Wayne Michael Reich

Writing ∙ Photography ∙ Art


Month: August 2016

Gentrification Preferes Blands, Pt.1.(The Baer Truth.)

“Misquotations are the only quotations that are never misquoted.”- Hesketh Pearson

Hello Blogiteers!

I find myself in a conundrum of sorts these days, and it’s quite frustrating.

Things appear to be going well on the whole, and that kind of stuff tends to throw a flaming curveball in regards to my snarkitude, if you know what I mean. Sure, I like it when things are all happy and sparkly, but it’s definitely a hindrance when it comes to writing one of my saturnly venomous screeds. Nobody wants a fluffy piece from me, they want that skin-stripping kindness I’ve become infamous for, and that requires idiots to feed the machine.

Granted, it sometimes seems that the PAS provides a never-ending stream of them, ranging from Amy Silverman to Peter Bugg, but you can only hit that cache so many times before you get sick and tired of playing with the same chew-toy.  And in the case of my perennial favorite artsy punching-bag, the aforementioned Mr. Bugg, it seems that the SMOCA grant money he was awarded for his note by note *rip-off of another artists work was seemingly never utilized to bring said copied art project to completion.  *[allegedly] 

According to Sara Cochran, [then SMoCA interim director and curator] Peter was later hired on the strength of the following: “He presented an impressive number of original and exciting ideas for connecting with SMoCA’s loyal audience and reaching out to build new audiences who may not yet know that they need contemporary art in their lives.” Re-reading this puff-piece quote with my stereotypical cynicism, I find this particular tidbit hilarious.

Not only does he have said alleged reputation for blatant plagiarism, his knack for dropping the ball is so well known that its rumored he’s in the running to be the next quarterback for the Patriots, as evidenced by his inability to bring it to fruition. Maybe the next time he [allegedly] copies somebody else’s project, he’ll hopefully replicate their work ethic as well.

A truly ethical professional can dream, I guess…

Speaking of the exact opposite of a true professional, [at least when it comes to dealing with her readers and insubordinates, anyway] it seems that somehow I managed to slip around Amy Silverman’s all-seeing Eye of Sauron and get my name in the ol’ Phoenix New Times* despite my previous assertions that they’re still the Pennysaver with Porn at best.
*[Link: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/music/heres-what-its-like-to-write-an-album-in-a-month-8215956]

Seriously, pick one up and count the number of ads versus actual content, and you’ll understand why they remind me of a coffeehouse newsletter. The most recent one I condescended to view happened to be 1/3rd as thick as it was just a few years ago, and it’s painfully obvious that their ongoing demographic really has a thing for strip clubs, car stereos, and shoddily written articles from ASU’s outgoing Walter Cronkite School of Journalism’s “not quite there yet” class.

It does strike as amazing however, that she’s managed to keep that rag on the merest of life support, so I will give her that, but your strongest skill set as an editor shouldn’t be where the art of dark necromancy comes into play. Your job is to shape the written word, not go do body shots with Anubis, even if you do share similar views on fashion and makeup tips. Just saying.

Gah. No need to pontificate any longer in regards to Editorzilla and the twits whom she pettily lords over, or the hipster impotence of SMOCA’s human Xerox. When a plane crash is imminent, the best thing to do is cover your head, clear your karma, and brace yourself for the inevitable. This Artbitch desperately needs some new scratching posts, and that right quick.

Speaking of which, and to nobody’s surprise, my complaint against my former doctor was dismissed by BOMEX with no explanation. Sure, I did get a nice form letter signed by their head shill regarding their “decision” but as to why that asinine decision was made, I’m still out in the cold. Apparently, asking why there should there be an answer given (from an agency who claims to protect the public) is the new rude. After all, I’m only the one whose life and job were horrendously affected, and it’s not like their mission isn’t to protect the doctors who sign their paychecks, a fact made evident when you look at how they handle things. As I’ve oft noted before, it’s never a good idea to let a skulk of hungry foxes guard the henhouse, unless your ongoing craft project has an immediate need for slightly sticky feathers and bones.

You may remember that initially, I praised BOMEX investigator Leah Rossow’s dedication to her job, but it seems that my sense of optimism at finding a competent worker within their gargantuan bureaucracy devoted to whitewashing the truth was both baseless and premature, given the eventual outcome, which as I noted- was unsurprising.

I guess the old saying is true after all: everybody has a price, and in Mrs. Russow’s case, it seems hers allegedly comes in the form of a low-wage paycheck. To be clear, this isn’t a case of the stereotypical “he said / she said”- all the salient and unprincipled behavior that my doctor displayed was well documented, and yet… she was given a hall pass to eventually go maim or possibly kill someone with her obvious incompetence*. *[Allegedly]

But as I stated in my last screed, I really am done with this. I’ve publically said my piece, stated my case, and moved on. However, it’s also true that I rarely leave monuments of ineptitude standing without taking one last parting salvo, which in this case- was an email directed at Mrs. Russow and her apparent acceptance of ignoring the obvious.

To quote myself:
“Thanks for proving my point that BOMEX is bought and paid for. I guess hurting your patients is perfectly fine when you know that the so called regulators are in your pocket.

BTW, the blog posts, where you’re mentioned has over 5k hits, and I’ve answered over 200 emails regarding my case.

Not surprisingly, they all agree that Dr. Paar should be held accountable, but when the people you’re supposed to investigate pay you, objectivity is questionable at best.

Go read the blogs, as they are hilarious:

Ironically,  I actually wrote nice things in regards to your dedication, but I guess I’ll have to alter that in a future piece, as you’ve shown where your loyalties lie- protecting the doctors, insidious actions be damned.

There is one query I do have though that only you can answer, and that is this: How much did it take for you to be bought off?

And how do you sleep knowing that you put patients at risk? You, and the agency that puts profit over patients can go to Hell, which is ironic, since you’ve helped so many victims remain there.

Morally bankrupt. Devoid of ethics. And lining your pockets on a base of suffering, 

 May you live in interesting times,
Wayne Michael Reich”
Personally, I think I come off as rather warm and fuzzy. Much like one of those noxious caterpillars you used to see on the so-called “Learning Channel” before every show started using “Boss” in it’s title, regardless whether the content was about cakes, white trash, or mermaids. And don’t even get me started on those homophobic twits from “Duck Dynasty” or the horrendous stage moms from “Toddlers and Tiaras”- we’ll be here for days. Days, I tell you.

So what’s a slowly evening-out Artbitch to do? Well, if you’re me, you talk to people like I’m known to do incessantly, and you pay attention to the stuff that filters through the world of the Internet. It’s sort of analogous to being a spider in the middle of a web, waiting on it’s next meal.

Normally, that’s how it usually goes, but unfortunately. this time around there were a few spanners thrown in the ol’ works, and they were huge ones. First: mainly due to my neuropathy, I was dismissed from my new job, [btw, I would have made the same decision if I were in their place] then I got sick. Really sick. Take nausea, fold in flu-like symptoms, intersperse in a highly-puzzling series of head rushes and waves of exhaustion that literally are bringing me to my knees.

Top off by adding in the usual depression that goes with being unemployed, and what you’ll have is quite possibly the worst cookies ever, no matter how many chocolate chips you’ve supplemented to the mix. So given all that, it’s not too surprising I’ve been way behind the 8 ball lately in regards to what’s been going on in the PAS- after all. it’s kind of difficult to run with the herd when you’re unable to get off the couch without cursing whatever God you’re presently blaming your issues on.

Stupid Krom. And after all those nice things I’ve said about you to Conan? That just hurts, bro.

Blasphemy aside, it’s been exhausting trying to respond to all that’s been happening in (and to) my life the last couple of weeks, so you’ll have to forgive me for trying to circumvent some of the crush, as quite honestly- a lot of it is either beyond my influence or my experience. And since I’ve managed to land a new job recently despite my ongoing health issues, my free time has been somewhat crunched.

So, what’s up?

There’s a massive brouhaha involving a proposed BID District currently in downtown, and the most recent debacle concerned a seditious comment by RoRo landowner Erick Baer where he allegedly called the artistic community “parasites”- two items that you’d think would provide adequate grist for the Artbitch to mill into delightfully acidic snarkbread, but surprisingly this time around, I’m going to defer to the people already on the field of battle, and I’ll endeavor to keep my rationalization short.

In the case of the BID issue, quite simply put- I’m a novice when it comes to the arena of local politics, the structuring of such initiatives, and what the required process is in order to create one, so any input I have would essentially boil down to a word-bite at best, personal embarrassment at worst. Besides, Jon Talton [http://roguecolumnist.typepad.com/] is way better at this kind of thing than I am, so my normally ravenous ego has no issue getting out of the way to let my betters do what they do best with effortless grace.

Addressing the next issue, the alleged comment by Erick Baer, the situation gets a tad bit murkier, depending on who you talk to. Some claim his remark was taken out of context, others claim it runs exactly as it reads. So which is it, exactly?

Well, lets add some framework to my take on what’s going on and start with the basics: Mr. Baer owns the following properties within the RoRo- a single family residence rental property at 809 N. 6th St., and a vacant lot at 815 N. 6th St.. The most truthful assessment I could apply to Baer is that he falls within the parameters of a “long-term community investor”- that is someone who goes into a area, buys a property to renovate. and then sells it far down the road when the market conditions are favorable, basically betting on a win from what others would consider a loss- all perfectly ethical and reasonable, depending on your modus operandi and inherent objective.

As stated in an article via the *Phoenix New Times, Baer made his assertion to the Arizona Senate Finance Committee in regards to the proposed (and eventually defeated) Roosevelt Row BID application. To quote from the article: “Roosevelt Row property owner Erick Baer submitted a public comment to the Senate Finance Committee describing Roosevelt Row artists as “parasites that think everything is free.””  {http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/arts/arizona-governor-doug-ducey-signs-law-killing-the-roosevelt-business-improvement-district-8134294]

To be quite honest, when I first heard that, my blood instantly boiled, and a plan for getting him to willingly get inside my 1974 Ford van/mobile abattoir began to gel. My first thought was to tell him there’s an artist squatting on his vacant lot, say I’d be more than happy to drive him there, and watch the fun ensue when I *bust out my spattering smock and freshly sharpened matching chainsaw with it’s super-convenient insulated drink cozy.
*[A simple joke. A cup cozy on a chainsaw would be highly impractical.]

But this is the new and improved Artbitch, V2.5, and these days, I’m trying ever so hard to not go off half-cocked. Besides… have you priced quicklime lately? It’s almost high enough to make a man reconsider his hobby of killing clown hookers on the weekend.

Almost. A mans gotta have his down time, you know.

So, my first step was to draft an open letter, but due to a miscommunication on my part, I wound up sending it to the wrong people, which they addressed almost immediately- curtly, I might add. Oops.
“Hi there!
This message is for Erik Baer: I write a *blog dedicated to the Phoenix Art Scene, and as such, am currently in the midst of a piece regarding the merging of both the business and artistic development going on downtown.

Recently, you referred to the art community as “parasites”, a statement that for obvious reasons, has offended a wide swath of people. Now, while its well-established that I’m pro-art scene, I’m also known for being pro-accuracy when it comes to getting the details right. 

So to that end, I’d like to offer you the chance to either clarify or expand on your pov, and the best way to do that is to get it from the source, not the internet or offended masses, who to be fair- may not be willing to provide the balanced overlook this subject demands.

(Disclaimer: I’m harsh, but I don’t selectively edit, I don’t misquote to score points, and your response, whatever it may be, will go straight from your mouth to my pixelated page as is.)

Now, I am aware that you may not be interested or comfortable in broaching this topic, but at the moment, I’ve received over 100 emails regarding your comment, and just recently had a very animated lunch with several key players in the scene asking me to write something in response.

While this subject does intrigue me on several levels, I’d rather have all sides represented before I start crafting, for as I said, Im all about getting it right.

If the concept of telling your side interests you, please feel free to peruse past blogs at the web address above, or please read the published magazine articles at my personal site: https://waynemichaelreich.com
(Just click on the “Media” link, and follow the path.)

In closing, I thank you for your time and hopeful future consideration.

Wayne Michael Reich
The response? Well, I did send it to the wrong people due to the fact I sometimes have the brain of a goldfish, so naturally, I heard nothing back. But thankfully, the stars sometimes align and reward you while overlooking your past idiocy, because Karma likes to shake it up every now and then.

It just happened that a few days later, I was cruising the ol’ Facebook and literally “bumped” into him on a thread regarding Donald’s Trumps gaggle of gold-digger wives- I know, I know, who cares about immigrants doing yet another job Americans won’t do, but it did allow the possibility of he and I getting together for a polite conversation.

After posting my main email address, I waited for a follow-up, and got…. nothing. No big woop, life is busy, people have other issues to deal with, and it’s not like I exert a great deal of influence within the grand scheme of things, so why would someone who seemed rather vehement towards the PAS and it’s Creatives be open to talking to me anyway? Looking at it from another perspective, I can understand perfectly well why some people wouldn’t want to have coffee with me, as for some in the scene, it would be like sitting down with Lucifer himself- especially if I’ve already written about you.

And I’m also certain that “Googling” me probably doesn’t show me in the best light, either.

Let’s face it, while I’m no Walter Winchell, I’m hardly a Gretchen Carlson either- I do possess some chops, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this, now would you? So trying to be as tactful as possible, I sent another query via Facebook, and hoped for the best, which never came. These are the days where you seriously just want to gorge on ice cream in your pajamas while watching Milla Jovovich kill zombies, because it’s fairly obvious nobody thinks you’re pretty anymore.

So, since [at that time] I couldn’t get my info directly from the source, playing devil’s advocate to surmise what he meant seemed to be the only logical way to go.

The truth is that if wasn’t for the artists powerfully transforming RoRo into the creative center it’s poised to become, some of these carpet-bagging profiteers from Portland wouldn’t be here in the first place, a fact that’s being willfully overlooked by the developers and others of their ilk, such as their PR guys. It’s ironically insulting that they love the art scene enough to use it as a marketing point, and as a milking station for selling themselves as being community-based, but they don’t see the slur in snidely deriding what was built long before their collective arrogance arrived, which is quite simply infuriating.

I have no issue with someone who’s playing the market, hoping their land purchase/white elephant will eventually payoff, or anyone wanting to develop a specific area, but when that decision is intertwined with disrespect for the people who are partially responsible for their good fortune, it raises my hackles something fierce. Without the Artists, there IS NO ART SCENE, period. And treating the most vital part of the machine as either unnecessary or as sponging is sheer conceit, at best and worst.

The majority of the non-local developers and speculators hoping for a big payday and nothing else, are in essence, the lowest form of cultural vulture, feeding off, as well as on, the hard work of the artists they scorn.

None of the Creatives I know are artsy free-loading bedbugs, they’re passionate people who bust their asses at a level that demands respect, no matter what the imported from Portland leeches think. In my humble opinion, anyone casually deriding the entire creative community when they’re currently nursing off their teat like a starving calf, is in my humble pov, possessing an intellect more suited to a Trump rally, which is to say that they’re most likely hovering academically somewhere just above a baked potato.

But as I said, this is the new and improved Artbitch, V2.5, and I’m trying to exude less cynicism these days, which to be quite honest- is getting damn near nigh impossible in this, the irreparably jaded era of 24/7 belittling and skepticism. However, even with that pessimistic bulwark in front of me, I’m still fairly optimistic that the good outweighs the bad in the end.

Apparently, that luminous outlook rubbed off on somebody connected to the universe’s head office, and I was sent an early *Santiago Day gift, in the form of an unexpected Facebook communiqué from the aforementioned Erick Baer, wherein he requested a chat to discuss the issue at hand.
*[Google it.]

Personally, I was hoping Baer would turn out to be someone I could really dislike- it’s been a slow summer for me after all, and this gig doesn’t really work unless I have someone to eviscerate. The most ideal situation for me is that I would have found find him *running a Ding Dong counterfeiting ring out of a hollow volcano, surrounded by underpaid dancing minions.
*[That’s a joke. Please don’t sue me, we all know that a hollow tree is where the pastries get made.]

However, when I arrived for our sit-down at The Grand on Central, that wasn’t the case- in his sixties, blunt, and incredibly energetic, Baer struck me (in my humble opinion) as a fairly straight shooter, and wasted no time explaining how the blow-up all happened. He’s also a founding member of Downtown Voices, [www.downtownvoices.org] a Phoenix-specific advocacy group.

And even worse, he admits he did say that, right off the freaking bat.

Goddamnit. Son of a yak herding inbred, I was hoping for a demagogue, and instead, got someone who didn’t duck or shy away from my rather pointed questions. With this kind of open discourse, it’s only a matter of time before I start posting recipes and life-hack tips. For instance, did you know you can use clothespins as toothbrush holde…

NONONONONO! I’m the Artbitch, and I’m gonna get ruthless here, no matter what.

Except… Baer spent quite some time explaining his frustration with the defeated BID proposal, making a strong case regarding [in his words] several “vagaries” within its structure, along with alleging that the process itself isn’t truly transparent, the notification procedure strikes as somewhat selective, and that the appeals process is deliberately complicated and bureaucratic to deter dissent.

Continuing, he echoes opinions I’ve voiced numerous times over the years: that [my take] Phoenix tries on identities like a high school girl wanting to impress people, that there’s no sense of gravitas or authenticity as presented by the new developments, and that the Arts community would benefit greatly from a true advocate in their corner, not someone who’s in “bed” with the developers.

They want Utopiahe says,but have no idea what it signifies.”

If the BID allegations are accurate, I do think these are issues that should merit further investigation, but this is so out of my skill-set, that it requires someone who truly understands the politics and intricacies of the situation, and that person is so not me, if I were to be brutally honest- I’m a snark, not a diplomat, and this can of worms would eat my face if I dared to step up into it’s ring,

As I stated earlier: “I’m a novice when it comes to the arena of local politics, the structuring of such initiatives, and what the required process is in order to create one, so any input I have would essentially boil down to a word-bite at best, personal embarrassment at worst.”

Regardless of my walking the waffling line, the conversation was interesting to say the very least, especially in regards to one of the aforementioned properties he owns, that being the vacant lot, which he’s half-jokingly suggested should be named “Parasite Park“, after the street-art someone [we all know who, wink, wink] plastered all over it. A graphic btw, that Baer claims both he and his wife actually liked, mainly for it’s superior attention to detail. 

So to the artist responsible; kudos, you done good.

As it turns out, vacant lots in Phoenix are taxed at double the rate of developed properties, PHXs rationale being that they necessitate a larger share of city services, such as police, fire, etc., by dint of not being fully realized. Now whether or not this is statistically true, it still presents as a tad bit

hypocritical, considering the City of Phoenix allegedly owns over 800 similar lots themselves. Past the tragic issues regarding the homeless and an occasional brush fire, I can’t really see this as a concern past the claim of a blighted urban landscape, which while a truly valid point, is not as simplistic as it sounds.

Especially when the city taxing you for it is essentially doing the same thing as you, and even more annoying when your property has been put up for sale as Baer has done, and you don’t get any takers. Just an aside I thought was interesting, given the fact that Downtown Phoenix is being swallowed up by developments that look as if they were designed by a Bauhaus student with a fetish for architecture that looks like a shoebox got busy with a WalMart behind a Taco Bell dumpster, an issue I’ll cover in the next blog, btw.

Back to the brouhaha. As our three hour conversation unfolds, Baer expresses both remorse and shock at the controversy that his “heat of the moment” remark generated, for as he puts it: “In the grand scheme of things, I’m small potatoes, I’m really nobody.” In fact, the blowback spurred on mostly by the earlier referenced article via the Phoenix New Times- a commentary that [according to Baer] didn’t feel that it was necessary to grant him the opportunity to expound upon his incendiary statement took him totally by surprise.

There’s a truly valid reason I gleefully call the PNT the “Pennysaver with Porn”, and it’s not just because it’s catchy as all f**k. No, the explanation lies within the fact that if they spent less time trying to stir the pot and more time getting all sides of a story, maybe they wouldn’t have to sell so much ad space to businesses you can’t take your kids to, as you awkwardly avoid the question of where you really go every Wednesday night after work. Let me be clear- I’m NOT blaming the writer of this piece- if anything, I’m betting dollars to donuts that the bad call on the details can be laid at their editors *feet, as it’s just the kind of salacious detail that they drool over. 
*[hooves, talons, tentacles, what have you]

Darn. And my aversion therapy regimen was going so well.  Oops. My bad. Back to the narrative.

Baer, as I stated earlier, comes off as a straight shooter, an attitude I can easily relate to, given my penchant for being blunt. And directness seems to be a trait that Baer possesses in buckets, if not truckloads. Another attribute I tend to like in a person, no matter what side they’re on. In the end, I’m just a big softy, I guess.

As our talk progresses, Baer informs that his real issue truly lies with a few specific individuals who, as he put it rather succinctly, claim to represent the PAS, of whom he flatly states: “nobody voted for them to be the Art King and Queen, and they sure as Hell don’t speak for me.“. Those familiar with the PAS already know who I’m talking about, and despite my past screed regarding one of those people specifically, I really don’t have too much interaction with them in the circles I run in, nor do I really pay either much mind. Different levels of the food chain and all that, you understand. Come to think of it, I’m not really sure if I have a level, so much as a niche that others overlook.

Now before you go burning me in effigy or sticking pins in a likeness adorned with a lock of my luxuriant ponytail, pause to remember that I’m just the messenger, and that my health insurance is non-existent, so take a moment and think before you start sending me the usual barrage of hate mail, snarky comments tossed out at art openings, and veiled threats passed via Chinese whispers.

Continuing, Baer hones in on what he claims he meant to say originally. before he,  “phrased it badly due to my being so damn aggravated by some of the people involved.” I’ll give you two guesses as to whom those persons might just be.

Just two simple speculations. Key word here is two. Dos. Twosome. Duo. A pair. A set. Two of a kind. Uno times Dos. You get the idea, methinks.

By way of disclaimer, I have heard that said persons don’t think much of me, if at all, but to be fair- that tidbit did come fifth hand, and they’ve never been anything less than professional when I’ve run into them publicly, so for all I know, they could either have a shrine to my destruction hidden in a hall closet, or both could be huge, yet closeted, Artbitch fans.

A snarky boy who’s just looking for his forever family can dream I guess, but the reality is more likely that they have no actual idea who I am. [See “small fish, big mouth.”] Not that I’m taking sides or anything. After all, I don’t want to wind up buried alive under the reclaimed wood floor-boards of a combination vegan coffee boutique and art gallery, and I’m way too set in my habits to start hanging out in a Starbucks anytime soon.

As I said earlier, I’m just the messenger, and this isn’t Sparta, so let’s all step back from the pit full of earth, water, and the piled corpses of Xerse’s unfortunately mouthy emissaries, before we all do something I’ll regret.

But… it does have relevance to something I’ve been grousing about for years, and that is this- we have way too many cooks in the kitchen in regards to the PAS, and some of those can only boil in a bag, if you know what I mean. Don’t misinterpret my take, it’s truly heartening to see so many 602 cheerleaders as of late, but let’s be real for a moment- some are here for community, some are here for charity, and some are here strictly for the commemorative plaques.

Granted, a strong argument could be made for my inclusion into one, if not all three, of these sub-groups, depending on your pov, but I’ve never claimed to speak for anyone but me. I have my own corner of the artistic turf, and I defend it like a man obsessed, but I’ve never assumed that anybody respects that or what I try to do. In my opinion, there’s really no clear and unifying leader who speaks for and within the PAS, but there sure are a lot of generals who think they’re in charge, no matter what the in proximity evidence or gentry may say.

And yes, I can already hear the smug detractors rallying cry: “well then, why aren’t you more politically involved on the local level then, oh great internet snark?“, and my retort is as basic as you can get- quite simply, I’ve always been an irritant to committees and agendas, and it’s usually more effective if I remain in the shadows. While I can lead, I absolutely abhor being the one who has to herd the cats, and my main skill-set has always been in serving as advocate, fixer, and occasional 2nd lieutenant.

As an aside, if anybody requires concrete proof that our artistic starship isn’t helmed by Captain Kirk but his fated to die redshirts instead, all we need do is look at the “success” of the PAS with a truly dispassionate eye.  Ready for a fun pros and cons list, faithful readers?

PRO: Roosevelt was named one of the “coolest streets in America”.
  [Source: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/blog/business/2016/06/cushman-wakefield-names-roosevelt-row-in-downtown.html]

 CON: It’s as edgy as a glass of warm milk, and has been so gentrified, it’s essentially a vanilla wafer come to life, who just wants to brag endlessly about how natural his fake lawn looks.

PRO: Our “arts district” was also named “one of the top ten art districts in America.”
[Source: http://ktar.com/story/92043/phoenixs-roosevelt-row-named-among-best-art-districts-in-the-country/  ]

CON: Please explain how this can be, since FF is nothing more than a rolling street party, hardly any art gets sold, the Creatives in this town still require day jobs in order to survive, add in the lack of serious promotion of the PAS, a dearth of knowledgeable media exposure of what we do past a crap-sack of a free newspaper that even Circle K won’t carry, and to top it all off, could someone satisfactorily defend why we’re only open two nights a month?

Sorry, but in order to truly be taken seriously, maybe we should stop patting ourselves on the back over every middling achievement, and should ramp it up like the other cities, and for once- go kick some serious ass in regards to showcasing the talent we have and what it can do. Don’t think I’m blaspheming, but I’m pretty sure NYC doesn’t even knows we’re alive in relation to being on the Arts map. [Please send hate mail and death threats to the usual place, thank you.]

PRO: The new developments will put Phoenix on the map as a city in upward transition.

CON: Yes… because lifting architectural inspirations directly from Portland and LA will do so much to define our uniqueness in regards to other cities, because nothing screams “distinctive” louder than purposely making sure your downtown looks just like everybody else’s, everywhere else.

I’m not sure who the architects designing these abominations are, but it’s high time that somebody takes away their cad programs and architectural LEGO sets until they can design something that’s truly and perceptibly Phoenix, as wrested from the ethereal to the corporeal. And while some of these new developments are touted as a means to raise our national visibility, they’re also akin to a strangler fig being set loose in a verdant garden.

We may not notice at first that our community is being forced out, but we’ll definitely become aware of it down the road, another issue I’ll address in the next part of this blog.

Sorry. Sometimes tangents take me away like a pack of hungry pterodactyls. My sincerest apologies. Back to the original plot. Asked how he would phrase his declaration given the perspective of hindsight, Baer quickly responds with: “If I had to say it again, I’d say the BID process is itself parasitic- I’m truly sorry for the unintended offense, which was not directed at the community itself, but those certain un-elected people who claim to represent it.”

Wrapping it up, Baer exits on this statement: “There’s room for the People, there’s room for the Artists, but there’s no room for the Bureaucrats.”

But isn’t there, though?

Especially given that they seem to be the ones truly controlling the path and destiny of our future, devoid of any knowledge of what makes our creative nucleus tick. I recently ran into one of these beige-walkers being shepherded around the PAS by two of our local and I might add, kick-ass Creatives who had taken it upon themselves to show this individual (who’s involved with the *tax-break seeking Circles development) to showcase what exactly the PAS has to offer and what it represents.
*[They didn’t get it by the way. Schadenfreude rocks.]

Two things: first, I’m proud of how the two Creatives involved took it upon themselves to attempt an education upon the clueless, and I heartily applaud them. Personally, I feel it’s an overly optimistic endeavor, due to the fact the deal is done, the ink is dry, and if these developers couldn’t be bothered to do the merest of research in regards to where they’re building, why would they care now? If one looks at the situation with an unbiased eye, it’s fairly obvious we’re all being played like an Ozark harp, and we’re dancing to their tune- not ours.

And second: I think that Baer’s comment (poorly phrased as it was), does raise a valid if somewhat uncomfortable point, and that’s this: who exactly is looking out for the PAS, and what is their plan to stop the presently occurring strangulation of what’s been built? Does it consist of digging in our heels for an inspiring, yet hopeless last stand, or praying for a deus ex machina that saves all that’s established?

But that’s for the next installment of “As Our World Burns”, methinks.
And when I come back…

I run in Circles, discuss giplets and gravy, and wonder why Phoenix needs to burrow in Portland’s closet when we have an entire wardrobe of our own to choose from.

“You must never feel badly about making mistakes … as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons than you do by being right for the wrong reasons.” – Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth