The Joan De Arc

All the fits that's news to print

Phoenix, Arizona / Saturday, July 7, 2007
Founded AD 1968 / $10.00

©  2007 by JPB Publishing Ltd.

Avenue Weather: Partly cloudy with possible late afternoon showers. High 108 / Low 86

On the INSIDE: Editorials A2 / Nostalgia A3 / Pop Culture A4 / Crossword A5

Thirty years after Bueker exodus, street still slowly recovering

(BP) -  Thirty years later, the departure of the legendary Bueker family from Joan De Arc Avenue continues to reverberate with residents of the street.

     The thirtieth anniversary of the Buekers’ fond farewell was observed earlier this year by the scattered handful of families on Joan De Arc who still remain from that celebrated era of Avenue history, as well as by certain Bueker family members. John Bueker, the youngest of the fabled clan, was quoted last week as saying, “Hey, Joan De Arc was the best. I still fully intend to move back there someday. It’s only a matter of time. No, I’m serious. Don’t tell my wife.”

     In the years since their fateful egress, the Bueker family has attained an almost cult-like following due primarily to a series of seminal contributions to Joan De Arc Avenue culture, not the least of which was the establishment of the Joan De Arc Crusader street newspaper in 1968. Astonishingly, not a single competitor to the Crusader has ever emerged in all the years since the paper’s inception almost forty years ago. Other Bueker contributions to Joan De Arc posterity include the Joan De Arc Cowboys sandlot football dynasty, Barbara Bueker’s timeless art work, Carl Bueker’s conservative economic theories, and the famous Bueker “garage swimming pool.”

     Long time Joan De Arc resident Helen Mitchell still recalls the sense of relief she felt at the time of the Buekers’ Joan De Arc exit: “Oh, they were certainly a nice family, but good lord they got to be annoying after a while,” she remarked when contacted by the Crusader. “Their basketball constantly crashing into the garage door alone was enough to drive you absolutely goofy.”

     The Buekers moved out of 3219 in February 1977 after thirteen storied years of residence therein.


Third Bueker sibling awarded Ladmo Bag

By J. Bueker

     Score another Ladmo Bag for the Bueker sibs.

     Barbie Bueker Formichella, former Joan De Arc resident and renowned East Valley educator, recently became the third of four Bueker siblings to receive a legendary Ladmo Bag, the much sought after cultural icon of Phoenix baby boomers.

      Formichella was the lone Bag winner at a Wallace (Bill Thompson) book signing event at the Changing Hands bookstore in Tempe. Sadly, she was so excited about winning the coveted paper container that she forgot to have Wallace sign it for her, a formality that increases the value of the item quite significantly.

      An accomplished Mesa preschool teacher, Formichella was featured in an Arizona Republic article in May that outlined her innovative approach to classroom discipline. “Of course next to winning a Ladmo Bag, such professional notoriety is quite meaningless,” she solemnly observed.

    Susan Bueker Bielenda, the only Bueker child who is now yet to win a Ladmo Bag, was typically defiant and yet nonchalant about the whole matter. When reached for comment, she paused and then said, “Look, I have always been way too cool for that sort of nonsense anyway. I just don’t care, okay? Big deal.”

     In an admirable display of philanthropy, Ms. Formichella promptly donated her Ladmo Bag to the Crusader Foundation for display in its permanent collection.


Chris-Town Theatres erased

By J. Beaver

     The Chris-Town Theatres, a staple of Phoenix cinematic life for forty years, recently met with the seemingly ubiquitous Valley wrecking ball.

     Opening in 1967, the Chris-Town Theatres hosted countless feature film presentations and were also the scene of legendary stage shows by Wallace and Ladmo in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.

     Originally known as the “Fox Chris-Town” and later the “Mann Chris-Town" theatres, the cinema was demolished in May and is being replaced by the massive new Harkins Christown 14, which recently completed construction at the south end of the old Chris-Town Mall.

     Joan De Arc residents past and present were quick to recall their fondest memories of the beloved Chris-Town movie house. “I’ll never forget the time Ricky Rose nailed Gerald with a spit wad backstage before a Wallace and Ladmo show at the theatre,” recalled former JDA resident and Crusader CEO John Bueker. “I thought for sure we’d be tossed out of the place.”

     Barbie Bueker Formichella wistfully recalled a youthful rite of passage when asked for a comment on the cinema’s demise. “Wow, I saw my first X-rated movie at the Chris-Town Theatres,” she said. “I seem to remember it having something to do with the drug addled escapades of a sexually addicted animated feline,” an apparent reference to the 1972 film Fritz the Cat. “That was a more innocent time, you know?” Formichella added with a sigh.

     The former Chris-Town Mall is currently undergoing a dramatic makeover. In addition to the construction of the new theaters, the entire west end of the old mall is being replaced by a new J.C. Penney store that will open later this summer. Penneys, one of the original mall anchors in 1961, abandoned Chris-Town in 1994. The departure and then return of a major department store to an aging shopping center is a virtually unprecedented occurrence.

     Last week, the mall's owner announced that the old "Christown" name would be restored to the center, and a grand reopening is scheduled for November.

     The Harkins Christown 14 is slated to open on July 13.



On the INSIDE: Editorials A2 / Nostalgia A3 / Pop Culture A4 / Crossword A5


Moon Phases: Last Quarter: July 7  New: July 14  First Quarter: July 22  Full: July 29