BEST ALTERNATIVE PERFORMANCE VENUE 2004 | The Paper Heart | People & Places | Phoenix
It takes a lot of character to get the same "Best Of" two years in a row. And while we still love the Paper Heart for all the same reasons we did last year -- especially its eclectic variety of free or cheap under-the-radar entertainment, like performance art, poetry slams, comedy shows and indie film screenings -- we love it for a whole new reason: its spacious, cool-looking new digs on Grand Avenue. The former used-car dealership faces the street at an angle, making a statement about the beauty of being off-kilter in this urban grid. More gallery space has made for bigger, livelier First Friday receptions, too -- or is it the addition of a bar that now serves beer and wine? Either way, this is a welcome addition to a stretch of downtown we'd like to see flourish.
We're not sure if the body parts here are any less plastic than what you'd find at the typical Scottsdale nightclub, but it's safe to say that the attitudes aren't as fake. After all, this eclectic party at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is being thrown in the name of art, not action, and the stylish young crowd it draws is more suited to downtown Phoenix than Drinkwater Boulevard. No matter what the night's theme ("Wicked," "Tart," "Spice" -- use your imagination), there's always DJ music and live bands, a runway fashion show, plentiful art on exhibit, and, of course, cocktails. We wouldn't change a thing, except we wish this was a party they threw more often.

Even the most gun-shy gals feel at home on the range at Shooter's World. From 4 to 8 p.m. every Friday, "Arizona's largest indoor shooting facility" fires up for ladies' night, wooing the girls with free range time, free firearm and safety rental, and free instruction; the only cash to cough up is for ammo and targets.

And even though you're packing heat, Shooter's 24 air-conditioned lanes make it easy to keep your cool. So grab a couple gal pals, strike that Charlie's Angels pose, and discover a whole new World -- where firearms and femininity aren't mutually exclusive. Fo' shizzle, my trizzle.

For those of us who grew up watching Hogan's Heroes and idolizing its star Bob Crane, the site of Crane's murder and his last residence -- Room 132A at the Winfield Apartments in Scottsdale -- is perhaps the Valley's most macabre tourist attraction. Crane was living there while he performed in the play Beginner's Luck at the Windmill Dinner Theatre (now The Buzz nightclub), and it was there that he was found bludgeoned to death with his own camera tripod on June 29, 1978. For anyone who hasn't seen the film Auto Focus with Greg Kinnear portraying the troubled actor, Crane was obsessed with sex and with videotaping and photographing his numerous conquests. So the killer's choice of weapon was ironic to say the least. Suspicion centered on an associate of Crane's, John Carpenter (played by Willem Dafoe in the film), but a trial in 1994 acquitted Carpenter of the much-delayed charges, and Carpenter has since died of natural causes. Some believe Crane was instead killed by a jealous boyfriend or an enraged father (likely there were many), so the case remains unsolved. Interesting aside: Bob Crane's son Scotty now peddles pop's homemade porn via the Internet. So if you're interested in seeing Colonel Hogan boffing babes, check out the site at

But we digress. The Winfield Apartments are now the Winfield Place Condominiums, and someone else occupies the space. Still, more than one Bob Crane fan has cruised by the condos to have his or her picture taken before the sign for the complex.

In this sprawl-happy burg, it's hard to find someplace untouched by the hands of man, where one can flee from reality, if only for a few minutes. If you're like us, you've found an escape route, like the six-mile stretch from Phoenix into Paradise Valley, after dark.

As we head east from 24th Street, the chain stores start to lessen, the road gets curvier, and we open our baby up for a little speed. If it's well past the witching hour, the road's empty except for the sweet smell of a just-completed monsoon squall. An occasional entrance to some gated estate zips by, but thanks to the cover of darkness (and fewer streetlamps along this drag), the gaudy homes of the ultra-rich are nowhere to be seen. With the windows rolled down, the cool moist air whips around us as we come up a gently sloping hill, presented with a panoramic view of the sodium-lighted grid below us.

Oops, a stoplight camera just tagged us after we rolled through the Tatum Boulevard intersection, well over the 40 mph limit. When we get that surreptitious snapshot in the mail in a few weeks, the look on our face will probably be one of delight.

Just about everybody who works in or around the county courthouses in downtown Phoenix knows Eddie Haramina. More important, he knows more about them than they probably would care to admit. Commonly known as "Eddie the Hot Dogger," Haramina has been a fixture in front of the east courthouse at First Avenue and Jefferson Street for more than a quarter-century. There, this Argentinean-born gentleman dispenses his custom-made all-beef hot dogs, fresh lemonade and homemade chili. The dogs are excellent and the buns are steamed, but that's not what makes Eddie such a gem. No, he's our Eddie because he treats Superior Court judges, homeless beggars -- everyone, really -- exactly the same: with unabiding respect and courtesy. And people of all stripes do talk to him about everything (literally) under the sun, including their kids, spouses, jobs, dreams and failures. Believe us, the Hot Dogger is no hot dog.

We love a group of girls who strap on roller skates and bust chops. And we love a bake sale. For the past year or so, the women of the Arizona Roller Derby have dolled up in their fishnets and combat boots and taken to the streets of Phoenix to sell their cookies. They're a solid presence on First Fridays -- not always without some strife, according to their Web site, which features pictures of their bake sale efforts, as well as a couple of car washes.

A posting regarding a recent bake sale gone bad reads, "Of course, we also had a solid crowd going for the 'buy one cookie for $2 and if we're friends with you, we'll throw in a beer' deal, which got us in a lot of trouble, but hopefully the Paisley Violin has forgiven us by now -- sorry!"

Whoops! Now you can find them in front of Holga's, near Third Street and Garfield. But check the Web site for updates. It also has information about upcoming roller derby matches, where the girls will really be shaking their cookies.

You've been a naughty New Times reader, and Mistress Porsche Lynn has just the punishment for you. In a warehouse five miles west of Sky Harbor Airport, the legendary adult-film star -- whose handprints adorn the adult industry's Walk of Fame outside Larry Flynt's Hustler Hollywood store -- has the dungeon to rival all dungeons. Inside a nondescript building where security cameras watch over the exterior like high-tech gargoyles, a score of worship-worthy doms, submissives and switches (those who "switch" from dom to sub) render and receive punishment to and from clients.

A number of lavishly outfitted rooms help Mistress Porsche and her femmes fatales fulfill customers' fantasies. There's a 4,000-square-foot main dungeon room with X-crosses and cages; an immersion room with a spanking bench, a gynecologist's chair, and a suspension unit that helps you "hang out"; a doctor's clinic where your nasty nurse can give you a full examination; and a parlor where sissy boys can cross-dress to their heart's content. Phone sessions are also available, and there are always guest doms in from N.Y or L.A. Visits are by appointment only, so give them a call for precise directions, and meet that Venus in Furs you've always dreamed of.


TV Lounge

It's been a long night of spanging and bumming smokes in front of the Coffee Plantation on Mill Avenue, and now the dawn is breaking. You need some serious sack time, but too bad the cops busted up your squat the night before. Luckily, the cushy red couches in the TV Lounge on the lower level of ASU's Memorial Union will fit the bill nicely, and you can lay your crusty head down for a nap. If the sandman doesn't come posthaste, drop a couple of panhandled bucks for a Croissan'wich, watch cheesy talk shows and aging sitcoms on the gigantic-screen TV, or jam out at one of Hoodlums' listening stations in its adjacent store. If the occasional student worker (or "The Man") rousts you and demands some student ID, the jig might be up. As long as you don't stand out -- consider removing some of your funk in one of the union's many restrooms -- you won't look (or smell) much different from any of the other twentysomethings who're dozing after an all-nighter. When you wake refreshed, check your Hotmail account on any of the walk-up Internet stations before heading out to resume your night-crawling ways or to catch a train to parts unknown.
If you're a chubby, pale-skinned teen eager to replace your threadbare Misfits tee with something more likely to shock your already concerned parents, you've come to the right place. The first thing that grabs your attention as you enter the shadowy confines of this hardcore metal CD store and specialty boutique isn't the severed limbs that hang from the ceiling, nor is it the not-so-dulcet thunder of grindcore assaulting your ears. Nope, it's the rows of tee shirts from local and national acts. Three double-sided racks of pitch-black printed tees await you, any one of which will announce your newfound affair with the dark lord and make you the foe of the holy rollers everywhere. Get the folks pounding the Paxil with Cannibal Corpse's "Eaten Back to Life" shirt, which depicts a rotting cadaver consuming its own entrails. Too subtle? Perhaps Cradle of Filth's "Desire Me Like Satan" tog -- with a buxom, topless woman with legs spread wide and bound to an upside-down crucifix -- might get you into group therapy double-quick. Of course, no potentially offensive outfit would be complete without a pair of spiked leather gauntlets, gargoyle incense holder and copy of Terrorizer magazine, also in stock. It's like a head shop, without all the, er, tobacco paraphernalia.

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