P-Funk to the sixth dimension

It's an interlocking maze laid out by Gary Webb in his recently published Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion, whereby CIA conduits were established between inner-city drug dealers and the contras wreaking havoc in the Nicaraguan countryside. As cocaine flooded into the United States (sparking the crack epidemic), the profits in turn helped purchase arms for the contras. Although the contras were never able to gain substantial support from the Nicaraguan people, the desired end result -- the self-implosion of the 1979 Sandinista revolution -- was achieved. As the war heated up in the '80s, libertarian-minded Sandinistas soon found themselves caught between a rock and a hard place: the CIA spooks and brutal Somocistas that composed the bulk of the contras, and their movement's own hardliners willing to sacrifice freedom in the name of national security.

Back in America, Clinton is well acquainted with Webb's text, and recalls the sudden appearance of all that coke. "For a while in the early '80s, anybody could get you a kilo," he sighs. "At the point when the government was supposedly at its highest level of stopping drugs -- when there was "zero tolerance" in effect -- there were more drugs coming in at that moment than had ever come in before. That's when I realized serious people were involved, top-level government people."

Lest you think all this detailing of misery has made Clinton a somber fellow, it only adds to the force of Dope Dogs, particularly when he performs the album's songs live. "I don't like to preach; I just say it. It's something to think about," he remarks. Chuckling, he adds, "It's weird to see the expression on people's faces when I get to ["U.S. Custom Coast Guard Dope Dog"]. I have to always laugh afterwards, because the audience doesn't know whether to crack up or applaud. Did he just say 'an undercover narc with a bark?'"

"Art is dead. Let us create our daily lives" was just one of the many slogans that marked the high-water point of the 1960s, the Paris street fighting and general strike of May 1968 that sought to forge a new world free from the orthodoxies of both the established Left and Right. Much of the spirit behind May '68 can be credited to the Situationists, particularly Guy Debord, whose 1967 work The Society of the Spectacle found its barbed consumerist critique daubed on walls throughout the city. Debord's own 1973 film version of that very book screens at the Beach's Alliance Cinema this Sunday, November 21, at 1:00 p.m. It eschews a traditional narrative for a montage of imagery drawing upon both denatured Hollywood flashes and documentary footage from other anarchist-tinged historical revolts, such as Spain in 1936 and the 1956 Hungarian anti-Soviet uprising. Admission is (appropriately) free.

Speaking of the financially beleaguered Alliance Cinema, as if that cherished institution didn't have enough problems, its new neighbor South Beach Stone Crabs Café has apparently decided Lincoln Road just isn't big enough for both establishments. The crab joint's owner, Shelly Abramowitz (whose food New Times's Lee Klein described as an overpriced, pale knockoff of Joe's Stone Crab) has been blocking the theater's entrance with its tables, hiding the Alliance's coming attractions marquee, and even trying to scare off theatergoers wading through the restaurant's sidewalk clutter by telling them the Alliance has closed. Lest this wishful thinking on Abramowitz's part become reality and Miami lose ones of its few outlets for truly exciting film (who else would even consider showing The Society of the Spectacle?), now would seem a critical time to act. The always (ahem) levelheaded Kulchur isn't advocating anything here. Just thinking aloud. Borrowing the protesters in front of Thai Toni's would be a good start. Simple curiosity also makes one wonder about the whereabouts of last winter's "community activists" who successfully "dealt with" the Delano Hotel's attempt to grab a portion of the public beach for themselves. Again, just thinking aloud.

Send your music news, local releases, and general gunk to Brett Sokol at 2800 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33137. Fax to 305-571-7678 or e-mail brett_sokol@miaminewtimes.com

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