Letters from the Issue of December 16-22, 2004

Commie columnists, Clapton memories, and Christian bigots

Karl Marx: Alive and Well in Miami

Shamelessly pandering free weekly is plainly pinko: Why do you writers and editors at New Times assume all your readers are left-wing radicals? Example: Tristram Korten's mean-spirited column about Leslie Rothenberg ("Judge Not," December 9) was not a piece of journalism, it was a piece of excrement masquerading as journalism. Leslie is a fantastic person, superb intellect, big heart, sturdy backbone, high integrity, long on patience, excellent arbiter and judicial candidate.

Get yourselves at least one staff writer who is not a shameless, politically correct panderer so I can feel that you're at least trying to be something other than Marxist.

Mark Minervino

Miami

The Clapton Chronicles

I was there when Eric confessed and Rod Stewart goofed off: I really enjoyed Brett Sokol's story about Eric Clapton and the waterfront home at 461 Ocean Boulevard in Golden Beach ("Musical Mecca," December 9). It had significance for me as I was employed by the home's owner in the Seventies. It was correct to say a Hollywood producer owned the house, but it was Hollywood, Florida, not Hollywood, California.

Stanley Colbert, who lived in Hollywood's South Lake neighborhood, owned 461. Stan came to Florida from California, where he had been a very successful writer, producer, and literary agent. As executive in charge of production for Ivan Tors Studios in North Miami, he produced Flipper, Gentle Ben, and a host of other shows. He raised three kids and was married to a book editor. Stan maintained a small film studio in Fort Lauderdale that also had the ability to record music. That arm of the business was called Phonography.

Among Stan's many friends and acquaintances was Robert Stigwood, whose record label, RSO, was very hot at the time. Performers from RSO and other labels would come to South Florida to record, relax, and rehearse for upcoming tours. Stan would make the house and studio available to all who wanted it with the promise of privacy. Many bands passed through without the knowledge of their fans.

Those of us who worked at the studio would baby-sit the bands all night to make sure they didn't destroy the place. (Rod Stewart had a bad habit of doing handstands on the custom-made mixing console.) In 1975 Eric Clapton had come to the studio to rehearse before going out on tour. Stan was asked to film one of the concerts for a tour promotion. Several of us flew to Tampa, where Santana was the warm-up band! It was there Eric revealed to Stan that the previous year, when he was staying at 461, he'd taken a small bust from a nook in the foyer. I can't recall what Eric named this little statue but he liked it and wanted Stan to know what had happened to it.

In the late Seventies Stan was offered a position as executive producer of film drama for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and he moved to Toronto. While there he received an Emmy, together with Jim Henson, for Fraggle Rock. I've lost touch with the Colbert family but trust they are happy and well.

With the 30th-anniversary reissue of Clapton's 461 Ocean Boulevard, I too was thinking of that icon in Golden Beach and wondering if the current owner, Herbert Tobin, would mind if I had a look around -- you know, just for old time's sake.

Tim Snyder

Atlanta, Georgia

What's Wrong with America's Right Wing?

Let's start with homosexuals: I just had to write in response to Ruthie J's comments in the November 25 "Kulchur" column by Brett Sokol ("Miami's Blessed Airwaves"). While I fervently believe that everyone is entitled to his or her opinions and their right to speak them aloud, when someone chirps a stupid opinion, I also believe in pointing out the stupidity.

Ruthie hosts a show on WMCU-FM (89.7), Miami's Christian radio station, and several times she clearly stated her opinion that being gay is a choice, a choice that should not be protected legally: "Don't tell me my laws should protect their choice."

In just a few words she succinctly sums up just about everything that's wrong with the far right in this country. They are wrong about basic facts and about the underlying philosophy behind this nation.

First, are people gay by choice? While there are arguments on both sides, here's a simple test. Think back to when you hit puberty. I can't speak to the exact process for girls, but as a boy, one night I had a really great dream that involved Farrah Fawcett, some cheerleaders, and a vat of whipped cream. I woke up and my bed sheets needed to be changed. My mom and dad sat me down and we had a long talk about the birds and bees. I didn't decide to dream about Farrah and the cheerleaders; they were just there in my subconscious, waiting to make me feel good. The gay men I've known have all described similar scenarios, but with dreams involving Chachi or the Fonz or some other popular star.

Ask yourself: Did you choose to be straight? I didn't think so. So why would anyone assume that being gay is a choice?

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