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Could Jan Brewer's Henchmen Close Tucson's Rialto Theatre?

Jan Brewer might shut down Tucson's famed Rialto Theatre.

Sounds weird, right? You thought she was so busy flubbing debates, hating on Mexicans and trying to keep her mentally-ill son's rape conviction on the d-low that she'd have bigger fish to fry.

Nope. Turns out Ms. Brewer (alma mater: Glendale Community College)  is also finding time to target the theater, which caters almost exclusively to cool people who hate her guts.

Actually, that's way over-simplified: The people Jan appointed to the board overseeing the property seem to be trying to force the theater, which is run by a non-profit group, to close. Either that or they're just into brinkmanship, negotiation-wise. Right now it's a stalemate, with the two sides taking until October 7 to debate, deliberate and negotiate. Is that discussion happening in good faith? Why would you have any doubt?

The situation is pretty complex, actually, and not only did Tucson Weekly already do a great job of analyzing it, but you're from Phoenix so you don't care that much, really. So here are the basics broken down in ten easy-to-understand bullet points:

1. The state government wants to spend some cash to revitalize downtown Tucson but does not trust the comparatively liberal Tucson city government to do it by themselves so they started a group, called Rio Nuevo, to oversee those revitalization efforts. Shockingly, the city and this group feud constantly over super important stuff like parking spots.

2. The state legislature and the governor  get to appoint people to positions on the board. The chief qualifications right now are that you own several firearms, oppose ManBearPigs and drive an American-made SUV.

3. Arizona's governor used to be this nice lady with a haircut just like Ellen DeGeneres who understood complicated stuff like urban planning and [non-movie] theaters so she appointed awesome people to boards like this. But then the president said he needed her help in Washington, so she left. Oddly, even though there were other cool people allied with the nice lady who could take over, the rules said this crazy old leather-faced lady named Jan got to take over. She immediately started redecorating the governor's mansion (that's a metaphor, Arizona doesn't actually have a governor's mansion) and then got to appoint her crazy Republicany friends to the board.

4. The group that's picked by the state government technically owns Rialto Theatre. They lease it to this non-profit group of hippies and stoners and indie rock nerds to run it, though. That non-profit group of hippies and stoners and nerds has a 50-year lease -- and it's not one of those $1 a year things, it's, like, a real lease -- but they're allowed to subtract the money they spend improving the theater from the amount they pay Jan Brewer.

5. The group wanted the theater to actually be awesome and not suck so they spent a bunch of money on a giant stereo. Like, a $300,000 stereo to end all stereos which they had installed in the place. It's super sweet, dude. The people that were running the board back when the nice lady was governor said that was totally cool if they subtracted the stereo money from what they're paying in rent.

6. The new people took over and were like "whaaaa?" This situation sounds fishy to the Republican people cuz it reminds them of the time their oldest kid started smoking the ganja and spent all his college book money at Fry's Electronics. But, no, seriously, dude, it's totally legit!

7. The board of Jan Brewer's people, in pure pimp fashion, says they want their motherfucking money, in the form of back rent from that whole "stereo scam" thing, and if they don't get it they'll close that shithole down. And, seriously, they don't GAF! No matter how good this theater has been for Tucson! Fuck it! They'll lease that joint out to Dan Harkins himself, who will hopefully put in a special theater that screens nothing but John Wayne movies in a loop!

8. The hippie/stoner/nerd group says they'll declare bankruptcy which would buy them some time but likely leave them defeated and everyone in Tucson driving to Phoenix to see shows of the 1,000-person variety because they wouldn't have a good place to put them. Of course all of this squabbling will make several area lawyers very happy because we, the taxpayers, will be paying them good money to fight about stuff like whether a concert venue needs a high-quality sound-system. Maybe they'll even litigate the parking spot thing again!

9. When Rialto closes Phoenix totally wins because we'll get better shows! Tucson is pwned! Bwahahahahahahaha! Thanks Brew-ski!

10. As you can see, Jan Brewer has the best interests of Phoenix music fans at heart. Vote accordingly in November.

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Martin Cizmar
Contact: Martin Cizmar

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