By MIKI JENNINGS
What with trying to keep up with Sacha Baron Cohen, portraying touchy subject matter in a humorous light and struggling with her own body hair, actor Anna Faris had a lot on her plate while filming “The Dictator.”
“With Sacha’s movies, you have to be very, very pliable,” she said.
According to Faris, the film was challenging because of the on-set dynamics. Cohen’s emotions and behavior would change unexpectedly from bring charmed by Faris’ character to threatening to kill her.
“It was unlike pretty much any filming process I had ever gone through before and you really didn’t know where the scene was going to go,” she said.
Appearance issues also came up: Faris’ character is a somewhat stereotypical left-leaning, food co-op running, feminist lit major, and had to dress the part. In somewhat of a departure from many of her previous roles, Faris sports unflattering overalls and boots, a boyishly cropped hairstyle and hair in other places.
“For ‘The Dictator,’ I had to grow out my armpit hair, which was a new experience for me,” Faris said.
She said her newly grown underarm fuzz defined her summer and provided entertainment at parties.
“If I’d have a drink or two, I would lift my shirt and show off my armpit hair, and it made people gag,” she said.
Faris’ character also acts as the unexpected love interest of Cohen’s character, Admiral General Aladeen, the dictator of the Republic of Wadiya.
“I think she teaches Sacha’s character to care and to change and to love through her passion,” she said.
“The Dictator” opened in theaters May 16.
By STEVE CHOICE
The Pima Community College softball team entered regional tournament play on May 5 needing three consecutive victories to qualify for nationals. Luckily, that’s exactly what it got.
The Aztecs defeated arch rival Yavapai College twice and Eastern Arizona College once to punch their tickets to St. George, Utah, where the national tournament will be played on May 17-19.
Any loss on day two of the double-elimination tournament would’ve sent Pima packing for the year, since PCC split its two games the first day.
Pima dropped a 3-0 decision to Eastern Arizona College to start day one. The Aztecs then took a 6-0 decision against Central Arizona College, setting the stage for the next day’s heroics.
Pima started the second day by knocking off EAC 7-2.
Freshman pitcher Yvette Alvarez went the distance for Pima, surrendering only four hits and striking out five. Sophomore Nicole Rascon starred at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two RBIs. Freshman Cynthia Pelayo also added a solo home run.
That left the Aztecs needing two victories against Yavapai to advance.
The pitching matchup for the first game pitted Alvarez versus Tucson native Estela Piñon, who had dominated PCC twice earlier in the year.
Alvarez turned the tables on her counterpart, as Pima rode a six-run sixth inning to a convincing 9-0 win.
Jessica Schneider had a big game with the bat, knocking in six. The sophomore went 3-for-4, including a round-tripper and a double. Freshmen Amber Calvillo and Aubre Carpenter each scored twice.
The Aztecs again turned to Alvarez in the final game. She pitched the first six innings of the 9-6 Pima triumph, leaving in the seventh with Roughriders on second and third and no outs.
Sophomore Mari Contreras came in to dash YC’s hopes, recording three straight outs for the save.
Pima also used the long ball to put Yavapai away, as freshman Noelle Medina launched a grand slam in a five-run third inning. Schneider added another blast in the first.
Alvarez pitched 20 of the 21 innings Pima played in the three-game set. She was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
The squad also had numerous players receive All-ACCAC and All-Region 1 recognition:
First team all-conference
Second team all-conference
Third team all-conference
By STEVE CHOICE
The Pima Community College softball team finished the regular season the same way it played most of it – red hot.
The Aztecs tapped into some “sophomore day” energy on April 28 to easily sweep Mesa Community College at home, 9-1 and 7-0.
Seven PCC sophomores played their final games at West Campus, and were honored by family members, friends and teammates in a postgame ceremony at home plate.
“It was a sad day, just knowing it’s the last day I’m going to play here,” sophomore pitcher Mari Contreras said. “We had extra motivation because it’s sophomore day.”
Contreras, who will continue her career at the University of Texas-El Paso next year, turned in a dominant performance in game one of the double-dip. The future Miner surrendered just two hits and struck out eight to run her record to 20-5.
Sophomore pitcher Monet Ormsby also shut down MCC in game two. She finished a spotless regular season at 8-0.
Freshman Aubre Carpenter had a busy day at the plate, going 5-for-8, including two doubles. Sophomore Jessica Sipe also contributed, going 2-for-4 in game one, with three RBIs. Fellow sophomore Jessica Schneider erupted for two homers in the nightcap, tallying five RBIs.
The other three sophomores honored in the ceremony were Nicole Rascon, Kristi Shepherd and Jacqueline Deen.
PCC split a doubleheader against archrival Yavapai College on April 24, losing game one 4-0 and taking the nightcap 9-2.
Pima also took a pair from Phoenix College on April 21.
The Aztecs finished at 49-12 for the regular season, including 39-9 in conference play.
Next up for PCC will be the regional tournament in Prescott, with Yavapai as host.
Four teams there will vie for a lone berth to the NJCAA Division I national tournament in St. George, Utah, on May 17-19.
Contreras is feeling good about the Aztecs’ chances to make it through, but she knows Yavapai is one team standing in their way.
“It proved a lot by us beating them, because we hadn’t beaten them since I don’t remember when,” she said. “Our goal is to win regionals. I know we can do it.”
Pima opens regional play against Eastern Arizona College on May 4 at 10 a.m.
By MYLO ERICKSON
After closing out the final regular season tournament, one of the three women who play golf for Pima Community College will head to nationals.
Freshman Abriana Romero was one of 20 individual players selected to compete in Daytona Beach, Fla., on May 14-17.
“Obviously it’s an honor to go and I’m both excited and nervous,” Romero said. “I’m excited about the experience, but I’m nervous about the level of difficulty.”
Romero was also named to the All-ACCAC second team.
At nationals, Romero will play on the LPGA International Legends Golf Course.
“The only thing new for her may be an alligator or two,” head coach Bill Nicol said.
The LPGA course is a bit longer than some courses that PCC played on during the season, Nicol said. About 160 women of varying skill levels from across the country will compete.
Nicol and Romero’s mother will be in Daytona to support Romero during the four-day tournament.
She will also receive support from her teammates, sophomore Alondra Olivas and freshman Shelby Empens. They asked her to text her results after each day so they can talk to her about it.
Romero had the best finish for the Aztecs in the final season tournament played at Hillcrest Golf Course in Phoenix. The tournament was hosted by Scottsdale Community College.
The eight-team women’s golf conference doesn’t hold regional playoffs.
Both Romero and Empens will return to the team next season, Nicol said. Olivas has used her two-year eligibility.
Nicol hopes more women will join the team, but said he’ll have to wait and see.
He was upset to lose players at the beginning of the current season, but said the remaining players dealt with it and moved on.
“The ones that stayed learned some things and had a good time,” he said.
Compiled from PCC press releases
The Pima Community College women’s tennis team finished the fourth day of the NJCAA National Tournament in 16th place with 11.5 points on May 9. The final day of the tournament is on Thursday but the Aztecs have been eliminated from individual competition.
In No. 1 doubles competition, Tatum Rochin and partner Kari Emery defeated Evgina Johnson and Heather Williams from Grand Rapids Community College (Michigan) in the quarterfinals of the consolation bracket 6-0, 6-1. In the semifinals, Rochin and Emery lost a tough match to Ivanna Echezuria and Jessica Halterman from Meridian Community College (Mississippi) 6-2, 7-6 (2).
Emery made it to the semifinals of the No. 3 singles consolation bracket but lost to Ariana Raga from Cowley College (Kansas) 6-2, 6-1.
For complete tournament results go to: usta.com TennisLink USTA Adult Tournaments Tournament I.D.: 800006112
The third day of the NJCAA National Tournament for women’s tennis came to a close on May 8 with Pima finishing in 17th place with 11 points and two players left in the competition.
Kari Emery won her quarterfinals matchup in the No. 3 singles consolation bracket after beating Nora Alcaino from Central Alabama 6-3, 6-1. Emery will play Ariana Raga from Cowley College (Kansas) in the semifinals on Wednesday.
Emery and No.1 doubles partner Tatum Rochin will play Evgina Johnson and Heather Williams from Grand Rapids Community College (Michigan) in the consolation quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Rochin lost in the quarterfinals of the No.1 singles consolation bracket to Moraine Valley’s (Illinois) Nicole Selvaggio in a three-set thriller 4-6, 6-4, 10-8.
Helen Alteiri and Kelly Ponzio played two matches in the No. 2 doubles main draw bracket. They beat Sharron Clark and Regan Perme from Collin College (Texas) 6-2, 6-4 in the round of 16 but lost to Stephanie Cardullo and Ali Underhill from Broward College (Florida) in the quarterfinals 6-1, 6-2. Alteiri and Ponzio were ranked No. 6 in the nation and Cardullo and Underhill were No. 4.
Olivia Cole-Encinas and Alecia Vasquez fell in their consolation bracket matchup to Catherine Cellitti and Liz Walters from Johnson County Community College (Kansas) 6-1, 6-2.
The Pima women’s tennis team earned six points and was tied for 12th place after May 6 first-day action of the NJCAA National Tournament at Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas.
The Aztecs got three wins in singles action. In No. 2 singles competition Helen Alteiri played through body cramps to defeat Adalyn Hazelman, from the New Mexico Military Institute, 6-4, 7-6 (4). She will play Eastern Arizona College’s Maja Sasa in the round of 16 on May 7.
Kelly Ponzio won her matchup in No. 4 singles action, defeating Susan Nguyen 6-1, 6-3. She’ll play Kristin Richardson from Cowley College (Kansas) in the round of 16.
Olivia Cole-Encinas advanced to the round of 16 after beating Leticia Monteiro from Seward County Community College (Kansas) 7-5, 7-5. Cole-Encinas will play Tyler Junior College’s Ariana Saldana in the next round.
Tatum Rochin and Kari Emery lost their first-round matchups in singles and doubles and will play in their respective consolation brackets. Alecia Vasquez also lost her first round match in No. 6 singles.
The second day of the National Tournament continues on May 7 with No. 2 and No. 3 doubles matchups kicking off.
For complete tournament results go to:
USTA Adult Tournaments
Tournament I.D.: 800006112
By KYLE WASSON
Pima coaches and players were atop the list when tennis coaches of the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference picked All-Conference teams.
Gretchen Schantz, the women’s tennis coach, took the Coach of the Year honor for the third time (her second consecutive). Schantz led the Aztecs to a 15-4 regular season record and 9-1 in conference play.
The team won its first Region I championship since moving to Division I play in 2004.
Men’s coach Sharif Moustafa was awarded Coach of the Year for the third consecutive year after guiding the Aztecs to a 6-2 conference record and second-place finish. The Aztecs finished in second place at the regional tournament.
The following is a list of players recognized for their regular season play:
1st Team All-ACCAC
Tatum Rochin – ACCAC Player of the Year, No. 1 singles
Kari Emery – No. 3 singles
Olivia Cole-Encinas – No. 5 singles
Tatum Rochin & Kari Emery – No. 1 doubles
Helen Alteiri & Kelly Ponzio – No. 2 doubles
2nd Team All-ACCAC
Helen Alteiri – No. 2 singles
Kelly Ponzio – No. 4 singles
1st Team All-ACCAC
Victor Cabada – No. 4 singles
2nd Team All-ACCAC
Dylan Vo – No. 2 singles
Brandon Haag – No. 3 singles
Aaron Vazquez – No. 6 singles
Brandon Haag & Victor Cabada – No. 2 doubles
By MYLO ERICKSON
The Pima Community College men’s golf team had its best performance this season at the Region 1 tournament at the Sidewinder Golf Course in Gold Canyon, Ariz., where they took second place.
With the second place victory Pima qualified for the NJCAA national tournament, which will be played in Newton, Kan., at the Sand Creek Station Golf Course on May 12-19.
Pima had another reason to celebrate, as freshman Joseph Courtney took first place overall as an individual.
“I put a lot of work in on my golf game and it paid off,” Courtney said. “I was just elated to come away with the win.”
The Aztecs started the regional tournament on April 26 in second place. They shot 310 as a team, which was 24 strokes behind first place.
Courtney finished his first day shooting two over par with a 73, which was good enough to tie him for third. First place was at 69.
Sophomore Adam Ortiz finished off the first day shooting six over par with a 77.
On the second day of the tournament, Pima stayed in second place while shooting a team score of 301.
The Aztecs shot a two-day total of 611, 36 strokes behind first place. The Aztecs were ahead of third-place Eastern Arizona College by eight strokes.
Courtney shot a three under par with a 68, which was enough for him to take sole possession of second place. He trailed first place by two strokes.
He was then one under par for the tournament with a two day total of 141.
On the third day of the tournament, the Aztecs were able to hold on to second place for the tournament.
Pima shot 303 as a team for the third day and were nine strokes ahead of third-place Eastern. Pima was 48 strokes behind first-place Scottsdale Community College.
Courtney took the lead for individuals on the third day after shooting an even par with a 71. He led the second-place individual by two strokes.
He had a three-day total of 212 at that point.
Pima had its best day on the fourth day of the tournament, shooting a team total of 299 for the day, giving them a four day total of 1,213 as a team.
Courtney locked up first place individually when he birdied both the 17th and 18th holes to finish off the final day one over par with a 72.
That put him at even par for the four-day tournament with a total of 284.
“He finally put it all together,” head coach Grant Waltke said.
The Aztecs also received a great day from freshman Austin Stuessel, who also shot a one over par with a 72.
Pima will now continue its season in the NJCAA national tournament on May 12-19.
Courtney, Ortiz, Stuessel, and freshmen Landyn Lewis and Jonathan Chong Jr. will attend.
“The guys are anxious to get to nationals, to see what they can do,” Waltke said.
He hopes they finish in the top 10.
Compiled from PCC press releases
The Pima Community College track and field team closed its season at the NJCAA National Tournament in Levelland, Texas on May 17 as the women’s team finished in 11th place with 19 points. The men’s team finished in 25th with a team score of six points.
Jodine Steemers finished the 5,000 meters race in 6th place with a time of 19 minutes, 56.29 seconds. Steemers had earned All-American honors for her 2nd place finish in the 10,000 meters race on May 15. Anaiz Zamorano took 7th place in the 400 hurdles event with a time of 1:06.18.
Antonio Jeter also earned All-American honors in the tournament. Jeter won his honor in the triple jump event by placing 3rd with a jump of 48 feet, 11 and a-half inches.
The Region I Tournament at Mesa Community College concluded May 3 with the Pima track and field team claiming four more region championships, securing two new national qualifying times and having its best finish in over a decade.
The women’s team finished in second place in team competition with a score of 197. Central Arizona College took first with 295. That’s the best finish for the women’s team since 2001.
Jamie Shrader won the region championship in the 1500 meters race with a time of 4 minutes, 58.80 seconds. The Aztecs scored 25 points in that event as they posted four finishers in the top six placements.
Jodine Steemers took first place in the 5000 meters race with a time of 19:20.6.
Shelby Slocum and Heidi Lopez took 4th and 5th place respectively and both finished with national qualifying times. Slocum finished at 2:20.6 and Lopez was at 2:21.4.
In men’s competition, Antonio Jeter won the triple jump region championship finishing with a jump of 49-feet, 9-inches. The Aztecs place three finishers in the top six spots. Lucas Ruiz won the 1500 meters region championship with a time of 3:57.8. The team finished tied for fourth place.
The Aztecs will take 27 student-athletes to the NJCAA National Championships held in South Plains, Texas, on May 15-17.
By MEGYN FITZGERALD
The Pima Community College track and field team claimed three Region I titles on May 1 at Mesa Community College.
Janie Featherstone jumped 5 feet, 5 inches to claim the women’s high jump regional championship. The finish improved her nationals-qualifying jump.
Alice Odu claimed the long jump title and earned a nationals spot with a 17-10 3/4.
Esther Estrada also earned a spot at nationals by winning the regional championship in the 10000-meter race with a time of 44 minutes, 8 seconds.
Kelsey Montano, Shelby Slocum, Heidi Lopez and Jamie Shrader improved their nationals-qualifying time in the 4×800 meter relay with a time of 9:31.8.
The regional tournament’s final day was May 3. Results were not available at press time, but will be posted at aztecpressonline.com.
During regional competition in Mesa on April 24, Pima snagged several first-place spots.
Sophomore Megan Wright scored first in both the javelin (31.64 meters) and high jump (4-11). She also placed second in the heptathlon with a score of 3,952.
Freshman Danielle Hawley took first place in both the shot put with a throw of 10.11 meters and the 800-meter race with a time of 2:32.67.
Freshman Jarell Betton took fifth place in the men’s decathlon with a score of 5,469.
More national qualifiers and personal bests highlighted Pima’s April 21 trip to the Beach Invitational in Long Beach, Calif.
The women’s 4×400 meter relay team of freshmen Rachel Blake, Slocum, Aly Haskell and sophomore Anaiz Zamorano qualified for nationals and achieved a personal best time of 4:01.91.
Zamorano also improved her time in the 400-hurdles with a 64.56 finish.
In the 3000-meter steeplechase, Montano improved her national-qualifying mark and achieved a personal best with a time of 11:40.93.
Lopez also achieved a personal best when she qualified in the 5000-meter race with a time of 18:56.1.
For the men, freshman David-Michael Scott ran a qualifying time of 15:37 in the 5000 meters
Meanwhile, fellow freshman Lucas Ruiz improved his time for the same race with a 15:09.2 effort.
The nationals will take place May 15-17 in South Plains, Texas.
By MEGYN FITZGERALD
The 2011-2012 NBA season has not only been one of the shortest to date, but ironically it’s also been one of the most eventful.
Former All-Star Brandon Roy retired the day training camp began.
Current All-Star Dwight Howard suffered a herniated disc right before the playoffs.
The Charlotte Bobcats set a new record for the worst season record ever.
The fans have been on a rollercoaster ride!
But the playoffs are what it’s all been for. We made it, baby.
The postseason looks to be one of the most intense yet, if the regular season is any indication.
So far, in their first games of the postseason, the Chicago Bulls’ All-Star Derrick Rose and the New York Knicks’ bright-futured rookie Iman Shumpert have both torn their anterior cruciate ligaments (one of the four main ligaments of the knee) and are out for the remainder of the postseason.
More recently, we’re hearing that Amar’e Stoudemire of the New York Knicks is out for a couple of games.
After another loss to the Miami Heat, he punched a glass fire extinguisher encasement, causing the glass to break and injuring his hand. Apparently, he misunderstood the meaning of “attacking the glass.”
An underdog Orlando Magic team rose up and defeated the Indiana Pacers at home, which is a great sign for me and my fellow Magic fans.
Basketball just doesn’t get better than this, people!
Personally, I’m most excited to see the Magic-Pacers and Grizzlies-Clippers series in the first round.
Both the Magic and the Pacers would make quite the statement if they made it to the later rounds, and the Grizzlies and the Clippers are just fun to watch.
I could probably watch Chris Paul lob to Blake Griffin for hours on end and not tire of it.
It’s hard to say, though, who’s going to win it all.
With so many talented players, horrific injuries and last-minute hot streaks, it’s really anyone’s trophy.
Teams that would have otherwise been top contenders are struggling after losing important pieces to injury, and underdogs are surprising everyone with road wins.
Ultimately (and I absolutely hate that I’m about to broadcast this), I expect the Heat to take it all.
At least once LeBron finally gets his ring they can stop talking about it on SportsCenter, right?
By MYLO ERICKSON
Although Pima Community College’s football team didn’t kick off its initial season until 2001, there was plenty of preparation under way in 2000.
Pima hired Sabino High School football coach Jeff Scurran, who led nationally ranked teams to state championships in 1990, ‘92 and ‘98.
Once at PCC, Scurran started conditioning and weight training classes to prepare potential players for football. About 80 students enrolled.
Although there were no facilities available, Pima administrators decided to base the football team at East Campus. Practices would be at nearby Lincoln Park.
Initial plans called for Pima to play home games on Santa Rita High School’s football field. Later, the program chose instead to play home games at different fields around the city as a way to build public interest.
Officials arranged for PCC to join the Western States Football League.
The division already had nine teams: Arizona Western College, Eastern Arizona College, Glendale Community College, Mesa Community College, Phoenix College, Scottsdale Community College, Dixie College (St. George, Utah), Snow College (Ephraim, Utah) and New Mexico Military Institute.
Since then, the league has dropped some teams and added others to bring its current total to 16 squads.
Facing a need to cut the team to 75 players before his inaugural season, Scurran established qualifications to make and stay on the football roster. Players needed full-time enrollment status and a grade point average of 2.0 or higher.
The present-day Pima website says student-athletes must:
• Be enrolled full time at Pima.
• Make satisfactory academic progress.
• Receive a medical clearance.
In 2000, Pima students were excited about football.
“It is good to hear that a football team is finally coming here,” Michael Grgich said in an Aztec Press article. “It is about time the school finally got one.”
Scurran led his team to victory in its first game against a ranked team in 2001, when Pima opened its season with a 28-20 win against defending national junior college champion Glendale Community College.
Pima also won a bowl game in 2004, defeating No. 2 Kilgore College in the Pilgrim’s Pride Bowl Classic, 10-7. It was considered a major upset.
At the time, PCC was ranked 13th in the country.
By ANDRIA CAVIGLIA
Pavel Borisenko understands how loss of freedom and creativity can limit the citizens of a country.
Borisenko is a Belarusian national with dual citizenship living in the United States. He is also an aspiring filmmaker with a rebellious nature.
When not studying media arts at Pima Community College, Borisenko spends his free time writing movie scripts and creating short films. Some of his work uses religion, history and philosophy to compare Belarus and the United States.
Belarus has been under the dictatorship of Alexander Lukashenka for about 17 years. The government limits citizen access to information by controlling radio, TV and newspapers.
In 2010, Borisenko scripted and filmed a movie called “The Dictatorship” in Minsk, Belarus. He used the capital city’s Soviet-era statues and murals as backdrops for the movie, which compares Soviet power to modern-day religion.
“Belarus was the perfect spot for the movie,” Borisenko said. “As a national, I’m able to travel there with no visas and the relics that are still standing are great for film. The country is heavily indoctrinated by Lukashenka, the dictator, which adds an element of interest.”
Borisenko was born in Minsk. His father was from Minsk and his mother from Rayovka, a tiny village outside the capital. He spent most of his childhood in Rayovka before his mother, Irina Borisenko, came to New York City.
“I came for a visit when I was 8,” Borisenko said about his first trip to the United States. “When I was 9, my mom told me ‘Well, we’re going to be Americans.’” The United States approved her application for citizenship a week before she was planning to return.
“It’s crazy,” Borisenko said about the events that followed. “They Americanized me. I went by Paul and they stole my middle name.” His middle name, Sergeivich, is only on official records in Belarus.
Borisenko decided to come to Arizona after he graduated from high school in Manhattan, N.Y., because he wanted to become more independent and explore real life. “I wanted to get farther away from family and stuff,” he said.
He applied to Arizona State University and the University of Arizona. Both schools sent acceptance letters.
“U of A was the perfect place for college life,” he said. “Big school, different place, new experience.”
His business focus started when he became a coin dealer.
When entering college, Borisenko’s resources for collecting and selling coins were limited but he managed to keep a small income and collection for himself. He dealt in foreign and American coinage but said his favorites were American silver dollars and Russian rubles.
Originally planning on majoring in business at UA, Borisenko quickly changed to media arts.
“I like making movies a lot more, and I decided to follow my passion,” he said.
Borisenko received his first camera at age 14 and has been “on and off” making movies and short amateur films with his friends in New York City and Tucson ever since.
He attended UA for the fall semester in 2008, then began attending PCC for general education courses in Spring 2009. He is currently enrolled in a digital arts class at PCC, which has sparked his interest and improved his skills.
Borisenko bought a camera for his classes that allows him to capture video and still-photo scenes.
He likes learning video editing programs such as Vegas, and is becoming more efficient on Mac computers.
Borisenko is currently working on a feature-length script for a philosophical thriller titled “The Free Man.” It will be filmed entirely in Tucson, especially around the UA campus.
He is recruiting PCC actresses and actors, but has only a partial script for now.
Former actress and assistant screenwriter Alexis Soto has worked with Borisenko on “The Free Man” for several months.
“I think the new script is brilliant because it questions society,” Soto said.
Soto restructures and sometimes rewrites the raw script material Borisenko sends her. “He’s out of the box,” she said. “He’s eccentric in a very good way.”
Borisenko likes to include subliminal messages within his script to make people think more about events and situations occurring around them. He wants his viewers to question the meaning of everything.
His fondness for religion and philosophy impacts his interpretative filmmaking style.
“It is about the observation of religion in society and finding the urge to seek meaning and purpose in their life,” Borisenko said.
By ELLIOT ROSEN
The clock reads 2:35 a.m. In a makeshift Tucson studio, Isaac Horenblas puts the finishing touches on his latest music.
Spending hours to create a three-minute track is just a normal night for a kid who has spent his entire life around music.
“I started playing piano since before I can remember, picked up guitar and drums soon after and played in some bands,” he said.
“I fell in love with hip-hop and started to write, produce, master and perform my music.”
All of his work is original, he said.
“No one else is in the studio editing my work. I make the ideas in my head that I put onto paper, and that turns into the music that comes out at the end of the process.”
Horenblas, a Pima Community College sophomore majoring in business, knows the road ahead is rigorous but said he is ready for the challenge.
“I’m not going to let anyone say that I can’t make it,” he said. “I’m putting my heart and soul into this. Becoming an artist is not a joke. I will do everything to accomplish my dream.”
Music provides a way for Horenblas to tell his life story, which has had its ups and downs. He uses personalized up-tempo beats.
“This is a new style that hopefully will catch on with this generation of music lovers,” he said with a smile.
Horenblas uses a stage name, MBforKING. The name doesn’t mean anything special, but he thinks people hearing it will want to know more about the artist.
His latest project, titled “High Class,” is already creating buzz in his home city of Portland, Ore. Nightclubs in Portland have contacted him.
He keeps fans up to date and gets his name out by dropping a new single once a week.
“The more I have out, the better chance someone outside of Portland will hear it and take notice of what I am doing,” he said.
Horenblas also plays his music at PCC campuses. When students approach to ask who is singing, he gives them headphones to listen.
“It works,” he said. “I was nervous at first to do this but if I want people to hear my music, why not hear it from the source?”
On a recent afternoon, several students took a listen. “Dope style,” said one. “I want to hear more of this.”
Horenblas takes inspiration from young musicians such as Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller and Chris Webby.
“These guys are all around my age and to see them making it big helps push me to keep striving forward,” he said.
His goal is to record a track with artists he admires.
“Just being in the same studio as them would be a dream come true,” he said.
To hear Horenblas’ music, type MBforKing in the search bar on Soundcloud.com or Reverbnation.com.
Where does Horenblas want his music career to end up?
“The top,” he said with confidence and swagger.
“My time to shine is coming and when it comes, I will be ready. I just hope everyone is ready for what I have in store for the world.”
By THOMAS F. JOHNSON
Racks of books, glass cases filled with “Warhammer” miniatures and a barrel of dice greet customers who step inside Hat’s Games.
Insignia from “Magic the Gathering” and “Warhammer 40000” adorn walls of the store, which caters to tabletop role-playing, war, board and card games.
A custom “Warhammer” robot stands more than 2 feet tall, towering over miniatures that measure less than 5 inches.
The front counter contains a plethora of snacks for sale. Tables for playing games crowd a vast back room.
Patrons can expect to always find at least one or two people playing games of every kind. Dozens of gamers attend on the most packed nights.
Gamer David Spirack, who plays in a Generic Universal Role-Playing System every Tuesday, said he works across the street from Hat’s and decided to check it out.
“It was sort of an accident,” he said.
When he saw the wide, sprawling back room, he knew the store was the place for him.
Manager Dave Hat started the store by taking out a loan to buy the remnants of a long-gone business called “Things for Thinkers.” The salvaged items had been stored in an old train car.
Hat’s advice on how to get into gaming: “Check out the local community. If you like the community, then buy the starter.”
First you must find a gaming group to join.
“There are some groups who meet every day, and some that only meet once a month,” Hat said. “Depends on what suits you.”
The store dedicates lots of shelf space to “Pathfinder,” a spinoff/competitor to “Dungeons & Dragons.”
Hat suggested that interested gamers visit the store on days the Pathfinder Society meets.
The group’s next gathering will be May 20.
Tuesdays are usually the best night for getting a game going at Hat’s, Spirack said.
Searching for games online via the meetup.com website is another option.
Spirack has noticed a decline in gamer turnout over the last few months. He speculated it could be because of a temporary lull, or because several game masters were not able to continue their games.
Other top Hat’s sellers include role-playing games that are spinoffs of “Warhammer 40000,” such as “Dark Heresy,” “Deathwatch” and “Rogue Trader.”
The store does not carry the “World of Darkness” and “Dungeons & Dragons” games, Hat said, because of their move to online-exclusive content and because their parent companies don’t provide support for small game store owners like him.
Things might change with the advent of an upcoming fifth edition of “Dungeons & Dragons,” he added.
Hat, who doesn’t have time to game as often as he would like, said his favorites are sci-fi, board games, card games and historical games.
He said the weirdest thing that has happened in his store was when a ringtail cat lived on the roof. The critter snuck in at night and ate snacks.
In the future, Hat wants to expand by acquiring several other entertainment-oriented stores. A comic store currently occupies a separate section of his floor space.
However, games will remain his main focus.
By MIKI JENNINGS
As the semester comes to a close, many of us spend long days and late nights writing essays and studying for finals.
Whether it be a loud roommate or distracting electronics, home might not be the best study place.
To keep from losing time to video games or hanging out with friends, many students go to designated study areas.
And what better commodity to have at your study space than coffee to keep you energized while you work?
Here’s a list of coffee shops around the different Pima campuses to check out for study purposes as well as the caffeine.
Address: 3191 E. Valencia Road Phone: 294-4995
Hours: Daily, 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
If you don’t actually like the taste of coffee, you’re in luck.
CaffeNation offers a huge selection of specialty-flavored mochas that can come hot, iced or blended.
For less than $4, you can get a 16-ounce mocha in just about any flavor you can think of, including chocolate cherry, orange, peppermint, caramel, French silk and peanut butter.
Every menu item is moderately priced. A small hot chocolate costs less than $2. For under $3, you can get a muffin, scone or bagel with cream cheese.
Address: 745 N. Fourth Ave.
Hours: Daily, 6 a.m.-midnight
Less than a mile from Downtown Campus, Epic is conveniently located on the north end of Fourth Avenue and offers a great menu of drip coffee, espresso and blended drinks.
I recommend the blended brownie mocha. For about $4.50, you get a big cup full of brownie-flavored coffee slush. Doesn’t sound amazing? Try it. Get it with whipped cream. Study. Be happy.
The Wi-Fi can get slow during peak hours, so try to visit when it’s not too busy.
Crave Coffee Bar
Address: 4530 E. Broadway Blvd.
Hours: Daily, 6 a.m.-11 p.m.
It’s a bit of a drive from East Campus, but unfortunately there’s not much of coffee selection nearby. There are plenty of Starbucks in the area, but Crave has an atmosphere only a local cafe can offer.
It offers a full menu of assorted hot and cold beverages, plus delicious pastries and desserts such as fresh-baked muffins, apple strudel and tiramisu.
Glass Onion Cafe
Address: 1990 W. River Road
Hours: Vary daily. See website.
The Glass Onion Cafe might be the most unusual coffee shop in town. The place is fun, with a long drink menu offering coffee, hot chocolate and even milkshakes.
The food menu includes soup and salads, vegetarian and vegan options and Beatles-themed sandwiches like “Why Don’t We Do It in the Roast?”
The Glass Onion hosts music and open mic nights at week’s end, so keep that in mind if you’re hoping for a quiet spot.
The cafe opens at 7 a.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. on weekends. It closes between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. during the week.
Address: 245 E. Congress St.
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
West Campus also lacks a decent selection of nearby businesses.
For something different, head a few miles east to downtown to Sparkroot, an artsy little space with unique decor and a tasty menu.
Sparkroot has drip coffee for about $3. Lattes and great hot chocolate cost about $4. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the specialty “Nola” coffee drink for $3. The menu also offers pressed panini sandwiches.
By MIKI JENNINGS
While many students will be taking summer classes, working and enjoying the chance to sleep in, Pima Community College student Alan Gonzalez, 25, will be dancing on tour in China.
He will tour with the Artifact (or Art If Act) Dance Project, a collaboration between Tucson dancers and musicians.
“I started dance as a hobby but now dance as a job,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez got started with dance in middle school at age 14. At 18 he formed a group called EXNO Dance that has opened concerts for artists in Mexico. From there, he began participating in the dance department at PCC.
“I have done several choreographies for the dance shows, such as ‘GrATTITUDE,’ ‘The Four Elements’ and ‘Dance Fusion.’ For this year, I have two choreographies that will be in the upcoming show called ‘The Four Seasons,’” Gonzalez said.
Last year, Gonzalez missed the auditions for the 2012 tour of the Artifact Dance Project but got in touch with Claire Hancock, co-director of the company.
She came to watch him dance in one of his dance classes for an impromptu audition.
Now he’s a part of the large cast of Artifact. The dance project features 28 dancers and a live orchestra.
Ashley Bowman, the other co-director of the Artifact Dance Project, said she was happy to work with so many artists, including Gonzalez.
“His artistry shines through his movement and we look forward to seeing him grow as the tour progresses,” Bowman said.
Studying digital arts and visual arts, as well as dance, Gonzalez is very creative. In addition to dancing in the Artifact Dance Project, Gonzalez was asked to design the T-shirt for this year’s tour.
“He and I share some similar skills as graphic designers for dance,” Bowman said.
The production combines live music, dance and film in an artistic way. The origin of the project’s name is found in a tagline on its website: “ART exists IF we ACT upon our ideas to create it.”
Gonzalez graduates this year, but will miss the PCC ceremony because his flight to China leaves the day before the event.
“I always expect some familiar faces in the audience,” Gonzalez said. “But this time, performing in China will be a whole new experience and it will be a new world watching us dancing.”
The group will hold shows in Tucson on May 10-13 at the University of Arizona Stevie Eller Dance Theatre. Show times are 7 p.m. on May 10-12 and 2 p.m. on May 13.
Tickets are $25 general admission or $15 for students. For more information, call 344-8984 or visit artifactdanceproject.com.