Tuscon Salvage: Tales and Recollections from La Frontera

When Brian Jabbas Smith moved from Detroit to Tuscon he started seeing people on the margins of society that intrigued him. “I found legless graffiti artists and ex-cons and former prostitutes and junkies and drug addicts. These are the sort of people I’ve always been surrounded by and attracted to growing up.”


He started to write about them in a regular column in the Tuscon Weekly now those stories are part of a book: Tuscon Salvage: Tales and Recollections from La Frontera.

The book looks past the misfortune and poverty that these people have been through, and looks into who they are as people. It looks into their worlds, and looks at the fact that while these people may not be the most fortunate, there is still beauty and wonder in their lives.

Brian Smith’s wife, Maggie Rawling Smith, made a documentary about these stories, which marks her first attempt in the director’s seat. “I really believe in what Brian’s doing, which is, I think basically bearing witness to suffering and it’s very Buddha like, it resonated with me as a practitioner of Buddhism and I thought that this kind of listening without judgement is something that needs to be passed on in our culture, and it’s a beautiful vantage point to make a film.”

The documentary will be screened at the Mutiny Information Cafe in Denver on Saturday, May 11th at 7 pm. As well as the documentary playing, Brian will read from the book and there will be a musical performance by Barry Smith, Brian Smith’s brother.