Green Fairy Tales

There is life here: I moved to Phoenix from California -- the Bay Area -- and I had all the usual regrets about moving from the big city to the not-so-big city. You know, Phoenix at first blush just seems like a ghost town, despite the fact that it has four professional sports teams and boasts being the fifth-largest city in America.

I started here living downtown, thinking I would be in the center of the action. And I thought I had picked the right spot when I looked out my front window on my first night and there was First Friday going on. Then came the letdown. There was action downtown literally once a month, unless you count the sports fans who come in on game nights. I was depressed about my decision to move here, thinking my life was over, that I would never meet anybody cool, that I would never go anyplace cool.

I couldn't have been more wrong, and your story on the absinthe culture in Phoenix ("Behind the Green Door," Stephen Lemons, Inferno, April 7) reminded me of just how wrong I was. Phoenix has a whole lot to offer, and it's much like Los Angeles in that you have to drive around to find the cool stuff. Like a smaller L.A., it's about car culture. After I had been here a couple of months, I discovered the Scottsdale club scene and then Mill Avenue and then various other spots that were tucked away in Phoenix. You'd never come across Hot Pink!, unless you knew where and when to look. There are some of the best nightclubs anywhere in the Phoenix area, and despite their attempt at the velvet rope in some cases, they are much more accessible than in San Francisco or L.A. I found out about many of them from reading your Inferno column.

And that is why it didn't surprise me when I read about the absinthe scene there. I'm going to hit Sadisco the first chance I get.

My main point is . . . I was very much a part of the absinthe scene in the Bay Area, and I'm wildly happy to see that there's a similar one going on here. I felt that your story in Inferno really took me into the life, and explained the origins of the Green Fairy, which I had never heard. Kreme is a gifted writer in that regard. I hope he keeps up the good work, because he's really educating those of us from other places (and there are a lot of us arriving here every day) about Phoenix. Even if it doesn't seem so at first glance, there really is life here.
Brent McCullough, Phoenix

Green belt: Cool story on the absinthe scene in the Phoenix area. I've been curious about the stuff since I tried it in Eastern Europe a decade ago. I got really smashed, and I sure thought I melded minds with the Green Fairy.

I'm surprised to learn that there's apparently no hallucinogenic effect to the stuff. I could have sworn . . .

Anyway, I'm dying to try it again, and I'm wondering if Kreme will share some information with me about how to accomplish this. I feel a little funny about trying to order it from overseas.

Whatever, I really enjoyed the article; I felt you took me inside a world I didn't know existed in this desert burg. Wonder what else is out there.
Kenyon Patterson, Phoenix

Drink some absinthe and call us in the morning: I can't believe that with all of the things going on in the world, you guys had a slow news week! Need suggestions? Do you truly think that absinthe is front-page-worthy?

Why don't you guys go after some truly important issues like all of the traffic cameras showing up in every part of the Valley? I have seen some great investigative writing come out of you guys, and I think that you are capable. Doesn't anyone care that these cameras showed up with no public vote or information whatsoever? Someone needs to blow the lid off this thing!

Don't get caught up in people getting wasted and trying to pass it off as "counter-culture." That's what MTV and mainstream newspapers are for. You are better than that, aren't you?! I'm concerned.
Name withheld by request


What would Jesus the legislator do?: John Dougherty has been fighting the good fight on a couple of major fronts for a long time. I couldn't believe he didn't win the Pulitzer Prize for his work on the polygamy scene in northern Arizona and southern Utah. It is truly a criminal situation up there, and the state continues to do squat about it. Then there's Joe Arpaio. After all Dougherty uncovered, the coward gets elected again and continues to abuse the citizens of Maricopa County. He is one of the reasons I moved away from Phoenix.

But on the subject of polygamy, I wish I could believe that the bill before the Legislature that Dougherty wrote about had a chance of passage, but you can see from all the dissension noted in the column that there's little chance of that ("Derail Polygamy's Money Train," April 7). Our chicken-shit legislators and governor will always come up with some excuse as to why they can't stop the child rapists who are using state and federal money to finance their activities.

It amused me to see all the outraged mainstream Mormons cry foul about Dougherty's reference to a couple of them messing with Arizona State University (Letters, March 31). Because I think Dougherty is right about the situation at ASU ("Religious Wrong," March 17). Regarding polygamy, these same Mormons consider the fundamentalists up north their dirty little secret. And for these mainstream church members to say that religion has nothing to do with the likes of Russell Pearce trying to censor the State Press at ASU is just crazy. Of course these right-wing dolts from a right-wing religion are going to try to run roughshod over the Constitution. What do you expect?!

Anyway, thanks for keeping the pressure up on the state to do the right thing regarding the polygamy bill to take over the Colorado City school system and stop the "money train." Though I doubt it will, wouldn't it be great if the state stopped worrying about offending Mormons and did what Jesus would truly want it to do? Too bad there's not a bill that would allow the state to take over Arpaio's sheriff's department and throw him in jail.
Michelle Cinelli, San Diego

Those disgusting polygs: The fact that these polygamists are out there doing this legally is absolute disgusting. But the fact that they are even mentioning the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as part of their backward way of life is terrible. I wish there was something that I could do to change this awful way of life.
Susan Mansker, Las Vegas

It was invented . . . by TJ: I'm writing in reference to Ryan Butler's letter to the editor (("Founding Fathers Would Quake," March 31) in which he states: "I also take offense at [John Dougherty's] use of 'separation of church and state' [in ("Religious Wrong"], an invented phrase not sponsored by the founders of this country."

I would have to ask whom he considers the founders of the United States. The phrase comes from a letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association in which Mr. Jefferson wrote:

"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their Legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."

Given that Mr. Jefferson not only penned the Declaration of Independence, served in the first three administrations of this nation and was instrumental in ensuring the freedoms Americans enjoy today through the Bill of Rights, it seems ludicrous to say that the phrase "separation of church and state" is not his. Perhaps Mr. Butler should spend more time learning U.S. history before deciding the theological wishes of its founders.

I'm sure he could find the time by simply skipping a night of Fox News.
Mathieson Sterling, Phoenix


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