Scare Tactics

Things we think are truly frightening:

The everlasting popularity of Menudo (the boy band from Puerto Rico, not the bowl of hangover relief from Filiberto's).

Tara Francis on News Channel 3 at 7 a.m., while we're struggling to overcome said hangover.

The power of cheese.

Come to think of it, this whole damn presidential campaign is pretty terrifying, too. And we're not the only ones who think so. On Friday, October 15, Alwun House proprietors Kim Moody and Dana Johnson open their exhibit, "Monsters Menagerie," dedicated to the merging of "this year's macabre Halloween and election season."

"They're both scary," Johnson quips. And that's the point, exactly, of "Monsters Menagerie," which features works by Johnny Braden, Baron Dixon, Jeff Falk, Steve Gompf, Bill Graham, Larry Lopresti and others.

"It's not often that you get Halloween and politics to get together," says Moody, who along with Johnson has put on a Halloween exhibit leading up to Alwun House's "Monsters' Ball" (which will be held this year on October 30) for three straight years. "This has been the most controversial and divisive election season I've ever seen. We've been spun to death. So the idea was, 'Well, let's put a positive spin on it.'"

Some pieces in this year's show, Moody says, "are rather apolitical," including a piece by Lopresti about the biblical "Seven Deadly Sins," or Graham's "sexual monsters." Certainly, the "Monsters Menagerie" audience will be hard-pressed to find anything as politically terrifying as Steven Yazzie's portrait in last year's show of "two dogs fucking each other," as described by Johnson, with the dogs' heads superimposed by those of George W. Bush and Saddam Hussein.

Unlike other art shows around the Valley, Moody and Johnson promise "Monsters Menagerie" won't be a Bush-bashing show.

"One of our video artists is a Republican. He voted for Reagan. He voted for Bush I and Bush II," Johnson adds. "I'm not going to say which one because I don't want him to be egged!"

Most of the 75 pieces focus on neither a presidential candidate nor the war in Iraq. Many take on local politicians or powerful elite, including Jerry Colangelo. And don't be surprised if Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon is mounted somewhere on the Alwun House walls.

"We wanted this show to be different," Moody adds. "We wanted to be more inclusive."

Doesn't sound so scary, after all.

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Joe Watson