Or we could just be law-abiding: About your "T.G.I.F." article (Benjamin Leatherman, September 1): I was on the Roosevelt strip on August 5 and saw the officers who seemed to be posted on every corner. I didn't think anything of it because where people gather in the thousands, there are bound to be cops.
That's okay with me because people in large groups have the potential to do a great deal of damage. The cops were very friendly and didn't seem to bother anyone except maybe to engage in a polite conversation.
Some of the "fine artists" blew the minimal show of force way out of proportion with stupid phrases like "Bloody Friday." The cops were just keeping an eye out for people who are breaking the law. I think the problem is that the people who gave it that nickname have no point of reference to use as a comparison. Perhaps they should use their parents' money to vacation in a war zone, or maybe in the middle of the genocide in Sudan, to put things in perspective.
These are the same people who accessorize their outfits with plenty of metal studs and patches with Reagan-era punk bands on them, just so you can be sure that they are genuine rebels.
This anti-establishment mindset of "fuck the police" can usually be overcome by a simple question: Why?
"Cause, um, cause they stop me from drinking in public, and they, um . . ."
Yeah, and . . .?
"Cause, fuck 'em, that's why!"
If you want to smoke weed or drink in public, you can petition the Legislature. You live in a society of rules, and if you don't like that, you have three choices: Change the rules from within the system, move to a more chaotic part of the globe, or just break the law and end up in jail.
I have never had a bad experience with a Phoenix police officer. I don't doubt that there are some officers on the force who don't deserve their badges, but I personally have never met one.
As for the bureaucracy that is slightly hindering some of the galleries, their owners should just get their shit together. A lot of small businesses in this city have all of their permits in order, and these galleries can do that, too. It takes a lot of time and effort, but it beats getting shut down because you are not up to code.
Grant Parrinello, Phoenix
Let's get this arty started: Great stories on First Friday and what it must do to stay afloat. I especially enjoyed the shorter story in the package about places needing to stay open later.
I agree that the worst thing about the monthly event is that by the time I get off from work and school and have dinner and drinks (in other words, get in the mood for a street party), almost every gallery is shutting down.
And about the bars and restaurants in the area: Portland's has been an especially irritating place, since I've been in there for a late drink (10 p.m. is late for the proprietors of this mom-and-pop establishment), and they have literally run a bar full of people on First Friday out into the street.
Are downtown establishments in this city allergic to money?! Do the people that run them really need to get home to the 'burbs by midnight or turn into pumpkins? Thank God almighty for Fate and Carly's! I just wish both would start operating full bars.
In any case, it's good to know what's open and that some of the places are adopting a more progressive attitude. Even Portland's! Come on, folks, we are a big city now and shouldn't roll up the sidewalks early, particularly on weekends and particularly on First Friday.
The art galleries -- all of them -- also need to stay open much later. They might actually sell some art that way. Hello! If the city of Phoenix and its cops are hindering any of this, they need to get out of the way. City Hall is always bragging about Phoenix being the fifth-largest city in the nation. Well, it needs to start acting that way.
Kim O'Conner, Tempe
Fear of the urban: These spoiled middle-class art kids of First Friday ought to stop gentrifying downtown and get their asses back to the suburbs. As it is, they're nothing but colonizers, appropriating space and culture while making the environs they inhabit safe for yuppies.
Just like their paranoid parents, hiding in their walled-off McMansions, these self-described artists live in fear firmly rooted in denial of their own role in society. They want the urban hipness without an urban population that scares them so much.
Listening to their whining, it's quite clear that they don't hate the cops -- they just want them to get back to persecuting poor people of color.
And, of course, the colonizer always fears the indigenous population, but these downtown colonizer types take it a step further. They fail to see the end of their spoiled-white-kid good time as a natural consequence of the gentrification they themselves helped to engineer.
These whiny kids actually think the real downtown powers will permit them unrestricted stewardship over the newly conquered lands? And they really think that a handful of cops politely warning them about public consumption -- a crime that can lead to a beating or jail for a homeless person downtown -- amounts to oppression? Talk about naive.
When will the Phoenix arts community wake up and start supporting the struggles of poor and working-class people rather than facilitating their displacement? Will the scene ever wake up to its white privilege and start supporting people of color in Phoenix rather than acting as their willing executioners?
The suggestion of a new influx of artists into south Phoenix does not bode well. I hope residents send them packing.
Brian Tomasi, Tempe
They like us; they really like us: I really liked your First Friday article. I'm trying to get my jewelry business off the ground and this kind of information is really helpful. My dad is a painter, and he liked the story, as well.
Emily Somers, Phoenix
Words apart: With regard to Sarah Fenske's story about the Miss Arizona Pageant ("Farewell My Lovelies," September 1), I never made the statements attributed to me.
I did not say that learning about the history and culture of Arizona was too much work for the contestants. What I did say was that working on two platforms, personal and state (whatever the topics) is difficult for busy titleholders/college students.
In addition, I said that if there will be no state platform next year, why would the Riches [Monica, pageant state executive director, and Steve, Miss Arizona CEO] accept $2,000 from anyone for a state platform scholarship?
I never said that it is sad that the pageant had to turn down Forever Living's $2,000. What I did say was that it is sad that we will not be working with Forever Living in the future. Everyone in the Miss Arizona organization has the highest respect for Forever Living and will miss it.
Out of courtesy, I agreed to be interviewed by Sarah; I would think that out of courtesy, she would report my comments in context.
Nanci Wudel, Miss Arizona board member, Mesa
Editor's note: New Times stands by the reporting in this story.
Okay, here's one: I appreciate that you put my letter in the Letters section ("Homegrown Talent," September 1) and also chose to include one tiny paragraph [actually, it was three paragraphs] from Tiffe Fermaint in support of me (("A Positive Influence," September 1).
I know you received way more letters from people who support me than you did from people who do not [actually, we got more non-supportive letters]. How come you chose to print more letters from the people who do not support me, then? Four to one, to be exact [actually, it was four letters to two published in that issue of New Times, including one extremely long rant from this letter-writer].
This is tilting the scales to your benefit, which is unfair reporting.
Was your original article that bashed me not enough for you ("Angela's Ashes," August 18)? Must you continue to do so? Why couldn't you try to at least be fair by accurately representing the feedback that you got from this by putting more letters that support me? Is it because you do not want the public to know that your original story was B.S.?
Are you just trying to purposefully ruin my career, my livelihood, my self-esteem, my drive? What did I ever do to you to deserve this? I am a mother and a hard-working person who does my very best to do everything I can to help other people and be a good person. Why do I deserve to be portrayed like this? How do you sleep at night?
I want you to know that you have hurt me. Yeah, I've acted strong through this whole thing -- like you can't hurt me. But you have. You've made me cry and feel insecure and not want to continue doing what I love to do. You've made me feel horrible. Should I quit? Should I throw away everything I have worked so hard for? Is that what you are trying to get me to do? If I do, you can bet it will be because of you.
I don't know how you can live with yourselves being that mean.
Angela Johnson, founder, LabelHorde, Scottsdale
Arms and the Boys
We need a scholar, not a belly-itcher: Thanks for the great article on the hazards of being a competitive baseball dad ("Hardball," Robert Nelson, August 25). My wife thought what you described sounded a lot like me, so she made me read it.
As the father of a Paradise Valley North Little League All-Star, who also plays travel ball year-round, this article definitely hit home. After countless hours working on my son's swing, throwing, fielding etc. -- and paying for private lessons, too -- I've also felt like my head would explode when he's had a bad at-bat!
And I have had to bite my tongue many times (mainly because my wife makes me) after games. We have been lucky, though, because when I haven't been my son's coach, he has had coaches who did not abuse his talents.
I have seen what you described in "Hardball" many times. The perspective of who wins what tournaments is absolutely right on. No one knows and no one remembers one week later, so everyone (coaches, players and parents) could definitely take it down a notch.
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But the most important part of your article to me was that since almost none of these kids will make it to the pros, start concentrating on the academic side of baseball. It would be a great honor to get any type of academic scholarship to anywhere and also be able to play a little ball.
I do believe that baseball and other athletics make kids better students. They are more likely to be focused and harder-working and get better grades. This will certainly help when it comes time for college. Sports teach kids many things about teamwork, effort and sacrifice, which will serve them later in life.
And, hopefully, we adults will learn how to have more fun letting them be kids playing a kids' game.
Frank Mineo, Paradise Valley
Safe at home: I totally enjoyed the article on youth baseball/sports. It's very well-written and captures the story of youth sports well. Hope Robert Nelson and his son Andrew are finding that "balance" they're seeking.
Terry McMackin, via the Internet