31 July 2009

Tucson Zombies? Mummies?

This unusual chorus line intrigued me as I was driving north on Stone near 4th. I stopped to investigate and learned that these were pinatas-in-the-works.

After some additional papier mache and paint these creatures will be transformed into other creatures ~ astronauts, devils, and aliens. They will then be filled with candies, small toys, and other goodies and bashed with bats by revelers who get the treats as a reward.

30 July 2009

Tucson's Hot Dog Fortress?

I couldn't help but smile when I saw this unusual retail partnership - antiques and hot dogs. The Antique Presidio ("fortress") is a group of many dealers who offer a diverse selection of merchandise of all ages, styles, and periods. And if you don't find the Chippendale desk or the Stickley table that you seek, take a break and enjoy a Sonoran hot dog.

And for those of you who may not live in the Southwest ~ a Sonoran hot dog is definitely a different type of snack - the hot dog is wrapped in bacon, nestled in a buttered and toasted bun, and topped with mayonaise. Ketchup, mustard, relish - optional.


29 July 2009

Tucson's Trompe L'oeil Bus - Stand back!

If you're not prepared for this image, it might startle you. This huge photographic tile mural by Tucson artist Steve Farley depicts a vintage Tucson bus zooming west on Broadway near the Barraza-Aviation Parkway ramp. Whoa!

This is one of a series of four black and white photo tile murals on Broadway that were installed in 1999 and voted "Best Mural" and "Best Public Art Commission" by Tucsonans. I'll post the others in the weeks ahead. The photos used are all vintage Tucson scenes and people - a wonderful public art project!

Here is more information about the art and the artist:

28 July 2009

Last remnant of a fabulous Tucson hotel ~

On the site of what is now Tucson's El Con Mall stood the luxurious El Conquistador Hotel (built in 1928). This water tower is across the street from the original hotel's site and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The hotel was designed by Annie Rockfellow, Arizona's first registered female architect and the 2nd woman to graduate from MIT. The tower's design is attributed to Roy Place. A weather vane depicting a miner and his trusty donkey tops the tower.

27 July 2009

Tucson's Own Dragon Slayer ~

This knight in shining armor is defending the corner of Grant and Campbell against a dragon attack. The east facing walls of Bookmans (one of Tucson's best used book stores) are decorated with a series of fantasy murals. According to the staff, all mural characters have been given nicknames. The knight is "Hugh" and the dragon is "Harold."

I'll post more images from this wonderful fairytale art in the weeks ahead. Come back for "Damsel in Distress," "Evil Queen," "Mr. Be-header," "Venus de Milo's Sister," and "Pirate Ship."

Grant & Campbell

26 July 2009

Cool Blue Tucson Morning ~

Recently Tucson weather has been hot and humid ~ reminds me of NYC in summer! But the mornings are wonderfully cool. There was a little rain during the night and here's a beautiful dawn-in-Tucson photo.

25 July 2009

Welcome to Frank's!

Frank's isn't for everyone and their motto says it all: "Elegant Dining Elsewhere." But if you want a great breakfast in Tucson, this is the place. And it has an alter ego ~ Francisco's. Yep, "Frank's" is for the breakfast & lunch crowd. After 4 pm it changes its name to "Francisco's" and serves Mexican food for dinner. Locals love Frank's and it has an army of regular customers but don't be shy if you've never tried it ~ the staff will make you feel at home right away.
From 6am till 2pm Frank's serves breakfast and lunch.
3843 E. Pima
Home Of The Best Breakfast In Tucson ...

24 July 2009

A Special Feature ~ Tucson Fire Photos

Today's posting displays a remarkable trio of fire photos taken at a 3-alarm warehouse fire on Tucson's north side. I think you can almost feel the heat and smell the smoke in these photos! WOW!
Photos courtesy of Mark Wight.
Here's the link if you'd like to read the story as it appeared in the Arizona Daily Star:

23 July 2009

How about ... "Cat on a Hot Stucco Roof"?

This LARGE lounging feline is blissfully unaware of the heat, the rain, or the traffic whipping by on Golf Links Road at Harrison. This cat (and a dog on the north side of the building) welcome 4-footed creatures into what else but a veterinary clinic!

Animal Health Hospital
2560 S. Harrison Road

22 July 2009

12' Tall Griffin Guards Tucson's Scott Avenue ~

Created by Tucson artist Joe O'Connell, this sparkly orange 1/2 lion, 1/2 eagle sculpture was inspired by the griffins that once adorned the Carnegie Library (now the Tucson Children's Museum). Lion paw/eagle talon prints are imbedded in the pavement from the museum to the sculpture's pedestal.

Lights in the ribcage illuminate those fabulous wings at night. Located on Scott just south of Broadway.

Tucson Children's Museum
200 S 6th Ave
Get directions

21 July 2009

Rain from Two Friends ~

In the spirit of the Monsoon Season ~ here are two wonderful versions of rain thanks to two creative friends. Karl Moeller, screenwriter, keyboardist for Five Way Street Band, and Emmy award winner snapped this post-storm shot at sunset from his house on the northwest side of town.
Photo courtesy of Karl Moeller.

ASTONISHING VIDEO - You MUST watch this one!
And ~ this VIDEO was forwarded to me by Jay Taylor, screenwriter and Arizona Ad Man Extraordinaire. You will be amazed when you watch this - turn your speakers up! WOW!

20 July 2009

Downtown Tucson Demolition ~

The historic Santa Rita Hotel (more recently known as the Clarion) has been vacant since 2005 and will be demolished to make way for the new Unisource headquarters (parent company of Tucson Electric Power). The hotel was built in 1904 and expanded in 1917. Like the Hotel Congress (just a few blocks away), this hotel also has its resident ghosts. I wonder if they'll stay on the site....?

Clarion Hotel at Santa Rita
88 E Broadway Blvd
‎Get directions: To here

To suggest a place to be featured on Tucson Daily Photo, please email TucsonDailyPhoto@gmail.com Thanks!

19 July 2009

Two Tucson Icons - Monsoon Sky & Hotel Congress

The Hotel Congress is perhaps best known as the site where John Dillinger last stayed before he and his gang were captured by the Tucson police. And then there are the many stories about the resident ghosts... Here the monsoon sky serves as a cloudy background for the hotel's iconic rooftop sign.

311 E Congress St
(520) 622-8848

18 July 2009

Tucson Business ~ Circa 1900

Faint painted lettering identifies this building as the storefront or warehouse of "W.A. Julian Co." ~ a firm that specialized in plumbing, roofing, and sheet metal. The only reference I could find about this business is that they redid the plumbing for a hotel in Bisbee, AZ. These garage doors face west on Arizona Avenue, south of Broadway.

17 July 2009

Cowboy bathtime ~ Holy saguaro!

This fantastic and fun mural captures the spirit of the Wild West, for sure! Here's a cowboy soaking off the trail dust while a huge crowd watches - his trusty horse, his Rottie, some scorpions, a snake, a family of quail, a steer, a turtle... every time I look at this mural I see some other critter! And of course there is the shocked saguaro! FUN!

You can't see the mural from the Harrison Rd (storefront) side; you have to drive into the shopping center to see it - and it's huge - the entire side of the building. This is just a piece of it.

16 July 2009

Surprising contrast to the Mission's exterior ~

The serene, cool white exterior of Mission San Xavier del Bac that was displayed in yesterday's posting does not prepare you for the riot of deep rich color and ornate carvings that decorate the interior! Considerable restoration has been going on at the Mission for many years ~ the interior colors are so vibrant!

For more information about the Mission, click here:

Photo courtesy of Mark Wight.

15 July 2009

White Dove of the Desert ~

Beautiful Mission San Xavier del Bac is a "must visit" for both tourists and residents of the Santa Cruz Valley. Functioning as part of the Diocese of Tucson, this lovely church is more than 200 years old and still serves the faithful with daily mass.

For directions, please click here:
For history, hours, and additional photos, please click here:

Photo courtesy of Mark Wight.

14 July 2009

To Rain or Not to Rain ~ the great divide

I was struck here by the remarkably sharp division between wet and dry, rain and no rain, cloudy and sunny. Often these storms are short and after a few minutes there is no evidence anywhere that it even rained.

13 July 2009

Patch of Blue ~

As the storm clouds rolled in I was mesmerized by the one patch of blue sky that remained visible even after the rain started. What a beautiful contrast ~ the grey and the blue side by side.

12 July 2009

Almost stepped on this one!

With camouflage perfectly suited to this region, the common Sonoran Gopher Snake can be found in the desert, in wooded areas, and in grassy areas also. If disturbed it's easy at first to mistake it for a rattlesnake ~ it will shake its tail and rise up and hiss loudly. I almost stepped on this one in a residential neighborhood. This photo has nothing to indicate scale but I estimate it was about 4' long.

Here's what the Desert Museum has to say about these snakes (also called Bullsnakes):

And more info and a few more photos can be viewed here:

11 July 2009

The Sheltering Saguaro ~

A plant native to the Sonoran Desert, the saguaro can live for more than 100 years and a 20' tall one can weigh 2000 pounds! They serve as nesting sites for gila woodpeckers and cactus wrens. Look at the multiple holes puncturing this saguaro's arms and trunk! The resilient cactus forms scar tissue around the holes to protect itself from water loss.

Love birds? Support the Tucson Audubon Society by contributing to their summer matching donation effort. Click here for details: http://www.tucsonaudubon.org/

Tucson has two Saguaro National Parks (east and west) where you can see fabulous specimens.

Here is the link to the National Park Service information which includes maps, hours, everything you need: http://www.nps.gov/sagu/photosmultimedia/photogallery.htm?eid=170356&root_aId=302

10 July 2009

Downtown Tucson's Surreal Skyline ~

Trying to beat the rain I raced into a parking garage downtown and glanced up to see the progress of the gathering storm. I had to stop and capture this image of thick storm clouds completely swallowing up the nearby buildings. This broadcast tower almost glowed in the late afternoon light. Within a few minutes the tower, too, was engulfed in clouds.

09 July 2009

Tequila Sunset ~

Tucson is famous for exceptionally beautiful sunsets. Doesn't this one make you want to sip a cool tropical drink?

Just for fun ~ here's a recipe & video for making a Tequila Sunset cocktail! Impress your guests at your next party & enjoy!


Do you know a place that you'd like to see on Tucson Daily Photo? Send an email to TucsonDailyPhoto@gmail.com with your ideas ~ thanks.

08 July 2009

Clouds ~ doubled

The monsoon season isn't uniformly dreary as you might think. Tucson enjoys many hours of brilliant sun and beautiful blue skies during our rainy season. These reflected cumulus clouds serve to partly camouflage the Bank of America building.

For more on clouds:
For more on the Bank of America building (Tucson's 2nd tallest):
Any comments, thoughts, corrections on photos seen here on Tucson Daily Photo are welcome! Please email: TucsonDailyPhoto@gmail.com

07 July 2009

The Flower & the Bee ~

Bees are amazing and every gardener welcomes them because they pollinate squash, cucumbers & other plants destined for our eating pleasure. If you don't have enough bees visiting your garden, the experts at the Tucson Botanical Gardens tell you how to build a bee box:


06 July 2009

Brilliant Colors ~ Powerful Message

This vibrant mural is a community project that was painted at Mansfield Park. The plaque says, in part, "The main focus of our mural is the tree whose roots are made up of different cultures and many generations that help it grow to be what it is... When we are so moved by an experience that we want to share it with others we are where art begins!"

Ten artists signed this mural. I hope they are all still using their creative talents here in Tucson! The brilliant colors are a remarkable contrast to the fierce, dark storm clouds rolling in.

Mansfield Park
2000 N. 4th Ave

05 July 2009

Silver Sky - Soft Light

It's late afternoon and the monsoon storm clouds are rolling in again to give us more water, thunder, and lightning. This soft light makes this landscape photo look like it was shot with black and white film.

04 July 2009

Hey Tucson ~ Happy Fourth of July!

America's Stars & Stripes are visible all year round to both east and westbound traffic traveling on Route 210 - Aviation Highway. I have looked for references on how or when this Flag Bridge was created but can't find anything. Please send an email to TucsonDailyPhoto@gmail.com if you know anything about this patriotic crossing! Have a great Fourth of July.

03 July 2009

The monsoon's jewel colors ~

While driving in the early evening I was caught in a quick downpour and pools of water quickly formed on the street. I had to see if I could capture the beautiful reflection of the street lights. Sometimes the rains stop in just a few minutes and if you drive a block or two in any direction you'll often be in a totally dry neighborhood.

02 July 2009

It's official ~ Tucson's monsoon season has arrived!

Yep, the monsoon season is upon us. High winds, torrential rains, flooding, and spectacular cloud formations! Each year at this time I marvel how many people drive as though they have never seen rain in their life. Be careful out there!

Check out these dark rain clouds at the corner of Speedway & Country Club ~ Chuy's Baja Broiler.

Want to know more about the science behind the monsoons? Click here:http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/twc/monsoon/monsoon_whatis.php

Chuy's Baja Broiler - maps.google.com
3100 E Speedway Blvd, Tucson
(520) 326-4969

01 July 2009

Mexico City? No, it's Tucson's El Con Mall!

This majestic archway is at El Con Mall, Tucson's first enclosed shopping center. Far in the distance you can see the Rincon Mountains ~ a little cloudy ~ waiting for the monsoons to start.

El Con Mall
3601 E Broadway Blvd
(520) 795-9958
Get directions