By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
Larie V. Dasthuld
TIRELESS EFFORTS HEREBY ACKNOWLEDGED
I'm writing in regard to Ben Greenman's article about monologuist John O'Keefe ("A Knockout Performance," December 4). While the article was a comprehensive tribute to the artist and his body of work, one vital piece of information was missing regarding his Miami performance. There was no mention of the Miami Light Project, the organization whose series O'Keefe was participating in.
Miami Light Project was one of the first organizations in Miami to present a high-caliber, contemporary-artists series. For the past three years artists such as Trisha Brown, Spalding Gray, and Laurie Anderson have been lured south by the siren song of Janine Gross and Caren Rabbino, founders of the Miami Light Project. Series artists consistently receive wonderful media coverage (as well as reviews) here in Miami, yet the local press continues to ignore the sponsoring company.
If New Times feels that John O'Keefe is worthy of three pages of editorial, then isn't it reasonable that the tireless efforts of Gross and Rabbino also deserve attention? After all, without them there would have been no story at all.
ROCK AWARDS: SCRATCH MY BACK, BABE
This year's South Florida Rock Awards appear to be a scam perpetuated against the local music scene ("And the Winner Is...," December 4). We now have a committee of key players dictating to all music fans who's best and who's not. This year the music fans -- the ones who spend their money to attend shows and purchase products -- were denied the opportunity to pick their favorites.
Instead the public was given a multiple-choice form and asked to select from those already chosen by the committee. On top of that, seven bands who accounted for more than 25 percent of the nominations had their names printed on the ballot as the stars of the event. Real fair to all the other nominees! Talk about stacking the deck!
I find it pathetic that out of more than a hundred bands in the area, a handful monopolized the nominations. Is it because those few are so much better? Or is the reason that the ballot was the result of power politics and lobbying: "You nominate my band and I'll nominate yours"?
Here are a dozen outstanding bands: Cryer, Young Turk, Roosterhead, Little Sister, Collapsing Lungs, the Funk, Amazing Grace, Razor Red, Kilmo & the Killers, Plastic Nude Martini, Crystal Heart, the Realm. None received a single nomination. Why? Is it because they're not part of the "in" crowd? Is it because they have a manager who refused to kiss ass? Don't tell me it's because they lack the talent.
Why does a country-and-western band receive so many nominations in rock awards? Please note that the original South Florida Rock Awards had no such category. Wasn't the category added last year just so that the Mavericks could win an award? Don't get me wrong, I believe that the Mavericks are one of the finest bands here. But sorry, no one in his right mind would have Garth Brooks compete against Axl Rose, so why is Raul Malo competing against Matt Kramer for "outstanding vocalist"?
The committee should create a special award for John Tovar: "outstanding lobbyist." Tovar not only did a magnificent job of getting his stable of bands nominations (including his country band, the Mavericks), but he got his bands Amboog-A-Lard and Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids the top billing on the ballot for the event.
Next we have committee member Glenn Richards, who seems to be using his local music show on WSHE as a forum to sway votes. It was very upsetting listening to him as he played songs by his favorites while encouraging listeners to vote. Let fair be fair. As a public personality, he has a responsibility for impartiality. Week after week on Richards's show, Tovar's bands, such as Amboog-A-Lard and Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids, get regular airplay, while most other bands are fortunate enough just to get played. Is there some kind of connection here?
The December 4 letters to the editor express a wide range of political thought, yet all have one thing in common: a singular lack of thought given to the arguments of the authors before pen was taken in hand.
In reference to "The Primate Debate" (November 20), I was not aware that Matthew Block had been convicted of illegal activities. He hasn't. It seems almost Navarro-esque of the writers to condemn him as they do, given this fact. And if Shirley McGreal is in fact "as straight as an arrow," as Dr. William George claims in his letter, what has she to fear from surrendering her records, as she has been ordered to do by a court? Sorry, I forgot: the courts have no authority in this matter. As Dr. George says, it doesn't matter whether or not a crime has been committed. Block is guilty and McGreal is innocent because McGreal says so. End of discussion. What a crock of shit. (And just for the record, I am a supporter of the Digit Fund and rather fond of great apes. I also happen to be fond of such things as the U.S. Constitution and due process.)
Letter writer P.J. Lunny also makes his/her plea for animal rights by attacking New Times restaurant critic Sue Mullin for liking meat. Lunny is apparently unaware that a restaurant review column is a forum for opinion. If Mullin were a vegetarian, we would be treated to weekly praise-singing of tofu. She is not. That is life.
At the other end of the political spectrum, we find Craig W. Geary, who bemoans the defacing of his wife's car and the theft of her jewelry. Listen, pal, I've had more than $2000 of vandalism done to my car in the past two years, and somehow I've managed to survive it without making veiled racist comments.
A few observations are in order: 1) Car thieves do not hit '81 Citations as a rule. Geary observes that his wife's car is a convertible. In today's market, that makes it at least an $18,000-$20,000 car, unless it's a Geo. Given the opinions expressed in his letter, I'd bet on a Beemer. My heart bleeds.
2) Geary has apparently never heard of preventive measures, such as car alarms, house alarms, pull-out car stereos, safe deposit boxes, et cetera. To me anyone who experiences such a paralyzing wave of crimes committed upon his property and does nothing about it gets what he deserves.
3) The "conspicuous" police who are "safeguarding the profitability of CocoWalk" are off-duty police officers who are paid by the merchants of CocoWalk, myself included, out of said profitability to insure that said profitability remains intact.
4) If Geary is that dissatisfied with his neighborhood, he is welcome to move out and find a place to live where his wife's rag top and diamonds will be safe. In the best of all possible worlds, he will choose whatever northern pest hole whence he came, where, I'm sure, there are no felonies committed and people leave their homes unlocked at night. I've had enough Yankee bellyaching about Miami to last me a lifetime.
5) If he's determined to stay here, Geary could drive his wife's rag top a little way to the west of his home, where, according to his Holmesian deductions, his wife's stereos are currently financing crack smoking. Perhaps he will see the conditions that lead people to attempt to escape through desperate acts. Perhaps he will register to vote, and become involved in his new hometown, trying to improve both his own life and the lives of his neighbors, so they will have something greater to strive for than "five-dollar rocks." Nah, it's too much to hope for.
FIU, GAYS, AND SHAME
The recent spate of anti-gay activities at Florida International University and President Mitch Maidique's ostensibly self-serving "political correctness" in this connection are frankly appalling ("Stonewalled," November 27). As former honor students at FIU who also hold graduate degrees from Harvard and the University of Miami, we are ashamed that our alma mater is becoming a hotbed of homophobic hatemongering and that the state university system has yet to adopt nondiscrimination policies providing equal protection for all, regardless of sexual orientation, similar to those already published by Harvard and the University of California at Berkeley. The state's opinion that it might be "vulnerable to charges of favoritism" if it conferred protected status on a group exhibiting a specific type of behavior is both provincial and specious. De facto discrimination demands vociferous and immediate redress on the part of administrators genuinely committed to initiating "legal precedent," not merely waiting by the sidelines until those of greater pluck and conscience succeed in bringing matters to the point of resolution -- or litigation. If FIU's response to such a fundamental civil rights issue has been so feeble, what quality and conviction can we expect from its projected law school?
No institution in which political and fiscal concerns expressly take precedence over individual freedoms and human dignity is worthy of the name "university." The board of regents would do well to consider the possibility that if gay students and sympathizers -- which, by conservative estimates, account for at least ten percent of campus enrollments -- collectively decide to spend their tuition dollars at more hospitable, progressive institutions, the already economically strapped state university system may have still greater cause to regret the consequences of its inexcusable moral inertia.
FIU, GAYS, AND MORAL COLLAPSE
Why can't that student at FIU read? He's too busy putting on the condom that was just passed out in the classroom. He is afraid of getting AIDS or some other sexually transmitted disease. But he hasn't been told that in almost twenty percent of the times he uses a condom, it is not effective.
Why isn't he pledging allegiance to the American flag? Because the past United States Supreme Court said it was okay to burn the American flag -- that he has the right to do it -- so he figures pledging allegiance to it is silly.
Why isn't there a prayer being said in the morning before class? Sorry -- at FIU we don't allow prayers in the classroom any more. And besides, he's too busy learning how to use his condom.
Well, well. At last we now see where the ultraliberals have taken this country. Is it any wonder that our moral integrity is at an all-time low? But at least our students can put on their condoms.
Ronald C. Rickey
RAISING WALLS, RAISING PROPERTY VALUES
On my return home from college this Thanksgiving, I was distressed to find Miami Shores village as the subject of such a negative article in your newspaper. "A Civil War" (November 27) by Steven Almond portrays Miami Shores as a rigorously divided city waging war on socioeconomic grounds. While it is true that the barricade issue has stimulated much heated debate within the community, this is merely a reflection of the commitment its citizens have to upkeeping its high standards.
As a resident of the west side of the Shores for 15 of my 21 years, I do not remember the "lily-white heyday" alluded to in the article. What I do remember is a well-integrated community of blacks, whites, and Hispanics all living in harmony. In erecting the barricades, Miami Shores is simply trying to maintain the neighborhood spirit that has drawn people to the community for more than 60 years. The barricades were approved in an at-large referendum with the hope that they would cut crime and raise property values. This is exactly what they have accomplished.
BIONDO ON BEAR ON BUTTON
Up until this time, I have declined to offer comment to the press or anyone else about my opinions concerning the goings-on in the local music scene. But the issues addressed in a letter written by Cameron Bear (November 20) have hit a little too close to home for me not to comment.
First, none of the agents in the South Florida office of Long Distance Entertainment manages cover bands. We are an agency that books them, not manages them. Also, if you make the proper inquiries, you will find that Long Distance bands do not dominate the roster at the Button South. In fact Long Distance bands hold the lowest percentage of cover bands booked on the whole for this year.
Mr. Bear is also incorrect in his statement that Farrcry and XSF have the opening slot for a majority of the national acts. In the more-than-40 shows that the Button South has produced since the beginning of the year, Farrcry has opened two and XSF has just recently opened for their first national. I know this because even though Darlene DeLano is the responsible agent for the Button South, I personally am the agent responsible
There are clubs that Darlene and I hold the exclusive on. They are considered accounts, and when an agency gets an exclusive on a room, there is an agent responsible. Darlene is the agent responsible for the Button South. She does not receive a paycheck from the Button South for booking bands; she is a booking agent.
What some folks may not know or understand is that the club owners and managers make the ultimate decision regarding the entertainment that plays in their clubs. We are there basically to give an educated opinion on the entertainment that we book. Right now times are pretty tough and club owners want the bands that they know will bring in people. Generally, they are less willing to approve an act that has less of a following when there are acts that have already proven themselves in their eyes.
As far as Darlene DeLano's character is concerned, she happens to be a fine lady. She is as dedicated to this business as anyone I've ever met. Yes, she has the biggest pair of brass balls I've seen on any woman (other than myself). That is what it takes to survive in this oftentimes vicious business. Wouldn't you want someone who could handle your business affairs and your best interest with the resolve to do it properly?
Adrian Biondo, agent
Long Distance Entertainment