RSSArchive for 2012

MEN'S BASKETBALL: Aztecs, Central go toe-to-toe

MEN’S BASKETBALL: Aztecs, Central go toe-to-toe


The Pima Community College men’s basketball team (6-6, 1-4 ACCAC) fought Central Arizona College to a draw for the first 40 minutes at home on Dec. 1, finally falling 93-89 in overtime.

Freshman guard Terrance Carroll provided the late heroics in regulation, putting in a miss by fellow freshman Marcus Mears with 1.2 seconds to knot the game at 79.

Carroll finished the contest with a game-high 36 points, including 13 of 15 from the free-throw line.

Freshman guard Rodriguez Tucker scored 21, while freshman Lawrence Pierce tallied 10.

Freshman center Stephen Hadley had 10 boards for the Aztecs.

Sophomore forward Daniel Arvizu felt Pima was evenly matched with the Division I Vaqueros.

“Central’s a good team,” he said. “They’re strong, they’re athletic. But it’s not like they’re stronger than us.

“It’s just the little plays. They outhustled us. The games we’re losing, it’s because we’re not finishing.”

Hadley was also frustrated by the loss, but said the Aztecs had scored a victory of a different sort.

“They may have won this game, but now they respect us,” he said. “We’ll see them again later in the season.”

PCC dropped an 82-70 decision at Eastern Arizona College on Nov. 28. A Pierce free throw gave Pima a 64-63 lead in the second half, but the Gila Monsters pulled away late.

On Nov. 24, the Aztecs rode a 61-point second half to a 101-77 home triumph over Team Sweeney. The contest came on the second day of the Pima Thanksgiving Tournament.

Tucker registered a double-double, dropping in 14 and snaring 15 boards.

Pierce had a team-high 21 for Pima, while freshman forward Orlando Lopez scored all of his 14 points in the second half.

Freshman forward Mike Jones and Mears each had 15, and freshman guard Roland Jones contributed 10.

PCC fell 103-98 in overtime to Westwind Prep on day one of the tourney.

A Jones 3-pointer put the Aztecs up 45-44 in the second half. Pima later went on an 11-0 run to open up a 77-68 cushion.

Westwind closed out regulation on an 8-2 run before pulling out the win in the extra frame.

Jones scored a team-high 20 for PCC. Mears had 17 points, including 15 after halftime.

Tucker, Pierce and Jones all scored in double figures for Pima.

Pima came up just short at Arizona Western College on Nov. 20, losing 76-69.

Carroll led the way with 17 points, and freshman guard Ravontae Kight contributed 10. Kight also had seven rebounds and four assists.

Despite the recent setbacks, Arvizu was eager to get back to action.

“As far as being a team goes, things look good,” he said. “We’re running our plays right and we’re running our defenses right, so I’m excited.”

PCC was scheduled to play at Chandler-Gilbert Community College on Dec. 5. The paper went to press before game results were available.


Dec 8:  Phoenix College, West Campus, 4 p.m.

Dec. 29:  Tierradel Sol, West Campus,7:30 p.m.

Jan. 2:  Scottsdale CC, West Campus, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 5:  @ South Mountain CC, Phoenix, 4 p.m. 


Pima football players named to All-ACCAC teams

Pima football players named to All-ACCAC teams


Three Pima Community College players received recognition when the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference released its selections for All-ACCAC teams on Nov. 14.

Sophomore defensive back Darius Kelly and offensive lineman Maurice Chavis made the all-conference first team. Freshman wide receiver Denzel Jones was named to the All-ACCAC second team.

Head coach Patrick Nugent was proud of his players.

“This is an unbelievable football league,” Nugent said. “To get an honor like this as the last-place team is pretty special.”

All three student-athletes played high school football in Southern Arizona.

During the 2012 Pima season, Kelly rushed for 72 yards on nine carries with one touchdown run. On the defensive side, he led the team with 55 tackles, three forced fumbles, three fumble returns and one interception. He also broke up three pass plays.

“I’m glad I received it and I hope I inspired or impacted someone’s life this season,” Kelly said. “That’s really what it’s all about, impacting on and off the field.”

Kelly has verbally committed to Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va., but has also received interest from Syracuse University and the University of Arizona.

After Kelly found out about Pima players making the All-ACCAC team, he called up Chavis to tell him, “We made it! We made first team.”

“At first I couldn’t believe it,” Chavis said. “The feeling was great. I felt like I achieved something at Pima.”

Chavis had 26 tackles and two sacks this season. He declined to divulge his university options, saying only that they are all out-of-state offers.

Jones had 34 catches for 514 yards this season.

“It was a good feeling when I found out,” Jones said of his second-team honor. “We didn’t really have a good season, so I didn’t expect to be selected for anything.”

Jones is not sure if he will return to Pima next year.

The football team finished the 2012 season with a 1-10 record.

Edwards reaching for her goals

Edwards reaching for her goals


Pima Community College sophomore basketball player A’jha Edwards has been a few places. She also has plenty of ideas about where she’s heading.

Among other aspirations, the 6-foot-5 Aztecs center would like to fly high with the U.S. Air Force after she graduates from school.

“I really like the idea of the Air Force,” the Sierra Vista native said. “More than the Army. When I hear gunshots and stuff, I panic.

“I couldn’t picture myself hurting somebody else. I think the Air Force would be less like combat and stuff. My boyfriend is stationed at Davis-Monthan, so he tells me a lot about the life.”

As a “military brat,” Edwards has seen her share of bases around the world.

She was born in Wurzburg, Germany, where her father was stationed with the Army. Like many folks living in Bavaria, she quickly picked up the national sport.

“I played soccer over there,” she said. “Everybody did. I didn’t even know what basketball was until I was nine and I got over here.”

By age 11, she had traded in her soccer cleats for a pair of high-tops, and she began doing her running on the hardcourt instead of the pitch.

“My soccer days are behind me,” she said with a laugh. “That was when I had too much energy. I still have to run, but now it’s more like for fast breaks.”

She’s also been running up her stats this year, averaging 13.5 points per game for PCC, to go along with 12 rebounds per contest.

Edwards hopes to parlay her on-court prowess into a reunion with an old friend from her school days.

“When I was in middle school, I played with a girl named Keyondra White,” she said. “She plays at Adams St. (Colo.), and I wanna go there with her, hopefully.”

Edwards may want to check into the school’s music department while she’s at it.

“I sing, and I’m also learning piano right now,” the music major said. “I used to sing in the church choir, and I still love singing. I sing mostly by myself now.

“I do gospel, R&B, pretty much whatever. My favorite music to listen to is classical, though.”

Her love of Bach and company is also good news for her GPA.

“When I’m doing homework, I listen to that,” she said. “If I listen to something else, I’ll be too distracted.

“It’s so much easier to read my homework if there are no lyrics and stuff.”

Not only is she learning a lot from her textbooks at Pima, but she’s getting some good instruction from the basketball coaches as well.

“I didn’t know what post moves were in high school,” she said. “I didn’t know what anything was. I learned it all here.”

For a young woman who’s picked up a few things along the way, learning basketball moves is just one more experience among many to be had in the world.


Late heroics aren’t enough against Central

Late heroics aren’t enough against Central


The Pima Community College women’s basketball team came charging back against Central Arizona College at home on Dec.1, but fell 91-78 to the Vaqueras.

The Aztecs (2-7, 1-3 ACCAC) matched Central’s second-half scoring output after trailing by 13 at halftime, and cut a 25-point deficit to 10 late in the game.

Head coach Todd Holthaus was pleased with the fight his team displayed.

“To come out today against the No. 10 team in the country and not give up, and just battle, and play them even in the second half – I was very proud of them,” he said.

Sophomore guard D.J. Davis paced the squad with 17 points, including 4 of 4 shooting from 3-point range.

Freshman guard Felicia Foster had 15 points, and sophomore Ashlei Scott contributed 13.

“It felt good coming back in the second half, because it shows we’re a scrappy team,” Scott said. “We’re not gonna give up, regardless of what the score is. We’ll keep fighting to the end.”

Pointing to the team’s furious comeback, freshman forward Akilai Moyd felt it could bode well for the remainder of the season.

“We just need to do what we did in the last four minutes in every game, and we’ll be good,” she said.

Pima dropped a 74-64 decision at Eastern Arizona College on Nov. 28. The Aztecs again made a late charge, and again matched their opponent’s second-half scoring total.

PCC cut the Eastern lead to nine with 2:31 to play, but could get no closer.

Sophomore center A’jha Edwards poured in a team-high 27 points and grabbed 16 rebounds.

Scott tallied 10, while freshman forward Raja Moreno added eight points and nine boards.

On Nov. 20, PCC traveled to Yuma to take on Arizona Western College. The Matadors proved to be rude hosts, downing Pima 74-50.

Foster led the way with 12 points, while Moreno and Davis had 11 and 10, respectively.

Holthaus said the squad’s early-season schedule has been unique in his time at the school.

“This is the most ambitious nine-game stretch we’ve ever had since I’ve been here,” he said after the Central game.

Holthaus wasn’t getting down about the team’s rough patch, though, and felt ready for upcoming games against Division II opponents.

“We’re figuring things out,” he said. “That second half today is momentum for this coming week. Hopefully all the wars we’ve been through will take us where we need to be with the DII schools we’re about to play.”

Scott echoed her coach’s thoughts.

“We’ve had a really tough schedule, but we’re not concerned about our record right now,” she said. “We know when it comes conference time, we’ll be ready.”

Pima was scheduled to play at Chandler-Gilbert Community College on Dec. 5. The paper went to press before results were available.


Dec. 8:  Phoenix College, West Campus, 2 p.m.

Dec. 27:  Sait College (Calgary, Canada), West Campus, 6 p.m.

Dec. 28:  College of Southern Idaho, West Campus, 5 p.m.

Dec. 29:  Parkland College (Illinois), West Campus, 5 p.m.

Film students make ‘Snowbirds’ fly

Film students make ‘Snowbirds’ fly


Digital Video and Film Arts students at Pima Community College have finished shooting their 28th student short film, titled “Snowbirds.”

It also marks the 28th project filmed under the supervision of Pima instructor David Wing.

Student Mitchell Gingras, who served as the second assistant director, inked the script.

Gringas wrote the storyline from personal experience. After his mother purchased a home in Green Valley, he saw the attitude that winter wanderers give younger people.

“One day when I drove through that neighborhood, the ‘snowbirds’ in their yards all gave me stink eyes,” Gingras said.

The story follows two young boys, Wilfred and Mud, who have just moved to Green Valley with their mother. They quickly learn there is only one other kid in the neighborhood, a young girl named Samantha.

She informs the two boys that the neighborhood will soon be overflowing with old people, as it’s the time of year when snowbirds come to town.

The town appears to be run by a man named Ennis, who is not fond of children. Heads collide when the age versus youth battle begins.

PCC student Art Lohman landed the role of Ennis. He has appeared in five Pima plays and six student films, counting “Snowbirds.”

“I like to entertain others, with the hopes of sparking the embers of creativity that burn in the hearts of both young and old alike,” Lohman said.

It took four days to shoot the film. Director Greg Mannino had a crew of 25 fellow students.

Miki Hernandez was chosen to be the production manager. Most of her job took place before the shoot ever got started, situating locations, plotting times for everything to happen and getting everyone on the same schedule.

“All those little pieces of paper that nobody thinks about, somebody has to type that,” Hernandez said. “That was me.”

Each crew member is enrolled in the Advanced Cinematography class, DAR 215, offered in the fall semester. The class is a hands-on experience in all the aspects of film production.

Jobs are divvied out after students select three jobs they want, and write why they would be good at it. Wing decides who would be best at what.

Over the four days of shooting, the students had three eight-hour days and one 10-hour day.

Marshall Frost, the director of photography or cinematographer, was most responsible for the look and feel of the film.

“Nothing was easy,” Frost said. “Everything was 10 times harder or 10 times more work than I had thought.”

Each student cited a different day or moment as their favorite.

Mannino’s was on day two, when the snowbirds make their way into the town.

“Everything was so perfect, even the little mistakes,” Mannino said. “One guy was in a wheelchair and he kinda fell off the curb a little bit, but he and his pseudo wife got him back up and kept shuffling through.”

Lohman said every day was his favorite.

“To see how the crew works together to get the shot, and watching the kids be kids off camera and actors on camera was a fun contrast to witness,” he said.

“Probably the fourth day when we did our favorite part of filming, the exploding diarrhea scene,” Gingras said.

“I just tried to keep myself busy, keep myself distracted,” Frost said.

“Day one was my favorite day just because you’re still full of energy,” Hernandez said. “We started on time and we ended on time.”

The student got their first view of the footage they shot on Nov. 20.

The film must to wait to be edited until next semester, in the Post Production for Film class, DAR 217, which is only offered in the spring semester.


THINGS I DON’T GIVE A S&*! ABOUT: Why should anyone care about me? I don’t

THINGS I DON’T GIVE A S&*! ABOUT: Why should anyone care about me? I don’t


One of the things in my life that I care very little about is, well … me. I don’t take myself too seriously.

I’m not in denial about my weight or looks. I do own a mirror, which I must replace every time I take a look.

However, during high school and for a few years following, I really hated myself. I found ways to punish myself for being me.

I used box cutters to cut my arms, or even carve words. I jumped off ladders and roofs.

I even participated in a boxing match, despite having no idea how to box. I still have no clue, by the way.

The list could go on, but I’m not saying this to impress anyone. In fact, I look back on those days and can’t believe what an idiot I was.

You’re probably thinking that doing these things was a cry for attention, and you would be 100 percent right. I felt that I needed people’s approval to be happy.

I know now that the more attention you get, the more you want. Or people just find your antics sad and pathetic. Of course, some people enjoy stupidity. That’s why “Twilight” exists.

I’ve also learned that you must be happy with yourself, or at least comfortable, before anyone else will feel at ease around you.

When I finally became content with who I am, my outlook changed and life got better. I met my wife, who happily keeps my balls in a mason jar on her dresser. We haven’t yet sprung for a nice wooden box.

Life isn’t perfect. Problems still arise, but I deal with them as they show up. I don’t stress. Things eventually work out.

This column is a bit different from the others I’ve written. It is also my last, as I am moving on to the University of Arizona.

I have enjoyed the time I’ve spent at the Aztec Press. Working with adviser Cynthia Lancaster was an honor and I will always be grateful for what she taught me and tried to teach me. Let’s face it, I’m a bit stubborn when it comes to learning new tricks.

I am also grateful for my friendships with my fellow journalism students. For some reason, they encouraged me and continue to do so. Thank you.

Now, I know that not many, if any, people will read this. However, I don’t need vindication from someone reading my stuff. That’s not why I do it.

I do it because I like to.

I’ll now hand over my soap box to the next person who wants to rant and rave about what makes them upset, happy or whatever.

Or maybe no one will. Either way, I don’t give a shit.

Sadly, it’s time to go somewhere new

Sadly, it’s time to go somewhere new


I’ve spent four semesters on staff at the Aztec Press, working in different capacities: as a reporter, covering our social media posts for a semester and overseeing the Arts and Entertainment section for the last two semesters.

I’ve helped newbie reporters get started and find their footing, and I feel confident about what I do. I was starting to really feel like I had succeeded at carving out a name for myself at this school, or at least the school’s newspaper.

It’s time for me to move on and finally finish up my degree at the University of Arizona. Unfortunately, there’s not enough time in my schedule to be a student at both schools, as much as I would love to juggle UA classes and staying on staff.

Really, I just don’t want to leave. I’m going to miss it a lot. It’s difficult for me to quantify the skills and experience I’ve gained in the two years spent here. I know that I’ll find a place wherever I go, but I’m just not eager to go.

I’ve worked with many talented and motivated aspiring journalists and I’m really sad about leaving our small-but-mighty staff behind. The support and helpful, constructive critiques here are unmatched by any other journalistic ventures.

And no other publication could possibly be as fun, right?

Well, possibly not. But I still have to move on. It’s time to go somewhere new and see what a different publication has to offer: perhaps daily stresses versus weekly ones, new events to cover, maybe even with pay … if I’m lucky.

It’s important to keep an open mind when you’re heading in a strange direction. Otherwise, how else will you glean wisdom from the new situation? That’s even harder to remember when you didn’t want to head in that direction in the first place.

Really, I would stay on staff here forever if it wouldn’t make me look like a creepy college graduate who just couldn’t move on.

But new opportunities aside, I’m really going to miss it.

Jennings, 22, is a journalism major. She plans to hide out in the Aztec Press newsroom during all of her spare time.


I’m not crazy, just a little unwell

I’m not crazy, just a little unwell


I don’t like to talk about my illnesses. It makes me feel like I’m whining, despite countless people telling me I should talk about it more.

Unfortunately, my anxiety kicks in and I start wondering if they’re only telling me that to make me feel better. It’s an awful, endless cycle.

I want to walk you through a typical day. We’ll do Monday, because those are the hardest.

My alarm starts going off at 6 a.m. If I’m lucky, I hit snooze a few times and get up at 7. If I’m not lucky, and I’m usually not, I lay in bed after I’ve hit snooze a couple of times, in too much pain to even contemplate getting up.

Then, I start feeling useless because I can’t even get out of bed. That’s when the anxiety hits, screaming at me that I’ll fail my classes and get thrown out of school.

So I drag myself out of bed and into the shower, which takes far more energy than it should. By the time I’m showered and dressed, I’m exhausted. Remember, all of this is before I’ve even left for class.

When my day finally ends at 7 p.m., all I want to do is curl up on the floor and sob. Of course, I’ve got three more days of classes to survive.

It takes a tremendous amount of stamina to get through the day. My pain triggers my depression, which in turn triggers my anxiety, which makes my pain flare up more. It’s a never-ending cycle.

The pain causes memory loss, which my doctor calls “pain fog.” She says it’s normal, but when I start losing time, my anxiety goes into overdrive and my depression spikes. Within minutes, I’m in the fetal position on the floor in tears because I feel so useless.

My anxiety sparks when I’m confronted by my phobias. I’m terrified of needles, which makes medical procedures a nightmare. My poor physical therapist learned that the hard way when I had a panic attack on him.

I’m also deathly afraid of clowns. I had an opportunity this past October to perform at the Slaughterhouse Haunt, which features clowns prominently. I was not warned beforehand that they’d be wandering all over the place. Guess what? Panic attack.

Recently, my anxiety hit an all-time low. I finally got my pain under enough control that I felt comfortable going out to karaoke with a couple of friends.

The University of Arizona versus Arizona State University football game was on TV, and the bar was packed. Normally I can deal with noise, but before long the screaming fans got to me.

I am constantly hearing screaming in my head, which is loud, discordant and awful. When I hear it anywhere else, it hits me hard.

That was all I could hear at the bar. I felt horrible because my friends were so excited to be out, but I had to leave before I had a panic attack.

I will be taking next semester off to get everything under control, and I’m already starting to worry about that decision. Will people understand? Will they think I couldn’t take it and dropped out?

Just imagine what trying to find a job is going to do to me.

My life used to be a lot easier. I feel awful for all the things I took for granted that I can’t do anymore, and wish I could tell my younger self to cherish everything.

Because of my illnesses, I treasure anything and everything I can find the strength to do.

Comic: Down Time

Comic: Down Time

Student by day, drag queen by night

Student by day, drag queen by night


On Thursday nights, three hours before showtime, Colton Johnson arrives home from Pima Community College ready for a meal and a nap.

Time is valuable, because from 9:30 p.m. to midnight he becomes “Victorya Munroe,” a petite, blonde-haired, 30-year-old divorcee.

Munroe loves two things: money and alcohol. She is also eight years Johnson’s senior.

Johnson loves the garish lifestyle of drag queens.

 “Originally I started out taking theater makeup classes,” Johnson says. “One day I was out of face templates for a design I was doing. I decided to use my face for the design.”

The result was Victorya Munroe, named after Johnson’s two favorite women: Victoria Beckham and Marilyn Monroe.

“I liked the name Victoria, but it still wasn’t powerful enough for me,” Johnson says. “So I spelled it my way — victory with an A.”

Johnson ventured into drag around August 2010.

“I was just performing in shows that were hosted by others or basically anywhere I could get my foot in the door,” he says.

Johnson landed an opportunity to perform at New Moon Tucson on West Prince Road in the summer of 2011. However, animosity with other performers truncated his stay.

He sought a spot at Brodie’s Tavern on North Stone Avene in September 2011.

“I knew both of the owners on both professional and personal levels, so I always felt comfortable and relaxed,” Johnson says.

Johnson has since defused the friction at New Moon Tucson and returned there. His alter ego balances between the two businesses.

New Moon Tucson hosts a talent show called “To the Moon From the Stars” hosted by Jessica Michaels on Thursday nights.

Johnson regularly performs in the show. His act as Munroe includes singing, dancing and conjuring illusion.

“We allow all forms of talent to perform,” Johnson says. “Depending on the number of performers, the show can run up to three hours.”

Johnson graces Brodie’s Tavern as Munroe on the third Saturday of every month at 9 p.m. There he co-hosts “Not Your Average Housewives” with Bella Divine.

“I came up with the idea for the name from the ABC television series ‘Desperate Housewives,’” Johnson says. “I figured since we are all really men, we weren’t ‘average housewives.’ I thought it was catchy.”

“Not Your Average Housewives” admits audiences 21 and older. Munroe, Divine and two other performers begin with stand-up comedy and invite audience participation.

After a musical number, Munroe and Divine close the show.

Johnson’s life as a performer is an immersive experience, but not his only commitment. Between showbiz gigs, he attends PCC Monday through Thursday.

“Some weeks are easier than others,” he says. “Some take a little more time management and then some take a little more liquor!”

Johnson graduated from Amphitheater High School in 2008. He started at PCC, but dropped out in Spring 2010.

“My father had a heart attack on us,” Johnson says. “I ended up quitting school to take care of him and to take some time to focus on my career.”

Johnson’s father is alive and well, with help from Johnson’s partner, Justin Craine.

“His parents pushed him to be the best he could be,” Craine says. “As he got older, he learned to push himself.”

Johnson returned to PCC this fall. He is enrolled in four classes, including two required for his liberal arts major: Introduction to Acting II and Musical Theater Workshop.

Johnson says he wants to teach acting or drag, but aspires to appear on Broadway in New York.

He is guided by his love of theater, and adores musicals such as “Wicked,” “Legally Blonde” and “The Book of Mormon,” among many others.

Outside of school and his career, Johnson focuses on extracurricular activities and family.

He walked with the Tucson Gay Historical Society in this year’s Tucson Pride Parade, hosted at Armory Park. The parade has been celebrated annually since 1977.

Though Johnson and Craine attended, Munroe did not make an appearance.

“There is a major difference, in our world, between a drag queen, a cross-dresser and a transsexual woman or man,” Johnson says. “A drag queen is strictly a performer and that character exists strictly for the stage.”

Craine says Munroe is spectacular, and hopes Johnson will continue playing her.

“Everyone that has come to see him says he gets better with it,” Craine says.

In addition to acting and drag, Craine envisions Johnson pursuing a career in stand-up comedy, because he can make people laugh.

For now, Johnson intends to finish school and enhance his career as a drag queen. He toils away at his studies. By day, he’s a student — by night, a drag queen.

Come Monday morning, Johnson strolls into class from a long weekend. He wears a shirt that says, “She looked good last night.”

“Funny shirt, Colton,” a classmate says, and Johnson agrees. But those who know him only as Johnson won’t get the half of it.


DECEMBER FESTIVALS  ‘Tis the season to celebrate

DECEMBER FESTIVALS ‘Tis the season to celebrate


4th Avenue Winter Street Fair

Dec. 7-9

Hundreds of arts and craft vendors will sell merchandise, while food booths offer tasty fare. Entertainment will take place on two stages, and street performers will keep crowds entertained as well. Visitors must keep pets at home. The fair takes place from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. each day on Fourth Avenue between Ninth Street and University Boulevard. Admission is free, and shuttles will be available from outlying parking lots. For additional details, visit

Arizona Historical Society Holiday Festival

Dec. 8

Storytelling, live music and book signings are among the family activities scheduled from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at 949 E. Second St. General admission costs $5. Free parking is available in the garage at the northwest corner of East Second Street and North Euclid Avenue. For more information, visit or call 628-5774.

Second Saturday

Dec. 8

Downtown businesses will have their windows decorated for the holidays, and the streets will be rocking with free family-friendly activities from 6-10:30 p.m. The Arizona Opera will perform “Gift of Music” from 6-6:45 p.m. at the Scott outdoor stage. Hey Bucko will be on stage 7-8:15 p.m., followed by Stuart Oliver and the Desert Angels from 8:30-9:45 p.m. Street performers will also entertain, and Santa will make an appearance. For more details, visit

Reid Park Zoo Lights

Through Dec. 23

The animals will be off exhibit, but twinkling lights, falling snow, jingle bells and Santa will await visitors to this Tucson holiday tradition. The Reid Park Zoo, 22nd Street at Randolph Way, will feature lighting displays and animal-themed sculptures daily from 6-8 p.m. General admission is $6. For more information, visit

18th Annual Downtown Parade of Lights


Colorful lighted floats will brighten streets during the 18th Annual Downtown Parade of Lights. A new route will traverse the El Presidio neighborhood this year. The mayor’s tree lighting takes place at 5:45 p.m. at Jacome Plaza by the Joel Valdez main library, 101 N. Stone Ave.  The parade starts at 6:30 p.m. For details and a route map, visit

Winterhaven Festival of Lights


Tucson’s Winterhaven neighborhood has drawn visitors to its light displays for 63 years. The tradition continues nightly from 6-10 p.m. Visitors are asked to bring donations for the Tucson Community Food Bank. Winterhaven, located in central Tucson, is bordered by Prince Road on the north, Country Club on the east, Fort Lowell Boulevard on the south and Tucson Boulevard on the west. For more information and to reserve wagon or trolley rides, visit


BEST BETS: Holiday events

Compiled by Miki Jennings

Plenty of people have holiday memories rooted in sitting on the couch watching Christmas specials. Get in the spirit with these holiday screening events:

“Everything is Terrible! Holiday Special 2012” at the Loft:

If you’re looking for something off the beaten path, the “Everything is Terrible!” found-footage event may be just the thing.

It’s a collection of VHS holiday footage spliced together for optimum hilarity. The footage for this particular event will all be holiday-themed and may or may not involve Nazi elves and equally horrifying Santas and children.

The “Everything is Terrible!” group will attend the showing to present their footage.


Where: Loft Cinema, 3223 E. Speedway Blvd.

When: Dec. 18 at 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $8 general admission, $7 Loft members



“It’s a Wonderful Life” screenings at the Fox Theatre:

If you’re looking for a more conventional way to start feeling festive, “It’s a Wonderful Life” may be more up your alley. Gather up some loved ones and go enjoy the iconic 1946 Jimmy Stewart film.



Where: Fox Theatre, 17 W. Congress St.

When: Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Cost: $7 general admission, $5 student, senior and military discount




“Scrooge”A Gaslight Musical

The Gaslight Theatre cast offers a musical adaptation of the Charles Dickens’ novel, “A Christmas Carol.” The story follows the greedy and grouchy Ebenezer Scrooge, a lonely old man. The Gaslight Theatre regularly offers humorous, family-friendly performances.



Where: The Gaslight Theatre, 7010 E. Broadway Blvd.

When: Nov. 15-Jan. 6 (Through Jan. 6?)

For tickets: 886-9428



Creative devotees enjoy knight-life

Creative devotees enjoy knight-life


The sound of clacking wood and clashing steel filled the armor-strewn battlefield of Reid Park.

Fighters, including a man dressed in a Spartan-like outfit complete with a huge shield and plumed helmet, used trappings of medieval warfare to compete.

The Society for Creative Anachronism, an organization dedicated to re-enacting periods of history, was holding its weekly fighter practice.

“The running gag is we try to re-enact or recreate the Middle Ages without the genocide and the plague,” said Ryan Smith, also known as Bard of the Sun.

Tucson has two SCA branches, the main Barony of Tir Ysgithr and a University of Arizona branch known as The College of St. Phoenix.

Many participants joined the SCA after learning about it through friends, according to Lady Berkedei, whose real name is Jessica Sorenson.

Sorenson is the chatelaine for the Barony of Tir Ysgithr. The chatelaine’s function is to deal with newcomers, set up educational demos and meet with the press.

The got involved with the Society after a friend insisted she check it out.

“I always thought they were kinda strange, but my oldest friend, he kinda poked me and taunted me to come out here and give it a chance,” she said.

Most members use archaic alternate SCA names, including Nathaniel Stahn, aka Ragnar the Left Hand. He talked about the main attraction of fighter practice, the sword fighting.

“Because we’re playing a game, there’s rules set up,” he said.

Participants don’t use dirty tricks and try to make sure they don’t break each other’s wooden swords.

There are even rules as to what you can and can’t hit. Going beyond two inches below the elbow and two inches below the knee are big no-nos.

Movie fights fail to represent the chaos of a battlefield, Stahn added. “Combat’s too clean in fiction.”

SCA offers diverse activities beyond swordfights. “It goes any which way, from alchemy, from herbal studies, from the period style dyeing of fabrics and threads and whatnot,” Sorenson said.

There are also members who make armor and weapons, with a single helmet costing $500 to $600.

SCA’s membership extends beyond the continental United States to Hawaii, Japan and all over Europe.

“How lucky Europeans are,” Sorenson said. “They get to have their events in castles.”

Participants base themselves in historical areas ranging from ancient Japan to Turkey/Persia to Russia, though Sorenson said most base their personas on historical Europe.

Berkedei’s nickname is based on a Mongolian phrase that translates to, “She who is difficult.”

Baron Zhigmun’ Czypsser, whose real name is Ron Roberts, is the friend who introduced Sorenson to the Society.

“Some of the weirdest experiences in the SCA were how hospitable everyone was,” he said. “It’s not like that in the real world.”

Fighter practice takes place most Tuesdays at 7 p.m. at Reid Park, off East Broadway Boulevard at South Country Club Road. Anyone who wants to participate is welcome to attend.

For more information on the Barony, visit

Dancers celebrate world wonders

Dancers celebrate world wonders

Photograph by Ed Flores



Pima Community College dancers will explore spectacular natural and man-made wonders during performances Dec. 7-8.

“The dancers and choreography will transport the audience and take them on a journey celebrating magnificent wonders created by God and mankind,” director Aurora Gonçalves-Shaner said via email.

“Wonders of the World” performances will be Friday, Dec. 7, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 8, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the West Campus Center for the Arts Proscenium Theatre.

Using ballet, modern and jazz choreography, dance numbers will showcase an eclectic array of music reflecting different cultures. Colorful costumes and monumental projections will add to the globetrotting journey.

The program’s first half will focus on natural wonders such as the sky, seas, plants and animals. Dances will spotlight galaxies, the Aurora Borealis, the Great Barrier Reef and jungles across the globe.

The program’s second half will shift attention to wonders from ancient civilizations and modern societies.

Featured icons will include the Greek Parthenon, Italian Tower of Pisa, Great Wall of China, France’s Eiffel Tower, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa and Brazil’s “Christ the Redeemer” statue.

For the Brazil segment, the soundtrack from the animated movie “Rio” will enhance samba and carnival movements.

Tickets cost $10, with discounts available.

Box office hours are Tuesday-Friday, noon to 5 p.m., and one hour before performances.

For more information, call 206-6986, email or visit



“Wonders of the World”

When: Dec. 7-8

Where: Proscenium Theatre, West Campus CFA

Tickets: $10

Box office: 206-6986


The last horoscope

Transcribed by THOMAS F. JOHNSON

In a lonely alley, written on human flesh, inked in inhuman blood by an unknown author, we found a dire warning of things to come. It is a warning we feel we must show the world. With great tremulousness, we give you:

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

First it will get very hot. Then it will get very cold. Then they will come from the sea to devour mankind.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

The plumed serpent with the solar fire looks upon the earth. And he has found us wanting.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Look at the dreams of space and time, with eyes plucked from bloody sockets burning upon coals, and you will see the shape of those that come for us.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

The warnings were there in the stars. Why, oh why, did we not listen?

Aries (March 21-April 19)

THEM are calling. THEM are weeping. THEM are screaming. THEM are wanting. Cry for THEM.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) ThereisnothingwrongthisisjustatestThereisnothingwrongthisisjustatestDonottestthemThereisnothingwrongthisisjustatest.

Gemini (May 21-June 21)

Beware the twins with a pleasant face, though they say they will save us. They are just another mask.

Cancer (June 22-July 22)

We are. We are the cancer that roils upon the earth, and their hungry maws are His hot knife that will cut us all out to save THEM.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)


Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

When preparing for a rainy day, don’t forget to bring an umbrella. Especially when that rain is the blood and the teeth and the guts of the dying.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

“While the angels, all pallid and wan/ Uprising, unveiling affirm./ That the play is the tragedy, “Man,”/ And its hero the Conqueror Worm.”- Liegeia, E.A. Poe

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

It is getting … So hot … Getting … so hot … Cannot write much longer … Please tell them … I loved you all ….

Serpentarius (Void/Eternity)

Watch The Seas. Watch the Skies.