Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Obituary of a Landmark - Dennnis of Mill Avenue

A landmark has died.

Dennnis (yes, three n’s) was found dead in his car last weekend. According to the AZCentral article, he was 51 years old.

I know that I don’t have time for a proper eulogy—but this is my small tribute, small and meager to the life of a man who really meant something to me because he meant something to Mill Ave.

I still remember when he used to stand across the street from Coffee, on 5th avenue, selling those newspapers that the homeless people could pass out. The days when he graduated to become the Mill Avenue Food Critic and how he would go out in front of the City Council and actually make something of himself. There are more than enough naysayers out there who are going to speak ill of his repute, but I don’t care. He may have been dirty and no-small-part trying in his personality, but Dennnis was a person that I equated strongly with the zeitgeist that is Mill Avenue.

Skolnick was a man of contradictions. Some saw him as a nuisance who harassed pedestrians from the sidewalk intersections of Mill Avenue and Fifth Street. He was also regarded as a much-needed bit of color in the increasingly corporate downtown Tempe.

His shtick, first selling freepapers and in more recent years his “Mill Ave. Guide” for money, was both loved and hated. Either way his outgoing, outspoken personality was hard to miss if anywhere in his vicinity.

“He was very forward andvery brash, and you know, he went through a lot of problems,” said Lisa Cugudda of Uni-Print & Designs, where Skolnick printed the booklets and signs he posted at restaurants throughout the city. “Really, he was always just trying to make himself a better person.”

Skolnick was one of Tempe's biggest cheerleaders. He often referred to the downtown district as the “Greenwich Village of the West.”

'Mill Ave. Food Critic' found dead in his car

That is all. Go on about thy business.

No elegy today—but I will find a way to make sure he’s remembered. He has a bit-part in Vexations, but he deserves something a lot more than that.

Dennnis. Thy enemies are my enemies. Sleep, o'sleep without sorrow — and I am going to freaking miss thee.

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Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how he died yet? I have'nt heard anything at all.

Its just all over sad ~_~


logicprobe said...

Ah, Dennnis... You've been gone three years, but you are still remembered and missed.


Kyt Dotson said...

Yeah, I still miss him too. He was an enjoyable and welcome addition to the Ave ...

This is why I enshrined him forever as a cameo in Mill Avenue Vexations.