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photo ╬Blackzilla' Conquers Tucson

Rising star Dave Chappelle tackles social issues while pushing social boundaries in new sketch comedy show

With a long list of supporting movie roles and a stand-up act that never garnered as much attention as Chris Rock or Martin Lawrence, Dave Chappelle has always played second fiddle in show business.

That could all change with a new sketch comedy TV show and a hot stand-up tour that makes a stop in Tucson Saturday. [Read article]

photo Make no mistake ¸ it's Mates of State

When Mates of State played Tucson last April, it had very little interaction with the audience. Normally, this is the kind of thing that gets bands labeled as poor live performers.

But people don't come to shows to check out their chemistry with the audience ¸ they go to see the members' interaction with each other. Though Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel, the duo behind Mates of State, barely looked at the audience, their on-stage love fest kept even the most jaded music elitists' sarcasm at bay. [Read article]

Grammy Picks

Vanessa Carlton ¸ "A Thousand Miles"

Man ¸ women and their pianos are the popular choice this year. Not to go along with trends or anything, but Vanessa Carlton has got the talent where it counts, and she writes her own music and rocks the ivories like no one else has in a long while. Let's all sit back and listen to a record that is a beautiful and stunning debut.

Norah Jones ¸ Come Away With Me [Read article]

SUVs target the vain and the selfish

I was right all along. I thought SUV owners were selfish, vain and ultimately stupid people. Now I don't just have my intuition to back me up, I have science as well. Social science, yes, but science just the same. You see, a new book about SUV culture cites market research by leading car makers (those are the people who want you to buy their crap, so they wouldn't do you wrong) that confirms my suspicions. [Read article]

photo Q & A: Mariachi violinist hits the right notes

Many musicians long to produce their first CD, to hear their own tunes played back to them at the push of a button, and to see their face on posters and on the music racks at stores. Many writers fantasize about their first published novel, yearning to touch the glossy front cover of a book that reads "Written by (Insert name here)." For many, these dreams are only trifles that exist outside of reality. But that is not the case for Diana Ransdell. [Read article]

photo Cinema Showdown: Crap Ě but you'll eat it anyway

Betancourt: I cannot believe we sat through this piece of crap.

Utz: Well, we did.

Betancourt: Will Farrell is such a goddamn moron. Jesus, he's like that hyper kid in junior high who keeps raising his voice to an unreasonable level to tell his idiotic jokes in the middle of class. Shut up Will! Shut up!

Utz: "Old School" is the story of Ě God, I can't do this. [Read article]

photo DVD Review: ╬Happy Tree Friends Volume #1: First Blood'

This lovely little bunch of characters is described as "cute, cuddly and horribly wrong." And that just makes this DVD oh-so-right. Launching their career at Spike and Mike's Twisted Animation Festival, the Happy Tree Friends became a sensation on the big screen. Shortly thereafter, the munchkins of mayhem took over the Internet ¸ and now they're going to invade your living room.

If you have no idea what these creatures can do ¸ or just have no idea who these "Friends" are, then you are in for a real surprise. Take a moment to think about your children (imaginary children work, too ¸ it's just an exercise!) and what might happen if you put them on a merry-go-round that went out of control. They would go flying off and into the propeller of a jet plane sitting nearby, splattering their innocent little guts all over the place. I was thinking the same thing; gross. But if you took that child and replaced it with a cartoon bunny named Cuddles, you would be laughing your ass off! [Read article]

photo Book Review: ╬Just as I Thought╬

It is impossible to discuss Grace Paley along with the weather. Her name does not come up when you are scurrying to lecture but have to stop and say hello to a friend from the dorms. She is not an item on your grocery list. Grace Paley is not idle banter and neither is her writing. "Just As I Thought" is a gathering of her short essays, memoirs, and narratives.

Although this book is relatively new, the non-fiction stories act as a timeline of her life and career. It is important to mention that this woman made her debut over 50 years ago, most notably during the women's movement and civil rights movement. From then on, she used her staunch voice like a crowbar, prying into every national and international affair. Many of her chapters deal with the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and U.S governmental policies. They were affairs where she did and did not belong, where she was wanted and others that gave her the name of "troublemaker." [Read article]


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