Yes, the mod_perl list and Perl Monks are where we hang out.
I don't think that trying to be easier than PHP is a reasonable strategy. PHP is easy in part because it makes many of the decisions for you and specifies a certain way of building your application. People who want that can always use Embperl, Apache::ASP, etc. Personally, I am more interested in competing with Java for the more complex jobs.
By the way, if you're interested in content management and publishing tools, check out Krang.