BEST PARTY MONSTERS 2006 | Sadisco | People & Places | Phoenix
All dressed up and no place to go? Head to Sadisco and get your freak on all night with like-minded evil geniuses who have a taste for leather, vinyl, and outrageous hair. At this sort-of-monthly dance party, held at nightspots including Mardi Gras and Jugheads, the soundtrack is as harsh as the eye makeup, with industrial, EBM, noise, and dark electronic tracks from resident DJs Squalor, Dr. Faustus, ///she///, Blonde NoiZe, and 5arah. Before you show up, lurk on Sadisco's MySpace page to find out the next date of debauchery, and, more important, the theme. Recent nights have included "Pink Trouble in Sadiscoville" (for a taste of John Waters' cinema kink) and "Zombie a Go Go" (on the necro-porno tip), so get ready to plan your outfit accordingly. And when in doubt, wear black.


The Valley's premier punk rock community and networking site serves many purposes promoting local punk shows, offering merchandise from local bands, and highlighting different local bands each week but the site component that probably sees the most action is the Message Board, where P-town punks love to get their panties in a bunch at each other, or more often than not at any outsiders who disagree with them or criticize any aspect of their scene. Let's just say we've seen that firsthand, more than once. There are also fervent discussions on topics including everything from "What's the best show you've seen so far this year?" to whether Phoenix sucks, with people posting icons of fists with protruding middle fingers and prosaic phrases like "Fuck you!" But it ain't all about the cyber throwdowns the message board also serves as a virtual corkboard, peppered with postings about benefit shows for people like North Side Kings singer Danny Marianino who was reportedly jumped by a group of guys in August and needed to raise funds for reconstructive surgery on his face and the late owner of Jugheads, Sid Copeland. So in the end, it really is all about community, even if the arguments are more heated and amusing than anything Jerry Springer could conjure.
We're feeling a little un-hip lately, mostly because we've been blowing through our 30s faster than you can say "midlife crisis." Since we don't have the dime to drop on either a new roadster or a new wardrobe, we'll get our hepcat groove back by attending the next SMoCA Nights shindig. The bold and the beautiful of the Valley turn out three times a year en masse for this ultra-cool concoction of fashion, music and art that's a collision of couture and culture. Although the focus is on fashion, with design divas like Camille Messina, Karelle Levy, and Kristin Dinnis staging runway shows, an assortment of other creative types including such pace-setting painters as Baron Gordon and Adam "Dumperfoo" Dumper, DJs like Maji and Brazilia, and musicians like jazz trio Sonorous lend their efforts to the proceedings. Dancing demonstrations, debauched drinking, and other artistic activities abound. Simply put, SMoCA Nights are smokin' hot.


They call themselves MoPhos, which is short for "Modern Phoenicians," and they're all about preserving the recent past by elevating our consciousness about the importance of local architecture and landmarks. They come together via the occasional home tour, but mostly through a Web site called, where folks who love mid-century homes and slump-block banks can share their knowledge and help promote preservation via the Internet. The brainchild of Alison and Matthew King, ModernPhoenix calls itself a "neighborhood network," but it operates more like a super-professional online shelter pub that's busting at the cyber-seams with useful information and entertaining articles about everything from how to rehab a Haver home to what to do to get historical designation for your neighborhood. Even for those of us who aren't architecturally inclined, there's plenty of gorgeous photography of what Phoenix used to look like (and may look like again, if the Kings have anything to do with it) to keep us returning to this virtual community time and again.
Shameless self-promoters love this kick-ass rack, because Modified's smack in the middle of Roosevelt Row, and the Row is the hub of Phoenix's arts scene. What better place to get the word out about your band's next gig or that new experimental-art performance? And the grassroots advertising technique seems to work, as you always see First Friday/Third Friday street crawlers pawing through the fliers in search of artistic adventure. In fact, the rack at Modified is the only one we've ever seen that has a queue of impatient, toe-tapping Phoenicians waiting for their chance to find cultural enlightenment or at least a good party.
Visibility is at a premium at this basement-level bar, which is usually shrouded in a state of near darkness, punctuated only by the eerie crimson glow of red ceiling lamps. Serving not only as shady shelter from which to escape the blazing Arizona sun, Monroe's also provides downtown Phoenix denizens with the perfect hiding place to slip away for a noontime drink or even spend the afternoon playing hooky from work. After dark, however, the underground imbibery plays host to an assortment of alcohol-fueled urbanites who swap stories amidst the dusky gloom or enjoy live music from the best in local jazz, blues and rock acts on weekends. The shadowy establishment almost feels like it could be some iniquitous underworld headquarters for rogues planning their next heist, or even more dog-faced types who'd like to make time with hotties of the opposite sex without having to reveal their ugly mugs. Be careful not to trip heading down the stairs.
Confession: We love cheap booze as much as anyone, but to be honest, we're a little sick of slump-block dives and cans of PBR. Yet while we yearn to class things up a bit, we can't quite get into a night on the town with the plastics on the east side. Luckily, we've stumbled upon this midtown house turned bar where somehow worlds collide: slummy and swanky, gay and straight it all seems to work here. Technically, Homme is a gay bar (oh, come on . . . you know "homme" means "man" in French, right?), but you'll find it all here. The fact that the bar is built inside a house that's been standing since the 1800s (complete with a resident ghost, some say) does a lot to add to its charm, and its anything/anyone-goes appeal. Slurping down your vodka drink Smirnoff is often on special it kinda feels like that party you threw in high school when your parents went out of town. There's a different theme every night of the week, and drink specials to match. We're particularly fond of Sundays, when happy hour prices are good all night long, and Thursdays, when the Lushlife DJs take over with indie dance rock you don't hear at The Rogue, and reverse happy hour starting at 10. Homme may have even found the answer to our favorite cesspool Hot Pink! (may it rest in peace) with Friday night's "One" hosted by StraightNoChaser, where you can catch live artists doing their thing in the corner, and plenty of attractive twentysomethings doing their thing on the dance floor.
We've gotten to the point where happiness is an empty e-mail inbox, but we're always glad to see SCOOP show up. The folks at Desert Living put together a beautiful magazine, and their weekly SCOOP full of news about new restaurants, hot parties and good shopping is always fun. We've learned about Dolce & Gabbana's new cell phone, the arrival of a south Australian organic spa in Scottsdale, and the latest show at Modified Arts, all on SCOOP. In this age of information overload, it's saying a lot to say we look forward to an e-mail like this one. So thanks, Desert Living! Even if this is just shameless self-promotion for your advertisers, we're okay with it. To sign up for your own SCOOP, go to the magazine's Web site.
Suzy Homewrecker. Joan Threat. All the Way Mae. These are just a few of the elbow-slinging, body-banging babes in this all-woman roller-derby league, whose motto is "Live fast, die pretty." When they don't have their game faces on, the Dames are regular Janes with professions ranging from accountants to teachers but you'd best not try to snatch their pocketbooks if you value your gonads. The league includes three teams: the Coffin Draggers, the Brutal Beauties, and the Bombshells. For the most part, the Dames are fast friends as well as bitter foes. Says Homewrecker, "The Arizona Derby Dames promotes competition between determined, beautiful, unique, and, most of all, tough women." You go, grrls.
Start in the cozy-chic lounge, where specialty martinis are named after movie stars. As you sip and unwind by firelight, you'll honestly forget you're in a strip mall. The seriously yummy food (which takes you, for instance, from a crab-dip-of-the-gods through a high-end steak sandwich to a crème brle that can hold its head up anywhere in town) is served, with military precision and religious silence, before and during screenings of recent films. Tiered seating features comfy armchairs with casters. And, like the control freak you are, you can choose your experience: Romance, action, or comedy? (Heck, we've seen Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Capote here.) Lots of conversation, or just a smidge? (Adjust arrival and departure time accordingly.) No-hassle family outing, or perfect atmosphere for a special date? (Although Farrelli's sets the schedule and the menu, they know some things are best left in your capable hands.)

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