Letters from the Issue of February 12, 2004

Would Bob Marley have paid $28 admission to the Bob Marley Festival?

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Only a techno-moron would say such a thing: I was appalled by the level of inaccuracy in Tristram Korten's column "Deeply Digitally Divided" (February 5), in which he stated that the e-Equality computer technology center was "the only tech center in town with the resources to dramatically improve computer literacy." That statement is completely false, and many community technology centers in Miami-Dade County can prove it.

I should know. From 2001 to 2003 I served as both an AmeriCorps*VISTA member and activities coordinator at one of Overtown's finest community technology centers, the Mattie Koonce Learning and Technology Center, a Miami tech center where people as young as age three and senior citizens as well have learned to improve their computer literacy skills by attending workshops and classes for adults in Microsoft Office, job-skills training, and more recently, financial literacy classes and after-school and summer programs for youth.

So, yes, Mr. Korten, tech centers other than e-Equality do exist and are serving many low-income residents. If you want further proof, please visit the Mattie Koonce Learning and Technology Center at Greater Bethel AME Church, 245 NW Eighth St. or at www.mkcenter.org. The friendly staff will be happy to oblige you in any further information you may need.

Christine Rumbaugh

Miami Beach

I Am Who I Am and Nobody Else

Meaning I amnot the funky Miss Betsy: Victor Cruz made a huge error in his "See/Be Seen" calendar blurb about the Dance Esaias dance troupe/Sixth Street Dance Studio ("Miss Shake," February 5). He spoke to me, the artistic director and choreographer/former hip-hop teacher. I am Esaias Johnson. Yet he named Betsy P. Cardwell, the company manager, as a "powerhouse" hip-hop teacher.

Betsy has never taken a dance class in her life. She is a funky girl, but she just doesn't dance.

Esaias Johnson

Miami Shores

Definitely Not the Rasta Spirit

Would Bob Marley pay $28 admission to the Bob Marley Festival? Kris Conesa complained about the ridiculous price of admission ($28) to last weekend's Bob Marley Festival ("Who the Cap Fit," February 5). It's about time. I went to the first festival back in 1994 and went every year after that, not only to support the local charities but also to enjoy the free vibe it used to be. Not only that, but I would never go with less than 30 to 40 heads to make it an all-day event. But something happened two years ago that made me forever change my mind about supporting this so-called festival.

It was another year and time for the Marley Fest. The squad and I had all our blankets, blunts, and dutches ready to roll for another exciting year of the Marley Fest. Although early in the morning it had been raining, we decided we were still going out there to continue our tradition. What could a little rain do to our high spirits?

Although the price was, in my opinion, a little too high for the humble man, we decided to pay it. I mean, this is the Marley Fest. It must be going to a good cause. We arrived and had to take a bus to the location due to the distance from our parking spaces, so we did. We got in and immediately went closest to the stage and set up camp. After a few hours of being rained on, we decided to walk around and look for cover.

Upon leaving our area we noticed that the entire field was completely saturated. Every piece of grass had been upturned and there was nothing around but mud. People were dancing in this disgusting filth. Then I heard Marley's "wife" or " mom" or whoever come out on the stage, and you won't believe what she had the nerve to say. She said: "I know you all are getting rained on while I'm here covered by the roof of the stage, but the spirit of Marley is with us."

That was a bit rude, I thought, seeing as how this was a family event and she was practically laughing at all those folks who paid twenty-plus dollars and were getting rained on. But then she immediately went on to say -- and this is what set it off for me -- she said: "Now go and buy all the Marley merchandise you can get. Buy the Marley shoes, buy the Marley poncho, but whatever you do, buy Marley."

That was it. I saw right through this whole thing. This was no longer the true spirit. It was driven by money. And not only was it money-driven, it was greedy. It showed a total lack of respect for Bob Marley's followers. After that experience I have chosen never to return to the Marley Fest.

I am a true fan of Bob's music, especially many of his early recordings, but I will never buy into anything with his name. I will download his music for free, and I will do so with a clear conscience because, as we all know, Bob is no longer here with us. So he's not the one benefiting from record sales. It's all those greedy snakes.

Those are my two cents. If I had the opportunity to speak with his family members, who run the show, I would like to tell them that they are driving away the true Rastas.

Steven "Stux" Ruiz

Hialeah

Attention All Brainiac Maniacs

If B-movies are the plan, K. Gordon Murray is your man: I just wanted to let New Times know I greatly enjoyed Michael Yockel's story about K. Gordon Murray, "Miami's B-Movie Mogul," as the headline put it (January 29). It was an admirably thorough and thoroughly admirable job!

Under the byline The Phantom of the Movies, I write for several papers and publish VideoScope: The Ultimate Genre-Video Guide (www.videoscopemag.com), half the year in Miami Beach, half in New Jersey, our official base. Among our readers are many Murray fans, and in particular Brainiac buffs. I also reviewed a few KGM flicks in my most recent book, The Phantom of the Movies' VideoScope (Random House).

Murray's Shanty Tramp is definitely an indelible viewing experience.

Joe Kane

VideoScope

Miami Beach

Seth? Call Him Courteous and Honest

And don't let envy cloud your judgment: After reading Humberto Guida's story about celebrity photographer Seth Browarnik, I don't understand why there should be any negative focus ("Paparazzi Propaganda," January 15). The club owners are the ones who choose who is allowed into their clubs with a camera. A club owner would want a good relationship between his patrons and photographers. Nobody wants to be hassled or embarrassed by a photographer.

There is a need for courtesy and trust involving a photographer or journalist. It appears Seth has been able to provide these appreciated characteristics. It also appears that there are a few envious people out there who cannot come to terms with the fact that courtesy and honesty are greatly appreciated.

Jeff Kamp

Miami

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