Tyler Besh



Magic Bench – A Changing City

Cities really changed during the pandemic. It was quite weird, because it was in ways I think most people didn’t expect. Cities saw two very confusing things happen when everyone was supposedly out of work and stuck inside.

The first thing was a massive housing boom. Seems like everyone moved somewhere during 2020/2021. Houses were being sold left and right and apartments were scooped up. In Arizona, I guess it was the worst? I remember reading an article titled “Tucson, Phoenix See Worst Change in Property Affordability in World.” Pretty intense title¬† but I do encourage you to read for yourself. Arizona, among other cities were a part of this mass exodus during the pandemic. Tuns out places like California, New York, Texas aren’t ideal for living when the World is shut down. So many decided to buy property in cheaper places like Arizona.

The second thing that happened, which caught my attention, was the accelerated construction on housing and other building projects. Specifically, I looked at Downtown Tucson, one of the cities a part of this mass flood of people moving in. It was very confusing to see new hotels breaking ground and housing high-rises under way. Didn’t they know everyone was broke and the World was ending?!¬†

I decided to take these things I had been witnessing and, as always, make art! It’s the only way. Trust me, shit posting on social media doesn’t get you anywhere. I speak from experience. After putting some thought into the idea, I decided highlighting the evolving door of gentrification was best. The idea that each generation had been “kicked out” for the next round of development was interesting to me and also a way of bringing everyone together in my opinion.

I developed the concept, wrote the script and asked Jeff Weber to direct. Him and I were quite the creative team during the pandemic. He was able to recruit local poet Eva Sierra to both act and write the poem for the film. Local funy man, Rich Gary, nailed the improv and kept my vision in tact. Without giving too much away of the short film, I encourage you to watch it for yourself below! Would love to know what you think.

Please visit the full website to see an interview with the poet, full poem, and other gentrification resources in Tucson.