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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.

Among the vast buffet of negative, misinformed statements made in the story, Cizmar writes that Modern Art is leaving Phoenix.

This statement could not be further from the truth. We are expanding our operation to bring more resources to the scene. We are simply splitting our operations between Phoenix and New York City.

Modern Art has forged a new locally based alliance (details of which I will reveal later), all the while striking a national distribution deal with the Warner Music Group. An office in NYC is imperative to facilitate proper attention and funding (as this is where our Warner team is based), with the hopes of shedding light on the very scene we are supposedly abandoning.

We will continue to sign bands from Arizona and give them a platform to make careers in music. We will also continue to keep our spending local as often as possible (such as manufacturing our advance CDs, merchandising, promotional posters, and freelance graphic design).

In the world of major-label politics and funding, you have to constantly fight for everything, and that means being in the faces of the suits on a daily basis! I will fight for the cause of Phoenix until I cease to exist!

For Martin to claim that our city is dead is like writing a review of a movie he saw only half of. Where was Martin when Roosevelt Row was nothing five years ago? What did Martin think about Grand Ave when it was a ghost town? I wonder what he would have thought about First Fridays when we were struggling 10 years ago to get 150 people out on the circuit? He's been here two years and now fancies himself an expert.

The transformation of Modified does demonstrate that we have challenges ahead. But we are not dead; we simply have outgrown the clothes of our youth, and it's time we get some new threads — and Kimber Lanning is doing us all a real favor by forcing the issue.

To me, the music editor of a weekly in a major city has journalistic responsibilities. He is not there to be a cheerleader. But a professional reporter should check his facts and do his best to get an idea of the context of the information being relayed.
Ben Collins, Modern Art Records

It's called "generating traffic," Tony: Between this article and the one about Kimber's leaving Modified, Martin Cizmar has generated a ton of commentary and driven a lot of people to check out these articles in the online and print versions of New Times.

I've seen comments saying he's a bad editor and that the NT is out of touch or irrelevant. The fact that so many people are reading his words and have passionate responses about them seems to disprove that theory.

I don't agree with his assessment of downtown Phoenix, but he got us all reading and talking. Like his opinion or not, that's his job, right? No different than anyone else in the media.
Tony Poer, Phoenix

THE BIG PAYBACK

Joe and Andy are so transparent: Sarah Fenske nailed it, as usual. The motives of Joe Arpaio — and especially Andrew Thomas — are so transparent.

Arpaio's motive, as always, is about revenge and face-time in the media. Who knows what Supervisor Don Stapley did to get under his skin? But Joe's exacting payback.

Thomas has some of the same motives, but he's more complicated: He wants to fry a big fish without getting spattered by the grease. He's more than happy to let Joe take all the risks while he stays out of it. The appointing of out-of-town special prosecutors fits right in to his wish to claim credit — if there is any in the long run — but to stay out of it (technically) otherwise.

Thomas is eyeing a statewide run, and he needs only good [publicity]. More bad pub will finish him in a statewide race.
Scott Miller, Phoenix

We love a good Gandhi reference: This is such a waste of public officials' time and taxpayer money! I think it was Gandhi who said (and I paraphrase): It at first appears that tyrants can't be stopped, and they are indestructible for a time. But they are always brought down. Always!
Angela Johnson, Phoenix

We love a good Jurassic Park reference: This reminds me of the scene from Jurassic Park in which Jeff Goldblum's character says, "We only asked ourselves what we could do. We never stopped to ask what we should do."

 

Arpaio and Thomas only look at what they can get away with and never at what's right. They are giving us a lesson in Jurassic jurisprudence that's costing the taxpayers millions that we don't have.

Andy Thomas, I can't wait for you to run for AG — with a record like this behind you.
Chad Snow, Peoria

Thomas is simply a caricature: Funny, in the "They're All About the Perp Walk" article, how liberals can never resist taking a swipe at Fox News, because Fox is not part of the media frat club and old-boy network.

If you ask me, County Attorney Thomas is the epitome of power-crazed, foaming-at-the-mouth, do-anything-to-get-elected type.

The moron actually thinks he's going to portray himself as some sort of law-and-order caricature for insisting everyone who kills someone else get the death penalty.

What should we think of someone who wants to gain a high political office on the executions of hundreds of mostly poor people?

[Former County Attorney] Rick Romley was bad enough (hey, flood the prisons with small-time drug and property offenders and make us an embarrassment to the world).

Sordid, squalid, sick.
Chris Long, via the Internet

Hey, Stapley's not totally innocent: Excellent reporting and, as usual, spot-on.

The latest Stapley arrest was a media event to detract from all the problems the MCSO is having that people are finally hearing about.

I don't feel bad for Stapley, however. I recall him sitting there smugly while others have been victimized by the MCSO and the County Attorney's Office. It's just his turn in the barrel. What goes around comes around.

I see this as a time when Stapley, the politician, is being beaten by two other politicians. I also see this as a gross misapplication of authority by the MCSO and the County Attorney.

But, hey, if MCSO says it's okay, then I guess it really is. We won't let normal application of law get in the way of payback, right, since the sheriff is mentally ill?
Name withheld

Here's hoping Thomas has sealed his fate: Arpaio and Thomas are absolutely insane. Did the "engagement" of these Washington attorneys violate a procurement code within Maricopa County? And who here is the sheriff trying to fool?

Why wouldn't these two attorneys take a no-cap-on-expenses, free trip to Arizona for the winter, when it will be snowing in Washington soon? Hotels, expenses, dining, drinking, billing RICO funds for their expenses.

Arpaio and Thomas (not to mention MCSO Chief Deputy David Hendershott) have gone over the top with the Stapley issue. Hendershott is no doubt diverting attention from his own misappropriations of RICO funds by way of the Honduras deal.

Thomas has sealed his fate in politics, I believe. He'll be lucky to represent drunk drivers when this is done.

Name withheld

Who the hell elected these losers?: Can somebody stop these criminals? This is crazy!

It is scary and disturbing to see that this type of abuse of power can happen in our country.

Almost as disturbing is the fact that our county and state are broke, and we are spending thousands and thousands of dollars to prosecute a county supervisor for possible errors and/or omissions in his paperwork.

Well, we elected these losers. Surely, this term marks the end of Sheriff Joe. The guy is such an egomaniac. Yet he's also a phenomenal politician. He knows what buttons to push to get elected — unfortunately.
Name withheld


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