By any yardstick you wish to measure it, you probably owe Nico Holthaus a drink. If nothing else. Mill Avenue Inc, his 2008 documentary chronicling the corporate invasion of Tempe, is a talking history time capsule of the faces and places that made the Tempe music boom of the '90s happen. But it did more than that. It raised awareness about what really transpires when store chains and greedy developers choke the life and soul out of an art community and it has spawned an ongoing series of Holthaus documentaries about similar struggles throughout the country. Last year saw the Tucson chapter of this saga The Avenue which told a happier tale of how the community fought back and won.
Now Holthaus is directing a fictionalized account of those halcyon days of Tempe jangle, based on former Refreshments bassist founder Art Edwards' 2003 novel Stuck Outside of Phoenix and he's using Kickstarter (yes, that again) to get the necessary funds and is auditioning actors SAG and non-SAG this Sunday at ASU.
We spoke to him about his hopes and some of his fears on going ahead with the project. And to see him make lots of "air quotes."