BEST PAPER SHOP 2004 | AlteRnaTe: A Hands-On Paper Place | Goods & Services | Phoenix
Is it just us, or is there something a little creepy, a little Stepford Wives-ish, about scrapbooking? And since when is the word "scrapbook" a verb? If you love paper but hate scrapbooking, try AlteRnaTe: A Hands-On Paper Place. Not only does AlteRnaTe carry a wide selection of papers to drool over, including handmade, origami and hand-printed, it invites you to share in the paper love.

Once you've made your purchases, you can sit down at the fully stocked $5-an-hour "paper bar" and stamp, cut, punch, rip and paste 'til the trees are gone. Whether you're making one big Valentine or 20 party invites, you'll end up with something totally your own, and best of all, you don't have to store all those rubber stamps and interesting scraps of paper in your own damn house. Hours are unusual, so check the Web site before you go. We hold no responsibility for paper cuts.

The Headquarters has everything you're looking for in a head shop: great smoking accessories, including plenty of rolling papers, alongside the requisite tee shirts and incense. Our favorite piece of merchandise, on a recent visit, was what we feel compelled to refer to as the Old Glory bong -- a hand-blown glass one with white stars on a blue background, stretching into red and white stripes. Gives new meaning to the term "flag burning."

We had to pull an all-nighter, but our 14-page manifesto on how to unleash global anarchy is finally done. All that remains now is to run off a few dozen reproductions and use some guerrilla-distribution tactics (i.e., handing it out in front of the public library). We've only got a 10-spot, so a place where we can get more toner for our tenner would be appreciated. It's a Friday night, so an after-dark visit to Americopy is in order, since the mom-and-pop copy shop's normal bargain-basement price of 41/2 cents per page drops a penny. Low-cost but high-quality color copies are available for 89 cents when we want to print out a Photoshop-enhanced picture of Dubya for the next protest, or put it on a tee shirt for $13.

Even though it's located in the heart of tweak city (read: west Mesa), the copycat customers are a good mix of street kids copying their punk fanzines and Sunday-school teachers copying their lesson plans for the week. Maybe they'd like to read our plan for changing the world.

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