My Space

Roller derby player Carolyn Van Hazel came to the sport late, aged 41 and a working mother of two. Now she's a  member of Tucson Roller Derby's VICE Squad under the name Van D. Lyzer. In this 3 Story short, she talks about the freedom and focus she finds out on the skating rink. Interview by Gillian Drummond. Video by Ricardo Bracamonte. Music by Gazzze, a three-piece indie band from Tucson, AZ. For a link to their downloadable EP click hereWith thanks to Tucson Indoor Sports Center.

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Photos by Gillian Drummond, David T. Anderson, Alethea Photography, Larry Perona and © 2014 Daddy Skittles, All Rights Reserved



Ground Floor

  brought to you by

boxhill logo Every issue, landscape designer Darbi Davis digs deep to bring you stories for your outdoor space. In the second of a two-part series on gardening cooperative Flowers & Bullets, she finds a community warming to their mission. Plus: scroll down for cool product picks from Boxhill.

Darbi Davis. Photo by Jen Long Photography

Darbi Davis. Photo by Jen Long Photography

When Ramon Ramirez approached his grandmother, 84-year-old Nana Aggie Saucedo, with his gardening intentions, she was skeptical. Nana Aggie has lived in her neighborhood in South Tucson for decades and, says Ramon, is set in her ways.

“My grandfather used to grow his own veggies like corn and citrus, and the loquat tree brought when they immigrated from California is still growing,” says Ramon.

Ramon, who lives part-time with his grandmother, negotiated a corner of Nana’s yard (specifically designated by Nana) for his own garden, complete with a much-anticipated lemon tree. He set out to restore an old barbecue made by his grandfather and in need of repair. And he attended an energy-saving workshop, where he learned how to reduce energy costs and received energy-efficient light bulbs for his Nana’s house. (Convincing Nana that the energy efficient light bulbs were better than her regular old light bulbs is a story worthy of its own, however.)

Rosemary the goat, a recent addition to Flowers & Bullets' urban gardening cooperative. Photo by Darbi Davis.

Ramon and friends helped organize a pot-luck BBQ at Nana Aggie’s house, reuniting her with many of her former students from the now-closed Julia Keen Elementary School, where she worked as a cafeteria cashier for close to three decades. “She connected with the kids and watched them grow. She retired before they shut down the school and witnessed the impact this closure had on the community,” says Ramon, whose work in Nana’s yard came about through his membership of Flowers & Bullets.

Tito (left) and Ramon (right). Photo by Darbi Davis.

Tito (left), one of F&B's founders, and Ramon (right). Photo by Darbi Davis.

The power of this sort of collaboration, sustainable multi-generational relationships, and edible gardens is what this cooperative grassroots organization is all about. Flowers & Bullets launched with a mission to provide an alternative to the food pantry and processed food that, while accessible and affordable, is ultimately detrimental to the overall health and well-being of a population.

"We get ten of these a day," says Tito. Photo by Darbi Davis.

The cooperative’s efforts fill a void in the urban agricultural trend; through their grassroots approach they are building up trust with people who tend to lack faith in traditional programs. Through gardening and growing, they hope for community-building through education, collaboration, and skills sharing, and ultimately to shift the paradigm towards healthier habits. And their plan long term is to establish a curriculum relevant to all neighborhoods.

It’s all very well that urban agriculture is the hot new thing, but are all pockets of the population getting to enjoy it? That’s something F&B would like to see addressed. When Dora Martinez, a F&B member, attended her first public meeting on urban agriculture and city code changes, she saw a distinct lack of representation from South Tucson. “The Spanish translator suggested she go home because there were no Spanish speakers present. The population in need of urban agriculture was not present, and those who were present were not food insecure,” says Dora.

Milking Rosemary. Photo by Darbi Davis.

Milking Rosemary. Photo by Darbi Davis.


Greening gardens isn't all that Flowers & Bullets has on their agenda. This past January they adopted three goats – a mother and two babies – giving the cooperative access to milk. And while laws say it’s not for human consumption, I can tell you it’s the best tasting milk I've ever had. The goats are fed on alfalfa and left-over veggies from Tucson restaurant Rocco’s Pizza, ensuring the goat milk is some of the sweetest that cooperative members have tasted. In addition to goat-milking, the cooperative has plans for classes on homemade yogurt, cheese, and soaps.

Filtering the Milk. Photo by Darbi Davis.

Filtering the goats' milk. Photo by Darbi Davis.

Back at Nana Aggie’s house, Ramon’s next endeavor is a water harvesting project, one using recycled materials that he hopes will also harvest the art and graffiti talents of many of his friends. The garden is eagerly awaiting its first sugar baby watermelon harvest. And Flowers & Bullets can rest assured that communities are warming to its mission.

Read more  about  Flowers & Bullets in part one of the series. 

Photo by Darbi Davis

Photo by Darbi Davis

Darbi's Plant of the Month: Chaparral Sage

One of the most fragrant plants for any garden and especially loved by butterflies and hummingbirds, Chaparral Sage or salvia clevelandii sends out gorgeous blue-violet flowers.  Give it a bit of space as it can reach 5' tall by 5' wide.  You won't regret it!

* Find Darbi Davis at Red Bark Design.


What's HOT for your desert yard

Boxhill brings us its product picks each month. This issue: a touch of the glamour of Old Hollywood.



1. Vibrant Concha Chair

2. Monogram Coaster Set

3. HA/RU Pottery + Stand

4. Greek Key Rug

5. Pebble Table

6. Racquet Club Sofa

Dear Tucson...

Love Letters to Tucson logo Each issue we link up with Rachel Miller's Love Letters to Tucson blog for a letter from a Tucson inhabitant about why they love this fair city. This month: Becca Ludlum, a New York transplant, smiles through the triple-digit heat. Photos by Rachel Miller.


Dear Tucson,

When I was young, I didn’t know you. You were just a place on a map with a picture of a cactus in my World Book Atlas. Growing up in upstate New York, I knew snow. I knew maple trees and fresh apples and farm stands. Humidity and snow banks and thunderstorms. I didn’t know you. I didn’t know mesquite trees or monsoons or roadside honey stands.

Now, I know. After living with you for 12 years, I know all those things. I also know about 110 degree days and which month is best for Eegee’s Flavor of the Month (July). I know about wearing sunscreen every day and not going outside without shoes in the summer – even just to grab the newspaper from your driveway.

becca4 I know to stay far away from jumping cacti and that flip flops can make crazy tan lines on your feet and that on game days the dress code for the entire city is red and blue.

I know about Mexican food – something I never had in New York. I know the difference between a flauta and a taquito (it’s in the tortilla) and I know how to cook (and eat) a proper fajita. These are things that I never dreamed I would know about when I was a little girl.

After 12 years, I know you. And I love you.



Becca lives in the sea of ocotillo that is Corona de Tucson, where the desert comes right up to the doorstep and throughout the neighborhood the sidewalks and bike paths get significant use, even on the weekday morning Rachel went out to see Becca. Rachel says it made her begin to rethink her city dwelling ways a little. You can find Becca online at My Crazy Good Life and at, where she works wonders for small businesses and bloggers.

* For more Love Letters to Tucson, and more photos, and info on contributing to Love Letters, click here. And check out Rachel Miller's new summer blogging project, One Hundred Degrees of Tucson. 


Lost and found

Tucson artist Steven Derks has turned junk into art, found objects into collectable pieces. In doing so, he's also found himself. By Joan Calcagno

Photo by Steven Derks.

Photo by Steven Derks

You might have noticed Steven Derks' studio and gallery on your way downtown. It’s that bright coral-colored building at 801 north main avenue – the front yard filled with large, colorful metal sculptures. The studio name, “Redeemed Arts”, reflects both his work, much of it a transformation of found objects, and his life as an artist – a life shaped by continual adaption, fueled by crisis and redemption.

Outside Steven's studio, Redeemed Arts. Photo by Steven Derks

Outside Steven's studio, Redeemed Arts. Photo by Steven Derks

Steven started dabbling with utilitarian ceramics in the mid-80s. But it was not until the early 90s, when he saw some success painting on traditional drums, that he started to see himself as an artist and thought, “I can do this”. A few years later his work evolved to large metal sculpture and narrative pieces using found objects. Today, you can see Steven’s work all over town - outside Beyond Bread, on the grounds of Hacienda del Sol resort, and the patio and bike rack at the The Loft Cinema, to name a few.

Bike rack outside The Loft Cinema. Photo by Steven Derks.

Bike rack outside The Loft Cinema. Photo by Steven Derks

Outside his studio is a Dead End sign. It’s hard not to smile at the irony because Steven has never stopped moving and progressing over the last several decades, working prolifically and, by his own admission, “frenetically.”

Steven Derks studio on Main. Photo by Steven Derks.

Steven Derks studio on Main. Photo by Steven Derks

“I work on as many as ten narrative sculptures at a time. I work a lot. I have to make something every day,” he says. A walk through the 801 gallery (or a sneaky peek through the windows or over the wall) proves it. On display, and under construction, are vivid abstract paintings, furniture that fits well with modern/mid-century interiors, giant metal sculptures, and creations that turn objects like birds’ cages, wheels, tools, even a telephone, into something much more. “The elements come from antique stores and resale shops. The objects inspire the work,” he says.

Narrative Sculpture by Steven Derks. Photo by Steven Derks.

Narrative Sculpture by Steven Derks. Photo by Steven Derks

Photo by Steven Derks.

Photo by Steven Derks

And then there are the rusted hearts, now one of his major art themes. The hearts grew out of his other sculptural work about four years ago. He had been doing found-object pieces with tools. Inspired by Jim Dine who in the early 1960s produced pop art with items from everyday life and who uses a lot of hearts in his work, Steven “danced around the heart with an ambivalence.” He started adding hearts to the tools series. “Then it turned into an obsession,” he says. “The heart on its own was completely cliché, but enhancement with found objects changed everything.”

Entitled Stop / Think, by Steven Derks. Photo by Steven Derks.

Entitled Stop / Think, by Steven Derks. Photo by Steven Derks

In the midst of this obsession, while working out in the studio’s front yard, he heard the news on the radio about the 2011 mass shooting in Tucson. He immediately came into the shop and started making a new piece, this time incorporating guns. And he kept making them. “I did it because I had to do it. I don’t take [the pieces] to galleries.” They are now hanging all together in a corner of the 801 gallery. “They have turned into an installation,” Steven says.

Steven Derks the artist took some time to emerge. As a boy growing up in Tempe, he was always resourceful. Whilst in high school, he had a paper route and did restaurant work and saved a lot of money. “I should have been focusing on school but instead, I worked.” At just 17, thinking he was going to “do the hippie thing” and live off the land, he bought a house with flood irrigation so he could have a little farm.

From the Rusted Heart series. Photo by Steven Derks.

From the Rusted Heart series. Photo by Steven Derks

There followed some time on a commune in Sedona, work on a historic ranch, and, searching for what to do next, an application for a college scholarship, then a job with the state agricultural department on the Navajo reservation.

He got accepted to college, but funding fell through at the last minute. Already on his way back to Tempe, his VW van with everything he owned in it, overheated and burned up. But he was redeemed. The next day he got the offer for the state ag job. So, at 20 years old, he was living on a remote part of the reservation in an abandoned hogan with a dog and a goat, and showering at the general store.

From the Rusted Heart series. Photo by Steven Derks.

From the Rusted Heart series. Photo by Steven Derks

Sculpture and photo by Steven Derks.

Sculpture and photo by Steven Derks

Before long he was promoted to what he calls “cactus cop”, a middle-management job that included enforcing agricultural and antiquities laws. That brought him to Tucson. In the mid-1980s, now married and still working his “cactus cop” job, he resurrected his interest in art, dormant since high school. He “dabbled” in ceramics – large decorative and utilitarian bowls and sculptural Raku pieces.

He also dabbled in the Tucson arts community, but he didn’t really see himself as an artist. “The director of [what was then] the Rosequist gallery offered to show my work there, but I was too shy to take them up on the offer. I was totally intimidated by the whole thing.”

From the Rusted Hears series. Photo by Steven Derks.

From the Rusted Hears series. Photo by Steven Derks

Steven had also been dabbling in religious, or at least spiritual, exploration from a young age. As a boy he idolized his grandfather, a devout Catholic mystic. “I was an altar boy. I went to mass six days a week so that turned me into an atheist. And then I kind of reconciled that and became a bit of an agnostic later.”

The desire for an authentic, meaningful life stuck with him though. In high school he was involved with Eckankar, “a conglomerate of Eastern philosophies”. While living on the reservation, he took part in ceremonies that were available to him. “Now I’m an agnostic who is fascinated with spiritual people. I’m intrigued enough that I investigate.” he says.

In Tucson he returned to church. Through one of the church’s service projects, he met charismatic priest Juan Daniel Vialobos, who was working with the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico, trading food and medical supplies for Tarahumara craftwork. Steven began accompanying him and bought drums, baskets, pottery and ceramics back to sell, passing the profit on to Juan Daniel to continue the work.

Steven Derks in front of his painting. Photo by Steven Derks.

Steven Derks in front of one of his paintings. Photo by Steven Derks

It was at this point that his spiritual quest and his art-making converged “quite by accident,” he says. Thinking he might enhance the value of the drums and increase the profit for the Tarahumara, he picked up a paint brush and started painting a snake motif on one of the drums. He was encouraged by friends who liked the drum paintings. This felt right. It was first time Steven thought “maybe I can create art as a living”.

Steven welding one of his many sculptures. Photo courtesy of Steven Derks.

Steven welding one of his many sculptures. Photo courtesy of Steven Derks

When he couldn’t get a decent price at roadside Indian stores, he took the drums to a gallery in Scottsdale on a whim. The owner bought them all on the spot. With almost $6,000 in his pocket from the sale, he decided “I can do this” and quit his job as cactus cop. He was 30.

President Clinton bought one of the drums on a visit to Arizona and hung it in the Oval Office, lending Steven credibility and a career boost. Meantime, another shift happened. Thinking about making hangers for the drums, Steven bought some welding equipment and the stand turned into a sculpture.

Not long after that, newly divorced and now a single father to a one-year-old, Steven was facing a new chapter. Although he was selling drums and sculptural bases in galleries around the country, he hadn't had a job for years. “It was me, a baby and a truck load of stuff and there was no looking back at that point. I had to make it as an artist,” he says.

An exclusive deal and the promise of guaranteed income with a Scottsdale gallery fell through when the gallery owner died unexpectedly. Steven had already let go of all his other galleries so this “really forced my hand. I couldn’t travel with a baby. I had to make it selling locally. And the drums weren’t going to be enough.”

The drum stands that had morphed to sculpture morphed again – this time into narrative pieces using found objects, what Steven calls his redeemed art. “The sculptures were selling well so I just kept doing it.”

Bill Dantzler’s favorite Steven Derks twisted metal. Photo by Steven Derks.

Bill Dantzler’s favorite Steven Derks sculpture of twisted metal. Photo by Steven Derks

Today, Steven shares the space at 801 W. Main with three other artists and sells to local galleries, owners of high-end residences, corporations and collectors.

Bill Dantzler, one of those collectors, owns about ten of Steven’s pieces. “When I first saw Steven's work, I was struck by what he was able to do with scrap metal - the way he had cut it and put it together. I thought ‘Someone is going to buy it up’, so I bought the three pieces on display.” And he kept buying them.

“He does a very good job with twisted metal – which is hard to do,” says Bill. “Steven is particularly good with the spontaneity of some of his pieces, the sense in which he can make the metal come alive - something that just exploded at that moment.”

At home at Damien Ranch, a “sustainable social experiment” in intentional community with writers, teachers and a few other artists, Steven is still adapting and evolving. Late at night he is learning some skills he hopes will let him work with fabricators on more complex pieces;  he is teaching himself 3-D computer design.

Painting and photo by Steven Derks.

Steven's painting on a collector's wall. Photo by Steven Derks

Painting by Steven Derks. Photo by Steven Derks.

Painting and photo by Steven Derks

He continues to struggle with his self-image as an artist though. “My idea about artists - and why I didn't pursue art right out of high school - is because I thought it was for the kids with the trust funds. I had to find junk and figure out how to make it into something interesting. I’m still surprised every time somebody buys something.”

You can visit the 801 Gallery and Redeemed Arts studio at 801. N. Main Avenue. View photos of Steven's sculpture, paintings, furniture and more on his website

All that glitters

Take two best friends, a love of horror movies and a big dose of YouTube. Then say hello to the extreme make-up talents of Strawberri Gashes, who put on an exclusive photo shoot just for us. By Gillian Drummond. Cover photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli. Make-up by Strawberri Gashes. Models: Katy Gierlach and Jared R. McKinley.


Kitty Quasar and Andromeda Katz, aka Jared R. McKinley and Katy Gierlach, promoting Glitterball 2014. Make-up by Strawberri Gashes. Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

Katy Gierlach can't speak. And, even more crushing for this normally cheery lady, she can't laugh or smile... for close to three hours.

Katy is a Tucson model known best for fashion and style shoots. Tonight, though, she's going gory. She has agreed to be transformed into an apparent murder victim, with a facial prosthesis that will resemble the exit wound of a bullet. That's a bullet from the gun of her fictional husband, who has discovered his wife's affair and shoots her while she's in the shower. It's not an impulsive act, though. The husband is smug about it, proud that he's finally got evidence of something he's long suspected.

Hillary and Tricia Portrait by Danni Valdez

Tricia, left, and Hillary. Photo by Danni Valdez

This detailed back story and the special effects make-up are the work of Tricia Golding and Hillary Solterbeck, the best friends, self-professed soul mates and horror film fans who comprise Strawberri Gashes.

Their make-up business is just a year old and, while most of their work still comes from fashion and beauty shoots, they are becoming a go-to for local photographers and event producers needing zombies, vampires, aliens and... well, the list is literally endless. Because Tricia and Hillary are game for anything, which is why those who use them say they love them.

Their professional makeup baptism wasn't so much by fire as by rotting flesh. "It was dumb luck," says Tricia. Her then sister-in-law had heard of a charity event called Zombie Apocalypse that was looking for make-up artists. Together, Tricia and Hillary transformed 12 models and worked 14 hours straight.

Make-up by Hillary. Photo by Dominic.

Make-up by Hillary Solterbeck. Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

"I told them it was going to be sink or swim and they did amazing. I couldn't have asked for a better team," says Jake Rafus, the Scottsdale-based model and producer behind the Zombie Apocalypse event, and now a regular collaborator and friend. "It's not just the skill, it's their personality and who they are. I feel like no matter what [job] I give them they're going to get it," he says.

Tucson-based photographer Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli, also an organizer of Zombie Apocalypse, says they are his "go-to girls" for styling that's outside of the box, outlandish and outrageous. "As a photog, usually I’m the one visualizing things more ludicrous than anyone else in the room, but they’re brilliant cause they always go further than I thought possible. I have to reel them back in like Robin Williams on a talk show. That’s what you want when working with real artists, you want them flirting with the limits of what’s possible."

Make-up by Tricia and Hillary. Photo and poster design by Dominic Bonuccelli.

Make-up by Tricia and Hillary. Photo and poster design by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli.

Jared R. McKinley echoes those sentiments. In his spare time, this publisher, writer and botanist puts on special events through MEOWmeow Productions. "After doing this kind of thing for years, I think enthusiasm goes further than skill. They're very skilled, but skill only takes you so far," he says. "Enthusiasm is going to take you further and allows you to jump into things. They're not afraid of playing. Some people might say 'I'm not ready for that.' They'll do it and with a lot of enthusiasm."

Glitterball 2014. Makeup and special effects by Strawberri Gashes Makeup Photo by Tricia Golding.

Glitterball 2014. Makeup and special effects by Strawberri Gashes Makeup Photo by Tricia Golding

Strawberri Gashes was hired to help turn Jared and Katy Gierlach (his girlfriend) into their alien alter egos, Kitty Quasar and Andromeda Katz, to promote MEOWmeow's glam rock-themed Glitterball last March at Tucson's Rialto Theatre. It meant three hours in make-up - specifically, a metallic powder mixed with liquid, the remains of which stayed with the couple for days, says Jared.

Tonight, as Katy and Jared lend their modeling services again in an exclusive photo shoot for 3 Story, the issue isn't glitter but liquid latex, cotton balls and toilet paper. Make that one-ply toilet paper, the cheapest you can get. That, say Tricia and Hillary, works wonders when they are creating gore, from scars to Katy's fake blown-open face.

Make-up and photo by Tricia.

Make-up and photo by Tricia Golding

The two work in tandem, each delving into a pull-along train case to produce everything from the pedestrian - Q-tips, mascara, said toilet paper - to the fascinating, like a 'bruise wheel' with varying shades of red, purple and black cream that give the illusion of bruises and abrasions.

Make-up and photo by Hillary.

Make-up and photo by Hillary Solterbeck

The fake wound has been partly constructed earlier and is now attached to Katy's right cheek, along with special effects make-up, in a process that could be straight out of the TV reality show Face Off. (You can see the step-by-step process, and the end result, in the slideshow below).

Documenting the whole procedure - and producing the final photos - is their friend, photographer Danni Valdez of Shutter2ThinkPhotography. Danni met Tricia and Hillary at the Zombie event and, having just lost his long-time make-up artist to Los Angeles, jumped at the chance to work with them. Now the three are regulars together on photo shoots.

Make-up by Tricia and Hillary. Photo by Dominic Bonuccelli.

A scene from Zombie Apocalypse. Make-up by Strawberri Gashes. Photo by Dominic Bonuccelli

Danni, Tricia and Hillary dissect the scene they are about to create. "What would the bullet have hit when it exits?" asks Danni. "Nothing!" laughs Hillary, not wanting to have to add any more to the already complicated vignette. Then the conversation turns to how Katy would have fallen out of the bathtub after being shot. Katy is finally ready and Tricia and Hillary arrange a white shower curtain on the bathroom  floor. Katy lies down on it, naked, one leg draped over the tub. Then they drench her 'wound',  face and body with fake blood, and mix it with water to add to the shower curtain.

The easy-going Danni is a fan of Forensic Files, and it shows. As he sets up his camera equipment he is still concerned about authenticity.  "Are you gonna put blood splatter on Jared's head? She should have liquid blood under her head too. You have to have more blood on the clear curtain."

Make-up by Strawberri Gashes. Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

Jared, who plays the wronged murderer husband, has changed from jeans and a T-shirt into suit pants and a white shirt. He's sipping Scotch and waiting for his cue. The Scotch becomes a prop in the final photo, as does an empty gun and a Camel cigarette. Jared nails the smug, morbidly fascinated look they were all going for. Katy looks suitably murdered - her eyes slightly open and staring.

Danni wraps it up and, a few iPhone snaps later - of the bloody Katy grinning for their Facebook pages - they're done. Jared apologizes to his other half - "I f***ed you up real bad honey, sorry" - and Katy showers, this time for real. Her verdict on her first gory photography session? "Sticky." And although she's used to hanging around on photo shoots, keeping her face straight for three whole hours was a challenge. "When you hang out with people you like and they're making you laugh, it's hard not to," she says.

Make-up and photo by Hillary. Featuring: Hillary

Make-up and photo by Hillary Solterbeck

Tricia and Hillary have worked relatively quickly, says Katy, thanks to teamwork and an interesting shorthand. "They tag team. And they're so close they finish each other's sentences. They'll point to something on your face and they won't have to even say anything."

Make-up and photo by Hillary. Featuring: Hillary

Make-up and photo by Hillary Solterbeck

Strawberri Gashes - named after a song by '90s riot grrrl group Jack Off Jill - is the culmination of both this friendship and years of fascination with make-up.  Tricia and Hillary, both 26, met aged 12 and haven't spent much time apart since. They live minutes away from one another, see each other two or three times a week, and finish each other's sentences. "People will talk about soul mates and you tend to think of that as a man and a woman. We've always believed there are friend soul mates," says Hillary.

They started experimenting with make-up as teenagers. Tricia honed her skills as a student for a while at modeling and acting school  in Scottsdale. Hillary, banned by her parents from wearing make-up until she was 15, wore it anyway, sneaking it out  in purses and school backpacks.

Then along came YouTube, opening their eyes to instructional make-up videos, products, and online gurus like Goldie Starling. Their make-up experiments became more extreme, sometimes gory, spurred on by their love of horror films.

On Friday the 13th of July 2007, Hillary's brother and her roommate were killed in a car accident and Hillary was badly injured. Hillary woke to find the bodies, which were in "extraordinarily bad condition," she says. "I know it sounds morbid but it's almost for me therapeutic [to watch horror movies] in the sense that I can say 'This is fake'. It helps me."

While freelance make-up is Hillary's day job (she trained as a beauty technician for a time, and was a bartender), Tricia is juggling a job as an insurance agent with an online degree. She is also a licensed pharmacy technician. "Makeup is never going to give you a steady income unless you end up working with a [film] studio," reasons Tricia.


Photography by Danni Valdez. Make-up by Strawberri Gashes. Model: Contessa Oblivian

Make-up and photo by Hillary.

Make-up and photo by Hillary Solterbeck

That's something they're not ruling out. Their guru, Goldie Starling, recently won a scholarship to the Cinema Makeup School in Los Angeles - a place they'd love to attend.

"The biggest thing we've had to deal with is so much interest so quickly," says Tricia of their busy year. But one thing they still make time for is YouTube and the makeup tutorials that helped them on their way. 'It's the top school for people that can't go to school," says Tricia of a medium that has seen huge growth, and business opportunities.

As for Face Off, which returns to TV screens in a few weeks, you can bet they'll be watching.

* Find Strawberri Gashes on their Facebook page. Season 7 of Face Off begins on the Syfy channel in July.

See below for our slideshow on how Strawberri Gashes and photographer Danni Valdez created their gory scene.

Make-up by Strawberri Gashes. Gore concept and photography by Danni Valdez. Models: Katy Gierlach and Jared R. McKinley.

The final 'shot'. For more, click on our step-by-step slideshow below. Make-up by Strawberri Gashes. Gore concept and photography by Danni Valdez. Models: Katy Gierlach and Jared R. McKinley.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Make-up by Strawberri Gashes. Art direction and photography by Danni Valdez. Models: Katy Gierlach and Jared R. McKinley


Pleased to Meet You

Tucson singer songwriter Sahara Starr on the joys of portable headphones, the limits of texting, and her second skin. By Joan Calcagno. Cover photo by Neil Peters Fotografie

Early bird or night owl?  “I’d have to say I’m more of a night owl because it’s easier to be creative and I’m more inspired in the evenings. There’s just something about the quiet of the night that helps reduce the noise in my head. I’m able to think clearly and work more efficiently. That being said, I do love the mornings. Even though I prefer staying up late, most days I have to get up early. A typical morning for me is waking up at 6 am, which is no fun!”

ultrasone headphones Favorite accessory?  “Portable headphones. You can listen to music anywhere without disrupting others. And it works in the other direction as well when the person is sitting next to you, say on an airplane. With headphones on, it’s the best ‘do not disturb’ sign. It keeps the Chatty Cathys away. You can zone out and enjoy your hopefully turbulence-free flight in peace. My favorite brand is Ultrasone. I use those in my home studio and my portable Ultrasone Pycos everywhere else. Sound quality is especially important to me as I'm always checking to hear what the mix of my new songs sounds like and Ultrasone, in my opinion, is just superior to any brand I've tried."

Favorite faux pas? “Text messaging. It is wonderfully impersonal, but people use it for everything now – from alerting friends of their newborn baby’s arrival and even their grandmother’s funeral, which I had happen once. I enjoy text messaging because it’s more convenient, but I try not to use it for the big stuff. That whole grandma’s funeral thing was like ‘Whoa’. I would have expected a call for that one!”  

Who is your dream audience?I guess it would be people who listen to the songs as a whole and if the song is lacking in lyrics or melody, it would be someone who listens and sees the whole picture of the song. Also people who like to dance to it and sing it as loud as they can and allow themselves to be affected by it and allow it to move them.”

If I weren’t a singer/song-writer, I would… “I think I would be lost because I love to write. That is my comfort zone. So I guess since I like to write and express myself and tell stories through songs, I’d probably be a writer of some other sort - maybe dabble in fiction. I’ve taken some writing workshops and it is somewhat of a second skin for me because I enjoy it so much. I love building the narrative and developing complex characters.”

If I could change one thing I would… “If I had the power, I don’t think I could change just one thing. I don’t think I could stop at just one because there are just so many things, such as racism, discrimination, poverty, violence, and there is so much injustice in the world. So if it had to be one thing, it would be all these things as a collective whole. And hopefully inspire hope in the fact that we can change and that we can work collectively to one day eliminate all these things.”

What you don't know about my new CD is.... "There's a hidden track that's not listed on the track list. It's a rendition of "Wild Horses" by the Rolling Stones. I recorded it with [photographer] Dominic Bonuccelli. He played piano and accompanied me on vocals. He's truly a Jack of all trades!"

* Find Sahara’s new CD Pretty Day or download tracks on her website.  You can listen to Wild Horses below. Follow Sahara on Facebook here .    

Square Feet

Michelle Hotchkiss, real estate agent and mid-century fiend, has square feet and a nose for great property. Each issue she brings us her pick of Tucson properties for sale. Photos by Casey Sapio


Where it is: Ice House Lofts just east of downtown Tucson.


Michelle Hotchkiss. Photo by Casey Sapio

Listed by: RE/MAX Catalina Foothills 

The damage: $260,000

How many square feet? 1350

icehouse6 You'll love it because: It's a fab living option if you want urban, which downtown Tucson is very much becoming. And if you ever dreamed of living in a chic and private, low-maintenance, full-amenities complex close to downtown, this is your first and best option.

When I was  a kid I always dreamed of being among artists and the cosmopolitan by moving to New York City and living in a big, spacious, industrial loft converted to my avant-garde, minimal living space.  But then I got there, and those places were drafty, cold, dirty, and expensive. Or in a bad part of Brooklyn.  Or you had to share it with seven other starving artists.

This is not that kind of loft. These are not incomplete, live/work artist-style lofts. This conversion is a well-planned, rare sighting in Tucson.

icehouse4 Here comes the but: While it's "lofty" and spacious for a one bedroom, it's best suited for a bachelor pad. There's not much privacy, except for in the gorgeous custom master bathroom, designed by Tucson-based Baker + Hesseldenz.
* For more on Michelle, read her Atomic Tucson Facebook page or contact Michelle Hotchkiss, a RE/MAX Catalina Foothills Realty agent, here.




Sleeping beauties

Beds are turning into pods, cubes and hi-tech getaways. Forget counting sheep or Ambien: nodding off just took a different turn altogether. By Gillian Drummond

Tucson's first sleeping pod. Photo by Liam Frederick Photography

The sleeping 'cube' developed especially for Susan Chandler. Photo by Liam Frederick Photography

Like so many brilliant ideas, it started on a napkin. Susan Chandler, a long-time difficult sleeper, sketched her idea for a sleeping area with a difference. Susan is sensitive to light and always sleeps with a mask on. She based her sketch on two things: a step-up bed design she had once seen in an historic house; and a magazine photo of a home in Costa Rica with an enclosed sleeping area.

Inside the Chandler's home. Photo by Liam Frederick Photography

Inside the Chandlers' home. Photo by Liam Frederick Photography

Tucson architects and designers Bil Taylor and Darci Hazelbaker came up with the goods: compact three-walled sleeping quarters with room - just - for a bed and built-in night stands. There are two doors and the fourth 'wall' is a remote-controlled roman shade, which is lowered at night and whenever Susan wants to take a nap.

The added genius of this room-within-a-room room is the fact that it means Susan and her husband Appy can use the rest of the master bedroom space - an addition to their 1940 midtown Tucson home - for entertaining. They pull down the shade of the sleeping cube and guests pull up seats at a long mesquite table for drinks, eats and a movie, spilling out onto the patio outside.

Enclosed sleeping areas are nothing new, of course. Four-poster beds, with their columns, drapes and 'ceilings', date back 600 years or more. But, thanks to new technology and a general lack of sleep, now they come with 21st century twists.

The HiCan, made in Italy by Hi-Interiors, takes the idea of a four-poster or canopy bed and turns it into a movie theater and games console. With the tap of a button, users can watch a film, listen to music, play on an XBox, talk to the hotel reception or check email. Blinds enclose the bed (nickname: the 'i-Bed'), which is made of wood, lacquered MDF and leather. The frame comes in a choice of eight colors.


The HiCan bed, made in Italy. Photo courtesy of Hi-Interiors

The HiCan was designed by Edoardo Carlino from creative studio Think Future Design and so far has sold in the USA, Canada, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the UK. "It originates from an R&D project we financed at the University of Calabria with the aim of exploring the idea of integrating the best Italian design with state-of-the-art technology. We focused at the beginning on the bedroom to reinvent this experience," says Ivan Tallarico, head of the HiCan team.

The response? "So far it's enthusiastic. I think our clients like the idea of retiring and resting inside a cocoon after a very stressful day," he says. In the USA,  Avant Gallery in Miami carries the HiCan, but Ivan says the company's target market is individuals - specifically a "very successful and rich" businessman.

Lest you are not one of the rich, a stay at Qbic Hotels may be more attainable. QBIC offers affordable and chic rooms at its two locations in Amsterdam and London (prices from £69 or $116). There's a similar cocoonish feel to them, thanks to the cube-like framing that's part of the bed. (The rooms are even called a 'cubi'.) The  bed - with aluminum frame  - comes with a 32-inch Skype-ready 'smart' TV, mood lighting and reading lights.

Qbic London

The bed in a 'cubi' at Qbic London. Photo courtesy of Qbic Hotels

Image courtesy of Qbic Hotels.

Photot courtesy of Qbic Hotels.

Image courtesy of Qbic Hotels.

Photo courtesy of Qbic Hotels.

The Cubi is the IKEA of the hotel world. The bed structure comes as a flat-pack, takes a day to install, and thus speeds up hotel development, says Qbic's Paul Janmaat. The whole idea was triggered by the increasing vacancies in office buildings, he says. "The major advantage is the building speed - it takes only six months to create a hotel - and a reduction in investment cost."

The Once Upon a Dream bed, made in France, is getting a lot of attention from stylistas. It was originally designed to cure jet lag, for guests of the Hotel du Marc at Rheims. Hotel du Marc is part of the House of Veuve Clicquot, a private hotel offered to Veuve Clicquot friends, members and VIP guests. And while there's little chance of some of us lesser mortals visiting, we can always dream. Which is exactly what its creator, French designer Mathieu Lehanneur, is hoping for.

Describing the bed as somewhere between "the Sand Man and home cinema", its makers say it was designed using tried and tested data gathered in studies for treating people with chronic insomnia. Once Upon a Dream operates in four stages. First there is automatic curtain closure. Then the temperature falls to between 2C and 19C. The user then brushes up against a hanging plant - reminiscent of the briar that protects Sleeping Beauty - which activates an automatic light dimmer gradually over the next 15 minutes. At the same time, l0w-volume white noise isolates the sleeper from external sounds.

"It goes beyond a bed," says Mathieu. "Veuve Clicquot aimed to put their customers in a dream world. The people who come and spend a night in this hotel are mainly guests and VIPs working with the brand. They usually arrive from one point of the world, spend a single night, and fly to another point. You can easily imagine the high level of jet lag distortion in their physiology."

Mathieu, a Paris-based designer whose other clients include Issey Miyake, Nike and Pullman Hotels, collaborated with a hypnologist and sleep disease specialist to better understand the human brain and how sound, light and temperature affect sleep. He describes the one-of-a-kind bed as "the ideal context to get amazing dreams without any drug'".

"Users love it," says Mathieu. "In a way, I didn’t design just the room but also the dreams in the brains of the guests."
Photo courtesy of Veuve Cliquot

The Once Upon a Dream bed, exclusive to Veuve Clicquot. Photo courtesy of Veuve Cliquot

Lack of sleep is a public health epidemic, says the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It's linked to motor vehicle crashes, industrial disasters, medical errors, and diseases like diabetes, depression, obesity and cancer. The evidence is clear that adults and children are not getting a good night's sleep. That's one of the reasons Christopher Lindholst, co-founder of MetroNaps, advocates napping during the day.  "It's tough for me when I don't," he says of his daily power naps. He has trained himself to take a 13.5 minute nap, which is all you need, says he and the research, to recharge our batteries.

Metro Naps EnergyPod

MetroNaps' EnergyPods are made of powder-coated steel and fiberglass. Photo courtesy of MetroNaps

Christopher's napping pods were launched in 2004 in New York City as part of a napping place for tired city workers to recharge. The aim was to develop these napping stations across the USA. But his company had immediate interest from businesses and took the company in a different direction, installing its space-age looking pods in offices like Google, Cisco Systems, fitness centers, and at the baseball stadium of Phoenix's Arizona Diamondbacks.

"It's for the players, to help them mitigate fatigue. They have busy travel schedules and changing time zones. And there's good research on the importance of short term rest on an athlete's performance," says Christopher of the Diamondbacks' pods, which can cost $8000 to $12000 each.

Taking naps during the day still has a stigma attached to it, admits Christopher. But that is changing, he says. "When we started 10 years ago people thought we were crazy to condone sleeping on the job. But with growing evidence and awareness of the importance of sleep and, frankly, growing incidences of work fatigue and insufficient  sleep, people are being made more aware of [its benefits] and corporate awareness is changing. We're trying to convey to people there's nothing to be proud of if you only slept three hours. You might as well be drunk."

* For more details about Susan and Appy Chandler's remodel, click here.

Energy Pod

MetroNaps' Energy Pod. Photo courtesy of MetroNaps