By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
In case you missed it, this pugnacious parrot had yuks aplenty sparring with wing-nutty blowhard Darrell Ankarlo on a Friday edition of his KTAR-FM 92.3 morning show. The Cro-Magnon-esque conservative invited this cranky cock-of-the-rock on for some verbal fisticuffs over The Bird's column "Hate Jock" (March 1, 2007) that had just hit the streets the day before.
The article attacked a three-and-a-half-hour on-air rant by Ankarlow-brow. A rant wherein he derided plans by local immigrant-rights groups for a May 1 march aimed at encouraging federal and state lawmakers to come up with a legal path to citizenship and a guest-worker plan for this country's estimated 20 million undocumented. A similar march last year drew more than 100,000 peaceful demonstrators, a mixture of legal and illegal residents, as well as sympathetic American citizens. Ankarlo's proposal? Round 'em up and park 'em in a Tent City 'til the illegals are ID'd and sent back to Sonora. Never mind that you'd be racially profiling everyone at the protest.
For Darrell, if you're brown, that's probable cause that you're a beaner beggin' for deportation. Screw the First Amendment rights of citizens in that crowd. Ankarlo couldn't care less.
Nor does Ankarlo give a dormouse's dingleberry about the 14th Amendment, the one that says if you're born on American soil, you're a citizen. For this poor-man's Michael Savage, the children of illegals are "anchor babies," a racist term if there ever was one, and they should return to wherever their moms and pops emigrated from. To Darrell, Mexicans are dirty, and strew trash in their yards and the streets. He can't figure out why someone might consider such comments bigoted. In Ankarlo's mind, he's the Tom Paine of the airwaves. But in this Bird's eye, Ankarlo's the David Duke of PHX drive time.
As you can listen for yourself on Darrell's site www.ankarlo.net, where most of the show's saved as MP3 files, this fearless falcon gave as well as he got. That is, after Darrell spent several minutes fuming. He mentioned that a gentleman called in the day before, praising him to the high heavens and telling him about this outrageous article in New Times calling him a "hate jock." Then Darrell droned on about how he never censors or cherry-picks callers.
"If I see that you are adamantly disagreeing with what I've got to say, you are never censored," announced Ankarlo. "I will let you in, just as I will let someone in who agrees with me. That's called discourse. That's called debate. That's called healthy in America."
That's also called a load of heron hockey. The Bird's called in to Ankarlo's show before and told the screener it disagreed with Ankarlo's venom. Each time, this whippoorwill was placed on hold indefinitely. So the Thursday the Ankarlo article was published, The Bird phoned in as a huge Ankarlo fan. Surprise, surprise, this beak-bearer got through almost immediately. As "Dave in Phoenix," The Bird lauded the jock, informing him that the supposed smears of his enemies at New Times were just "terrible, terrible!" Later, Pat McMahon, who comes on after Ankarlo, made a quip about this egret's editorial, making it even harder for the bile-spittin' Darrell to ignore.
Needless to say, later that day this sneaky sparrow got a call from Ankarlo's producer, Rob Hunter, asking this outrageous eagle to come on the show Friday mornin'. Heh. Score one for The Bird.
Ankarlo took offense at being labeled a hatemonger, but the Taloned One persisted, even quoting back Ankarlo's bigoted comments about Mexican neighborhoods to him. Then Ankarlo threw out his tiredest trick, one he's used on callers past. A retarded hypothetical that goes like this:
"I like your house. So while you're at work, I'm bringing my kids and my wife over, we're moving into your house. We're gonna get your big-screen TV, we're gonna eat your chicken pot pies, we're gonna jump in the pool, we're gonna have a good time. You're gonna show up and what are you gonna do? Will you say, 'Hey, the more the merrier, come on in,' or will you say, 'Dude, get out or I'm gonna have you arrested?'"
If ever there was a false analogy! The Bird told Ankarlo that the reality of illegal immigration is that folks come here by the thousands every day because of supply and demand. That cheap labor like it or not cleans our office buildings, peels potatoes in our restaurants, builds houses in which we dwell, and helps drive AZ's booming economy.
What'd happen if all the undocumented workers in the Valley were shipped back tomorrow? David Jones, CEO of the Arizona Contractors Association, was asked that question by New Times reporter Robert Nelson for Nelson's November 4, 2004, cover story, "Alien Nation." His reply, "I'd venture to say the state would collapse."
Rednecks like Ankarlo don't want to hear that. A better analogy than the one he posits above would be if someone broke into your house and started scrubbing your toilet, watching your kids, and mowing your lawn. Dunderheads like Darrell want to punish people who come here from Mexico and bust their asses working for us. There's something really sick about that; it's on par with the way blacks were treated in the Jim Crow South.
Expect Darrell's immigrant-bashing to continue, and expect this rascally raven to stick to him like Super Glue. His latest stupidity? Advocating a placard merchants can hang in their windows so they can claim (chances are, falsely) that they hire Americans instead of illegals. Perhaps Ankarlo and pals should harken back to the days of Bull Connor in racist Alabama and reprise a sign that was common in that time. You know, the one that read, "Whites Only."
Like Jack Nicholson's character says in the Adam Sandler flick Anger Management, "Temper's the one thing you can't get rid of by losing it." And, boy, did Assistant Police Chief Andy "Aggro" Anderson lose it back on November 5, 2006, while teaching his teenage daughter how to drive. The patience-challenged assistant chief was in a Volkswagen Cabrio with his kid at the wheel when driver Steve Mitchem honked at the pair from his big-ass pickup truck. That's when Anderson blew his lid like he was Yosemite Sam and had just been mooned by Bugs Bunny.
Mitchem was on his way home from a furniture store when Anderson's daughter paused too long for his liking at a green light at 64th Street and Greenway. That's when he tooted at the twosome, and Anderson stuck half his bod out the V-dub's passenger-side window and executed a single-finger salute. A war of unoriginal macho energy erupted between Mitchem and Anderson, with each telling the other, "Fuck you," and Mitchem taunting the off-duty cop.
Instead of acting like the cool-headed leader of men he's supposed to be, the aggressive Anderson ordered his teenager to tail Mitchem like they were in that Starsky & Hutch movie, pursuing some dood who'd stolen Huggy Bear's fur coat. Anderson's description of events in a subsequent memo sounds almost effete by comparison to his hotheaded actions:
"This driver in his large truck was now towering over us and driving very close to our vehicle and shouting and laughing and continuing to gesture and taunt me in a bullying manner. I reacted by flipping him off again and also returning his 'fuck you.' I then told him to pull over so we could further discuss the issue. It should be noted that I had no intention of taking any kind of enforcement action. I simply wanted to speak on level ground face-to-face with this unbelievably obnoxious bully. He agreed and suggested I follow him."
Reading this internal statement to the PPD, you'd think the two had a spot of tea afterward and settled the conflict with a vigorous game of badminton.
However, Steve's wife, Marcie Mitchem, who happened to be following her hubby home, was frightened enough to get on her cell and call 911. By the time all three vehicles were parked by Mitchem's East Hearn Road driveway, Mitchem and Anderson were confronting each other, with Anderson's daughter bawling her eyes out in the VW. Marcie mentioned to the men that she was on the horn with 911. And like a real dickwad, Anderson whipped out his badge and told them both, "I am the police."
Fortunately for everyone involved, the incident didn't escalate, though following someone home in this manner almost seems like a prelude to one driver or the other getting his freakin' head blown off. What the eff was Anderson thinking? They actually let this guy play with loaded firearms? Sheesh.
After Anderson drove off, he must've realized he'd fucked up, because he circled back to Mitchem's home, and both doods hugged it out. (Well, kinda they apologized to each other and shook hands.) To Anderson's credit, he admitted in his memo on the incident that "My actions were out of character, isolated, and very regrettable."
Understatement of the year, Andy.
Marcie Mitchem had a little advice for Anderson, which she conveyed via one of the cop investigators of the Anderson bird-flippin' affair.
"Mrs. Mitchem asked me to relay to Chief Anderson that perhaps he should not be the one to teach his daughter how to drive in the future," wrote the investigator. Funny. Something tells this testy toucan that Anderson's kid feels exactly the same way.
This cultcha-lovin' vulcha made the rounds at Art Detour as usual this year. But other than The Lost Leaf Gallery's display of two Lite Brite-like Mooninite devices part of that viral marketing campaign that scared the bejeezus out of Beantown the hottest thing happenin' was a makeshift "Gypsy Village" set up in a vacant lot adjacent to the funky Firehouse art commune on First Street just off Roosevelt.
Conceived and constructed by painter/photog C.R. Vavrek, this kooky camp, titled Artist Loft: Low Rise, Low Rent, consisted of four ramshackle, box-like structures made from cardboard, refrigerator containers, wooden artist palettes, and "authentic hobo garbage." Wanna see what it looked like? There's a short YouTube video of the faux encampment at this Web address: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gko4_iqBFns.
The mutton-chopped, ponytailed Vavrek said the hipster Hooverville's a commentary on how downtown gentrification's supposedly pushing out supercool artist types like himself. Just like the Gypsies were forced to travel 'round Europe, downtown artists may someday be forced to live in cardboard boxes. Or, heaven forbid, in Glendale! All 'cause they can't afford bitchin' downtown condos.
Hundreds of peeps packed the vagabond village Friday and Saturday, checking out Vavrek's art in a makeshift gallery, getting Tarot readings from the "Gypsies," listening to Vavrek and others do their Borat impersonations. Still, the whole shebang almost didn't happen. Property co-owner Wayne "monOrchid" Rainey was p.o.'d because Vavrek and pals didn't get his permission. So he threatened to have the coppers shitcan the shantytown.
"They thought it was their right to build on private property," squawked Rainey, whose gallery's name, monOrchid, refers to the condition of having one testicle. "It was a cut-and-dry case of trespassing."
Ironically, Rainey, reportedly in possession of both testicles, plans to develop that vacant lot into a series of "moderately priced" condos. In any case, the standoff between Vavrek and Rainey was getting testy until Vavrek's pal, Babs McDonald, intervened and calmed Rainey's legendary temper. According to Vavrek, this was because the curvaceous cutie was wearing a low-cut top and made a concerted effort to be friendly to Rainey, who eventually relented and allowed the shantytown to stay the weekend.
Recently married, Rainey called Vavrek's tale "insulting and untrue." He not only hates getting pigeonholed as a lech, but also as an evil gentrifier or a "Loftzilla."
"If you're trying to introduce something new downtown, you're seen as evil," screeched Rainey of how some artists paint him. "They all think that any kind of progress or anything new downtown is automatically bad."
This salty sandpiper suggests Rainey team up with Vavrek and build some crappy tenements that only wigged-out art types would rent. It'd cost them next to nothing, so they'd prolly make a mint. Maybe something like the apartments at, oh, um, the Rainey-owned Holgas?
CHEZ NOUS LIVES!
Finally, a note to state that this blackbird's favorite bar, Chez Nous, has cheated the undertaker again, and will remain open for at least another four months while owner Amina Uben seeks a new location for the nightspot.
Seems property manager Red Mountain Retail Group came through at the last minute with a short lease offer, so kudos to them for getting all human all of a sudden.
The property at Seventh Avenue and Indian School Road still appears destined to be turned into a Tesco supermarket, but at least Uben will have time to plan a transition. All this tweeter can figure is that the good Lord must love him some Chez Nous.