"Smith’s writing in Tucson Salvage is a delicate balance of reporting and pathos... he never casts judgment, despite his affection for the subjects of these many standalone essays being at the fore."
"During the event, a few people sauntered over from the computer area of the library and said they were in some sort of homeless or close-to-homeless situation. All implied they never get to tell their stories to empathetic listeners. Each one said he or she identified with those in Smith's film. A fantastic conversation then erupted, with some great back-and-forth taking place."
CultureShift’s Amanda LeClaire speaks with Brian Jabas Smith about his new book and what it means to find home.
"Smith will be in town to do a reading and Q&A, accompanied by a screening of a documentary film based on the book directed by his wife, Maggie, which won the Grand Prize at the Culver City Film Fest."
"Author Brian and his wife, filmmaker Maggie, offer powerful glimpses into the lives of Tucson residents, casting a light on their whole lives. Tales of homelessness, drug addiction, gang violence and assault haunt both the film and book, transcending time and location to remind readers and viewers that this is the landscape of many, many Americans. "
"Smith captures a lyrical portrait of Tucson, speaking volumes about the lives of some of the city’s most interesting and often heartbreaking citizens..."
"Brian’s book profiles people found on street corners, at truck stops, on public buses, and other glanced-over parts of the city: some who told of lives marked by seemingly endless struggles and tragedies, and some who barely spoke in the hours he spent with them....
While Brian’s literary voice is strong in the written stories, the documentary is driven only by the words of several people who are also featured in the book... Maggie chose the stark filmmaking style, almost entirely absent of narration or music, in order to ensure that focus was placed squarely on the people featured"
"Telling stories in the most honest and empathetic way is telling the truth..."
"His eyes see what we don’t, what we’ve become inured to, the terrible truth of ordinary people trying to live with dignity and honor in a world that has gotten harsher and more polarized by the day. These pieces will stick around long after Smith and his menagerie have passed, and will stay with me until my own reckoning as well. Read and enjoy, but keep a tissue at hand, you’re gonna need it."
Tucson Weekly Columnist Brian Smith talks about the release of his new book “Tucson Salvage: Tales and Recollections from La Frontera” on the Buckmaster Show.
Tucson Weekly columnist, Brian Smith, seems to have lived multiple lives, traveling one path and then another. He was a nationally-ranked cyclist as a kid. He was the lead singer of The Pills, the Beat Angles, and Gentlemen After Dark, before becoming a full-time writer. After stints as a writer and editor at the Phoenix New Times and Detroit’s Metro Times, he came back to Tucson, where he was born. He draws upon his rich life experiences and battles with depression to tell the stories of often-marginalized people in Tucson.
Story: Andrew Brown
"Tucson is a dusty little town wanting to be a city. Thank whatever gods we ever heard of it ain't a 'city' yet. It's a wonderful place of contrasts. It's the eighth most impoverished city in the country, yet one of the most beautiful, historic and storied. It's strikes a bittersweet balance of hope and despair. That's where I like to live, where that melancholy lives. Probably not for everybody."
Sometimes just the way sundown light refracts off the Rincon Mountains sends chills through me that carries an emotional weight no other place on earth can duplicate, and my own head can't ever duplicate. It's a kind of sadness, really. A lovely kind of sadness. Tucson's filled of small wonders, in its neighborhoods—the dusty creosote, the barking dogs behind chainlink, the crooked mailboxes. The shirtless adult men with too many DUIs flying down Flower street on kid bikes, shuttered businesses baked out by brutal sunshine. How the piquant odor of Javelinas arrive before they do.... The end-of-the-world quality of the Sonoran, and all her blossoms, scents and ghosts. So many things send me."
"In Tuscon Salvage, it is lives, unseen and unspoken that are salvaged. Pains collected, front cover to back, witnessed by a man who has seen the dark and reached for the light. He has lost things, like others in this desert. Is still here, impossibly alive, and curious enough. And surprised by what he finds. The beauty and the breakdown. If these walls could talk they would break your heart."