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Our Kind of Traitor / Tickled

All the smart spy dramas these days seem to be based on novels by English author John Le Carré, longtime master of espionage fiction. Just in the last few years we’ve seen Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and A Most Wanted Man, showcasing the talents of Gary Oldman and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman respectively. Now… Read more »

Lonely Hearts Club “Friends”

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Lonely hearts Club is back with another episode of chit chat jibber jabber. Episode 12 . This time we are talking about friendship, relationshippy things, crushes and what have you. Recorded by hand (sort of)  at your friendly neighborhood community radio station! What’s Your Story? Everyone has a Story. I’d like to get a  letter… Read more »

The Fast Runner

The modern mind, at least in the West, has trouble absorbing the mythic realm. Gods and monsters, creation and destruction, the trickster’s gift and the hero’s journey—all this, if it’s even glimpsed, is seen as gigantic, monumental, astonishing. Yet this is contradicted by a curious quality of aboriginal storytelling: the tone is casual, everyday, as… Read more »

Sing Street

John Carney is an Irish filmmaker who had a breakout hit back in ’07 with a little independent movie called Once, chronicling the romance of an aspiring musical couple in Dublin. After a few noble misfires, including a Keira Knightley film called Begin Again, Carney has returned to his Dublin roots with his new film… Read more »

The Lobster

Greek writer-director Yorgos Lanthimos has gained a degree of renown for a kind of in-your-face absurdist style, manifested in films such as Dogtooth, about a father who has taught his family the wrong meanings for words in order to keep them under his control—that one was nominated for a foreign language Oscar—and Alps, about a… Read more »

NOISE

There is a phenomenon in music known as ‘rolling’, which occurs when one band member can’t hear himself over the others and cranks up his amp. That enables him to hear himself again, but now the person next to him has the same problem and cranks up his amp too, and so it travels along… Read more »

The O’Jays – Back Stabbers – KXCI Classic Pick

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THE O’JAYS – BACK STABBERS Released August, 1972- 44 years ago Fusing ’60s pop vocal styles with funky R&B rhythms and jazz-inspired arrangements that feature complex melodies, sweeping strings, and dynamic horns, The O’Jays fifth studio release, produced by the iconic songwriting team of Gable & Huff, helped establish the “Philly Sound.” One of the… Read more »

Wanda

Life on the outskirts of society, the stories of poor, rootless drifters and petty criminals—rarely is any of this depicted on film without either sentimental or moral messaging on the one hand, or sensationalism on the other. Of those that have tried, Wanda, a 1970 film by Barbara Loden, is in a class by itself…. Read more »

Love & Friendship

Writer-director Whit Stillman hasn’t made many films—only five, in fact, since his debut feature in 1990, Metropolitan. Apparently he’s found it difficult to find backing for his pictures, sophisticated comedies of manners with bright, articulate, and fairly affluent characters. He has a fine ear for the way highly educated people speak in social situations, the… Read more »

Tale of Tales

In the popular mind, fairy tales have come to mean something sweet and happy and cute, and you can thank, or blame, Walt Disney for a lot of that. But the real thing, the stories I read as a child, from Perrault and Hans Christian Andersen and, above all, from the Brothers Grimm, are much… Read more »

The Gunfighter

The western, that most American of film genres, reached its peak in the 1950s, when Hollywood reinvented its timeworn conventions for greater dramatic impact. The Gunfighter, released in 1950, directed by Henry King, is a good example of how much further westerns had come from the days of Tom Mix and Gene Autry. Gregory Peck… Read more »

Francofonia

Russian director Alexander Sokurov is in a category by himself, straddling the line between fiction and nonfiction, poetry and prose. In previous shows I’ve scratched the surface of his work, with reviews of Mother and Son from ‘97 and Russian Ark from 2002, but his astonishing career has spanned four decades and over fifty films,… Read more »

My Golden Days

There are some filmmakers whose new pictures I will always watch, without even bothering to read reviews, because I’ve grown very fond of their particular styles and artistic visions. One of these is French director Arnaud Desplechin, whose diverse creations over the years include Esther Kahn, Kings & Queen, and A Christmas Tale, all movies… Read more »

1930 Invasions

It has been a bit hot of late and the omnipresent buffelgrass is dry like tinder and ready to burn. Buffelgrass likes fire, because it kills off its competitors, such as the saguaro,  while its seeds survive the heat with ease. For the past 8 years, the Southern Arizona Buffelgrass Coordination Center has spearheaded efforts… Read more »

April and the Extraordinary World

April and the Extraordinary World is an animated film from France. Its story falls into a relatively recent genre of alternative history fiction known as “steampunk.” In this case, a botched experiment by a late 19th century scientist changes the course of history. As all the important scientists in the world begin, inexplicably, to disappear,… Read more »

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

In the 1970s and early 80s, before his present incarnation as a documentary filmmaker, German director Werner Herzog created a body of work in fiction film that established him, in my opinion, as one of the great cinematic visionaries of our time. The first of his movies I ever saw, which affected me profoundly and… Read more »

Marguerite

How do you tell people who think they have talent that they don’t? This is a minor question that you hope you don’t have to deal with. It’s also the beginning idea of a new film by French director Xavier Giannolli called Marguerite. I call it a beginning idea, because the movie springboards off of… Read more »

Celebrating 40 Years of Punk Music

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The British Library is celebrating 40 years of Punk Rock music with a special exhibition “Punk 1976-78”, exploring the formative years of this musical phenomenon. Drawing from the Library’s extensive archives, the exhibition will feature a range of rare fanzines, unique flyers, exclusive audio recordings and original record sleeves, many of which have never been… Read more »

On Demand: Lee Harvey Osmond

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We were pleasantly blown away by the in-studio performance by Lee Harvey Osmond during The Home Stretch on May 10. The dark-hearted, acid-tinged Canadian roots rock outfit was configured as a father-son duo between leader Tom Wilson and his equally talented son, Thompson Wilson, who has also collaborated with former Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell. Click… Read more »

On Demand: Eddie Spaghetti and Jesse Dayton

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No foolin’! Supersuckers frontman Eddie Spaghetti and Americana maverick Jesse Dayton stopped by The Home Stretch on April 1 before their joint performance at Congress that evening. Eddie and Jesse have a long history of creative collaboration, so their set is a mixture of those shared stories and songs. Hosted by Hannah Levin.

The Judge – Ken Rosenthal

Most of us love saguaros, but every now and then one comes along that doesn’t exactly charm. Ken Rosenthal, a Tucson-based photographer, shares a story about one such saguaro in his backyard and what it taught him. On air version, 3:09

The Lady in the Van

The Lady in the Van, if we were to believe the previews, is a comedy about a feisty homeless woman played by Maggie Smith. It should be heart-warming, uplifting, life-affirming, and so forth. Well, I suppose that gets people into the theater, but guess what? It’s not really that kind of a movie. The film… Read more »

Harvest Time

Few, if any beans come in as many flavors as those of the mesquite trees native to the Southwest, ranging from lemony to nutty and everything in between. Some, however, do not taste good at all. How does one know which ones are good and which ones are not, apart from hazarding a cautious nibble? Well –… Read more »

The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds – KXCI Classic Pick

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THE BEACH BOYS – PET SOUNDS Released May 16, 1966 – 50 years ago The Beach Boys 11th studio album, showcasing Brian Wilson’s genius as producer, arranger, and songwriter, is generally seen as their best release, one of the most important albums of the 1960s, and quite arguably one of the most influential rock albums… Read more »

Captain Blood

A well-done pirate movie is a sure way to cheer yourself up when you need it. No, I’m not thinking of those silly Johnny Depp films, but the more classic variety—and especially one in particular: Captain Blood, from Warner Brothers in 1935. Here’s the story: in 17th century England, a young doctor (played by Errol… Read more »

Embrace of the Serpent

Embrace of the Serpent, a film by Colombian director Ciro Guerra, begins enigmatically. Standing on the banks of an inlet to the Amazon River, a fierce young shaman sees a small boat approaching, rowed by another native wearing western clothing, and in the boat, a haggard, exhausted looking white man. The shaman prepares to attack… Read more »

The Revenant

I had put off going to see The Revenant for awhile, thinking that it would stick around, and in fact it did, winning three Oscars along the way, for director, actor, and cinematographer. Now, I sometimes approach mainstream films, even the films with a lot of brouhaha like this one, with skepticism. When I finally… Read more »

The Blood of a Poet

In his dreamlike debut film from 1930 called The Blood of a Poet, Jean Cocteau, already famous for his provocative, experimental work in the drama, ballet, and visual arts, explored his lifelong theme—the struggle of the artist to realize his calling. We see a young man (his powdered wig indicates the 18th century) cover the… Read more »

Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence of Arabia, David Lean’s epic film from 1962, is inevitably associated with the cult of the hero. This masterpiece, recounting the amazing feats of T.E. Lawrence during the First World War, and showered with Academy Awards, seems at first glance to fit the mold. But in fact, Lean quite deliberately breaks it, and this… Read more »

45 Years

45 Years is the name of a new film by British director Andrew Haigh. At the center is an old married couple in their 70s, and the title refers to the number of years they’ve been married. The husband and wife, Geoff and Kate Mercer, are played by two of the finest veteran English actors,… Read more »

Court

This week I’m catching up with one more film from last year that I couldn’t review until now, a film from India entitled, simply, Court—it screened at the Loft Film Festival last fall. The debut film by a young director named Chaitanya Tamhane, Court is a drama about the dysfunctional justice system in India, but… Read more »

Anomalisa

When writer-director Charlie Kaufman is involved in a film, the results are guaranteed to be weird. Not just everyday weird, but unique, one-of-a-kind weird. A partial list of his films includes Being Jack Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and his first film as director, Synechdoche, New York. They are all mind-bending puzzles,… Read more »

The Look of Silence

Continuing my wrap-up of films from last year that I didn’t have a chance to review, my selection this week is a documentary that played at the Loft for one night in September as part of its “One Hit Wonder” series. It’s called The Look of Silence, and it’s directed by Joshua Oppenheimer. It’s a… Read more »

Infinitely Polar Bear

I’m preparing a list of my favorite movies from last year, as I always do in January, and to that end I’m also catching up on some films that, for whatever reason, I didn’t get a chance to review here on Flicks. This week’s film is Infinitely Polar Bear, which I saw at a multiplex… Read more »

LOW FLOW

Thailand is one of the world’s biggest producers of rice with annual exports of 10 million tons. But a severe drought has forced the Thai government to lower its rice export forecast for this year by 2 million tons.  The amount of useable water in the reservoirs has dwindled to below 10 percent and water… Read more »

Thesis Thursday with Dr. Ryan Rego

Dr. Ryan Rego, a visiting scientist from the Institute of Parasitology in the Czech Republic who hosts UA undergraduate students in his research group through the Prozkoumat program. Dr. Rego does research on the Lyme disease pathogen complex Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato.  He is interested in understanding host-vector interactions at the molecular level using animal models.  He… Read more »

Carol

If you’re familiar with the work of the director Todd Haynes, you’ll have noticed that he likes to explore periods of history that have become associated in our minds with certain genres of film or music. He reinvents (some might say subverts) these period pieces by bringing in themes of sex, race and class that… Read more »

Pollinators, Plastic, Iditarod, Ugly

POLLINATORS 75% of the world’s food crops and nearly 90% of its wild flowering plants depend at least in part on pollination. Wild bees are by far the most prodigious pollinators, but other invertebrates, such as butterflies and moths, play an important role too, as well as some vertebrates, notably birds and bats. The Intergovernmental… Read more »

Brooklyn

An emotionally rich drama about an immigrant to 1950s America, Brooklyn is a film with a sure touch. The story concerns Eilis Lacey, a young woman coming of age in a small Irish town, and played by Saoirse Ronan. Miserable in her part-time job at a grocery, with a mean and spiteful boss, and with… Read more »

Only Lovers Left Alive

I finally got around to seeing Jim Jarmusch’s most recent film Only Lovers Left Alive. It played here in town last year, but I skipped it, and in hindsight I think there were two reasons. First of all, I’ve been more or less disappointed by Jarmusch’s films in the last few years. And secondly, I… Read more »

The Film Snob’s Favorites of 2015

For some reason, film writers have this thing for lists, “best of,” “favorite,” “greatest” and so forth, of the year or the decade or of all time—this is more of a compulsion for them even than music or sports fans. I’m no different. It’s fun to look back, evaluate, and compare movies, as long as… Read more »

Arabian Nights

Even in the midst of a typical year’s film output, with its tendency towards the safe and the average, you never can tell when an epic might break out. The artist who has created a series of increasingly excellent and challenging works can’t help but want to ignite a massive explosion of creative energy, a… Read more »

Lonely Hearts Club Episode 8

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Lonely Hearts Club Episode 8 Bridgitte’s cracking up over love. What is love? What is real? What is real love? What is romance? We surely do not know- but listen up, because it might give you an idea or two about the stuff. Plus, Valentine’s Day is coming up and it might be a good… Read more »

Tucson Meet Your Birds

Sweetwater Wetlands was built by Tucson Water as a water filtration system. At the same time, it is a beautiful park, a wildlife habitat and an outdoor classroom. On Saturday, February 13, the Tucson Audubon Society has organized a bird watching event under the banner “Tucson Meet Your Birds”. This family event will start at… Read more »

The Martian

Four years ago, a writer named Andy Weir, sick and tired of getting rejected by literary agents and publishers, decided to self-publish his science fiction novel The Martian on Amazon Kindle for the minimum price of 99 cents. The book sold over 30,000 copies in three months, and eventually, of course, a publisher noticed this… Read more »

Community Food Bank: Fighting Hunger

Almost one in 3 children in Arizona is at risk for hunger; our state ranks third worst in the nation in that respect. The Community Food Bank fights hunger by distributing meals, some 30 million pounds annually, but also by educating people how to grow their own and how to prepare it. These latter programs are… Read more »

Spotlight

The scandal of the sexual abuse of children by priests in the Catholic Church, and the systematic cover-up of that abuse, reached public awareness sporadically in the 1980s and 90s, through some high-profile cases and a few book-length exposes. But the tipping point, when the story finally became too big to be buried, was through… Read more »

Victoria

Alfred Hitchcock was the first movie director to try to do a full-length feature in a single take, with his 1948 film Rope, which appeared to use only camera movement without cuts. Because of film’s technical limitations, he had to disguise the cuts, in a similar strategy to that used just last year by Alejandro… Read more »

Lonely Hearts Club Episode 7

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There are podcasts and then there are comedy podcasts. This one is a comedy podcast. We basically read letters from you the listeners. Then we answer them is the most dignified way we can, which is to make fun of them. Do you want to play along? Well then, simply write Bridgitte a letter: Bridgitte… Read more »

Desert Dwellers Know

In the context of the Desert Dwellers Education Project of the Tucson Audubon Society, a marvellous poster has been created under the creative direction of the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality. It is titled “Desert Dweller Know – a Celebration of Byrd’s Words”. The tribute poster honors well-loved, award-winning children’s book author, Byrd Baylor…. Read more »

The Assassin

For the last thirty years, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, a director from Taiwan, has been creating some of the most critically acclaimed works of cinematic art in the world. Most of his films have had a contemporary setting; a few have taken place in earlier historical periods; all explore themes of unfulfilled yearning and the mysteries of… Read more »

Lonely Hearts Club Episode 6

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Lonely Hearts Club The comedy podcast with heart and soul, brains and blunders. It’s Episode 6 in all it’s splendor! Join Bridgitte, Cathy, Carolyn, Michelle and Mo for fun times and fast talking! We talk about spiders and cats and grief, sadness and bee stings. We talk to a trauma queen, about childhood character building… Read more »

The Lovers

When French director Louis Malle made his second feature film, The Lovers, in 1958, he wasn’t courting controversy. His goal was to depict the romantic and sexual awakening of a character for whom an audience would normally not have much sympathy—a pampered, bored upper class wife, played by Jeanne Moreau. He got the idea when… Read more »

Bridge of Spies

One would think, judging by the title, that Bridge of Spies, the latest Steven Spielberg film, is a spy thriller, but it turns out to be something subtler, and I think, more interesting. It’s a portrait of a real-life individual, a lawyer named James P. Donovan, played here by Tom Hanks, who found himself unexpectedly… Read more »

Bridgitte Thum’s Endearing, Eclectic Top 10s

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When I asked KXCI’s programmers to break the mold of typical top ten lists when reflecting on the music that moved them in 2015, it was no surprise to me that Bridgitte immediately responded with two unconventional and entertaining lists. As a stand-up comedian about town, a Morning Music Mix DJ (Wednesdays 10am till noon),… Read more »

DJ and Traffic Director Melissa Mauzy’s Top 10 Musical Moments of 2015

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Melissa Mauzy’s Top 10 Musical Moments of 2015 In addition to directing underwriting traffic for KXCI, holding down The Music Mix from 10 a.m. till noon on Tuesdays and running independent label Baby Gas Mask Records with her husband Seth, Melissa recently launched Fathoming Water, a podcast focused on the intricacies of water and diversely related topics including… Read more »

The Christmas Cuckoo

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The Christmas Cuckoo is a new radio play of an old Christmas tale. Tune in to KXCI to hear it Christmas Eve at 8pm (after the Weekly Green) and on Christmas Day at 3pm, at the start of The Home Stretch. Amy Crown: narrator, piano and soprano recorder Jessie Crown: violin and guitar Molly Crown:… Read more »

Hex Enduction Hours Best of 2015

Hex Induction Hours host Julio Pena.

2015 was yet another awesome year for punk, post-punk, and especially noise-rock. This year saw the return of old favorites, current bands continuing their musical evolution, and yet others debuting and making their presence known. As your host of this sonic gauntlet Thursday nights from 10pm to midnight, I present the Hex Enduction Hours best of… Read more »

Not Munchkins, But A Murf!

Ever wonder how the mishmash in that huge recycling bin you put by the curb very week gets sorted out? The Weekly Green did and paid a visit to Waste Management’s Tucson ‘Recycle America’ facility. Turns out it is not done by magic, but by the deft hands of real people, assisted by a MRF,… Read more »

Hard To Be a God

Of all the rebels in Russian cinemas, none were more radical than Aleksey German. During the Soviet era and afterwards, his films consistently defied authority and in return were denounced and censored. His final film, which took six years to make, and was completed right before his death two years ago at the age of… Read more »

Underwriting Director Leah Rhey’s Top 10 Live Covers of 2015

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 Leah heads up KXCI’s underwriting with grace and finesse, working with wonderful business and organizations to help nurture the impact of independent radio in our community through underwriting support. She’s also a passionate music fan with a specific fondness for well-executed covers. “I spend a lot of music time with BBC Radio One’s Live Lounge,” says Leah…. Read more »

Coming Home

Zhang Yimou was one of the key figures in the renaissance of Chinese film of the 1980s and 90s, part of the so-called “Fifth Generation” of Chinese directors that produced a series of beautiful and intense dramas that often scrutinized the oppressive politics of the Maoist regime. Zhang’s films included Red Sorghum, Raise the Red… Read more »

Grandma

Grandma, a film by Paul Weitz, stars Lily Tomlin as Elle Reed, a lesbian poet in her mid-70s whom we first meet as she unceremoniously dumps her much-younger girlfriend, cruelly telling her that the relationship didn’t mean anything. Elle is still grieving the death of her longtime partner Vivian, and the loss expresses itself in… Read more »

Equinox Flower

Yasujiro Ozu was one of the three or four most important Japanese directors of the 20th century. He’s more austere, more spiritually oriented, than Kurosawa, and consequently isn’t as well known in the West. Critics rightly point to Tokyo Story, from 1953, as his masterpiece, but today I’m going off the beaten track to recommend… Read more »

The Gift

It’s good when a genre film does its job well without insulting your intelligence—no matter if the genre is crime, suspense, science fiction, romantic comedy, or whatever. But it’s even better when a genre film not only does that, but transcends itself, becomes more than entertainment, and actually says something meaningful about the human condition…. Read more »

Phoenix

Phoenix, a new film by German director Christian Petzold, takes its name not from the Arizona city, but a nightclub catering to American GIs in postwar Berlin, with the added significance of the word’s original meaning, a mythical bird that rises from the ashes after being consumed in fire. Nina Hoss plays Nelly Lenz, a… Read more »

Listen to Me Marlon

What do we know about Marlon Brando? We know that he’s one of the most influential film actors that ever lived. He electrified audiences in his early work from the 1950s—we immediately think of A Streetcar Named Desire and On the Waterfront, but there were other early iconic roles as well. Brando also suggests an… Read more »

Fathoming Water Podcast

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Because of climate change, increasing populations and pollution, fresh water is an increasingly contested resource. KXCI’s Melissa Mauzy hosts a podcast series on the subject, titled “Fathoming Water“. Episode 1 features an interview with Dr. Sharon Megdal, Director of The University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center (WRRC). Episode 2 features an interview with Dr. Robert Glennon, Regents’… Read more »

TRUE HORROR

Freddie or Hannibal ain’t got nothing on this one, this is true Horror: In Zimbawe’s Hwange national Park, already infamous for the killing of the lion Cecil by (this may hurt a little) a dentist, poachers have killed off some 60 elephants to date by poisoning their drinking water with cyanide. A quick death, but… Read more »

The End of the Tour

The End of the Tour, a film by James Ponsoldt, succeeds at doing some things that aren’t supposed to work in movies. It explores the inner life of writers and why they write. It reproduces the rhythm of ordinary day-to-day life. Most remarkable of all, the film consists almost entirely of two people talking. The… Read more »

I’ll See You In My Dreams

Blythe Danner has been one of our best actresses for four decades, primarily in the theater, where she’s won two Tonys and performec Shakespeare, Shaw, and everything in between. So although she’s had a few juicy roles on film and TV, a lot of people might know her only as Gwyneth Paltrow’s mother, if they… Read more »

Community Gardens of Tucson Celebration

Community Gardens of Tucson (CGT), a nonprofit organization germinated in 1990 by author George Brookbank, will host a fundraising celebration in his honor at the site of its 25th garden on Sunday, October 25th. The Big 25th Celebration will kick-off at 12:30pm in the Tucson Jewish Community Center’s Sculpture Garden with a lunch buffet, education… Read more »

Tangerine

Independent filmmakers, working outside of the big budget movie system, have often favored gritty, down-to-earth, observational cinema. Characters behaving on screen like ordinary people, without glamour and sometimes without plot. But when Sean Baker, an offbeat writer/director whose credits include the absurd TV puppet series Greg the Bunny, does down-to-earth, the results are unpredictably silly… Read more »

The Tucson Festival of Films

The Tucson Festival of Films is a different kind of festival than any other I’ve heard of. It’s presented by the curators of eight different annual film festivals here in town, with one film contributed by each festival, making this cinematic celebration a true “festival of festivals.” It’s a three-night event, from Thursday through Saturday,… Read more »

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, released in 1972, was one of the last films made by the great Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel. He directed it when he was in his 70s, but you would hardly guess that from the movie itself—it’s his liveliest and most inventive comedy, a metafictional satire with heart. This is… Read more »

Keith Allen Dennis Live in Studio 2A

Keith Allen Dennis performs live in Studio 2A for the second hour of Locals Only. Keith talks about how he got in to the music scene after relocating to Bisbee, forming the current line-up and the new record, Mystic Blues. A great hour of live music and discussion. Keith Allen Dennis is hard to pin… Read more »

Testament of Youth

Testament of Youth, a film from England directed by James Kent, is based on a 1933 book by Vera Brittain, recalling her experiences as a young woman in the early 20th century, and how her life was affected by the worst war ever fought up to that point, The Great War, as it was called—we… Read more »

Speedway and Swan / Episodes 4, 5, & 6 / Co-hosts Molly McKasson, Ian Ellasante, and Tyler Meier

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Speedway and Swan Poem Playlist for Episode 6, August 9, 2015, with guest co-host Tyler Meier University of Arizona Poetry Center director Tyler Meier joins host Brian Blanchfield for an hour of poetry on the radio that, among other things, posits what might constitute a monsoon poetics (buildup, wait, release if it so pleases); listens in on elegies… Read more »

The Cameraman

The Cameraman, a comedy made in 1928, stars Buster Keaton as a sad sack who shoots tintype portraits on a street corner for a living. By chance he falls for a young woman (played by Marceline Day) who works for a company that makes newsreels, so he buys a movie camera and tries to make… Read more »

Splendor in the Grass

The 1961 film Splendor in the Grass is a picture that inspires complicated feelings. Directed by Elia Kazan, it doesn’t have the clarity or control of his well-known masterpieces from the 50s such as On the Waterfront, but despite its occasional messy qualities, I find it impossible to forget. On the surface, it’s a story… Read more »

Saint Laurent

Saint Laurent is a film about the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. That much is true, but the style and the method employed by the director, Bertrand Bonello, defies the simple categorization that usually applies to a biographical drama, or biopic, as the genre is now referred to in movie slang. The film doesn’t provide… Read more »

Love & Mercy

Love & Mercy is a film about Brian Wilson, the famous, rock musician and the chief songwriter for the Beach Boys. Actually it would be more accurate to say that it’s two films. The director, Bill Pohlad, and the screenwriters, Oren Moverman and Michael Alan Lerner, weave two separate time periods from Wilson’s life into… Read more »

Felix & Meira

Felix & Meira, a film by Canadian director Maxime Giroux, puts a wry twist on the classic theme of forbidden love. The film opens with a Sabbath meal in the household of a small group of Hasidic Jews. The men, with their long beards and black coats, sing and chant in a staccato rhythm, while… Read more »

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

Sometimes I feel compelled to describe a movie as “difficult,” and it seems almost like I’m about to apologize for it. As if a film has to justify itself for not being as clear and simple as, say, an Errol Flynn adventure. Well, I happen to believe that artistic expression needs to make room for… Read more »

Live And Let Live – Or Not

The rains have come and with the rains have come the ants. My wife was rather grossed out and suggested poisoning them wholesale. Now after humans, ants have the most complex society on earth and the nest they have built under our house is the size of New York on an ant scale, stretching well… Read more »

Vote for KXCI!

Best of Tucson Weekly

Vote for KXCI in The Tucson Weekly’s 2015 Best of Tucson. Be sure to hurry because voting ends August 2 at 11:59 PM. KXCI is in the running for several categories. Here’s a link to the ballot to give your opinions on all things Tucson! We’re one of the choices for Best Radio Station for Music… Read more »

Results

Makers of film comedies often invent weird characters and put them into outrageous situations for laughs, a strategy which does work sometimes. A less common, and more interesting approach is to recognize that most ordinary people are weird in some way—so once you create an amusing premise, you can let your characters behave in ways… Read more »

Howl’s Moving Castle

Is there a better animation director than Hayao Miyazaki? Could there be? It seems to me, for many reasons, that he’s the best in the world at what he does. Or what he did, I should say, because last year, to the consternation of his fans, he announced his retirement from filmmaking. Now, if you’re… Read more »

Lambert & Stamp

I’ve been a fan of the British rock group The Who since my early teens, but I never knew much about their story. A fascinating new film reveals aspects of their story that are more unusual than I could have imagined. Made by first-time director James D. Cooper, it’s called Lambert & Stamp, and right… Read more »

Touch of Evil

The prevailing myth about Orson Welles is that he was his own worst enemy. Well, there’s some truth to that, but what isn’t said often enough is that Welles was dedicated to breaking cinematic rules in order to make innovative films, and that was not okay with the men who ran the Hollywood studios. You… Read more »

Speedway and Swan Poem Playlist for Episode 3, June 21, 2015, with guest co-host Maggie Golston

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Speedway and Swan Poem Playlist for Episode 3, June 21, 2015, with guest co-host Maggie Golston “I want a literature that is not made from literature” writes Bhanu Kapil in her book, Ban en Banlieue. Poet and musician Maggie Golston joins host Brian Blanchfield to read selections of poetry that might answer that call: Kapil, Alice Oswald, Miles Champion,… Read more »

Merchants of Doubt

It’s well known that documentaries generally have a smaller audience than fiction films, and it’s become a tried and true piece of wisdom for non-fiction filmmakers that they need to find an entertaining way to hook the viewers in, to get them interested. In his latest film, Merchants of Doubt, Robert Kenner cleverly manages this… Read more »

Slow West

The Western film has been pronounced dead more times than I can count. Still, once in a while someone makes a Western. For example, a young Scottish writer-director, John Maclean, has just made one, his first feature length film, called Slow West. I think that might be a pun on “Go West,” but I’m not… Read more »

Speedway and Swan / Episode 2 / Guest co-host John Melillo / May 31, 2015

Speedway and Swan Poem Playlist for Episode 2, May 31, 2015, with guest co-host John Melillo Writer and musician John Melillo and host Brian Blanchfield talk waves, wave machines, drone versus decadence, and “words that tend toward pure sound.” Lots of great work from the new poetry shelves (Donna Stonecipher, Caroline Bergvall, Eric Ekstrand, Tyler Brewington, etcetera), some… Read more »

Spring in a Small Town

Many in the West are unfamiliar with Chinese films, especially those that are older, but a vibrant Chinese cinema has existed since the beginning of movies, with the industry in the old days mostly centered in Shanghai. One of the most beautiful Chinese films, and most influential on later filmmakers, was Spring in a Small… Read more »