Letters from the week of March 18, 2004

 Through the Years
A real old-timer: Hey, I go way back with New Times. I am looking at Volume Two, Number One, in my archives and indeed beside the roast I received for the 100-year storm that wiped out the Summers End Festival, the headlines and a Michael Lacey review of The Strawberry Statement made me feel proud that our hometown rag has entered the expanded universe that is America Today.

Through Inferno I am propelled into a club scene that matches our glory days of JD's nightclub in the '60s and Dr. Munchies Grocery & Gathering Place of the '70s. Bobby L. Pela's piece on Mark Brnovich's position on smoking in saloons -- ya gotta love this guy who takes on the health establishment and tells them to butt out of our personal freedoms to die any way we choose. John Dougherty should get a Pulitzer Prize for keeping us informed on The Jerry's drive to Disney our delightfully dismal downtown.

As a progenitor of rock 'n' roll concerts in the '60s when, with a tip from Bill Compton, we booked real musical artists (i.e., Jimi, Janis, Little Stevie Miller, The Flying Burrito Brothers). We were looking to expose our local-yokel bands to the bigger picture that was emerging beyond our borders. Remember when The Beans were drawing bigger than Alice Cooper? I do.

Thanks for the memories, the anxieties that fueled our Arizona imaginations, and for reporting, truthfully, on our progress and why we will count in the future of this Wild, Weird West.

Bob Gately

The Master Planner
Just say no: I just finished reading your column on Jerry Colangelo ("Colangelo Gets His," John Dougherty, March 11) and to me this sounds like Colangelo is getting ready to make a push for his master plan to come to fruition. He will use the money from the sale of the Suns and his fat paychecks from the new D-Backs owners to get his plan rolling. It's time for us real Phoenicians to stand up and say "no" to his plan.

Scott Smith

Mel-lifluous Critique
Mel-practice: P.S. to that good critique of The Passion of the Christ ("Suffer Unto Mel," Robert Wilonsky, February 26). It's a Mel-oh-drama.

Lloyd Clark

Tiresome Nightlife
We'll help him pack: Stumbling across your Web site and specifically your "nightlife" section reinforced my already low opinion of Phoenix late-night entertainment ("Hot Pink Perdition," Inferno, Stephen Lemons and Elaine Bell, February 19). I was quite surprised by Mr. Lemons' writing, which seemed to border on grade school tackiness. It's clear that he is so desperate to spice up the meager late-night offerings of your sad little town that he feels compelled to write such poetic lines as: "The dance floor at Hot Pink squirms like an orgy with clothes . . ." And: "Most prominent in the place is a platform with a stripper's pole up the middle."

My visits to Phoenix have always left me yawning with boredom, and it's clear that Mr. Lemons is just as bored as I've been with your city's entertainment. But might I suggest that rather than attempt to jolt the reader with sophomoric writing, he might be better served to simply live elsewhere? In fact, here's an open invitation for Mr. Lemons to visit me in Seattle, a city where, unlike Phoenix, he could actually have a beer in a bar past 1 a.m.

Greg Leos

Crazy 'bout the '80s: I guess nightlife isn't what it used to be ("Hot Pink Perdition")? I did some club hopping in my college days in the '80s and just love the '80s music. But this orgylike setting isn't what I remember it to be. The tattoos and body piercing, and the weird characters you meet -- I'm just glad I'm married now.

Yayoi Christiansen
Via e-mail

Times have changed: Reading your article about gay gangsta Incognito Lounge left me laughing way out loud ("Gaybangin'" March 4). We call it Homo Thugs. Back in the day, the late '70s and '80s, under the previous owner (now Ain't Nobody's Biz), it was a crazy fun place to be. Gay or straight, we all loved it!

For those of us who remember the good music, the Great Water Melon Shots and the best bartender, well, I guess that is all left to memory. I went there about three years ago thinking it was an after-hours place. I thought I was in the movie Colors (you know, Sean Penn?).

Guess everyone needs a place to be. Sadly, it once was one of the best bars in Phoenix. Oh well.

Loren Lucero

Unnecessary, indeed: Isn't it funny that you characterize the club by how ghetto it is and point out all the blacks and Hispanics in a negative view with your stereotypical assumptions making a complete ass out of yourself? I'm so offended I have trouble typing. What about all those perverted white dudes and Valley gone-wrong white kids who infest Incognito like rats? Funny how you take the assumption that Incognito is a gangbanging club just because there is hip-hop music and hip-hop dress. I haven't heard of any violent incidents there; in fact, this is the first article I've viewed. So why does it have to be gang-affiliated? That is not what all blacks and Hispanics are about. Granted, the club is ugly and ghetto, but just because people of color attend (which you nicely mentioned several times in your article) does not mean that violence always ensues. Sounds like you're a little biased in your writing and just a little ignorant. Check out those white ghetto motorcycle clubs and drug-infested bars if you want some real fear in your life. Not to mention the tired assumptions that gay dudes are all flimsy.

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