Best Of :: People & Places
Father Francis LeBlanc leads a church in El Mirage that celebrates the traditional Latin Mass as well as numerous other ancient Catholic rites. The rest of the Valley's Catholics celebrate the modern Mass born out of the widespread modernization of the Catholic Church in the 1960s known as Vatican II. Because LeBlanc refused to change to the modern-style Mass, he was kicked out of the diocese by former bishop, pedophile hide-and-seeker and Native American hit-and-runster Thomas O'Brien. This summer, a diocesan priest incorrectly stated in his parish bulletin that LeBlanc had been "excommunicated" by the pope. A minor faux pas, you say? One would think. But the mistake sent LeBlanc into an old-school tizzy. He filed a lawsuit. He demanded a very public apology. What was more fun, though, were the letters sent out by LeBlanc and his fellow traditionalist priests, in which they blame Vatican II, and the priests schooled under its liberal laws, for just about every heresy committed by a Catholic priest in the past 30 years. Some nuggets: "You people don't even use the proper Roman Catholic Bible!" one priest wrote. "Your job is to save souls; it is not to destroy them. When you discourage Roman Catholics from attending the true Mass the Roman Rite Mass you are destroying souls. You are leading the souls of your flock straight through the gates and into the fires of hell." Ouch! Yet another thrust of the spear. "Is it any wonder why those of us who desire the true Mass the Roman Rite Mass abandoned your 'mainstream church' with your heretical bishops, pedophile priests and hootenanny services?" That last little stinker really hit home. "Hootenanny services." Have you been to Mass lately? They remind us of the fevered Baptist revivals of the hillbilly South. The weird little hand dance thinger. The blaring band of Creed wanna-bes. Women reaching for the sky like peyote-crazed medicine doctors. What's next? "Heal!!!!"? LeBlanc calls for solemn reverence in his church. After seeing enough Diocese-sanctioned services, that seems like a pretty damn good idea.
The Tricks' garden has Eden beat, no contest. Built around two old houses in downtown Tempe well off the beaten beer-spilled path of Mill Avenue the trellised, bricked, vine-covered spot is the perfect place to sit at the bar or relax at a table, with a good glass of wine. And one more thing we can guarantee: No one in Eden knew how to cook the way the Tricks do with menu temptations like marinated quail with a coffee honey vinaigrette or pistachio-crusted rack of lamb. Paradise.
According to the Bible, our ancient ancestors Adam and Eve grew ashamed at their nudity in the Garden of Eden after sampling forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge, and thusly, mankind was forever cursed with a sense of body modesty. Well, you can finally feel good about dropping trou outside the confines of your residence (without getting thrown in the cooler) inside the confines of El Dorado Hot Springs. This picturesque mineral-water spa located 45 miles west of the Valley is a clothing-optional compound with a bounty of bathing pools and tubs filled with natural H2O pumped straight from a subterranean spring. Five private areas located inside fenced areas and historic buildings including a small post office where old-school civil servants soaked their letter-carrying carcasses back in the day allow you to take a dip away from the prying eyes of the public for only $10 an hour per person. If you're feeling a bit more exhibitionistic, there's also a semi-private pool for $7.50 an hour per person. Cell phones and cameras are forbidden, however, so you needn't worry about any saucy pics of your skinny-dipping adventures getting posted on the Internet.
The appletini is the quintessential frou-frou cocktail. Flirty. Tasteful. Fun. Grilled Expedition at Desert Ridge Marketplace offers an appletini that's shaken, not stirred, and garnished with a Granny Smith apple slice. Its house special martini isn't exactly a trade secret just vodka with a splash of sour apple liquor but the restaurant's bartenders manage to get just the perfect combination of sweet and tart. This is an apple that will definitely sink its teeth into you.
Phoenix summers are hell. By August, the only flowers left alive in this town are on night-blooming cactuses. Wright House proprietors Peggy and Michael Wright must have made a pact with Satan's gardener, because somehow their lush landscaping manages to stay green and flowering nearly all year. The property houses three buildings a historic cottage house, an English ballroom and a recently added French villa that can be rented for weddings, special occasions and private parties. Wrought-iron fences and delicate gazebos are covered with ivy and fragrant jasmine. Stone walkways snake through country gardens planted with roses and perennials bursting in vibrant shades of fuchsia, pink and saffron. The best part? There's not one goddamned cactus on the lot.
For those of you who specialize in committing the most profane acts of immorality, now you can royally piss off God in a variety of ways at Apollo's Greek God Revue. As if the infamously sassy GLBT clientele that frequents Apollo's wasn't enough to get on the Lord's bad side, now guests can further annoy the Most High with the overt idolatry of Dionysian-loving tranny sing-alongs, the likes of which some fundamentalists might say could invoke the wrath of God with more urgency than the folks in those little towns called Sodom and Gomorrah. To add injury, the party happens every Sunday night, a day typically reserved by the rightest of the right for spiritual fasting and meditation. Perhaps the guys at Apollo's view their wacky Sunday night Greek drag extravaganzas as worshipful in their own way. Since the Lord hasn't struck them down yet, be sure not to miss a week; that would really light up this already fabulous party!