2023 Year in Review, Part 2 – Moments and Milestones
Join us on a captivating journey through Tucson’s past year as we explore the most poignant moments and significant milestones that have shaped our community. In this special episode of “Life Along the Streetcar,” we delve into the heart of our city, uncovering stories that celebrate our unique history and vibrant culture.
- Celebrating Community Heroes: Discover the untold stories of local heroes who made a difference in 2023.
- Historical Landmarks: Take a virtual tour of Tucson’s most iconic historical landmarks and their significance.
- Cultural Festivities: Relive the vibrant cultural festivals that colored the streets of Tucson last year.
- Artistic Achievements: Explore the artistic milestones that have left an indelible mark on Tucson’s cultural landscape.
- Voices of Tucson: Hear from diverse community members, sharing their experiences and love for our city.
🤝 We Want to Hear From You! Your thoughts and experiences are what make Tucson’s story so rich. After listening, click the ‘Contact’ button to share your insights, stories, or to nominate a notable Tucsonan you think should be featured in our show. We’re always eager to hear from our listeners and bring new voices to our audience.
Good morning it’s a beautiful sun in the old pueblo and you’re listening to ktdt tucson thank you for spending a part of your new year’s eve with us on your downtown tucson community sponsored all volunteer powered rock and roll radio station and welcome to our year -end wrap up last week we highlighted six of our episodes that featured music or food or a combination thereof and this week we’re going to focus on the history culture and those who share it with us Today is December 31st, 2023. My name is Tom Heath, and you’re listening to Life Along the Streetcar. Each and every Sunday, our focus is on social, cultural, and economic impacts in Tucson’s urban core, and we shed light on hidden gems everyone should know about. From A Mountain to the University of Arizona and all stops in between, you get the inside track right here on 99 .1 FM, streaming at downtownradio .org, also available on your iPhone or Android using our very own Downtown Radio Tucson app. If you want to interact with us on
the show, best way is through Facebook and Instagram. And you can find more information about our show, past episodes, or contact us on our website, lifealongthestreetcar .org. And, of course, we invite you to listen to our podcast, which is on all sorts of platforms out there. Well, we started this new tradition last week, so it’s very traditional nowadays. And we’re going to kind of highlight some of the past episodes of the year. And we’re going to talk more about history and culture and people making an impact in our community Last week was really kind of focused on food and beverage So today will be a different focus, but you can listen to all of these episodes Or listen to last week’s wrap -up on our website, lifealongthestreetcar .org And we’re going to start today with a very powerful and emotional story we did earlier in the year Around mid -year, actually, in June, it was with Lisa Hansen She is the founder and CEO of the Tucson nonprofit Power Over Predators. And with 20 years
of experience, she shared with us how they are helping to train and educate our community and our youth in what she believes is a hidden pandemic within our community. And I’ve got to tell you, it’s a challenging topic. So there are some sensitive comments in the following three -minute segment. So just be aware of that. But here’s Lisa Hansen.
We provide prevention education. I believe that prevention is, well, it’s actually the first P when it comes to on a national level, how do we approach the issue of reducing child exploitation, specifically child sex trafficking? and they bring up four P’s and it starts with prevention. And then it goes to protection and prosecution and then partnership. The interesting thing is, is across the country, prevention is what is lacking. And so I’ve been doing prevention education for about 25 years now. And it’s just such a powerful tool because it’s a discussion, it’s a conversation, it’s helping kids define find things so that they can be aware or realize that maybe they’re in a sticky situation that they don’t know how to get out of. We started addressing the issue in Tucson back in 2010, and we found out that there was absolutely nobody assigned in law enforcement to trafficking, to human trafficking, specifically child trafficking. And what was ironic about that scenario was at the time
when we were having this discussion and they said that they’d never had a single case it was because they didn’t understand the definition of child sex trafficking where anybody who’s a minor child under the age of 18 if they participate in any type of sex act for anything of value it is the felony crime of child sex traffic and so we had people serving time especially girls serving time and facing facing criminal charges and being charged with crimes of prostitution when in fact they were victims of child trafficking and so this is not to to shine a negative light on law enforcement we’ve we’ve made a lot of changes and um once you understand the definition it’s like oh okay i get it now 88 of the sex trafficking cases today are happening online and people are like but i thought trafficking was a child being kidnapped it’s absolutely not a child can be trafficked behind their own screen at their home while they’re playing a video game because they’re being coerced into giving nude photos
of themselves or videos of themselves to a predator online if we aren’t protecting our kids and we aren’t aware of how predators are using especially devices to get to kids um then they’re just how does a child stand a chance that’s where the education piece comes in i appreciate i appreciate the idea of needing to prosecute traffickers. And I appreciate needing to protect people with aftercare. But the problem is, is all of that is too late. Because that means something’s already happened that that child has been abused or explored or exploited. And so that’s why prevention is just key in this conversation. So that is what Power Over Predators does. That is Lisa Hansen, the CEO, founder of
Power Over Predators. We actually did a two -part episode because that topic was so expansive, and we did it back in June. This episode is 250 and 251. And moving to another segment of our population that this organization, IMU 360, is looking to help. They focus on an array of holistic services for homeless teens and young adults, including basics like hygiene and self -development curriculums, all the way to housing and home ownership. We actually interviewed Jessica Kaiser for this. She was organizing a fundraiser, which was a prom. And Jessica’s a downtown businesswoman. She owns Kaiser Workspaces and got to talk to us about IMU 360.
I’ve known the founder, Desiree Cook, for a few years now. And so I got to hear Desiree’s story on this very personal note. And I was just so inspired by what she’s done, where she experienced experienced trauma and got off on the wrong track herself and, um, you know, got into drug use and lost her children and went to prison and then used that time to really heal and improve herself. She did the work and she came out and she was inspired to start this nonprofit that is now doing such an incredible service. She’s building tiny homes for children that are aging out of the foster care system. And I cannot think of a more vulnerable segment, right? So the poor children didn’t get adopted as foster kids. They’ve just gone through trauma for 18 years, you know, that they did. And they know they’re about to enter the adult world completely unprepared. They don’t have a support system. They don’t have a network. They don’t have the skills. They don’t trust the people around them. And, you know,
her story really resonated with me. I myself was not in the foster care system, but you know what, Tom, I probably should have been. I went through a lot as a child I’ve experienced all the levels of abuse and neglect and abandonment and if it wasn’t for the people around me that lifted me up and supported me through those really really critical pivotal moments in my youth I’d be on hard drugs and homeless myself I know that I would but it’s the people that came around me when I needed it most that really I mean let’s give them credit right like where would I be otherwise so when she told me her story about what she’s doing i was just i was really really inspired she’s doing so many great things you know she’s building these homes she also has a um it’s called a hygiene pantry where she’s collecting shampoos and conditioners and various hygiene project products and she’s doing backpack drives and um it’s just it’s an incredible um amount of effort that goes into um the first thing that
came to mind is we need to have an event we need to show the community first of all what you’ve been doing and second of all what we’re capable of when we come together and i don’t know know if you’ve been to any of my parties, Tom, but they’re off the hook. That was Jessica Kaiser
of Kaiser Workspaces talking about her fundraiser, the prom she did for IMU 360. And from all accounts, it was off the hook. And she was sharing with us the story of the founder, Desiree, and the challenges she’s overcome and how she is helping youth, especially those coming out of the foster care system, young adults that are transitioning and doing all kinds of holistic Holistic Services. That was back in August. It was episode 261. We’re going to switch gears a little bit, and talking about parties, we’re going to switch over to a filmmaker, Chris Carlode, who brought us A Tale of Two Houses, which documents a very special time in Tucson’s music history that focused on two houses right there on Speedway and Euclid from the areas of 1983 to 1989. And we kind of talked to him about the genesis of this documentary and really what
he was hoping to bring to our community. This is Chris Carlone back from July of 2023.
When I first moved here was really when I first started playing music when I was like 16. But I mean, since I was, music has always been one of the most important things in my life. And so coming here from Southern California, I thought, you know, when I was 16, I was, my immediate attitude was like, oh my gosh, I can’t believe I was in, you know, the mecca of like cool underground music and now i have to move to this little desert town and this is awful and i quickly found out that there’s a thriving music scene here and um i just found my way in pretty quickly and and um and one of the ways i found um into that scene was through these two houses and i was i was just a you know a kid in high school living on the east side but um you
know, it was small enough that you could, if you were, um, if, if you were into underground music that you would, you know, you can find each other in this sort of pre -digital age. And so, um, yeah, so I, I quickly found out that Tucson was actually really cool. And I, I quickly made friends and found out that people here were, were just actually great. You know, hell i was like oh people are nice here you know yeah so um the houses are both still there and they’re on the corner of speedway and euclid and um they used to sit directly next to tucson’s only late night um fast food restaurant called greasy tony’s and it’s really interesting because greasy C. Tony’s had two locations at the time. One was in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and the other was in Tucson, Arizona. Go figure. And so this little corner was not only one of the busiest corners in Tucson, street corners in all of Tucson, but you’ve got these two these two houses that became like sort of the epicenter of underground music
in tucson sitting next to the only late night restaurant right in the middle of you know the university area which you know there’s there’s just so much traffic and random people coming into greasy town he’s hearing music going over to the houses basically be like five or six bands and he would it would
be a big party and the whole thing would be like live on um community cable so luckily we’ve got these great great footage that’s just really amazing of house parties at 818 um and as far as the scene goes i’ve got footage from um three different people that were at at t triple c and so we’ve got some great stuff of different bands from that time but as far as the houses go one of of the houses i’ve got lots of great footage and the other one there is no footage amazing stories but i i employed some awesome tucson illustrators to help tell the stories and give you know visuals
and pictures and and um and animations as well documentary is called a tale of two houses that was chris carlone the creator director and uh force behind making that we are in the midst of of our year -end wrap -up of history, art, and culture here on A Life Along the Streetcar. We’ll be back to finish up 2023 in just a moment. But first, I want to remind you that you’re listening to Downtown Radio on 99 .1 FM. We’re streaming on downtownradio .org.
Support for Downtown Radio is provided by the Tucson Gallery, located in downtown Tucson inside of the proper shops at 300 East Congress Street. The Tucson Gallery offers original work, reproductions, and merchandise from Tucson artists like Joe Pachek, Jessica Gonzalez, Ignacio Garcia, and many more. For information about all of the artists, including when they will be live at the gallery, head to thetucsongallery .com or find them on Instagram and on Facebook as Tucson Gallery.
Well, this is the very end of our final episode for 2023. For the last couple of weeks here, we’ve been highlighting some of the fun shows we’ve done earlier in the year. Today’s focus The focus has been on history, culture, people that are making an impact in our community. And so far we’ve talked to, heard from the group at IMU 360, Power Over Predators, and A Tale of Two Houses. We’re going to wrap up here with some fun creative types. And we’re going to launch that with Brian Dahl. He’s the guy who dances on Congress.
I started it was at Hotel Congress. Okay. And it was with Hump House. i was actually talking business with him what is hump house hump house is a local dj one of the better ones of the in town so you’re so when was this roughly what year is this i would say probably about 2016 2017 roughly okay so you’re talking six seven years ago you’re you’re talking to a dj on the stage he was doing his thing and i was just watching and talking business with him at the nightclub okay but then i started moving and people started recognizing me all right and said hey you’re the guy who dances at congress you’re like famous people know you so yes people recognize me and me and hump house realized we could easily brand this and make this a thing and make people understand you can brand yourself quite easily and have an avenue how to market yourself okay so i’m out three to four nights a week dancing for three to four hours straight to get people to dance i’m that icebreaker and then i keep them going okay
and then how like
Like, do you dance with them or do you dance like in a cage? How do you get them going?
So sometimes it’s next to the DJ on the stage. Sometimes it’s on the floor. It just depends at the bar or the nightclub. It’s different in each spot. So I dance at Hotel Congress, Playground, General Ben’s, High Wire, Cobra are some of them and Zenrock. So why I picked dancing was I’m trying to show everyone that you can do it out of anything. It’s just you have to put the work in.
That’s Brian Dahl. He’s the guy who dances on Congress. He’s taken that and built an entire brand around that, has a store and everything downtown inside of the proper shops. His interview talked a lot about, not a lot, but we touched upon his substance abuse problems that he had had and the ways he’d overcome it. A very remarkable young man here in Tucson. That was episode 272. And then the following week, right after that, we had a chance to introduce an artist with the Joseph O ‘Connell, who is the brains behind an organization called Creative Machines. have got fun, interactive exhibits all over the world, and many of them are right here in our
urban core. A lot of the projects we’ve done in Tucson are really just sort of a conversation with the city about what people want. So for instance, the piece we installed about a year ago, the Wet Wheel, which is part of the Downtown Links project, was actually one of our first commissions. But the Downtown Links project took some time to come to fruition, but the idea came from, there’s not really any splash parks in downtown. And I would ride my bike to and from my studio, between my studio and home. And I would typically get myself soaking wet on one end and then be hot and dry and sweaty in the middle and thought, boy, wouldn’t it be great to have some form of squirting art here? And that idea kind of grew. And then lo and behold, we had had our son, who when he was about six, saw me sketching it up. And he said, oh, dad, I know exactly what that does. But what if people don’t want to get squirted? And so that led to the little circular path that adjoins the main path. So it’s not
on the main path. You circle through it as many times as you want. Our facility is eight acres. It’s huge. And we’re always making interactive exhibits. We’re making monumental sculptures, many of which are interactive for destinations all over the world. And so several times a year, we invite the public to come and visit. And our son and his friends were always visitors as well. And I would see families coming and everyone would say, really, I wish you would do this all the time. And I’d be like, oh, it’s so much work to like close things down, unplug the table saw, you know, make sure people can’t get hurt, which has never happened, of course. And then, you know, host people. So that’s, from that came the idea for our newest Tucson venture, which is Second Sky, which is a not -for -profit that we’ve formed, to every day host people to an adventure playground with a food and beverage destination, a robust program of after -school support, support for homeschool and micro -schools, and
then evening and weekend events and programming for the whole family. And in that public space, we need these third objects so that you and I can interact with each other. If you just sit us in a sterile landscape and chairs facing each other, we’ll feel awkward to not have anything to say. But you put us next to a sculpture with footprints on the ground and we’ll get to talking, our kids will interact. And so a lot of times we say we make the stuff that help communities interact with each other.
That sculpture Joseph O ‘Connell is talking about is Toby the Griffin on Scott. If you haven’t seen It’s got the footprints leading up to how it got from the old Carnegie Library, which is now the Children’s Museum, to where it sits on the corner there on Scott. My name is Tom Heath. You are listening to our year -end wrap -up on Life Along the Streetcar. You’re listening on downtown radio, 99 .1 FM, or you’re streaming on downtownradio .org.
You’re listening to KTDT Tucson, Arizona, 99 .1 FM, downtown radio. I’m Brother Mark, host of a show called Radio Club Crawl that airs every Tuesday at 3 p .m. We try to focus on most of the bands that are coming through Tucson, and we give you a tasty taste of their music. If you want to check out what’s happening around Tucson, check out Radio Club Crawl, Tuesdays, 3 p .m., right here on KTDT, Tucson, Arizona, 99 .1 FM, downtown radio. Thank you very much. Enjoy your evening. Bye -bye.
Well, we’re going to wrap up our wrap -up with an intro to a show that I did back in June as we talked about a man who really shaped downtown. He passed away this year in June of 2023. His name was Donovan Durbin, and he was an icon in the downtown area. And as with many, we lost him at a very, very young age and way too soon. And this was the introduction that we did back on our show, episode 252, back from June 18th, honoring Donovan Durbin. One
individual in particular who knew this area inside and out for many different reasons recently passed. We talked about that briefly last week, Donovan Durbin. He was an administrator for Park Tucson within the city for over a decade. And that’s where I first got to know him. And then I found out through meeting him that he was so interconnected with the development of downtown since the 1990s and had this really love of the knowledge and history of downtown and was so eager to share it. And a lot of the enthusiasm that I got for life along the streetcar sort of mirrors some of his paths. I didn’t know it at the time, but as I got to know him, I realized that he and I were really kindred spirits It’s about understanding the value and importance of the history and culture of who has come before us and why we are here and how that impacts where we’re going. And if we lose sight of that, then it changes the direction of where we’re going. And it’s not a good path, in my opinion. So today, I
just want to talk a little bit about Donovan, in case you have not heard, because I think he’s someone that deserves the attention that he is getting. And it’s sad that it took his passing for us to come together with this celebration. celebration but as you walk through downtown you know the rialto the screening room the fox theater all these places with marquise had his name up there with a thank you message and an appreciation for all of the work that he had done he was a member of the downtown tucson partnership board of which i’ve been the chair for the last couple of years and again he brings with him an institutional knowledge something that is it’s just it’s not easy to replace because he didn’t he didn’t learn about Tucson because he had to. He learned about Tucson because he wanted to. You know, and I was reading an article in the paper, which we’ll link to, it was a Tim Steller column, and talking about Donovan and taking over at the time was the Downtown Alliance. So this was
a, kind of what the merchants and the Downtown Tucson Partnership have morphed into. But the, excuse me, the idea was that, you know, the businesses would get get together and make downtown a better place. Well, this was in the 90s and there wasn’t a lot happening there. There’d been some really negative news. And, you know, reading Tim Steller’s article, he was determined to not let that stop him. And he started really looking at the history of downtown and bringing back the stories about Hockamies and Levy’s department stores and looking at all the buildings and the blocks and recreating what had been there prior and creating this vision of what it could be. You know, just studied this. This was a passion of his. And then as the funding and the mindset started to change, we passed, you know, the Rio Nuevo process passed, and that got sort of mired in some bureaucracy at the beginning. But Donovan worked with some others to bring some life back to the downtown area by instilling some art
and culture into the arena, and they brought down Second Saturdays, and he was instrumental in making that happen. That was just part of that understanding that if you got people to come down and experience the culture, the history, the atmosphere of downtown, that you could start to build upon that, and we’ve seen exactly what happened. That wasn’t, of course, the only catalyst, but it was a big part of it was getting people to recognize the importance of the city center within our community. He went on to co -found the Festival and Events Association of Tucson in Southern Arizona, FITSA. We were actually due in July. We had talked about having a show featuring that because we hadn’t talked about that yet. So Don and I had planned a show, but of course never got a chance to record that. So I won’t get his perspective on that. But he He was instrumental in helping get Tucson recognized as a world leader in festival events with all the things that we do throughout the year, especially in
the early part of the year, the spring with the Gem and Mineral Festival, the Agave Festival, all the heritage festivals that we do, the Mariachi Conference. He got that recognized on a large stage. He was involved with so many things like the Arizona Film Festival, Film Fest Tucson. on. You couldn’t go to a major event in downtown without seeing Donovan there and realizing he wasn’t just participating, he was involved with the creation of it. Donovan Durbin, a downtown icon, and his inspiration will keep us moving forward for many, many years to come. Well, that’s going to wrap up 2023. Thank you, thank you, thank you for letting me share some of these fun stories we had you know probably 50 45 to 50 shows throughout the year and really all of them have their own special qualities picked out a few because I thought they were emblematic of what we’d like to do here on the show but we invite you to head over to lifelongstreetcar .org if you want to listen to those or any of our other past
episodes there’s also a contact button if you want to find out like hey have you ever done a show about this and we can get you that information or, better yet, why don’t you do a show about this and tell us what it is that you know that we should know and share with the world. You can also find us on Instagram, Facebook, and the like. Can’t wrap up without saying thank you to some key folks, and one of those are the station itself, Downtown Radio, which gives us this huge platform to share this message on a weekly basis. And we also want to thank the band Ryanhood, who gives us the courtesy of allowing us to open every show that we’ve done since October of 2017 with their song Dillinger Days. It’s kind of a hide to the show now. I hear that song and I immediately think, oh, I got to get on the air. But thank you to all those. Thank you for those of you that listen and thank you to James Portis who helps produce this and put this on throughout the year, does all that work behind the scenes.
Someone that really deserves a lot more recognition than I give him on the show and we’re going to change that in 2024, James, because you definitely are a huge part of why we’re so successful here. here. So thank you to the radio station. Thank you to James. Thank you to you, the audience. Thanks to everybody. It’s been a good year, good wrap up. And we want to leave you with music today that has a tying theme to everything. It’s about trains, it’s about New Year’s, and it’s about Thomas. This is from a 2020 album called It’s Christmas Time, put on by Thomas the Train and his friends. And the song is called New Year’s Day with Thomas. And my name is Thomas. So I hope Hope you have a safe new year, a great week, and then tune in next year for more life along the streetcar.
Something new, hide a zip code and tie your shoes Make a New Year’s resolution and try out something new
Say hey, it’s New Year’s Day, everyone is invited
Say hey, it’s New Year’s Day, we are so excited Say hey, it’s New Year’s Day, last year is behind us And say, hey, hey, it’s New Year’s Day, New Year’s Day, the time of us.
Confetti everywhere and fireworks like the sky.
Bells ringing on our engines as we ride on by. And it’s fun, fun, to make new friends. That’s what growing up’s about. And it’s time, time, to blow your whistle. It’s almost 12 o ‘clock.