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
The Music Will Blow You Away
I would like to comment on Judy Cantor's cover story "Isla de la Musica" (May 28). I really enjoyed reading it and thought it accurately depicted the way the music business operates in Cuba. I also read her previous article "Bring on the Cubans!" (June 19, 1997). I am pleased with the way she portrays Cuban musicians; she does not put down our music in any way, as some other journalists have.
I was born in Cuba and left while very young, but since 1994 I have traveled to the island many times. I fell in love with the music the first time I heard it and have had the luck to meet many of the musicians in Cuba and see them perform. And I've been reunited with them here in the United States -- Manolin, David Calzado, Issac Delgado, and his sister Daria and nephew Alexander, who sing in the band and are friends of mine from Cuba.
Many people in Miami don't understand much about Cuban music, but I think that is changing. When Issac played at the Onyx in Miami Beach on April 21, there was such a great feeling. The music brought everyone together and it was a great experience.
Anyone who has seen Cuban bands perform knows they bring so much energy to their performances that people don't get bored for one minute. This city has yet to discover the full magic of Cuban music, but when that day comes, it will be blown away.
Its ironic that 90 miles away from Cuba, where most Cubans exiles reside, there is such limited exposure to the music, while in other parts of the country such as San Francisco and New York, there is so much more. La Charanga Habanera has played at a salsa festival in Boston, and Los Van Van tours around the whole country every year, but because of the old way of thinking by some of the most powerful people in Miami, we have been cut off from this music. They have to realize that politics is one thing and music is another. Why mix it up?
Once again, I would like to thank Judy for writing such good and accurate articles.
I Am Not a Homophobe! Got That, You Sissy?
Jim DeFede's column "Prestige Politics" (May 28), about the special election for the Dade County Commission, demonstrates the typical liberal pro-gay-rights bias in the media. Mr. DeFede referred to me as a homophobe. That is how liberal pro-gay-rights advocates describe anyone who doesn't support the gay rights agenda.
Mr. DeFede, who is a professional writer, should know the meaning of the words he uses. Homophobia is defined as an irrational fear of homosexuality or homosexuals. I simply do not believe that the role of government is to legitimize the homosexual lifestyle. What consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedrooms is none of my business and shouldn't be any of government's business. Setting public policy should be the business of government, and issues affecting public policy are my business as an interested citizen.
Mr. DeFede also referred to me as someone who perennially enters Miami Beach elections. Perennial is defined as continuing without interruption. I was on the ballot as a candidate for mayor of Miami Beach in 1991 and 1997. That is far from perennial.
It is unfortunate that Mr. DeFede, who writes very good stories most of the time, is not capable of being objective when it comes to the gay-rights issue. The really unfortunate thing is that he ignored my candidacy because of the above reason, despite the fact that, of the three candidates, I am the only one capable of representing all the voters and taxpayers of District 5 (gay and nongay) with integrity and independence, two of the most important qualities needed in public officials.
Editor's note: This past Tuesday Mr. Skidell lost his bid to replace Bruce Kaplan on the county commission.
Put 'Em on a Leash and Yank It
In reference to John Lantigua's article "Conflict in Clubland" (May 21), unfortunately discipline, moderation, and civilized behavior have eluded many of these children (15 to 25 years of age) who cruise South Beach, dysfunctional products of the Nineties.
Potential and actual troublemakers must be kept on a very tight leash, as one would a large, aggressive dog. May the Multi-Agency Gang Task Force multiply and prosper. Let it do whatever has to be done to preserve the sanity on South Beach, and to hell with the likes of Mr. David Kelsey and the poor little club owners who admit to yearly incomes of millions and millions of dollars.
In the Wee Small Hours
"Conflict in Clubland" is the most realistic article I have ever read about nightclubs. As a long-time promoter for many of the nightclubs and lounges in the article, I can say that John Lantigua exposed the naked truth of what goes on along the strip. The clubs are exactly the way he portrayed them.
For my own protection, I cannot go into further detail about what really goes on in those clubs when the curtains close at 5:00 a.m. Let your imagination flow and you might get close to it.