Previous week’s games
11/12/09 Lakers 121, SUNS 102
11/15/09 SUNS 101, Raptors 100
11/17/09 SUNS 111, Rockets 105
This week’s games
11/19/09 SUNS @ Hornets 6 p.m., TNT
11/22/09 SUNS vs Pistons 6 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
11/25/09 SUNS vs Grizzlies 7 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
Down double figures? Trailing going into the fourth quarter? These are the types of things that would have caused the Suns to give up on games last year. This year, though, has been a much different story. This Suns team has a lot of fight in them. I realize everyone else in the blog world is already talking about the Suns’ new-found toughness, but why wouldn’t I do the same, considering this is what this year’s team has been all about up to this point.
Five times this year the Suns have won games after overcoming double-digit deficits. Five times! Last year, they did this a total of seven times (I believe) over the entire 82-game season. A huge part of the Suns’ grittiness this year has been the play of the bench. The second unit has kept the Suns in games by doing the little things that don’t show up in the box score at the end of the night. They keep the game close in the middle quarters, which allows the starters to come in fresh to close the games out.
Jared Dudley has been the biggest star off the bench through the first 12 games of the season. His defense and intensity have been a big lift for this team. Despite being obviously much slower than most the players he guards, and quite possibly the slowest player on the court at times, he still manages to stay in front of his man. I have no idea how he does this. It takes him 30 minutes to sprint down the court, yet he keeps the Rockets’ Trevor Ariza in front of him? Insane to believe, but inspiring to see.
Jaron Collins received his first significant minutes of the season Tuesday against the Rockets and what minutes they were. In roughly 13 minutes of play, Collins had six rebounds, two blocks and six points on 3-3 shooting from the field, including the basket that essentially sealed the victory off of an excellent pass from Amar’e Stoudemire. Collins showed he’s a real pro. Despite the limited playing and practice time, the guy came in and did everything you could ask him to and then some.
The hustle and heart of the role players is clearly bleeding over to the stars of this team as well. In the closing minutes of the game against the Rockets, Stoudemire and Steve Nash, historically known as the Suns’ two weakest defenders, came up with huge defensive stops on the same possession. First, Stoudemire showed some incredible footwork by moving his feet and staying in front of the über-quick Ariza and forcing him into a missed jump shot. Unfortunately, the Rockets got the offensive board; however, that’s when Nash showed his impressive D. On the offensive reset, Aaron Brooks tried to beat him off the dribble, and Nash would have none of that, forcing Brooks into one of his many missed jumpers on the night. That’s something Suns fans aren’t used to seeing, but could quickly grow accustomed to.
What has this new intensity and effort on the defensive end and boards led to? Just 24 tacos (two every time the Suns score 100 points) and the first team to 10 wins. Not too bad if I do say so myself, and I do.
I’m a firm believer in the fact that every town needs a place that is cooler than most of its patrons. Phoenix can find that in That’s a Wrap. Perhaps that is a true statement, or just my inferiority complex acting up again.
At first glance, I honestly thought this was one of those places that exudes hipster vibe, but is possibly too good to be true. It is a cool-looking place with a far too inadequate (and frankly, scary) parking situation. It is laden with murals and vintage trinkets that huddle in every corner. Emanating from the kitchen comes the sweet smells of awesomeness being born, intertwined with the sound of indie rock. Inferiority aside, this place is definitely cooler than me.
I rifle through the menu that is ripe with delicious-sounding things, and select the Buffalo ’66. Maybe this is taking it easy on them. Buffalo chicken is kind of fail-safe, to a degree. This particular meal is served with some finger-lickin’ pasta salad and washed down with a attention-grabbing berry lemonade.
The Buffalo ’66, to be honest, is far better than I imagined it to be. Every bite shouts with fresh lettuce and carrots. The chicken is succulent and carefully waded in some awesome buffalo sauce. This ain’t Mama’s buffalo chicken. It packs a spicyness that is just perfect. No offense, Mama, but this might be a new favorite of mine.
And that, my friends, is a wrap.
That’s a Wrap is located at 2022 N. 7th St. in Coronado. 602.252.5051.
You Me and Apollo, one of Phoenix’s up-and-coming singer/songwriters, will be performing on the Train Tracks on Tuesday, November 17 at 5 p.m.
If you haven’t experienced a Train Tracks performance, or you have no idea what the heck I’m talking about, here is your chance to check it out. The Train Tracks is a local music series that chronicles Phoenix-area artists playing music on the METRO light rail. The idea is simple: the artist or band boards a light rail train and plays a few tunes for the video camera before exiting. Audience participation is encouraged. Later, visit the Train Tracks website to vote on which artist you like best. Every quarter, semifinalists play a show at the Phoenix Art Museum. The winner of that bout plays another showcase with other quarterly champions, and the winner plays Tempe Music Festival. Fame and fortune follow shortly thereafter.
You Me and Apollo will do a brief sound check at Stinkweeds, then board the train at the Central/Camelback station around 5:20 p.m. Show up at Stinkweeds and join the gang as they travel Frogger-style across Camelback and the light rail platform. The bigger the posse, the better!
If you’ve unexpectedly (or purposefully) witnessed a Train Tracks session, then you know how natural and fun it is. You (sort of) feel like you’re taking a subway train in New York City, but you’re breezing by Pane Bianco instead. Imagine that — culture… in Phoenix… on a train!
Stinkweeds is located at 12 W. Camelback Road — 602.248.9461
What Would Jesus Buy?
Lambasting Walmart is a pastime in which I tend to indulge quite frequently. Given the love that DPJers have for sustainable living, staying local and human rights, I would imagine that most of the people reading this article have probably thrown a barb or two Walmart’s way as well. But, it is one thing to bitch about Walmart when you’re at The Roosevelt with friends, and it is something completely different to take the message to the streets… in costume… with a full gospel choir.
The guy with the balls to do that is “Reverend Billy,” the nom de guerre of Bill Talen, the leader of a street performance group known as the Church of Stop Shopping, featured in the documentary What Would Jesus Buy? The film, directed by Rob VanAlkemade and produced by Morgan Spurlock of Super Size Me fame, follows the postmodern minister and his followers as they travel across the country singing anti-consumerism songs in gospel choir style and accosting the outlets of evil empires like Starbucks and Disney.
To get the flavor for how Rev. Billy and his Choir operate, one classic scene takes place at the gargantuan Mall of America, a monstrosity of a monument to overspending and overindulgence in Bloomington, MN. They travel through the mall in choir robes (except for Rev. Billy, who is dressed like a cross between Jim Bakker and Bishop T.D. Jakes) slowly breaking into song, building up to a crescendo in which they take over a stage at the center of the mall singing anti-shopping gospel songs.
“We’re on a mission to save Christmas… from over consumption. We want people to discover another way to give gifts to each other this year.”
— Rev. Billy
As with most of the street actions in the film, their takeover of the mall results in them being escorted off site by the police, never breaking character, and blessing people along the way. That is the appeal of the Church of Stop Shopping. They are not a parody; they are barely even doing what I would call “performing.” Their devotion to the cause of keeping businesses local and using resources ethically is just as deeply held as the religious faith that a “real” gospel choir would have.
One of my favorite scenes in the movie features Rev. Billy buying a sweater from a small downtown merchant whose business has been decimated by the opening of a Walmart. The store owner tells him about the changes that have happened in their downtown since Walmart opened; what once was a vibrant community where people would stroll the sidewalks and spend time in the local businesses until midnight has now become a ghost town.
The movie reaches its apex when the church members covertly sneak into Disneyland and break out into song, only to be arrested by the Anaheim police as Rev. Billy shouts, “Stop shopping here!”
Just as the annoying holiday commercials start coming on the air, I can’t recommend What Would Jesus Buy strongly enough. Sure, you will probably end up buying a bunch of crap for your friends and family from Target, but maybe you will think a little bit about how you are contributing to what Rev. Billy calls the “Shopacolypse.”
There’s a new brunch in town
After all of that hating on Starbucks and the evil corporate empires, I was delighted to sit in on a sneak preview of the upcoming weekend brunch service at Postino Central (beginning November 22). The morning started out amazingly with a French press of Cartel coffee. I love French press restaurant service, and I think it suits Postino perfectly. The menu was still in trial mode, but let me tell you, you are in for a treat. The Postino team took their penchant for simple but classy food at reasonable prices and created an amazing brunch experience.
We started off with a walnut toast served with amazing berry preserves and triple cream brie. The flavors blended perfectly, although I would have liked a bit more bread (I am told more toast will be served when the menu is finalized). I ordered grilled foccacia with eggs and asparagus, with a tomato salad on the side. The food was stellar. A great mix of textures and tastes, and of course it was served with classic Postino style.
With delicious brunch items running around $8, Postino Central will give Fez a run for its money — and the amazing coffee at Postino will kill Fez’s nasty swill any day. The brunching starts in a week, so I hope to see you there!
We walked till our feet were sore. We collected so many soy-based-ink pamphlets our swag bags were overflowing. That’s just day one of Greenbuild 2009. Check out this brief, slightly jittery (the caffeine was free and flowing!) walk through the lower level of the expo.