Letters

Letters from the week of April 14, 2005

Critical Mass

The power of negative thinking: I just wanted to say that Robrt L. Pela's column on bad Shakespeare ("Much Ado About Nothing," April 7) was the funniest thing I've read in ages.

I couldn't agree more, and I know that he will catch flak from the local theater crowd who think their shit smells like perfume. They have the belief that anything they do is good, and even if it isn't, nobody should say so because nobody's allowed to come out against "hardworking" theater producers in this town.

"If you're not here to be positive, then shut the fuck up!" one told me once.

Their whole kill-the-messenger approach to anything negative makes me sick, and lets all of us know what a hick theater town we live in. Let's face it, if these dorks had anything on the ball, they would be plying their so-called trade in New York, or at least Los Angeles, where there are real actors and other stage professionals.

I don't care what any of you yahoos say, Robrt Pela's too good for this town!
His Mother (just kidding),
Tom Mehren, via the Internet

Much ado about something: I am just waiting for Robrt L. Pela to announce that he has despised every theater production he has ever seen in his life -- so there, you theater assholes!

He was noticeably absent from a new production at Metro Arts called Collateral Damage and missed a wonderful opportunity to diss 11 of Phoenix's most produced playwrights. He also could have dissed artist Matt Sesow, who was in attendance the first two nights from Washington, D.C., where his work appears in galleries. Pela could have scorned his 8-by-10-foot painting that served as backdrop for the 10 short plays the other writers and I wrote to express our feelings about the horrors of the Iraqi and all wars.

Why did you insist on attending productions of your despised Shakespeare, Mr. Pela? Are you also convinced that you are far more brilliant than any Phoenix playwright who ever presumed to write, and chose the lesser of two evils?

It can't be because we are straight, since I believe my father was gay, and I have written a play about his effect on a wife and five daughters that nobody will produce.

I believe our theater critics are Neanderthals and do not know how to encourage creativity, honesty and complex truth.
Gerry King (Hitt), Phoenix

Grand Slam

Be careful what you ask for: The fried garbage served at the Armadillo Grill is truly abominable ("Road Kill Rules," Cafe, Stephen Lemons, March 31)! And after the management solicited a review from New Times, Stephen Lemons had no choice but to tell greater Phoenix so.

The last time I consumed a gut bomb at the Armadillo, I regretted it for days. You're right, you'd be better off to go to Denny's. It's cheaper and does not pretend to be a good restaurant.

I'm sure you will be reamed for your review of this shithole, just as you were when you rightly savaged the Pete's Fish & Chips stands. In my humble opinion, as a frequenter of Phoenix cafes, Pete's -- as bad as those places are -- is head and shoulders above the Armadillo.
Sandy Wright, Phoenix

A manager's view: Business managers have a responsibility to their clients to supply a good product and service at a fair price.

I take this responsibility very seriously, evident by the loyal following of patrons at the Armadillo Grill from all walks of life. They enjoy not only the atmosphere in our restaurant but also the food and the service. Any infrequent complaints are promptly rectified.

You have the responsibility to ensure that the material you publish is accurate and free of slander and innuendoes. The review of my restaurant is not only inaccurate and written in extremely poor taste, but it is also slanderous of my patrons.

My staff and I hold our heads high with pride and will continue, as we have demonstrated during the past eight years, to strive to improve our offerings to our clients (among them many from the restaurant industry and from your own staff, who would not have tolerated the quality of food your so-called expert described).

As for your newspaper, you have lost a great deal of credibility among those of your readers who frequent the Armadillo.

All of us feel very sorry for Terri Schiavo and her family and share their grief. The reference your critic made to her must be this year's low point in journalism. You ought to be ashamed to have published it.
Brenda Lambrecht, the Armadillo Grill, Phoenix

An ardent supporter: I take back anything bad I ever said about you. Your review is spot-on: Armadillo Grill is the worst restaurant in metro Phoenix, bar none! Thanks for calling it like it is.
Damon Briedenback, Phoenix

Don't quit your day job: Yours must be the only restaurant column I read for its witticisms.

Comparisons of a restaurant's entrees with intestinal parasites or recalcitrant fecal matter are always amusing, when true. Of course, criticizing bar food is like shooting fish in a barrel, but the Armadillo Grill did ask for it in being fatuous enough to solicit a review, and you did it with style.

What's next? Spillane's? ("I, the jury, find your hors d'oeuvres abominable!")

In the event this marks a trend, I have taken the liberty to compose a few inspirational bons mots:

• Upholstery, in establishments of this caliber, consists not infrequently of the hide of the Nauga. After sampling the steak at O'Houlihan's, I finally may have discovered the use to which the rest of this spurious beast has been put.

• Those unfortunate enough to try the New York strip at the Copper Kettle will surely agree with P.E.T.A. that meat is murder. Where's Robert Blake when you need him? Next time I'll wait in the car.

• I find myself regarding Charlton Heston's outburst at the end of Soylent Green as being unduly querulous. Bye-bye, Applebee's.

• I suppose traditional prohibitions (Biblical, Koranic) against the consumption of swine flesh had their place in ancient societies, though the persistence of these edicts into modern times has always puzzled me. Until now. The pork fritters at Bobby McPanda's Grill will surely have you shouting Allahu Akbar (the battle cry of Muslim jihadists) because they're soo-ee-cide!
Mark Adkins, Phoenix

A little too late: For a while, I was thinking . . . does Stephen Lemons ever dislike a restaurant? I have taken his advice on several occasions, especially when it comes to ethnic dining, and have never been steered wrong. But you have to wonder when a critic seems to never criticize.

Then, I read with interest the critique of the Armadillo Grill, which I had just had the misfortune to dine at. My food was floating in grease, and the place smelled of cigarette smoke.

I think it's the duty of Mr. Lemons to warn us off places like this more often. I only wish I had read his review before I wasted my money.
Bill Kearns, via the Internet

Can't hold a knife and fork to him: In his presumed correctness, I am doubtful if Stephen Lemons could run an educated conversation at a table, or hold his knife and fork to meet polite society.

The Armadillo Grill is an eclectic bar meeting the various interests of the community. It makes no pretensions to be other than what it is. Lord forbid that Mr. Lemons should one day be bald, a senior citizen or hacking up half a lung. I think such characterizing of the patrons deserves apology from the editor.
Stewart Hall, Phoenix

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