Everywhere you turn, with the exception of George "Mr. Denial" Bush, it's the same story: "We're just getting by, what with this recession and all." "Yeah, I hope to get some work soon, but it's tough with this recession going on." "I prefer steak to beans, too, but we're in a recession, you know." So it is with Miami-based Reggae Report, the magazine of reggae music. For eight years Peggy Quattro and her cohorts have shined a glossy-magazine spotlight on the makers of the sounds of Jamaica (and Miami, London...), building the publication into the best of its kind in the world. Growth, recognition, respect, awards, influence...recession.
"We're on the verge of something big," says Quattro, the publisher/editor. "I guess we have to hit bottom before we can get to the top. The recession has us in arrears. It's tough to get people to pay their bills. It's reflected in sales, too, because unless you have accelerated sales, you don't grow and are actually behind." When Quattro was a little girl, she would put on shows for the neighborhood, all her back porch was a stage. "Show biz is my life," she says with a laugh while recalling her youthful knack for promotion. Pondering her publication's current predicament, Quattro regressed. "People said, `Why don't you put on a show?'" she says. "It was just like out of a B movie. I called on some friends...." And this Saturday red-hot dance-hall DJ Tiger, supersinger Freddie McGregor, harmony veterans the Itals, song craftsman Hopeton Lindo, doing-it-on-my-own descendent Julian Marley, and local acts Lee Milo, Fleshy Ranks, Honourable Apache, Singer Mike, and Sudden Impack jam at the Cameo Theatre on behalf of Quattro's magazine.
Also on the music-rag tip, the Source, which is the hip-hop journal, has a special issue due on newsstands in ten days. The yearbook will feature coverage of rap's year, taking a look at the effects of the Gulf War, NWA's monster chart success, Clarence Thomas, and the use of street music in advertising. A full-length CD is also included in the special issue. If you've listened to the latest Geto Boys album, you know some rappers feel that awards such as the Grammys are dis-fully ignorant when it comes to hip-hop, so the Source's First Annual Hip-Hop Awards take on added significance. The winners will be announced in the magazine, but we can tell you that the Geto Boys are nominated (for best single, "Mind Playing Tricks on Me" from We Can't Be Stopped). Competing for artist of the year are Chubb Rock, Heavy D, Ice Cube, Ice-T, and Public Enemy. What, no NWA? No Professor Griff, whose Kao's II Wiz*7*Dome is far superior to anything Chubb or Heavy D or even PE has ever recorded? And where's the 2 Live Crew?
This Sunday's episode of Volunteer Miami (3:30 p.m. on WLRN-TV, Channel 17) is especially important. Harriet Carter will discuss volunteerism in the performing arts with guests John Casbarro (honcho at PACE), Freddick Bratcher (of dance company fame), and Mario Ernesto Sanchez (Teatro Avante). Good stuff, and just one more reason that WLRN is South Florida's finest television station.
The Miami Arts Asylum is back. Next Tuesday the club Hombre hosts the "Sexual Freedom" installment, followed the next week by an abortion episode. DJ music will accompany the performance and visual art. It's free, too. Call 538-7883.
Butthorn of the week: To paraphrase the Robert Mitchum character in River of No Return, "Son, we cleared this land, so it's ours." Yeah right, White. Jews had their Holocaust, blacks their slavery, but my vote for the biggest crime in the history of humanity is the displacement of the settlers of what is now the United States of America by European invaders. Indians - as white people call them -were slaughtered, enslaved, raped, pillaged, tricked, ripped, and generally fucked by white people. It hasn't stopped. The latest episode in this dark litany is a relatively minor one, but it sucks nonetheless: The feds are trying to ban pull-tab gambling machines from the Miccosukee Indian Bingo Hall and from Seminole gaming halls. Jumping on the federal ban-wagon is Florida Attorney General Bob "Butterhorn" Buttworth, who, looking for any excuse, claims the games fit under Florida's definition of "slot machines," according to the Miami Herald. Banishing the rightful owners of this land to reservations was bad enough, to impose this crap on them is obscene.
The media circus: All these obits for Queen's Freddie Mercury and no mention nowhere of the group's smash hit "Another One Bites the Dust." A little self-conscious, are we?