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Moncrief was hoping for a bigger turnout, especially since he's spent the past few weeks constructing a purposely haphazard miniature-golf course in his front yard from a slapdash collection of car accessories, aircraft parts and other assorted junk. Not many art patrons stop to look, but the yard does attract the attention of a small band of representatives from the City of Phoenix's Finance Department and Neighborhood Services Division.

The city workers aren't hard to spot, as they move up the sidewalks of Evans-Churchill in small groups of two or three, accompanied by an armed Phoenix police officer in street clothes. The inspectors walk into the small, crowded galleries one at a time, but in their bureaucrat-casual wear they stick out among the Hot Topic-clad twentysomethings.

Moncrief says he spoke with a middle-aged gentleman from the Finance Department who "presented himself in a very open demeanor" and "pleasantly and cordially" advised him on sales tax and retail licensing, providing pamphlets on the issues.

"They weren't trying to bust my balls or anything," he says, "and I was pleased to have their assistance for monitoring crowd control, just to make sure everybody was picking up their bottles."

He didn't get so much as a warning regarding the, um, art in the front yard.

According to artists and gallery owners contacted by New Times, interactions such as Moncrief's were repeated in more than 30 galleries and art-friendly businesses open in Evans-Churchill that evening. Inspectors from the Maricopa County Environmental Services Department advised anyone doling out free food -- like the owners of White Chrysanthemum who were handing out mini-cheeseburgers. Kimber Lanning, owner of Modified Arts, says she voluntarily dumped a veggie tray brought by an exhibiting artist after inspectors mentioned it shouldn't be on the premises. Lanning says she was also told she can't sell bags of chips or the other sealed snacks she's offered at concerts and gallery openings for years, without a food-handling license. (Lanning disputes the county's position; the county's Web site, she says, indicates that she doesn't need a permit. But county health officials tell New Times that a permit to sell prepackaged foods is required, at $120 per year.)

Lanning's upset, and not just because it's apparently verboten for her to sell Pop Tarts and candy bars to clubgoers.

"It's unusual to have four city officials visit me on a Friday at 9:30 p.m. with an armed police officer in tow," she says, echoing a concern shared by many artists and gallery owners. "That's what was shocking."

It wasn't hard to peep the police, that's for sure. Officers were stationed on the busier street corners along Roosevelt Row, and were also patrolling around and inside many galleries. Over at Holga's, a half-dozen cops oversaw a crowd of around 50 who'd gathered to witness resident Samus play a weather-beaten wooden piano. Officers also inspected several apartments, either entering those already open to the public or knocking on doors that were slightly open, like the pad of resident Chris Parrish. When the furniture artist opened the door, a pair of cops saw two of Parrish's friends drinking and carded the pair, leaving after they determined they were of age.

Because of advance warning of the crackdown on alcohol, there was little booze to be had on Roosevelt. A representative of the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control was out and about, but few galleries served wine. Those who were caught were made to dump out their beverages.

Hundreds of vehicles were tagged with warning fliers by cops for illegally parking. Two firefighters rolled through the neighborhood videotaping the streets and sidewalks, for use in planning for emergencies.

Despite the cries of Bloody Friday and Black Friday, things were pretty mellow. No galleries were closed, no performers were silenced, and -- although one vendor got a stern dressing-down for driving the wrong way down Fourth Street to get to a vacant lot to set up shop -- none of the art tables was shut down in the free-for-all swap meet that springs up each First Friday at the intersection of Fourth Street and Roosevelt. (Martha Draper of the city's Neighborhood Services department took notes, and an unidentified gentleman accompanying her photographed each one, however.)

"We wrote no tickets, towed no cars, made no arrests," says Commander Jeff Hynes of the Phoenix Police Department's Central City precinct. "And from what I'm hearing, it's like I was killing firstborn children!" The precinct commander estimates officers "could have written 200-plus parking tickets and issued some 50 arrests for juveniles drinking."

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.