Letters from the Issue of February 10-16, 2005

The Homestead Marlins, the Lincoln Road chaos, the Pitbull hype

People love the outdoor dining on Lincoln Road and Ocean Drive as well. The popularity of these streets is obvious to all, and should be to Mr. Klein. As for the tables and chairs, does Mr. Klein really think the patrons of these restaurants would rather sit directly on the sidewalk? Or not be shaded by an umbrella from the bright sun or even light rain? Or not be warmed by heat lamps when it's cold? Get a grip! These restaurants are only doing what they need to do to serve their customers, and they are doing it well.

As to the city's sidewalk-café ordinance, yes it does need some revision, but mainly to make it conform to the realities of doing business on Lincoln Road, not to reduce or eliminate the Road's source of popularity: its restaurants.

David Kelsey, president

South Beach Hotel and Restaurant Association

Miami Beach

Lincoln Road: Catalan Connections

From Carlos Betancourt to Carlos Alves to Antoni Gaudí to Morris Lapidus: Lee Klein's excellent "Sidewalk Scofflaws" is dynamite on the actual physical aspects of Lincoln Road. He errs, however, in his attribution of the mosaic fountain to Carlos Betancourt. While Carlos Betancourt is an outstanding artist, his medium is photography and grand installations like the one he did on South Beach in March 2000. It is Carlos Alves who works in glass and tile and whose work is reminiscent of Catalan artist Antoni Gaudí.

I would be remiss if I failed to point out the Barcelona connection here (life is all about connections). Barcelona is the city of Gaudí, whose spires of La Sagrada Familia (the Church of the Sacred Family) formed the centerpiece for most of the postcards commemorating the Olympic Games from that great city. Morris Lapidus designed Lincoln Road after traveling to Barcelona, modeling the Road after Las Ramblas, the famed pedestrian walkway of Barcelona. Carlos Betancourt traveled to Barcelona last year.

Last but not least, the closing film of this year's Miami International Film Festival is Unconscious (Inconscientes), which takes place in 1913 Barcelona.

Jonathan Rose, cultural correspondent

Cultural Bulletin

Miami

Lincoln Road: Misplaced Blame

Yes, it's a mess, but it's not our mess: It takes just one look at Sushisamba Dromo's interior design to realize it is highly influenced by the architecture of the Modernist period, particularly Oscar Niemeyer, an architect who considered Morris Lapidus his voice in the United States.

In "Sidewalk Scofflaws," Lee Klein wrote: "Nobody beats Sushisamba Dromo for turning a Lapidus artwork into what looks like a set from Sanford and Son." All that garbage being stored against the Lapidus structure on the Sony Building side of the 600 block of Lincoln Road belongs to Carnevale restaurant, which has the rights from the Sony Building to use the space in front of it. They actually cover it all up with a generic blue tarp at the end of the night and use it as their own storage space.

In fact holes have been drilled into the Lapidus structure and hook fasteners installed. When it rains, Carnevale uses the hooks to hang a transparent plastic curtain. Sushisamba has tried for three years to get rid of this eyesore, but to no avail.

Our busing station consists of a custom-built, stainless-steel hutch and an insulated ice well. I find it very irresponsible for Mr. Klein to assume and print so boldly that all of Carnevale's garbage belongs to Sushisamba.

James Recio, general manager

Sushisamba Dromo

Miami Beach

The Pitbull Syndrome

He may be all hype, but at least he'sourhype:I was in Miami a few weeks back and read Mosi Reeves's "Basshead" column "Whose Culture?" (January 13), a response to Brett Sokol's "Kulchur" column of January 6 ("Miami's Most Incredible, Fantastic, Amazing Year in Music!"). The subject: Miami's overhyped music scene. I have to say that Basshead's rebuttal was a sorry excuse for writing -- full of contradictions, a waste of paper.

How about not letting him work out in print his issues with justifying his choice of music? It was sad reading, as he only confirmed in his own language what Kulchur had written in his piece. Basshead's line about not being a fan of Pitbull's music summed it up: If you aren't a fan of it as a writer, what more is there to say?

It was poor writing, and the 50 people living in South Florida Basshead tries to appeal to while writing about "underground rap" and "IDM" (whatever that bad music is called) probably didn't read the column anyway.

Those of us outside of the 50 kids with backpacks who read it thought it would have served Basshead's purpose better had he written the piece, got up the next day, rewritten it, and then just e-mailed it directlyto Kulchur rather than subject readers to such rubbish.

Raise the bar, Mr. Music Editor, and stop making excuses for bad music. There may not be much going on down there in that wasteland regarding music, but you can't invent it just because you dedicate a column to carrying on about it.

Kulchur's piece was on point. Basshead's thing was just a juvenile rant -- at best. It's Basshead's agenda that gets old.

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