October 28, 2005

Unlike you, I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about Phoenix. Sure, I knew Phoenix was there, but it seemed to have everything under control, never made much noise, so I didn’t spend much time thinking about it. That’s what happens when you’re “The Best Run City In the World,” I guess.[1] Maybe it’s also what happens when you’re the largest capital city in the U.S.[2]

What’s really jumped out at me is the number of connections between Phoenix and Chicago, and I don’t mean flights. So many notable Chicagoans have spent time there, you’d think it was in Michigan. Here, then, is a short list of some points of contact between Phoenix and Chicago:

  • Phoenix is home that other Wrigley Mansion[3], La Colina Solana (“the sunny hill”), where the Wrigleys hung when they weren’t at the Wrigley Building in Chicago. Or their place in Lake Geneva. Or their other place on Catalina Island. Or the one in Pasadena. Good lord, they were rich.
  • Capone, I’m told, used to frequent the San Marcos hotel and resort in Phoenix. According to one source, it was built for or by him. He’s also known for something he did in Chicago.
  • Phoenix’s Taliesin West and the Gammage Auditorium were both designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, who had some roots in the Chicago area. His third wife, Olga Milanov Hinzenberg, died in Scottsdale, Arizona in 1985.[4]
  • Dennis Farina (Get Shorty[5], Snatch, Law & Order) was a resident of Phoenix for a time. He was also a Chicago police officer for a time.

I’ll be in Phoenix tomorrow. Er, today.

[1]”In 1993, Phoenix was selected as the “Best Run City in the World”, also known as the Carl Bertelsmann Prize, by the Bertelsmann Foundation of Germany, a branch of Bertelsmann media company. It shared the honor with Christchurch, New Zealand.” — Wikipedia.org
[2]”Phoenix is the largest capital city by population in the U.S., and the third largest capital city by area in the U.S. (behind Juneau, AK and Oklahoma City, OK).” — Wikipedia.org
[3]Meaning “not Wrigley Field.”
[4]Olgivanna lived “as a disciple” of the Armenian mystic G. I. Gurdjieff, whatever that means. She and Gurdjieff influenced the formation and structure of Wright’s Taliesin Fellowship in 1932. Before, I thought the Taliesin Fellowship was just a kind of mass apprenticeship, slavery-for-fame-type organization, but when you add an Armenian mystic to the mix it all starts to sound kind of Hitean.
[5]”No, no. Fuck you, fuckball.”


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