Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Who's Out There??

"I was working in the lab late one night
When my eyes beheld an eerie sight
For my monster from his slab began to rise
And suddenly to my surprise

He did the mash
He did the monster mash
The monster mash
It was a graveyard smash
He did the mash
It caught on in a flash
He did the mash
He did the monster mash

From my laboratory in the castle east
To the master bedroom where the vampires feast
The ghouls all came from their humble abodes
To get a jolt from my electrodes

They did the mash
They did the monster mash
The monster mash
It was a graveyard smash
They did the mash
It caught on in a flash
They did the mash
They did the monster mash"

From the 1962 pop song "Monster Mash" by Bobby "Boris" Pickett. See here for the rest of the song and here for the official website which is kind of fun.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Almost Halloween!

Another mask, this time from craftswork displayed as part of a Latin American festival, held at Arizona Historical Museum yesterday.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

What's That Up There?!

Scorpian mask from an exhibit of Mexican masks at the Arizona State Museum. It was poised towards the top of a wall above an archway. Wonderful work.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Cafe in La Placita

This is our best season, cool to warm sunny days. Sunny nearly every day. Sidewalk cafes are popular in Tucson, especially this time of year.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Up Close and Spiney

Up close landscape of a prickley pear. Ubiquitous and etable. It is not unusual to see prickley pear pads with bite-sized chunks taken out of them, by deer and other wild animals. Humans have eaten them too for centuries, both the pads and the fruits (without the spines!). Of course these days most of us are now hunter-gatherers only in supermarkets and would not think of eating anything that grew out in the desert.

On the other hand some brave soul came up with this recipe for Prickley Pear Brownies.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Two Houses

In the light of a golden sunset, two houses from Barrio Historico.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Peeling Paint and China

The El Presidio District, bordering downtown on the north, during the late 1800's through early 1900's, was where the wealthy merchants built their homes. Some of those homes are now beautifully restored by this century's wealthy, the lawyers.

The Barrio Historico, south of downtown, was a working class neighborhood from the start and it is more diverse, more colorful (literally) and far more funky. Much of the neighborhood is abode brick, built with no setback, i.e. the front walls of the houses are right up against the narrow sidewalks.

The adobes are blues, pinks, coral, bright earth yellows, oranges, blinding whites, and grays too. There is peeling paint in abundance, beautiful brickwork, lace curtains, arches, many patios just visible through gates and narrow walkways. There are beautiful dying, crumbling houses and well-maintained restored ones. If I had a choice I live there in a heartbeat :)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Passageway off Cushing Street

In the Barrio Historico, built between the 1860's and the 1920's, an area of Hispanic cultural and architectural traditions. Once the home of Spanish ranchers needing a residence in town to be near schools and churches, later adopted by American Anglo-Saxons, Russians, Germans, Italians and later Chinese immigrants. The majority of its residents were working class - bakers, blacksmiths, saloonkeepers and shopkeepers.
Please check out the link in the title of yesterday's post if you haven't already. Thanks!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Barbea Williams Performing Company

Sunday, October 22, 2006


The Reid Park Zoo is, I think, well managed, clean, and takes good care of the animals. They keep just two elephants, Connie and Shaba, in a modest (by elephant standards) enclosure of about an acre. Earlier this year the zoo requested tax funding to expand the elephant enclose to 7 acres at a cost of $8 million.

A group called the Animal Defense League created a big controversy by proposing that the two elephants be moved to an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee instead. They pointed out that the entire zoo is currently only 15 acres and that elephants in the wild require much larger areas than 7 acres to roam in. In the end the zoo got their money and the elephants will stay.

The public was largely on the side of keeping the elephants here, as in how can we have a zoo without elephants. The Animal Defense League proposal was seen, rightly I think, as an attack on the whole idea of having zoos at all. Personally I think for some of the larger animals like elephants and the big carnivores this is a point of view that at least requires more serious consideration though Connie and Shaba look to be well treated and may well be pretty content. No one is implying that they are abused as in this article.

On the other hand I walk by the tiger enclosure, which is maybe half the size of the elephant enclosure, well furnished with trees and grassy areas, places to swim and rest and withdraw from view. And yet every time I see those tigers they are pacing, up and down, up and down. It is a sad thing to see.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

inside the Snake (Again)

Its the Rattesnake Bridge on a fine fall evening. Couldn't stay for the sunset unfortunately. For those who didn't see my previous entry, this is a predestrian/bike way shaped like a rattlesnake. It even has a tail that rattles!

I'm sorry, I don't know how to do a direct link; however there is more on this on May 5-7 of this blog.

Friday, October 20, 2006


For those of you who's countries haven't been invaded by this particular form of kitsch, these are Bobbleheads (or sometimes spelled Bobble Heads). The heads rest on a spring. When you give it a gentle poke, the head bobs and nods and basically bobbles. For some reason this is sort of endearing and mildly fascinating. They can be sports figures, movie stars, politicians, animals, even Donald Trump or George Bush (the mind boggles).

I took this photo at Tucson Meet Yourself. Nobody sees these as art (or craft) but items like this turn up in booths on the fringe of all kinds of events.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Urban Canyon

Wandering through downtown with a camera, an evening of magical light. In nature a tree is a tree, a rock a rock, a canyon a canyon. Cities are full unexplained things. Old cars in alleys behind razor wire. Stairs leading up to black doors. A man playing with a puppy next to a giant red abstract sculpture, a thing of wavy lines and false stairstepped edges. A middle-aged woman, born in the same state I was, trying to figure out a place to spend the night off the sidewalks. Beautiful giant buildings covered in relected glass clouds and sky. What goes on inside those buildings, all those people at desks, on the phone. What would happen if they just stopped, left the buildings, walked in the sunlight of an evening.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Feeding time in one of the zoo's flight cages, for this Egyptian Goose, among others. According to one reference "Egyptian Geese are very pugnacious and aggressive, especially during breeding season. They are intolerant of other birds including individuals of their own kind and are among the most vicious of all waterfowl." Which may explain why it was in a flight cage with a lot of little forest birds and no other waterfowl.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Mosaic by Las Artes

Las Artes had a display at Tucson Meet Yourself. I stopped, talked with them, took photos. They fire their own tiles, use both commercial glazes and glazes they make themselves. Tiles are handpainted and in some cases airbrushed. By teenagers, trained by them. Their program helps kids get their GEDs in a working artist environment.

Their mosaics are all over Tucson and they do really beautiful work. This photo just does not do justice to this particular mosaic, especially the skin tones which were lovely. Oh and they did some of the benches in Sahuarita that I showed a photo of several months ago. Tucson has this odd small town quality sometimes, like its three degrees of separation here instead of six.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Panethenians

This photo is from a festival called Tucson Meet Yourself. Its kind of dorky name for a festival but maybe its meant to be -as if to say let's not take ourselves too seriously and just have fun with who we all are. Its been held annually for 33 years and the idea, according to the program, is "to celebrate the living, traditional arts of Southern Arizona's folk and ethnic communities". I took a gazillion photos :)

The girls in the photo are from a Greek folk dancing group called The Panethenians. They looked quite solemn most of the time when they were dancing so I was pleased to catch them in a less serious moment. This was a slower part of the dance where they got close together, moving in a line.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Stairway to Heaven

My little Led Zeppelin joke. Anyway, I really liked this remarkably pink church steeple (and the clouds!)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Ghosts On The Roof

On the roof of a costume store. It was windy so they're looking particularly lively (for ghosts that is).

Friday, October 13, 2006

Inside the Studio

The Sonoran Glass Academy is in neighborhood near downtown - historic, low income, a place where artists can afford working space. Given its location so near dowtown if developers ever take an interest in it, its doomed to gentrification. However at the present, it is diverse and lively in its interests.

I was surprised
how much glassblowing is done as a group. There was a balletic quality, an intense shared focus - a reflection of the fact that they are creating and shaping a delicate (and extremely hot) object.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Segue to the Sonoran Glass Art Academy

The folks at the Sonoran Glass Academy kindly allowed me to take photos during their Pumpkin Fiesta fundraiser last Sunday. This is actually a photo taken towards the end of the making of a piece, as it is going into a furnace. It seemed somehow a fitting seque from DeGrazia.

I like the word segue here because I think its what we are all doing with the daily photo blogs.
From Wikipedia: In music, segue (pronounced ['sɛgweɪ]) is a direction to the performer. It means continue (the next section) without a pause. It comes from the Italian "it follows".... In improvisation it is often used for transitions created as a part of the performance, leading from one area to another.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Light Show

Why is the donkey sideways?? Because Blogger insisted it had to be sideways. I am so done with Blogger.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The DeGrazia Gallery

In addition to the chapel, DeGrazia built a gallery and a smaller home behind it. He built them from saguaro ribs, cholla cactus, rocks, mud and straw brick, scavengered timbers, cement. Of the adobe walls he said: "The mud wall is masculine - physically strong and durable. The straw is feminine - delicate as thread. The color is sun and gold".

The bottom photo is a photo of a photo (so to speak) of DeGrazia at work.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Adobe Chapel in the Sun

Better late than never :-) Inside the DeGrazia Mission, dedicated to Father Kino in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Gallery In The Sun

One of the gifts of doing this blog is the discoveries it leads me to. The DeGrazia gallery took me by surprise. I visited on a whim, just happened to be driving by with some time on my hands. Based on postcards and calendars I'd seen, I had thought of his paintings as sentimental southwestern kitsch - in the same category of "art" as the strangely iconic dogs-playing-poker paintings (see here). Instead I was reminded that the workings of a truly creative mind are never that simple.

Photos are of a ramada at the entrance and the private chapel DeGrazia built. More tomarrow.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Mall Encounter

fI'm not a fan of shopping malls. To me they are noisy, crowded, full of stuff I don't have money for and sometimes I even get lost in the larger ones. However I like this mall. In the daytime it is sunny, airy, quietly elegant architecturally. It would make a lovely arboretum, art gallery or even a library.

At night the outside lights are kind of pretty so I went by after work one night, around midnight. Took a bunch of shots and then this security company car pulls up. So I walk over, thinking I'll tell him I'm just taking photos, nothing to worry about. So I walk up to the car, security guard guy stays in the car - he's wearing sunglasses by the way and the conversation was something like this:

Me: Hi, I'm just taking photos.
Guy: Why are you taking photos?
Me: I like the lights, like the way they look at the entrance there.
Guy: Why are you taking photos?
Me: For a blog.
Guy: You can't take photos here.
Me: Oh..OK, I'm leaving.

I start to turn and walk away but then ask:

Me: So if I come back when the mall's open, could I take photos inside?
Guy: Ma'am, you'd be arrested.

Should We?

This photo was taken at a arts street fair, one of my first efforts to take photos of people in public. I am a shy person so this was not easy at first but once I got into the photography of it most of that dropped away. Nonetheless, I have been asking myself since, not just about the legality of taking photos of people without first asking permission, but the right we have, the ethics of it, the fairness of it.

This photo in particular, always makes me think about that question, not because its particularly unflattering but because the one guy clearly resented being photographed. Which I really didn't realize until I looked at the photo later on.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Santa Cruz Church - And Bishop Granjon Comes to Tucson

I came across this church early one morning. I was fascinated by its striking Greek Orthodox look - though as it turns out, it is Catholic. Constructed between 1916 and 1919 under Bishop Henri Granjon, a Frenchman who was named bishop of Tucson in 1900.

This is what he wrote in his journal in 1902 on his first trip to Tucson:
"Tucson? Arizona? Who has ever heard mention of it? Where is it found on the world's map? Some time ago, I had occasion to write to an eminent person in Belgium. His answer was slow in coming. I was going to give up waiting for it, when a mutual friend informed me that my correspondent, incredulous, had at first doubted the existence of Arizona and its bishop; then on second thought, he had gone to seek information about them."
Bishop Henri Granjon

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Mall Window Late At Night

I think perhaps its more human than just American that sex is used to sell. Personally I think its a gorgeous image in its own right. Advertising is full of gorgeous images. Is it amoral to sell jeans this way - implying that there will be some sort of relationship between buying these jeans and having that body? Does it matter?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I'm Ba-a-c-k!!

Well life gets complicated sometimes, however here I am again doing the blog. This is a photo of an early Halloween decoration in a neighbors yard. It is fairly largely, maybe 4 ft (122 cm) tall. And why not. Its a generous act to put something like this out there to be enjoyed.

Monday, October 02, 2006