Z贸calo Tucson arts and culture / ZOCALOMAGAZINE.COM / JUly-August 2013
index July/August 2013 05. Community 14. Events 18. Arts 28. Feature 36. Fashion 38. Food&Drink 46. Escape
on the cover:
Photo: copyright The Aaron Siskind Foundation, courtesy of Etherton Gallery. Aaron Siskind’s series the “Pleasures and Terrors of Levitation” (1953-1961), is from a set of rare 20x24 prints. Originally known as the Divers, Siskind’s photographs are images of young men diving into Lake Michigan. He emphasizes the abstract quality of their twisted or twirling forms by photographing them from below with a Rolleiflex and isolating them against the sky. View these photos at Etherton Gallery’s exhibit, “Unpacked: The Art Fair at Home.” Learn more about the exhibit on page 18.
Zócalo Magazine is a hyper-local independent media organization, focusing on Tucson’s arts and culture.
PUBLISHER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR David Olsen COPY EDITOR Amanda Frame-Wawro CONTRIBUTORS Sydney Ballesteros, Marisa Bernal, Andrew Brown, Emily Gindlesparger, Allie Knapp, Jamie Manser, Mead Mier, Phoenix Michael, Amanda Reed, CJ Shane, Monica Surfaro Spigelman, Herb Stratford,, Teya Vitu, Colin Wilkinson. LISTINGS Marisa Bernal, email@example.com PRODUCTION ARTISTS Troy Martin, David Olsen
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Clean Water Starts With You! Get involved in keeping our desert washes healthy by Mead Mier During the monsoon season many desert dwellers enjoy watching the river beds fill. Do you ever wonder what happens to that stormwater? Historically, our desert waters supported agrarian cultures and renowned wildlife diversity. But over time, urbanization changed how our watershed functions. Now water flows more quickly out of our watershed and carries urban pollutants to desert washes where they accumulate in our fragile wildlife corridors. When accumulated in runoff, small dispersed sources of pollutants are some of the leading causes of stormwater contamination. Just one quart of motor oil, for example, can contaminate 250,000 gallons of stormwater. Action to prevent such pollution is easier than the steps it takes to purify it later. Keeping pollutants such as household chemicals and litter off of our streets prevents them from entering storm drains and then washes. Pima Association of Governments’ Clean Water Starts With Me outreach campaign is teaming up with partner programs this year to help get the word out about reducing our impact on stormwater quality. Leftover household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable or reactive ingredients can be properly disposed of through the Tucson/Pima County Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) program, which allows the materials to be recycled instead of creating a toxic impact. HHW recently
started monthly mobile collection events in the community on the 2nd Saturday of the month in addition to the regular HHW collection sites. Litter is another common source of pollution. City programs, like Tucson Clean and Beautiful, and Adopt-a-Wash programs offer a great way for community groups to get involved. Stewardship efforts and awareness of our desert waters helps us nurture our washes and green our neighborhoods. By harvesting stormwater in our landscape to grow desert plant life, we mimic how stormwater flows in a natural environment. Tread lightly along your neighborhood wash and at your favorite water sites. While visiting these rare and valuable locations, pick up unsightly trash and you will make a difference. The health of the region’s birds and other wildlife rests on the health of our waterways. A few other ways to help: Scoop dog poop, harvest rainwater and fix leaky vehicles; limit use of yard chemicals and report illegal dumping. Clean stormwater means clean, healthy washes. To learn more about your local watershed and tips you can use in your daily life to help prevent stormwater pollution, visit www.PAGstorm.com. Mead Mier is Senior Watershed Planner with Pima Association of Governments’ Sustainable Environment Program.
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Embrace & Harvest
The Rain by Jamie Manser
Most desert dwellers love, crave, the summer monsoons. The magical intensity of clouds building up to bring forth los chubascos results in a full-body experience. The scent and taste of the showers, the cooling of the air; the visuals of grey and purple skies lit up by white-hot lightning, the BOOM of the thunder claps and the sound of the sheeting downpours is always so mind-blowing. What isn’t so awesome are the resultant flooded streets, trying to navigate roads turned into rivers, while watching rainwater whisked away from thirsty ground. Locally, lassoing rainwater to change the dire and dangerous flooding has been turning tide with the help of many organizations, city codes and the tireless work of Brad Lancaster. Lancaster is a Tucson gem and water harvesting guru who, according to his bio at HarvestingRainwater.com, culls from the sky, at his abode, “100,000 gallons of rainwater a year on a 1/8-acre urban lot and adjoining right-of-way.” Anyone who has watched the evolution of Lancaster’s Dunbar/Spring ‘hood over the last decade knows this. A few months ago at a lunch meeting with Arizona State Representative Steve Farley, Lancaster’s efforts came up and the District 28 Democratic Representative said: “Brad Lancaster has transformed that neighborhood.” Besides transforming a neighborhood, Lancaster has helped to transform a city, and a dominant paradigm in a country that regards water as an endless resource that comes from the spigot. In 2006, he released his first book, Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands Volume 1: Guiding Principles, and followed that up with Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond Volume 2: Water-Harvesting Earth Works in 2008. This June, Lancaster released a second edition to Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands Volume 1, which features “100 pages of new information, 120 new images, 40 additional images revised, and more,” he wrote via email. Lancaster was a road warrior in June 2013, spreading rain harvesting techniques on a whirlwind tour of seminars, talks and book signings between New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California. We tried to
connect on the phone, but his vehicular travels between the mountainous regions of Utah and Nevada thwarted cell phone interview efforts. We settled on an email exchange about Volume 1’s upcoming new addition, his thoughts about Tucson’s efforts in the rain harvesting arena and advice for the novices interested in saving water from the sky. Zocalo Magazine: We caught you at a really busy time! Looks like June has been packed with events - book signings, readings, seminars and talks. How long have you been on the road for this last go-round? Brad Lancaster: Well. I was a relative hermit working on finishing the book before its release on June 13 (2013). Though this past spring, I did teach in Baja, Mexico; Madrid, NM; Albuquerque, NM and a few other locations. But now that the book is out I've been on the road since June 13. I'll return July 1. The Events section of my website lists some of my upcoming events. Some teaching trips abroad, perhaps not yet listed, include southern Italy and Ciudad Obregon, Mexico. ZM: For the novice, let's say a mid-westerner or an east-coast transplant to Tucson, what basic steps would you recommend one takes for getting their proverbial feet wet (and not getting overwhelmed!) BL: Get out in the rain to see where it goes, where the runoff flows, how much there is, and the tremendous potential you'll likely have to harvest. This is the really fun stuff - dancing in the rain! Then I recommend they simply shape the earth with a shovel (when the soil is moist and easy to work) to redirect the runoff to their plantings where it is a resource, rather than to the street or elsewhere where the water is wasted and lost. Often this entails digging a simple basin around or beside plantings, using the dug out soil to create a section of raised pathway that will redirect and harvest still more water. Then harvest organic matter and fertility as well by mulching the basin with organic matter, or at the very least just let any fallen leaves beneficially collect there. We call leaves "leaves" because we are supposed to leave them where they fall beneath plants (in water-harvesting earthworks) where the leaves (and cut up prunings) will break down and build healthier, more waterabsorbent, more fertile soil for free.
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photo courtesy: Brad Lancaster
The Rain continued from previous page ZM: Have you seen positive changes locally, regionally, nationally when it comes to harvesting rainwater? BL: Yes. When the first edition of my first book was released in 2006, it seemed only a few people were harvesting water. Now there are many, many more citizens, businesses and neighborhoods doing it all over town, the southwest and the globe. Tens of thousands have been inspired into action by my books, presentations, and teachings. And these numbers are swelling even more by the work of a growing number of water-harvesting installers, groups teaching and promoting water harvesting such as Watershed Management Group, Sonoran Permaculture Guild, our City, and people creating demonstration sites on their property, at their kid's schools, or in the public right-of-way along their neighborhood streets. For example, when I started harvesting water I was the only one doing so on my block. Now 80% of the folks on my block do so! ZM: What would you like to see from Tucson's citizens and city government? What aspects do you applaud and where can we improve? BL: I would like Tucson to be known as a water-harvesting capital of the southwest. Thus I'd like passive water harvesting to be the norm in every private, public, and commercial landscape in such a way that rainwater and storm water runoff would be the primary irrigation sources of all our landscapes, and greywater would be a secondary source where available. This would be a huge shift from the current common/dominant practice of using drinking water from Tucson Water as the sole source of irrigation water in most landscapes. I would also like to see Tucson become a sun-harvesting capital of the southwest where every new or retrofitted building and landscape is oriented and designed to maximize the free winter heat and light of the sun, while maximizing the free cooling of shade in summer. In addition, Tucson should get the majority of its power and water heating from our abundant sun, rather than coal and natural gas. A solar rights act protecting buildings' year-round access to the sun for active and passive solar harvesting is key to this. New Mexico already has such a solar rights act in place, which could inform our efforts. My new book shows many ways to do this, while also harnessing other free on-site resources such as the wind and community. I applaud those who have already made this a reality in their own lives, homes, businesses, and/or schools and places of worship. I also applaud the City for its incentives such as the $2,000 per home rainwater-harvesting rebates and the $1,000 per home grey-water harvesting rebates. I also applaud the City for mandating that commercial landscapes provide at least 50% of their irrigation needs with harvested rainwater, and all new city streets harvest at least the volume of water falling in a half inch rainstorm. I want to see this mandated for all new private streets in new housing developments as well. ZM: What will your talk and demonstration cover at the downtown library on July 27? BL: I will cover all the above and more in an entertaining and informative way. I'll show folks myriad ways we can simultaneously enhance the quality of all our lives, our community, our economy, and our environment. I'll show folks how we can all enhance more vibrant life. The July 27 event runs from 11am-1pm at 101 N. Stone Ave. Details on it, and Lancasterâ€™s techniques, are at HarvestingRainwater.com.
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Digging into the
by Jamie Manser
Smiles, salutations and the heavenly scent of books greet this writer on a summer Saturday morning at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library downtown. It is a half hour to opening and the staff is merrily chatting and organizing before their visitors arrive; light streams in through the southern facing floor-to-ceiling windows. The positivity and liveliness are contagious. Today is a chat with Librarian Karen Greene who is much more than a librarian. Greene is a deeply involved community member (Mind Our Own Businesses, Tucson Spelling Bee, Book Bike, among other projects) and a visionary, with goals that range from short- and medium- to long-term, all shared with an inspiring lilt. We are sitting at a table in the library’s “café,” facing the plaza and the large planters we are meeting about. “If I were queen,” she says, sweeping her arms in a gesture toward the Jácome Plaza and describing ideas for the half city-block space between the library and Pennington Street, with Stone Avenue and Church Avenue bordering the east and west ends. The field of vision fills with families enjoying a playground, a water splash park, a Kino Heritage Garden. Down the road, of course, if time and money can materialize... “There are lots of cities with plazas that are vital to their downtown and we want Jácome Plaza to be vital to our downtown,” Greene explains. “I see a weekly event bookend: we have Meet Me at Maynard’s on Mondays, let’s have Meet Me at the Plaza on Fridays.” Until the larger scope concepts can find sponsors or grants, there are more manageable projects on the horizon that will lead to refreshing the energy at Jácome Plaza. This summer, with the help of several community groups, the main library is gearing up to revitalize the plaza’s large, grey, concrete planters that flank the building’s southern end with new vegetation and dedicated attention. “The idea,” Greene says, “was another way to get the word out about the seed library and as a method to involve people in the planting process. The library is all about learning how to do stuff.” Library Associate and Seed Librarian Kelly Wilson adds that the project “will demonstrate the possibilities of container gardening (to community volunteers) and how to replicate it at their homes and feel empowered to garden.” The local food and gardening movement has been gaining noticeable traction as more and more people are realizing the necessity of taking back the food supply chain from corporate powers. While gardening in arid lands can be intimidating, Tucson is blessed to have numerous resources 10 ZOCALOMAGAZINE.com | July/August 2013
available to the novice. The planter project is a great way for the uninitiated to get their hands dirty and minds expanded. With the guidance of local organizations such as Aravaipa Heirlooms, Arizona Native Plant Society, Community Gardens of Tucson and others, interested Tucsonans can adopt a planter and work under the tutelage of mentors to help grow and maintain the vegetation. “Creating the (planters’) designs are the community mentor groups,” Greene shares. Wilson adds to that, saying, “They decide what is going in the planters, they know what is doable in this kind of environment, and will share that information with the volunteers to maintain the planters.” Also contributing to the effort is the Downtown Tucson Partnership, which will be supplying some soil plus man power to the watering scheduling, along with the University of Arizona’s Compost Cats offering compost. The library will also provide workshops to the general public once “we get planting,” Greens says. The planting day and “Big Dig” for the volunteer and community groups is on September 28, as part of the library’s DIY Day. As the interview wraps up, we walk over to the seed library. Potential plant life resides in little packets organized in an old card catalogue. Greene pulls out a few examples, shows the bar code and explains: “You can check out six packets at a time. Once a month, we take those off of your account and you can get six more. The seeds are labeled easy, medium, advanced, which relates to the difficulty in saving the seeds.” The idea is for borrowers to voluntarily return seeds from the plants they grow. “We want people to harvest seeds from their best plants; we’re also looking for stories,” Greens explicates. "If you don't save them (the seeds), you don't save them." The ultimate goal, Wilson says, is to have a “completely community supported seed library that will reflect what does work here and what doesn’t work here. We want community ownership of the seed library.” It looks like it is working. Last month, Wilson said, one thousand seed packets were circulated and one-half of those were donated by local gardeners. Informational meetings about the planter project are at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone Ave. on: Saturday, July 13, 8:30am-10am; Friday, July 16, noon-1pm; Saturday, August 10, 2pm-3:30pm; Friday, August 23, noon-1pm; Friday, September 6, noon-1pm. More details at Library.pima.gov (search Planter Project and seed library) or by calling the info line, 791-4010.
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Being a Tucson townie has never been better. Of course, we all need our cool clime respites, but for hanging here, there’s lots going down. Following is a round-up of groovy going-ons that caught our eyes. by Jamie Manser
Camper Van Beethoven at Congress with Cracker on July 23.
Hotel Congress 311 E. Congress St., 622-8848, HotelCongress.com Downtown’s venerable hot spot is keeping things hopping inside and out. Since the plaza was built out a couple years ago, there are usually dual events, simultaneously, for diverse crowds. Sitting in the busy hive with Entertainment Director David Slutes, he ran through the robust July/ August calendar that proves they still got it, and they are rocking it. “We’re doubling down on events, every weekend, there’s always stuff going on, along with special events.” Highlights include: The two day “Rawksplosion” free music shows July 2-3 with Milk Music, Hausu, White Night, Lenguas Largas, Dream Sick and more. On July 6, Congress hosts the Bikini Island Party; during 2nd Saturdays on July 13 is a free concert on the plaza with Johnette Napolitano (Concrete Blonde) starting at 7 p.m. The plaza holds another free show on July 19 with Eddie Spaghetti (Supersuckers) and Rick Hopkins at 8 p.m. Sunday, July 21 sees a Southern Arizona Blues and Heritage Foundation presentation with legendary blues musician Ian McLagan. Show commences at 7 p.m., tickets are $10-$12. Beloved Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker hit the Congress stage on July 23, cost is $15-$17, start time is 7:30 p.m. In August, notable haps are: James McCartney (yes, Paul’s son) on the 5th, 7 p.m., $15. Brit Bobby Long on August 12, 7 p.m., $15. Polyphonic Spree (Yippee! How will they fit on stage?) performs on August 26, 7p.m., $18-$20. At the end of August is the kick off to the annual HoCo Fest, taking place Thursday, August 29-Sunday, September 1. Thursday is an 80s night featuring Men Without Hats and Howard Jones, Latin night is Friday, Saturday is a free day/night with family fun, and Sunday hosts bands inside and out with national acts inside and local bands outside. Weekly staples at Congress are: dance nights Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, Salvador Duran on the patio on Thursdays, live music Wednesdays and Fridays, and karaoke on Sundays. Beyond music, the hotel is also offering weekly Saturday Summer Beer 14 ZOCALOMAGAZINE.com | July/August 2013
Tastings, which are $20 per person and include food from Cup Cafe. Reserve a spot by calling the hotel front desk. The website is constantly being updated, so keep an eye on it for more great stuff.
Playground 278 E. Congress St., 396-3691, PlaygroundTucson.com Being a grownup has never been so fun! With indoor/outdoor seating, killer screens/sound system and a bird’s eye view from the roof, Playground is a must hang this summer. Weekly offerings are: Spelling Bee Mondays (8 p.m.), Date Night: Dinner & A Movie Tuesdays (7 p.m.), REWIND: Old-school Hip Hop Wednesdays (10 p.m.), Ivy League – Thursday College Night (9 p.m.), and Umm, I’m going to need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday…Sundays (10 p.m.) On July 11, The Crystal Method is performing a sold out show in the roof, but don’t fret, proprietor Kade Mislinski said their show “will video feed to downstairs bar and such, with a $5 cover for downstairs.” Mislinski also let us know that “Playground now serves lunch, dinner and late night with a full menu, the kitchen is open 11 a.m. till 12 a.m. and till 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Plus, free delivery (boundaries are Speedway, Campbell, 22nd and Grande).” Check out the menu online.
The Dance Floor Rhythm Industry, 1013 S. Tyndall Ave., DanceFloorTucson.com Every 3rd Saturday, all ages are welcome to dance their tails off at Rhythm Industry from 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Event creator Marnie Sharp says, “The music is a blend of pop, rock, world music and such. I strive for upbeat tunes that keep the energy high. I'm looking to attract those who aren't into the bar scene, being a no-alcohol event. There's a nice lounging area and water is provided. The cost is $5 to get in and children under 12 are free.” Visit them this summer on July 20 and August 17.
A Townie's Guide to Summer Ignite Tucson
by Phoenix Michael
Steinfeld Warehouse, 101 W. 6th St., Facebook.com/ignitetucson David Aguirre is bringing back this popular event on July 12. It is, Aguirre says, “an evening of 15 talks each lasting only 5 minutes. Talks cover a wide variety of innovative interests. 15 presenters are selected beforehand. Each talk is accompanied by 20 images selected by the presenter. Each image is on the screen for 15 seconds. Many of the presenters are unknown, but are doing amazing feats in the community. Great summer fun.” The shindig runs from 6:30 p.m.-9 p.m. with Belly Dance Tucson and food trucks rounding out the affair.
KXCI Summer Fundraisers 623-1000, KXCI.org On Friday, July 19, KXCI brings back its “House Rockin’ Blues Review” with The Paladins, Bob Corritore, Mike Eldred, Bad News Blues Band, Tom Walbank, Mike Hebert, and the Rockabilly Strangers at El Casino Ballroom, 437 E. 26th St. "It will be a high-energy night of fun for the middle of summer,” comments GM Randy Peterson. “El Casino features a huge dance floor, plenty of seating, great acoustics and quick bar service - everything you'd want in a July concert in Tucson." On August 17 is the KXCI Celebrates 1973 at Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., with local bands covering great tracks released that year. "This tradition started when we paid tribute to the 40th anniversary of Woodstock in 2009,” Peterson explains. “The next year, saluting the music of 1970 seemed like a fun way to continue the fun, and now in its 5th year, it's a modern tradition." Performers were unavailable as of press time.
Library Learnin’ Library.pima.gov City-wide libraries are hosting tons of great fun and learning opportunities this summer, be it about gardening, art, book clubs and more. Between the brick and mortar locales and the website, the Pima County Libraries really are a window to the world. For example, with your library card, you can learn a new language online, and read ebooks and experience so much more. Find your closest branch and get cracking! The Paladins perform at KXCI’s “House Rockin’ Blues Review” July 19.
Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl
The dog days of summer in sweltering Southern Arizona separate the meek from the mighty like no other natural phenomena. Many quickly depart for cooler climes. The rest of us adopt adaptive techniques like nocturnal workouts and midday siestas. For those who stick around through tripledigit temps, the dramatic population reduction is a boon. No lines to get in anywhere on Fourth Avenue. Quiet neighborhoods with apartments on hold until fall. Let the snowbirds and students flee to San Diego. Get going? In this town when the going gets tough, the tough stay put. Since we can stand the heat, we don’t have to get out of the kitchen. Here’s what’s cooking in Tucson this season. At the Tucson Botanical Gardens, summer means the return of their Twilight Third Thursdays series showcasing visual art alongside complimentary live musical performance. On July 18 from 5-8 pm the work of Tucson artists David Kish and Holly Swangtu will be displayed, with the tunes provided by Bisbee indie folk duo Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl. August 15 sees local rockers The Cordials and painter/printmaker C.J. Shane featured in the idyllic outdoor oasis at 2150 N. Alvernon Way. Admission is $9 for adults and $5 for children; food, face painting, Isabella’s Ice Cream and a cash bar will all be available. See membership discounts and details at TucsonBotanical.org. For the younger set, summer brings free entertainment in the form of Loft Kids Fest (the event formerly known as the Tucson International Children's Film Festival). Kickoff festivities at Trail Dust Town on Friday, July 19 at 5:30 pm include trick roping by lariat artist Loop Rawlins, followed by a screening of his short The Adventures of Loop & Rhett. Trail Dust Town’s homage to the Old West can be found at 6541 E. Tanque Verde Rd. Then each day at 10 am from July 20 to 28, family favorites such as Matilda and Shrek will grace nonprofit The Loft Cinema’s big screen at 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. Arrive early for groovy giveaways, super surprises and pre-show hijinks hosted by Mildred & Dildred Toy Store! LoftCinema. com has the full Loft Kids Fest film schedule. Crave more air-conditioned independent arthouse goodness? Catch the award-winning Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home for free at The Loft on Tuesday, July 23 at 7 pm. For over a decade we heard the calls for revitalization and watched as downtown struggled to get started. Fast forward to today, and Congress Street is humming with activity any night of the week. At the Historic Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., check out New Jersey third wave ska band
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events Z Hot Fun
continued from previous page
The Last Call Girls at Monterey Court July 6.
Monterey Court 505 W. Miracle Mile, 207-2429, MontereyCourtAZ.com This 1938-built motor court turned boutique shops, café and bar, and live music venue is infusing renewed energy on Miracle Mile with stylish grace. Live music shows runs most days except Mondays, the café and bar have regular specials such as happy hour drinks with $5 appetizers and a brew and burger special for $10. There’s also tequila Tuesdays, wine Wednesdays and Friday beer tastings. Music shows are outdoors, but the misters shall keep you comfortable! There are over 30 bands scheduled for July and August, herein are some spotlights. Sundays: Smooth Jazz. July 5, Mustang Corners, Sabrina & Craig, Leila Lopez Band. July 6, Last Call Girls. July 12, Surf Palooza with Big Galoot, Shrimp Chaperone, Al Perry. August 2, Gabriel Ayala Quintet. August 9: Fish Karma & the Love Generation. August 17, Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona fundraiser with The Determined Luddites. Check out their website for all the great offerings and information on menus and cover charges.
Tucson Scoop Fest HUB Parking lot, between Congress and Broadway off 5th Avenue, TucsonScoopFest.com Not much was available as of press time, but this July 13 event sounds delish – sundaes, milkshakes and dunk tank, oh my! It runs from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Tucson Spelling Bee Facebook.com/tucson.spellingbee The second Tuesday of each month sees SkyBar, 536 N. 4th Ave., hosting hot-shot spellers competing for a $25 Brooklyn Pizza gift certificate and a trophy! This happens July 9 with the 3rd Annual Spell Off happening August 13. 6:30 p.m. sign up to spell, 7 p.m. bee begins.
2nd Saturdays Along Congress Street, 2nd Saturdays.com The streetcar construction didn’t stop the monthly event, and neither does the heat! The events run from 6 p.m.- 11 p.m. and feature free outdoor tunes at Scott Avenue, on the roof of the Pennington Street Garage and at La Placita Village on July 13 and August 10, along with kids' fun and a movie.
Summer Townie Guide
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Streetlight Manifesto on July 3, finely-aged punkers Rancid on July 23 or LA indie rock outfit Cold War Kids on August 18. Club Congress across the street welcomes 1980s alternative rock icons Camper Van Beethoven on July 23. Eateries such as Hub Restaurant and Ice Creamery, 266 E. Congress St., and Empire Pizza & Pub at 137 E. Congress St. have rightfully become popular enough that reservations may be advisable even during the slow summer months. Both of these establishments’ excellent reputations are well-earned. From August 14 to 18, the Tucson Audubon Society invites any and all birders to investigate our sky islands and riparian zones for ornithological rarities. The third annual Tucson Bird & Wildlife Festival is an opportunity for nature lovers nationwide to participate in workshops, programs and field trips all celebrating the Sonoran Desert region’s astonishing biodiversity. Festival headquarters will be at the Arizona Riverpark Inn, 350 S. Freeway. Register online at TucsonAudubon.org. Indulging oneself for a good cause is always a win-win; thus the 2013 Salsa & Tequila Challenge. A $40/person ticket price benefits the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance as well as the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. The question is, are you up for it? There’ll be as many as fifty tequila-based mixed drink and menu pairings presented by area chefs with bragging rights at stake, plus creative salsa concoctions galore, so you may want to begin training. The competition takes place at La Encantada shopping center, 2905 E. Skyline Dr., on Saturday, August 24 at 5:30 pm with winning tequilas and salsa announced the same evening. Purchase tickets online at SAACA.org or by telephone at (520) 797-3959 ext. 1. At Main Gate Square near the University of Arizona, the annual summer exodus leaves behind only the most determinedly heat-resistant portion of the student body. This sturdiest of breeds knows that Irish pub and restaurant The Auld Dubliner, 800 E. University Blvd., continues their happy hour drink specials even during the hottest months. Entertainment at Geronimo Plaza next door comes courtesy of the Friday Night Live! concert series, which on July 5 features the jazzy Butch Diggs & Friends and on July 19 cabaret crooner Heather O’Day. MainGateSquare.com lists current merchant specials. Longtime residents are familiar with Mt. Lemmon’s charms; day trips to the Catalinas have cooled many a hyperthermic Tucsonan over years past. During recent summers a pleasant scene emerged, with smiling and dancing folk flocking to a big white tent each weekend to simultaneously appreciate local bands and the Coronado National Forest. Music on the Mountain, as it was called, brought thousands of visitors following 2003’s destructive Aspen Fire. Following a year off, the tradition now continues with Top Dead Center on July 27 and Stefan George on August 17 among others. Bring a chair and enjoy the fresh air free of charge! Find the fun each Saturday afternoon from 12:30-4:30 pm at 12901 N. Sabino Canyon Parkway up in Summerhaven (so named for good reason). De Anza Drive-In may be history, but Tucson’s love affair with watching movies outdoors continues. Cinema La Placita’s longest-running classic-movies-underthe-stars series screens an older Hollywood gem for $3 admission each Thursday evening at 7:30 pm through August. That price includes popcorn, and the courtyard setting at 110 S. Church Ave. is ideal for canoodling. Cinema La Placita will also show a film at 7:30 pm on Saturday, July 13 as part of the month’s Second Saturdays Downtown celebration. Visit CinemaLaPlacita.com for more information. That’s not all that’s afoot in Tucson this summer. Science Sundays at the Children's Museum Tucson, 200 S. 6th Ave., are a chance for the little ones to explore hands-on educational exhibits at a discount. Admission is only $2 every Sunday through August; plan your visit at ChildrensMuseumTucson.org. For a flashback, try Flandrau Planetarium’s “Dark Side of the Moon” laser light show on Friday and Saturday nights at 8 pm. The on-campus facility at 1601 E. University Blvd. also offers educational programs like “Exploring Saturn’s Mysteries” and “Tucson Sky Tonight.” Flandrau.org has details. Above ground kiddie pool: $11.99. Ten-pound bag of ice: $1.79. Summer in Tucson: priceless. July/August 2013 | ZOCALOMAGAZINE.com 17
Alex Webb (1952 -), Tehuantepec, Mexico, 1985, Fuji Crystal Archive print. ©Alex Webb, Courtesy Etherton Gallery
Nick Georgiou, Wigorama, 2012, 48” x 60”.
Etherton Gallery Unpacks by CJ Shane
Summer in Tucson can be pretty brutal. But staying in town has its rewards for those of us tough enough to stick it out. One of the biggest rewards available to us through August is Etherton Gallery’s new Unpacked: The Art Fair at Home exhibit. On a recent hot summer morning, I sat down with gallery founder and director Terry Etherton in the coolness of his downtown gallery and talked with him about his new exhibit. He explained how Unpacked came about. “This has been an unusual year for us. We participated in four art fairs in four months. We had to prepare for each art fair in a different way and for a different audience. We had to pack and unpack a lot, and finally we had everything back here in Tucson. We just decided to recreate portions of each of the art fairs into one exhibit in Tucson.” That means the Unpacked exhibit includes some of the best of the best. A few of the top photographers included in the new exhibit are Aaron Siskind, Danny Lyon, Ansel Adams, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, and Alex Webb, among others. We also see the work of several Arizona artists, among them Bailey Doogan, David Emitt Adams, Mayme Kratz, and Nick Georgiou. When I asked Etherton if he had a favorite work in the Unpacked exhibit, he paused, clearly having difficulty naming just one or two works. Finally we went to stand before Alex Webb’s Tehuantepec, Mexico, 1985. The photo shows a group of young boys playing in a Mexican plaza with a cathedral towering in the background. Etherton points out the striking composition of repetitive vertical and horizontal lines, and of the color blue. “If that shirt were yellow instead of blue,” Etherton said, “it wouldn’t work at all.” Perhaps most arresting is the frozen moment in time caught by the photographer. “Look at the ball spinning on the boy’s fingers,” Etherton said, “and there on the far left, Webb has captured a basketball just as it passes through the net.” An entire wall is devoted to Webb’s work in the Unpacked exhibit. Take your time and look closely. There are secrets to be discovered in Webb’s photos. His Istanbul, Turkey, 2001 at first glance appears to be a casual photo of a street scene. Then you realize you are seeing multiple levels of reality in this photo. Taken from inside a barber shop, we see the street outside the shop both directly and also through reflections. People are scurrying by, and shop signs that can be read normally are reversed in reflections. Intriguingly, there’s the image of man, one of those hurrying by on the street, whose reflection was caught at just the right instant in a small mirror on the barber’s work table. That kind of compositional com18 ZOCALOMAGAZINE.com | July/August 2013
plexity and sheer beauty indicate a real master at work. Webb’s photos are in the interface between photojournalism and fine art. As we move away, Etherton casually gestured to another Webb photo, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 1986. “Multiple layers here, too” he said. Indeed. Alex Webb was the single artist shown by Etherton at Paris Photo Los Angeles art fair. Paris Photo, one of Europe’s premier art fairs, is based in Paris, France. This year Paris Photo opened a second fair in Los Angeles. “Paris Photo is very selective.” Etherton said, “We were very pleased to be invited.” He added. “To this day Los Angeles hasn’t had a high quality art fair, and I think Paris Photo was trying to fill that gap. They largely succeeded.” Paris Photo Los Angeles was the last of the four art fairs in four months for Etherton Gallery. The first was Classic Photographs, also in Los Angeles. Second was the Palm Springs Art Fair in California. Etherton took paintings and sculptures to Palm Springs as well as photographs. “Of the twelve artists we showed,” he said, “ten were from Tucson.” He added, “I wanted to say at this fair, ‘Look how great our artists are!’” One of the Tucson artists included in the Unpacked exhibit is Nick Georgiou. This took us to Etherton’s other favorite piece in the exhibit, Georgiou’s Wig-O-Rama, a wall sculpture created in honor of Congress Street’s long-standing wig shop by the same name. Georgiou, a New York City transplant to Tucson since 2009, creates unique two and three-dimensional sculptures of hand-stitched recycled books and newspapers. Georgiou’s art was on the cover of the Zócalo, and he was profiled in “Print to Artifact” in the October 2012 issue. The third art fair for Etherton Gallery in four months was the prestigious AIPAD (Association of International Photography Art Dealers) in the Park Avenue Armory in New York City. Etherton showed a solid selection of work by photographers represented by Etherton Gallery. Then it was back to LA for the Paris Photo exhibit. Etherton speculated about where he’ll go next. Back to Miami? To Chicago? That’s not decided yet. What is important is that right now here in Tucson, we have a chance to see a really superior collection in the Unpacked exhibit. Brave the heat, and don’t miss an important art event for the Old Pueblo. Etherton Gallery which opened in Tucson in 1981 is considered one of the top ten photography galleries in the United States. Unpacked:The Art Fair at Home will be on exhibit through August 30. Learn more at www.ethertongallery.com/index.php
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Craig Cully (Tucson), Conviction: A Soft Punch, 2012, Oil on panel 12 ¾” x 12”
Above: Anh-Thuy Nguyen, Thuy & Rice, 2011, Still shots, Video, 4:34 minutes Below: Wen Hang Lin, Day_08-09from 10-29 to 17-18, 2012, Computer recording of mouse movement, digital inkjet output on photo rag paper, 12” x 40”
Arizona Biennial: A “State of Art” Exhibition by Herb Stratford What does art in Arizona look like today? Do artists in Tucson do the same type of work as Phoenix based artists? Is painting dead? What the heck is an installation? Every two years the Tucson Museum of Art undertakes an ambitious exhibition that attempts to answer these questions and highlights contemporary art as it is being created by Arizona artists in a single show like no other. The “Arizona Biennial” is open to any artist residing in the state and is always an fascinating survey of how artists are working and what their work looks like. For the past few iterations, the show has been guest curated by a single, invited juror. This arrangement offers two benefits, first all artists who submit to the show have their work seen by a prominent art world curator, and secondly the final show is often a representation of our state’s artists by an outside, unbiased eye. This year the guest juror is Rene Paul Barilleaux, chief Curator of Art after 1945 at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas. Barilleaux selected “a large number of installations and videos” for inclusion this year according to Tucson Museum of Art curator Julie Sasse. “His unique vision will prove to be a factor in this exciting new look at Arizona art” said Sasse. This year the Biennial features five installations and six video artworks. That coupled with 28 paintings, 12 sculptures and 12 photographs, 15 works on paper and two mixed media pieces, it makes for a diverse and eclectic range of genres in one place. The 80 selected works were drawn from over 1,250 that were submitted by 419 artists around the state. 62 different artists are represented with a slight edge of male over female artists this year. The Phoenix area is home to 22 selected artists,
while there are 34 Tucson based artists in the mix, along with 4 hailing from Flagstaff. Paintings make up a large percent of the wall space at the biennial again this year with several well known figurative artists presenting strong new works. Tucson favorites Daniel Martin Diaz, Craig Cully, James Cook and Michael Stack are represented with their powerful and unique visions. Former University of Arizona School of Art head and public artist Moira Marti-Geoffrion, and mixed media artist Michael Cajero also present strong works that speak to their unusual use of materials and presentation styles. But perhaps looking beyond the recognizable names is the true allure of a show like the biennial. Work by emerging, or under-exposed artists from around the state lets us see how artists are responding to social, political and gender issues, along with how they are reacting to new media and non-traditional modes of expression. While this show represents the view of a single juror, and is based upon the submissions that were received, it is also a curious snapshot of a moment in time, and by looking at this show every two years, art aficionados can truly take stock of what contemporary art in Arizona looks like. The Arizona Biennial exhibition opens on July 20, but a reception for museum members and included artists is set for July 19 from 6-8pm. The show will be on display at the TMA through September 29 in the main exhibition space. The museum is located at 140 North Main Avenue. TucsonMuseumOfArt.Org July/August 2013 | ZOCALOMAGAZINE.com 21
Time, Space and Texture by CJ Shane At first glance, Luke Parsons seems to be a man living three different lives. He’s a full-time doctoral student in geosciences at the University of Arizona studying climate change modeling. In summers, you can find him leading wilderness courses for National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Year round, Parsons creates stunning art photographs. Yet a closer look reveals that for Parsons, everything is connected. Parsons, a native of northern Arizona who moved with his family to New Mexico when he was nine, explains how his fascination with geosciences and art photography began – on family hiking trips. “My parents started taking me backpacking at an early age in the canyon lands and mountains of Arizona and Utah. When we moved to Albuquerque, my middle school had a required photography rotation. This is where I found out I loved working in the darkroom. As I matured and participated in more outdoor trips in high school, I began to re-discover my fascination with the towering, layered Navajo Sandstone and the rippling sand dunes from my childhood backpacking trips. I was also taking geology classes, and I started making the connection between those sand dunes and the cross-bedded sandstone in the cliff walls.” “Photographing these features,” Parsons says, “started off as a study in texture (and still is), but it took years for me to start meditating on the “time” aspect that ties all of it together. When I’m in the backcountry, the
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wide-open landscapes remind me of how small and short-lived we are compared to the planet. I want to convey this sense of time and place to a viewer of my work. We fit into a larger continuing process of creation and erosion all around us.” He pauses and adds, “I think I’m trying to capture longer than 100 years of time, trying to get people to see processes going on around them all the time. “ Although he works both in color and black and white, Parsons creates especially spectacular panoramic black and white landscapes. His dramatic Grand Canyon and Storm Clouds draws our attention to the passage of time in the canyon rocks which contrast dramatically with ephemeral clouds overhead. The same sense of time is found in Echo Canyon Towers in southeastern Arizona’s Chiricahua National Monument. Here rock formations give witness to those geological processes that long outlive human activities. Parsons’ geology class eventually led to the study of climate change. “In college, I started studying the history of climate and carbon on our planet, and I realized there was a whole world of study completely unknown to me that was related to the atmosphere and its effects on climate and life here on Earth. I started a research project examining the link between the strength of ocean circulation and changes in climate in North
Echo Canyon Towers, photo © Luke Parsons, www.lukeparsonsphoto.wordpress.com
Parsons' Landscape and Panoramic Photography Inspires Awe America. While teaching AP Environmental Science after college, I realized that I needed to know more about the climate system in order to be able to better communicate about climate change to both my students and the general public. I hope I can play a part in having a real impact on policy and people’s lives by studying and teaching about the variability of rainfall, drought, and climate.” Parsons is especially interested in helping policy makers develop better public policy using up-to-date information about the effects of climate change. His current research involves evaluating how accurate the climate change models are. Areas of public policy that he considers relevant include agriculture, water resources, energy resources, public safety, and national security. “I hope I can play a part in having a real impact on policy and people’s lives by studying and teaching about the variability of rainfall, drought, and climate.” He and his colleagues have developed an explanation of climate models which can be viewed at sites.google.com/site/azclimatemodeling/home So how are we doing? How well do current models predict temperature and precipitation? “Over all the climate change models do a pretty good job,” Parsons says, “but it has to be an average. The models are largescale. They can’t represent small areas like just Arizona.”
What’s the connection between his photography and his climate change research? Parsons explains. “I worry that the wild and open places are being forgotten. I hope my photography encourages the viewer to connect with and appreciate her surroundings. I want the viewer to ponder time, the backcountry, or even the cacti growing up around the buildings here in Tucson. Without a connection to the outdoors and the environment, what reason does a person have to advocate for their preservation? I hope to start forming or help strengthen this connection. He adds, “The study of climate and the art of outdoor landscape photography are both related to close observation of the world around us. The planet has been changing for billions of years and will go on changing long after we are gone, but just as we are too busy to often notice the erosion of a stream in the Catalinas, I think we are ignoring human-induced global warming. I hope to deepen our knowledge and raise awareness about the changing planet both in my photography and in my research.” Luke Parsons is leading an outdoor wilderness course for NOLS this month. His photography is currently on display through August 25 at Petroglyphs Gallery in the Lost Barrio. You can see more of his work at lukeparsonsphoto.wordpress.com
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Grand Canyon and Storm Clouds, photo ÂŠ Luke Parsons, www.lukeparsonsphoto.wordpress.com
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Look up, Tucson by Monica Surfaro Spigelman
Don’t be ready to call it a night until you’ve looked up and admired our heavens. by Monica Surfaro Spigelman
t’s summer, and night falls in the desert. What relief when that purplish glow finally creeps along the horizon! The long broiling day takes cover in the shadows. And then the magic begins, as moon shine and constellations crowd the darkening skies. Tucsonans may have mixed feelings about our summer daytime sizzle – but there’s universal awe when it comes to our summer nights. There’s a folklore, science, coolness and, of course, great beauty in our dark skies. There’s nature, too: This is the season when tens of thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats rise in ribbons from the Campbell Avenue bridge, in search of insects in another seasonal night spectacle. But it’s the wonder of the show put on by the cosmos that calls to all of us in Tucson. Zocalo takes a look at Tucson’s unique summer dark skies, our local viewing sites and our often-quirky star-gazing community. We’re also flagging some upcoming astronomical events: ‘Tis the season for Tucsonans to look up and be astonished by the heavens.
Stars, you can’t hide from Tucson Arizona is well known in the astronomy world – and a great place for appreciating the stars. In trade talk it’s called “seeing.” With its higher elevations, Tucson has very good “seeing.” Tucson is the state’s “shining star” as a unique celestial-viewing environment, with a dry climate, highaltitude mountaintops, and proliferation of astronomers, academic programs and nearby viewing sites. It’s home to many telescopes and optic research facilities. The large number of technical industries here leads to a high number of people who are interested in astronomy and space. According to Terri Lapin, co-coordinator of the Tucson Amateur Astronomer Association, or TAAA, professional astronomy actually began in southern Arizona with the establishment of the Steward Observatory in 1916. Kitt Peak came along in the 50s, and the UA Lunar labs and Whipple in the 60s. The University of Arizona emerged as a leading astronomy and optical design institute. It was inevitable that the predictably-numer-
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ous cloudless nights (even with the monsoons, clear skies are likely after midnight), are what call to pros and the enthusiasts alike.
More-than-Amateur Nights Probably one the oldest and most popular Tucson groups focused on our summer night skies is the TAAA (Tucsonastronomy.org), founded in 1954. Around 350 fans, ranging from professional astronomer to beginner, participate in observation programs of all sorts including astrophotography. The group also does education outreach with telescopes in hand, spreading the love of night sky astronomy to the community. The TAAA also is one of the larger astronomy clubs in the country, bolstered by the professionals and amateurs who come to Tucson for similar reasons. Lapin, who spends much of her time in outreach explaining astronomical concepts like the curvature of space time and other fun stuff to kids and adults, says that the TAAA has two star parties each month – one close to the Desert Museum is for pros as well as beginners who can learn to look through a telescope and understand what they’re seeing. At the other, a dark site about 90 minutes southeast of Tucson, there more setting up of scopes and observing. Owning a scope is optional, as everyone shares at the parties. “It’s usually a very social atmosphere – but not the celebration type of party... just a party of people with common interests sharing time under Arizona’s dark skies,” she says.
Serious Star Students For the students among us, there’s the UA chapter of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (UASEDS chapters.seds.org/ uaseds) – a close-knit group of about 40 UA students interested in the cosmos. UASEDS is just one chapter of a much larger, global organization. In November, the UA group is co-hosting the annual SEDS conference along with the student crew from ASU. Eric Sahr, the UA’s national rep and communications officer, has been
Galactic Desert, photo © Sean Parker, www.sean-parker.com
involved in the club for several years. He says all students who are passionate about space are welcome. There’s the occasional odd project (getting to fly around in microgravity in NASA's Reduced Gravity jet), but more regularly the club is involved in engineering projects (such as weather balloon payloads, and reduced gravity projects), trips (to places around Arizona and around the country), and educational outreach (visiting elementary schools to teach children about STEM and space). “Space is a broad and constantly-evolving field of interest, there's always something interesting going on,” he comments. “We had a landing of the largest rover on Mars back in August, and Commercial Launch services have been very interesting as of late (companies like SpaceX and Virgin Galactic).”
SpaceFest Tucson hosts an annual space and dark skies event that even has NASA’s attention. SpaceFest (www.spacefest.info) is an eccentric, wonderful, under-the-radar happening where space heroes, astronauts, artists and scientists get to schmooze about space. This year’s SpaceFest occurred on Memorial Day. If you attended you could have met the likes of 15 astronauts and moonwalkers, including Scott Carpenter (Aurora 7), Jim McDivitt (Gemini 4, Apollo 9), Alan Bean (Apollo 12, Skylab 2) and the “last man on the moon,” Gene Cernan (Gemini 9, Apollo 10 & 17). In addition to hobnobbing with spacemen, many rock stars of the astronomy world appeared on panels, including TED conference speakers Dr. Carolyn Porco (imaging team leader for 1990 Cassini-Huygens spacecraft, which arrived at Saturn mid-2004 and now racking up amazing discoveries about Saturn’s unseen rings) and physicist Brian Cox, Britain’s answer to Carl Sagan. You also would have met the presidents of two asteroid mining companies and an advisor to a back-to-the-moon company. SpaceFest is run by Tucsonan Kim Poor (whose work has been commissioned by the National Air & Space Museum, numerous astro-
nauts and NASA, as well as TV programs and movies including Star Trek and Babylon 5). He and his family also run Novaspaceart.com an internet gallery with items by the most prominent space artists. Attend next year and meet them all.
Shop and Star-Gaze Thinking about star-gazing? Year-round, you can view the moon, planets and various deep-sky objects at Starizona (www.starizona.com). This business offers free stargazing from the Oracle Road store on Friday and Saturday nights – sharing enthusiasm for the skies with anyone who stops by. The staff lets people try out telescopes and accessories, and teach new telescope owners how to use their instruments. Last year, hundreds gathered at the shop to watch Venus transit the Sun. And if it lives up to expectations, another comet (Comet ISON) could be a spectacular sight later in 2013 (see Watch for It section) Starizona wants you to know that summer night sky holds the most spectacular deep-sky objects, including bright nebulas and star clusters, many of which are visible in a small telescope or even binoculars. The brightest portion of the Milky Way stretches across the sky in the late evenings. “The most incredible recent advances in the hobby have to be the computerization of telescopes and digital imaging,” notes astrophotographer Scott Tucker, who has worked at Starizona more than a decade. “Computerized telescopes are now inexpensive and most models feature a "go-to" system where the telescope can automatically point to any object you choose and then track it as the Earth rotates,” says Tucker. “Many telescopes can interface with mobile devices like iPhones and iPads to offer wireless control, audio descriptions of objects, and many more features. “ The biggest change in telescopes and star gazing has been digital
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Photograph by Leigh Anne DelRay © Aerolite Meteorites www.aerolite.org
photo: Monica Surfaro Spigelman Sky Bar
imaging, he notes. Advances are allowing would-be astrophotographers to capture images in just a couple minutes, from their backyard. “The images that show up on a computer screen in even just 30 seconds with a modest amateur telescope show far more detail and color than you would ever see visually through an eyepiece, even through a huge telescope!” says Tucker. Astronomy as a hobby is also something anyone can enjoy, he reminds us. “It can be as simple as lying in a chair and looking through binoculars from your backyard, or as advanced as having a remotelyoperated observatory that is capable of doing cutting-edge scientific research. There is something for every level of enthusiast.”
on the patio. “Sky Bar has a wide range of customers, that is why I like working there so much,” Tackett says. “The public outreach is of a very wide range, in one night I can show someone who has never looked through a telescope Saturn and the ring nebula and five minutes later be talking to a pro astronomer about how stars form and die.” “The night skies in the SW are unsurpassed in beauty,” adds Vacarro. “They also provide a mind expanding experience in which we realize the enormity of the "whole thing," and allow our woes to dissipate because it's just a lot bigger than all of us. The night sky is also very romantic....”
Wind Up At Sky Bar
Meet Meteorite Man
If you are looking for alcohol-based cosmos in addition to the celestial ones, look no further than Sky Bar on 4th Avenue (skybartucson.com). This astronomy-influenced solar-powered planetarium bar, opened by the owners of Brooklyn Pizza Company a couple of years ago, gives you big screen viewing of the universe as you sip your cocktail. Tony Vacarro, one of the owners, is especially proud of their telescopes, usually operating three each night. The roof top telescope takes amazing deep space images, and the two on the patio are available for hands-on viewing. The bar has an astronomer working Tuesday through Saturday nights, and astronomy simulations on three projectors every night. Family nights on Tuesdays get the kids interested. “Every month we have all day happy hour for any astronomical event like full moon, eclipse or meteor showers, says Robby Tackett, one of the two astronomy pros on staff at Sky Bar. On Tuesdays Robby will introduce people to astrophotography, using his adapters to help visitors mount their personal cameras to the 14” Mead LX200
Geoff Notkin (www.notkin.net), one of the two hosts of Meteorite Men, the award-winning science/adventure television series that ran for three seasons on Science Channel and is now airing worldwide on Discovery and other networks, has a romantic story of his own regarding Sky Bar: He had a first date there about three years ago with Elizabeth Egleson, a professional ballet dancer with Ballet Tucson. The two just recently got engaged. “I have spent time at Sky Bar on many happy occasions,” smiles Notkin, who hosted a series of Meteorite Men premiere parties at Sky Bar over the past few years. In addition, the Tucson Meteorite Club meets at Sky Bar, once a month. Notkin is a one of those life-long astronomy enthusiasts who wanted to go beyond observing, to touching elements of space. Since moving here about a decade ago, Notkin has found an unusually-strong community of believers in both astronomy and meteoritics (the study of meteorites) in Tucson. “The interest is growing in thriving sciences that are constantly pushing the boundaries
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Independents Week, June 30 - July 7, 2013 Join Local First Arizona in celebrating our local independent businesses. Take the pledge to shop local for one whole week, June 30 - July 7. Try someplace new, explore what Tucson and Arizona independent businesses have to offer. Keep your money where your home is and support these and many more local businesses of all types listed in the Local First Arizona directory at LocalFirstAZ.com
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Deco: Art for Living 2612 E. Broadway Blvd. 520-319-0888 DecoArtTucson.com Delectables Restaurant & Catering 533 N. 4th Ave 520-884-9289 Delectables.com Fed By Threads 435 E. 9th St 520-445-8533 FedByThreads.com
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graphic: Anton Balazh
of knowledge and understanding,” he says. Notkin related a major announcement made in June regarding a Martian meteorite and the discovery of contents of boron in it. “Boron may have played an important role in the formation of the so-called "building blocks of life" on our planet,” he says. Several of Notkin’s Meteorite Men segments were filmed in and around Tucson, notably the Season One episode "The Tucson Ring Mystery," which was shot in the Santa Rita Mountains. Notkin also films during the Tucson gem and mineral shows, at the Flandrau Science Center and in the desert between Tucson and Sahuarita. On the advisory board of Deep Space Industries (DSI), a private sector space program company that is developing an ambitious plan to mine asteroids, Notkin is one of those Tucson enthusiasts who combines serious science and his passions. Just like the movies DSI intends to harvest raw materials from asteroids and use them to develop resources and build hardware in space. “After spending much of my professional life searching for material that has fallen out of space, it is rather exciting to be working on a project that will send cutting-edge technology into space,” he says. Amateurs and private enthusiasts regularly make important contributions to both astronomy and meteoritics, and Notkin encourages the curious to get involved in the diversified Tucson scene. Attend a local meeting, get a drink at Sky Bar, do some free star-gazing at a local business. Start by looking up tonight. Let the night skies cool… you never know what mysteries they will reveal.
Watch for it! There's always something going on in the night sky, and that’s parU.S. Light Pollution ticularly true in the months ahead. An option is to check out the NASA Night Sky Network (nightsky.jpl. nasa.gov), which can give you star charts, location of local clubs and special sky events. Lapin and Notkin offer these other tips: These are prime months for stargazers, with one of the best annual meteor showers around, Perseid, appears in late July and August. The skies will be popping with maximum activity between August 9 and 14, when Earth passes through the dust left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle, with the ice or rock from the Comet burning up in our atmosphere. Head over to Sky Bar or Starizona for viewing, or check in with the TAAA to learn about star parties scheduled those months. Remember, even if there are thunderstorms, they’ll usually dissipate around or after midnight, so you can still get in some nice meteor shower views. A bright comet is predicted for this fall, and the comet actually is visible now with a telescope. If the predictions hold up, the comet will be visible to observers without a telescope. Contact a local expert mentioned in this article for addition information. There also are the occasional supernova (a star at the end of its
life) and sunspot activity this summer. Attend one of the TAAA star parties if you have questions about this and the other interesting activity our Universe has planned this summer. If discussions are more your thing: the TAAA will participate in the UA’s Lunar and Planetary Lab's Summer Science Saturday, themed "The Outer Planets," on July 20. The TAAA will have an interactive display about strange life forms found on the Earth. As conditions on the moons of some of the outer planets might be similar to extreme conditions on Earth where we find these strange life forms, the TAAA will be talking about which moons are good targets for looking for simple forms of life. Tucson also is home to the oldest chapter of the National Space Society (www.nss.org): Tucson L5 Space Society (L5 signifying the Lagrangian libration point or space orbit configuration which might be an ideal locations for the large rotating earthlike space habitats envisioned by Princeton professor Gerard K. O'Neill in 1969). The L5 Society merged with the National Space Institute (NSI) in the 1980's to form the National Space Society (NSS). While the NSI was more Washington DC scientist-in-a-suit, the L5 group was much closer to a scientist/space hippie mix from Tucson. Kim Poor of SpaceFest was the original L5 art director, and the organization has regular monthly meetings and is involved with science-related community outreach in the schools. (www. tucsonspacesociety.org)
Night Skies End Notes Dark Skies, an international movement, has its roots in Tucson. The International Dark Skies Association (IDA) began in Tucson with the inspiration of Dr. David Crawford and Dr. Tim Hunter in 1988. This group ensures that the world knows light pollution is not just an “astronomer’s problem.” Beyond blocking the stars and making it very difficult and/or impossible to do astronomical research, light pollution impacts wildlife, human health and safety. The IDA tells us that streetlights in the United States will waste about $2.2 billion dollars a year because the light is going where it is not needed. Although Tucson officially is not a dark skies-designated city, it does have a serious outdoor lighting ordinance adopted by Tucson and Pima County in 1972. Since then legislators, non-profits and astronomers have been helping update regulations to ensure that the skies around us are as dark as possible for everyone, especially our observatories. The Tucson’s 2012 Outdoor Lighting Code has strict guidelines on maximum light brightness as well as hours of operation and light shielding requirements. Although Tucson is trying, much light pollution recently from Maricopa County is making its way south and threatening our local skies. Learn more via the Southern Arizona International Dark Skies Association chapter (www.sa-ida.org).
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Top 10 Southern Arizona Deep Space and Star Gazing Sites No doubt: Southern Arizona leads the way in terms of sites that help you check out the cosmos. Zocalo’s top 10 list: 1) Mt. Lemmon/UA SkyCenter (skycenter.arizona.edu) SkyNights and other programs. Reservations are required. 2) UA Steward Observatory Mirror Lab (mirrorlab. as.arizona.edu) A very interesting must see of technology and the world’s largest telescope mirrors. Reservations required. 3) Mt. Hopkins and Whipple Observatory Visitors Center (www.mmto.org). Tour the visitor center and also reserve a seat on the bus for a day-long excursion up the mountain. 4) Kitt Peak (www.noao.edu/kpno) Get away for a daytime picnic lunch or make reservations for the night program. 5) Mt. Graham – mgio.arizona.edu/visitor-information The newest and one of the largest Binocular telescopes in the world is here, nearby Safford. 6) Flandrau Science Center (www.flandrau.org) opened in 1975. Changing exhibits and Southern Arizona’s only Planetarium Theater. 7) UA Lunar and Planetary Lab (www.lpl.arizona.edu/ calendar?ID=737): This is where you’ll find family programs, lectures
Wild Wild West, photo © Sean Parker, www.sean-parker.com
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and a research collection of NASA planetary images. 8) The Night Wings program (July 27, August 24) at Pima Air & Space Museum (www.pimaair.org) with special activities for kids, with all hangars open until 9pm. See NASA planes including the Super Guppy, built to transport rockets. The Flight Grill is open for dinner and there’s a mock-up of Martian lander in Spirit of Freedom hangar. Or head over to Titan Missile Museum (www.titanmissilemuseum.org)to launch seltzer rockets, sample space food and take an astronaut test (second Saturdays through September). 9) Desert Star Weekend: You only need to journey out about 50 miles to get an incredible view of the Milky Way. Preferences are to head southeast (Portal), where there are several B&Bs, or even a house rental in Arizona Sky Village (www.arizona-dreaming.com/star.php). To put on your bucket list for an extended visit someday: Chaco Canyon (www.nps. gov/chcu). Also, when it opens, Roden Crater will be a must-see excursion. rodencrater.com/about 10) Moon Tree: Visit a very splendid and unusual moon tree, planted next to the Flandrau Science Center. Notkin explains the history of the tree here: tucsoncitizen.com/lizard/2009/06/07/mystery-of-themoon-trees
photo: Michael Danson
Indelible Images The Astrophotography of Sean Parker
by Monica Surfaro Spigelman
ime lapse has always been fascinating in photography, but rarely has it been used in such beautiful celestial ways as employed by local landscape and time-lapse cinematographer Sean Parker. Parker’s photos, which grace this edition of Zocalo, also have appeared in Smithsonian’s Air & Space Magazine, Digital SLR Photography Magazine and other online media. Parker started his career in computer technology. Interest in astrophotography was born at Sky Bar just a couple of years ago. In 2011, after relaxing for a drink at Sky Bar, Sean wandered up to the 12-inch Mead patio telescope and took a photo of the moon with his iPhone. He was hooked instantly. It’s apparent that the recent shift from technology to photography is what gives Parker’s work both impeccable technical quality as well as a sense of play and vigor. For the next few months after that 2011 Sky Bar experience, Parker borrowed a friend’s Canon Rebel camera and loaded up his Jeep to head out to remote corners of the desert to try his hand at shooting the stars. His favorite spot is about 55 miles south of Tucson, nearby Kitt Peak, where he’ll often go in early evening, to set up his camera and look for his shots. Nowadays he loads up the Jeep with some 20 pounds of equipment, including tripods and dolly slider, to shoot time lapses with his new Canon 5D through the night. “I first saw time lapse videos on YouTube and it blew my mind,” Parker recalls. When he goes out now, he prefers to use his wide angle or fish eye lens – shooting and stopping for 25-odd seconds intervals over a four-hour time lapse. Although some photographers accept preset apertures and time lapse sequences, Parker contin-
ues to experiment. Like a true photojournalist and tech specialist, too, Parker sees both science and creative art in the star formations he shoots. “Nights skies offer incredible and limitless inspiration,” he explains. Parker’s treks have not been without some scary moments. He recalls one terrifying evening coming down from Mt. Hopkins, when his battery cable came loose. He advises enthusiasts to let people know when heading out for night shoots. Parker, who is always on a mission, attended SpaceFest and is a member of the IDA. His outstanding and diverse works are printed locally at Photographic Works. He has a few gallery shows, including one at Black Crown Coffee and Red Sky Tattoo. At the March Hotel Congress Raw Generation Show, he won best video, and he is working on a paid-for version film of beautiful time lapses. Astro calendars are for sale on his website. Most exciting is a special UA project. Opening this summer is a new campus area called UA Experience – a room full of high definition monitors displaying the dazzle of our city (including some of Parker’s photography). Summer is Parker’s favorite time of year, mostly because of the vibrant bands of the Milky Way. He suggests others head out to a spot like Windy Point on Mt. Lemmon, to try out astrophotography. “It’s a satisfying way to look at the universe and capture its special moments, “ he says. Visit Parker’s website, Sean-Parker.com, or look him up at Sky Bar, where he works part-time with the telescopes.
July/August 2013 | ZOCALOMAGAZINE.com 35
by Sydney Ballesteros
The luxurious textiles and beautiful motifs of the East have captivated audiences since the days of the Silk Road. But could such an ancient culture be re-imagined for a new age? Against a backdrop of minimalist lines the basic elements of Asian dressâ€” the staple kimono, mandarin dress and obi, were reinterpreted and a neotraditionalist collection fit for a modern Anna May Wong was conceived. If Paul Poiret were alive, weâ€™d like to think he would approve of this imperial vision for the edge of a modern world. Introducing our vintage version of the Orient. Built from the ground up. Creative team credits: Creative director + stylist | sydney ballesteros Photography | stacia lugo Model | kendall visser Makeup | tangie duffey Hair | raul mendoza, fringe salon Wardrobe | black cat vintage + razzle dazzle vintage (jewelry)
36 ZOCALOMAGAZINE.com | July/August 2013
Fashion Inspired Art
by Allie Knapp
THE merchandise ranges from vintage clothing to graphic design artwork and from 8-tracks to fashion art pieces made from computer keys. The room is splashed with light pink and green and features a large vintage chandelier hanging in the center. This new 6th Ave storefront is sure to be like no other around and it joins the downtown shopping scene July 13. “Psychedelia mod Willy Wonka – except you can’t lick the wallpaper.” That is how Eleonor Leon, an award-winning artist and the owner of La Fashionista, would describe the feel of her store. You may find yourself wondering if you have stepped into an alternate world when you leave the busy streets of modern downtown and enter La Fashionista. Feel free to get your groove on while browsing. We can dig it. The long-time dream of opening a store became a reality for Leon in January when she and her father began the process of creating La Fashionista. “I think people kind of think you’re crazy when you just go out on a limb. I just decided that I was going to do it regardless,” Leon said on starting this new venture at 43 years old. Leon received a bachelor’s degree in visual communication from The University of Arizona and also studied fashion design at The Academy of Art University and FIDM. Many of the items for sale at La Fashionista are handmade by Leon, who enjoys all things design and is also a designer for Tucson Fashion Week. Costume designer and graphic artist, Leon says that she is “a fusion of
Eleonor Leon and son, Emmanuel Spiro
her parents.” Her love for costumes began at a very early age. “My mother loved to dress up in costumes so she would bring us downtown to find clothes at vintage thrift shops,” Leon said. “My mother was the fashionista. She would dress up and she was spectacular.” Inspired also by her father, a sheet metal mechanic, Leon enjoys drilling and creating things out of metal and other materials. A few of her unique items on display at La Fashionista include jewelry crafted from guitar picks and computer keys. While Leon’s artwork is shown throughout the store, an art gallery featuring the award-winning artist Domingo Toledo will also be on display at the entrance of La Fashionista. Toledo received an Addy award while under the instruction of Leon, who has been an instructor at The Art Institute of Tucson, Tucson Design College and Pima Community College. Leon moved to Tucson as an infant and lived downtown during the early years of her life. She finds great value in historical pieces of Tucson and is happy that she has been able to “save part of Tucson history” by collecting many treasures from old downtown locations to showcase in her store. The original cash register and bar stools from the old hotspot Grill can be found in La Fashionista. The grand opening of La Fashionista – what Leon dubs a “retro eclectica” shop – will be held on Saturday, July 13 at 45 S. 6th Ave from 6-10 p.m. Fashion art designed by Leon will be modeled at the event. July/August 2013 | ZOCALOMAGAZINE.com 37
photo: Andrew Brown
Rebecca and Scott Safford
Quench your thirst at
Tap + Bottle by Teya Vitu
You’d swear there is a brewery or vineyard out back at Tap + Bottle, 403 N. 6th Avenue. Though they don't brew beer or tend to grapes, owners Rebecca and Scott Safford are playing right into the turn of the century ambiance firmly in place at their newly opened beer and wine tasting room and bottle shop. You’ll find exposed brick walls and original wood flooring dating back to when Tucson had maybe 10,000 inhabitants. And now, a spacious bar, beer glasses and growlers on metal shelves, a giant chalkboard menu, and a 10-foot long community table grace the restored building. The Tap + Bottle logo is on the brick wall, appearing as if it’s been there for 100 years. The top half of the logo, created by Dennis Fesenmyer at Fezlab, looks like a keg and the bottom half like a bottle cap. “This is our beer baby,” says Rebecca, the Safford who you’ll most likely find working at Tap + Bottle. “We got the idea of doing this while traveling up and down the West Coast and in Colorado. We discovered a lot of bottle shops where you can purchase craft beer bottles for take out or stay and drink them on the spot.” Having opened in late June, Tap + Bottle is a bar but not really a bar. No hard liquor, just beer and wine – on tap and also available by the bottle (or can) to take home. With nearly 400 varieties of bottled beer and 20 tap beers, the concept is clear. Provide an impressive inventory of harder to find beers from around the country and world, add a local feel in an historic setting, and Tap + Bottle becomes a one-of-a-kind destination in Tucson. The 20 craft beers on tap continually rotate out, some on a daily basis. Two kegs are always "on deck" ready to be tapped once a line opens up. One cask condition beer is also available. The beer goes into the cask flat and the beer’s yeast creates the carbonation. Other elements can be added to the cask such as orange peel or blueberry. In the future, they hope to convince local Tucson breweries to brew one-off varieties just for Tap + Bottle. 38 ZOCALOMAGAZINE.com | July/August 2013
photo: Andrew Brown
Tap + Bottle soft opening. In its first week of business, T&B went through 46 kegs of beer.
While they do an excellent job of celebrating beer, they also feature six wines on tap – three red and three white. Their bottled wine section includes over 70 choices. Don't expect to find Tap + Bottle within the 4th Avenue or Congress Street bar scene. It’s just north of the 6th Avenue underpass, which is not exactly a spot screaming location, location, location. “We’re totally one block off,” Rebecca says. “We want to be something different. We've watched Borderlands Brewing and EXO Roasting closely. Nearby, they've created their own culture and scene without being in the middle of it all.” Tap + Bottle shares a building with EXO and Old Market Inn Tile Shop. Old Market tile decorates the restroom and denotes the street addresses for all three businesses. It makes sense how Rebecca and Scott got into the beer and wine business. They met at the Tap Room at Hotel Congress and live at the Ice House Lofts near Barrio Brewing. “We grew into it together with our love of beer and love of learning about beer and wine,” she says. “We both did Cicerone wine certification training. We studied together. We talked about it a lot. It really did happen together. It was not one person saying I love beer and now you have to love beer, too.” As expected, this is a true joint venture in beer proficiency right down to their chalkboard menus detailing not just the beer, brewery and price but also specifying IBU and ABV values (International Bitterness Units and Alcohol by Volume – the percent alcohol). Flip their branded coasters over and you’ll find beer tasting note sheets to mark down sweetness, bitterness, hoppiness, and on the wine coaster, intensity, body, flavors and hue.
Rebecca and Scott are nose-to-nose about having nine different glasses for beer and a stemless tumbler for the wine. Depending on which glass best suits a given beer, you will get your brew in English pub, Belgian or “Munique” glasses in sizes ranging from 10.5 to 23 ounces. Get the right curves in the glass for the right beer and drinking becomes all about aromatics and smell along with the taste. “It starts with what not to serve it in,” Scott says. “We say, be good to the beer.” For those less concerned with stemware and more oriented toward take-out or volume, you can buy 4-pint and 2-pint Tap + Bottle growler bottles to take along and for later refills. Like at EXO Roasting, where they offer coffee tastings by flights, you can sample a flight of four 5-ounce beers at Tap + Bottle. Well-briefed employees happily detail any of the nuances. Not just anybody works at Tap + Bottle. The Safford application process resembles a college essay exam. They’re less concerned with where you've worked, your references or your record. Where potential employees score their points is with answering application questions such as “What is your favorite style of beer and why?” and “What do you believe is the most overrated beer and why?” “We want to hear how they explain it,” says Rebecca. With a plethora of beer and wine tasting options at Tap + Bottle, some friendly guidance from the staff sounds just about right. Tap + Bottle is open from 11 am to 11 pm Monday to Thursday, 11 am to midnight Friday and Saturday, and noon to 6 pm Sunday. Find them online at www.thetapandbottle.com July/August 2013 | ZOCALOMAGAZINE.com 39
photo: Greg Bryan. Courtesy Sleeping Frog Farms
Cultivating the New Food Chain
Sleeping Frog Farms serves up sustainability
by Emily Gindlesparger “Each farm is a microclimate in itself,” Clay Smith explains as he unspools the cycles of growing on Sleeping Frog Farms. Five years ago, Smith and three partners – Debra Weingarten, Adam Valdivia, and CJ Marks – had a dream of creating a sustainable farm for the food desert of Tucson, and planted the seed on a single acre on the northwest side. In two years the dream had overgrown the land, and they transplanted to a 75 acre piece on the San Pedro River Valley. Today Sleeping Frog Farms is 15 acres with 80 varieties of heirloom plants, goats, laying hens, and honeybees tucked under the east flank of the Rincon Mountains. This is the place where they've brought farming back to its roots. Creating a permaculture farm, Clay Smith reveals, is like making lasagna: it's a lot of layers. First they grow a cover crop on a pasture and pad the soil with organic material. Next, chickens and goats forage on the crop, naturally composting the soil with manure. Then the plot is ready for vegetables. “It's a process,” Smith adds. “It takes time. And the difference between this and conventional farming is that you can pump synthetic food into dirt with no real soil base and get a crop out of it, but over time you get toxicity in the soil. Whatever the plant doesn't eat each year gets locked in the soil. The organic method is a way of building soil layer by layer, like lasagna, and each year it's a healthier overall biomass.” Even in the riparian eden where Sleeping Frog Farms sits, their biggest challenge is soil humus. The natural desert doesn't hold much organic material. “It's either sandy loam or packed clay, but not much actual topsoil,” Smith describes. “So the biggest challenge for us is getting the soil built in the desert.” The solutions are found in a community of local ranchers, from whom the farm gets free range cow and goat manure, and a community of probiotics and beneficial bacteria that Smith and his partners use to ferment their green waste. “The fermentation process with bacteria like lactobacillus hastens the decomposition,” Smith explains. “The natural composting style is letting something rot; you smell a lot of that process, and what you're smelling is the off-gassing. When you ferment, you're holding in that smell and the nutrients that come with it, creating a much more nutritionally dense compost in a lot less time. Building soil is the first step. By continually amending the soil beds, each year we're going to build better and better soil, with fewer pathogens and a better crop result.” With their land lease they inherited agricultural wells and conventional watering equipment. Each 3-acre plot had a watering cannon spraying a few hundred gallons of water 70 yards out in rhythmic bursts, losing much of the volume to evaporation and pounding the ground into pancakes. The wells pumped 800 gallons of water per minute, and the excess ran 40 ZOCALOMAGAZINE.com | July/August 2013
off toward the river. The team dismantled the cannons and replaced them with drip irrigation that releases water at each plant root at just two to ten gallons an hour. Partnered with a variable speed drive on the well, they're able to control the water output from a laptop, reining in precious water usage and saving power. From the harvest they prepare 150 residential Community Supported Agriculture shares and sell the abundance at the Food Conspiracy Co-p and St. Phillips Plaza Farmer's Market. The abundance also goes into local schools. Ten percent of every CSA pickup at Green Fields school on the northwest side and Civano on the southeast side is donated back to the school in produce. “It's a nice incentive for the parents, because they're getting healthy food they can pick up when they're picking up their kids,” says Smith, and even better, “it's making its way into their school lunch programs.” They also partner with 13 Tucson restaurants to provide produce on the CSA model. Restaurant owners prepay for a season based on what can be grown, and the farm delivers its cornucopia. “The partnerships really work together,” Smith says. “We can grow what they need and not waste precious organic material we're trying to source from the desert, and the owners can live that model rather than just selling it to the people.” Chefs downtown at Falora, Proper, Diablo Burger and Wilko join others across the city in being adaptable to the fluctuating bounties. “It breaks the mold,” Smith continues. “Restaurants are used to ordering everything at the click of a button, and seasonally it has no impact on what you get. There's an ethic behind the restaurants working with us. They have to take certain day deliveries and be flexible and seasonal. But at the end of the day their products are better, their customers are happier, and that's happened with every restaurant we've adopted. The good chefs make it possible.” True to nature, nothing is wasted. “Most of our acreage goes right to the shelves and the food boxes and CSAs,” Smith says, and whatever is left gets made into preserves, sauces, pickles and jams that give restaurant kitchens creative flavors to work with and Sleeping Frog employees a store to eat from through the winter. Leftovers go to compost and animal feed, and the cycle continues. What remains eventually creates another layer of soil for another season's crops: another abundance returned to the land. Sleeping Frog Farms is located at 4510 N. Cascabel Rd, Benson, AZ. For more information, call 212-3764 or to sign up for a CSA share, visit SleepingFrogFarms.com
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July/August 2013 | ZOCALOMAGAZINE.com 41
The Gastronomy of Conservation
Diablo Burger fires up Congress Street by Emily Gindlesparger
42 ZOCALOMAGAZINE.com | July/August 2013
tion values 'embedded' in its quality.” The model worked instantly, creating gastronomic fans across the state. When it became possible to open a second location, Phoenix seemed a natural choice, with its ready-made patron base, but the venues were all wrong. He searched across town until a space in Tucson's historic Rialto Building popped into the picture “and it was simply one of those 'there it is' moments; everything I'd been looking for somewhere else I found right here: authenticity, community, and a landlord in Scott Stiteler who didn't just see me as a paycheck every month, but rather as a partner in his vision for completely revitalizing this historic block.” The mood downtown has changed since Diablo Burger and its new neighbor Proper opened. The bustling restaurants framed their interior walls with windows so that, (looking through the space between that will become a local butcher shop), you can see the fedora-topped bartenders mixing their alchemy in Proper, and through their windows to the bar hoppers streaming into Playground. Every night of the week, Congress Street is incandescent. In early September, Widmark will add Good Oak Bar to the block, a name taken from the possible origins of the name “Arizona,” Basque words for “Good Oak.” The bar follows the same principles as the Derrick Widmark burgers, pouring drafts from Arizona breweries and wines from local vineyards. “I see it as the downtown Tucson version of an East Coast tavern: small, dark, intimate – a place to hang out in and in which one can seek cool, calm, and comforting sanctuary.” With a new home, Diablo Burger has forged new relationships with southern Arizona producers, crating veggies from Sleeping Frog Farms in Benson and chèvre and blue cheese from Chiva Risa in Hereford. In the previews, Widmark is partnering with 47 Ranch in Cochise County to get a bratwurst on the menu in the fall. Over a Big Daddy Kane with sweet pickles, pepperjack and bacon, or a build-your-own Ziggy Stardust with chèvre, beets and pesto – two of Widmark's favorites – it's easy to fall in love with what Arizona has to offer. “My sense, in the big picture, is that there is so much change happening in food right now, how we source it, how we talk about it, how we seek it out, etc. And it's important to me that Diablo Burger do everything it can to be a part of that change in however modest a way possible, one day at a time and one relationship at a time.” photo: Andrew Brown
Diablo Burger is either the best or the worst place to bring a first date. The atmosphere is fun and funky, with vintage diner seats at folding windows swinging open to Congress Street, a rebuilt 1960s Vespa at the hostess station, and bright bucket seats around big communal tables and the bar, both made from repurposed maple bowling alley lanes. The TV above gives it a half-sports bar, half-hipster-cafeteria kind of feel. And when Derrick Widmark serves up a towering locally-produced burger balanced on an English muffin bun, all the cards are on the table. Once you pick it up, there will be no hand free to sip your wine. You will not look pretty eating this as chèvre or special sauce slips out the side to douse your fresh-cut fries sprinkled with Herbes de Provence. If you've ordered the Vitamin B, topped with bacon, beet and blue cheese, your hands will look bloody magenta. But I can promise you this: you will not care. The difference in taste between commercially-produced, cornfed beef carted from the Great Plains and locally-ranched cows that fed on desert grasses and Bigelow sage is as vast as the distance between them. After reveling in a meal that tastes like a farmers market, I wanted to ask Widmark: which came first, the burger or the beef? Was it the quality of locavore life that inspired the restaurant, or the other way around? “I wanted to live a greener life in a greener place and contribute to something more essential than the work I had been doing,” Widmark says of moving from the film and advertising industry in New York and coming to work as Communications Coordinator of the Diablo Trust, a collective of northern Arizona ranchers, in 2006. “Diablo Trust gave me the opportunity to learn about a whole range of sustainability issues and, almost more importantly, to understand how those issues are inter-related.” A change in how a food source is produced echoes in the biodiversity of the area it comes from; that change ripples through the water table, affects wildlife, and our own recreation, Widmark explains. “And the imperative of thinking holistically—which Diablo Trust and the Diablo Trust ranches do as a matter of course and of fundamental identity and approach—taught me a great deal about the complexity of long-term conservation work. And that thinking has carried over into my approach to running Diablo Burger.” In 2009 he opened his first burger joint in Flagstaff, using beef from the Diablo Trust ranches and produce sourced from farms in a 250-mile radius, what he calls the Arizona “food-shed.” Widmark says that talks with Gary Nabhan, co-founder of Native Seeds/SEARCH, “sparked my thinking that the connections between community and landscape could be enhanced by offering locally-sourced, open-range beef that had conserva-
Diablo Burger, 312 E. Congress St. 882-2007. DiabloBurger.com
July/August 2013 | ZOCALOMAGAZINE.com 43
Proper Sustenance by Emily Gindlesparger The first thing I love about Proper is walking up to it on Congress Street, with its wide open windows wrapping around the corner onto 5th Avenue. Inside, the Thomas Edison-style light bulbs lend a mood of having landed on this historic block in the Rialto Building. “Our main goal for the ambiance was the street-scape,” owner Paul Moir tells me, and it becomes obvious as I look across the bar to people-watch. “We wanted that energy to go out into the street and into the intersection; that intersection has really become the hub of downtown.” The second thing I love is our drinks. Mine, called the Garden Party, is a cool shade of green with a sliver of cucumber wrapped around the side with tequila and a hint of peach. It's the kind of garden party that includes lace gloves and swear words. Logan has the Longer Look, a bourbon infused with chamomile and mint, with a splash of lemon and soda, a glass filled with sunshine yellow. “Something I really wanted to do is take the farm to table concept into the bar as well,” Moir says. “The wine list is based around a handful of wine producers that we share common values with, people who are doing things in a responsible way; we gravitate toward those kinds of producers. Same thing with the beers: a lot of them are local and regional beers from guys that are doing it the right way. The cocktails are all fresh and seasonal. Even in our selection of liquor we've tended to go with a small selection of domestic and artisanal spirits. We made a conscious effort to keep things tight and keep things small.” “The right way” is the track that Proper takes in every facet of the restaurant. The menu changes often with seasonal offerings and dishes designed around what's available from the local food-shed. Luckily in Arizona, the selection is rich. “We have this year round elevational advantage,” Moir explains, describing the staggered growing seasons between northern and southern areas of the state. The Moirs believe in skipping out of the industrial food chain and tapping into the markets in our own backyard. “It's how we feed our children, it's how we feed ourselves, and we hit a point a while ago when we started to educate ourselves about the commercial food supply. It's getting scarier and scarier and we made that commitment to eat local ourselves. The benefits run the full spectrum from health to community. It's a way to build a local economy around food and keep more money in the community.” In the warmly-lit restaurant, in a plush corner bench seat around a hewn wood table, we get our first dish. We couldn't resist the comfort-food classic of Welsh rarebit mac and cheese: fusilli in a light béchamel sauce, topped with crumbled toast, in a portion just big enough to split for a taste. Logan's pan roasted chicken comes atop fluffy, flaky white bean and quinoa cakes dabbed with verjus vinaigrette the color of deep green olives. My Alaskan halibut is perhaps the least local dish on the menu, but makes up for it with Latin American flavor in the coconut fumé, a lightly spiced sauce that fills the bowl over heirloom tomatoes and roasted fingerling potatoes. Each dish is so rich and distinct that it's a pity we didn't bring more friends to pass around plates; Proper is all about sharing. Moir's favorites: “a pork cutlet with eggs on our brunch menu, that to me is absolutely divine,” and steak and frites, classed up with a port reduction. One of the side benefits of local eating is gustatory diversity, and the selection of meats on the menu has that in spades with pork belly and duck. Proper is also bringing rabbit, one of the most sustainable and simply-raised animals, back on the menu because “it fits with what we do.” Toward the end of the year, Moir will be backing up that end of the business with a butcher shop next door. “The reasons behind it are many but the thing that first pushed me in that direction was a conversation with a rancher in southern Arizona who expressed a desire for all of his animals to go into a local food system rather than being sold off into the larger commercial food system,” Moir explains. “I realized that I could help in that goal by providing a retail outlet for those products beyond a weekly farmers market. Another main reason is to gain better access to local, pastured meats for our own restaurants and to be able to scale with the ranchers, growing both of our businesses in tandem.” Moir plans to retail locally raised meats by the holidays. In the same way that coming downtown to dine isn't just about eating dinner, but also participating in the vibrant Tucson community, Proper is more than just a place to eat. It's part of a local economy and a network of small artisanal producers, evidence on each plate that community sustains us. 44 ZOCALOMAGAZINE.com | July/August 2013
Proper, 300 E. Congress St. 396-3357. ProperTucson.com
culinary tidbits for the home kitchen and bar
HOME MADE: MARASCHINO CHERRIES. Movie theaters are awful. Who wants to be stuck drinking PepsiCoTM products when you could be at home, pressing ‘pause’ to grab an adult beverage (and munching the awesome popcorn to your right). A late night flick calls for a classic Manhattan at my house, and a Manhattan calls for...you guessed it. You are probably familiar with the atomic red glow and disturbing vinyl texture of what many try to pass as maraschino cherries, either on a ‘cute’ sundae or in that kid’s Shirley Temple. Pumped with chemicals and high fructose yuck, I should add that they taste nothing like cherries, and summertime serves up some of the best (July is peak season). Maraschino is not a cherry itself but in fact a type of liqueur, flavored with Marasca cherries and crushed pits. Originally from Zadar in Croatia, this small, slightly sour variety has been distilled industrially since the 18th century. Macerating your own cherries is simple, with lovely bi-products. Toss some of that fresh fruit in a jar and cover with said liqueur, wait a couple days and viola gourmet! Mix it up and soak your cherries in bourbon instead, after you enjoy many well-garnished cocktails you are left with a delicious infused whiskey that can be used for all kinds of wonderful. As you might imagine the list of variations and techniques goes on, with ‘mixologists’ often crafting a trademark blend. But I wouldn’t stress on whether to blanch the cherries first or whether the Rainier variety is required. The glory of the homemade maraschino is its simplicity, after all. And in that spirit, I encourage you to review the ingredient list of those aforementioned “cherries”. Besides the petroleum-based FD&C Red #40 used to make that neon hue, there are another 7 (seven) contributors to it’s tasteless result. When something is as simple as two ingredients, and as easy to make, you’ll find yourself running out of excuses. I did. •
A RECIPE: MARASCHINO CHERRIES INGREDIENTS: 1 pint cherries, and 1 cup maraschino liqueur (I prefer Luxardo Brand, available at local purveyors such as The Rumrunner or Plaza Liquors, both in Midtown). DIRECTIONS: Pit and stem the cherries (OXO makes a handy cherry pitter available at Williams-Sonoma in La Encantada). In a small pot, bring liqueur to a simmer. Turn off the heat, add the cherries and let cool. Store mixture in a jar (refrigerated) for at least 2 days before using, and up to several months. More than Manhattans: cherries garnish an Old Fashioned, as below.
GAME CHANGER: BAGLESS POPCORN. In my short ‘career’ as aspiring epicurean I’ve had what some could call revelations. What was once is no more, and things will never be the same. For me, one of these pivotal moments was when I discovered what Mark Bittman calls “Real Popcorn.” The concept is this: you can make better, healthier popcorn in nearly less time than it takes to microwave that scary future-bag of nuclear convenience. To be fair, with popcorn this lovely you might feel compelled to take an extra moment for the accoutrement. A favorite of mine is below. But good ol’ fashioned salt and butter never disappoints on movie night. Real butter, as opposed to that preserved, butter-flavored oil-stuff in that bag. Feeling spicy? How about a tablespoon each of butter, olive oil and Sriracha, melted before it’s poured over your hand-crafted snack? Hint: the answer is yes. This popcorn is really just a solid platform, a blank canvas that you can individualize and refine with your toppings of choice. I always keep a bag of bulk popping corn in the house; it’s a staple. What’s most surprising is how surprising it all was. After I got passed the embarrassment that I had no idea how popcorn was made before the microwave, I was left to wonder why we ever stopped making it this way. •
A RECIPE: PEPPERED PARMESAN POPCORN INGREDIENTS: 2 tablespoons neutral oil (I prefer grapeseed, but vegetable or corn oil will work), 1/2 cup popping corn, 2 tablespoons truffle oil, 1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan, and a handful of minced fresh parsley. DIRECTIONS: Place oil in a stock pot (or deep saucepan) over medium heat, add 3 kernels of corn and cover. When all 3 pop, add remaining corn and shake, holding the lid on, until there is between 1-2 seconds per ‘pop’ (Less than 3 minutes). Transfer to large bowl, add remaining ingredients and toss. Serve immediately.
Colin Wilkinson is CHEF BOY/R/C and learning to cook changed his life. Find recipes and more culinary adventures at chefboyrc.com. July/August 2013 | ZOCALOMAGAZINE.com 45
Z lifeintucson by Andrew Brown
page 46: Claudette and Marina at Buffalo Exchange downtown; Tucson kids out of school. page 47: Tap + Bottle owners, Scott and Rebecca Safford; razilian dancers in town for the Circus; he Summer of Kenny at The Yacht Rock Party; Arirel Pinkâ€™s Haunted Graffiti at Hotel Congress; The Manly Manlesque Show at Surly Wench.
46 ZOCALOMAGAZINE.com | July/August 2013
July/August 2013 | ZOCALOMAGAZINE.com 47
Musical Instrument Museum by Amanda Reed
Located in Scottsdale, Arizona, the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) contains an impressive collection of nearly 6,000 instruments and artifacts spanning across the globe. The 200,000 square foot, two-story building includes a café, gift shop and music theater. The museum makes a great one-day excursion from Tucson, just be sure to plan to stay a while and soak it all in. The friendly staff at the admissions desk will provide wireless headsets, a necessary component to fully experience the collection. As visitors wander through galleries viewing instruments, the headsets automatically sync to informative videos from accompanying flat screen monitors. Fun for children of all ages, the Experience Gallery contains gongs, drums, guitars, and other sound producers that you can try your hand or elbow in playing, tapping, or strumming. The Artist Gallery features displays on well-known performers such as Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, and Taylor Swift and contains the piano used by John Lennon to compose the song, “Imagine”. Upstairs in the Geographical Galleries, visitors can see African thumb pianos, a Putatara shelled Maori trumpet from New Zealand, a video on the making of a gong, or a Langspil from Iceland. The Latin American gallery includes the Recycled Orchestra exhibit featur48 ZOCALOMAGAZINE.com | July/August 2013
ing eight instruments crafted from recycled materials by a youth group in Paraguay. This display shares the story of the families who have lovingly created these instruments out of the trash they collect. This summer the Recycled Orchestra group will visit the MIM, with performances on August 9 and 10, and a day of family activities on August 10. During the month of July, MIM is offering complimentary admission to K-12 Arizona educators. Current Arizona teachers and aides, school and district administrators, and homeschool educators need to show a school or district issued ID, fingerprint card or an affidavit of intent to enjoy this special offer. For more information and for upcoming events and programs check the website: www.mim.org. If you go: Musical Instrument Museum 4725 East Mayo Boulevard, Phoenix, AZ 85050 480.478.6000