Well, it wasn't too difficult to find out where pro-Hitler propagandist and Holocaust-denier David Irving was having his coffee klatch of kooks, the one I informed you about in a blog post yesterday.
By Thursday afternoon, several folks were calling me with the information that he'd be holding court with his fellow anti-Semites at the Best Western near Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, 2425 S. 24th Street.
I arrived around 6:30 p.m. or so, and there was a significant police presence, with members of the Phoenix Police Department's Community Response Squad there to keep the peace, should anti-fascist protesters show up in force.
The cops told me they'd learned of the event and had the contacted managers of the Best Western and the Rodehouse Restaurant, which are part of the same building.
The Rodehouse was actually responsible for renting out the conference rooms, and the manager there, a lady by the name of Teresa, told me the Rodehouse had not known the true nature of the Irving event. A woman had booked the venue by phone, explaining only that it was for an author by the name of `David' giving a lecture.
Before that a local man had called about renting the room for the same person, but he wasn't very good at explaining himself.
"They were very vague," Teresa told me. "I didn't have his last name...But I wouldn't have had any idea [who he was] even if they said, `This is David Irving that's coming,' unless they told me what his platform is."
She found out what was up when she was contacted by the police late Thursday, and told about the protest against Irving that'd happened at Jerry's Restaurant in 2009 when he'd spoken in a back room there.
Teresa told me that the Rodehouse would not have booked Irving, if the management had been wise to him. She also explained that Irving and his gang were not welcome back.
She was nervous and considered canceling, but the police assured her that nothing would transpire. The PPD had a handful of marked cars on the property, and more than a dozen uniformed officers, as well as several plainclothes men inside.
About four or five anti-fascists showed up to protest, but they were kept off the property and left before the whole thing was over. The only excitement, if you can call it that, occurred during my run-ins with Irving.
After I arrived, I walked into the "Brighton" room where Irving had set up to give a lecture about Nazi Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler. I introduced myself to Irving, who didn't recall me immediately, until he was reminded by one of the attendees of the brouhaha at Jerry's, where he wouldn't allow me to observe his event.
He demanded to know how I found out his location. I informed him that it was pretty much common knowledge at this point, particularly with a whole army of gendarmes outside.
Fuming, Irving first ordered me out of the room, then out of the hotel. He went to complain to the cops present, but I squared my being there with the management, so his whining fell on deaf ears.
He paced about the lobby for a while, glowering at me, obviously ticked, but utterly impotent.
I counted about 15 attendees, but there could have been a few more. Most of the faces were familiar. Local, neo-Nazi Nationalist Coalition leader Jesse Curnow was there, as was nativist nutbar Laine Lawless.
Lawless has taken up the cause of defending convicted child-murderer and minutewoman Shawna Forde, who was sentenced to death in February for her part in a deadly home-invasion raid in Arivaca that killed a 9-year old girl and the girl's father.
Known for burning the Mexican flag at anti-immigrant events, Lawless had been at the Jerry's event two years ago. This time, she tried to cover her face when she came out to keep me from photographing her, which I thought was pretty stupid, since she knows who I am and vice versa.
Irving's wackjob wingding was supposed to be over at 9 p.m., but it dragged on till about twenty to 10. Irving was left alone in the room, and one of the cops went in to tell him they were leaving. So I snuck in about the same time to get a few shots of the alter-kocker ant-Semite.
The old Jew-baiter tried to give the officer one of his books as a gift. The officer, quite correctly, refused to take it.
Irving then turned his attention to me, exploding with rage.
"You've been required not to come in here, now get the fuck out!" he ordered.
I told him his time was up in the room, and that the management had allowed me to stay. He insisted he had the room till midnight, but earlier Teresa had told me the room had been booked from 7 to 9 p.m.
He called me a "fat unpleasant slut" and threatened to have me arrested. I just laughed at him, and asked him if his onetime aide-de-camp Jaenelle Antas had booked the room for him.
"You know what Jaenelle thinks of you, so I suggest you shut up," he blathered.
The cop offered to go speak with the manager on duty, a young woman named Samantha. But as it looked like Irving was close to stroking out, I took pity on the disgraced geezer and exited the room.
He came out at one point, ordering me out of the hotel and calling me, "a little slut."
I smiled and told him, "Well, at least I've never denied the Holocaust, or said there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz." He stomped off.
Later he loaded up a hotel luggage cart with his books, boxes, and a basket of sugar packets and pushed it to the front door. One of the boxes had a Confederate flag sticker on it.
Curnow had returned to help the septuagenarian. Once outside, Irving took off in a big white truck, leaving the books for Curnow to deal with.
The cop stuck around till Curnow amscrayed. I watched Curnow load the boxes into his pickup, and asked why he and his group always had to deceive restaurant owners about what Irving and the neo-Nazi Nationalist Coalition represent.
(Granted, I already knew the answer to that one: having Neo-Nazi scum hanging around is bad for business.)
"I don't know what you're talking about," he said sullenly.
On the truck's rear bumper, there was a Ron Paul sticker, so I snapped a picture of it. (Surprise, surprise, another racist for Ron Paul!) Curnow tried to block me, but I'd already gotten it.
As he got ready to leave, he told me, "Have a shitty day."
I told him I'd see him at the next Nazi event he attended. He turned to me and asked, as the cop listened, "So which car did you come in, Steve?"
I grinned: "Why do you need to know, Jesse? You're not planning on doing something illegal now, are you?"
Curnow then slunk into his truck and took off. Curnow always impressed me as a harmless half-wit. But in his voice and demeanor that day, there was a flash of Timothy McVeigh.
An Irving appearance always draws Curnow-types, which is but one reason to keep tabs on him when he's in town. Also it's fun to watch Irving's admirers scurry about like cockroaches when they know someone's watching.
I do have to thank Irving for one thing, though. The Rodehouse has a pretty cool, '70s-style bar, where I plan to bend an elbow in the near future. And if I hadn't been dogging him that night, I'd never have known about it.