The Arizona goose-step: Not everyone does it

Vince LaRue's "Tarothority"

Vince LaRue’s “Tarothority”

It’s the goose-step, all right, Arizona’s favorite dance.  But not everyone in Arizona is a budding Nazi.  You say what?

There’s Joe Arpaio, the Maricopa County sheriff who has been elected six times now and continues his war on Hispanics?  And the very popular and conservative governor, Jan Brewer, the very one who wagged a finger at the President and who is only a baby step to the left of  the vaunted sheriff?

Paul Wilson's "Wicked Witch of The West"

Paul Wilson’s “Wicked Witch of The West”

Despite the state’s extreme right-wing Tea Party flavor, strong alternate views exist and pop up in varying ways.  Like last weekend’s art exhibit at the rear of a small building on West McDowell.

It was called “The Jan and Joe Show.”

Sixteen artists were brought together by Robrt (no “e”) Pela to express their views on those magnets of left-wing disgust, Arpaio and Brewer.

Robrt Pela under the spotlight.

Robrt Pela under the spotlight.

Pela had tried to do this once before at the Willow North Gallery up 7th Ave a bit.  That’s where he was once the curator.  Nebra, who follows such things, told me the show was cancelled in late January after Pela handed in his resignation effective March 31.  The owner said, no, you resign now and the show never got off the ground.  One of the artists, Vince LaRue, had flown in from Paris for the exhibit,  or was about to, when the show came crashing down.  Some suggest the closing was politically motivated, but Pela doesn’t know that, Nebra said.

A montage of Joe "The Finger" Arpaio.

A montage of Joe “The Finger” Arpaio.

Anyway on Sunday, March 3, the show’s last day, a few hep patrons of the arts wandered around the little studio, admiring the work and a few shooting photographs while Pela himself was being interviewed and photographed in a well-lit corner.

Eric Cox's "Wicked Witch of The Southwest"

Eric Cox’s “Wicked Witch of The Southwest”

For my money, although the exhibit was free, the Brewer renderings were the best of the bunch.  But I liked too the mat at the front of the door.  The one with a mug shot of Arpaio that you had to walk on to get in.  The price of admission, I suppose, but well worth it.

Joe Arpaio as door mat.

Joe Arpaio as door mat.

Many here in the U.S. think it is patriotic to walk in lock-step with our leaders.  Support the wars, support our troops no matter what.  This view has worsened of course since 9/11 and one can easily argue that the Arabs with box-cutters have actually won the war.  It seems to me, though, it is far more patriotic to be alert and criticize the government when it oversteps.

The honor roll of exhibiting artists.

The honor roll of exhibiting artists.

The biggest surprise, perhaps, about “The Jan and Joe Show” was that Arpaio and troops did not stage a high-profile raid of the joint with TV news cameras ablaze.