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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    A Valentine for Tucson

    Allison Dumkacolumnist
    Allison Dumka

    Dear Tucson: Today is Valentine’s Day, so I wish to declare my feelings about you. I love you. Not in the way people love Starbucks, but love like Christina Aguilera giving up being “”Dirrty”” to marry that one dude.

    Some may say your speed limits are far too low, your panhandlers are aggressive and many, and your downtown needs a facelift. Fools! For your good far outweighs your bad, dear city.

    Your best secrets may be well-kept, so I have decided to share them so everyone will know just how awesome you are. (And I’m going to punch the next person who says Tucson is the armpit of Arizona. They lack creativity, and have obviously never been to Safford.)

    You possess an abundance of swimming pools to break into, and your historic Barrio is covered in murals. Your sidewalks and streets are painted with stencils of cartoon characters, Paris Hilton and political slogans. I love these imperfect parts of you.

    I love that my morning coffee at Epic CafǸ will undoubtedly come with the sight of a 4-year-old sporting dreadlocks. Not to mention the talented baristas, who have saved me from many a hangover, invariably clad in some form of belly-dancing costume. Or the official bouncer who lets me bum cigarettes off him. If this isn’t love, Tucson, I don’t know what it is.

    Some say the only thing to do within your limits is to drink. I refute this. Before my beautiful 21st birthday (which I celebrated at Pastiche and the Buffet’s toilet), you offered plenty to do, grand little city.

    There are art shows at The Space, old movie Thursdays at La Placita for free and cheap concerts featuring fun local bands. Tucson is home to DIY garage punk band the Okmoniks, who describe their sound as “”rock ‘n’ roll by any means necessary.”” Sigh.

    The following concert anecdote could only happen here: When The New Pornographers played at the Rialto, I somehow snuck backstage and watched the band’s set from eight feet away. A techie asked me who I was, I told him I was a lover of good music, and he gave me a Heineken while I covertly enjoyed the show. Bottoms up, Tucson!

    Not to mention that half this year’s Coachella lineup has performed in Tucson recently, including Regina Spektor, The Decemberists and Gogol Bordello. Other phenomenal venues include Solar Culture and the club at historic Hotel Congress, which host all-ages shows for less than $10.

    Another great thing about you, Tucson, is the All Souls Procession, your annual spectacle of 10,000 participants that celebrates the passing of loved ones. Anyone can participate in your parade of installation art, activism, performers and puppets. It ends with the burning of a huge urn filled with paper on which people write their hopes, offerings, and prayers for the dead.

    This past procession, I wore skeleton face paint and danced my tipsy way downtown with my friends, who were dressed as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Someone even dressed like a bag of killer spinach with the E. coli virus, and people dressed their dogs in skeleton costumes. Oh, Tucson. I really, really love you.

    I cherish you not just for your tucked-away restaurants and downtown culture, but because I have spent my undergraduate years in your crumbly neighborhoods and small cafes.

    I have fallen off my bike onto the trolley tracks, fallen into debt with student loans and fallen in love with countless men wearing cowboy shirts. And I’ve met my amazing friends, who I could not have possibly met anywhere besides your lovely streets. That, Tucson, is why I adore you. Happy Valentine’s Day.


    Allison Dumka is a political science senior. She can be reached at

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