Letters from the week of Thursday, April 21, 2005

 Green Fairy Tales

There is life here: I moved to Phoenix from California -- the Bay Area -- and I had all the usual regrets about moving from the big city to the not-so-big city. You know, Phoenix at first blush just seems like a ghost town, despite the fact that it has four professional sports teams and boasts being the fifth-largest city in America.

I started here living downtown, thinking I would be in the center of the action. And I thought I had picked the right spot when I looked out my front window on my first night and there was First Friday going on. Then came the letdown. There was action downtown literally once a month, unless you count the sports fans who come in on game nights. I was depressed about my decision to move here, thinking my life was over, that I would never meet anybody cool, that I would never go anyplace cool.

I couldn't have been more wrong, and your story on the absinthe culture in Phoenix ("Behind the Green Door," Stephen Lemons, Inferno, April 7) reminded me of just how wrong I was. Phoenix has a whole lot to offer, and it's much like Los Angeles in that you have to drive around to find the cool stuff. Like a smaller L.A., it's about car culture. After I had been here a couple of months, I discovered the Scottsdale club scene and then Mill Avenue and then various other spots that were tucked away in Phoenix. You'd never come across Hot Pink!, unless you knew where and when to look. There are some of the best nightclubs anywhere in the Phoenix area, and despite their attempt at the velvet rope in some cases, they are much more accessible than in San Francisco or L.A. I found out about many of them from reading your Inferno column.

And that is why it didn't surprise me when I read about the absinthe scene there. I'm going to hit Sadisco the first chance I get.

My main point is . . . I was very much a part of the absinthe scene in the Bay Area, and I'm wildly happy to see that there's a similar one going on here. I felt that your story in Inferno really took me into the life, and explained the origins of the Green Fairy, which I had never heard. Kreme is a gifted writer in that regard. I hope he keeps up the good work, because he's really educating those of us from other places (and there are a lot of us arriving here every day) about Phoenix. Even if it doesn't seem so at first glance, there really is life here.
Brent McCullough, Phoenix

Green belt: Cool story on the absinthe scene in the Phoenix area. I've been curious about the stuff since I tried it in Eastern Europe a decade ago. I got really smashed, and I sure thought I melded minds with the Green Fairy.

I'm surprised to learn that there's apparently no hallucinogenic effect to the stuff. I could have sworn . . .

Anyway, I'm dying to try it again, and I'm wondering if Kreme will share some information with me about how to accomplish this. I feel a little funny about trying to order it from overseas.

Whatever, I really enjoyed the article; I felt you took me inside a world I didn't know existed in this desert burg. Wonder what else is out there.
Kenyon Patterson, Phoenix

Drink some absinthe and call us in the morning: I can't believe that with all of the things going on in the world, you guys had a slow news week! Need suggestions? Do you truly think that absinthe is front-page-worthy?

Why don't you guys go after some truly important issues like all of the traffic cameras showing up in every part of the Valley? I have seen some great investigative writing come out of you guys, and I think that you are capable. Doesn't anyone care that these cameras showed up with no public vote or information whatsoever? Someone needs to blow the lid off this thing!

Don't get caught up in people getting wasted and trying to pass it off as "counter-culture." That's what MTV and mainstream newspapers are for. You are better than that, aren't you?! I'm concerned.
Name withheld by request


What would Jesus the legislator do?: John Dougherty has been fighting the good fight on a couple of major fronts for a long time. I couldn't believe he didn't win the Pulitzer Prize for his work on the polygamy scene in northern Arizona and southern Utah. It is truly a criminal situation up there, and the state continues to do squat about it. Then there's Joe Arpaio. After all Dougherty uncovered, the coward gets elected again and continues to abuse the citizens of Maricopa County. He is one of the reasons I moved away from Phoenix.

But on the subject of polygamy, I wish I could believe that the bill before the Legislature that Dougherty wrote about had a chance of passage, but you can see from all the dissension noted in the column that there's little chance of that ("Derail Polygamy's Money Train," April 7). Our chicken-shit legislators and governor will always come up with some excuse as to why they can't stop the child rapists who are using state and federal money to finance their activities.

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