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  • Scene 1: “Mindy Anna Jones” now showing at Great American Playhouse

    The latest rendition from the local theater group at The Great American Playhouse rolls back the clock to a time when the mystical Aztecs ruled the land, but that doesn’t mean that 20th century rock songs are in short supply. As musical and well choreographed as ever, the most recent GAP play brings a new twist on a familiar character. “Mindy Anna Jones and the Lost Ark of Time” follows a heroic young archaeologist, Mindy Anna Jones (Jennifer Ackerley Lawrence), as she attempts to keep the powerful Ark of Time out of the hands of the nefarious Roman (Sean MacArthur) and his goons. But there is more than meets the eye to this group of adventurers. The battle for the Ark of Time will lead all who are in pursuit on a wild chase throughout time, creating ample opportunity for clever pop culture references, hilarious set pieces, and even character transformations. The play is penned by local theater staple Nick Seivert. Seivert’s writing style has its own particular formula, one that brings forth a recipe rich in volume and silliness. Seivert also plays the role of the wise and whimsical Montezuma, illustrating his talent for making people laugh both with his acting as well as his writing.The bright shining star of the play is the actress in the title role, Jennifer Ackerley Lawrence. The charismatic superwoman, Mindy Anna Jones is the part Lawrence was born to play, and she embraces the task with perfect transformation, complete with a brilliant smile and a cracking whip. Lawrence has flown beneath the radar in recent GAP productions, but “Mindy Anna Jones” is truly her coming out party. Randy McDonald, now notorious for his bottomless energy reservoir, plays the very confused Orizaba, a lackey to the primary villain. The part was surely written with McDonald in mind, as Orizaba’s role is that of a bling wearing, rap lyric slinging punk in a jumpsuit. Here McDonald is given free reign to do what he does best – get the crowd going. The role was a little over the top at times, but seeing McDonald and Sean MaCarthur tag team a musical mash up of Freddie Mercury and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure” with Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” was something special, and may have even been the highlight of the entire evening.  Amy DeHaven is cast perfectly as Augusta, the evil girlfriend of Roman.  DeHaven has no equal when it comes to playing an English accented, smug and ruthless female villain, as femininely treacherous as Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth. 

  • Marana, Oro Valley officials worry about state budget

    While Marana and Oro Valley officials say they like the energy and the basics of Gov. Doug Ducey’s message, they worry the budget lacks new taxes and takes from education and local municipalities.More than a week after Ducey released his budget proposal, reaction has continued about his plan to cut 10 percent from state universities, which is estimated to be about $21 million for Tucson’s University of Arizona. Overall, the state’s secondary education industry is slated to take a $75 million hit as the budget currently stands.State Sen. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, said reality is the nature of the this year’s budget calls for some tough decisions.“While the budget is still technically balanced, we do have a challenge ahead of us,” he said. “I’d like to think that the governor and the Legislature is going to be on the same page to make these decisions.”Instead of focusing on a new revenue stream through increased taxes, Ducey’s budget cuts secondary education, tourism and others such as creating an increased revenue by way of doubling vehicle license fees, which are currently $8.Ducey hinted at some of his agenda after being sworn into office when he delivered his first State of the State address, first in Phoenix and then in Oro Valley on Jan. 12. In the speech, the state’s 23rd governor alluded to no new taxes and pushing Arizona to become a state where businesses can thrive.

  • Marana School District and town partner to teach civics

    The Town of Marana believes that to have a town that runs well, citizens have to understand how the town operates. The Town of Marana has tried to streamline many of the things that they do and improve communication, with the newest project now aiming at educating local high school students.The new civics class’ timing couldn’t be better for the town as Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey recently pushed through legislation that will require high school students to pass a civics test similar to those taken by immigrants seeking U.S. citizenship. The new law will affect the class of 2017.Inspired by a program they saw working in other communities, recently town officials began working with the Marana Unified School District to bring an interactive civics lesson to high school students. The lesson is based on a Junior Achievement program called Biztown that had been adapted for high school students. “It is a really innovative, cool, dynamic way you get students to learn more about government, especially local government,” said Marana Town Manager Gilbert Davidson. Although local government is part of the state standards and district’s curriculum, not a lot of time is devoted to local government, especially some of the more detailed ins and outs. 

Today's Top Headlines

  • (Jan. 29) Today's Top Headlines - Jobless Claims in U.S. Plunge to 15-Year Low

    Bloomberg Business: Last week, the fewest number of Americans filed for applications for unemployment in almost 15 years.Jobless claims plunged by to 265,000, down 40,000, in the week ended Jan. 24, the lowest since April 2000. The week did, however, includ the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, which is said to make the data more difficult to calculate.Read more at Bloomberg Business.

  • (Jan. 29) Today's Top Headlines - 7 dead in Mexico maternity hospital blast

    CNN: Seven people, including four children, are died today after a natural gas explosion hit a maternity hospital on the outskirts of Mexico City this morning. Locals are worried there may be people trapped below what remains of the hospital, which was on the verge of collapsing after the explosion.Read the full story at CNN.

  • (Jan 29) Today's Top Headlines - McDonald's CEO shakeup lifts stock

    USA Today: McDonald's board has named a new CEO after months of declining numbers for the company. After the news broke this morning, McDonald's sock jumped 4%.  The current CEO, Don Thompson is a 25-year McDonald's veteran, has only been in charge of the company for about two years. Read the full story at USA Today.

Local News

  • Second arrest made in Marshall's robbery

    Oro Valley Police have arrested the second suspect in connection with an armed robbery that took place Jan. 15 at the Marshall's on Oracle and Magee. Gary Thompson was arrested yesterday and charged with Aggravated Robbery. Police believe he is of two men who made of with $2,000 in Michael Kors purses from the store, according to a media release sent on today. When security tried to stop the robbery, the other suspect Jacob Choate, punched the security person in the neck. Choate was arrested last week.

  • Miners Co-op returns to Marana

    The Miners Co-op Rock Show is back in Marana this year as one of the more than 40 shows operating under the umbrella of the Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase.With 37 vendors currently registered, the Miners Co-op places an emphasis on showcasing rocks taken directly from the ground by miners – though the event will also boast various minerals as well as jewelry. The show is calling Marana home for the second consecutive year. Previously it was stationed behind Kino Hospital, but their contracted space was bought out from under them, forcing a move.“We decided to venture out further to see what else was out there for us,” said Alby Davis, who spearheads the Miners Co-op.Davis, a former hospital administrator and lifetime rock hound, said the town of Marana was “extremely helpful” in relocating the show.The show will be held at 6149 Travel Center Drive, and is expected to feature:

  • Despite opposition, council passes Ina/Silverbell rezoning

    Two rezonings passed at the Jan. 20 Marana Town Council meeting, one with no opposition and another that was more controversial. It was the second of the rezonings that was the more controversial of the two. The debate was whether or not to amend a prior agreement over approximately 61.2 acres of land located on the west side of Silverbell, south of Ina. The prior agreement was for 41 lots and a total site disturbance of 30  percent. The developer was now asking for 56 lots and a total site disturbance of 37 percent.The plan submitted at the meeting had undergone a few final changes after the developer met with neighbors and the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Preservation. “It has been poked, prodded and polished,” said Cynthia Ross, a Marana town planner. The new plan had 13 new conditions in addition to the 23 changes from the original plan approved in 2002. Among the biggest changes was a plan for the developer to replant any non-invasive native plants that might be disturbed in the development, a maximum 10,000 square foot grading envelop and an increase in the amount of buffer from the development to the surrounding properties and the two wildlife corridors that cut through the property. Although a slightly different plan received the support of the Marana Planning Commission, in the newest plan two lots were eliminated and internalized to the site. All two-story houses were limited to 25 feet and clustered north of the power easement so that no two-story homes would be south of that easement. That was a change from the planning commissions’ recommendation, which called for only single story houses. 


  • Scene1: Gaslight’s ‘Two Gun McGraw’ draws in the herd

    Another show, another packed house – this time for the gun slingin’, cattle ropin’, wacky and wild western, “The Ballad of Two Gun McGraw.”In what proves to be a musically rich, captivating-as-always melodrama featuring the familiar actors and actresses we’ve come to love, this one continues the positive trend that has kept gaslight ropin’ in the customers for the past 36 years. Perhaps more than ever, “Two Gun McGraw” takes full advantage of its theme, which fits right in with Tucson’s long history of cattlemen, western tunes, and, as the play’s Deputy Dave (Brian Hale) so enthusiastically accentuates, “Desperados!”“Two Gun” follows the typical good guy versus bad guy plot, but to call this play typical would be grounds for hangin’ – it’s much beyond that. “Boisterous,” “lively,” and “witty” are much more suitable a description, and that’s not even taking into consideration the horse props.Ah, the horses. Whether the plastic bucking version, the horse equipped with a car alarm, or the ones with wheels for feet, this was hands down the most hilarious part of this play, and I’d go so far as to say the best prop usage in any of the dozen-or-so Gaslight shows I’ve seen. It’s just one of those “you had to be there” things.

  • Screening: Creepy Steve Carell delivers in ‘Foxcatcher’

    It’s been quite a few years since I’ve seen a movie without laughter of any sort--not a single one-liner, or even the slightest attempt towards invoking a harmless giggle. “Halloween” and the other horror films pride themselves on the fine art of laughter to relax unsuspecting viewers--all before an axe, knife or chainsaw cut to the morbid plot.  Even 1972’s epic backwoods suspense thriller “Deliverance” tossed out some jokes between arrow shots from Burt Reynolds’ recurve bow.  I’d probably have to go back to Steven Spielberg’s 1971 road rage, made-for-TV movie titled “Duel” to discover such a humorless film production as “Foxcatcher”.“Foxcatcher” is the disturbing true story of 1984 U.S. Olympic gold-medal wrestlers and brothers, David and Mark Schultz. This film covers the siblings as they prepare for the 1987 World Championships in the hopes of finding continued success at the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics. Channing Tatum portrays Mark Schultz, who attempts to step out from his older brother’s shadow in preparation for the all-important make-or-break upcoming world competition and Olympic trials. Oscar-nominated Mark Ruffalo plays the eldest Schultz brother, David, a man with his sights set more upon his growing family and training younger Team USA wrestlers than pinning opponents on the mat.Steve Carell, the 2006 Golden Globe winner for his 7-year role as Michael Scott in ‘The Office” television series, headlines “Foxcatcher” as millionaire and philanthropist John E. du Pont. Carell’s creepy, intense portrayal of the “Team Foxcatcher” mentor and financier recently earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role. His sick and twisted demeanor as the juggernaut behind Mark Schultz’s Olympic training at the du Pont family’s estate property, creates a fascinating look into the fine line between a supporting role and misplaced infatuation. The trio of Carell, Ruffalo and Tatum appear almost unrecognizable from previous movies in both their speech and body. All give exceptional performances resulting in a maximized storyline—each squeezing every ounce of entertainment from an otherwise bland plot.This slow-paced, methodical thriller does enough, however, to grab the audience’s attention. Oscar-nominated director Bennett Miller (“Moneyball”) creates several awkward, bizarre moments in “Foxcatcher”, keeping viewers from fleeing to the theater exits prematurely. In fact, throughout the film, moviegoers sense that what they’re seeing is a train wreck in slow motion building up to a climatic ending which will include only winners and losers. No one invested in the film’s worrisome warning signs would dare miss out on the spectacular finale.“Foxcatcher” is nominated for five Academy Awards. Besides the categories of Best Actor (Carell), Best Supporting Actor (Ruffalo), and Best Director (Miller), the film also deservedly earned an Oscar-nom for Best Makeup & Hairstyling and Best Original Screenplay. While Ruffalo and Tatum both propel the story along in convincing and earnest fashion, it’s Steve Carell’s eccentric work as John “Eagle Eye” du Pont that really separates his performance apart from all others in the film, delivering “Foxcatcher” its nerve whacking, slow suspenseful buildup. As the face of the du Pont estate in Pennsylvania, Carell’s Oscar-worthy gem in this movie makes the audience take notice of his aura and unusual demeanor.  A side to the actor from TV’s hit comedy “The Office” that doesn’t include laughs or giggles—only grimaces from us, the viewers. While “Foxcatcher” may not have any light-hearted or laughable moments, the disturbing and intense characters make this true story impossible to walk away from unscathed for those involved.Grade: B

  • Sippin’ Social – Mr. An’s

    The cravings for sushi, cold beer, delicious cocktails and a friendly atmosphere were all quenched at Mr. An’s, 6091 N.Oracle Road last week.The monthly Sippin’ Social gatherings continue to bring in numerous new faces from our community, while giving a few regulars the opportunity to talk about familiar topics.The bar and happy hour open and begin at 4 p.m. and continue on until 7 p.m. For some extra happy hour, Mr. An’s offers all-day happy hour on Sundays. The very extensive happy hour menu consists of 18 different drinks comprised of beer, wine, sake and mixed drinks, and 22 different food items that range from a simple order of edamame to delectable sushi rolls. Drinks range from $2 to $5 and food ranges from $3 to $8.Seeing two beers neither one of us has tried, Chris Flora and I were curious about the Mr. An’s Ale and Mr. An’s Pilsner. The attentive server was quick to offer us a sample of each to help us with our decision.I chose the ale, which was slightly malty, but certainly not heavy. There was a crisp dry finish that was slightly similar to New Castle Ale. The $3 beer went down very smoothly.Chris enjoyed the pilsner, which was light, smooth to drink, unfilling and all with hints of a sake flavor finish that is very fitting for the environment.


  • Mountain View wraps up sectional crown

    Although the Mountain View boys soccer team was in no danger of missing the state playoffs, they left no doubt when they clinched an automatic berth by beating Ironwood Ridge 2-1 and winning the sectional championship.The second ranked Mountain Lions wrapped up the Division II, Section VI title and improved to 10-0-1 in the regular season.The Mountain Lions jumped out to a 2-0, then held off a late Nighthawk rally. Jonny Bruss scored on a penalty shot from outside the box in the 6th minute to put Mountain View up 1-0. Ian Kesterson sent a ball into the box that an Ironwood Ridge defender failed to clear and ended up scoring an own goal.Ironwood Ridge cut the lead in half with a Gabriel Villa goal in the 33rd minute.Mountain View will likely be joined by section-mates Canyon Del Oro and Catalina Foothills. Despite a winning record Ironwood Ridge will not make the playoffs when the brackets are released on Friday.

  • Falcons win section, eye playoff run

    With their 8-0 win over Flowing Wells on Tuesday night, the Catalina Foothills girls soccer team won another sectional title. First year coach David Lemon not only continues the tradition of winning that former coach Charlie Kendrick established, but did so in what was seen as a rebuilding year.The Falcons improved to 9-0-2 in regular season games and 13-1-3 overall. They are 8-0 in section games, one game better than Ironwood Ridge and two games better than Marana and CDO.The Falcons are ranked fifth in the state, one spot better than Sahuro. The two teams battled to a tie on Monday.Ironwood Ridge still has a shot at the postseason, though Marana and CDO are likely on the outside looking in.  

  • Pusch Ridge girls clinch section

    The Pusch Ridge girls soccer team defeated Tanque Verde 2-1 on Tuesday night, clinching the Division III, Section VI championship and clinching a spot in the state playoffs.The Lions improved to 6-3-2 in regular season games, but are 5-0-1 in the section, with their lone blemish a 0-0 tie against Catalina back in December.The win over Tanque Verde was not without drama. The Lions went down early as Tanque Verde scored their lone goal just 16 minutes into the game. Less than eight minutes later Lauren Corral tied the game up for Pusch Ridge.In the 60th minute Corral tallied her second goal, which turned out to be the section title clinching score.The win earns the Lions an automatic bid in the state playoffs, and considering they are ranked outside of the top-16, they would not have made the playoffs otherwise. They will learn their seeding and first round opponent on Friday.The Lions are led by first year head coach Amy Garelick, who helped lead Mountain View to several state playoff runs as both an assistant and head coach.  

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