Letters from the week of December 25, 2003

Amber Wayne

Artless Community

Artistic direction: Thank you for your thoughtful article ("Abstract Art Cuts," Paul Kix, December 18). I feel passionately about this subject and wish to comment.

I moved from Mesa to Gilbert with my parents in 1988 (population approximately 25,000). Although I now have a home in Mesa with my wife and children, my parents still live in Gilbert, and I have a semi-vested interest in its happenings, which is why I am pleased to have councilman Dave Petersen as a member of Gilbert's Town Council.

Art is an important addition to any community's culture, but its creation and purchase should not come from public dollars but from private contributions. If an art advisory board desires to purchase art for public display, then let the board creatively discover new funding sources that lie outside of our tax revenue (e.g., private grants). In other words, make them work for their money. Tax dollars are better spent on more meaningful investments, such as programs for the impoverished, public repairs, education, etc.

Kelly Kline
Via e-mail

Bar None

Stupid is as stupid does: I am writing to express my disgust for the two men who purchased Bandersnatch in Tempe ("Bander Snatched," Joe Watson, December 11). Matt Engstrom and Barrett Rinzler are sorry-ass excuses for businessmen. They bought Bandersnatch with the intent to make it a ritzy Scottsdale-like bar, but if they had stepped foot into Bandersnatch in the first place they would have seen that Bandersnatch is not fancy drinks and beautiful, scantily dressed women. Bandersnatch is about tradition, the daily specials (they couldn't have re-created Addie Mocca's delicious dishes; money doesn't buy talent), and the brewery and home brews. So everybody who was associated with Bandersnatch knew that tearing out Arizona's first microbrewery was an idiotic discussion.

However, it is pretty obvious that Engstrom and Rinzler are complete idiots. Engstrom stated that they are closing Bandersnatch and opening it for events only because "Bander's just wasn't doing anything as far as revenue goes." Well, did you ever think that tearing down Bandersnatch's tradition and pissing off its regulars would bring in revenue?

As far as the city of Tempe goes, they are just as stupid as Engstrom and Rinzler. They claim that they were not threatening the Moccas, but why else would the Moccas, who had been so devoted to Bandersnatch for 16 years and who had made it their lives and had put their hearts and souls into keeping it the way it was, just up and sell it?

Tempe: You're lucky Club Rio is right by ASU, because if not, 95 percent of ASU would go elsewhere to party instead of 70 percent. Because of you, and Engstrom and Rinzler, 15 or so good people are out of work and the best place to go and party in Tempe is now closed. And as for Engstrom and Rinzler, you wouldn't be anywhere if it weren't for your rich daddies.

Brittany Davis

Freaks and Geeks

Strange but true: Steven Strange on the cover of New Times ("Dark Impulses," Jimmy Magahern, December 11)! Very exciting for his many fans and friends who are fascinated with his putting a giant black scorpion into his mouth and walking on glass, as well as firebreathing. But where's the article about Steve? Where's one single word about Steve?

During December's First Friday, the directions on the invitations to my art exhibit at the Celtica Art Gallery stated, "We're down the street from Steven Strange's firebreathing, glass walking." Everyone found us, thanks to Steve.

Steve's strange, off-center -- and the kindest, gentlest soul. Next summer he's off to Coney Island.

Jimmy Magahern, Steven alone would make a fascinating article. (Ask him about "bowling.")

Diana DeMille

City Management

White elephant man: Based on what New Times has recently published, what I can't understand is why Jerry Colangelo carries so much weight in this town. All I see is one big loser whose downtown projects are nothing but huge financial failures. How can anyone have even one iota of confidence in this man's abilities? His only valid claim to success is his ability to obtain the use of OPM (other people's money), which consists mostly of that of the taxpayers, and high-end investors who want to be in on the "big deals" regardless of the financial risk they represent. Any person with any smarts would run the other way whenever they see Jerry coming. So why isn't that happening? Are people that stupid or are they just plain scared?

Name withheld by request

Anything for a price: I have lived in Phoenix since 1973, and in 1972, came here on a vacation. At that time, there was a downtown with stores and restaurants and other activities. I lived in Phoenix from 1945-46, and attended Osborn #1 School. I was in Phoenix off and on from 1948-1953. In those days you could go downtown and get anything you wanted, even illegal activity. There were stores and restaurants -- from coffee shops and lunch counters to high-class restaurants. There were movie theaters and other activities to participate in. Now, you have to go to the mall to buy a spool of thread, or go a couple of miles to pick up a jar of coffee.

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