The words of American soldiers in Iraq are officially "Rated R" by the Motion Picture Association of America. Michael Tucker's appealing that rating, because he feels his documentary Gunner Palace, about the U.S. Army's 2/3 Field Artillery unit housed in Uday Hussein's former Azimiya Palace, needs to be accessible to everyone. "When I started, all the soldiers asked is that [I] 'tell it like it is,'" says Tucker. "Over the next year, that request became the guiding light of the film. We let the soldiers tell their stories. Their voices deserve to be heard -- without restriction -- in the country that sent them to war."
Tucker filmed the troops for two months, living with them in what they call "Gunner Palace." His goal was to get into the soldiers' world and show their reality of the Iraq war. He watched the soldiers sweat through their armor in triple-digit temperatures and drink coffee from mugs that read, "Happiness is Iraq in my rearview mirror." Soldiers talked candidly on-camera. In one scene, SPC Richmond Shaw turns to the camera and says, "For y'all this is just a show, but we live in this movie."
A screening of Gunner Palace takes place at 7 p.m. Monday, February 21, at the Harkins Scottsdale, located at Scottsdale Road and the 101. Admission is $15 for two tickets. Visit www.palmpictures.com. -- Niki D'Andrea
Lend an Eros
Festivus serves feast for senses
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All that lovey-dovey Valentine's Day crap means romance for some. But the Erotic Poetry and Music Festivus is for the rest of us who need something a little less chocolate-filled and a little more racy to get the motor running. The Alwun House, 1204 East Roosevelt, hosts this shindig on Friday, February 18, from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. The Festivus features two stages with bawdy acts performed by more than 20 singers, comedians, and dancers, and the Blue Food Troupe. Tickets to the party are less than the price of a junky grocery-store bouquet: $8 in advance or $10 at the door. See www.alwunhouse.org or call 602-253-7887.-- C. Murphy Hebert