Chill Like That

The Neo and Trinity of the PHX kick it with the boho urban artistes of Paint at Paper Heart.

"But you still consider NYC home?"

"Oh, yeah, always," she insists. "I miss the culture. You know, there's still not a lot of culture out here by comparison. But while I'm here, I'm going to bring it, and help create it, as much as I can."

I'm beginning to wonder where my Red Stripe's gotten to, as listening to poetry is a thirsty job. Nearby, I espy artists Jason Rudolph Peña, Baron Gordon, and Glenn Allen, each working on some live canvas-work, as Seduce lets the Afrobeats flow. I amble to the long, crooked bar, and see my Red Stripe gathering dust there, as the AC/DC Amber Valletta is blowing off a male admirer.

"Gee, thanks for getting me that beer," I state, taking a sip of my no-longer-cold brew-ha-ha.

"No problemo, Kreme-o," replies Jett, oblivious to my sarcasm. "Gawd, I hate getting hit on. You guys, especially, are soooobvious."

"Don't hate me because I'm beautiful," I mock, with a head toss.

"Huh?" grunts my clueless comrade.

"Shush," I tell her, as another round of Valley Mos Defs takes to the stage. (Seduce is silent while the poetics are in play.) A blond gal named Anna dedicates a poem to the Greek god Pan, telling him he's "hairy, stinky, and sweet," or something like that. Freaky-deaky, girl. To steal a line from 50 Cent, "I'll take you to the candy shop, and let you lick the lollipop . . ."

J. Christ takes the stage next. For real, that's his show-biz name, but no miracles, alas. Instead, he advises us to "take out those paper hearts and throw them in the trash can." Uh, okay. A button-down dude named Kevin rhapsodizes about sheep's testicles, Chinese chicken feet, and "the smell of a used Russian whore." Cool. Following him is LC (Larry Childers Jr.), who reminds me a little of Bionic Jive's Ako Mack. LC freestyles about his trials and tribulations with ease and humor, whether it's visiting a member of his family in stir, or doing 12 days in County himself. A talented, relentless man on the mic.

Funniest piece of the night comes from this dude Danny Mele who reads a poem about sitting on the toilet at Home Depot, while the guy next to him is having a rectal eruption. That's wack, Danny! A luscious, curvy honey called J.T. (Jennifer Terry) then does a breathy, sexy poem that has the Jettster squirming on her barstool. Eric gets back up there and hollas about how "My mom won't let me love you!" I feel your pain, dawg. Eventually, the poetry part of the evening ends, and Seduce gets back at it, while local rock band Thirte-FS readies the stage for its acoustic set.

The Jettster and I keep our elbows on the bar, as Paper Heart proprietor Scott Sanders serves us up some more liquid refreshment, and it's in this pose that we make the acquaintance of Joey G., a thin, hooded figure in blue-tinted aviator glasses. Actually, Baron Gordon, the Morpheus (you know, like in The Matrix) of the Alpha Monster Artist Collective, introduces us, and after clasping palms with him, we ask Mr. G. what his story is . . .

"I'm a writer, poet, artist, but the term I prefer is 'imagineer,'" he says, grinning. "Actually, that's in all of us to do, to be all those things, and that's what I want to make people realize. In our culture, we can do whatever the fuck we want to do. We just have to start doing it and make it sustainable for each other."

"So, um, what kinda art do you make?" asks the J-unit.

"I have sort of a travel diary/manifesto in paperback called Traveling America Broke: The Life and Crimes of Joey Grether.I'm out of them right now, but you can normally get it through [the Web site www.mobaction.com]. I also have a Mob Action clothing line. I try to do socially aggressive, provocative ideas with design. I also do a girls' clothing line called Heroine, where I celebrate the woman as hero, but also play on the idea of the drug war. The drug war is super-fucked! I'm not down with it at all. I'm all about self-medication."

"You know, that's the first thing anyone's said all night that I can get behind!" exclaims my rarely sober sidekick, as she lifts her wine to us. "Bottoms up!"

"I'd like to get behind your bottom up," I growl. "Joey-boy, her idea of performance art is puking in my back seat after one too many Pinot Grigios."

"Whatever, Kreme," she slurs back at me. "No matter how many penises I taste, yours will be the one my lips never touch!"

(Admission to Paint is just $3. For more info, see www.paintfusion.com.)

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