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Dove&Snake at Whata Cafe Art Opening

1 Oct

Dove&Snake at Whata Cafe 1

We released Issue No.2 at the beginning of September at Keegan Rider’s Whata Cafe Art Opening. Keegan did a special edition, so he let us sell copies of Issues No.1 and No.2. We set up shop on a table at Caffe Luce and sold some zines to the good people of Tucson.

Dove&Snake at Whata Cafe 2

Reflective Collective also did a special edition. It’s is the one at the top of the picture. They printed some art (halftone motorcycling couple printed in silver under big block letters saying NOBODY WANTS TO BE A SUCKER) on the inside covers, front and back, before we put the zines together.

Keegan’s special edition is a stencil based on his current show, which involves rabbits in a sort of Alice in Wonderland motif in some of the work. He numbered and signed each of his editions.

Dove&Snake at Whata Cafe 3

The reader in this picture is Alisa Wilhelm, a contributor to Issue No.2 (“Our Job is Awesome” is from her blog). The other folks are John Weatherford, of Reflective Collective, and his wife Emily. They set up shop right next to us and sold some t-shirts (and donated cardboard to D&S for a makeshift sign).

Several people purchased the zine, and several others perused a copy at the show. The best part of that perusing was that we didn’t know the readers leafing through the pages of Dove&Snake, but they were interested nonetheless.

Caffe Luce is a D&S favorite, and sitting at their table with friends while selling zines was highly enjoyable.

Thanks to Caleb Jackson for taking the photos and letting us post them here.


Punks + Archivalists + D&S

19 Sep

Mike Herrera of MxPx fame flew into Tucson to play a small role in Derek Griffith’s D*I*Y. He also has a new band called Tumbledown (instead of MxPx punk, think more in the honky tonk direction), and he shows up in a music video for “Break Out of History” (from Tumbledown’s eponymous first record), which is cut from clips of D*I*Y, wearing the Dove&Snake shirt he dons in the movie.

That shirt belongs to Andy Coley, an intern on the film who purchased the last L in that second run of black shirts, and rumor has it that Herrera signed the shirt after wearing it. We’re hoping to get some confirmation photos of that autograph sometime soon.

Add that to a mention in the department newsletter for the School of Information Resources and Library Sciences at the University of Arizona that came as a result of Matthew Helmke’s short story in Issue No.2 and his subsequent interview on our blog, and we’re getting some excellent publicity* in less-than-expected places. One of the main goals of D&S is to explore culture wherever there is culture to explore here in Tucson, so we’re grateful to both Derek and Matthew for helping us extend into their respective arenas.

*In vastly different circles, we’re assuming. We don’t want to stereotype either fans of country music made by punk musicians or graduate students learning about archiving information, but we believe it’s fairly safe to assume the overlap between those two populations is not large.

Derek Griffith’s Little Plastic Disk: A Filmmaker on His Film

17 Sep

We’ve shown you two scenes from Derek Griffith’s D*I*Y. Here are his words about what went on behind those clips and the rest of the film as it was being made. D*I*Y wasn’t exactly DIY. Here’s Derek’s explanation.


Zoom in: we reveal a high school senior holding a boom-mic above his head. Pan left: a Pima Student dims a 2,000 watt light. Tilt Down: High-top Chucks are strapped tightly to the feet of a Theater Arts student. Dolly Out: A 13-year-old actress stands next to him. Pull Focus: A 60-year-old grandfather claps the slate. More exposure on the audio guy! Bring down the levels on the 8-year-old kid sister. Elementary. Middle School. High School. College. Amateur. Professional. Retired. So what’s missing on this movie set? Answer: DIY.

There is no such thing as DIY (the acronym for “Do It Yourself”) when it comes to success in filmmaking, and the Summer of 2009 was testament to that. A quick glance around the room reveals a movie being shot about the story of a kid who goes about life doing it all alone–but that’s only through the eye of the lens. Behind that lens, however, is a High Definition camera, and behind that camera is something bigger than the movie itself: relationships. We come into focus on our HD monitor and we see many walks of life coming together with the goal of producing a 90 minute film called D*I*Y . But was that really the goal?

On the exterior, yes . In April we set forth with the concept of plowing through a no budget feature film with the idea of possibly creating something ingenious, new, and ripe. A sweet 4-3/4 inch plastic and aluminum DVD to be available on!

On the interior (and in retrospect) no , a shiny disc containing a simple coming-of-age teen drama was not the finite goal. A DVD is actually a tangible representation of relationships being built while on-set, while off-set, and while on the inside-out of an upside down set. If we fade into a bloody crime scene, we must fade out with a happy resolution, right? Well, that’s yet to be determined, but the set on D*I*Y was definitely that of a bloody crime scene at times.

With the chaos that ensues when your audio engineer fills the role of a lifeguard by night, balance easily falls out of whack during the course of three months. Maybe that’s what is so cool about it all. Similar to the landscaper who could double as a producer, the lifeguard could sew. Literally. He came to the rescue repeatedly, just like the piano master did when he stayed behind to wrap audio cables. People came together with swarms of talent. That’s what each and every day was like while filming this little indie flick.

When examining relationships closer, one can spot gems in a crowd. Unique gems. Like the barista who had a knack for maintaining positive moral. Or the Taekwondo teacher who whip-kicked the uninspired. Or the lab technician who could skate backward. Well, she never skated backward on the set of D*I*Y, but she definitely did a whole lot of bending over backward to keep the crew fed. The relationships built blatantly put it all into focus: that DIY is simply an excuse for failure. Do it yourself? Really?

It couldn’t be any clearer that the people and the relationships that made D*I*Y a success. A deleted scene from the movie probably summarizes it best when a crowd of teenage punks chants in unison: “Do it together! Do it together! Do it together!”

Maybe the scene was deleted because the crowd was too robotic, but the bubblegum chewer and the kid who walked through glass and the mannequin thief and the water fight kids and the lurking shadow-walkers and even the annoying little know-it-all brought to life the essence of the little plastic disc.

I Cycle 520

13 Jul

I Cycle 520

If you ride a bike here in Tucson, you should be interested in this upcoming shirt from Reflective Collective.

The Old Pueblo did not make GOOD’s shortlist of the best burgeoning bicycle scenes in North America (not just the US because Montreal made the list), but that doesn’t mean Tucson’s cycling community is not healthy and active, both literally as individuals and figuratively as a whole.

We here at D&S hope to dig into the cycling culture in the 520 in the future. We know about a place where you can work on the bike’s of others in order to build your own, the Tuesday Night Bike Ride, cycling clubs, mountain bike trails, and tales of stolen cycles, so we’ll hopefully find out a little more about all things two-wheeled in Tucson.

cycle white

cycle gold

El Barrio de Manuel Cota

22 Apr

Manny Cota is a student at Tucson’s Pima Community College. He found his way into my Writing class a few semesters ago and ended up telling me great stories about his history as a native and life-long Tucsonan*.

Here are some of Manny’s early memories of life in his barrio, pulled from some of his writing from my class.

My earliest memories of the barrio are of when I was four to six years old. I remember my Nana Julia, my mother’s mom, in the kitchen always cooking something, and I remember especially how good her food tasted. Me and my siblings’ favorite—there were eight of us all together—was her arroz con leche y pasas.

I remember that, in the evenings, the barrio was like one big family. People usually got together in front of my nana’s house, or someone else’s house, everyone hanging out, talking. Sometimes a game of dump, a card game, or dominoes would take place between the older men and women. The kids usually watched and rooted for our people to win the pennies. They were not high rollers by any means. People began going home about 10:00 pm.

Another thing that stands out in my memory is how peaceful and respectful everyone was. I don’t remember anyone ever fighting or even arguing loudly. My friend, those were the days in the barrio. I recall some men drinking alcohol, playing a guitar and singing. They were really under control. It was so violence-free. I loved it.

In 1969, Nana Julia passed away. I was 6 years old. At this time, my mother and all eight of us lived at Nana Julia’s house on Meyer Street in Barrio Viejo. Talk about hot. The summers were scorchers, and we had no AC or swamp cooler—not that we were too poor to buy fans. This is how people lived in the barrio. In the daytime we went swimming at Carrillo School where the local pool was at, so we cooled off that way or else we just took to the water hose and got soaked until we were told, “That’s enough water wasted already.” Of course we obeyed, already soaked. The next day would pretty much be the same.

The evenings were cool once the sun had set behind A Mountain. The older people didn’t seem to be bothered by the heat. We kids set up makeshift beds outside at night to avoid roasting inside. My mother joined us on occasion, but not always. Other neighbors slept outdoors as well. We had fun at night. We had dirt bomb and water balloon fights with neighbors a few houses away. I remember this game we played called Green Light. One person from each yard battled, trying to identify where the other was and hit him or her with a water balloon. The game continued until someone got hit and shouted, “Green light!” No one ever bothered us, even at night. It was peaceful.

Life in my barrio was so sweet. What I wouldn’t give for just a few minutes, or one full day at least, of that life in mi barrio.

*Manny’s grandfather built the adobe house that his family lived in until the relatively recent changes–Tucson Convention Center, wealthy folks buying adobes for a lot of money.

Tucson Grid Project 2.0: Interview with John Weatherford

21 Apr

Tucson Grid Project 2.0 is this Friday night. We caught up with John Weatherford, the mind where TGP originated, to find out what we can expect to see on the walls at 7:00 pm at 785 S. Columbus.n63901456405_7347

Dove&Snake: I know the basic idea for the TGP came from the Portland Grid Project. Where did the idea for adding in the emotions come from?

John Weatherford: Well basically, I just didn’t want the concept to get stale. In addition, I was trying to find a way for people to connect with the city more than just take a journalistic look at it. It is one thing for someone to wander the city in search of something that catches their eye and to take an “artistic” photo. It takes photography to an entirely different plane when you ask someone to look around them, to look for sorrow, and then be bold enough to photograph it. Couple that with the fact that there are almost no people participating that consider themselves photographers or artists, and we are really asking people to take a substantial risk.

D&S: Did you always plan to continue the project year to year? Did you always plan to evolve it?

JW: I guess I always assumed that it would catch on and that we would continue it. Then, after last year’s photographs and the bigger than expected turn out, it seemed like we had no choice but to keep it going. I think this is something that will be around for quite a while. We are already talking about next year and possible themes for following years. One thing we would like to see is more community involvement. I don’t want this to be a Second Mile thing. I want to see us own the event but I want to see the whole of Tucson walking the streets with cameras. I have already talked to a few parents about getting their children involved next year. I feel like there are a bunch of perspectives that are not yet being seen.

D&S: How are you planning to set up this year’s show?

JW: It will look very similar to last year. This year, however, instead of the photos being hung based on content of the actual image (i.e. graffiti, signs, traffic, landmarks) each emotion will occupy its own area of the room. So depending on the artist you may have 3 or 4 pictures that seem to be related or they may at first glance have nothing in common. This is why many people have included summaries of their photos. I am looking forward to seeing what the contributors thought of when they heard anguish or joy or passion.

D&S: Can you give us a sense of the photographers who are taking part in the show? Who are they?

JW: In a short description they are just normal people. Some are photographers, some are artists, some are mothers. We have students, teachers, bus drivers. People in their teens, twenties, thirties all the way through their sixties. We have representatives of downtown, campus, Vail, Marana, Oro Valley. It is a cross section of Tucson. We have some gaps but I feel very good about the diversity that is represented in the photographers. There are a few I haven’t even met yet. Part of the artistic ethos of Second Mile is a belief that we are all creative because we were created by the most creative being ever, and since we are created in His image we bear some of that creativity. I think you will see what I mean at the show.

D&S: You’ve been selecting photos for the show for the past week or so. What are your initial impressions of what we’ll see?

JW: I think from a quick glance the critic would say that this year’s pictures are “less artistic” than last year’s. I was careful to say critic because this experience is not about criticism–it isn’t even about art. It is about being in your city and loving your city. The thing I am loving about this year’s photos is the fact that they are incredibly well thought out, and they tell a story. What are we as a community if we cannot tell the story of our city? Last year the pictures were great, some were even incredible. This year, however, the participants were asked to do more than frame a beautiful or unique image of their surroundings. They were asked to process an emotion and convey it though a lens. That is not an easy thing to do. That being said, from what I have seen so far no one will be disappointed. There is an obvious intentionality to the photographs I have seen so far. The photographers took the emotions they were given and interpreted that through the city they live in. I would rather look at that than really well composed photographs of graffiti any day.

Experience Tucson: Adventures in the Old Pueblo

20 Apr

Caleb Jackson and Susie Bishara put together the hand-held, ride-along Experience Tucson footage from Sabino Canyon, El Guero Canelo, SunTran, and more.

1. There is something simple and beautiful about watching children splashing in water.

2. Watch for the guy mugging for the camera on the bus. I wonder if this made his day.

3. Monkey bars!

4. The last :10 is unexpected and wonderful.