Letters from the week of August 7, 2003

Salt for an open wound: I read the recent Spiked pieces on the sudden closure of longtime Camelback Bore-idor eatery RoxSand and chuckled sardonically ("Ironic Chef," July 10, and "She Is Not a Crook," July 24). I was strangely pleased to hear of the blatant, meat-hook truths behind the polished façade of this much-touted establishment. All I have ever heard about this pretentious yuppie nightmare outfit have been accolades to the owner/executive chef RoxSand What's-her-latest-married-name for her so-called "cutting-edge-fusion cuisine." I visited this establishment exactly once, in 1990, and found it to be the most overpriced, overhyped and dissatisfactory restaurant in which I have ever had the misfortune of dining. I do not remember what lyrically described fare my companions ordered, but I do remember my "seafood pasta" as a $24 (in 1990) bowl of clamshells over limp linguini (and I'm no big fan of "al dente"). The least the chef could have done was tighten up the sauce to conceal the fact that there was no meat in the shells. I do lucidly remember all at the table staring at each other with incredibly disbelieving looks, lamenting the fact that this was the "fabulous" RoxSand!

After having had many years myself in the "business," what eventually happened at RoxSand was not at all surprising: The employees were left in the lurch, with no warning of impending closure, and to fend for themselves. That is so typical of the sort of restaurant owner who feels that the (ever-shrinking) working class is her personal herd of cattle upon which to feed (with Cajun-béchamel-mole sauce, no doubt).

Garrett Holway

Image-conscious: As a former employee of RoxSand, it is really nice to see her made out to be the unscrupulous owner that she was! It was absolutely hilarious that she would get so upset about her "image" that she would tell her lawyer to write a demand letter when there was nothing to demand -- what, that she got her feelings hurt? The lawyer was probably thinking what a crazy lady, but then again if the lawyer has worked with RoxSand for any length of time, he or she is already aware of how unreasonable RoxSand can be. Just check out the spelling of her name, among other things! On my second day of training, RoxSand came up to me and said: "You have a peculiar odor, do you bathe correctly?" I WAS FLABBERGASTED! Any normal person would have said you smell like cigarettes, this is a nonsmoking restaurant and could you please refrain from smoking prior to getting here.

RoxSand is an egotistical woman who always has to be right, no matter if she is or not. When I first arrived in Phoenix, I had interviews with RoxSand and Vincent's. The first thing I noticed were the walls in RoxSand were covered with articles and awards about her yet she was hardly ever in the restaurant during business hours. Kinda like saying: "Look at me, look what I did!" Very similar to the behavior of a child. Whereas when you walked into Vincent's, you saw nothing. He probably has three times the coverage RoxSand had! You get the point.

The funny part is if she would have kept her mouth shut and not retaliated against the article, everything probably would have blown over. But now everybody knows what kind of person she really is.

Besides, who really got hurt? The woman who ran around yelling "Look at me" or the 30 or so employees who lost their jobs?

Thanks for letting me vent.

Name withheld by request

Lo Blows

The best of the worst: I've been thoroughly entertained reading the reviews of Gigli ("Bad Asses," Luke Y. Thompson, July 31). It may be one of the worst movies ever, but it's inspired some of the best movie critic reviews I've ever read! Kudos to you!

Kelly Glenfield
Via e-mail

The Lo-down: Excellent review on Gigli. Initially, watching the commercials, I am compelled to get my teeth pulled out without any anesthetics than have to see J.Lo portray herself as a "gangsta." It disheartens me to see that obvious box office flops are still being made. Thank you for your insightfulness.

Evan MacKinnon
Edmonton, Alberta

Brest enhancement: I just want to let you know that I enjoyed your review. A couple of your quips really stood out and got my attention for being especially true. First, that Martin Brest's filmography brings to my mind nothing but "star-vanity projects" (thank you for that; I now have a term to use). And second, that Jennifer Lopez, once upon a time, had a distinguished acting résumé (even with U-Turn. People can say what they want about Oliver Stone, but at least he has an Oscar). Of course, it's inevitable that Brest, helmsman of such movies, would eventually tap Lopez: The Wedding Planner, Maid in Manhattan, Enough and Angel Eyes might as well be series titled "J.Lo's Excuses to Show Herself Off, Parts I-IV."

Mico Polotan
Via e-mail

Dance Fever

Light on their toes: In the article on Cabaret ("German Hairlift," Robrt L. Pela, July 24), you said "harshly lit and danced by non-dancers." Obviously you didn't notice the pirouettes, turns, leaps, flips, and not to mention taps by those you call "non-dancers." If you read the bios on the six dancers who happen to do all these dance moves, you would realize that we are not amateurs. I for one have studied RAD ballet, tap and jazz my whole life. And definitely none of the other dancers appreciate being called non-dancers. So on behalf of me and the other five so-called non-dancers, we are DANCERS!!!! You would not like to be called a non-writer writing stories (or would you?).

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