Reefer madness: I absolutely loved your Snoop Dogg cover. It was a beautiful piece of art! Plus it was funny to see Kreme cowering in the corner [of the cover page] in awe of Mr. Doggy Dogg and his harem. And the Inferno column itself was very funny and entertaining reading ("Doggfather Daze," Stephen Lemons, May 26).
It's great that Inferno departs from club-land once in a while to inform us about what goes on in the concert world, at least that part of it that's cool. I, for one, would never have the nerve to go to a Snoop concert, though I have enjoyed his music for 10 years, all the way back to his gangster rap days. (I know, as a woman, I'm supposed to be offended by all that "bitches and ho's" stuff, but I always took the lyrics as tongue in cheek, and this music is just so great to dance to!)
But I thought Snoop quit smoking marijuana. You know, so he could be a better role model to his kids, whom I notice from The Best Damn Sports Show Period are members of the peewee football team that Snoop coaches. I guess, however, that folks would be disappointed if they went to a Snoop concert and he wasn't smoking ganja.
I was tickled by the opener to Inferno where Kreme is dreaming of becoming a member of the Dogg pound. It was truly inspired. It would only have been surpassed if he could have really gotten close enough to the Doggfather to see what goes on behind the scenes. That would be news!
Keep up the good work in Inferno! It's great for us housebound types (I'm twentysomething still, but I have a couple of small kids and can't go out like I used to) to see what's going on music-wise in the PHX.
Pamela Clark, Phoenix
Infernal mush: Amy Silverman, John Dougherty, Robrt L. Pela, a fantastic music team -- top to bottom, you have an amazing slate of writers and features. So why, oh why, must you publish the retarded pile of mush known as "Inferno"?
Stephen Lemons isn't a bad restaurant reviewer. But please spare us his attempts to glom on to every half-happening crowd in the Phoenix metro area! (Yeah, I find a fat guy desperately struggling to be liked by enhanced plastic women a bit of a downer.)
The latest foolishness involving Snoop Dogg is another perfect example of Lemons' (or Kreme's) desperate attempt to slice off some cool for himself. This is a New Times cover story? Stop the madness and let Steve/Kreme/Lemons stick to restaurant reviewing.
Chris Becker, Chandler
A comic icon: What a funny story on Richard Cheese, or, should I say, Dick Cheese! What I'm wondering is why this guy would ever want to give up his act. I think it's genius to do such as Nine Inch Nails songs lounge-lizard style. I've been listening to the guy for years, and he's always side-splittingly funny ("Big Cheese," Jimmy Magahern, May 19).
In general, I love everything your writer, Jimmy Magahern, does for New Times. He has such a gift with words. He manages to hook me on every story, even when I'm not that interested in the subject matter.
But I was hugely interested in the Dick Cheese story. What Cheese doesn't understand is that he would have been just a marginal talent in the world of even semi-serious music, but he's an icon in the world he's created. Look at all of his fans! I mean, how many times does any performer get to autograph a beautiful woman's ass!?
Bill Murray, when with the old Saturday Night Live cast, did a funny lounge lizard, which I'm sure was the inspiration for Mark Davis (a.k.a. Dick Cheese), and so did Joe Piscopo in the later cast of that show. But when Davis sings such lyrics as "Rape me, my friend, and rape me again" in that crooner style, it's truly inspired and funny. Those of you just reading this letter and Jimmy's excellent story won't believe me. You have to tune in to Davis' stuff. Listen to it, I'm saying! You won't be able to stop yourself from laughing.
Wow! And Dick Cheese is from Phoenix! Who knew?
Rick Morrison, Phoenix
A laugh riot: That Dick Cheese guy is a riot! I love that guy. I was glad to see that my favorite newspaper did a cover story on him. I've always wondered why the only place you hear about him is on comedy radio, unless you go to Vegas. Thanks for turning on the world to a major Phoenix talent, even if Mark Davis doesn't believe what he's famous for is a talent.
Tamara Olson, Phoenix
The equally big cheese: I just read the article on Mark Davis/Richard Cheese. Really in-depth. You captured Mark, his parents' house (which I remember exactly as you described it) and the Vegas scene perfectly. Thanks for quoting me accurately and for the nice mention of us.
Rob "Iceman" Izenberg, Premiere Radio Networks
Home is where the squishy stuff is: Thank you for asking the million-dollar question: What the hell is wrong with us ("Phoenix Has an Inferiority Complex," Amy Silverman, May 12)? I commend you for forcing us to take an honest look at ourselves. Countless times I've driven touring musicians around this city and heard them marvel at our beautiful landscape. Conversely, I have friends who've lived here since childhood who still can't name a single mountain around here accurately.
Phoenix is full of amazing things that we all take for granted. My standing retort to friends who've moved away who constantly ask me why the hell I'm still here is: "Laugh it up! Let's talk when we're all 50 and you still haven't been able to afford your first house!"
But it's the "squishy stuff" missing from Phoenix that Joel Garreau referred to that makes a place home. How do we develop culture, tradition or pride when all of our best young people are scratching and clawing to get out of here as soon as they're out of high school? Lately, I've noticed a slow, steady tide of young people moving here with great enthusiasm from places like Seattle and L.A. I hope this is a sign that the hemorrhaging of bright young people from Phoenix to other cities may be slowing.
It isn't realistic to assume that just because the census says people are moving here means everything's okay. Young, creative entrepreneurs are not the same as middle-aged couples with young families who want to live in the suburbs. One is not necessarily better than the other; I'm merely pointing out that the numbers do not betray the horrific problem lying underneath: We are losing our greatest assets -- young people -- by the truckloads because we cannot figure out how to make them feel rooted here.
Because we are such a young city, it's hard for us to understand that other cities have also gone through difficult times, when culture was scarce and it was hard to avoid boredom. But we have to recognize our own roles within this city in terms of what's happening here or, perhaps more important, what's not. My point is, a city's culture does not become vibrant before you participate in it but rather because you participate in it.
Kimber Lanning, Stinkweeds Records, Phoenix
A nice place to live, but we don't want a lot of people here: Regarding Amy Silverman's "Phoenix Has an Inferiority Complex," as a 50-year-plus native of Phoenix, I would like to say a few words from the perspective of some of us who have been here before the nightmare explosion of rapid, unplanned, under-calculated, uncontrolled, reckless development and growth that robbed the hand of God in this beautiful desert garden.
First of all, many of us never wanted Phoenix to become a New York City. People living here from back East are always complaining about Phoenix's "lack of . . ." Huh? Someone once said, "We have met the enemy, and it is us!"
Back in the day, Phoenix was a nice, friendly, easygoing place to live where you didn't have to make a reservation to climb the enchanting Squaw Peak or drive on the freeway. I believe the architectural genius Frank Lloyd Wright once said the Valley is a nice place to live, but not for a lot of people.
As for bumper stickers, we once had one that read: "Welcome to Phoenix. Now go home!"
Robin F. Williams. Phoenix
Let the water flow: Sarah Fenske calls Arizona's endangered willow flycatcher "congenitally" stupid because it can't stop cowbirds from laying eggs in its nests at Horseshoe Reservoir ("For the Birds," May 19). In reality, cowbirds weren't here until settlers brought cows and overgrazed and dammed Arizona's rivers.
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Fenske quotes an SRP spokesperson who claims releasing water from the Verde River's Horseshoe Reservoir will cause 67,000 families to go without water. Fenske should read New Times' John Dougherty, who documented that metro Phoenix is "awash" in water ("A Chance to Focus Inward," December 9, 2004) and that letting water flow through Phoenix again would improve our "quality of life."
A major Arizona daily concurred with Dougherty and debunked SRP's lost Verde water scare tactic: "Every acre-foot of storm water delivered to Mexico is an acre-foot that can stay in Lake Mead, a critical storage reservoir that serves Arizona, Nevada and California."
Since Central Arizona Project water comes from below Mead, this shows the erroneousness of SRP spokespersons.
Agribusiness squanders 80 percent of Arizona's water yet returns only 1 percent of the state's income. Hay and other cattle feed consume almost half of Arizona's entire annual water budget. SRP's board of directors is controlled by agribusinessmen. New Times readers don't need SRP's anti-environmental, factual misrepresentations.
Bob Witzeman, M.D., Conservation Chair, Maricopa Audubon Society