THE USUAL SUSPECTS

Kevin Johnson-we know it was him, his license plates said Hope 7"- entered the Fish Market for dinner with a date on Tuesday night. But he left his parking lights on. Informed that the battery inside his black Porsche was dying, Johnson, already seated at a table, shrugged. A few minutes later Johnson's companion emerged from the restaurant, keys in hand, to cut the lights. Chivalry isn't dead," commented one observer. It's just hungry." . . .

Based on an excellent St. Patrick's Day showing, Maloney's (7318 Stetson Drive) wins the unofficial-but-prestigious Cactus League competition for coolest Scottsdale bar. Newcomers Jetz (Great visuals," claims one regular) and Zone finished in the money, as did old reliable Don & Charlie's. But Maloney's crowd on the big holiday included several recognizable ballplayers (including Goose Gossage), plus actors Charlie Sheen and Michael Madsen, who've been shooting a script called Fixing the Shadow around town for a month. Until Shadow" is released (and maybe longer, if he's no good in it) you'll know Madsen as the guy who played Susan Sarandon's boyfriend in Thelma & Louise." . . .

The Arizona Office of Tourism-run by Symington appointee Frank Plencner- invited weeks of wise-guyism from local media by making a contest of its search for a new state slogan. The Phoenix Gazette staff channeled suggestions through columnist Dennis Wagner. Abandon hope all ye who enter here" was one of them. Arizona: Home of Mexico's fastest" was the KSLX morning-show's favorite listener entry. Another candidate comes (not intentionally) from a source perfectly qualified to comment on Arizona: A Chicago Tribune columnist. Jon Margolis, writing yet another start-to-finish paean to Route 66, says this about Arizona's section of the old highway: The drive between Kingman and Oatman, Ariz.-through the harsh, haunting Black Mountains- is more magnificent than the writers can describe. But Oatman itself is a dump, a tourist trap with a rickety old hotel, and who cares if Clark Gable and Carole Lombard did spend their wedding night there?" As slogans go, Jon buddy, yours could use a little polish. How about Arizona's okay: But Oatman itself is a dump"?

See the art, play the part

The event: The downtown art scene exposes itself this weekend, via the gala marketing event known as Art Detour.

The participants: By and large, the artists involved see themselves as alternative characters, bitter social critics and basically the coolest people breathing. By and large, they are correct. A majority of those present will vote for the late-period Elvis stamp because of what his decline says about America. The point: There will be parties, hot food, cold music and lots of posing (vivid details: page ??). And some art. Who wouldn't want to be part of all that?

The problem: You don't own any black jeans, stopped smoking pot during Reagan's first term and worry that you'll feel intimidated by all that brooding downtown creativity. The solution: The 1992 Art Detour Kit for Nonneobohemians. (These graphs go with the art work, as boxed cutlines with arrows.) The beret: A huge, floppy beret is part of the Artist" costume rented by Bert Easley's Fun Shop (509 West McDowell Road; 271-9146)-confirmation of its lasting value as a key dress-code element in the art world. Plop one of these things on your head and your appearance screams, I'm an artist! Now disrobe and pose for me!" The hat comes with an ornate smock and rents for $25 a day. An ages-old affectation now popular among certain paramilitary rap groups, the beret has yet to catch fire among latter-day neobohos. Still, it's a statement. Make your statement with this faux clip-on. The glasses: Not only does eccentric eyewear make you look smart, it makes you look peculiar and complex. Steely retro-industrial frames were hip for a while downtown, and clunky, early-period Rambis goggles have held sway recently. Who knows where this item is headed next? Be advised that your Art Detour Kit lenses are made of newsprint and not safety glass-an important consideration for art-viewing in the downtown setting, where works of scary mechanical sculpture abound. The goatee: Has a facial-hair trend ever made a greater comeback than the goatee's? Once only popular among saxophone masters, pornographers and Wilt Chamberlain, the natty chin rug has, in recent months, taken the alternative world by storm. Who would've thought that musicians and artists were capable of such intricate shaving techniques? If you're an assistant golf pro and afraid to grow one yourself, Easley's sells real-hair goatee kits for $6 (spirit gum not included-that's another buck). Or you could just tape this one onto your face.

 
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