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COVER-UP KICK OFF

It's a mega-action-packed week of music here in the Nekkid Pueblo, capped by the kickoff of a Tucson music institution.

The 14th annual Great Cover-Up kicks off next Thursday, Dec. 13, at Plush (and will continue on Friday, Dec. 14, at Club Congress, and Congress and the Rialto Theatre on Saturday, Dec. 15—more on that next week).

In case you've been living in an underground dwelling: The Great Cover-Up is an annual three-day charity event for which local acts cover the music of a well-known band or performer in brief, 20-minute sets. If you happen to dislike one of them (but you won't, of course), you can go grab a drink and say hi to a couple of friends (all your friends will be there, natch), and by the time you get back, it'll be a completely different show.

A total of 50 local acts, many of which will be dressed in character, will perform over the course of three nights and one afternoon. No one knows which local band will be covering which national act until they hit the stage (except for the bands and the organizers, of which I'm one). It's a little thing we like to call the element of surprise.

Quick shout-out: The idea was stolen from an event in Champaign, Ill., which continues to this day. (Thank you, Ward Gollings!)

So, without further ado, here is the schedule of the acts being covered on Night One, on Thursday, Dec. 13: The Temptations (7 p.m.), The Cars (7:30 p.m.), Amy Winehouse (8 p.m.), Echo and the Bunnymen (8:30 p.m.), David Bowie (9 p.m.), Talking Heads (9:30 p.m.), Spiritualized (10 p.m.), The Easybeats (10:30 p.m.), Sting (11 p.m.), TV Show Theme Songs (11:30 p.m.), Katy Perry (midnight) and Herbie Hancock (12:30 a.m.).

In no particular order, here are the local acts doing the covering: Saint Maybe, Boreas, the Black Jackalope Ensemble, Michael P. and the Gullywashers, Silver Fox, The Monitors, Serene Dominic, Copper and Congress, Emergency Broadcast System, Slant 6 and Genevieve and the LPs.

Please try to make it there early—all of these acts have put in good time practicing these sets, which they'll likely never perform again, and none of them are making a penny. All of the proceeds from the event will be donated to TAMHA, the Tucson Artists and Musicians Healthcare Alliance, which provides informational and monetary health-care assistance to people in the local arts community.

Tickets for the event are $8 for one night, $12 for two nights, or $15 for a weekend pass.

Doors at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., open at 6 p.m., next Thursday, Dec. 13. More info is available at GreatCoverUpTucson.com, or look for the Facebook event page. You can also call Plush at 798-1298.

See you there!


A FILM AND A FIESTA

When filmmaker Daniel Buckley scheduled a screening of his documentary Tucson's Heart and Soul: El Casino Ballroom for last July at the Fox Tucson Theatre, he was stoked to finally put the result of hours upon hours of work before an audience. But then technology got in the way: 36 hours before the film's premiere, Buckley's hard drive crashed, forcing him to screen a rough, unfinished version. This week, the final version will be not only screened, but celebrated in grand style at the titular venue.

For 65 years, El Casino Ballroom has served as an epicenter of sorts for the South Tucson community and beyond, hosting everything from weddings and quinceañeras to concerts in every conceivable genre, with an emphasis on Mexican-American acts. In November 1991, a storm literally blew half the roof off the joint, shuttering the venue for the next nine years. But through the efforts of donors and volunteers, the half of the structure that still had a roof was reopened and has been serving the community ever since. (An effort is currently under way to restore the venue to its original size.)

On Saturday, Dec. 8, at an event dubbed Fiesta El Casino, the final cut of Buckley's documentary will be screened at El Casino Ballroom, and will be followed by a concert featuring performances by the 10-piece Tejano big-band Suerte; Relente, who will perform cumbias, corridos and rancheras along with a little bit of country and funk, and will serve as the backup band for Love LTD singer Joe Ahumada; and Los Nawdy Dawgs, who kick off the live-music portion with their pulp-fiction-inspired Latin blues-rock.

Fiesta El Casino begins at 6 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 8, at El Casino Ballroom, 437 E. 26th St. Admission is a suggested donation of $5 for the El Casino Restoration Fund. For more info about the ballroom, head to elcasinoballroom.com.


THE FEDERATION'S RE-ENTRY

By my calculation, it's been almost eight years since the Galactic Federation of Love performed a show.

In the band's heyday, they packed clubs with fun-lovin' folks who came to dance to the group's '60s-inspired psychedelic pop, while getting schooled on the finer points of pretty much every conspiracy theory known to man. Comprising members Lemonman, Mystic Love, Fortress and Nnnnngghhh (who strongly resemble Dimitri Manos and Ryen Eggleston of Golden Boots; Justin Champlin, aka Nobunny; and singer-songwriter Bradford Trojan), GFL will return to the stage for a psych-pop extravaganza at Solar Culture Gallery.

We posed the question "Why now?" to Lemonman, and here's an excerpt from his response: "We are reuniting because we promised that we would for 2012. The stars and planets have finally aligned.

"We never broke up; we were just busy rocking out between dimensions waiting for the right time to reveal the next phase. ... We would love (for) people to dress up as their favorite conspiracy-themed character for the show. Expect new sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches. And a brand-new sixth sense. We'll be debuting a new GFL song, '3rd Dimensional Box.' Also, a real live alien abduction (will occur) at the show." And who doesn't want to see that?

Put on your finest tinfoil hat, and head over to Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave., on Saturday, Dec. 8, for an all-ages show featuring the reunited Galactic Federation of Love, as well as blooze-punk sister duo Acorn Bcorn, who start the night off at 9 p.m. Admission is $7. For more info, head to solarculture.org, or call 884-0874. To check out GFL's music, go to galacticfederationoflove.bandcamp.com.


RADIO, RADIO

Back in May, we told you about an effort to establish a low-power FM radio station (LPFM) in downtown Tucson. As I wrote then: "One of the group's founders, Jason LeValley, says that the station is intended to be housed within the Access Tucson building, which will allow radio and TV simulcasts of live performances and such. This is all dependent on the Federal Communications Commission's approval of a license for such a station, of course, but LeValley reports to us that 'it's safe to say that we are way ahead of the curve in terms of being able to submit an impressive application. With a little luck, we will be on the air in early 2013.'"

Such an undertaking requires money, of course, not only to establish the station, but to keep it operational.

Which brings us to Dreamtopia, a show this week to raise funds to get the LPFM station off the ground—so named, because, as LeValley says, "these bands all have a dreamlike quality to their sound." Those bands are Blind Divine, Saint Maybe (who will be celebrating the release of their debut LP Things as They Are) and Some of Them Are Old. The night also includes an exhibition of new photos by artist Ali Scattergood, and the event will be filmed by Access Tucson for possible televising in the future.

Dreamtopia begins at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7, at Plush, 340 E Sixth St. Admission is a $6 donation. For more info, head to plushtucson.com, or call 798-1298.


ON THE BANDWAGON

Lots more great stuff is happening, so check out our listings section as well as our music blog, We Got Cactus. A few highlights: Kendrick Lamar at the Rialto Theatre on Friday, Dec. 7 (rescheduled from October); comedians Neil Hamburger, Tim Heidecker (of Tim and Eric) and Clownvis Presley at Club Congress on Saturday, Dec. 8; ZZ Top at AVA at Casino del Sol on Sunday, Dec. 9; MarchFourth Marching Band, Diego's Umbrella and Vokab Kompany at the Rialto Theatre, next Thursday, Dec. 13; Don Rickles at the Casino del Sol Event Center on Friday, Dec. 7; Aaron Neville Christmas Show at the Rialto Theatre on Tuesday, Dec. 11; Generifus, Freak Heat Waves, Monster Pussy and Secret Highway Secrets at Topaz on Saturday, Dec. 8; Toys for Tots III featuring Angelic to Ashes, We Killed the Union, Headrust and many others at The Rock on Saturday, Dec. 8.

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