REST IS NOT AN OPTION
Remember a couple of weeks ago, when there was so much musical awesomeness happening around town that you wanted to clone yourself so you could be in five places at once? Well, we've got another one of those on our hands this week.
Since it's already been covered in this issue's City Week section, I won't even go into the weekend-long Arizona Centennial Celebration, save for two things: If you plan on attending any of those events, head to 2ndsaturdays.com for a full schedule; it would take up a whole column to just list all of the performers.
The other thing: Happy 100th birthday, Arizona! You don't look a day over 93.
As always on weeks like this, please be sure to check our listings section for lots more than I could fit here.
A new downtown-area event/studio space is kicking off its grand opening in style this weekend. The space is called Topaz, and the opening is a two-night music-and-arts festival dubbed Dune Drift, which will feature everything from live music to video screenings, photography to poetry.
Saturday, Feb. 11 will feature a photography exhibition called "Supernatural Norms" ("small shifts in the mundane that momentarily transcend to the supernatural") that will feature eight photographers showing work within that theme. It runs from 7 to 9 p.m. Along with the photos, there will be live music from Otherly Love (9 p.m.), Andrew Collberg and the Hollywood Diamonds (10 p.m.), Seattle's Case Studies (11 p.m.), and The Pork Torta (midnight). (There are several Seattle artists involved in Dune Drift, as Topaz has a "sister space" in that city called Cairo.) The music runs from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
On Sunday, Feb. 12, Dune Drift will double as the official release of Theme Zine, a new Tucson literary publication that will tackle a different theme with each issue. The first issue's theme is, naturally, Supernatural Norms. From 5 to 6:30 p.m., a slew of writers, including Jamaica Cole, David Schaeffer and Brittany Katter (who sings with Kiss and the Tells and is behind Theme Zine), will give readings on the topic at hand, and from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., videos concerning Supernatural Norms by such artists as Andrew Brown, Rory O'Rear and Brett Tracy will be shown. From 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., there will be live music from Neglect (aka Joseph Valentino) and Mombasa. After 9 p.m., there will be a screening of the 1984 film The NeverEnding Story.
A press release promises "an assortment of additions and surprises all weekend long," among them live silk-screening by Tanline Printing.
Topaz is located at 657 W. St. Mary's Road, Unit C1A, and Dune Drift takes place on Saturday, Feb. 11, and Sunday, Feb. 12. Admission is free for all events, save for a $3 to $5 sliding scale for the bands during the musical portions. For more info, head to topaztundra.com, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 27th Annual Tucson Folk Festival, scheduled this year for Saturday, May 5, and Sunday, May 6, is sneaking up on us quickly. The festival is billed as one of the largest free festivals of its kind in the country—but it costs money to put the sucker on, of course, so the Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association, which produces the festival, holds a series of fundraisers throughout the year to ensure it remains free to the public.
On Sunday, Feb. 12, Boondocks Lounge will host one of those benefits. Love Songs or Not! A Benefit to Keep the Folk Festival Free will take advantage of its proximity to Valentine's Day for its theme. From a press release: "More than a dozen musicians will sing about the ecstasies (or agonies) of this human condition." Featured performers include Kevin Pakulis and Amy Langley, Mitzi Cowell, Sabra Faulk, JC and Laney, Robyn Landis and Ice-9.
Love Songs or Not! runs from 5 to 9 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 12, at Boondocks Lounge, 3306 N. First Ave. Admission is a suggested donation of $10, and all ages are welcome until 9 p.m. For more information, head to tkma.org, or call the venue at 690-0991.
A VERY PLUSH VALENTINE'S DAY
I'm actually stoked to be single this Valentine's Day. Why, you ask? Because instead of blowing a wad of cash wining and dining my hypothetical girlfriend, I'll be taking in three bands I absolutely fucking love.
In other words, I'm trading oral pleasures for aural ones this year. Plush is the location, and the bands are Digital Leather, Lenguas Largas and Otherly Love.
Digital Leather is former Tucsonan and current Omaha, Neb., resident Shawn Foree, and whoever he's surrounding himself with at any given time. The band specializes in a unique brand of synth-punk with guitars that features hooks piled on top of hooks. For proof, look no further than Digital Leather's latest album, Modern Problems (FDH), which will be officially released on the night of the show.
Following the death of friend, mentor and co-conspirator Jay Reatard, Foree spent some time in Berlin and recorded Modern Problems as a form of catharsis. The album is a concept record of sorts about the grieving process, though it's far more upbeat-sounding than that idea would suggest. Playful touches such as nods to classic tunes within his own songs—"Young Doctors in Love" detours into "I Think We're Alone Now," and "Hot Bubblegum" begins with the immortal opening lines of the Violent Femmes' "Kiss Off": "I need someone, a person to talk to"—counterbalance the potential heaviness of the subject matter. Despite the song title "The Man With No Emotion," Foree wears his heart on his sleeve, and there's a hell of a lot of soul in these songs. His sincerity is never in doubt.
Digital Leather, Lenguas Largas and Otherly Love perform at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Tuesday, Feb. 14. Music begins at 9:30 p.m., and cover is a measly $6. For further details, call 798-1298, or head to plushtucson.com.
NOT IN NEED OF THIS TYPE OF 'SAVING'
Despite the Rio Nuevo Board's best efforts to shutter, er, "save" the Rialto Theatre, the downtown cornerstone keeps presenting great show after great show, and this week is no exception, as the theater presents a wildly diverse six shows in seven days.
On Friday, Feb. 10, the venue hosts a free show by New York's Metropolitan Klezmer, widely regarded as one of the country's best klezmer bands.
The themed-party people of Powhaus Productions present Arizona Gem, a dance party saluting the Arizona Centennial and the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, on Saturday, Feb. 11. The party represents the first in a once-a-month residency that will coincide with each Second Saturdays Downtown. From 6 to 9 p.m., Arizona Gem will be a soul-music dance party with free admission. From 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., the event will turn into a full-blown Powhaus event featuring live music from Metrognome and Zackey Force Funk, DJs Carl Hanni and Mother Tierra, and the usual oddball surprises we've all come to expect from Powhaus. Admission after 9 p.m. is $5.
Space is getting tight, so here's the rest of the Rialto lineup for the week: Sunday, Feb. 12: Zappa Plays Zappa (Dweezil Zappa and a band playing the music of Frank Zappa); Monday, Feb. 13: a night of jam-bands with Normal Bean Band, Top Dead Center and David Gans; Wednesday, Feb. 15: Young the Giant and Walk the Moon; next Thursday, Feb. 16: Machine Head, Suicide Silence, Darkest Hour and Rise to Remain.
With the exception of the Powhaus event, all shows begin at 8 p.m., and all ages are welcome. The Rialto Theatre is located at 318 E. Congress St. For more information, head to rialtotheatre.com, or call 740-1000.
ON THE BANDWAGON
White Denim, Discos and My Ugly Phantom at Plush on Wednesday, Feb. 15; Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra and North at Club Congress on Friday, Feb. 10; Unwritten Law, AM Eyes and The Gallery at The Rock on Saturday, Feb. 11; Kathy Griffin at the TCC Music Hall next Thursday, Feb. 16; Where Are All the Buffalo, Run-On Sunshine, Donut Shop Death and The Built to Blast Kid at Skrappy's on Saturday, Feb. 11; Mike Pinto Band at The Hut tonight, Thursday, Feb. 9; Sweet Ghost, Seashell Radio, Ryan David Green and Lost Lander at Club Congress on Wednesday, Feb. 15; Kiss and the Tells at Surly Wench Pub on Friday, Feb. 10; Faster Than Light, Gaza Strip and Sugar Stains at Plush on Saturday, Feb. 11; The Gunrunners and D.U.I. Squad at Vaudeville on Saturday, Feb. 11; Leila Lopez and Adam Nixon at Plush next Thursday, Feb. 16.