Venues specifically designed to be all-ages are cursed. The very ideals that inspire them – no alcohol, for example—are the same things that end up burying them. It's a tough model to sustain.
While there are plenty of venues that welcome those of all ages—the Rialto Theatre, Solar Culture, the casinos, certain shows at Club Congress—there's something to be said for a place that specifically caters to those of all ages. There's a certain inclusiveness that comes along with it, a feeling that inspires young people to get up and make music for themselves where they might not otherwise consider it. All-ages venues provide the inspiration for kids to create bands.
But bars have the built-in luxury of alcohol sales to sustain themselves. Despite anyone's best intentions, all-ages venues rely on cover charges—which are almost always dirt cheap to incentivize going there—to sustain them. Unless a place is receiving grant money, it's nearly impossible to make it work.
And so, this week brings the final show at Tucson Live Music Space (TLMS), the all-ages venue located off the beaten path at 125 W. Ventura St., which has, under the leadership of Billy Brooks, been hosting all-ages shows for just over a year. Despite his best efforts, it became impossible to keep the venue going, and that's certainly no slam on him. Kudos to Brooks for giving it a go, but the model just plain doesn't work.
It's a bit ironic that the new location of Skrappy's, which has received grant money in the past and inspired a whole generation of Tucson kids to start bands, is rededicating itself to occupying the place in the hearts and minds of music-loving kids in this town (stay tuned for information about its grand reopening) just as the DIY TLMS is ending its run. Here's hoping there's grant money involved to sustain it.
In the meantime, give Billy Brooks a pat on the back for his efforts when TLMS hosts its final show at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21. The bill features Lariats, Family Thief, Pizza Wolf, Hands Like Bricks, The New Classic, Clay Dudash, Austin D'Orso, and Logan Greene. Cover charge is usually $6. For more information check the TLMS Facebook page.
Befitting the season of giving, there are plenty of worthwhile charity shows happening around town this week. Here are a few of the most promising.
What began as a Seinfeld joke has blossomed into reality, as there are two Festivus celebrations happening on the winter solstice, Saturday, Dec. 21.
Following up on the success of last year's inaugural event, the Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association (TKMA) and KXCI FM-91.3 will team up to present the second annual community Festivus Celebration and Dance at El Casino Ballroom, which will raise funds for the community radio station and next spring's 29th annual Tucson Folk Festival. The lineup this time around features Ryanhood, the Sonoran Dogs (featuring Peter McLaughlin), The Tucsonics (featuring members of the Hot Club of Tucson), the String Bean Folk Orchestra, Jamie Anderson, the Duncan Stitt Trio, and emcees Dave Firestine and Claire Zucker, who will also be performing between acts.
The event runs from 6 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21, at El Casino Ballroom, 437 E. 26th St. Admission is $10 at the door. Food from El Molinito will be available for purchase. For more information call KXCI at 623-1000.
On the very same night, Plush will host the Tucson Holiday Festivus Benefit with proceeds being donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters. The event is a songwriters showcase with performances by Matt Rolland and Bekah Rolland of Run Boy Run, Joshua Butcher of The Tangelos, Adam Nixon, Cristina Williams of The Modeens, Keli Carpenter and Taylor Bungard of The Tryst, Vannessa Lundon, and Roll Acosta.
The event kicks off at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Cover is a $5 donation. For more information head to plushtucson.com or call 798-1298.
The Amber Norgaard Band will perform a Solstice Concert at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21, at the Courtyard Stage at Monterey Court, 505 W. Miracle Mile. Admission is $6, or $5 if you bring a non-perishable food donation for the community food bank. Head to montereycourtaz.com or call 207-2429 for more information.
On the following night, Sunday, Dec. 22, the Rialto Theatre will be the site of Fine Art: 5 Cents, a benefit for Child's Play, "a charity that delivers toys and games to kids in children's hospitals," according to the venue's website. The lineup for the evening looks like this: In Search of a Word (8 p.m.), Creating the Scene (8:40 p.m.), The Wolfgang (9:20 p.m.), Eastern Shore (9:50 p.m.), Ocean Void (10:30 p.m.), Bean Street Collective (11:10 p.m.).
Fine Art: 5 Cents begins at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 22. The Rialto Theatre is located at 318 E. Congress St. Admission is $10 and all ages are welcome. For more information check out rialtotheatre.com or call 740-1000.
KING CONTRARY MAN
While packing up my belongings recently in preparation to move to a new house, I came across a promo copy of a relatively recent album by British rockers The Cult. On a lark, I threw it into the CD player and it became instantly apparent why the band has, for the last couple years, been performing its two stone classic albums—1985's Love and 1987's Electric—in their entirety.
The Love tour skipped Tucson, but this week the band will perform Electric in its entirety as part of the Electric 13 World Tour at the Rialto Theatre on Friday, Dec. 20. The all-ages show kicks off at 8 p.m. Advance tickets are $28 for general admission on the floor and $33 for reserved seats in the balcony. All tickets will be $2 more on the day of the show. For further information call 740-1000 or head to rialtotheatre.com.
On Friday, Dec. 20, Tucson's gHosT cOw will celebrate the release of a new self-released album, Even the Sky Is Blue, with a performance at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. The band will perform after openers the Wayward Saints, and before La Cerca. The show gets started at 9:30 p.m. Cover info was unavailable at press time, but it shouldn't be more than $5 to get in. For more info head to plushtucson.com or call 798-1298.
MEMPHIS HIP SHAKE
2nd annual ¡Chicha Christmas! with Chicha Dust at Club Congress on Saturday, Dec. 21; Tesoro vs. Diluvio with DJ Dirtyverbs at the Rialto Theatre on Saturday, Dec. 21; Southwestern Christmas Concert with Ted Ramirez at Tubac Presidio on Sunday, Dec. 22; the Sundowners and Saint Maybe at Sky Bar tonight, Thursday, Dec. 19; Anakim and Psygoat at Plush tonight, Thursday, Dec. 19; PHAT Holiday/Grad Party featuring Steve Smooth and JJ Flores at Club Congress on Friday, Dec. 20; Determined Luddites at the Courtyard Stage at Monterey Court on Friday, Dec. 20; Optimist Club featuring I Am Drugs at Club Congress tonight, Thursday, Dec. 19; The Redlines at Surly Wench Pub on Friday, Dec. 20; Patti Zlaket's 5th annual homecoming show at Club Congress next Thursday, Dec. 26.
Merry Christmas, everyone!