Feedback from the Issue of Thursday, October 22, 2009

OVAH! EASY

It's a win-win for our city: Downtown Phoenix is losing one place [Modified Arts], a very important place, and Tempe is gaining one place [23 West], which has the potential of being a very important place. However, downtown Phoenix is gaining something, too, which, again, has the potential to be very important.

As primarily a music fan but also a member of both the downtown Phoenix music community and the Tempe music community, I see this as a win-win for our city. I'll go see a band that I like in either city, and I will perform, happily, in either.

It's not constructive to get in a squabble over Phoenix versus Tempe.

I expect great things from the new Modified — different things, yes, but great, and I expect great things from the Tempe crew. Change happens, and we can make it what we want it to be. We are in control of it. Certainly there are enough amazing musicians and visual artists to go around, and certainly enough music and art fans.

Remember, folks, Martin Cizmar is expressing his opinion. We have the power to prove him wrong — which I suspect he would like us to do.
Shane William Kennedy, Phoenix

Tempe promoter rues Phoenix's loss: This is probably going to come off the wrong way, so apologies to the author. We really do appreciate the free press, even before we open the doors.

I just want to point out that the new venue in Tempe, 23 West, is not necessarily an addition or extension of the Yucca Tap Room. True, Rodney Hu does own the building, and he is a tremendous asset to have on our team (both in vision and hard work), but I just hope people don't assume the two venues are essentially one and the same.

All booking and general oversight of 23 West will be conducted by The Mantooth Group. We are excited to be a part of Rodney's concept of bringing arts and music back to Tempe, and we hope both businesses continue to thrive for years to come.

We are certainly disappointed that Phoenix has decided to start closing up shop, when it seemed venues there were looking to set the bar for urban culture in the Valley.
Ben Mantooth, Tempe

Proved right by your defensiveness!: Martin Cizmar is dead-on! It's his job to pick up on trends, and he's picked up on the fact that CenPho will no longer be the hipster place it portends to be — local music-wise.

You puerile whiners [who say] that Martin is wrong, an idiot, a fool, a liar — as seen in [many online] comments — should give it a fucking rest! You prove him right with your defensiveness.

Besides, he doesn't appear happy about the phenomenon. From the way I read his column, he's just stating what appears to be the immediate future:

That the scene is shifting back to Tempe, big-time!
Dan Poorman, Tempe

Losing Modified? Not a big deal: I think the reality of it all is that the Valley has a god-awful music scene (I use that term very loosely). And the only one to blame is us (and I suppose a lack of a college radio station and a real independent alternative weekly).

That said, as in any city, we are flush with great bands that get zero traction because no one follows bands here (other than their immediate friends and family).

Unfortunately (for us CenPho-ites) Tempe has been and continues to be where most of the music venues are — [the now-defunct] Last Exit, Yucca Tap Room, the Marquee, and the Sail Inn all have great bookings on a nearly daily basis.

On the other hand, CenPho has the Rhythm Room, the Ruby Room, the Lost Leaf, and to a much lesser extent Char's Has the Blues, Celebrity Theatre, and a ton of galleries (which I don't really count because of the lack of liquor and an inability to generate enough money to book established local acts, much less national touring acts).

With all that in mind, I'd say CenPho and Tempe are pretty equal at this point.

As for Modified, I've been in the Valley for 15 years (after living in Minneapolis and Milwaukee), and Kimber Lanning is and has been the local music scene's most vocal advocate, and I'm sure she will continue to be so. She's clearly put her money where her mouth is, and we all owe her a great debt of gratitude for it.

But I really don't think losing Modified has any real bearing on the CenPho music scene.

The fact is that both Tempe and CenPho combined are a billion miles away from having a vibrant local music scene (like Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Atlanta; Minneapolis; Seattle; New Orleans; and even Milwaukee).

We all need to find our favorite bands and then support and follow them. It's that simple.
Dave Brookhouser, Phoenix

Get the facts straight, Martin! Love, Ben: Martin Cizmar's recent column spelling out the death of downtown Phoenix is so far off the mark that I have felt the need to write a response addressing the statements made regarding Modern Art Records.

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