The Explorer: Livenup


Entertainment Headlines

  • Recalling an American icon, Eleanor Roosevelt

    For many, the people who have played a part in shaping U.S. history are icons, or chapters in a history book. Eleanor Roosevelt is one of those icons, but to Tucson’s Nina Roosevelt Gibson she is also known as just grandma.Gibson, who currently resides in Vail and has lived in Tucson since 1988, said she learned a lot about humanity, kindness and strength from Eleanor Roosevelt.“I don’t know that I have the strength that she did,” she said. “When you grow up with them you absorb a lot of things. My grandmother really taught me to respect and value everybody. It didn’t matter if they were rich or poor, educated or uneducated — everyone has something to offer. You can learn something from everyone.”Eleanor Roosevelt’s impact on history will be featured in a special series being presented in September by Arizona Public Media. “The Roosevelt’s: An Intimate History” will air on PBS beginning Sunday, Sept. 14 at 8 p.m.The seven-part, 14-hour documentary by Ken Burns will feature Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt – three members of one of the most prominent and influential families in American history.In watching a preview of the upcoming series, a humbled Gibson said early on she never realized the notoriety the family name Roosevelt had achieved. To Gibson, Roosevelt must have been a popular American name because roads, streets, libraries and buildings carried the name. Now, knowing what her grandmother and family did to shape the country is a source of pride.

  • Sippin' Social: Blanco Tacos + Tequila hosts busy Happy Hour

    It’s no surprise that Blanco Tacos + Tequila in the Foothills’ La Encantada Shopping Center is packed in the hours between 4 and 6 p.m. given reasonable Happy Hour prices for drinks, and a wide variety of appetizers.Whether it’s a meeting with a friend, a break after shopping or a pit stop with co-workers before heading home, Blanco Tacos + Tequila has something for everyone.Mexican beers are half off during Happy Hour, a lengthy cocktail menu also includes a discount.A few popular drinks to choose from include the  summertime favorite Cucumber Fresca, which includes Don Julio Blanco, Triple Sec and fresh mint. While the drink has a lot going on in terms of floating fruit and mint, it does work well in the monsoon humidity Southern Arizona experiences the this time of year.Other cocktails include mojitos, bloody marys and a variety of margarita choices.The White Peach Hibiscus Margarita is also a hit, consisting of Jose Cuervo Silver, white peach, and hibiscus syrup. The drink is said to be refreshing in the summer heat, and has the taste and feeling of a light lemonade.

  • Happenings -- Sept. 3

    THEATERThursday to Sunday, Sept. 4-Nov. 9• Catch a performance of the Gaslight Theatre’s new musical comedy Cronan the Barbarian. Details: 7 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 6 and 8:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 3 and 6 p.m. Sunday; 7010 E. Broadway Blvd.; $16.50-$18.50; $8.50 children; 886-9428. Thursday to Saturday, Sept. 4-Nov. 15• Laugh, cheer, boo, dance, and have some Spooktacular fun at the Great American Playhouse’s newest production Beetle-Juiced. Details: 7 p.m. Thursday, 6 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday; Great American Playhouse, 13005 N. Oracle Road; $15.95-$17.95, $7.95 children; 512-5145.

  • Saturday Puzzles 8-30-14

  • Prime Time Review: Two new ‘Jungle Book’ movies hitting theaters soon

    With movie theaters being overrun by a plethora of science fiction and fantasy movies, it may be difficult to find something to take young kids to. Between the cursing, violence and bloodshed, some movies just don’t make the cut as child-appropriate. Luckily, there are two separate renditions of “The Jungle Book” in production.The Jungle Book is a collection of stories written by English author Rudyard Kipling. Originating in the late 19th century, the book contains the collected stories of Mowgli, a young boy who is raised by wolves in the Indian jungle, and is assisted by anthropomorphic jungle animals throughout his adventures. The stories of The Jungle Book were adapted to the big screen for a young audience in 1967 by Disney. This movie originally followed the more dark and sinister tone of Kipling’s stories but was lightened up before its release to become more kid-friendly. The original animated movie grossed over $73 million in its first release, an impressive figure, at that time, for an animated movie. An animated sequel was released in 2003 but spent little time in theaters before being sent to home video.There are currently two new renditions of this timeless children’s movie in the works. Andy Serkis, best known for his work as Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings”, will be stepping back from live-action work to direct an animated movie of Mowgli’s adventures under Warner Bros. This movie will also be Serkis’ feature directorial debut; he also worked on “King Kong”, “The Adventures of Tintin”, and “Planet of the Apes”. Working under Serkis’ directorial guidance will be Benedict Cumberbatch, who is lending his voice to the human-hating tiger, Shere Khan. The Warner Bros. film will be sticking closer to the original material, creating a relatively dark movie that shifts away from the 1967 Disney version of the film. While Serkis and Cumberbatch are on confirmed to be working on this new release, there is little else known as far as casting goes.Disney will have its own rendition of The Jungle Book, staying in line with a more kid-friendly movie.  Disney’s version of the movie has a pretty impressive cast, Idris Elba will be voicing Shere Khan, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, Bill Murray as Baloo, and Christopher Walken as King Louie. With Warner Bros. bringing in two impressive cast members and Disney pulling out all the A-list stops, these two movies will surely be vying for supremacy in the box office. While there will be a year difference between their release dates, movie goers will, no doubt, be comparing the two.

  • Saturday Puzzles 8-23-14

  • Oro Valley Indoor Arts and Crafts Festival Aug. 23 and 24

    Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance presents the fourth annual Hilton Indoor Summer Fine Art Festival at Hilton El Conquistador, inside the air-conditioned resort, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 23 and 24, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.The festival's setting at the base of the majestic Pusch View Mountains brings the beautiful desert to life through the many artists inspired by the Southwest's landscapes and wildlife. The Hilton Indoor Summer Fine Art Festival features up to 50 fine artists from around the region as well as live strolling performances throughout the weekend. Festival-goers can enjoy handcrafted artisan displays.The fourth annual festival will attract thousands of attendees looking for an escape from the heat and some of the most elegant artwork in the region. Up to 50 artists will display their talents in pottery, jewelry, oil and watercolor on canvas, mixed media, leatherwork and more.Festival-goers can also find live music and free kids' activities in the cool, air-conditioned setting of the Hilton El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Resort, 10000 N. Oracle Road.Presented by Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance, the festival's setting at the base of the majestic Pusch View Mountains brings the beautiful desert to life through the many artists inspired by the Southwest's landscapes and wildlife.

  • ‘The Giver’ takes a look at humanity in petri dish

    Certain movies and directors challenge viewers’ intellect, daring to take the path less traveled on the cinematic screen in order to make audiences actually have to think.  Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” (2010) about hijacking dreams and 2012’s survival challenges in “The Hunger Games” are two thought-provoking success stories.  We can now add “The Giver” to the list of films requiring moviegoers to think outside the box and ponder the role of individuals in society. Based upon Lois Lowry’s 1993 novel by the same name, “The Giver” depicts a utopian world without individual freedoms or personal choice.  A society of sameness, minus any differences amongst the populous, is required because we’re told “When people have freedom to choose, they choose wrong”.  Absent in the community are the memories of its past and roots of disorder; times marked by anger, death, happiness and love.  The community elders’ concerted effort to keep a lid on individualism and defiance results in only one person, The Giver (Jeff Bridges), having complete knowledge of history.  When the elders need guidance, it’s The Giver who must provide them with the wisdom, using the memories of the past to sidestep current problems.Meryl Streep effortlessly plays the shrewd, calculating Chief Elder—a portrayal the record-nominated (18 times) Academy Award winner (won 3) has mastered over her 37-year film career.  However, it’s Jeff Bridges’ performance that stands heads and shoulders above all others in this movie.  The Oscar winning best actor (2009’s “Crazy Heart”) steals every scene he’s in and single-handedly takes “The Giver” from an interesting look at humans in a petri dish to a hugely successful movie on humanity’s individual liberties.At only one hour, 40 minutes in duration, “The Giver” missed a golden opportunity to showcase competing emotions in the characters after it had gained momentum from the film’s flawless start.  The hasty end voided any chance to sharply delineate the colorless world from the colorful, or to glimpse reactions to newfound freedoms—the ultimate gift from The Giver.  Australian director Phillip Noyce, though, deserves credit for sparking discussions on humanity’s role in balancing basic freedoms and individuality with society’s need for conformity and rule following. “The Giver” is not only about the way things look in society, but the way things are. Both themes are very different and give audiences plenty of food for thought.  Jeff Bridges’ performance shines bright and carries the message and film throughout.  He guides and teaches a young apprentice (Brenton Thwaites) and moviegoers on how our past impacts our future.  “The Giver” makes the case that harmony comes with a very steep price—the loss of individual choice and emotion replaced by sameness and blandness.  It’s the delicate balance between the rule of law and individual freedoms that Noyce captures brilliantly in the film—and that’s the greatest gift from “The Giver”.    Grade: B+

  • Prime Time Review: Waves of “Blackfish” documentary start to hit SeaWorld

    The cinematic climate is changing in countless ways, but one in particular is affecting the world on a much broader scale. Viral marketing and distribution through avenues such as Netflix has fused with a public hunger for knowledge that is satiated through a surge in documentary filmmaking. The impact of this readily distributed knowledge and information is perhaps more powerful than ever. One company in particular has learned this lesson the hard way. After the release of the popular 2013 documentary “Blackfish”, SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. has begun to feel the sting of public opinion.“Blackfish” criticizes SeaWorld’s methods and treatment of orca whales. The film highlights Tilikum, a captured whale who has been living and performing inside the SeaWorld Orlando amusement park since 1992. As explained in the documentary, Tilikum has been responsible for three deaths, a raging violence that is attributed to frustrations with captivity. The film goes on to explain that the quality of life for captivated whales such as Tilikum is damaged, and also suggests that their lifespan is shortened.    Though SeaWorld insisted that the film’s release would have little to no impact on their attendance, it appears that is no longer a valid argument. “Blackfish” drew an enormous following from Netflix, was viewed by 21 million people during a CNN airing, and earned millions in the domestic box office. The film’s crusade spread rapidly, leading to public protests, celebrity chastisement, and concert cancelations by musical acts such as Heart and Willie Nelson. Southwest Airlines ended a long time partnership with the theme park company. One California politician proposed the “Orca Welfare Safety Act” after viewing the film. The piece of legislation would ban the use of orcas in public performances at theme parks all together. Even Pixar executives joined in the fray, meeting with “Blackfish” director Gabriela Cowperthwaite to alter the ending to “Finding Dory”, the sequel to “Finding Nemo”. “Finding Dory” originally had an ending that placed some characters in a SeaWorld-like theme park, but given the new light shed on animal conditions, executives felt it would no longer be appropriate. The end result of the fallout has been an undeniable dip of profits in the second quarter. Shares in SeaWorld dropped to 43 cents per share, falling short of the originally projected 60 cents per share. On the whole, stock in the company is down and alarming 31 percent this year.It seems that SeaWorld is feeling the pressure of the ever-advancing reach of informative cinema. Viral distribution from online providers, television, and social media has primed the cinematic climate to spark changes that are not confined to the entertainment industry, but also reach into business an politics. Movies, it would seem, are becoming a tool that keeps our society in check, informs the public, and brings about positive change in a capacity that has not yet reached its limit. 

  • Saturday Puzzles 8-16-14

  • Salsa and Tequila Challenge Aug. 16 at La Encantada

    The Southern Arizona Salsa and Tequila Challenge has shaken up the summers in Tucson for three years, bringing the region’s cultural garden to modern day tastes buds. The culinary event brings up to 50 chefs and restaurants preparing unique salsa recipes and mixologists creating innovative tequila-based drinks along with sweet and savory menu pairings. Proceeds benefit the Food Bank of Southern Arizona and SAACA’s arts therapy and education programs.On Saturday, Aug. 16 at 6 p.m., the culinary competition will once again support Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA) and the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, two much-needed charitable causes raising money for hunger relief and the arts in our community.For the second year, the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation has added another ingredient to the charity mix with Viva Piñata!, raffling off sponsored decorative piñatas to raise money supporting scholarships to benefit Hispanic students seeking higher education.More than 20 piñatas will line the arches of La Encantada’s courtyard, each sponsored by a business and created by a local artist. Attendees will buy raffle tickets to use as a vote for their personal favorite piñata design.A taste of heritageStraight from the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico, the authentic tastes of premium tequila will travel to Tucson this August, giving hundreds of people the chance to indulge in this ancient agave beverage along with some of the best salsas and culinary cuisine in the region.

  • Model airplane air show Saturday in Oro Valley

    In honor of National Model Aviation Day, The Sonoran Desert Flyers will be putting on a demonstration and air show this Saturday, Aug. 16 from 8 a.m. to noon.The free event will take place at Narjana Park, 660 W. Naranaja Drive in Oro Valley.People attending will be able to purchase raffle tickets, which support the Wounded Warrior Project, for a chance to win an RC quadcopter. Tickets are $2 each or three for $5. All of the proceeds will for to the WWP.Attendees can expect to see models of F-4U, P-51, B-17, B-25, C-47, A6-M, helicopters, quadcopters, ducted fan jets, 3D and aerobatics, as well as gliders, bomb and parachute drops.For more information, call Bob Schumann at (520) 488-5881 or Jim Hilgeford at (520) 488-7085, or visit  

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