Tourism and economic vitality are separate but equal. Intrinsically, they are common denominators in the future of a prospering Phoenix. Did you know that Phoenix hotels contribute more than $166 million into the local economy through taxes? This is a substantial amount of money that enables programs and services to continue, not to mention the jobs they create.
Literally, for Phoenix, strength is in numbers. An increased number of visitors and conventions to the area will strengthen local economic recovery efforts. Phoenix and the surrounding areas are lush and diverse. From resort living to down-and-dirty camping and fishing, there is appeal for everyone. Yes, I said everyone — even locals. You are not only residents, but you are also stakeholders. Through continued patronage of local business and amenities, stakeholders play a vital role in forming the future of Phoenix. In its greatest form, everyone is one degree of separation from tourism. The future of services and programs is dependent on the investments. Be proud in knowing that you helped shape the future of this great city and state.
Widely known and accepted is the belief that business drives the economy. When business is good, so are the pocketbooks of Americans. Today’s data only supports the notion that businesses need to continue to make sound judgments and not give into intimidation and negative publicity. As the global research firm Oxford Economics highlights, for every dollar invested in business travel, businesses experience $12.50 in increased revenue and $3.80 in new profits. I urge you to continue planning educational opportunities, product demonstrations and vacations, because Arizona’s future depends on it.
I ask you, what in tarnation could be better than kickin’ back at the ever-hip Roosevelt Tavern? The answer, my friends, is a resounding nothing. Just a hop, skip and a jump from my front doorstep, this cavernous early 1900s home is easily my favorite bar in Downtown Phoenix. So, this blog is biased. Brace yourself.
I strolled, in what seemed like slow-mo, through the dimly lit corridor of the Roosevelt ready to take on the challenge of their neighborhood-brewed house beer. I must preface this with the fact that I am a beer snob. I like my brew to be awesome. That is my only requirement. So, beneath the familiar glow of a spaghetti western on the bar-area TV, I ordered and lightly sipped the house beer. I was immediately met with the sharp taste of what seemed to be grapefruit careening down my throat. One glance at the menu revealed it to be laced with cardamom, which produced its unique flavor and lingering aftertaste. Each sip opened a bright burst of flavor through my whole palate. I realized that, had I not been full from an earlier meal, this would have enlightened my taste buds when paired with the homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese. I will say that the good sir Matt Pool got this one right, too. I’m officially moving in now.
The Roosevelt Tavern is located at 816 N. 3rd St. and pours its house beer (and many other rotating selections) Tuesday-Sunday. (602) 254.2561
All photos by Si Robins
I’m a big fan of The Insecure Critic. Have you read it? You should.
Chad Swaney reviews movies and pairs them with a great meal or decadent dessert. My favorite is, “‘Juno’ and Delux — Now I Feel Pregnant.” They are all solid, though; be sure to not miss out. In any case, I’ve had an idea hiding away for a long time and only recently has it reemerged into the daylight — largely thanks to Chad’s inspiration.
For those of us living, working and playing in and around Downtown Phoenix the movie selection is pretty limited. There’s the AMC 24 at Arizona Center and… and… yup, that’s about it.* Furthermore, to watch a decent film on the big screen, one has to travel out to Camelview 5 or over to Tempe Valley Art. Sometimes it’s worth it. Sometimes. I would, however, be way more apt to take a risk on an unknown art flick or independent film if the theater were closer. And, I’d practically run there if it had a bar to go along with it.
The concept is not new — Tucson, Portland and many cities around the country have movie theaters and bars in the same building. But, as light rail, professional sports and great food has showed us, it doesn’t need to be a new idea to have a huge impact on Downtown Phoenix.
I’m not a stranger to crazy ideas, but this one has some validity. A movie theater that shows worthwhile films within walking distance of the rail? A movie theater with beer? Something to do Downtown that doesn’t involve coffee or sports? Shoot, there’s even an opportunity for adaptive reuse: The sanctuary of that abandoned church on the northwest corner of 3rd Avenue and Monroe Street would make a perfect spot for (warning: working title) The Swig & Screen. Who’s in?
*No Festival Required shows outstanding films at Space 55, including one next Saturday. The thoughts here are in no way meant to diminish the work of those bringing film into the friendly confines of Downtown Phoenix.
I’m a Jason Bateman fan. I spent a solid 12 months of my life watching episodes of Arrested Development every single night as I fell asleep. I was very disappointed when I took the “Which Arrested Development Character Are You” Facebook quiz and wasn’t Michael Bluth. I’m also a huge Mike Judge fan — I mean, I liked Office Space before liking Office Space was cool. Given my love for both of them, you could imagine my excitement when I saw the trailers for Extract, a film that was marketed as a sort of “Office Space in a factory.”
If I were hoping for something with the witty dialog and intellectual rigor of Office Space, then Extract would have left me disappointed. What I was hoping for was a fun, sassy romp with some great characters and clever antics, and I got that.
Jason Bateman plays Joel Reynolds, an affable guy who invented a process for creating high-quality food flavorings (extracts) and has built a very successful business manufacturing them. He is in a dull marriage with his wife, played by Kristen Wiig of SNL fame. If you saw the trailer, you saw the funniest part of the movie already. Joel knows that he has to get home before 8 p.m. if he wants to sleep with his wife, because she puts on her sweatpants at 8, and after the sweat pants go on, he knows he isn’t getting any action. He desperately tries to beat the clock to get home before 8, but his annoying neighbor, David Koeshner of The Office, just won’t seem to stop talking long enough for Joel to get inside the house before the sweat pants go on. As he enters the house, we get a nice close up of an emasculating tug on the drawstrings of her sweatpants as he realizes he hasn’t made it home in time.
Emasculation is an ongoing theme in the film. When a worker at the factory, aptly named Step, loses his “boys” in an unfortunate workplace accident, a sultry con artist shows up at the factory to befriend the injured worker and hopefully cash in on his misfortune. When Joel begins to fall for her, he arranges for a male prostitute (played by the delicious Dustin Milligan) to seduce his wife, which, from his point of view, would free his conscience so he could pursue an affair with the new girl.
Of course, things don’t go as planned and the gigolo he has hired to sleep with his wife one time has started an ongoing affair with her. To make matters worse, Step is talked into hiring a scumbag “park bench” attorney who sues the company for all it is worth. In an iconic scene, the attorney, masterfully played by Gene Simmons, repeatedly offers to drop the case if Joel will agree to place his testicles on a door frame and have the door slammed on them — ouch! Unfortunately, the workers on the factory floor interpret the meeting as a negotiation to sell the small company to General Mills, and they decide to strike in retaliation.
The film was classic Judge, with memorable and quirky characters who caricature the people we see every day. There is the gossipy assembly line worker who wears a kitten sweatshirt and wags her finger at immigrant workers, the rocker who is a member of no fewer than five different bands and the aloof manager who doesn’t know the names of any of his employees.
There aren’t as many quotable quotes as there were in Office Space, but there are some memorable moments. I have the feeling that as I start the cycle of repeated viewing, I will begin to unfold some extra layers of awesome that are under the surface of this gem.
The Gelato Spot
Located at 32nd Street and Camelback, near Biltcadia, The Gelato Spot seems like a perfect match for Extract. After all, isn’t the whole idea of gelato that you can take amazing flavor and pack it into a small, delicious, frozen package? I know some members of the gelato gestapo will curse me for not ranting and raving about the virtues of Arlecchino (on the magical corner of 40th and Campbell), but I just don’t have the patience to mess around with navigating the cramped parking quarters of La Grande Orange when I could be leisurely cruising for a parking spot at the giant lot next to the G Spot.
So, about the gelato. They have all the classics. The stracciatella is decent and the bacio is definitely worth a try. I would avoid some of the more over-the-top concoctions like the Snickers and cookies and cream, although the Ferrero Rocher flavor is worth tasting.
As you might expect, I go for the fruitier flavors. The blood orange is to die for, and the raspberry and kiwi are delicious and refreshing.
The vibe is great, too. It is a chill atmosphere with a coffee shop vibe, owing to its location adjacent to Hava Java. Throw in free wi-fi, and the G Spot is a great place to hang out and do some writing on a Sunday afternoon.
DPJ was at the Sustainability Fair at the Phoenix Convention Center. Check out the scene below.
All photos by Greg Humphrey