Letters from the week of May 20, 2004

 Ring the Changes
What's hot and what's not: I've noted a lot of positive changes in New Times over the past year. It seems that you're returning to your former place as the paper to read to find out what's really going on in Arizona.

Michael Lacey has always been in and out of things, and it's great to see him writing more. I loved his blasts at Bishop O'Brien ("The Divine Sociopath," April 15) and Ralph Nader ("President Tofu," April 29), but he's shooting fish in a barrel compared to the great John Dougherty. I'm glad he's a columnist now so I can read his take on my former hometown every week. Dougherty has been the most hard-hitting of your paper's writers. He should have won major awards for his stuff on Fife Symington, and I'm sure he will win every award in sight for his polygamy series (see "Polygamy in Arizona" at www.phoenixnewtimes.com). That was the scariest stuff I've seen in years, and returned me to reading New Times, which a couple of years ago had become little more than a knockoff of the Arizona Banana Republic. State officials continuing to allow the rape of underage girls is criminal.

I left Phoenix for some of the very reasons that you cited in your downtown Phoenix series last year ("Exploding Downtown," on our Web site). I attended the Richard Florida event at the Orpheum Theatre ("Speech Therapy," October 30, 2003), and while I found him pompous, I did agree with most of his points. More than that, though, I agree with Dougherty's points in the series regarding Jerry Colangelo selling us down the river to get his sports stadiums built ("Jerry's World," October 10, 2003). That is, lining his own pockets first, and not worrying about whether he could make good on his promises to jazz up downtown. I notice that Dougherty has continued this richly deserving assault on Jerry in his column. Bravo! Somebody finally tells the truth about this guy. Also, Dougherty's claims seem to be getting some attention, since I see from a recent column that Jerry has backed off his downtown mall proposal ("Colangelo Eats Crow," May 6).

On a different note, I love Stephen Lemons, despite what all the hayseeds in the Valley think. I went to Uptown 713 and had the same reaction ("Bistro Bland," April 8). Best burger in the world. Give me a break! Loved Lemons' line: "Ronald McDonald might beg to differ." Last time I was in town, on Lemons' recommendation, I went to Blue Wasabi ("Wacky Wasabi," April 1) and found him on the money there. Best sushi I've had outside of L.A., and those drinks he described . . . I'm a girl, so I love sweet cocktails that knock you out.

Though I'm not a Scottsdale and Tempe clubs person anymore, I enjoy the writing in Lemons' other column (various Infernos, also by Elaine Bell). It's a bit contrived at times, but I think that's the style of the column. What's good about it, even for a duffer like me (I'm 42), is that it's filled with jokes, and I can live vicariously. I love hip-hop (great to dance to), and sadly there's more hip-hop writing in the clubs column than in your music section. By the way, where did you dig up (music columnist) Brendan Joel Kelley?!

Keep up the good job. Maybe you'll convince me that Phoenix is interesting enough to come back to.

P.S. Thanks for that Lemons piece ("Dubious Degas," March 18) and that other story highlighting gay fashion guy David Sheflin ("Fashion Victim," Michele Laudig, April 29). That Sheflin story really let those highbrow retirees at the Phoenix Arts Museum have it! I know all about them, and I know they deserve it.
Tina McMillan, Los Angeles

The new look: Congratulations to New Times for your new slick, sleek and stapled appearance. It sure is easier to read and handle! I've been enjoying your publication for all of the 11 years I've lived in Phoenix after moving from the great "corn" state of Iowa. Your newspaper is much better than New York's Village Voice. But I've always felt you guys were lacking something. So now I can finally say you've got it all together! Peace, love and happiness to your great staff!
Tom Fisher, Glendale

Something to write homo about: What the hell has happened to New Times over the past year or two? Just when I thought you guys had changed, grown up and stopped mouthing all that liberal, alternative crap, along comes all those stories on the queer culture (and I use that term loosely) in Phoenix. The latest was that story on the homosexual who's misunderstood at the Phoenix Art Museum. And you've even got some dyke co-writing that Inferno column.

I had hope for you recently when you put Jesus on the cover ("Jesus Christ Rap Superstar," Darren Keast, March 25), and then I realized you were just putting down people who believe in God. Disrespecting God's son. Good work! Your families must be proud, and you will have to answer for this later. You guys should be ashamed of yourselves because your paper is worthless again. Maybe homos like you will understand words like: "New Times blows!"
Anthony McClain, via the Internet

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