Category: Story 1

An Extraordinary Star

Astronomy, the achievements of women of science, and our place in the universe are all explored in an ATC production that features a gifted, Tucson-based performer.

Scott Barker

“There’s so much that’s relatable for me,” observes Veronika Duerr about the character she portrays in Arizona Theatre Company’s production of Silent Sky. “In the very opening moments of the play, Henrietta is onstage by herself looking up at the sky, and she admits to always searching for something extraordinary. That she’s never been able to be satisfied with just enough. And I have always felt like that; I have a desire to live an extraordinary life. To do something extra special.”

Image of Veronika Duerr
Veronika Duerr Photo by Vanie Poyey

Duerr’s life has, indeed, been a series of exceptional accomplishments, and she can add Silent Sky in bold characters to that list. Lauren Gunderson’s play, based on real-life Harvard College Observatory astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt, takes audiences both on the scientific search for where we are in the universe, as well as where each of us fits into the glittering expanse of humanity.

It is a perfect fit for Duerr, who — having just recently moved to Tucson with her husband Sean and their baby — is navigating a new world. And she has long been an explorer, both of the cities in which she’s lived, but also the craft of the theater.

Growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, she discovered her calling when she was barely out of diapers. “My parents took me to the theater, and I remember the first play I saw being a touring musical production of Peter Pan when I was in kindergarten,” she reflects. “The next day in school all I would do is draw pictures of the different scenes and tell everybody what had happened, and about the sets and costumes. I was just enamored of it.”

It wasn’t long before she was watching mainstage productions at Atlanta’s prestigious Alliance Theatre, and dreaming of the day when she would be in the footlights. Showing her talents in school productions was a big step in her development. “I would say that I was a drama kid through and through,” she says of her formative years. “I didn’t miss out on any high school experiences, but I was so super-focused that I was doing community theater, as well as theater programs downtown, drama camps, productions at school, drama club and all that.”

She enrolled at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she prepared to lead a far-from-ordinary life of telling truths through the art of professional make-believe. After graduating, she took a big leap of faith. “I started a theatre company called The Weird Sisters Theatre Project,” she notes, “which is committed to putting women into the power positions of director, playwright and producer. That came about because when I was living in Atlanta in my 20s and trying to get directing and producing jobs, fairly often I would be passed over for an untested male. I was like, ‘Let’s just build something where we can create a body of work to represent ourselves, and then maybe we’ll start getting the work that we want.’”

Named for characters in Macbeth, the theater company has given a huge boost to the careers of the women who produced and directed its productions. “Everybody involved has really benefited from it, and it’s been awesome,” says Duerr.

Her journey to the Old Pueblo encompassed numerous trips back and forth across the country for job opportunities. “I went from Atlanta to New York, back to Atlanta, then LA, Atlanta, then Lowell, Massachusetts, and finally Arizona. I always went back to Atlanta to save up some money before the next adventure!” she says with a laugh.

The adventures show no signs of letting up. Though ATC audiences will watch her portray a scientist from 100 years ago, theatergoers in Scotland recently saw her in a very different role. “It’s really out there,” she says of her one-woman show. “It’s called GLOCKENSPIELSEXPARTYBAVARIA GOODBYE. It’s a fast, funny, sexy comedy about an agoraphobic phone sex dominatrix who goes on a whirlwind journey through Bavaria, as well as deep within herself, to rescue a friend in need from the claws of a mythical beast.”

Duerr wrote the piece with her New York-based friend Johnny Drago, and despite the nontraditional subject matter, she says she can identify with key components. “I have a social anxiety disorder that can manifest itself in agoraphobia, and I’ve worked on that my entire life,” she reveals. “My parents came over from Germany in the 1970s, and all my family still lives there in a small town. I knew that I wanted to touch on the ideas of agoraphobia, but also someone who is capable of being an extrovert, and to be whoever other people need her to be, but can’t always do it for herself.”

Though Silent Sky wasn’t written specifically for her, it easily could have been. Playwright Lauren Gunderson, a longtime friend of Duerr and her husband, explains, “Since I first wrote the play, I have always wanted Veronika to do this role.”

Photo of Playwright Lauren Gunderson
Playwright Lauren Gunderson Photo by Kirsten Lara Getchall

Gunderson is very comfortable writing about science, and the roles that women have had in discoveries, and this play gives her the opportunity to explore things from several sides. “One reason I wanted to write it is that oftentimes we see stories of women — even celebrated, strong characters — but they are alone,” she elaborates. “They are in a man’s world, or they are only in the world of their family. What’s interesting about this story is Henrietta is one of several incredibly brilliant female scientists who worked at the Harvard Observatory at the same time. So we have the characters of Willamina Fleming and Annie Cannon, both true, historical characters, as well as Henrietta. And then we added Henrietta’s sister Margaret, who held a more traditional female role, kind of wife/ mother/domestic. So we have this quartet of women who tell us the story, which makes it the story of not just one woman, but of four different, amazing ones.”

In the early part of the 20th century, Leavitt was a “computer” at the observatory, doing calculations to arrive at a method of determining the distance from earth to other galaxies. “The question of this play is ‘where are we?’” Gunderson comments. “That’s kind of a general question, but it can mean a lot of things the more you dig. For the scientists in the play, it means, ‘where are we in the universe … how big is it?’ We can’t know where we are until we know how big the thing is. That is part of the science that Henrietta was able to crack into for the first time in human history. And it’s a deeper question about where we are in terms of the relationship between men and women, and human, social and political progress.”

Lest anyone think that this will be an egghead play, chockfull of baffling scientific theories, Gunderson interjects, “I have written about science for the majority of my career, so I have an instinct of how to do it, what are too many details, what’s too much math.”

She also notes that there are unexpected elements to the play, including very strong visual and musical components. “There is a theatricality to Henrietta’s science. It’s based in almost a musicality because the astronomy that she was able to uncover is about patterns and amplitude. She is looking at those patterns in terms of light, but in the theater we can use it for light as well as sound. It’s a really cool exploration for any theater because of what it asks in terms of lighting, scenic and sound designers … it brings out the best of theater.”

And if that’s not enough to entice people, she adds that there also is an unconventional romance in the piece. “There’s a love story, but it’s not one that you might anticipate. Neither of the lovers expect, or even want, to be in love. It’s a bit of an accidental, ‘Wait a minute … what’s happening here?’ sort of thing. It’s fun and refreshing.”

And while the characters in the play explore their places in the vastness of existence, and the niches they fit into in the lives of others, the playwright and the lead actress will both be exploring life in a city that has been called an “astronomy capital.” Gunderson says that she has never been to Tucson, and is looking forward to the chance to see it during the run of her play. Duerr has lived in the city a short while, but is rapidly acclimating to it. She loves the opportunity to hike around the state, ski when the weather accommodates, and indulge in one of the key features at her home. “I love swimming in my pool. That’s a new thing, to have a swimming pool. It feels so luxurious!” she exclaims.

Live help

Curtain Going Up!

Get your tickets now for another amazing season! Here are a few of the must-see performances.

A History of Violins

Celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of a mastermind who changed the musical landscape forever is no small undertaking. Fortunately, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra is more than up to the task of honoring Ludwig von Beethoven with performances that include Yekwon Sunwoo playing the Piano Concerto No. 3 (Sept. 20, 22, 2019); the Symphony No. 5 (Dec. 6, 8, 2019); Symphonies Numbers 1 and 6 (Feb. 14, 16, 2020); as well as a whole bunch of Beethoven symphonies played during the Masterworks Series (No. 4 on Oct. 5-6, 2019; Numbers 2 and 8, Jan. 11-12, 2020; No. 3, Feb. 29-March 1, 2020).

The TSO also will perform the monumental Mahler Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection” (April 3, 5, 2020), with Maestro José Luis Gomez on the podium, and Bruce Chamberlain directing the TSO Chorus.

Each season, we always expect a lot of star power to radiate from the stage when the TSO plays, and 2019-2020 will be no exception, with concerts featuring guitar virtuoso Sharon Isbin performing a concerto by John Corigliano (Nov. 15, 17, 2019); violin superstar Tessa Lark playing a folk-music-influenced piece that was written for her by Michael Torke (Oct. 25, 27, 2019); and Paul Huang playing Samuel Barber’s immensely popular Violin Concerto (March 13, 15, 2020).

Among the numerous delights awaiting subscribers to the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra’s season are the opportunity to hear Melanie Chae perform Tchaikovsky’s gorgeous Piano Concerto No. 1 (March 14-15, 2020); and Andrea Trovato play Gershwin’s jazz-infused Rhapsody in Blue (April 25-26, 2020).

The Arizona Friends of Chamber Music continue to bring many of the best musicians in the world right to our doorstep, with a season that will include the Russian String Orchestra (Oct. 23, 2019) playing works by Dvorak, Schnittke and Hindemith; the much-loved Takács Quartet returning (Dec. 4, 2019) for a concert that includes two Beethoven quartets and a Haydn quartet); and exciting new groups such as Neave Trio (Dec. 12, 2019) playing a program of all female composers, including Jennifer Higdon; and Lineage Percussion (Feb. 23, 2020) ably demonstrating the many ways that their instruments can be the heart and soul of an orchestra.

The groundwork for so much of the popular classical repertoire was laid back in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is the mission of the Arizona Early Music Society to give audiences the opportunity to hear this outstanding music (and that of other eras), played by some of the finest musicians in the world, in intimate concert settings. Included in this season’s programming will be the group Quicksilver playing a program of Extravagant and Virtuosic Music from 17th-Century Germany (Dec. 8, 2019); Agave Baroque, joined by countertenor Reginald Mobley, to perform a concert (Jan. 19, 2020) of composers born in the Americas, including African-American composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries; and legendary violinist Rachel Barton Pine with Trio Settecento in a program of works by Arcangelo Corelli and his contemporaries (March 22, 2020).

Tucson Guitar Society consistently provides the community with exciting music from guitarists with international reputations, as well as some spectacular homegrown talent. Among the highlights will be Duo Assad, the Grammy-winning brothers Sérgio and Odair (Nov. 2-3, 2019) whose performances showcase the beauty and the versatility of their instruments; and David Russell (Feb. 22-23, 2020), a world-renowned instrumentalist who will not only perform solo, but also present a recital of the finalists of his David Russell Bach Prize (Feb. 26, 2020).

Trumpeter Ingrid Jensen jazzes it up for UA Presents on March 3, 2020. Photo by Jimmy Katz

UA Presents will feature a number of not-to-be-missed artists, including the eclectic Kronos Quartet (Jan. 18, 2020); violinist extraordinaire Itzhak Perlman (March 1, 2020); and for fans of mindblowing jazz, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen (March 3, 2020).

Be sure to check the schedules online for the concerts by the UA Fred Fox School of Music (, and Pima Community College ( index.html ). The quality of both the faculty performances and student recitals is incredible, and the ticket prices are very pocketbook friendly.

OK, Chorale

Whether you have an obsession with oratorio, you’re inclined toward arias, or show stoppers set your feet to tapping, you’ll find lots to love this season.

The TSO will be joined by both vocal groups and soloists, including for a concert of works by Rossini, with soprano Federica Lombardi and the TSO Chorus (Jan. 24, 26, 2020). Renée Fleming, one of the most acclaimed singers of our time, whose performances have included operas, musicals and programs of jazz and pop standards, joins the TSO for one evening (Feb. 6, 2020) as part of the Tucson Desert Song Festival.

Arizona Opera will stage several beloved classics, including La Bohème (Feb. 1-2, 2020) and Ariadne auf Naxos (April 11-12, 2020), as well as present some newer works, such as the Frank Lloyd Wright-themed Shining Brow (Oct. 5-6, 2020), the McCarthy-era Fellow Travelers (Nov. 16-17, 2019), and a reprise of the AZ Opera-commissioned work Riders of the Purple Sage (March 7-8, 2020).

True Concord Voices & Orchestra [see story, page 16] specializes in the alchemy that results from singers and other instruments coming together. With a theme this season of In Genius, you know you’ll hear some of the most beautiful combinations imaginable, especially with concerts such as the Mozart & da Vinci offering (Nov. 22-24, 2019) that will include a new work by Jocelyn Hagen based on the great inventor’s notebooks. The works of Shakespeare also will be honored (Oct. 11-13, 2019), as well as the melding of Goethe’s text and Brahms’ divine music (Feb. 21-23, 2020).

You’ll hear some very familiar choral pieces during SASO’s concert season, including two works that are so popular they have found their way into countless movie soundtracks: Carmina Burana (Nov. 16-17. 2019), and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (April 25-26, 2020), both with soloists and The Helios Ensemble.

UA Presents will welcome to town a variety of exciting vocalists, including Lila Downs, joined by Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company and Mariachi Femenil (Oct. 16, 2019), and classically trained cabaret singer Cécile McLorin Salvant (April 8, 2020) with The Aaron Diehl Trio.

Musicals, both new and classic, will abound in 2019-2020. Look for a full season from Broadway in Tucson that will include Anastasia (Nov. 19-24, 2019), about a mysterious woman who may be a surviving member of the Romanov family; an adaptation of Chazz Palminteri’s oneman show A Bronx Tale (March 24-29, 2020) into a full-blown song-and-dance 1960s spectacular; and Come From Away (June 2-7, 2020) based on the true story of the towns in Newfoundland that took in stranded passengers during 9/11.

Arizona Theatre Company stages a 50-year-old work that continues to be topical, Cabaret (Nov. 30-Dec. 29, 2019), along with a newer musical that also touches on issues of intolerance, The Legend of Georgia McBride (March 7-28, 2020).

Get to the Pointe

Dance continues to have a strong presence in the Old Pueblo, with full seasons by Ballet Tucson and UA Dance, as well as a number of big companies performing as part of the UA Presents schedule.

Ballet Tucson will present Jekyll & Hyde, Oct. 31, Nov. 1, Nov. 3, 2019. Photo by Ed Flores

Among the highlights are the return of BT’s steampunk-driven Jekyll & Hyde production (Oct. 31, Nov. 1, Nov. 3, 2019), as well as Balanchine’s Serenade (Jan. 31, Feb. 1-2, 2020) along with the Ballet Tucson premiere of Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco (March 13-15, 2020).

UA Dance highlights the strengths of its student dancers throughout the year, with special emphasis on up-and-coming talent during In the Wings (Dec. 5-8, 2019) and Curtain Call (April 23-May 2, 2020). Audiences also can view the skills of some of the faculty and guest artists during concert such as Premium Blend (Nov. 13-17, 2019).

Also on campus, UA Presents will thrill audiences with the innovative work of Brazilian troupe Grupo Corpo (Feb. 8, 2020), and the comic-yet-intense Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (March 18, 2020).

I Remember Drama

Dierdra McDowell stars in Down to Eartha for Invisible Theatre Nov. 22-23, 2019.

Few theatrical companies in the country present the type of season — thought-provoking, heartwarming and laughter-laden — that Invisible Theatre does. This year, they will present a number of Arizona or Southwest premieres, including the historically based Last Train to Nibroc (Oct. 22-Nov. 3, 2019), which centers on two strangers on a locomotive that also bears the bodies of the great American writers Nathanael West and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The season also includes Becoming Dr. Ruth (Feb. 11-23, 2020), a play about the famous sex-therapist; the return of playwright/actor Steve Solomon in From Brooklyn to Broadway (March 14-15, 2020); and a show about the career and activism of singer/actress Eartha Kitt, Down to Eartha (Nov. 22-23, 2019).

Arizona Theatre Company has a very diverse season, including Lauren Gunderson’s Silent Sky (Oct. 22-Nov. 9, 2019), based on the true story of 19th century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt. Athol Fugard’s moving tale of apartheidera South Africa, “Master Harold” … And the Boys (Jan. 18-Feb. 8, 2020) shows how timeless its message about humanity is; and Wendy MacLeod imagines a group of middle-aged women turning amateur sleuths in the comic Women in Jeopardy! (April 18-May 9, 2020).

Arizona Repertory Theatre proves how exciting it can be to watch burgeoning young actors sink their teeth into exciting works, with plays such as The Wolves (Feb. 8-23, 2020), which centers on a girls’ soccer team; and Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona (March 16-29, 2020), one of the earliest of the Bard’s comedies, which demonstrates his knack for works that rely on disguises, presumed deaths, and love winning out in the end.

There are numerous other theatrical companies in town whose performances are worthy of your time and attention. Checkout our monthly Datebook for productions by The Rogue Theatre, Something Something Theatre Company, Borderlands Theater, Live Theatre Workshop, Winding Road Theater Ensemble, Unscrewed Theater, as well as other groups.


Whether you’re a film fan, a devotee of music, an aficionado of live theater, or some hybrid, chances are there is a festival coming up you won’t want to miss. Here is a partial list for 2019-20:

Arizona Underground Film Festival (Sept. 13-22, 2019)

Film Fest Tucson (Oct. 10-12, 2019)

Tucson Terrorfest (Oct. 24-27, 2019)

Tucson Comic-con (Nov. 1-3, 2019)

Loft Film Fest (Nov. 7-14, 2019)

Tucson International Jewish Film Festival (Jan. 2020)

Tucson Jazz Festival (Jan. 10-20, 2020)

Tucson Desert Song Festival (Jan. 16-Feb. 6, 2020)

Tucson Festival of Books (March 2020)

Arizona Friends of Chamber Music’s Winter Festival (March 1-8, 2020)

Wild West Steampunk Convention (March 2020)

Blues & Heritage Festival (March 2020)

Arizona International Film Festival (April 2020)

Tucson International Mariachi Festival (April 2020)

The Tucson Folk Festival (April 4-5, 2020)

BELOW: The Legend of Georgia McBride will be the ATC musical offering March 7-28, 2020. Artwork courtesy of ATC

Trio Settecento, with Rachel Barton Pine, thrills AEMS audiences on March 22, 2020. Photo by Janette Beckman

What kind of home could you buy here if you had $3-5 million to spend? We have the answers!

6799 N. Rattlesnake Canyon Road
5 bedrooms
7 full baths
1 half bath
Square footage: 9,003
Acres: 49
Year built: 2000

Villa Esperero includes a 9,000-square-foot main house with two master suites, three additional guest suites, two additional bathrooms and a library. Mesquite hardwood floors, natural stone, flagstone and marble finishes. Multiple patios, terraces and balconies overlook the valley and mountain ranges. Gourmet kitchen, well-equipped butler’s pantry and formal dining room. Backyard includes a wraparound covered patio with outdoor kitchen and dining area and infinity-edge pool and spa.

Listing agent: Judy Smedes & Kate Herk Real Estate Group with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty Photos by Audra White/Images by Audra; Courtesy of Judy Smedes & Kate Herk Real Estate Group

7406 N. Secret Canyon Drive
4 bedrooms
4 full baths
1 half bath
Square footage: 8,327
Acres: 1.97
Year built: 1999

A hilltop Mediterranean located in the premier gated community The Canyons, this residence features a gracious soaring entry and separate reception area. There is a gallery space on both sides of the formal entry designed for art display and large-scale entertaining, as well as seated dining that can host 30-35 guests. Beautifully appointed mirror-image formal living and dining rooms flank the reception area and look out to the terrace, pool and city lights. Both rooms have carved stone gas fireplaces.

Listing agent: Judy Smedes & Kate Herk Real Estate Group with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty Images courtesy of Judy Smedes & Kate Herk Real Estate Group

8535 E. Shadow Side Place
6 bedrooms
7 bathrooms
Square footage: 5,402
Acres: .77
Year built: 1997

Mediterranean and Southwest architecture blend in this fully furnished sanctuary adjacent to Canyon Ranch Wellness Resort. Great Room with breathtaking views of both the Catalina and Rincon Mountains. Every room has its own full master bathroom with access to patio decks. Three bedrooms on each level, separate chef’squality kitchen with granite counters and a large island, as well as access to the outside deck and barbecue. Large, well-equipped laundry room includes a linen presser.

Listing agent: Edgar Yacob with Long Realty Company Photos by Daniel Snyder, courtesy of Long Realty Company

7582 N. Secret Canyon Drive
6 bedroom
6 full baths
4 half baths
Square footage: 13,350
Acres: 1.36
Year built: 2009

Located on a private lot with views of city lights and mountain ranges, the home includes many European antique finishes, such as fireplace mantels and surrounds, chandeliers, gold leaf crown molding and custom carpets. Formal living and dining rooms, butler’s kitchen and show kitchen, family room, den, nursery, English pub, 15-seat movie theater, three guest suites, exercise room, massage room, and an auto gallery with turntable for 15 cars. Pool, spa and an outdoor kitchen with pizza oven.

Listing agents: Janell Jellison and Paula Williams with Long Realty Company Images courtesy of Long Realty Company

11601 E. Lusitano Place
6 bedrooms
5 full baths
1 half bath
Square footage: 8,753
Acres: 3.31
Year built: 2001

Spanish/Mediterranean home in Wild Horse Ranch Estates with mountain views. The eat-in kitchen includes a large island, family size table, Sub-Zero refrigerator and six-burner gas cooktop with custom vent hood. Master suite has a gas fireplace, private patio, and a built-in entertainment center. Master bathroom has separate vanities, steam shower and jetted tub. There are two pools, including an indoor one with resistance jets. Attached two-bedroom guesthouse. There also is a detached, 12-vehicle garage with an apartment.

Listing agent: Don Vallee with Long Realty Company Photos by Ron McCoy, courtesy of Long Realty Company

3868 N. Canyon Ranch Drive – (not shown)
4 bedrooms
4 full baths
1 half bath
Square footage: 4,020
Acres: 0.62
Year built: 2009

A contemporary home on a view lot that backs up to Sabino Creek, the design includes walls of glass framing spectacular mountain views. Natural stone floors, wood ceilings and custom details abound. The gourmet kitchen features a mesquite butcher block island and stainless appliances, and overlooks the negative-edge pool/spa. Four lavish bedroom suites and an office make for an ideal retreat or full-time residence. This home is available furnished with some exclusions.

Listing agent: Bryan Durkin with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty

5831 E. Finisterra – (not shown)
4 bedrooms
4 full baths
2 half baths
Square footage: 7,442
Acres: 1.53
Year built: 1988

This estate located in Finisterra recently underwent a two-year, multimillion-dollar renovation by the current owners who sourced materials from around the globe. The elaborate kitchen features an enormous Calcutta marble island, Wolf appliances, custom walnut cabinets, French parquet floors and an 18th century French fireplace. There are three guest suites and a master suite with city and mountain views, a spa-like bathroom, fireplace and impressive closet. The backyard includes a pool/ spa and pavilion for entertaining.

Listing agent: Bryan Durkin with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty

6801 N. Dundedin Place
4 bedrooms
4 full baths
1 half bath
Square footage: 5,159
Acres: 1.33
Year built: 1994

Situated overlooking a golf course, and offering views of both city lights and the Santa Catalinas, this remodeled home features reclaimed oak floors with an inlay of Spanish deco tile. Modern amenities include an iPad interface automation for sound, with security and camera monitoring capabilities. The master suite has a luxurious bath with walk-in shower and private garden retreat. One additional en-suite bedroom is housed on the main level, with the remaining en-suite bedrooms on the lower level, which open on a shaded veranda.

Listing agent: The Gray/St. Onge Real Estate Group of Long Realty Company Photos courtesy of The Gray/St. Onge Real Estate Group

812 W. Granite Gorge Drive 339
4 bedrooms
4 full baths
1 half bath
Square footage: 7,133
Acres: 1.31
Year built: 2012

The finishes in this combination Mediterranean/modern/Tuscan-style home include handcrafted distressed flooring in office together with fireplace, library, wet bar and entertainment center. Massive front door leads to a majestic foyer with a custom ceiling with cove lighting. Staircase to loft media room created from Tivoli Walnut Slab material. The temperature-controlled wine room will showcase up to 600 bottles. Multiple outdoor spaces for relaxing/entertaining, such as the pool area, outdoor fire pit and upper deck cocktail lounge.

Listing agent: Suzie Corona and Josh Waggoner with Long Realty Company Photos by Ray Albright, courtesy of Suzie Corona and Josh Waggoner

1620 W. Niner Way
9 bedrooms
8 full baths
1 half bath
Square footage: 9,773
Acres: 16.01
Year built: 1992

Located in La Cholla Airpark, this residence has a spacious living room with 16-foot wood-beam-accented ceilings and window walls. Kitchen with top-of-the-line stainless steel appliances, breakfast bar and utility island with gas cook-top and vegetable sink. The master suite has two seating areas, his/her closets, lavish bathroom with gas fireplace, steam room with shower and large, jetted bathtub. Also included: a three-bedroom guesthouse, metal barn with five-horse stall and tack room, and access to a private hangar with apartment. Listing agent: Don Vallee with Long Realty Company

Photos by Colin Catron Photography, courtesy of Long Realty Company


Disclaimer: All information for this article has been excerpted from recent real estate listings that have been edited by Tucson Lifestyle for publication. Details for the various homes are good-faith representations and are not intended to be all-inclusive. Homes may have sold, been removed from the Multiple Listing Service, or been altered from their descriptions after press time.

Time for a ROAD TRIP!

With so much to explore in Arizona, it’s hard to narrow down the list of cities, towns, and villages to visit, but we’ve picked a handful that are definitely worth your time and money.

From the Editors

Head South!

Tombstone & Bisbee

LESS THAN TWO HOURS AWAY ARE two Cochise County communities where the storied past coexists comfortably with the 21st century. Driving east on I-10 to State Route 80 and then heading south takes you along a scenic stretch that perfectly sets the mood for exploring these former mining communities.

Tombstone, the first big stop, is famous for being the scene of a notorious gun battle that is still controversial 138 years later. Earps or Clantons … who started it all? And why?

Allen Street, which is a major artery through the town, still resembles its frontier-day self, and it comes alive for re-enactments. This month, Vigilante Sundays will take place on July 14 and July 28, from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. The festivities include a period-correct fashion show, as well as skits that reflect the wild and woolly history of the area.

Big draws for aficionados of the Old West include the OK Corral & Historama; the Bird Cage Theatre; Boothill Graveyard; and the Tombstone Courthouse State Park. You can easily tour these destinations yourself, but if you wish, there are multiple tour groups, including one that takes you around in a stagecoach.

Dining options in “The Town Too Tough to Die” range from Mexican and Italian dishes at Café Margarita (located in an 1880s lodging house), to the American pub food offered at the Crystal Palace Saloon & Restaurant (whose lineage includes housing the office of U.S. Marshal Virgil Earp).

Continue down State Route 80 and the winding road will take you through the Mule Mountains in Bisbee. For many years this was a booming mining town, and the good news is that many of the historic buildings are intact and repurposed as shops and restaurants.

There are numerous reasons to visit here, including the fact that it’s generally several degrees cooler than Tucson; it features a fascinating mix of architecture — from Victorian to Eclectic Movement to Italianate; and it has more character than a cartoon convention, with lots of fun places to explore, and distinctive events.

Must-see stops are the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum; the Copper Queen Hotel; and if there’s a game scheduled, the nearby Warren Ballpark, said to be the oldest continuously operating baseball diamond in the U.S.

Among the many annual events that draw packs of visitors is the coaster race through Tombstone Canyon. The next one takes place July 4 at 7 a.m., and adults are invited to attend and cheer the kids on!

When you get hungry, checkout famed Café Roka, where casual fine dining with locally sourced ingredients is on the menu, or Santiago’s Mexican, which has both numerous traditional Sonoran menu items and an extensive list of spirits from South of the Border.

Sonoita, Elgin and Patagonia

STATE ROUTE 83 SOUTH IS A TRIP INTO THE heart of Southern Arizona’s Wine Country. The big appeal of the trio of communities is the amazing landscape, with its rolling grasslands that stood in for Oklahoma in the 1955 movie musical. But it’s no secret any more that the region also is popular for the multiple wineries that are open for tours and tastings.

Some of the standouts are Dos Cabezas Wineworks, Callaghan Vineyards, Kief- Joshua Vineyards, and Arizona Hops and Vines. There are many events throughout the year dedicated to wine production and tasting, including HarvestFest, which will take place at Sonoita Vineyards on July 27 and include grape stomping, vineyard tours, and wine and food pairings.

Speaking of food, check out The Café in Sonoita, where Chef Adam Puckle puts his own spin on the classics.

Sierra Vista

IF YOU HEAD DOWN STATE ROUTE 90 YOU’LL WIND your way to one of the premier spots in the state for bird watching. Even in the summer, you can observe many species in Ramsey Canyon Preserve, Ash Canyon and Miller Canyon, to name just a few locales.

Guided nature walks take place in Ramsey Canyon Preserve on July 1, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13, 15, 20, 22, 25, 27 and 29. Additionally, there will be hummingbird banding sessions (where staff and volunteers from the Southern Arizona Bird Observatory will catch, measure, weigh and band hummingbirds) on July 6, 13, 20 and 25 at San Pedro House. The public is invited to observe.

Guided bird walks also will be held at Environmental Operations Park on July 7, 14, 21 and 28, and at San Pedro House on July 10 and 27.

Lastly, the Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival, with everything from hands-on activities to lectures to field trips, will be held July 31-Aug. 3 at Cochise College.

Up South!


IF YOU CONTINUE NORTH ON I-17, you’ll soon be in Flagstaff, a city known for a vast range of outdoor activities, historic Route 66, Northern Arizona University, and being a gateway to the Grand Canyon.

It is much more than all those things, however, which is why “Flag” is a favorite stop for Tucsonans year-round. More tolerable summer temperatures here make it a great place to focus on for hiking, mountain biking, camping, geocaching and other activities. Maybe you like a little more adrenaline in your vacation? Head to Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course, which offers the opportunity to go ziplining through the tall trees.

While you’re in Flag, stop by the Museum of Northern Arizona to learn more about the area’s history. Drop in at the Lowell Observatory to find out the facility’s role in the exploration of our solar system. Cruise the Mother Road and pull into the Museum Club, a newly reopened bar that’s been around since the 1930s, and has played host to the likes of Willie Nelson and Wanda Jackson.

Near Route 66 you’ll find The Toasted Owl, a retro-style, classic American establishment where the vintage décor is actually for sale! For steakhouse/pub-style food with a twist, head over to NAU to the 1899 Bar & Grill, which has lunch, happy hour and dinner options. Also, the Beaver Street Brewery is a long-established brewpub, whose offerings include a killer chocolate bread pudding.

And because this is a college town, there’s an active nightlife (not New York active, but Northern Arizona active!). Rockabilly Country Bar, which opened in 2018, is exactly what the name suggests, with an eclectic mix of activities thrown in. Altitudes Bar & Grill on Beaver Street is open until 10 p.m. and has live music and line dancing lessons on select nights.


I-10 TO I-17 NORTH WILL TAKE YOU TO A town that’s become famous internationally for its gorgeous scenery and cosmic vibes. Sedona is revered for being a vacation spot that envelops you in nature, while providing you with all the luxury amenities that anyone could ask for.

Visitors flock to the many galleries that show and sell everything from contemporary to traditional Southwestern art. Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping is very popular with tourists (it’s a great picture-taking spot), as is the Sedona Arts Center, which not only has a fine arts gallery, but an actual arts school.

The Chapel of the Holy Cross, a modernistic architectural wonder that rises out of the red rocks, is a wonderful place for contemplation and reflection. Completed in 1956, the chapel has regular Monday evening services and is available for weddings

Although many visitors love the outdoor activities — hiking, biking, horseback riding and climbing — in spots such as Red Rock State Park, others look for the spiritual connection offered in this unusual landscape. Everything from healing activities conducted in the great outdoors, to UFO and vortex tours are available.

Coming up on August 2, the brilliant skies over the town are featured in the Sedona Star Party, taking place from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Astronomers will have telescopes set up for public viewing, and will provide educational talks on the constellations and planets.

When hunger kicks in, you have a lot of dining choices, including Rene at Tlaquepaque, an award-winning fine dining restaurant; romantic Casa Sedona, open for breakfast and dinner (seasonally); and the fun and funky Pump House Station, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

White Mountains

Medieval Mayhem Renaissance Faire, photographed by Tiffany Fleckenstein

MANY TUCSONANS ESCAPE TO THE COOLER climes of the White Mountains during the summer

months, and with a rich mix of scenic beauty, state history, and interesting festivities, it’s easy to see the appeal.

Driving on I-10 north and connecting with State Route 60 takes you up to Pinetop-Lakeside, as well as Show Low and Springerville farther down the road. These peaceful communities in the pines offer a variety of outdoor activities that vary with the season. Hiking, boating, fishing, and nature watching are all popular in the summer.

Additionally, events this month include an arts and crafts festival July 4-7 at Charlie Clark’s Steakhouse; a July 6-7 gem and fossil show at Hon-Dah Conference Center; and Medieval Mayhem Renaissance Faire, taking place July 12-14 at Mountain Meadow Recreation Complex.

Not far from Springerville is the picturesque village of Greer, renowned for its beautiful lakes and forests, as well as its blessed relief from summer temps. You’ll actually need a sweatshirt after the sun goes down! Rent a cabin and enjoy pine-scented peace and quiet, far removed from city strife.


Cover Q&A : Dr. Tina Pai

Cover Q&A

PROFILE: Dr. Tina Pai

One of Our Top Doctors

The Sonoran Desert is a world away from the tropical climes of Hawaii, but Tina Pai, M.D., is both a native of the 50th state, as well as a long-time resident of the Old Pueblo.

Though she was a drawn as a child toward a career in veterinary medicine, by college — Whittier College in Southern California, where she earned a degree in chemistry — she changed direction toward helping people. She earned her medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, did her internship at the Mayo Medical Center, and then her residency at University Hospitals of Cleveland.

Dr. Pai initially had a practice in Honolulu, but she and her husband, Dr. Mikel Lo (a highly regarded plastic surgeon), relocated to Tucson so that he could complete his medical specialty training. She joined the staff of Skin Spectrum, where she works with Dr. Jodi Comstock, also a Top Doctor.

We asked Dr. Pai about her practice, as well as for some advice about maintaining healthy skin.

What areas do you specialize in at Skin Spectrum?

We specialize in cosmetic dermatology, so our focus is on improving our patients’ appearance. Patients come to us for help with wrinkles, brown spots, acne, dark circles under the eyes, unwanted hair, a double chin, spider veins, love handles, scars, and more.

Although these are cosmetic concerns, often they are a reflection of underlying issues or medical conditions, so our goal is to improve skin health, in addition to addressing what is visible on the skin surface.

We use lasers, injectables, topical products, chemical peels, medications, and nutrition to achieve improvement.

What seems to be the treatment or procedure that you are doing most often these days? Why do you think it is so popular or prevalent?

We’re finding that what makes our patients happiest is what we call “combineese,” or combination therapy.

As we age, our faces change in so many ways. We deflate, which causes shadows and sagging; our skin weakens and wrinkles appear; we develop brown spots and dullness.

We’re fortunate to have many excellent procedures, such as lasers, fillers, and neuromodulators, and they keep getting better. However, most of them address just one aspect of the aging process, so in order to get the best results we need to combine all of these procedures. They work synergistically to turn back the clock and make us look more like our younger selves.

A popular combination currently is the Clear + Brilliant laser, a filler such as Voluma in the cheeks, and a neuromodulator such as Botox or Dysport. Patients like that they look refreshed yet natural, and they don’t have significant visible healing.

What advice do you give your patients about taking care of their skin?

The most important thing we can do is to protect our skin from sun damage, because it not only causes health problems such as skin cancer, but it also causes wrinkles and discoloration. I recommend using sunscreen year round, wearing a hat and clothing to shield skin from the sun, and doing outdoor activities early or late in the day to avoid the strong midday sun.

Another key to healthy skin is to take care of it from the inside. A diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods (such as leafy greens, olive oil, and berries) helps to fight skin problems such as acne as well as sagging and wrinkling.

What has been one of the biggest developments in dermatology in the past five years?

One of the most fascinating developing areas in dermatology (and all of medicine) is regarding the human microbiome, which is the collective name for the trillions of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms that reside on our skin and in our body.

In recent years, researchers have identified what the normal microbiome is for a healthy person, and are now learning that the microbiome changes in various diseases. This holds enormous potential for understanding, treating, and even preventing diseases. For instance, an acne vaccine has been developed, based on a bacterium that is involved in causing acne.

Might we someday soon treat rashes by applying bacteria to our skin, or taking probiotics, or eating certain foods? And not just skin diseases, but heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and allergies, all of which are associated with microbiome imbalances. The potential impact is astounding.

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Tucson Lifestyle Magazine is Tucson's only glossy, monthly city magazine, targeting Southern Arizona’s affluent residents. With over 35 years of publishing experience, Tucson Lifestyle is committed to showcasing the people, places, local flavors, and attractions that make our city unique.

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