Letters From the Issue of Thursday, March 9, 2006

The Candidate

Throw the rascals out: I just saw your article, and I enjoyed your unique perspective ("Load of Crappioppoli," The Bird, Robrt L. Pela, March 2). I'm glad there is a paper in Phoenix that gives a different point of view and doesn't just march in lockstep with the party line.

By the way, I would have to disagree about my not having a chance to defeat Congressman Rick Renzi. A new poll shows that Congressman J.D. Hayworth is neck-and-neck in his district, which is overwhelmingly Republican. I believe there is going to be a major anti-Republican vote in November.
Mike Caccioppoli, Flagstaff



Program Notes

The Love bloat: Great polygamy package in your recent issue. Isn't it just perfect that HBO is coming out with a show that so poorly reflects the reality of the fundamentalist Mormon church? First there's the piece about the upcoming TV show Big Love ("Big Eeeewww!," The Bird, Robrt L. Pela, February 23), and then, in the same issue, there's John Dougherty's latest chapter on what's really going on in the world of polygamists ("Rogue Cops"), and you feel like you're on a bungee cord.

What I'm talking about is: You would probably believe the HBO show was as realistic as Deadwood if you didn't live in Arizona and know what's really going on up north along the Utah-Arizona border, thanks to Dougherty.

Don't misunderstand, I love HBO, and I'm sure the show will be entertaining. I've always liked a lot of the actors the show's using, especially Bill Paxton and Harry Dean Stanton. But the thought of relegating this to a soccer-mom drama (as if polygamists are somewhat normal) sickens me. As good as HBO shows are, I don't think I will be able to suspend disbelief with this new one.

Like The Bird said, the real-life polygamy stories that John Dougherty's been writing contain enough plot outlines for five seasons of Big Love.

Like a lot of voters in Arizona, I don't understand why something isn't done about this situation -- I mean, something more than just talk about getting grant money to post one lousy deputy up there in Colorado City, which our pathetic and toothless attorney general, Terry Goddard, is proposing.
Beth Stock, Phoenix

Sex and Colorado City: Thanks for putting money back in my pocket. I haven't subscribed to HBO since Sex and the City, and I saw an article in the New York Times about this new show that piqued my curiosity and made me think about reinstating my subscription.

Then I read your article on Big Love and changed my mind.

This is just another tool to make Mormonism look attractive and mainstream instead of like the destructive cult it really is. It's interesting that the mainstream Mormon church is so quick to provide information on its Web site claiming that polygamy is in no way a Mormon belief anymore.

Maybe not here on Earth, but it certainly remains a Mormon belief when it comes to the eternal afterlife. There, Mormons believe, males rule as gods of their own planet. Now that would be good material for TV!
Name withheld by request

Turn of phrase: The term "Polygamyland" that John Dougherty's coined for Colorado City ranks right up there with other media-coined phrases such as "Air Lift" (Berlin) and "Watergate" -- I love it!

Anyway, instead of waiting for a federal grant, Arizona should be obligated to immediately provide the funds to station one or more Mohave County sheriff's deputies in Colorado City. Hell, for that matter, just ask Joe Arpaio for assistance -- this is just the sort of publicity that this clown thrives on! He'd probably be willing to spring for half a dozen Maricopa County sheriff's deputies and throw in that .50-caliber machine gun he got a few years ago.

Off the subject (sort of), have you got anything coming up in the near future regarding the most dangerous sheriff in America?
Tom Hamlyn, Kherson, Ukraine

Artistic Endeavor

History lesson: There were several inaccuracies in The Bird's column regarding Art Detour ("Art Detoured," February 9). A little history will perhaps clear up some of the confusion.

Art Detour began in 1988, created as an opportunity for artists, including those without gallery representation, to showcase their work in their studios and provide a unique opportunity for the public to see how these artists worked.

A few years later, a monthly event began, in part because of the success of Art Detour, originally called Phoenix Arts After Hours on the second Wednesday of the month. This later moved to become First Friday. The focus of this event has traditionally been more on galleries than on studios.

Art Detour has always taken place in the spring, though only very recently on the same weekend as First Friday. Though it was always a popular event in its own right, in 2004 and 2005 Art Detour was moved to coincide with First Friday. The hope was that the audience that attends First Friday would stay for the rest of the weekend.

Instead, we saw people attending First Friday, but never venturing off the well-beaten paths of Roosevelt Street and Grand Avenue to explore the artists' studios and other spaces that were only open for this one weekend.

Therefore, at the repeated request of the artist and gallery-owner members of Artlink, the decision was made to move Art Detour back away from First Friday weekend.

This is an experiment. If it doesn't have the desired effect, then I am certain that the artists will let us know. Quarterly advisory meetings are open to the public, and the next will be at noon on March 11 at the Paper Heart, 750 Grand Avenue.

Finally, regarding attendance of Artlink arts events in general: There are millions of people in this city, so it does not seem unreasonable to think that there might be enough interest to justify art spaces opening every weekend, even every night of the month.
Vaiden Boyer, First Friday Coordinator, Artlink Inc., Phoenix


Antidote to metal: Thank you for the review of Venom's 25th-anniversary boxed set ("Dumb Luck," Dave Pehling, February 23). Judging from the overall tone of the review, I can safely assume the writer has never been much of a Venom fan. But, as all true Venom fans know, there have always been those who "get it" and those who don't.

Venom was never really a metal band to begin with; most of their influences were punk bands of the late '70s. And unlike metal, punk is a genre of music that was never concerned with musicianship. Venom mixed the energy and raucous sound of punk with the over-the-top histrionics of KISS, a band they greatly admired. Most important, though, band members never lost their sense of humor and never expected others, fans and critics alike, to take them too seriously.

Somewhere along the way, this message was lost to many black- and death-metal bands they influenced, as evidenced by silly devil-worshiping pyromania. Many of us long for the old days of Venom and Celtic Frost when it was simply about enjoying the music and having a good time.

Ironically enough, if you have read any recent interviews with the original members of Venom, you will notice that they are by far more thoughtful and intelligent than the majority of musicians or entertainers out there. Fortunately for the fans, Venom will be releasing a new album in the very near future that attempts to re-create the glory days of the early '80s.
John Herne, Mesa

Ethic Cleansing

Obtuse angle: Ever since I read your story about the murder on Richland Street ("The Case of the Jealous Lover Boy," Paul Rubin, February 16), there's been something bothering me. I haven't been able to figure out your angle. I assume you're trying to be fair and balanced, like a journalist should be, but that doesn't explain the sloppy, pandering, sometimes ethically offensive story you published.

At first I thought that details such as the size of the dildos or the names of the porn in the victim and alleged killer's collection would later resonate as some sort of clue to a darker secret -- but no.

Then I thought the ridiculous comments from the police would later show not just how indifferent and unprofessional the Phoenix Police Department could be, but be part of a larger commentary on the PPD's lack of respect for the gay community. That angle never came to fruition, either.

It wasn't until I got to the part about the sister, who lives here in the Valley, that I started to wonder how you could possibly publish some of the embarrassing and indecent details of the victim's life, his death and especially the casual attitude of the investigators.

It's one thing to report that her brother lived a promiscuous life, but when I read the part about the coroner sawing through his chest, all I could think of was what his sister must have thought as she read the only piece of news written about her brother's mysterious and awful demise.

How inappropriate. How unethical. You did nothing but discredit yourself as a decent, factual news organization, and discredit the police for being cold, arrogant, naive and dispassionate about their work. I feel that you owe the gay community, the Phoenix police and most of all the family of Tim Contreraz an apology.
Damon Moss, Phoenix

Name Withheld

Our bad: My name is Jo Anna Larson, and I'm the writer/co-producer/director/star of Comic Intervention: The Film (shot on video). First, thank you for the write-up in the Night & Day section ("To TV or Not TV," Douglas Towne, February 9). However, I am a bit butt-hurt!

As a writer, you can imagine the joy I felt in seeing my words quoted in print in your section. This was, of course, followed by soul-crushing, gut-wrenching dismay when I realized that it was not me, but my sexy (she really is) partner Karen Seltz, credited for "crow"-ing them.

In fact, I wasn't mentioned at all. I'm crying in my Oolong as I write this. Thank you for finding my words good enough to print. I just wonder why you felt my name was not equally print-worthy.

I'm sure it was an honest mistake, as I have been getting myself mixed up with Karen for years, and will probably continue to do so. I just wanted to set the record straight.
Jo Anna Larson, 9,000 Monkeys Productions, Mesa


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