He's a Wanker

The plumed one revels in a Howard Stern super-fan's dream come true and cautions Artlink not to overkill the party

The Bird likes nothing better than seeing locals getting a little national recognition, especially when props don't involve somebody like Sheriff Joe Arpaio disgracing himself in public. And so this pretend pigeon was pleased when Glendale mom Alice Rubio, who can safely lay claim to being the biggest Howard Stern fan in the Valley of the Sun, had two very cool things happen to her the other day:

First, Howard Stern called her to talk. On air! Next, Howard -- who's notoriously critical of anyone who isn't blonde and bikini-ready -- told Rubio he thinks she's beautiful. On air!

And then, the not-so-cool part: Stern asked her son if he masturbated. On air!

Alice Rubio chatted about her son and masturbation with Howard Stern.
Peter Scanlon
Alice Rubio chatted about her son and masturbation with Howard Stern.

Here's how it went down:

After Rubio was profiled in Sarah Fenske's New Times cover story ("After Shock," January 26), a producer from The Howard Stern Show phoned to see if Rubio was interested in being a call-in guest on his new Sirius Satellite Radio program. After several minutes of wild, gleeful shrieking, Rubio agreed. And, sure enough, Monday morning, January 30, at 5:15 a.m., Howard got in touch.

"She's gotta be the biggest Howard Stern fan ever!" Howard told listeners when he introduced Rubio. He then read, on air, the first 200 words of Fenske's story to prove it.

The Bird couldn't be prouder, since Howard praised the article as "very, very positive." But since he referred to New Times' Sarah as "the guy" who wrote the piece . . . hey, who reads bylines, right? Fenske figures Howard probably didn't read the entire opus, in which she exudes her lust for his on-air persona, and therefore probably isn't (as she'd hoped) harboring a secret crush on her.

But back to Alice Rubio.

In addition to calling her "beautiful," Howard promised Rubio $500 and a trip for two to the Lingerie Bowl, a Los Angeles-based pay-per-view event that aired during halftime of Super Bowl XL. But when Rubio cheerfully mentioned that her 21-year-old son, Matthew Rubio, is still a virgin, all chatter ceased.

"Why isn't your son getting laid?" Howard demanded. "I don't understand."

"He doesn't need it yet," Rubio explained.

"He needed it when he was 16," a horrified Howard hollered. "He's probably pleasuring himself right now."

"I don't think he does that," Rubio replied.

Yeah. Right. Because teenagers -- especially ones who aren't getting laid -- never wank off.

The Bird wasn't surprised that Howard insisted that Rubio put Matthew on the phone, where -- under tough questioning from Howard and sidekicks Artie Lange and Robin Quivers -- Matthew Rubio admitted to three million Sirius listeners that he does, indeed, masturbate.

But if Alice Rubio was stung by her son's public confession that he pulls his pudding, she wasn't letting on. She was still too busy swooning.

"Howard said I was beautiful!" she chirped to The Bird.

And Howard ought to know, Alice, since he's coaxed many the beautiful actress or stripper (not to mention lesbian) to show various -- or all -- of her anatomical parts to him in the studio. Good thing your interview was by phone, huh, Alice? Then again, baring all to the King of All Media might not be a bad thing.

Art Detoured

Okay, here's a big surprise: Our downtown visual arts community is in a tizzy. Again. This time, The Bird hears it's because Art Detour's been rescheduled.

For the past four years, the three-day walking tour of artists' studios and galleries was held during the first weekend in March to coincide with (read: feed off the popularity of) First Friday, which is essentially a mini, monthly Art Detour without the fanfare, the preprinted maps or the shuttle buses.

Art Detour has grown in recent years to where attendance along Roosevelt Row and Grand Avenue -- the art scene's home bases for the Friday-through-Sunday art event -- has been in the 20,000 to 25,000 range. The Bird's even seen mention of the deal in the Timeses of L.A. and New York.

Which is probably why some artisans and bird brains such as yours truly are scratching their noggins after learning that Artlink, the nonprofit group that coordinates both Art Detour and First Friday, crammed this year's event down at the end of the month, from March 24 through 26.

Michael 23, the man with a numerical nom de plume who's the interim president of Artlink, told The Bird that moving Art Detour to the end of the month has been in the works since last year. The big move, 23 swore, is an attempt to separate Art Detour from First Fridays to "preserve its integrity and special-ness as an annual event."

23 snitches to The Bird that "there's been a growing desire to separate the two events so that Art Detour has its own identity and isn't just a glorified First Friday."

Uh-huh, but what if that's exactly what it is? And what if it turns out that Art Detour doesn't have its own identity after 10 whole years?

What The Bird thinks is partially at play here is, the Artlink crowd wants to distance Art Detour from the legal dramas that surrounded First Friday in 2005: mainly run-ins with the Phoenix Police Department, which was concerned about unruly crowds, open-container-law violations and sale of alcohol to minors, and therefore has stepped up its presence along Roosevelt and Grand.

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