Paint Par-tay

Art, poetry, hip-hop and, as always, hot chicks set the roof afire at Wet Paint's Alpha Monster groove.

"What about the Phoenix fellas vs. the Gotham boys? Assuming you like guys," I say, rolling my eyes at Jett, significantly. "You know, there are a lot of lesbians out here."

"Oh, we like guys," responds Venus. "There are a lot of classy guys in New York, but there are a lot of classy guys here, too."

"I dunno," says Lolita. "I think a lot of the men in New York are too full of themselves for their own good. But I've been dating a guy that I met right here. I know when I pulled into town, I was wondering, 'Where am I gonna meet someone cool?' You know, not in the clubs. A friend of mine said, 'If you wanna meet someone cool, you gotta go to where cool people hang out.' Like here."

"Hmm, so where is this mystery man?" sniffs Jett, ever on the make.

"He's on tour right now. His name is Brad B. He's in this local, progressive hip-hop crew, the Drunken Immortals."

Just then, the Funky Cold One finishes her set, so we say farewell to Lolita and Venus, and corner the vivacious fashionista so we can quiz her on her nutty designs.

"I'm really concerned about talking to you two," worries Messina.

"She says we talk shit too much," laughs Jett, who knows the gal from way back.

"When have we ever been mean?" I cry.

"Well, there were the good skinheads, Kreme," admonishes Jett.

"You're not a skinhead, are you Camille?" I ask the Funkalicious Mess. "Otherwise we promise to be gentle."

"You know, Camille once duct-taped my breasts," Jett spurts out. "Uh, for a fashion show I was in. You know, to give me a little more cleavage."

"Yes, it was exciting," says Camille. "I was thrilled. I've taped so many tits, you wouldn't believe."

"Wait a sec," I say. "Jett needed more cleavage? It ain't like the Zona needs another Grand Canyon."

"Get your snout outta my canyon, Kreme," replies Jett, disgustedly. "So are you mostly still doing the fashion now, Camille, baby?"

"I've got a lot of things in the works," says Funky Cold Messina, a book of poetry in one hand. "I'm working on a short film right now, and also on an album. And of course, I'm doing photo shoots all the time. It's just wherever the inspiration goes, you follow. I can't help it. I can't."

"I know, that's what I always tell people about my waistline," I crack.

Nearby is Jess Jordan, the 24-year-old maestro of this madness. Jordan almost single-handedly organized the Tempe art scene into a the Final Friday event, which happens, of course, just prior to downtown Phoenix's First Friday deal. Though Jordan's Wet Paint, which she runs with her dad, is the linchpin of Final Friday, about two dozen other galleries participate. Hundreds of fine artists, graff writers, poets and musicians feeding off each other's creativity descend on Wet Paint for the event each month. Jordan herself is a very talented painter, and this evening she has several canvases up.

"We always get a good crowd in," says Jordan, sipping on a little somethin' somethin' as we parley with each other. "And I've been trying to have themes to it. This month is the Alpha Monster collective, next month will be Halloween, and in November, it's going to be skateboards, original art on skateboards, sculpture and photography. We also want to get the BMXers out here, too, but we'll see how that goes."

"So which one of the canvases that you have up is your favorite?" I query.

"Oh, it has to be the one of George Clinton," says Jordan, referring to a colorful portrait of Dr. Funkenstein in the upper gallery. "He's the man."

"George Clinton?" says Jett. "Was that like President Clinton's brother?"

"Well, he is a brother," I explain. "And he is a Clinton, but unlike the ex-prez, he, uh, inhaled -- a lot. And got popped for it, I believe. He's a musician, Jett. Haven't you ever heard of Parliament/Funkadelic?"

"Puh-lease, Kreme, I know all about Parliament/Funkadelic" snorts Jett. "How dumb do you think I am? We learned all about that form of government in high school."

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