The Joke's on John
The first thing Senator John McCain did following the telling of a completely derogatory and vile "joke" at the expense of Chelsea Clinton was to write a letter of apology (Flashes, June 18). If he ever says that about either of my daughters, the first thing he'll have to do is call someone with a big spatula to scrape his ugly ass off the floor.

Ed Childers

I really don't want to minimize the horror of Vietnam, but John McCain should send thank-you notes to Hanoi every year. They stopped him from a career selling cars. I also don't like that his limp gets worse close to elections.

Name withheld by request

John McCain is a perfect example of the need for term limits such as Thomas Jefferson wanted in the Constitution. It is time to return government to those other than career politicians.

John Galt
via Internet

Short Order
Thanks for Barry Graham's column on the Gay Denny's ("Boy Meets Grill," June 25). I mostly hung out there in my late teens/early 20s, which would have been about the mid-'80s.

I'm a responsible, career-driven 30ish homeowner now, but I still like to go to the Seventh Street Denny's every now and then after a night out.

Losing this Denny's would be a far greater loss to Phoenix than the Cine Capri. Thanks again for writing so well about it.

Name withheld by request

I read Barry Graham's column and I felt extremely offended in how he described the people at the "Gay Denny's." We the gay community have finally found a place to be ourselves and then you come along and write a piece totally negative against people that are not what society claims as "norm." Tell where you might find a place where everyone can go and be happy. I myself being a gay woman can't go to a straight place and be with my wife. But I can guarantee that anyone--no matter race, gender or sexual preference--can go to any gay place and be accepted. So please, Barry, next time you want to write a letter about the gay or abnormal lifestyle, try not making it so offensive. It is hard enough for us in life.

Name withheld by request

Awesome article about Gay Denny's! Barry Graham did a great job of capturing the atmosphere of the place that was my home away from home in the college years. I'm neither gay nor am I named Denny, but I've always felt happy and comfortable at Gay Denny's. It's been a while, but after reading your article, I'm thinking it's time to head back for a blueberry muffin, order of onion rings, and a chocolate shake. So I guess now that it's a Phoenix landmark, someone ought to be coming along to tear it down . . . right . . . about . . . now.

Steve Calderon
via Internet

Brill vs. Brian
In the matter of the letter from Mason Jar operator Franco Gagliano ("Trash, Man," June 18), it is clear that Mr. Gagliano is under the illusion that your esteemed "Trashman" columnist Bill Blake and Beat Angels vocalist Brian Smith are one and the same. His disdain for the former has tainted his opinion of the latter, and ranting has replaced rationale. Now, I'm no conspiracy theorist; I believe in the lone-gunman theory, that The X-Files is a TV show and not a lifestyle, and that silicon implants are merely God's way of telling us we don't get out enough. Just the same, Mr. Gagliano's comments smack of high intrigue, suggesting that he and his heavy-metal venue have some vested interest in linking together two heretofore unconnected individuals. Personal gain? Divide-and-conquer among the local music scene? A break in the New Times ad rates when the Beat Angels are booked for his establishment? Who knows? Only Mr. Gagliano can answer those questions, and more.

To set the record straight, let me say that I know both Bill Blake and Brian Smith, and they could not be more different. Granted, I have never seen both in the same room at the same time, but I have heard the two conversing with one another in adjoining stalls of the men's room at Tiffany's Cabaret. The former, who is a professional journalist, drinks Bud, has a slightly raspy voice, walks with a perpetual stoop, and is fond of quoting both Descartes (incorrectly) and Elmore Leonard (correctly, albeit with an exaggerated macho flair). The latter, a performing musician, drinks fine wines plus the occasional shot of Scotch, and has a decidedly effete air about him, from his lispy vocal inflections to his prissy stride to his neo-Edwardian attire; additionally, he is prone to quoting Alice Cooper and Tommy "Tripod" Lee of Mstley CrYe (both quite serviceably, by the way). Blake is well-read, introspective, and Apollonian; Smith is of the Dionysian bent, far cruder in temperament, and wholly wrapped up in his rock 'n' roll world. Yet despite their obvious differences, I am equally fond of both men, for they are each generous to a fault and willing to sacrifice for their respective arts in order to make the world a more lively and colorful place.

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