Letters from the Issue of October 17, 2002

The unraveling of the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

Mutant Writer Spews Gibberish

Fiendish free weekly creates journalistic Frankenstein: The once friendly, sober, and decorous Frank Alvarado of Miami Today and the Daily Business Review joins New Times and appears to have been psycho-surgically transmuted into a caustic, trash-talking Hunter Thompson wannabe named Francisco Alvarado, a snappy pseudo-hipster with a Trotskyite's disdain for anyone with more than the price of a good beer in his pocket. Frank/Francisco has become the Myra Breckenridge of Miami journalism. He sets the tone of his article "Willy and Peter Do Miami" (October 10) by establishing that attendees at the Grand Prix Americas race generally weren't attired in sackcloths and ashes. Shocking! And that promoters Willy Bermello and Peter Yanowitch were proud of their work. We'll have none of that! And that Miami Mayor Manny Diaz was enthusiastic in his support for the nationally televised event that drew 75,000 people into a normally deserted downtown Miami park. Outrageous!

Tracing the history of the race, Frank/Francisco cites a "clandestine lunch" two years ago when promoter/lawyer Yanowitch first broached the idea of a new Grand Prix with promoter/architect Bermello. Clandestine? Where did they meet, on the top floor of a darkened parking garage? Under a bridge? In a tomato field near Homestead? Get real!

Further -- he notes ominously -- the race was born out of "private meetings" with former Mayor Joe Carollo. I'm sure that at New Times -- where I assume they have bleachers in the bathroom stalls -- nothing private ever occurs. But in the world occupied by the rest of us, business meetings generally do not feature audiences. This matters not in New Timesland, where rousing the rabble with class jealousies and paranoiac delusions that someone somewhere somehow is to blame for one's own squalid existence provides the backdrop for most editorial content.

In an effort to demonstrate the limited benefits of the race, Frank/Francisco managed to track down a single downtown merchant who felt he was insufficiently enriched by the event and believed that the presence of "empty streets" somehow prevented potential customers from storming his store to buy computers. And in what I can only assume was an editing error, the race was also blamed for the fact that September (the month before the event) "was almost fatal for us." Having set the stage with those insightful observations, Frank got down to the serious work at hand.

Ohhhhh (he intones as he sets out to rip the covers off the great Grand Prix "scandal"), the city granted the promoters an evil "no-bid" agreement to hold the race on city streets! I assume we will next hear about the city giving "no-bid" permission for the Orange Bowl parade? Or "no-bid" authority for the Coconut Grove Arts Festival? Or "no-bid" use of the Orange Bowl by any number of users?

What hokum! Poor gullible Frank/Francisco has opened wide and swallowed whole a mammoth dose of complete hooey dished out by the slick big-city lawyers at Steel Hector & Davis, handmaidens to the Evil Empire of Auto Racing, the France organization, which has spent an estimated $500,000 in legal and lobbyist fees in a frenzied attempt to shut down a competing, and immensely more interesting, auto race motivated by what they would have all of us believe is a public-spirited effort to protect the sanctity of municipal bidding requirements.

Puhleeze! If anyone other than the "New Frank" in his highly disturbing New Times reincarnation is buying this crapola, I've got a nearly useless auto-racing track in Homestead I'd like to sell them.

Seth Gordon

Miami

Editor's note: Seth Gordon's marketing and public-relations firm, Gordon Reyes Diaz-Balart, served as a consultant to the Grand Prix Americas.

More Brat Than Brilliant

Rosenberg dug his own film festival grave: Brett Sokol is wrong. His characterization of the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival board of directors is incorrect ("They Shoot Divas, Don't They?" October 10). If Sokol were to examine the board roster since the MGLFF's founding, he would have found almost all the best and brightest leaders in Miami's gay community. But the pool of qualified individuals willing to hold leadership positions has been exhausted by perennial turnover created by the "difficult demeanor" of festival director Robert Rosenberg. Festival patron Harvey Burstein, however generous, is also wrong. Dismissing an incorrigible brat like Rosenberg does not mean the MGLFF is faltering. On the contrary, it was time for someone to stand up to Rosenberg and stop the bloodletting created by his nasty disposition. The festival will find its bearings and move on because the local gay community supports it. Burstein might be surprised by the flood of supporters willing to participate now that Rosenberg is gone.

Finally, Rosenberg himself is wrong. He says he has been the festival's only constant, but the true constant has been the unwavering support of Miami's gay community. The only unfortunate aspect of this scandal is Rosenberg's dragging it into the public arena. It doesn't become fabulously talented people to carry on this way. That only feeds the stereotyping of gays and lesbians as "divas," something New Times apparently couldn't resist.

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