Feedback from the Issue of Thursday, July 2, 2009


An artist whose work you can't pigeonhole: Sad, so sad. I've been a fan of Rose Johnson's work since the mid-'90s, when a friend told me about her. I've always been able to spot her stuff a mile away.

I was excited when I was down in Bisbee and saw the mural on the Jonquil, as well as the "Peace Wall." It all just fit perfectly there.

I never met Rose, but I had a friend who used to live across the alley from her, and she got to know Rose very well. My friend and her roommates would always hang out in their backyard and play Scrabble, and Rose did a painting of them doing just that. It was a great painting. I wonder what it's worth now?

Too bad about a truly unique artist whose stuff you really can't pigeonhole: It's a little like this and a little like that, but nothing concrete.
Mike Wells, Phoenix

Johnson touched and influenced many lives: It was very sad to read of Rose Johnson's passing. She touched and will continue to influence the lives of others daily. In my own experience, I see her work each day as I drive into the parking lot of my workplace. I remember the weeks she spent painting a mural at the elementary school where I teach.

She was such a warm, social person who took time to answer questions from the schoolchildren, parents, and staff. At the time, my youngest daughter was a student at the school and upon learning that Rose was unveiling her mural at Jazz Zen, we went as a family to celebrate her work. It was a lovely evening of jazz, art, and community.

Each time I drive by the now-painted-over mural, I marvel in disgust about the insensitivity of the person who covered priceless, original joy and beauty with earth tone du jour. Thank you for the fine article celebrating Rose's life.
Rick Moffett, Tempe

Rose's next-door neighbor reminisces: I was 19 and decided to move out from my parents' in the suburbs to downtown. I chose an apartment that was next door to Rose. Also Gerald Hawk, Steve Yazzie, and the Metropophobobia. What a great time.

The owner at the News Room would never card girls I would bring in there . . . I helped Rose with lighting and sound design for her installations, and I worked on several. She called me once to her studio, and as I sat on the couch, she pulled out more than a hundred canvases. We talked about them, and she told me to pick out any one that I wanted.

She gave me shelter later when I was in love and on the run, and even later in Bisbee. She wanted a child. I loved her.
Jeff C. Cook, Hollywood, California

Good to finally know her: Wonderful article. It's good to get to know Rose for the first time, and I'm very sad for her loss.
Kathleen D. Cone, Phoenix

Story was frosting on the cake: Excellent piece on Rose Johnson. Tell [Village Voice Media CEO] Jim Larkin that I admire the cover's new, magazine-style design. That, and the naked Rose, commanded me to pick up the issue. [Kathleen Vanesian's] piece was the frosting on the cake. Sorry for mashing so many metaphors, but I'm a cartoonist at heart.
Bob Boze Bell,
Executive editor, True West magazine


Our rights and privacy were violated: You did a great article. What people do in their private homes with their friends and family should be protected, especially when it comes to religion.

The update on the harassment injunctions is that the judge dismissed all three. As for the building being unsafe, that is hogwash and a ploy to try to create interest from the state.

We do not have 145 people in the building. There are two fire extinguishers. There are emergency exit doors, not including eight 4-by-6 windows that are easily accessible. The aisles are five feet wide. There is nothing obstructing any of the doors.

These people violated our rights and privacy, and their actions were uncalled for. Even if they felt like we were violating something, there was no need for so many police officers and so many city officials barging into our home and violating us.

What if the city did that to your home just because someone filed a compliant on you?! Our point is that we meet in a private and personal nature with family and friends to worship God. We do not need any approval on that.

Pastor Michael Salman, Phoenix

It's a zoning issue: I think it all has to do with whether or not the "church" in the backyard is a business. Is it listed and registered as a church? Does it solicit donations or pass a collection plate? Is that part of the home treated differently for taxes? The list can go on.

If it's treated as a business, then it's a zoning issue. If the pastor isn't earning an income from giving services there, then it's a private matter.

It's as if you invited a bunch of friends over to watch a movie. As long as you're not charging admission, it's not a theater.
Harry Smith, Tempe

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Brian, Your pre-review of the Clapton concert, not having heard the new Winwood "Nine Lives"? That is just classic. You would have been great working for the Bush Regime. "Don't confuse me with facts. I've got my mind made up!" I have not heard a new lick from Clapton in 25 fucking years. Jeff Beck has to gear down to play with Clapton. When Clapton was here with Billy Preston, their first encore was Preston's "Circles". For the first time that night the crowd went nuts and were on their feet. Clapton was sitting on a folded chair, playing, wondering what all the commotion was all about. Sorry to wake you, gramps. When Winwood was here for the "About Time" tour he was playing the bass on the pedals of his B-3 while singing and playing the keyboards. You need to get out more. Or learn a little more about substance and less about blind faith. People will be smoking pot. A lot of it! Are you still in high school? GOOD NEWS: You article was short. BAD NEWS: It was a piece of shit.


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