Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dammit, Janet

Outside the beloved Valley Art cinema, site of many of my earliest artsy film outings as well as my one and only "Rocky Horror" experience in high school. Sadly, this historic movie house is one of the few remaining establishments on Mill Avenue in Old Town Tempe from before it was decimated by (a revolving door of) chain stores (there's now a Hooters just a stone's throw away). It's bad enough that Roads to Moscow, Panic City!, the Q & Brew and Graffiti's -- the club I was at the night we found out Andy Warhol had died -- are long gone.

But even the longtime local favorite Coffee Plantation -- where I frequently did my homework while attending Arizona State University -- has closed (enter Five Guys).

Now I have a better idea of how Chrissie Hynde felt when she sang "My City Was Gone."

Circa 1985: Latch-key child outside Graffiti's, a few years before the fire at Stan's Metro Deli would destroy the place

Stan's Metro Deli

Fire at Chipman Petersen Building, 415 S. Mill Ave.

Even the beloved Changing Hands Bookstore has been forced out to the suburbs from downtown.

The second incarnation of Roads to Moscow

My friend Mary Byrne and I go in search of two tacos for 99 cents circa 1986

 The Q & Brew

Graffiti's after dark (1986)

Tom Frank, the owner of Panic City, tells me he'd like to write a book about that era. 

P.S. Who remembers that Graffiti's later became Club Bongo, where acts like the Gin Blossoms and Meat Puppets performed in 1988.


  1. Anonymous12:36 PM

    Gone are the endless hours looking at 12 inches at Tower, running down the long, wide, dark hallways of the Casa Loma, buying Top Ramon at that horrible grocery store on the corner of Univ & Mill, and having a beer at Old Towne. But time moves on and dusty riverbeds become recreational lakes.

  2. The place changed so much in just the four years I was there (2005-2009). Even a bunch of the chain stores along Mill closed around the time Tempe Marketplace (which is a nice place, btw) opened at the northeast corner of Rio Salado & McClintock. While I was there, Mill lost Borders, A&F, and Bath & Body Works for chain stores. The used book store closed also. Other things have opened though, like a Dunkin Donuts, a CVS (southwest corner Mill/Univ), and I think they're finally starting to do something with the run down southeast corner of that intersection. These days, Mill mostly exists just for the nightlife and restaurants. I hardly ever went to Mill for anything during the day. I'm not sure if any of these were open when you were there, but the main Mill bars we went to were Mill Cue Club, Rula Bula, and (strictly for birthdays,) the Big Bang.

  3. when are you getting back to NYC?

  4. Francine9:08 PM

    A friend up here has a Rundle's t-shirt: "Beer, booze and beaver."


All comments must be signed, even those using the "anonymous" options. Thanks.