Flashes 05-11-2000

Rev. Ev Meets Mad Max

Just when Eyes Wide Shuthad convinced you that fiction can be stranger than truth, along comes truth to goose you once again. To wit:

Impeached former governor Evan Mecham is finally going to prison. But it's not for any crime. He's going to visit convicted murderer Max Dunlap in Florence.

Mecham, who was impeached by the state Senate in 1988, was then acquitted at criminal trial of campaign-finance violations.

Dunlap is serving a life sentence for arranging the 1976 car-bomb slaying of Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles.

Department of Corrections spokesman Mike Arra confirms that Dunlap has placed Mecham on his list for a "special visit," scheduled for Saturday.

What on Earth could the devout Mormon Mecham have to say to an arch criminal like Dunlap, or vice versa?

"He read my book and said he wanted to talk to me," Mecham tells the Flash. "I got a very short note from him, asking that I come see him."

Mecham's book, Wrongful Impeachment, was published last year. In it, Mecham blames his ouster from office on a broad conspiracy launched by a shadowy network of powerful business and political leaders. Mecham wouldn't say how many books he's sold, other than "a pretty good bunch."

One source tells the Flash that Dunlap has information that will bolster Mecham's conspiracy theory.

Mecham wouldn't say what the agenda for Saturday's meeting includes. "It's probably not much of anything, but at least I'll go see him," Mecham says.

For the Flash's sake, let's hope Dunlap's disclosure does not include instruction on how to blow up journalists.

Film Flam

The Flash knew bad karma was wafting about when New Times' M.V. Moorhead reported last week that the Saguaro International Film Festival, scheduled for the weekend past, had no venue.

It wound up at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts.

One of many low points of the so-called festival came Sunday afternoon, when one of the few attendees knocked over a mobile art installation completed by a local high school student. The incident seemed to be an accident, not performance art, but drew more applause, albeit sarcastic and brief, than most of the movies that played at the rinky-dink three-day fest.

Tim Bridwell, a sardonic American filmmaker who now lives in Paris, mused about the sparsely attended, technical-glitch-ridden event. "This is very strange," he said of the festival, and, for that matter, of the Valley in general. "Why do they call this a 'festival'? Which raises the question: "How many people does it take to make a festival?'"

More, certainly, than the 20 or so (including the projectionist and the janitor) who had attended Bridwell's quirky Sahara Desert romp Rendezvous in Samarkand. The film had earned honors as the Best in Show, but Bridwell wasn't jumping for joy. The festival didn't have 35-millimeter equipment, so all films shot in that gauge had to be shown on video.

Video proved a huge bummer for Jeremy Spear's down-home documentary, Fastpitch (which the New Yorker co-wrote with our intrepid scribe Paul Rubin). The softball flick's soundtrack consisted of something akin to an invasion of angry locusts. The shell-shocked Spear rolled with the low blows, repeating to anyone within earshot that his upcoming stops on the just-beginning festival circuit couldn't possibly be as poorly conceived and executed as this one.

Raping the Language

If we are to take seriously the wording of a story on the front page of Monday's new-and-improved Millennial Arizona Republic, we should be happy that serious crime is on the rise in the Valley.

Why? Because, according to staff scribe Beverly Ford, it's mostly voluntary.

Ford tells us that "while the nation saw a seven percent drop in serious crime last year, Phoenix bucked the trend, logging increases in murder, forcible rape, robbery and car theft . . ."

Yes, you read it right. She said forciblerape.

You probably don't need the Flash to tell you that if it's not forcible, it's not rape. When you remove the force, it's known as having sex (among other things). But, there is some good news -- on the Bevster's list of crimes, only rape was forcible. So we can take comfort in the knowledge that the murders were voluntary, and so weren't really murders at all.

This means that in 1999 Phoenix had 212 voluntary murders, up from 185 involuntary ones in 1998.

Next week in the Millennial Republic: looking back on the forcible bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

 
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