Corruption Junction

The winged wonder pecks away at Representative Rick Renzi, bemoans losses at the Repugnant, and mediates a catfight between rival risqué dance troupes

This winged wordsmith has taken a peek at Renzi's campaign records, and they may reveal that he is in more doo-doo than even this dodo can drop in a day. They show his campaign committee paid Woods $10K for services rendered. The Washington, D.C., firm of Nixon Peabody, whose partner Kelly Kramer is also representing Renzi, has netted $25K. And yet another D.C. firm, Patton Boggs, billed Renzi's campaign for a whopping $186,000, at least $100,159 of which is still on the books as campaign debt.

What has Renzi done to require all these pricy legal beagles? If The Bird could get Renzi on the horn, it would ask him. But, oddly, Tricky Ricky isn't returning this rabid rooster's calls.


Fred Harper

Just when you thought the PHX's paper of record couldn't suck any harder, the geniuses at Gannett have begun implementing various "improvements" in their news product that are actually making journalism in this state dumber and blander than ever before. The innovations include the makeover of the Arizona Republic's Monday edition, now with less news for you people on the go. (Hey, you figure it out.) And the elimination of two columns by the best the Repugnant had to offer: business writer Jon Talton and veteran reporter Richard Ruelas.

As first reported last week in the blog of this flycatcher's doppelganger, the Feathered Bastard, both columns were cut as part of the Rep's mutation into an Orwellian Information Center devoid of personality, wherein the newsroom and the online departments are merged into one entity. Both Talton and Ruelas were proffered other positions at the paper (read: "demotions"). Instead, Talton decided to scram. His last column will appear in Sunday's paper. Ruelas, however, will stay on as a "people/profiles reporter" for the "Lifestyle Team." (Ouch!) Let's hope the guy doesn't have to interview Mayor Phil Gordon's wife, or something else retarded like that.

"My column is being eliminated as part of the reorganization from a print and online newspaper to an Information Center." Talton tweeted to this pecker via e-mail. "I chose not to accept other opportunities that the company offered. As a result, [wife] Susan and I will be leaving Phoenix soon to chase our next adventures."

Ruelas seemed to take it a little better and was overly modest in reply to this rascally raven.

"The column job was great and fun," Ruelas peeped in an e-mail. "But it was never really my column. It was the newspaper's. I was only borrowing it. Obviously, I was hoping to keep the job. But I understand the selections. Coming in behind Montini, Roberts and Clay isn't a big blow to the ego."

Are you kiddin', Rich? Both you and Talton can write rings around snooze-inducing E.J. Montini and soccer-momish Laurie Roberts. (Don't even get us started on the pompous and dull-as-drywall Robert Robb.) As for Clay Thompson, who does the Rep's rib-ticklin' "Valley 101" column, this beaker's glad he made the cut. But, sorry, Montini and Roberts ain't fit to carry your notepad, Ricardo. Nor Talton's.

The Bird can't help but conclude that the Repugnant's starch-shirted execs used the Information Center transition to effectively silence two writers who regularly took on uncomfortable issues and often espoused — to use the Al Gore cliché — inconvenient truths about, say, growth in Phoenix, or illegal immigration. You'd think this would be part of what a newspaper is all about. But remember, the Republic's no longer a newspaper. It's a freakin' Information Center, which sounds as vapid and banal as some phone company's customer service department.

Why should this beetle-cruncher care, you ask? After all, the Repugnant is the competition, and the more repugnant it becomes, the better for New Times. Au contraire, comrades. As part of our duties, this daffy duck and his colleagues must read the Repugnant to see what the enemy's up to. At least with Ruelas and Talton, there were two things that didn't stink in that fishwrap. Sigh . . . now, all The Bird has to look forward to is the comic strip Get Fuzzy.


This perverted penguin loves being ringside at a catfight, 'specially when it involves two of the loveliest lasses in P-town: Pyra Sutra, queen bee of local burlesque troupe Scandalesque, and her highness Cookie, leader of that infamous performance art ensemble the Pussy Posse.

These newly buxom rivals (both have gotten bolt-ons in recent months) from opposite ends of the PHX's alt-culcha spectrum, have been involved in a word war over Sutra's decision to pull her girls out of an upcoming "Battle of the Burlesque" event, scheduled to go down in May at Tempe's The Sets.

The dirty danceathon would've featured the professionally trained dancers of Scandalesque with their glammy, Vaudeville-style striptease acts (á la Gypsy Rose Lee) working the same stage as the debauched dames of the Pussy Posse, who unleash raunchy fetish-laden routines and simulated sex acts to an industrial rock soundtrack.

But Sutra nixed the idea mid-March, citing a changeover in management and a higher-profile engagement the same evening. The Scandalesque siren told The Bird that former manager Andrea Beesley-Brown (a.k.a. the Midnight Movie Mamacita) booked the event in mid-February without her knowledge after the Pussy Posse proposed the pants-off dance-off.

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Emily Long
Emily Long

Yep, "Get Fuzzy" (and Benson) are all that's left worth reading in the recently dumbed-down "Republic".

mona johnson
mona johnson

Greetings from the Glendale Ghetto. I was talking to your recruiter on the GCC campus today and he said I ought to think about writing for your rag. I'm not ready for prime time yet, but I would love to interview a local writer that really ruffles feathers. Is there a chance we could get together. I have a blog and would like to publish an interview in my blog. I am a tutor and my students want to know what a newspaper columnist does in an average day and how they got there.

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