Out here in the West, the genes of independent spirit course through our dehydrated bloodlines. Our cuckoo-crazy relatives were so desperate for independence that they settled an inconvenient home on our spiky, dry land. Why? Because they wanted to go renegade and live by their own rules.

We see that spirit at work at Hoodlums Music and Movies. The 11-year-old independent business has lived on, despite powerhouse music meccas like Best Buy or Borders trying to edge them out. It even survived relocation after a 2007 fire at its former home in the Memorial Union at ASU.

With its indie status, Hoodlums can do whatever it wants, free and clear of red tape and corporate trickle-down processes that gum up good ideas.

A couple of doors down from Changing Hands Bookstore, we've certainly seen our fair share of good ideas come out of that little shop. In the past year, Hoodlums has amped things up by broadening their cultural repertoire with a range of events and bringing in new patrons who don't have to be music snobs to enjoy the place.

In early 2009, Hoodlums rotated a handful of visual art shows, always paired with a spectacular opening event with live music (of course!). Now its latest endeavor, a group documentary screening, is gaining momentum.

Community Movie Night fires up once a month and invites folks to take in controversial films like Michael Moore's Sicko, a documentary about the business of making profit off the sick. Or Wetback: The Undocumented Documentary, whose title alone is enough to stir things up.

The nights are frequently moderated by ASU professors and film critics (depending on the movie) and offer ample time to discuss. Plus, because it can, Hoodlums gives coupons for discounts at their own store, Baskin-Robbins, Changing Hands Bookstore, Wildflower Bread Company, and Mac's Grill and Bar just for showing up.

See? Hoodlums gets to do what it wants. And we're a better city for it.

Best of Phoenix 2009 In Photos

Location Details

6434 S. McClintock Dr.
Tempe AZ 85283


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