RSSArchive for April 8th, 2010

Sculptures beautify West Campus

Sculptures beautify West Campus

Story and photos by Narciso Villarreal

Keep your eyes open for sculptures popping up for display on Pima Community College West Campus.

The PCC Sculpture-on-Campus program began in 2004 at East Campus and expanded to West Campus this spring.

Artists Lynn Aldrich and the team of David and Tom Weiss currently have sculptures on display at West Campus.

The program allows artists to loan their sculptural artwork to PCC for a minimum of 18 months.

“This program has a potential to draw people to the campus that normally wouldn’t be here,” West Campus art instructor Joe Dal Pra said.

“It gives artists a chance to develop and show their work and allows the Pima community to view and have discussions about the work and ideas,” he added.

Artists were selected after they submitted résumés, four to six images of their artwork and other information to six members of a selection committee.

Each artist selected receives $250 to help pay for transportation and installation of artwork on campus. An additional $100 stipend will be given to the artists if they make a formal presentation about their artwork at an April 22 reception.

Aldrich created her piece, “Desert Springs,” by purchasing do-it-yourself items such as gutter corners and extensions, exterior enamel and steel downspouts. The sculpture was placed near the Center for the Arts complex.

The piece represents a thirst for meaning or a lack of spirituality, Aldrich said. The inside of the downspouts may represent curious eyes or empty mouths. The title indicates the optimism that is associated with names of suburban developments.

David and Tom Weiss, who work with paints, steel and other media, called their sculpture “Standing Tall.” It is located near the ‘L’ art building.

David Weiss said the piece reflects the healthy pride that PCC students express as they go after dreams and goals. The taller sliver column expresses the pride that PCC students show, while the sliver column that lays over on top of itself expresses the confidence PCC students display.

The piece is also intended for contemplation, he added.

For more information about the Sculpture-on-Campus program, call 206-6690 or visit

PCC students win fashion honors

PCC students win fashion honors

Story and photos by Mike Hawkins

Three Pima Community College students won first-place awards at the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation’s annual fashion show, Moda Provocateur.

Melanie Lockwood, Luz Escalante and Victoria Villela chat during the Moda Provocateur fashio show.

Luz Escalante won top prize in the wedding category for her bridal gown creation.

Melanie Lockwood and Victoria Villella tied for first place in the art nouveau category, and Lockwood also scored top marks in the “eco friendly” and “AIDS awareness” classes.

In addition, Villella won overall Best of Show for a green dress resembling something a Greek goddess would wear. The dress was featured on the March cover of Tucson Lifestyle magazine.

Moda Provocateur, held at the University of Arizona’s student union grand ballroom, works to increase funding for and awareness of the fight against AIDS.

PCC fashion student Kyz Escalante, right, fluffs her award-winning bridal gown.

Before the show, dressing areas buzzed more than a beehive. Half-dressed people clamored to get their hair and make-up done while clad in lingerie and the frames of elaborate dresses.

The pre-show reception area resemble a mob scene in a Lady Gaga video: brightly lit with teeming masses jostling to be noticed over the thumping music and transsexual M.C.

Middle-aged women stalked the scene in form-flattering little black dresses. Adolescent girls ambled shyly, fully aware of eyes, cameras and superior competition. Models posed with attitudes set to stun, while photographers struck odd poses of their own trying to stay out of each other’s shots.

The ballroom décor displayed dramatic flair, as would be fully expected for a fashion show. Hundreds of red velvet chairs encircled white tables adorned with dazzling centerpieces.

A condom dress by PCC student Rima Dolgoff-Kaspar.

The tables surrounded the crucifix-shaped runway, a cross to bear in the name of the fashion gods.

Once the show started, the ballroom took on the air of an NBA arena during player introductions. Dozens of roaming spotlights replaced main lights. Music played while big screens emitted images that would be at home in a perfume commercial. An electric air took over. Fashion was ready to happen.

People cheered and clapped, flashbulbs twinkled as hundreds of cameras snapped pictures and only the edges of seats saw use.

PCC’s award-winning fashion design students gave this fashion-blind man a glimpse of a new world.

Gena Pursley models the Best of Show dress created by Victoria Villela.

Aztec Calendar - April 8-21

Aztec Calendar – April 8-21

Compiled by Conrad Pursley

Thursday, April 8:

Men’s tennis vs. Scottsdale CC, 1:30 p.m., Tucson Racquet Club, 4001 N. Country Club.

April 8-11: Spring Fling, Rillito Downs, North First Avenue at River Road. Admission $5, parking $5. Times vary by day. Details:

Through April 18: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Black Box Theater , West Campus CFA. Thurs-Sat, 7:30 p.m.; Sun, 2 p.m. Tickets: $15, with discounts available. Details: 206-6986.

Friday, April 9:

Through April 30: “Annual Student Juried Exhibition,” Louis Carlos Bernal Gallery, West Campus CFA. Free. Details: 206-6942.

April 9-May 9: Tucson Audubon Society Birdathon 2010.  Details: 622-5622 or

“Food, Inc.,” 4-6 p.m., Miller-Golf Links Branch Library, 9640 E. Golf Links Road. Free. Details: 594-5355 or

Saturday, April 10:

“The Wizard of Oz,” 7 p.m., Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St. Tickets: $8 general, $6 students. Details:

The Massive Movie Musical Sing-Along, 7 p.m., Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. Tickets: $8. Details:

Kick Ass-Midnight Movie Screening, Tower Theatres, Arizona Pavilions, 8031 N. Business Park Drive. Tickets: $9.21. Details:

Sunday, April 11:

12th annual Race for the Cure, Reid Park. Events begin at 6 a.m. Details:

KFMA Day, Pima County Fairgrounds, 11300 S. Houghton Road. Gates open at noon. Admission:  $35. Details: 407-4500 or

Sons of Orpheus 19th Annual Spring Concert, 3 p.m., Proscenium Theater, West Campus CFA. Tickets: $15, students $12. Box office: 206-6986. Details:

Monday, April 12:

Rock and Stroll, Meet Me at Maynards, 4-8 p.m., Maynards Market, 400 N. Toole Ave. Free. Bands at 15 locations along four-mile walk/run route. Details:

“Sense of Style,” 7:30 p.m., Tucson Museum of Art, 140 N. Main Ave. Admission $10, students $5. Details: 318-2721 or

Magic Powers Record Show with Matt and Dan, Red Room at Grill, 100 E. Congress St. Details: 623-7621.

Tuesday, April 13:

Salon de Refuses’ art exhibit reception, noon-2 p.m., West Campus Student Gallery, Santa Rita building.

Baseball vs. Yavapai College, noon, West Campus baseball field.

Women’s tennis vs. Eastern Arizona College, 1:30 p.m., Tucson Racquet Club, 4001 N. Country Club.

Softball vs. Yavapai College, 2 p.m., West Campus softball field.

Wednesday, April 14:

April 13-18: “Chicago,” TCC Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. Tickets: $20+. Details: 903-2929 or

Through May 16: “New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-altered Landscape,” Center for Creative Photography, Park Avenue at Speedway Boulevard. Free. Details: 621-7968 or

Through June 12: “The Son of the Sheik,” 7 p.m., Gaslight Theatre, 7010 E. Broadway Blvd. Tickets:  $17.95, students $15.95. Details: 886-9428 or

Thursday, April 15:

Sports Tournament, 1-5 p.m., Desert Vista Campus. Sponsored by student government and the Intramural Club.

April 15-25: Pima County Fair, Pima County Fairgrounds, 11300 S. Houghton Road. Admission $7, parking $5. Details: 762-9100 or

Mark Nelson Tuba Recital, 7 p.m., Recital Hall, West Campus CFA. Tickets: $6, with discounts available. Details: 206-6986.

Friday, April 16:

April 15-25: Arizona International Film Festival. Most events at The Screening Room, 127 E. Congress St. Details: 882-0204 or

Through July 3: Andy Warhol Portfolios: Life & Legends, Tucson Museum of Art, 140 N. Main Ave. 12-5 p.m., Admission: $8. Details: 624-2333 or

April 16-17: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Universe,” 10 p.m., Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. Tickets: $5. Details:

Saturday, April 17:

Spring Club Crawl, 80 bands on 25 stages downtown and along Fourth Avenue. Venues open at 7 p.m. Wristband tickets $8 in advance at Zia Records, or $10 day of event. Details:

16th Annual Tucson Earth Day Festival, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Reid Park on Country Club at 22nd Street. Free. Details:

Ed Mell: Paintings of the New West, Tucson Museum of Art, 140 N. Main Ave. Admission: $8. Details: 624-2333 or

Sunday, April 18:

GABA Bicycle Swap Meet, 6 a.m. to noon, Fourth Avenue between Sixth Street and Ninth Street. Free. Details: 624-5004 or

Cyclovia Tucson, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Streets near UA will be closed to cars for socializing and non-motorized transport. Details:

Keep on Truckin’ Family Festival, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Congregation Anshei Israel, 5550 E. Fifth St. Admission: $2. Details: 745-5550 or

Monday, April 19:

PCC Jazz Improv Combos, 7:30 p.m., Proscenium Theatre, West Campus CFA. Tickets: $6, with discounts available. Details: 206-6986.

Twilight Walking Tour of the Mansions of Main Avenue, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Meet on northwest corner of Main Avenue and Alameda Street. Tickets: $15. Reservations recommended. Details: 881-1638 or

Yann Tierson, Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress. Details: 740-1000 or

Tuesday, April 20:

April 20-21: American Red Cross Blood drive, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Northwest Campus A-207. Details: 206-2121.

Softball vs. Eastern Arizona College, 2 p.m., West Campus softball field.

Local Natives, Solar Culture, 31 E. Toole Ave. Details: 884-0874 or

Wednesday, April 21:

Earth Day Celebration, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Northwest Campus, second level. Details: Denise Meeks, 206-2247 or

John C. Frémont, Pathfinder of the American West, noon, Western National Parks Association, 12880 N. Vistoso Village Drive. Free. Details: 622-6014 or

Murs, Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Details: 622-8848 or

Chatroulette latest Internet fad

Chatroulette latest Internet fad

By Mike Hawkins

Internet fads sweep across the Web like a tornado in the Texas panhandle. Appearing out of nowhere, they tear across the pop culture landscape leaving hapless onlookers in their wake. Before you know it, your parents are calling to ask if you saw it. may be the next big storm on the Internet’s horizon.

The site can be described as Internet speed dating. Your webcam broadcasts your image to some random person and vice-versa. You can chat like you normally would on the Web or, occasionally, actually speak.

When you’re done, you click ‘next’ and repeat the process with another random person.

You can access the site without a webcam, but I wouldn’t advise it because everyone will just ignore you.

In case you’re new to the whole business, I should make one thing explicitly clear: Chatroulette will expose you to all the penis you can handle. Erect or flaccid, constrained by briefs or out in the open, lonely or being lovingly stroked, this site always seems to offer another phallus.

If you’re into that sort of thing, you may as well stop reading now and get after it. If you’re feeling repulsed, Chatroulette is definitely not for you. If it doesn’t matter to you one way or the other, you may be able to gain an interesting experience from the site.

The main thing that happens on Chatroulette is that new people get flashed up. Sometimes they skip you for whatever reason and sometimes you’ll skip them because you can’t see the feed from their webcam. Some people just look too funny to converse with. If you like people watching, you’ll probably enjoy Chatroulette.

After that, the most common thing you’ll see is a penis. I’m not exaggerating about this and you shouldn’t underestimate the sheer number of guys who want you to see what they have.

You’ll see more wieners on Chatroulette than a Fourth of July cookout. You’ll see more wangs than a Chinese phone book. More dongs than a doorbell. I could do this all day and still not overstate it.

But every now and then, the chat gods will smile down from on high and bestow upon you an interesting person to converse with. I’ve chatted with people from all over the United States, as well as folks from Australia, Greece, Germany and quite a few more countries.

These occasions are where Chatroulette is at its best. More personal than a traditional chat room, but still anonymous, it’s a completely different experience than any other I’ve had on the Net.

In case you get tired of all the penis, or if someone is berating you, there is a handy ‘report’ button. If someone gets reported enough, the site bans them for a few minutes.

The problem is that you too will be banned and Chatroulette won’t give a good explanation as to why.

I’ve been banned three times in the last couple of days and I wasn’t doing anything outrageous. Perhaps that’s the problem. Maybe if I had unsheathed Excalibur, I would have garnered more positive responses.

It could be that penile exhibition is the life blood of Chatroulette and I’m just not showing off enough.

That’s what Choatroulette does to hook you: it gets you thinking about nonsense. It supplies you with more “wtf” moments than you know what to do with, and just when you’re ready to give up on it a worthwhile person salvages the experience.

Whoever runs the site is going to have to make a few changes before Chatroulette can really take off, but it could turn out to be the next YouTube. Or, it could vanish like AOL.

Conservatives are out of control

By James Kelley

On Election Night 2008, CNN talking heads applauded the enormity of the event.

That November evening now seems so long ago and I don’t mean because President Obama has been a little slow in fulfilling campaign promises. We are still waiting on free community college.

No, it seems like ages ago because the commentators were marveling at how great the US of A is, that we can have a peaceful transition of power every four to eight years. My, how times have changed.

Not even a year and a half later, conservatives still can’t accept the presidential loss or the 2006 loss of both houses of Congress.

Now, just to be clear, I am most assuredly a moderate and I think Obama should have fixed the economy before touching health care, but the Right has really gone over the line.

OK, so maybe they feel the legally elected executive and legislative branches are overstepping authority, but their actions only support the notion that your average American Right-Winger is from a family tree with no branches.

It is one thing to yell “you lie” or “baby killer” in Congress. That’s childish and embarrassing, but if that’s the line then people like the Tea Baggers passed it long ago. That line no longer appears in the rear-view mirror of their pickup trucks.

It is one thing to brandish nonsensical signs at rallies. (Seriously, next time learn what a Nazi is or actually rent “The Dark Knight” before making signs of Obama as Hitler or the Joker. Maybe they meant he was Two Face? Clips of the rallies imply the average education of Tea Baggers is 5th grade.)

For the record, even though Nazis were called National Socialists, they fiercely opposed Communist/Socialists. They were right-wing, racist and took power with violence. Try researching Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass.

It is quite another thing to literally attack Democrats.

Conservatives have moved beyond childish behavior. They’ve spit on congressmen, called them niggers and faggots and mailed them white powder. They’ve broken office windows, including those of Tucson representative Gabrielle Giffords. They’ve posted assassination threats.

On part-time politician Sarah Palin’s Facebook page, there was a map with crosshairs on Democrats and she tweeted, “don’t retreat, reload.” Remember, that’s not the Imperial Wizard’s Web site. It is a legit GOP candidate, even though I think voting for her is straight Palin, I mean retarded.

Lawmakers had to step up security at the House after more than 10 representatives were subjected to threats of snipers and cut gas lines. White trash has no qualms with making assassination threats against Obama. Republicans are hardly trying to stop it.

This is not how America works. This is not democracy. If your party loses, you can’t just go to war.

I never really thought democracy would stick in Afghanistan or Iraq because I think the countries are too culturally backward. Is this where the United States is headed? It is not hard to imagine Dixie suicide bombers.

Remember, the KKK used terrorism long before any extremist Muslim.

Where is the end game? What happens if the Democrats retain both Houses?

Will Red(neck) states secede and attack Real America? Will there be another Civil War because some residents of the country are sore losers?

Learn some manners, gamers!

Learn some manners, gamers!

By Mike Hawkins

Online gaming is fun. You get to blast fools without getting arrested, dominate real opposition on virtual playing fields and even make a new friend or two. At least in theory.

In reality you have a good time with the games, but you’ll nearly always be inundated by a sea of moronic behavior, potentially drowning your enjoyment.

I’m not going to complain about the rampant racism, homophobia and sexism that exists in online gaming. That’s just passe. Here, I plan to sound off against, and suggest some quality fixes for, a few of the more irritating acts propagated on XBOX Live and PlayStation Network.

First on my list is children, or everybody under 16 years old. I can’t stand their voices. One of them is bad enough but any more than that sounds like the front row of a Justin Bieber concert. And when they get mad their voices get even higher… I just want to choke them.

XBL and PSN should make separate rooms for teeny-boppers and regular people. There’s no reason we should have to put up with those scamps. Besides, they like each other anyway.

Next up are boosters, people who team up to beat each other so it looks like they’re excellent. For example, you and I join a game where we won’t be the only ones playing. We find a quiet corner, where you proceed to kill me repeatedly. Next game is my turn to be the killer.

Sounds pathetic, right? Of course it does. How sad does your life need to be that you’ll cheat to make yourself look better than you really are at a video game? What happens when you play someone good and it’s obvious that you suck?

Video games are meant to be fun. People who feel the need to ruin other people’s enjoyment shouldn’t be part of the group. I’m sure XBL and PSN can trace their specific game systems. They should ban the cheaters. Just that simple.

The final fetid gonads are folks who play music over their headphones. Do you play music over XBL or PSN? If you said “yes,” slap yourself. Hard. Don’t get me wrong. I love music, just not over the Internet off a video game microphone. It always sounds crappy and they never play a song you want to hear.

Just the other week I was playing “Modern Warfare 2” and two prepubescent scallywags thought they were auditioning for “American Idol” during the same game.

One kid was having a singalong to Owl City’s “Fireflies,” while the other little cretin played Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” But not even the whole song. He had it on a loop that just kept going, “Gaga, oh lala… roma oh rama…” You want to stab them just hearing about it.

XBL and PSN should rectify this situation by hiring music slappers. If you play music over your headphones, one of these fine employees will come to your house and slap the top four layers of skin off your face. It’s a very fair punishment.

It really shouldn’t even be an issue. All you have to do is not be an ass online. That and kick your little brother in the chest if you hear him screeching into the Internet.

Video games are meant to be fun. Don’t spoil other people’s experience.

Entertainment industry lacks innovation

Entertainment industry lacks innovation

By Austin Driscoll

Innovation is lost in today’s entertainment industry. While many are making strides to improve it, most fall way too short.

The movie industry has seen the worst of it. Filmmakers may be trying new things with technology but there are no innovative plots. The stories are recycled and reused stories that we have seen in about a hundred other movies.

Beautiful 3-D graphics are very nice but do nothing for me if I’ve already seen the same movie with different characters.

The video game industry has also been hit hard. Nintendo has a motion-controlled video game console but the company still releases Mario game after Mario game and most don’t even use the motion controls.

I’m not just picking on Nintendo. Many game developers and publishers are to blame because of overused sequels. It shows me that publishers are too afraid to step out of the box to make something completely new, so they just expand on what they already have.

The lack of innovation may be a direct result of the economic issues in today’s society. Most games and movies are on a tight budget and a strict deadline because of the lack of money funding them. It’s difficult to hire innovative people when you don’t have the money.

Luckily, the music industry hasn’t been affected quite as much or even at all. There are still many new artists experimenting with new instruments and technology. I just wish that every other entertainment outlet was willing to take bigger risks too.

Not all movies and video games suffer from lack of innovation. There are still many movies and games raising the bar. I just feel that no one else is able to reach that bar.

Lindy’s dares you to finish its O.M.F.G. burger

Lindy’s dares you to finish its O.M.F.G. burger

Story and photo by Daniel Gaona

Imagine a burger so big you can’t even take a standard bite. So big, it towers 12 patties with as many slices of cheese packed inside a regular bun, not to mention the lettuce, onion and special sauce. Try to envision that monster sandwich.

Or, just go to Lindy’s on 4th in Tucson.

It’s not a joke or a trick: there is a burger joint in town that actually serves this heavyweight. When it hits the plate, it weighs more than three pounds and is held together with a long skewer.

It’s called the O.M.F.G. and costs $19.99.

However, if someone conquers the beast in less than 20 minutes, they get it for free. Just finishing it in 30 minutes will get that person’s picture on the wall and a $5 gift card. Not finishing it earns nothing.

“I just had one more patty to go but I couldn’t eat anymore,” patron Michael Craven said about trying the O.M.F.G. “It’s the closest I have come to getting the whole thing down. I’m not going to be able to do any eating contests for a while now.”

For someone seeking a lesser challenge, there is the AZ Hooligan. This one is stacked with six patties and six slices of cheese, plus the basic toppings.

It weighs about half as much as the O.M.F.G. and costs $14.99. The only award for finishing it is your picture on the wall.

The “challenge burgers” are not available for takeout, most likely because there are not boxes capable of holding them.

Lindy Reilly, owner of Lindy's, at last year's Earth Hour. (Aztec Press photo by Matthew Henry)

Lindy Reilly, the restaurant owner, said the O.M.F.G. originated from his Hooligan burger because the Hooligan just didn’t seem like enough. There is a slim margin of victory against the 12-layer burger.

“We have just under 1,200 sold to date and less than 60 have been finished,” Reilly said.

Last month, a patron set a time record and finished one in 3:47 minutes. Even Reilly was in awe.

Aside from challenges, the eatery specializes in unique burgers.

There are 17 burgers to choose from, and patrons can select their preferred size: one, two or three patties. For an additional cost, Lindy’s will replace the standard patty with a fried chicken breast or vegetarian patty.

The menu also includes cheesesteaks, which can be ordered with the same toppings as the burgers.

The menu classifies Super Sunrise Burger as a breakfast sandwich, but it is available at all times. It is a single patty, topped with two fried eggs, bacon, cheddar cheese, tater tots and ketchup.

“That was probably the best burger I ever had,” Ernie Cruz said after eating one for the first time. “It was awesome how the tater tots are actually part of the burger and having eggs on it too was great.”

Other options include the Lindy’s Original, known as “The OG,” and the Blue Suede Cow. The Mac-N-Cheese remains a top seller, along with the ever-popular Dirty Sanchez, which is drenched in green chiles, jalapenos, guacamole and pepper jack cheese.

“It’s a burger filled with flavors from south of the border,” patron Will Russell said. “The best part was all the cheese on it.”

While Reilly offers many burgers, he has a personal favorite.

“I love the Velvet Hammer,” he said. “It’s a fried egg on a cheeseburger. The Fat Bastard is my No. 2 to that one.”

The Fat Bastard is a newer addition to the menu, based on the Krispy Kreme burger. The patty is loaded with lettuce, tomato, onions, mayo, bacon, eggs and cheddar packed between two honey buns.

“It’s like pancakes and eggs and steak, it’s so good,” Reilly said.

Regardless of the toppings, Reilly wants to respect the beef.

“I don’t like to lose the flavor of the meat because that messes with the burger,” he said.

Lindy’s is always a good choice for lunch. The restaurant opens at 11 a.m. every day except Sunday, when it opens at noon.

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, Lindy’s stays open until 2 a.m., making it a prime spot to gather and end the night. With an O.M.F.G., perhaps.


Lindy’s on 4th

431 N. Fourth Ave.


Facebook: Lindy’s on 4th

Dreams come to life in Black Box Theatre

Dreams come to life in Black Box Theatre

Photos by Mike Hawkins

Story by William Brown

Pima Community College students will perform Shakespeare’s comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” April 7-18 at the Black Box Theatre on West Campus.

Director Frank Pickard has great admiration for Shakespeare but knows the playwright’s work is not everyone’s cup of tea.

“I want people to come and enjoy themselves, not just see Shakespeare, to become engrossed in the action and the story of the play,” he said.

After a preview night April 7, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will run Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. ASL interpreters will be available April 15. Tickets cost $15, with discounts available.

Pickard describes “Midsummer Night” as a blending of three worlds and plots: one of royalty, one of fairies and one of rustics, common people who put on a play during the performance.

He praised the “outstanding” cast. “It’s a real collaboration… a real ensemble of great talent and well-combined energies.”

The cast seems equally pleased with the production.

Garrett Larribas, who portrays Oberon, the fairie King, says he’s playing against type. “Oberon is both masculine and graceful, and I’m neither,” Larribas said with a smile.

Melissa Granados, who plays Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons, is in love with the rehearsal process.

“I love seeing the transformation…on opening night, it’s like a little gift that we give to the community,” she said.

Granados said her character has stretched her. “In playing a powerful woman, I’ve found strength within myself.”

Joshua Silvain portrays Snug, an actor in the company of rustics. “I enjoy pleasantly surprising people with something different,” he said.

PCC’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” certainly is different from how Shakespeare might have pictured it. Many of the royalty are clad in costumes reminiscent of polo shirts and tennis dresses. Other cast members dress in clothes that might be considered “retro.”

The stage also provides a surprise, with audience members seated on both sides of the action, so the actors have no real “fourth wall.”

The set is laced with towers that actors climb upon, a slide, a rope swing, a trapeze and a platform with a staircase, hinting at a far more physical production than one might expect from Shakespeare.

Silvain, for one, enjoys the set.

“It’s like a giant playground,” he said with a grin.

‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’
When: April 8-18, Thurs-Sat, 7:30 p.m.; Sun, 2 p.m.
Where: Black Box Theatre, CFA, West Campus
Tickets: $15
Box office: 206-6986

PCC poets win Hearst awards

PCC poets win Hearst awards

By Laura Halverson

Pima Community College student Eduardo Michel took home a grand prize of $300 for his poem “How to Talk to Your Brother” in the 18th annual Hearst Poetry Contest.

“I had never won anything like this before this one,” Michel said. “I feel encouraged to continue.”

He admits to having mixed feelings about his poem.

“There is a certain feeling that I wanted to express and I don’t know that I got it quite the way I wanted.” Michel said. “But, on a different level, I think the poem works. I just need to trust what my instructor Meg Files says, ‘The poem knows.’”

Michel said he recommends that everyone take up poetry. “It has a unique gift for people who practice writing it; one will have to try it to find out what it is.”

Three PCC poets won a Hearst Prize of $50: Heather Rissi for “Questions and Answers,” Mario Martinez for “Old Fashioned” and Amanda Curtus for “Husband.”

Martinez said his poem was based on people he knows.

“I think of my mother and others when dealing with new technology and how they complain and wish everything was old fashioned,” Martinez said. “I was surprised I won because it wasn’t one of my strongest poems.”

Tucson physician Maryls Hearst Witte sponsors the contest to honor her late parents. She started the Frederica and John Hearst Prizes for Lyrical and Populist Poetry in 1992 after the death of her father.

A reception was held March 23 at the Arizona Health Sciences Center to announce winners from PCC and the University of Arizona.

UA student Julie Swarstad won a grand prize for her poem “Alchemy.” UA Hearst Prize winners were Jennifer Aronson for “Reflection,” Timothy Holdaway for “Silence Bristling Overhead,” Shuba Krishnaswamy for “Maximum to the Man-Nation” and  T.J. Hoffman Duffy for “Bitten by Angels.”

Thirty undergraduate poets participated in this year’s contest, 17 from PCC and 13 from UA.

Witte said her mother loved poetry and her father began writing poetry after his wife’s death. Starting the contest was the greatest honor she felt she could give to their memory.

College aid reform passes

College aid reform passes

By William Brown

College aid legislation accompanied President Obama’s landmark health-care reform bill — the first major student loan overhaul in four decades.

The bill makes the federal government the primary lender for student aid. It cuts banks from the student loan process by removing their traditional middleman role.

Under the current system, students obtain government-backed loans from private lenders. The federal government has paid banks billions of dollars in subsidies to protect against default.

Taxpayers will save $68 billion over the next 11 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The bill will use the savings to increase Pell Grants for students in financial need and provide more than $4.5 billion to community colleges and historically black colleges.

Half of all undergraduates receive federal student aid and 8.5 million college students qualify for Pell Grants.

The bill will also relax repayment terms for students with loans.

“To make sure our students don’t go broke just because they chose to go to college, we’re making it easier for graduates to afford their student loan payments,” Obama said.

“The average student ends up with more than $23,000 in debt. When this change takes effect in 2014, we’ll cap a graduate’s annual student loan repayments at 10 percent of his or her income,” he added.

Private lenders conducted an extensive lobbying effort against the bill, arguing it would cost thousands of jobs and put the program in government hands. The change represents a $70 billion loss in loans for the banking industry.

Obama said in his weekly Internet and radio address that the legislation will help him achieve a major goal: “By the end of this decade, we will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.”

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Northwest Campus to host Earth Day activities April 21

By Laura Halverson

If you haven’t gone green, now is the time with Earth Day just around the corner on April 22.

Pima Community College Northwest Campus will host its annual Earth Day activities on Wednesday, April 21, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Denise Meeks, science department chair at Northwest Campus, said the campus Earth Day events in April and Earth Science Day activities in October help promote environmental awareness.

“The events provide our campus community and the public with opportunities to learn about protecting planet Earth,” she said.

Organizations that participate provide information about the desert ecosystem, including water, air, night skies, plants and animals.

April 21 Earth Day event participants can look through solar telescopes, ride a bike that generates electricity, taste food cooked in a solar oven, use the Northwest Campus giant sun dial and learn about bike safety.

Students can also find out more about majors in science, technology, engineering, technology and math. In addition to PCC representatives, advisers will be on hand from University of Arizona, Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and University of Phoenix.

For additional details, call Meeks at 206-2247 or e-mail

Other area events that will celebrate Earth Day include the 16th annual Tucson Earth Day Festival and Cyclovia Tucson.

The Tucson Earth Day Festival will be held Saturday, April 17, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Reid Park. The free festival features hand-on activities, displays, music, dance and food. For additional information, visit

Cyclovia Tucson will take place Sunday, April 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. as part of Bike Fest 2010. A five-mile loop of city streets near the University of Arizona will be closed to cars so people can socialize and enjoy non-motorized transportation. For further details, visit

Tucsonans, including PCC student Andrea Rumic, participated in Earth Hour on March 27 at 8:30 p.m. Earth Hour encourages people across the globe to turn off their lights for one hour to conserve energy.

“I went to bed early and turned off all my lights to help do my part,” Rumic said.

Mark Nelson tuba recital set April 15

Mark Nelson tuba recital set April 15

Tuba soloist Mark Nelson will perform a recital of old favorites and new challenges April 15 at 7 p.m. in the Recital Hall, West Campus Center for the Arts. Tickets cost $6, with discounts available.

Nelson will perform pieces for tuba and piano accompanied by Marie Sierra, including “Enchorial Landscape, “Call of the River,” “Serenade,” “Sonata for Tuba and Piano” and “Sonatina.” He will also play a duet, “I Got Your Bach,” with guest tuba player Kelly Thomas.

At PCC, Nelson serves as chair of the performing arts department and director of bands. He teaches euphonium and tuba studio classes, as well as classes in music fundamentals and electronic music.

Nelson has performed and taught master workshops internationally, and has premiered more than 30 compositions written for him.

For additional information, call 206-6986 or e-mail

What: Mark Nelson Tuba Recital
When: Thursday, April 15, at 7 p.m.
Where: Recital Hall, CFA, West Campus
Tickets: $6
Box office: 206-6986

Jazz improv combos perform April 19

Jazz improv combos perform April 19

Pima Community College Jazz Improv Combos will perform in concert April 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the Proscenium Theatre, West Campus Center for the Arts. Tickets cost $6, with discounts available.

The rhythm and blues concert, directed by Mike Kuhn, will feature four groups from a weekly improvisation class.

Each group includes vocals plus rhythm and horn sections. The students will perform jazz songs from the Great American Songbook, as well as songs by John Coltrane, Miles Davis, George Benson and Marvin Gaye.

For additional information, call 206-6986 or e-mail

Jazz Improv Combos
When: April 19, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Proscenium Theater, CFA, West Campus
Tickets: $6
Box office: 206-6986

Vigilante sites promote real-life crime fighting

Vigilante sites promote real-life crime fighting

By Taylor Bock

We’ve all had exposure to superheroes, growing up with Superman, Spider-man, Batman and countless others.

Some people wish they could suit up and fight crime too. Today’s your lucky day, true believers, because an obscure Internet subculture wants you to slap on some spandex and join up.

Web sites like and keep track of active vigilantes around the world.

As “Citizen Prime” says in a history of RLSH, “Today, the world needs heroes more than ever.”

When you visit the sites, you’ll see a gallery of pictures, masks and aliases. You can read up on where they are and what they do. While some look silly and some are downright impossible to take seriously, they’re all real people.

You might be disappointed when you read the bios in the registry. Names like “Phantom Zero,” “Scavenger” and “Silver Sentinel” conjure images of tough crime fighters. What you get are very committed people who watch over their communities and help whenever they reasonably can.

Most carry items like stun guns, zip ties, flashlights and pepper spray. They tend to help homeless people, break up fights and stop vandalism.

There are some, however, who get more involved. Some, like “Dark Guardian” in New York City, have confronted drug dealers and other potentially dangerous situations. Others, like “Death’s Head Moth” in Virginia, train in martial arts and really do fight local crime.

The ones who do choose to fight not only risk their lives, but risk arrest as well. Laws for citizen arrests only go so far, and authorities don’t take kindly to random vigilantism.

That may explain why so many on the registry stick to small-scale crime and only carry legal weapons. Most help organize fundraisers, support charities and work toward the general health of their communities.

For example, Mr. Ravenblade says in his registry bio: “I am a RLSH operating in the Seattle metro area, who seeks to organize and participate in charity events, fight crime whenever possible, and above all make my community a better place to live.”

Those who feel like joining the opposite side of the spectrum can explore ROACH, the “Ruthless Organization Against Citizen Heroes.” Visit their Web site,, for more information or to check out member profiles.

Fair warning: they make those in the superhero registry look normal in comparison.