Trump campaigned on defeating the opioid crisis. It’s hard to tell if he’s winning.

Protest at HHS of federal opioids policy.

Demonstrators protest the federal government’s policies related to pharmaceutical opioids in front of the Health and Human Services headquarters on April 5, 2019. | J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

President Donald Trump’s focus on the opioid crisis may strengthen his bond with poor, disaffected voters in hard-hit places like Appalachia that are a bedrock of his base. But the administration, for all its efforts, has not yet reversed the tide of the deadly epidemic.

The Trump administration’s response to the crisis of painkiller addictions and overdoses poses an unusual challenge for Democrats, who otherwise have claimed the electoral advantage on health issues during the Trump era. The White House can accurately point to signs of progress: Opioids prescriptions are down dramatically from their peak in 2012, early data suggests that overdose deaths are slowing, and the crisis is getting far more urgency and attention.

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“We will never stop until our job is done,” Trump declared at an opioid summit in Atlanta this spring. “We have results that are unbelievable … We’re making tremendous progress.”

But some of these gains could be attributed to work started in previous administrations. Nor is it clear what yardstick measures success. For instance, the decline in fatalities may not mean that fewer people are overdosing; it may mean that the campaign to make antidotes widely available is saving their lives, though not necessarily getting people treatment to end their addiction.

Democrats aren’t ceding the issue — presidential candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar have called for a much more aggressive counterattack and a whole lot more spending. Still, White House drug czar Jim Carroll says the Trump approach is finally addressing a crisis that flourished unabated during the Bush and Obama years.

“We are absolutely making progress,” Carroll told POLITICO in a recent interview. “It’s too soon to say we are turning the corner, but we now have the national attention and the spotlight on this issue. We’re reducing stigma, we’re getting more people to provide medication assisted treatment.”

“We are making a difference,” Carroll said. “We just need to continue to push hard.”

The team of top health officials helming the response includes several who weren’t in place when Trump declared a national opioid emergency in 2017. They include Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who assumed his post in January 2018, and Carroll, who was sworn in January 2019. That’s a contrast to a year ago, when the White House had no confirmed drug czar and Kellyanne Conway, a political strategist with no public health background, was running point on the crisis.

And while much of Trump’s own rhetoric around the crisis focuses on “building a wall” and punishing dealers, his administration has emphasized a public health approach, addressing addiction as a disease instead of a crime.

Congress has also responded, and it’s been bipartisan. Lawmakers have passed two major pieces legislation focused on all aspects of the crisis, from public health to law enforcement. It’s directed billions of dollars to states to get the crisis under control.

But as one aspect of the epidemic improves, another one gets worse. Deaths from prescription drugs and heroin may be slowing, but the body count from fentanyl and drugs like meth and cocaine are on the rise, alarming public health experts who say a response narrowly focused on opioids misses the mark on the broader challenge of drug addiction. Progress is slow in expanding access to safe, affordable treatment for more than 2 million Americans suffering from opioid addiction and countless more from other substances.

“We have turned off the opioid prescriptions spigot, but now we see meth making a comeback,” Mark Drennen, chief executive officer of the West Virginia Behavioral Healthcare Providers Association. Federal attention to opioids does help people with other drug addiction problems, he said, but “they kind of take a back seat.”

Deaths involving meth have been on the rise since 2010 and spiked 37 percent between 2016 and 2017, according to the most recent CDC figures.

West Virginia is among roughly 28 states that have seen a drop in overdose deaths in the past year, according to preliminary federal figures.

Trump’s stress on opioids in 2016 helped him build a base in hard-hit West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania — states that also liked his appeal to the displaced working class and his exuberant support for reviving the coal industry. Conway calls the opioid crisis a “legacy issue” for Trump. His drug czar has been flying around the country touting the president’s efforts and early successes.

But Carroll’s recent trip to Minnesota is a good illustration of just how hard the task is. He went there on June 5 — right in the midst of a massive statewide spike in overdoses, with 175 overdoses, 17 of them fatal, over a two-week span. Officials attribute it to a bad batch of heroin, potentially laced with fentanyl.

According to the CDC, fentanyl-related deaths increased 47 percent between 2016 and 2017. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Thursday sent letters to Trump officials across six different agencies, asking on what they are doing to stop the flow of fentanyl and other illicit opioids.

Democrats running for president have rolled out their own strategies on the broader opioid issue. Warren and Klobuchar have both proposed significantly more funding — $100 billion over 10 years, compared with the $6 billion that the Trump administration and Congress have directed to states during the past two years.

Read More: How Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren would address the opioid crisis and drug addiction.

They say Trump is falling short for a crisis of this magnitude. They also point to the contradiction in his administration calling for more access to addiction treatment while it tries to roll back the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid, the biggest payer of behavioral health care.

More than 70,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2017, the highest number on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Trump advisers, including Carroll, tout preliminary numbers for 2018 showing that overdoses are down 4 percent nationally. But there improvement is inconsistent: 21 states saw no improvement or even upticks in deaths.

“We don’t have enough [medication-assisted treatment] providers,” said Alexander Billioux, the assistant secretary of health for the Louisiana Department of Health’s Office of Public Health. “We’re starting from very little capacity and trying to expand as quickly as we can.”

Even with an infusion of an estimated $82 million federal dollars last year, Louisiana is having trouble expanding treatment. It’s one of the states where overdose deaths have gone up slightly.

Advocates say the overdose death rate is an important metric, but that it doesn’t tell the whole story. The administration does not have data on whether access to addiction treatment has increased within the past two years or how many people are in treatment now. It’s also not clear whether the slowdown in deaths means fewer people are overdosing or more people are getting saved amid national efforts to arm the public with naloxone, the overdose antidote.

“People will count the overdose deaths because it’s the most severe metric,” said Regina LaBelle, program director of the of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University and former ONDCP official under the Obama administration. “It’s the worst consequence, but it’s not the only consequence.”

Public health experts generally say the administration’s efforts on opioids are doing some good. But those steps don’t address the overarching problem of drug addiction, they say. Most of the administration’s policies target people struggling with opioids, while other drug-related deaths are also on the rise.

“It’s still a very acute approach to a chronic problem,” said Andrew Kessler, founder and principle of Slingshot Solutions. “I’m still not seeing a comprehensive response for the disease of addiction.”

Trump’s drug control policy office, typically in charge of coordinating the federal drug control strategy, has recently been under fire by lawmakers and the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office for not effectively fulfilling its role and for failing to provide the metrics required under statute to assess whether its strategy is working.

“There are serious issues that we flagged in terms of what they’re required to do and what they actually have been doing,” Triana McNeil, the acting director of the Government Accountability Office, said in an interview. “I don’t think the GAO, based off the work we’ve done today, could say we feel ONDCP is fulfilling their statutory role.”

For example, the GAO said that though the administration aims to expand access to medication assisted treatment, it doesn’t have data on how many providers and facilities currently administer MAT, making it difficult to fully assess whether they are indeed increasing access.

The drug office recently released its own set of goals, including reducing overdose deaths by 15 percent over five years and doubling access to medication assisted treatment. It didn’t say how it plans to do that or at what cost.

A study published in the journal Health Affairs found only 36 percent of addiction treatment facilities in 2016 offered a form of medication-assisted treatment and only 6 percent offer all three Food and Drug Administration-approved options. Many facilities and providers choose not to prescribe these medications because of low reimbursement rates and stigma.

Some federal officials have also acknowledged gaps in reaching racial and ethnic minority populations. According to the CDC, the death rate among African Americans involving fentanyl increased 141 percent each year, on average, between 2011 and 2016 and 118 percent among Hispanics, compared to 61 percent for their white counterparts.

“African Americans are less likely to be prescribed naloxone,” said Nora Volkow, the director for the National Institute on Drug Abuse, referring to the overdose antidote and studies her agency has done on racial gaps in administration of that drug. “Some communities have been more successful than others and that requires a certain structure of resources to make them available,” she said. The Trump administration, for its part, is working to address these gaps, she said, through demonstration programs and grants.

Public health experts say they are optimistic about the administration’s efforts but caution that it’s going to take years and sustainable solutions to turn the tide.

“We really need to be very careful and not spike the ball,” Georgetown’s LaBelle said.

“These towns and cities across the country will be dealing with the wreckage of the opioid crisis for quite some time.”

No African American has won statewide office in Mississippi in 129 years – here’s why

Mississippi is home to the highest percentage of African Americans of any state in the country.

And yet, Mississippi hasn’t elected an African American candidate to statewide office since 1890.

That’s 129 years.

John Stuart Mill wrote about “the tyranny of the majority” – the idea that an electoral majority will use the political structure to impose its will on the minority population – in his essay “On Liberty” in 1859.

Mill could have used the way Mississippi chooses statewide offices as the symbol of this tyranny. Mississippi requires winners to receive more than 50% of the votes. When no one receives a majority, the Mississippi legislature, not the voters, chooses the winner.

In late May 2019, four African American Mississippians sued in federal court to end this practice, which they say was designed to keep black candidates from winning.


“The scheme has its basis in racism – an 1890 post-Reconstruction attempt to keep African Americans out of statewide office,” said former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, a group backing the lawsuit.

As a professor of political science who has written about African Americans seeking elected office, I’m especially interested in barriers to minority candidates running for office.

Let’s look at what happens when candidates have to win a majority of votes, or compete in large geographical areas – not just in Mississippi, but around the country.

Case study: Georgia

One interesting example is Georgia.


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Eye-boggling Bridget Riley and black British pioneers – the week in art

Exhibition of the week

Bridget Riley
This retrospective of one of modern Britain’s most brilliant and original artists is guaranteed to fool your eyes and stretch your mind.
Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, 19 June–22 September. Hayward Gallery, London, 22 October–26 January.

Also showing

Get Up Stand Up Now
Anthea Hamilton, Ajamu, Betye Saar, David Hammons, Zadie Smith and A Guy Called Gerald are among the stars in this survey of 50 years of black art and culture.
Somerset House, London, until 15 September.

The Tube Station by Cyril Power, c1932.

The Tube Station by Cyril Power, c1932. Photograph: Todd-White Art Photography/© The Estate of Cyril Power

Cutting Edge: Modernist British Printmaking
Sybil Andrews, Lill Tschudi, Cyril Power and Leonard Beaumont feature in a survey of the lost 1930s art of linocut.
Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, 19 June–8 September.

Leonardo da Vinci
The notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci are opened for your inspection. Anyone who is tired of Leonardo is tired of art … and science.
British Library, London, until 8 September.

As Seen on Screen
Fiona Banner and Sam Taylor-Johnson are among the artists taking on cinema in this survey of a relationship that started when Dalí and Buñuel filmed a razor slashing an eyeball.
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, until 18 August.

Masterpiece of the week


Photograph: The National Gallery, London

Cephalus and Aurora by Nicolas Poussin, circa 1630
Cupid holds up a portrait of Cephalus’s wife, Procris, to remind him to be faithful. He needs this firming up to resist the advances of Aurora, goddess of dawn. It’s a mythological image of seduction and fidelity that Poussin, a French immigrant to Italy stunned by the classical heritage of Rome, renders both entertaining and moralistic. Yet the triviality of the tale is transcended and transformed by his sublime depiction of a blazing sky and an earth kissed by its light. This grand luminosity turns a simple scene into a history that glows with enigmatic importance.
National Gallery, London.

Image of the week


Photograph: © Keith Haring Foundation

Ignorance = Fear by Keith Haring, 1989
In a career lasting barely a decade, due to his early death from Aids-related illness, New York pop artist Keith Haring used his street art as posters, protesting against apartheid, railing against religious intolerance and bigotry, homophobia and racism. This image is from his first major UK exhibition, which opened at Tate Liverpool this week. Read the review here.

What we learned

Fake Aboriginal art sellers are facing a £1.3m fine

Kiss My Genders takes a sinful walk on the wild side

Paula Rego offers a five-star world of pain

Cindy Sherman likes being difficult

The devil is in the detail with Bartolomé Bermejo

Peter Howson has revealed his painstaking painting process

Charlie Schaffer won the 2019 BP portrait award…

… even as its corporate sponsor faced fresh criticism

Salvator Mundi may be the latest masterpiece to grace a superyacht

Belgium has a new art studio-zoo dedicated to genetics

Simon Denny delves into dark things at Hobart’s Mona

UK galleries have embraced black artists …

… but it’s been a long time coming

The New York Times has gone off cartoons

The new Dulwich Pavilion is a zinging rainbow

You can now match the Manolo Blahnik shoe with the painting that inspired it

Hull seeks to build on the legacy of its time as UK City of Culture

Tokyo’s skyscrapers might have gone down, not up

It’s happening … La Sagrada Familia has planning permission

France is in two minds over Notre Dame

Bath Abbey is on a surer footing

Max Hirzel is bearing witness to migrant deaths

San Francisco’s fog has its own Instagram account

Don’t forget

To follow us on Twitter: @GdnArtandDesign

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24 Great Things to Do in Tucson This Weekend: June 14 to 16

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Father’s Day at Tavolino Ristorante Italiano. Get your dad some flavors from the old country at Tavolino this Father’s Day. Their special menu features an “il Padre” tomahawk steak served with cauliflower and red wine sauce. Specials also include pan-seared scallops, octopus with vegetables, mint pappardelle pasta and more. From 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. 2890 E. Skyline Drive. Details here.

Yacht Rock 2019. La Cocina Restaurant & Cantina is hosting their annual yacht rock party for all of us hanging out in Tucson for the summer. Featuring the smooth, aquatic tunes of ’70s and ’80s yacht rock, this is your chance to dress in awkward attire and hop in a photo booth. Plus, the Cantina will host drink specials all night long. 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, June 14. 201 N. Court Avenue. $5 cover. 21+. Details here.

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Father’s Day Brunch at Hacienda Del Sol. Treat the ol’ man to premium craft brew tastings and award-winning food at this extra special brunch. The menu includes a full omelet and waffle bar, a beef carving station, shrimp cocktails, crab legs, antipasti, a calabacitas taco bar, and more desserts than I can fit into this blurb! 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, June 16. 5501 N. Hacienda del Sol Road. $60 per adult, $30 kids age 7-14, children under 6 are complimentary. For reservations, call (520) 529-3500. Details here.

Tucson 23 Mexican Food Festival. The Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance is showing the power of Tucson’s Mexican food for the fourth year in a row. Taking place at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort, this fest of best includes food demos and education, live music and more. There will be food from over 30 local Mexican restaurants and breweries. Get over there while the fajitas are still sizzling! 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 15. 3800 W. Starr Pass Boulevard. $65. Details here. 

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New Belgium Brewing at Craft.
Out of Fort Collins, Colorado, New Belgium Brewing is bringing their beers to Craft, A Modern Drinkery. All night, they’ll be tapping specialty kegs, including the Apple Felix, Blackberry Oscar and Honey Orange Tripel. You Sly Dog food truck will also be serving up some great Sonoran Dogs. It turns out Arizona and Colorado meet elsewhere than Four Corners! 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 14. 4603 E. Speedway Blvd. Details here.

Father’s Day Feast at Govinda’s Natural Foods. If your dad has always been interested in vegan foods (or if you’re trying to hint at him to eat healthier) Govinda’s is hosting a Father’s Day shindig with live music and an all-vegan menu. Foods include barbecue seitan cutlets, herb potatoes, bean and veggie enchiladas, stir fry basmati rice and more. 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, June 16. All you can eat, $17. Details here.

Black Renaissance.
Wait, didn’t this event end in June? Well, that was the plan. But it was such a huge success that local musician Seanloui is throwing one more iteration of this event, in the form of a Juneteenth after party. The evening will spotlight black creativity, highlight black artists’ influence on mainstream culture and celebrate the day slavery was abolished in America! Special guests Tere Chapman and Mattea will be performing, and Sketch 71 (Allen Bush) will be doing live art. Happy Juneteenth! 9:30 p.m. Saturday, June 15. Wooden Tooth Records, 426 E. Seventh St. Free. Details here.

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Brew at the Zoo. This event is only for the most selfless of Tucsonans: You’re there to support the animals at the local zoo, the greater cause of conservation efforts, and the local economy in the form of more than a dozen breweries. If you go, you might even find yourself forced to support local musicians like Dos Suenos and Paul Jenkins. It won’t be easy, but if you’re up for it, this night full of games, time with the zoo animals, henna and glitter tattoos, local eats, chair massages and even a chance to try out some TopGolf putting is a really good opportunity to do your part to be a good citizen. It’s sure to be a zoo-tiful evening. 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, June 15. Reid Park Zoo, 3400 Zoo Court. $45 GA, $45 members, $20 for designated drivers. $55 GA and $50 for members the night of (unless they’re sold out). Details here.

Classic Car Show at Little Anthony’s.
If car shows and diners are like Bonnie and Clyde, or Jack and Jill, or some other iconic duo, then car shows, diners, and YOU are like the Three Musketeers, right? Because the sights to see and the dishes to eat at a car show are nothing if you’re not there to enjoy them. Head on down for an evening full of live music and hopefully-still-not-too-hot weather. Bring the family! 6 p.m. Saturday, June 15. Little Anthony’s Diner, 7010 E. Broadway Blvd. Details here.

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Chubasco: A Monsoon Exhibition. One of the things that makes summers in Tucson not only bearable, but actually kind of wonderful, of course, are the roaring, raging, remarkable thunder and lightning storms we know as monsoons. In honor of this, the Raices Taller Gallery is having an exhibit all about the monsoon, or chubasco. What’s more universal than water, and what’s more symbolic than the way the sun peeks through the clouds after a storm? Gallery hours are 1 to 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and by appointment. Saturday, June 15, to Saturday, July 27. Raices Taller 222 Art Gallery & Workshop, 218 E. Sixth St. Free. Details here. 

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DeGrazia’s Birthday. Happy birthday to one of the most iconic figures in Tucson: Ted DeGrazia! DeGrazia Gallery in the sun is hosting a day of free cake, free ice cream and free gallery admission to celebrate the art and architectures of the acclaimed Arizona artist. He was born in the copper mining camp of Morenci on June 14, 1909, so this would have been his big 110th. Take a stroll through the 10-acre gallery grounds to see some of his work in person. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, June 14. DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, 6300 N. Swan Road. Free. Details here.

Seventh Annual Dash for Dad 5K.
Considering that, when your father was a kid, he used to have to walk five miles in the snow, uphill, both ways, just to get back and forth between school and his job at the coal factory, the least you could do is go on a measly little 5K run. It’s barely over three miles! Plus, you might even end up having fun. Run with your dad! Run in honor of your dad! Run if you have a dad in your life or if you don’t! There are awards for the first 100 finishers, the first man and woman and the fastest dad. Tagrun hosts this run/walk along the Rillito River Path. 6:30 a.m. race start, 5:30 a.m. registration start. Saturday, June 15. Brandi Fenton Memorial Park, 3482 E. River Road. $25. Details here.

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Fathers’ Day Weekend & Classic Car Show. They’re ain’t enough room in Old Tucson for the two of us, unless the two of us are a father and a son, because men and boys of all ages get into Old Tucson for free on Fathers’ Day weekend, June 15 to 16. Plus, there will be a classic car show and whiskey tastings at Old Tucson—truly a dad’s dream. Look no “father” than this event for the perfect way to spend Dad’s Day. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 15 and Sunday, June 16. Old Tucson, 201 S. Kinney Road. Free admission for men and boys, $19.95 adults 12 to 64, $10.95 for kids 4 to 11, $17.95 for seniors 65+ and military, $16.95 for Pima County adult residents, $8.95 for Pima County child residents. Details here.

Tucson Pops! On this week’s edition of “free music under the stars in a beautiful park in a beautiful city,” David Hernandez Breton, conductor of the Sonora Philharmonic in Mexico, is the guest conductor. He’s been a soloist performer, concert perfomer, jazz musician and conductor pretty much all over the world, and now he’s coming to hang out with us! You’ll hear highlights from Jurassic Park, Strauss’s Blue Danube Waltz and Emperor Waltz, and selections from the Producers and Tchaikovky’s 1812 Overture, just for example. And hey, Broadway lovers! There’s also a “best Broadway marches” section of the evening. 7 p.m. Sunday, June 16. DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center at Reid Park, 900 S. Randolph Way. Free. Details here.

Have you been to one of these breakfast lecture series yet? This week, the host is BRINKmedia, the theme is “wonder,” and the speaker is Chris Walker, co-founder and chief scientist of FreeFall Aerospace. Walker, who’s been a professor of astronomy, optical sciences and electrical engineering at the UA for nearly three decades, has been the principal investigator on numerous NASA missions that involve crazy stuff like launching balloons into space and going to Antarctica. At FreeFall, he’s in charge of creating revolutionary antenna systems. If anyone is going to make you feel inspired, or at least make you feel motivated, it just might be this guy. 8:30 to 10 a.m. Friday, June 14. BRINKmedia, 1100 S. Sixth Ave. Free. Details here.

The Secret World of Sharks.
What do you and sharks have in common besides feeding on the blood of your enemies? Well, for one thing, sharks like music—some of them even have favorite bands. In most ways, though, sharks are just a lot cooler than us. They have three extra senses we don’t have. They’re born with full sets of teeth. They straight up just don’t have any bones. Join award-winning underwater photographer Samantha Schwann, who has photographed and dived with 21 species of shark. Without a cage. She’ll provide shark info and entertainment with her stories, photographs and dive footage. Heck yeah! 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 15. REI, 160 W. Wetmore Road. Free. Details here.

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Lavender Festival. Maybe you’re not usually willing to make the trip to Oracle. But for something as lovely as a lavender festival, how could you not be? Carolyn and John Blair, the owners of the four-acre Life Under the Oaks Lavender Farm, are hosting this day for guests to walk around fields of lavender in bloom, listen to live music, eat lavender treats and enjoy lavender cooking demonstrations. Kids can have their faces painted, make crafts with lavender, and visit farm animals—like donkeys, goats, chickens, ducks and a bunny. Carolyn, an artist, will have her art studio open, with paintings of the farm up for sale, as well as a wide variety of lavender plants and products. 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 15, and Sunday, June 16. Life Under the Oaks Lavender Farm, 103 Hobe Road, Oracle. $15, or free for kids under 12, with proceeds going toward the next phase of planting. Details here.

49th Annual Juneteenth Festival. Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration to commemorate the ending of slavery in the United States. It’s celebrating June 19, 1965, the day the Union soldiers landed in Galveston, Texas, and announced that the war was over and the slaves were free. And if that’s not worth celebrating, what is? This family-friendly festival features storytelling, shopping and plenty of food vendors, plus plenty of educational opportunities to learn more about the reason for the celebrating. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 15. Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave. Details here.

Tucson Sugar Skulls vs. QC Steamwheelers. Can you believe it? It’s already the last home game of the season for our hometown indoor football league! They’ll be facing off against the Quad City Steamrollers, in from Moline, Illinois. It’s wild to think that the team just launched its first season in the fall, and it’s already climbing its way up the ranks of the Indoor Football League. Take yourself out to the air-conditioned ball game and see what indoor football is all about before the season ends! 6 p.m. Saturday, June 15. Tucson Arena, 260 S. Church Ave. $10.  Details here.

Cool Summer Nights at the Desert Museum: Pollinator Party! You know what’s really the bee’s knees? Bees! And birds, butterflies, bats and beetles. They’re all pollinators, which means they play an important role in helping our desert ecosystem (and other ecosystems) thrive. In celebration of National Pollinator Week (June 17-23), the Desert Museum has got a night full of local honey samples, Mr. Nature’s pollination-themed songs and even a spelling bee! Get practicing on words like “Euathropoda,” the phylum bees belong to. Plus, Kim Franklin, Desert Museum research scientist, will be talking about the 700+ species of bees in the Sonoran Desert, from the smallest to the biggest, from the wildest to the most domesticated. Easy. Breezy. Beautiful. 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, June 15. Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, 2021 N. Kinney Road. $21.95 GA, $19.95 seniors 65+, $8.95 for kids 3 to 12, free for kids under 3, $17.95 for active or retired military, $16.95 for Arizona/Sonora residents. Details here.

The Quick and The Dead.
See Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe return to Old Tucson! Hosted by The Loft Cinema and Old Tucson, this screening takes place at the very location The Quick and the Dead was filmed. This ’90s Western focuses on a gunfighter who enters a dueling tournament to avenge her father’s death. 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, June 15. 201 S. Kinney Road. $5. Please bring your own seating. Bleacher seating is also available. Details here.

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Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. This 2008 miniseries was one of the first major productions created exclusively for online publication. It features Neil Patrick Harris as an aspiring super villain, with supporting roles by Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day. Casa Video Film Bar is hosting this movie, which is “as dramatic as it is fun.” 7 to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 15. 2905 E. Speedway Blvd. Details here.

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A Mighty Wind. From the team who brought you This Is Spinal Tap, A Mighty Wind is similar in mockumentary style, but this time takes on folk music! The film is a parody of the American folk music revival of the ’60s, and features Catherine O’Hara, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer and more. The Fox Theatre invites you behind the scenes! 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, June 15. 17 W. Congress Street. $5. Details here.

Father’s Day Screenings at The Loft Cinema. There are two polar-opposite movies showing at The Loft, so how you view your dad (or better yet, how he views you) will decide what movie you see. To Kill A Mockingbird. This movie, almost as iconic as the book it’s based on, features one of history’s greatest dads, Atticus Finch, played by Gregory Peck in an Oscar-winning performance. Finch stands for truth, and embodies hope. 2 to 4:20 p.m. Eraserhead. Perfectly capturing the nausea and dizziness of parenthood (as well as modern living), David Lynch’s surreal film debut just makes sense in black and white. 7:30 to 9:15 p.m. Sunday, June 16. 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. $8. Details here.

Events compiled by Tirion Morris, Emily Dieckman, B.S. Eliot and Jeff Gardner.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Police officer threatens to shoot African American man and his family after toddler ‘shoplifted’ a toy

“I’M GONNA SHOOT YOU IN YOUR F*****G FACE” – shouted a Phoenix police officer after demanding that an African-American man and his family step out of their car because their toddler had walked out of a shop holding a toy, unbeknownst, it would seem, to the parents.

Footage emerged of the incident in a car park in Arizona after pedestrians nearby recorded the alteration on their phones.

The footage, from May 29, sparked outrage as it appears to show police officers acting irrationally and aggressively toward an African American couple and their two young children who pose them no threat.

A Police officer pointing their gun at Iesha Harper and her two young children

Dravon Ames, Iesha Harper and their two children, 1-year-old London Drake and 4-year-old Island Drake, were allegedly driving to a babysitter after shopping at a local store when a police car appeared and demanded they pull over.

The officers were responding to a shoplifting report, and it appeared that Dravon and Iesha’s daughter had walked out of the store carrying a doll. The parents only realised she had taken the doll once they were in the car.

Ames claimed in an official complaint that the officers approached his car without warning lights or sirens, before jumping out and immediately threatening his family with their guns.

Ames is seen here being restrained

Footage captured by a passer-by shows the altercation as officers yelled frantically at the family and threatened to shoot them.

Harper was holding her one-year-old child during the fracas and also told the officers that she was pregnant.


One officer can be heard shouting :”You’re going to get f*****g shot” while he waves his gun in the faces of the family.

After being told to put her hands up, Harper tells the officers that she can’t as “I have a baby in my hands”.

When pushed to raise her hands again, she asks “do you want me to put my baby on the hot floor?”

A police officer points a finger at Harper during the altercation

Meanwhile, Ames is seen being held against a squad car while an officer berates him for ‘not complying’.

“When I tell you to do something you f*****g do it,” the policeman yelled.


“I am, I’m sorry,” said Ames in reply.

The shocking footage has prompted the family to file a $10 million lawsuit against the police department this week.

Watch the footage below.

The race to win the US Democratic primary: where does it stand?

A record 23 Democrats of diverse genders, races and political backgrounds are lining up to try to stop Republican US President Donald Trump from winning a second term in the 2020 elections.

Though much will change in the more than 500 days to go before polls open, a nationwide Fox News poll released this week showed former vice president Joe Biden leading the pack.

Here are five questions and answers as the campaign season in the United States begins:

– How will it play out? –

While the field will certainly shrink once the first votes of primary season are cast in Iowa in February, some candidates may call it quits after debates begin later this month.

Twenty candidates chasing the Democratic 2020 presidential nomination will square off in a prime-tim...

Twenty candidates chasing the Democratic 2020 presidential nomination will square off in a prime-time two-night debate in Miami on June 26 and 27, 2019


An unprecedented prime-time broadcast from Miami awaits: over two nights, June 26 and 27, millions of Americans will tune in to the highly-anticipated debut debate of the cycle.

The Democratic National Committee set lenient standards for the special event broadcast live on NBC News, MSNBC and Spanish-language Telemundo, meaning a whopping 20 candidates — 10 per night — will be squaring off in what is likely to be an unwieldy event.

Three lower-tier hopefuls failed to meet the selection criteria, which were based on polling and a candidate’s number of unique donors.

The second debate, broadcast July 30 and 31 on CNN, will follow similar guidelines.

The months that follow are expected to see a further winnowing of the field as debates raise their thresholds for participation. Candidates who fail to draw new supporters and get squeezed out of media exposure could quickly lose steam.

Iowa opens the voting, with its famous first-in-the-nation caucus set for February 3, and eventually a nominee will be officially named at the Democratic National Convention held July 13-16, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

– Who are the top contenders? –

Former vice president Joe Biden has so far dominated the Democratic field ahead of the November 3, 2020 election date, outpolling Trump and topping the Democratic field.

Four other Democrats were also more popular than the president, according to the Fox News poll.

Liberal US Senator Bernie Sanders seen here in San Francisco on June 2 2019 is among the frontrun...

Liberal US Senator Bernie Sanders, seen here in San Francisco on June 2, 2019, is among the frontrunners in the crowded field for the Democratic presidential nomination

Josh Edelson, AFP/File

Liberal independent Senator Bernie Sanders, progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren, South Bend’s young Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Kamala Harris, a former California attorney general, all beat out Trump, according to the poll, though the latter three came within its margin of error.

Besides that group, ex-congressman Beto O’Rourke is also seen as strong competition.

But the primary could be full of surprises, as any candidate, including the underdogs, could have a breakout moment in the debates.

There is unprecedented diversity in the race: six women, three African-Americans, a Latino, a Hindu of Samoan heritage, an Asian-American tech entrepreneur, and the first openly gay major candidate are all in the field.

– What issues are they running on? –

Expanding health care, defending reproductive rights, fighting for a higher minimum wage, protecting the environment, reducing gun violence and reining in Wall Street are already among the top issues Democrats are addressing on the campaign trail.

In 2016, Sanders waged a primary battle against Hillary Clinton, losing but moving ideas widely perceived as too radical, such as universal health care, to the mainstream among many Democrats.

Several candidates including Biden are bringing a more centrist vision, and the result could be a vigorous battle of ideas between progressives and moderates.

One topic is expected to dominate the debates: Trump himself. The prospect of launching impeachment proceedings against him has already divided Democrats, with Warren and Sanders urging that path while Biden has tiptoed around the issue.

– Can Biden hang on? –

Months before entering the race, Barack Obama’s former right-hand man already led in the Democratic polling, and from the start he has sought to appear above the fray, declining to tangle directly with his top Democratic rivals.

Former US vice president Joe Biden is the top-ranked Democrat seeking to win the right to challenge ...

Former US vice president Joe Biden is the top-ranked Democrat seeking to win the right to challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 election

Dominick Reuter, AFP/File

Analysts have said that strategy could quickly come unglued.

He is seeking to win the primary of a party that has become more left-leaning than the one he represented as a longstanding US senator and then vice president.

The political veteran has already been forced to revise his stance on abortion access.

He will also be pressed to defend several votes he cast during more than three decades in the Senate that are facing 21st-century scrutiny and rein in his affectionate physical campaign style, which several women have publicly said made them uncomfortable.

– What are progressives’ chances? –

Progressives Sanders and Warren are second and third in the polls, respectively, and that suggests a heated battle on the left to attract voters in the primary, and to challenge centrist Biden.

Senator Elizabeth Warren calls herself a capitalist opposed to unrestrained markets

Senator Elizabeth Warren calls herself a capitalist opposed to unrestrained markets

Josh Edelson, AFP/File

The 77-year-old Sanders, still popular after his 2016 run, maintains a lead over his Senate colleague, but Warren, who turns 70 next Saturday, has cut into his poll advantage.

Will her rising star be able to eclipse Sanders? The latter fiercely defends his “socialist” moniker, while Warren has insisted she is a capitalist who opposes corporate monopolies and “markets without rules.”

Post Malone Gets Personal at Bonnaroo

Post Malone Bonnaroo Equirk22Photo: Emily Quirk

The last time Bonnaroo had a headliner who performed solo for the duration of their set, it didn’t go that well. That would be Kanye West’s second appearance at the festival in 2014, when the mercurial MC’s antics came across as antagonistic toward the crowd. Singer and rapper Post Malone, who performed onstage all by himself in Saturday’s headline slot, took a very different tack. One component of his persona is fiercely asserting his artistic independence; another is opening himself up to his audience, which works as a way to encourage fans to believe in their own self-worth. You could infer from his massive streaming and sales numbers that those messages resonate with a lot of people. And judging by the ecstatic response from the crowd packed into the field in front of What Stage, he’s highly skilled at communicating that in person.

A few minutes before the show, there was another reversal of a prior notorious Bonnaroo episode. Eminem’s use of realistic gunshot and explosion sound effects scared the bejesus out of people who weren’t even at his set in 2018. Before Post Malone played, there was a warning over the P.A. and on the screens flanking the stage that there would be loud bangs during his set. That didn’t do anything to spoil the effect of the explosion sound and 20 or so seconds of disorientingly deep bass rumble that preceded Malone’s entrance. 

Decked out in a short-sleeved suit covered in a pattern that appeared to be made from a photo of Dolly Parton, the 23-year-old star came out singing “Too Young” in a cloud of fog against a dark screen, which later blinked to life with one strip of light across its top. The production ramped up quickly with burst after burst of pyro — flames spouted from all over the stage, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of a wrestling match. 

“My name is Austin Richard Post, and I’m here to play y’all some music and get fucked up,” he said ahead of “Better Now,” the next song. “Thank y’all so much, every single one of y’all, for comin’ out and fuckin’ with me tonight. Let’s get fuckin’ weird!

For the next hour and change, he bounced around the stage, riding the heavy, R&B- and trap-schooled beats. He appeared to be having the time of his life, and he thanked the audience profusely. He sang and rapped at the top of his lungs, in his trademark ragged-edged croon, about things that aren’t easy to talk about. He dug into romantic relationships in “Better Now” and “Stay.” He did a fine job of playing the latter on an acoustic guitar, despite his charming and disarming nervousness in introducing it. Several numbers explored the social awkwardness, feelings of isolation and paranoia that can result from a rapid rise to fame like his, including “Candy Paint,” “Psycho,” “Wow. ” and “Rockstar,” after which he smashed his guitar. 

Post Malone Bonnaroo Equirk41Photo: Emily Quirk

At first blush, the problems of a famous person don’t sound all that relatable, even in the social-media-warped world we live in. But Malone kept bringing them back home for his crowd. Near the end of the set, he recounted how his breakout hit “White Iverson,” which he played earlier, suddenly made him a public person — something he’s grateful for, even if it’s been difficult to cope with sometimes. He explained how people who talked down to him after “White Iverson” now wish him well at every opportunity. That became the inspiration for his hit single “Congratulations,” with which he ended the show. 

“They said we’d never go fuckin’ gold, we’d never go fuckin’ platinum, we’d never go fuckin’ diamond, and now I’m playin’ fuckin’ Bonnaroo in front of tens of thousands of beautiful people,” he said, to massive cheers. “This is my way of tellin’ y’all: ‘Live your fuckin’ life. Do whatever the fuck you wanna do.’ Because you fuckin’ kick ass. Live your life, live your dream, live your fuckin’ truth. And don’t let nobody fuckin’ tell you shit. Because each and every every single one of y’all fuckin’ rocks.”

Like generations of great songwriters and entertainers, Post Malone is adept at making extremely personal things translate to a wide audience, and he’s a living example of the contemporary struggle to cope with life at the speed of the Information Age. It still remains to be seen how he will handle another important part of the cultural context of his career. He’s a white man who’s having incredible success playing music that draws heavily on styles invented and perfected by black artists. He’s been criticized for his lack of engagement with social and political issues facing black communities, something that’s intimately tied to that music. And he hasn’t made a lot of effort (that the public can see, anyway) to change that. 

All the same, in a recent TMZ interview, Malone stood up for the right of Lil Nas X — the black singer whose country-trap smash-hit “Old Town Road” you’ve probably heard a thousand times  to make whatever kind of music he wants to make. (In case you missed it, Billboard took “Old Town Road” off the Hot Country Songs chart, claiming it didn’t contain enough elements of country music to be there. Lil Nas X was also part of a Wrangler fashion campaign, for which some folks, who either are uninformed of or are ignoring the history of African Americans in country music, accused him of cultural appropriation.) 

It will take some work for Post Malone to incorporate a discussion of systemic racism, income inequality or other issues into his songs or his show in a way that feels natural. But it’s work that’s worth doing, and that he seems capable of. He’s tapped into the anxieties and aspirations of millions of young people, and he has a gift for communicating with them in person, made clear again and again when he was onstage alone in front of thousands of them on Saturday. When he’s ready to talk, odds are good that his fans will listen.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

America’s natural gas and oil industry is hiring

natural gas and oil industry

The economy is booming, but that doesn’t mean it’s all Easy Street for American families. Costs for household essentials continue to rise – with expenses for healthcare up 73 percent over 10 years, education costs increasing 58 percent and food bills rising 26 percent. There’s one important exception: energy costs.

Billions saved

Household energy expenses have dropped 10.5 percent, and Americans saved $300 billion in 2016 compared to 2010. As recently as 2011, media reports were blaring headlines like “$4 Gas Might be Here to Stay.”

With the United States now leading the world in production of natural gas and oil, families are enjoying welcome savings on their utility bills and at the gas pump – savings that help them afford other priorities that keep getting pricier.

For a growing number of American workers, the U.S. natural gas and oil industry doesn’t just mean lower bills, it means fatter paychecks.

‘Best bet’

A 2018 Bloomberg report called the industry “the best bet for U.S. workers” thanks to its “paycheck potency” – with salary levels that “topped all sectors, including utilities, tech and health care” in recent rankings.

Non-retail station jobs in the natural gas and oil industry pay an average annual wage of over $100,000 – nearly $50,000 more than the U.S. average. Studies show natural gas and oil industry workers earn more across all education levels, degree majors, gender and race/ethnicity groups, and occupation types.

The diversity of career opportunities means there’s something for everyone – across a variety of fields and education levels. Geologists, engineers, rig workers, welders, electricians, communications professionals, truck drivers, environmental consultants, business analysts, computer technicians – you name it.

Opportunities are growing

The industry supports 10.3 million U.S. jobs across the economy – 2.7 additional jobs for each direct natural gas and oil job. With 40 percent or more of the industry’s worker base expected to retire by 2035, there’s never been a better time to join the energy workforce.

Studies project we’ll see nearly 1.9 million job opportunities over that period in the oil and natural gas and petrochemical industries – with 707,000 jobs, or 38percent of the total, projected to be filled by African American and Hispanic workers. We consider that number a floor, not a ceiling.

One of our top priorities as an industry is building a more diverse workforce, and ensuring these opportunities reach every community. One of the biggest barriers our research has identified is lack of awareness about the opportunities in our industry. We’re partnering with a number of organizations to change that.

Through coordinated efforts with groups like the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and others, we’re working to spread the word that the industry is hiring.

We’re building

Constructing the pipelines and other infrastructure needed to keep pace with record energy production – and move affordable energy to homes and businesses — can support up to 1 million-plus jobs per year. That means construction workers, welders, pipe fitters. We partner with the National Building Trades Unions to train workers for these good jobs.

The industry also needs workers with backgrounds in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. In coordination with these organizations and many more, companies sponsor and participate in job fairs, hands-on educational labs, science fairs and teacher training.

As great as the opportunities are, it’s not all about the paycheck. America’s energy professionals are part an industry that fuels the economy and powers daily life. It’s an industry of innovators – that not only leads the world in production of natural gas and oil but is developing the technologies that make our air cleaner.

World leader

The United States leads the world in reduction of carbon emissions, thanks primarily to clean natural gas. Cleaner fuels and other breakthroughs have helped drive combined emissions of the primary air pollutants down 73 percent since 1970 – while energy use and vehicle miles have climbed.

Building a better future takes energy, and building the best workforce is essential to keep delivering energy benefits to U.S. families. Working with our partners in African American and Hispanic communities, America’s natural gas and oil industry is focused on expanding opportunities and building the diversity that will make our workforce even stronger.

Mike Sommers is president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute. Click on this commentary at to write your own response.

Galleries: Celebrating the work of avant garde artist Senga Nengudi

Tights attached to the wall, stretched out, filled with sand, hanging, taut, spider-like, to the floor. RSVP, as it is called, is avant garde artist Senga Nengudi’s most well-known and influential work, both within and beyond the shores of her native America. It is just one of the pieces in a major retrospective of the African American artist’s work that will open at Fruitmarket next week, the second-leg of the first solo institutional showing of Nengudi’s work in the UK.

The exhibition opened last Autumn at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds, where it was conceived by the Head of Programmes, Laurence Sillars, long an advocate of Nengudi’s work, to redress the low level of exposure she has had in Europe, despite her “enormous contribution to the narrative of sculpture over the past 40-50 years.” Born in Chicago in 1943, Nengudi studied Dance and Art at the University of California, Los Angeles, (BA, 1967), Japanese Culture at Tokyo University (1966-7), before returning to UCLA for an MA in Sculpture (1971). Her output to date includes sculpture, installation, video work, photography, painting, and poetry, yet she also creates work under various pseudonyms, playing with racial and gender preconceptions.

If Nengudi was part of the Los Angeles and New York avant garde in the 1960s and ’70s, her work trod its own path, diverting from the strict abstraction that ruled at the time, held back, too, by an art world that was both dominated by men and overwhelmingly white. Her radical work was championed by Linda Goode Bryant – who is coming over the Fruitmarket to give a much-anticipated talk on 19th March – in the 1970s and ’80s at the Just Above Midtown Gallery in the middle of art-land New York. And yet, “She hasn’t had the exposure that she could have had because people misread her work,” says Sillars, of a 1970s art world that thought her subtle, inclusive work wasn’t political enough, wasn’t feminist enough, or did not deal outright with topics of racial identity as they saw it. Recent major group exhibitions constructed specifically around feminism and racial identity have included Nengudi’s work, “but although it’s a vital force in her work, it is not the whole of it,” says Sillars. This exhibition will, he hopes, introduce viewers to “the many radical forms and different types of works (she has made) over the last four decades.” “The principle motive was to be expansive and show key moments throughout her career.”

The body and its movement in space has been a key element in Nengudi’s work, not least RSVP , which has been recreated in many ways and in many places since its first outing in 1977. Made whilst Nengudi was pregnant, it played on her fascination with the way her body was changing.

If the viewers’ first reaction is to “giggle at something so common as pantyhose used in sculpture,” said Nengudi once, sustained viewing shows her exploration of “the imposed tightness and packaging of one’s body”, and, by extension, the restrictions imposed on women in other ways. The works were frequently “activated” by Nengudi and fellow artist and choreographer Maren Hassinger in the early days, weaving their bodies in and out of the piece, stretching it, playing with the weighted sand “feet”.

Sillars is most pleased, he tells me, with the recreation of Nengudi’s early water sculptures, created in 1969, yet never shown or made since and a “key ambition” for the show. “She’d given up hope of seeing or working with them again,” says Sillars of the hard-to-fabricate works, which Nengudi, in Leeds for two weeks to install the exhibition, recreated with the help of a “very accomplished technician”. “The forms flunk on the plinth – everyone calls them popsicles,” he says of works which are both serious and warm, human and funny. Made, originally, to be touched and interacted with, like most of her work, their tactility must now only be imagined.

Nengudi’s key interest in not only the differences, but particularly the commonality of humanity across history and continents and religious practices is seen in another large installation not seen since the 1990s, called Sandmining, “that suggests the aftermath at a site of ritual.” There is also work that deals in the things we choose to hand down. “Bulemia” was another lost installation made in Baltimore in 1993, comprised of newspapers that Nengudi’s mother had assiduously collected for her down the years, “things which had some kind of resonance.”

“When they deinstalled the exhibition, the newspaper was all thrown away…Senga was devastated, and started collecting newspapers for her own kids,” says Sillars. That material has been used for a major new installation in this exhibition, echoing the Baltimore exhibition of 1993, but providing a whole new history in headlines. It, alongside all the other known and “lost” works, provide a hugely exciting possibility to view the key elements of Nengudi’s output over the past 50 years at a gallery, the Fruitmarket, that loves, as Sillars puts it “to shed light on the overlooked.”

Senga Nengudi, Fruitmarket Gallery, 45 Market Street, Edinburgh, 0131 225 2383, 16 March – 26 May, Daily 11am – 6pm. Linda Goode Bryant in Conversation, Tues 19 Mar, 6pm – 7pm

Don’t Miss

The late Karolina Larusdottir’s, who died just a few weeks before this Castle Gallery exhibition opened, had an upbringing in Reyjavik that sounds the stuff of a novel. The granddaughter of a strongman in a travelling circus, she spent many childhood holidays in the Hotel Borg, which her grandfather set up as Reyjavik’s first “grand hotel” in the 1930s. The Hotel and its life inspired her surrealist work, many fine examples of which are displayed on the walls of the gallery this month.

The Good Gathering: Karolina Larusdottir, Castle Gallery, 43 Castle Street, Inverness, 729512 1-30 March, Mon – Sat, 9am – 5pm

Critic’s Choice

Zembla is only a gallery sometimes, its owner Brian Robertson tells me. Neat, white cube, very modern, it is contained within a house that only came into existence some few years ago when Robertson, a retired academic who “ran away to art college in middle age”, decided to fulfil a dream and build his own house in Hawick in the Borders. With an extra room downstairs overlooking the garden, he and his wife Lesley decided to create a temporary art gallery, which opens only a few times a year but has an artistic programme which belies its size, bringing high quality work to give locals the chance to see work “not normally seen outside a city centre.”

The Spring Exhibition, titled Heat and bringing together artists who make work using heat, or are otherwise engaged with the idea of heat, is a group show that includes work by Roger Ackling, David Blackaller, experimental filmmaker Nick Collins, London-based abstract painters Carol Robertson and Trevor Sutton and Dutch minimal sculptor Cecilia Vissers. Blackaller, who curated the show, chose his cohorts based on “their shared interest in economy, simplicity, or rhythm; each working in a different abstract language, with works often echoing something of landscape or an attitude of contemplation”.

Ackling, who died in 2014, is represented by early works, the sun burning insistent lines onto found pieces of wood, a key element in his work. Blackaller uses wood that has previously had some other functional use, marking it with traces of paths taken, of objects encountered. Robertson works with reductive geometries, Vissers with notched sculptures that abstract her relationship with nature.

Heat, Zembla Gallery, Little Lindisfarne, Stirches Road, Hawick, TD9 7HF, Tel: 07843625232, 18 Mar – 14 Apr, Open by appointment only.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment