Letters from the Issue of May 13, 2004

Unhip SoBe nightlife, unpopular live music, unhealthy food, unjust policies

South Beach Nightclubs: The Verdict

Velvet ropes? Flashy bling bling? Uninspired music? It's very unhip: In response to Mosi Reeves's "Life After WMC" (May 6), I'm a house DJ from New Jersey who moved here just a couple of months ago. When I first arrived I was excited to go to South Beach nightclubs. I visited a few spots and was not impressed. I don't mean to come off sideways, but I'm 34 years old and have been going to clubs, raves, and warehouse parties for years in the N.Y.C. area. I even promoted and had a killer party that was mentioned in Paper magazine as the Best Tuesday-Night Party in N.Y.C. That was back in 1997.

I'm not trying to step on anyone's toes or tell them how to do things; however, I do see things being done the old-fashioned way, such as the velvet rope shit out front of the club. Trying to get into a club here is very not hip. It's who you know, how you look. If you don't look like a model or a movie star, or if your outfit isn't right, you don't get in.

Does anyone remember that all the dance/electronica music and the scene around it used to be very much underground? Now it's all about money and the "bling bling." I feel that shit is out. If people want to get into a club, let them in. Their money is just as green as anyone else's. Let them wear what they want. SoBe has so much "Look at me! Look at me!" attitude. Being involved in the scene doesn't mean all that stuff. Going to a club is about unity, meeting new people, dancing, and most of all the music. But it seems like everyone in South Beach plays the same kind of music. As a DJ I like to bring new things to people, to educate them on all the different music out there in the world.

Believe me, I'm not labeling myself as the best DJ. I look at myself as just a piece of the puzzle. I simply would like a little more open-mindedness by everyone involved. Just think of all the DJs who were here at the Winter Music Conference. Someone should be booking them, because to me South Beach is not the place to be for the dance-music scene, at least not yet.

Peter Vella

Miami Beach

Live Local Music in Miami: The Verdict

Beautiful on the outside, rotten on the inside: I read Errol Portman's April 29 letter ("Miami: The Town that Snubs the Arts") with great attention and would like to thank him publicly for his attention to this matter. As a jazz musician who was raised in Miami, I can appreciate his comments. Having performed in many cities throughout the United States (New York, New Orleans, Chicago, L.A., San Francisco, and others), I can safely say that Miami is probably one of the worst cities for live local music, particularly jazz.

People here just don't support live music. As a result, most career musicians in Miami survive only because of the tourist industry and private social events. I know many great musicians who live in Miami but never perform here. Most perform outside the city, while others turn to producing or to the recording industry. You hear all this publicity about Miami being the "Latin music capital of the world," but musically speaking, Miami is like a fruit that looks beautiful on the outside but is rotten on the inside.

I think this is largely because the general public is bombarded with music on the radio, all of it recorded with detailed precision. As a result, people have become indifferent to taking a chance on the experience of local music, which is much more raw and organic.

Radio stations like WLVE-FM (93.9), WDNA-FM (88.9), and WLRN-FM (91.3) support local musicians, but you never hear the work of local musicians being played on popular Latin radio. Given that Miami is such a Latin town, Spanish-language radio bears some of the responsibility for the decay of the live local music scene.

In the past twenty years I've seen many live-music venues come and go. Most weekends today it's rare to find more than two or three Miami clubs featuring a local live salsa orchestra. With the massive number of Latins living here, this, to say the least, is bizarre. And jazz? For the most part olvidate (forget it!).

It's no wonder many musicians leave Miami to seek an audience. I enjoy living here, but as a musician I must say that Miami is one sorry place for live local music.

Bobby Ramirez


Reporting from the 511 Traffic Center ...

... this is M-a-r-i-s-a Martin: In The Bitch's rabid critique of WLRN-FM's spring fundraiser ("Density Turns on the Radio," April 29), she failed to spell the traffic reporter's name correctly. That's Marisa (Martin) with an s, not with a t or a z. Marisa with an s spells ssss not zzzz.

Thank you.

Marisa Martin


The Critic Psychoanalyzed

When she disparages healthful food, she is disparaging herself: Reading Pamela Robin Brandt's recent review of the newest Bites on Wheels store on Biscayne and 68th Street made me sad ("Getting What You Pay For," April 29), not because anything negative she wrote was true or because I fear it will hurt an important business venture in a part of our community that sorely needs it. Rather I was struck by what Ms. Brandt's words revealed about what she looks for in food and, more important, what she looks for from food.

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