June 24, 2017 – Caitlin Strachen

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Caitlin is a magnetic and multi-talented woman. She’s also effortlessly mysterious; she seems almost shy and reserved when you spend time around her because she’s incredibly thoughtful and quiet. But she springs into action when the spotlight lands on her. Today’s images come from the 2012 ‘Cabaret de los Muertos’ in Bisbee, a nascent variety show that, sadly, only lasted two seasons. But hey, that’s small-town life. When one tradition fails to take root, there are always other interesting concoctions that spring up.

At the time, Caitlin was still studying art and living a couple hundred miles north in Prescott, Arizona, but with roots and family in Bisbee, she made the trip down and dazzled. Her first set was a tap-dance, dressed in red and black, and she caught everybody’s eye. In local theater, some presentations are humorously under-rehearsed (but usually beloved because the performers are locally known). This performance, however, was elevated beyond that modest ‘community theater’ standard. She absolutely killed it.

And I don’t think it’s even possible to take a bad photograph of her- truth words.

Porcelain skin, a dancer’s physique, and a captivating smile – she is a pleasure to watch. She sings, plays the flute, and dances, and she does all of these things with a grace, elegance, and professionalism that’s rare, especially for a woman her age. This quiet, seemingly shy blonde girl – with the perfect curly locks – is something special to behold.

But you’ll have to go to Bisbee if you want to see her.

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June 23, 2017 – The Underscore Orkestra

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The Underscore Orkestra – Formed in Portland, Oregon

“With members hailing from many corners of the globe, playing a blend of Balkan, Klezmer, Hot Jazz, Swing and Americana music, both original and traditional. Entire sets in each style can be heard or a nice melange of all. They are often joined by live Belly Dance. Their Performance evokes the old world and the new, the eerily haunting sounds from the east, with definite roots in the west. Influences are far and wide but range from New Orleans Jazz, to Eastern European, Greek, Turkish, Bulgarian, Roma and Klezmorim Music, Manouche Swing, to Acoustic Metal.”

I think that about sums it up. The performances are lively and are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. This portrait above is of Jorge Kachmari, the lead vocalist and violin player for the group. These guys braved icy winter weather in the crotch of the Mule Mountains to perform an outdoor set in Peddler’s Alley, where I used to sling espressos and sell artisan coffee. On their way to SXSW, they’d find friendly venues to play while on the road, and Bisbee has always been a welcoming place for the wandering spirit.

The following morning The Underscore Orkestra found a slightly more welcoming venue: The Bisbee Grand Saloon. It was a Sunday morning and the saloon had already set up its then-famous bloody-mary bar. It was warm and toasty and the saloon filled it’s seats quickly when word got out that there was live music. The sold some albums and merch, played a solid set, and then packed up and headed on their way.

I’ve been following them for a few years now, and I sure do hope I get the chance to see them again.

Check out the website for The Underscore Orkestra HERE
Check out the page HERE

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June 22, 2017 – Beth Hart

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“His love is like fire on the floor/
It’s got me running for the door/
But I’ll be crawling back for more/
Of his fire on the floor”

Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Beth Hart is an untamed bundle of electricity when she’s on stage and, even though she’s been making music for almost thirty years, she seems to be cranking out more and more great music with each passing year. ‘The Blues’ magazine called her “the ultimate female rock star,” and she performs like it. She’s recently produced albums of high praise and has collaborated with some of the biggest names in music.

I was fortunate enough to spend some time with her in the green room for a special holiday season performance a few years ago. Playing to a packed house, she was just as lively and personable onstage as she was backstage; when Beth’s in the room, all eyes are on her. Period.

In April 2015 she released “Better Than Home,” a critical and commercial success topping the Blues Charts and recognized as the No.4 best blues album of the year by Mojo magazine. She has also received a nomination from the American Blues Foundation for Contemporary Blues Female Artist. Her most recent studio album, “Fire on the Floor,” was released last year.

Check out Beth Hart’s website here.

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June 21, 2017 – Mark Pierce

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What is there to say about Mark Pierce? The guy is a true original. A tattooed ruffian with a charming twang in his voice and a slow, smile sly that conveys an almost menacing confidence. He’s an alumnus of The West Texas Millionaires, a country group that calls Bisbee home, but he’s definitely got a punk edge. His torso is slathered in tattoos and he’s imbued with a country-punk style. Whether he’s slapping the stand-up base playing the fiddle, you’ll never mistake this gentleman as anything other than a showman.

These day’s he’s rockin’ a sizeable beard and is the proprietor or Bisbee Soap and Sundry.
You couldn’t miss him struttin’ down the road if you tried.

You can check out his shop’s page here.
You can check out The West Texas Millionaires here.

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June 20, 2017 – Cirque Arts

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I’m not sure if it’s just that I was too busy or completely blind, but it seems to me like the institution of circus arts wasn’t really that much of a thing twenty years ago. While I was working and going to college, it seemed to me like Flam Chen was the only performance troupe of its kind here in Tucson. Then, almost out of the thin air, it seemed like all kinds of insane talent was erupting from the Old Pueblo. Elemental Artistry, Cirque Roots, and Tucson Circus Arts began to gain momentum, and a variety of independent performance artists started to couple with area musicians to create unique live performances. Poi spinning, hula hoop choreography, aerial acrobatics, sword swallowing, and every other conceivable form of circus, vaudeville, and musicianship was available around every corner.

Today’s image of the day is a picture of one such performer, Jimmy Linenberger, performing with The Bennu. I continue to be amazed by the massive amount of talent and creativity out there, and feel incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to see people like Jimmy perform on stage.

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June 19, 2017 – Tombstone Cowboys

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Driving down State Route 80 down into the belly of Cochise County in the badlands – right on the edge of the Arizona-Mexico border – is a little town you might have heard of called Tombstone. If you were to blink, you’d miss it ’cause it’s genuinely one of the smallest little hamlets in the territory, second perhaps to Patagonia or Portal. It’s a strange place, to be sure. It’s also kind of an easy place to dislike because it really is little more than a town banking on the history; it’s undeniable that Tombstone is a small town – a town without much going on – masquerading as a theme park.

I don’t really care.
I happen to have a huge fondness for the place.

The performances are fun, the costumes are as authentic as they get, and the tequila tastes…like tequila.
I’ve never had a bad time in Tombstone. Living so close for so many years, I’ve been through the town more times than I can remember. Fun street performances, amazing costumes, fascinating history, local folks happy to chew your ear off with conversation, and enough booze to murder a herd of elephants – what is there not to like?

Just be prepared to pay a little more for your beverages and dive in.

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June 18, 2017 – DJ Joshua Pocalypse

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I can’t even tell you what happened to Joshua Pocalypse, friends. I met him five years ago when he was making music before an event at a local club. He was – and likely still is – a musician. He’s a DJ with a supremely keen ear. And, from what I recall, he paid his bills working for his father’s business at a coffee roasting company.

Can’t seem to pin him down on social media, although I know he was on Facebook at one point or another in the past. Nevertheless, today’s image is one of a DJ, performing for a club slowly filling up with people. There was an intensity to him that I found very magnetic. I like to think that the images here speak for themselves.

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