names of all the flowers. I wish I felt more at ease about revealing my hidden beauty. I wish I could figure out how to eliminate unnecessary stress from my life.” GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Poet, essayist and translator Anne Carson calls her husband Robert Currie the “Randomizer.” His role in her life as a creative artist is to make quirky recommendations that help her avoid being too predictable. He sends her off in directions she wouldn’t have imagined by herself. Here’s an example: At one point in her career, Carson confessed she was bored with her writing. The Randomizer suggested, “Let’s put dancers into it.” In response, she repurposed the sonnets she had been working on into a live theatrical performance featuring many dancers. I think you would benefit from having a Randomizer in your life during the coming weeks. Know anyone who

could serve? If not, look for one. Or be your own Randomizer. CANCER (June 21-July 22): If you so desired, you could travel to Munich, Germany, and eat beer-flavored ice cream. Or you could go to Rehoboth, Delaware, and get bacon-flavored ice cream. If you were in Taiwan, you could enjoy pineapple shrimp ice cream, and if you were in London, you could sample haggis-flavored ice cream, made from sheep innards. But my advice right now is to stick with old reliables like chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream—which are still delicious even if they’re not exotic. What’s my reasoning? In general, the astrological aspects suggest that during the coming weeks, you’re most likely to thrive on trustworthy standbys and experiences you know and trust. LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Celebrated novelist Jane Austen (1775–1817) wrote, “Sometimes I have kept my feelings to myself, because I could find no language to describe them in.” People who aren’t as articulate as Austen experience that problem even more often than she did. But the good news, Leo, is that in the coming weeks, you’ll be extra skillful at expressing your feelings and thoughts—even those that in the past have been difficult to put into words. I invite you to take maximum advantage of this grace period. Communicate with hearty poise and gleeful abandon. VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): “When you know what’s important, it’s a lot easier to ignore what’s not,” writes author and life coach Marie Forleo. Let’s make her thought the basis of your work and play in the coming weeks. Get vibrantly clear on what is of supreme value to you, which influences bring out the best in you, and which people make it easy for you to be yourself. Then compose a second list of trivial situations that are of minor interest, influences that make you feel numb, and people

SAVAGE LOVE POWER TRIPPING

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I’m a 26-year-old masculine straight guy who loves exploiting the fantasies so many gay men have about straight men. When a gay guy is into me because I look like his straight-masculine-jock dream, it’s a power trip like no other. It’s always a specific type of bottom gay dude I seek out when I get on Grindr: a very feminine “thicc” guy with a pretty face and physical features begging for a dick. The kind of guy where from the right angles you can’t tell the difference between his big ass and a thicc chick’s big ass. And I always follow the same script: I send my dick pics, I make one

of these thicc bottom boys want me, and I tell him to send me a video of him twerking like a stripper for me. But I don’t go through with the meetup. I’ve experimented a few times and have gotten head from a few guys, but I have no interest in dick or fucking one of these dudes. I don’t want to harm anyone or live a lie, but I don’t feel queer or bisexual at all. I actually feel like I’m “earning my heterosexuality” when I do this. It’s like I’m proving to myself just how straight I am by teasing these gay guys. And in all honestly, I feel like I’m doing them a service because a lot of

who don’t fully appreciate you. Next, Virgo, formulate long-term plans to phase out the things in the second list as you increasingly emphasize your involvement in the pleasures named in the first list. LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Happy Birthday sometime soon, Libra! As gifts, I have collected six useful mini-oracles for you to meditate on during the rest of 2021. They’re all authored by Libran aphorist Yahia Lababidi. 1. Hope is more patient than despair and so outlasts it. 2. Miracles are proud creatures; they will not reveal themselves to those who do not believe. 3. A good listener is one who helps us overhear ourselves. 4. One definition of success might be refining our appetites, while deepening our hunger. 5. With enigmatic clarity, life gives us a different answer each time we ask her the same question. 6. Temptation: seeds we are forbidden to water, that are showered with rain. SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Pioneering psychologist Carl Jung wrote, “I must also have a dark side if I am to be whole.” But it’s important to add that some dark sides tend to be destructive and demoralizing, while other dark sides are fertile and interesting. Most of us have a share of each. My reading of the planetary omens suggests that you Scorpios now have extra power to upgrade your relationship with the fertile and interesting aspects of your dark side. I hope you will take advantage! You have a ripe opportunity to deepen and expand your wholeness. SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Sagittarian poet Rainer Maria Rilke was a complicated person with many mysterious emotions and convoluted thoughts. And yet, he once wrote that life occasionally brought him “boundless simplicity and joy.” I find it amazing he could ever welcome such a state. Kudos to him! How about you, dear Sagittarius? Are you capable of recognizing when boundless simplicity and joy are hovering in your vicinity, ready for you to seize them? If so, be extra alert in the next two weeks. I expect there’ll be a visitation or two. Maybe even three or four. CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Baltasar Gracián was

gay guys are looking for that rare, mythical thing—the straight and strict Dom top—and I can play that role. But on some level, this all seems pretty fucked up and I don’t know why I do this and sometimes I’m confused by it. I also worry this comes from a homophobic place. (“Look at this dumb twink, he’s so stupid and obsessed with dick he’ll do whatever I tell him to, I’m the alpha.”) And I guess it is homophobic because when you remove the intensity and power trip of being the straight male in this scenario, I just have no interest in guys at all. I know this was heavy. Sorry. But please answer my question. —Ally Loves Personifying Homophobic Assholes “I don’t see any major problems with

not a 21st-century New Age self-help teacher. He was a 17th-century Jesuit philosopher born under the sign of serious, diligent Capricorn. I hope you will be extra receptive to his advice in the coming weeks. He wrote, “Know your key qualities, your outstanding gifts. Cultivate them. Redouble their use.” Among the key qualities he gave as examples were disciplined discernment and resilient courage. I bring his thoughts to your attention because the coming weeks will be a rousing time to heed his counsel. It’s time for you to identify and celebrate and give abundant expression to your key qualities. AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): After studying the genes that create feathers in birds, scientists found that humans have all the necessary genes to grow feathers. (I read about it in National Geographic magazine.) So why don’t we grow feathers, then? Well, it’s complicated. Basically, the feather-making genes are not fully activated. Who knows? Maybe someday, there’ll be technology that enables us to switch on those genes and sprout plumage. I bet my Aquarian friend Jessie, whose body has 30 tattoos and 17 piercings, would take advantage. In the coming weeks, it might be fun for you to imagine having bird-like qualities. You’re entering a high-flying phase—a time for ascension, expansion, soaring, and seeing the big picture from lofty vantage points. PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Are there sensual and erotic acts you’ve never tried and are curious about? Are there experimental approaches on the frontier of your desires that would be intriguing to consider? Might there be lusty experiences you’ve barely imagined or don’t know about—but that could be fun to play with? According to my analysis of the astrological omens, the coming weeks will be a favorable time to explore such possibilities. Be safe and prudent, of course. Don’t be irresponsible or careless. But also be willing to expand your notions of your sexuality. ■ Homework. It’s time for Brag Therapy. Send me your proud and shiny boasts. Newsletter.FreeWillAstrology.com

this, and I’m not fully clear on what he perceives his problem to be,” said Alexander Cheves, the famed gay sex writer, author and columnist. “For gay men, straight men can be a kink, and the reverse can also be true. Regardless of how he identifies, ALPHA enjoys dominating feminine gay men, who he ultimately denies. Sexual withholding—denying and being denied sex—is part of many fetishes and is really hot. So this guy’s kink involves withholding and, like many kinks, it involves roleplay. He’s role-playing as ‘the straight strict Dom top.’” And that’s fine, ALPHA. There are lots of gay men are into “straight strict Dom tops,” as you already know, and you’re giving these men something they want. You’re not giving them everything


SEPTEMBER 23, 2021

they want—you’re not meeting up with them—but you’re not obligated to give them everything they want. “We all enter Grindr chats willingly, and we should do so knowing that anyone we talk to may have no plans of following through with their promises to meet,” said Cheves. “Many queer men do the same— talk and tease with no intention of meeting—and for similar reasons. The guys he is messaging are chatting with him consensually, so I don’t see any consent violations.” Now if you were uploading or sharing the video clips these guys make for you without their knowledge, ALPHA, that would be a very serious consent violation. It would also be a crime in many places. But if feeling powerful and/or powerfully desired is all you want, ALPHA, and these femme thicc boys are willing to meet that need for you, and you’re meeting a need for them, there’s nothing wrong with what you’re doing. “Even the homophobia bit is not alarming to me,” said Cheves. “Shame, stigma, and prejudice have their place in many fetishes. I think these things often lead to fetishes in the first place. So long as ALPHA isn’t committing violence against these men or causing them harm, I don’t mind that he likes degrading them. I like guys who degrade me and call me a faggot, and I don’t much care if this fun part of my sex life comes from latent homophobia in me or the men I play with.” There’s a big difference between screaming homophobic slurs at someone on the street and seeking out gay men who enjoy what linguist John McWhorter described on. my podcast as “theatrical subjugation.” While homophobia unquestionably shaped the desires of the men who find your schtick appealing, ALPHA, you’re not promoting homophobia or justifying homophobic violence. Indeed, implicit in stepping into these roles—straight alpha top, gay submissive bottom—is your ability and, even more importantly, their ability to step right back out of these roles. While playing erotic

games with homophobic themes won’t eradicate homophobia from the earth (wouldn’t it be nice if it could?), a gay guy who consents to this kind of “abuse” gets to decide when it starts and when it stops. “If ALPHA’s problem is ‘confusion’—a concern that maybe he’s not fully straight—that’s something neither of us can help him with, as that problem boils down to a foundational debate on what it means to be queer,” said Cheves. “Is there a discernible difference to an outsider between a straight man who titillates gay men for fun and a gay man who does the same? Not really. This could be his inlet, his way into queerness, his version of same-sex attraction.” And if you were to decide you are some kind of gay or some kind of bi or a whole lot of heteroflexible, ALPHA, you wouldn’t be the first Dom top who liked feminine gay men but had zero interest in dick. Some gay bottoms are fine playing with tops who ignore their dicks; some gay men get off on having their dicks ignored. And since some trans men are gay and since some trans gay men are femme and since some trans men are subs and since not all trans men—gay or otherwise—get bottom surgery, ALPHA, that means there are lots of gay men out there without dicks for you to choose from. “But unless he calls himself gay, he’s not gay,” said Cheves. “Being gay or queer isn’t really about the chemical processes of arousal in the brain and body. It’s a willingness to be one of us, to claim oneself as part of our tribe. If he doesn’t feel the need to do that or thinks doing so would be disingenuous—indeed, if he must be straight for this kink to work—then he’s straight. As long as he’s doing no harm—just having hot, consensual Grindr chats with guys before ghosting them—he can be whatever feels true for him.” Alexander Cheves is a columnist for OUT Magazine and runs the popular Love, Beastly advice blog. His new book

My Love Is a Beast: Confessions comes out next month. Follow him on Twitter @BadAlexCheves. I call bullshit on RUBBED’s letter and query about reporting her former massage therapist. Business relationships can turn into friendships and friendships can turn into something more. In this case he fucked up, he should have been monitoring his emotions better, but she was a willing and equal participant in their evolving connection. But she says she “went into instant shock” when her “very close friend” of three years told her he had feelings for her? SHOCK? Did she call 911? She seems to want it both ways: she wanted him to be her “very close friend” while at the same time maintaining a professional distance. Her reaction could have simply been, “I don’t feel that way about you, and I can’t see you anymore.” I think your advice was correct, Dan, but something about the tone of letter rubbed me the wrong way. Perhaps it was the total lack of empathy for her “very close friend” (sorry I can’t help myself) who has also suffered in this, even if it was a consequence of his mistake. —Getting Outraged Over Dumbass Letter On Rainy Day

Comics

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People are allowed to have a WTF moment when something blindsides them—and RUBBED sounded blindsided—but I agree that she’s overreacting. Also, her former massage therapist is already out of work, GOODLORD, as some other readers pointed out. The business RUBBED helped him get off the ground shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic—a pandemic that’s still raging, thanks to all the idiots out there who refuse to get vaccinated. Unless there’s a pattern, I don’t think RUBBED should report her former massage therapist to the licensing board. My new book Savage Love From A to Z: Advice on Sex and Relationships, Dating and Mating, Exes and Extras comes out this week from Sasquatch books. Find an excerpt in this week’s Tucson Weekly and get it whereever you get your books! mail@savagelove.net Follow Dan on Twitter @FakeDanSavage. Listen to the Savage Lovecast at savage.love!


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Edited by Will Shortz ACROSS

Vaping device, informally 5 ___ Roy, patriarch on HBO’s “Succession” 10 Successfully solicit, with “up” 14 Arizona city near the California border 15 Where Dalmatia is 16 NPR’s ___ Totenberg 17 Stand-in for the unnamed 18 Monopoly cards 19 Buffalo Bill’s surname 20 Walked 22 End 24 It has a cedar tree on its flag: Abbr. 25 World’s highest-paid actor in 2021, familiarly 27 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner 29 Brand of taco kits and sauces 30 Mobile homes of a sort 32 Castle defenses 33 Bargain bin abbr. 35 N.Y.C. nabe near N.Y.U. 36 Life preserver? … or a hint to six squares in this puzzle 39 ___ Romeo 42 Starting lineup 43 Dispirit, with “out” 46 Heraldic symbol 49 Noted Venetian bridge 51 Separate seed from 52 Be perfectly sized 53 The “e” of “i.e.” 54 Home to the golden pavilion known as Kinkaku-ji 1

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Alabama senator 60 Best ever, in sports slang 62 Org. known for counting backward 64 “Yeah ... I don’t think so” 65 Fresh blood 66 Mobile home? 67 Actress Amanda 68 Works hard, old-style 69 Some creatures in the ocean’s “midnight zone”

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millennials, for short 30 Begins to get exciting, with “up” 31 It’s not a good look 34 Chew (out) 36 Spot of espresso? 37 Italian home to the Basilica of St. Nicholas 38 Excludes 39 Misbehaved 40 Repulsive 41 Magazine with an annual Investor’s Guide 43 Extraneous computer programs that slow down a system

44 Part of a place setting 45 Rapper Kool ___ Dee 47

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National Book Award winner for “Them,” 1970 63 They’re used in a crunch 61

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