By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
The video for Trick Daddy's current remix hit Sugar is in heavy rotation on MTV. While T Double D hams it up as a candy store owner (slyly telling a young customer a pack of Jawbreakers costs "fitty cent"), Lil' Kim mugs adorable with her Maltese puppy, and Fat Joe stretches his thespian abilities playing a guy who eats a lot of sweets, the star of the clip is the Peep-yellow building that serves as both the façade of the store and the backdrop for some dance sequences. This is quite a location- scout feat, as this is the same pale, wan building sitting quietly by day, sketchily by night on the corner of NE First Avenue and Thirteenth Street.
In chatting with MTV's DJ Clue this past week, Trick steered conversation away from his rumored beef with Ludacris (whose vocal tracks were replaced by Lil' Kim's on Sugar) and talked about the video, which also features an all-local cast of teens and youngsters, and how wild Miami is during spring break.
Static ClingThe Bitch takes misuse of the airwaves kind of seriously, so when a reader in Palm Beach County sought her assistance in broadcasting a blast-o-static to a certain unlicensed station in Boynton Beach, she had to help.
"They are advertising a CD shop just down the street from me and really are broadcasting both DJ sex talk and CDs that are real rank," writes Cliff, who requested last-name anonymity because he fears the radio pirates might find out it was he who called the Federal Communications Commission's enforcement office in Miami.
"I live on the edge of a rough area and am 64 years old and could not fight my way out of a wet paper bag. I have a feeling the people running the station may be involved in selling drugs and driving SUVs, so there is money someplace. Could be good businessmen, but if you are breaking the law with an unregistered broadcast station, and playing real rough hip-hop with lots of explicit sex and violence, and the DJ keeps up the pace in likeness, I doubt it stops there," Cliff notes. "I would have never discovered them if they had a good engineer and were not out of frequency range. They are stomping on 91.3 to 92.1. If I had a dollar for each F word used on the air each day for a couple months, I could buy a big sailboat and sail away forever. Howard Stern is a saint up alongside these guys."
The offended listener's station of choice is Classy 92.1 (WRLX-FM), which is licensed despite the fact that its "Soft Favorites" format transgresses all notions of decency for The Bitch, who is in favor of a "Shoegazer Favorites" channel. That said, there would have been no beef if the offending station were not so uncouth as to bleed all over the frequencies next door. At first Cliff thought the naughty station might be Miami-Dade's own 91.9, another unlicensed operation. This 91.9 is an oldies R&B outfit, shining the light of Marvin Gaye and others of that immortal ilk all night long, especially on weekends. Nearly six years after the federal government wound down its 1998-1999 war on pirate radio -- which never silenced unlicensed broadcasters for more than a few months -- even the dirtiest rap DJs on the air in Miami-Dade seem to have acquired the good sense to keep their signals clean around the edges. That's a shout-out to Boynton Beach.
Foray into FilmFlashy car-racing flick 2 Fast 2 Furious, Will Smith's buddy-cop sequel Bad Boys 2, and the Farrellys' misguided comedy Stuck on You all were filmed here in Miami in the not-too-distant past. What normally happens is the filmmakers breeze into town, commandeer our bridges, and then hightail it back to Los Angeles or New York to complete postproduction. Not so Dave Rodriguez. This writer/director/producer not only decided to film his independent debut Push here in South Florida, but in an atypical move, he decided to keep it local and do his editing magic not in Hollywood, California, but in Hollywood near the Miami-Dade/Broward border. "Actors don't usually live in South Florida, so to do production or postproduction here is rare," Rodriguez said when The Bitch ventured north to meet him at his studio, the Enigma Factory.
Located in an inconspicuous building off Sheridan Street, Enigma Factory is a comfortably small space outfitted with high-tech electronic equipment. One wall is solely devoted to computers and large television sets, and as The Bitch savored the proximity to cinema, the men of Severe Pictures -- Rodriguez and his co-producers Jorge Flores Rodriguez and Alex Ferrari -- leaned close to the screen, studying flickering video images. In the clips The Bitch was invited to see, Push looks to be the kind of dark, druggy caper along the lines of Suicide Kings. Stars include brooding actor and Diet Vanilla Coke pitchman Chazz "A Bronx Tale" Palminteri, independent film stalwart Michael "Bamboozled" Rapaport, and sloe-eyed character actor Otto Sanchez, best recognized as Carmen "Chico" Guerra, from the HBO prison series Oz.
The Bitch asked Rodriguez if he saw any Babe-like breakout roles coming up for a star-struck dog. He thought he'd be busy doing sound design on Push in time to get a copy ready to submit to Cannes, then off to L.A. for some California-style schmoozing, marketing, and public relations. Having worked on the production of several Busta Rhymes videos, including the Knight Ride-inspired "Fired Up," the filmmaker isn't intimidated by the industry machine. Rodriguez is already busy with his next film, Ronnie and Clyde, the story of two gay men on a cross-country bank-robbing spree. "Like The Birdcage meets Thelma and Louise," Rodriguez laughed. He hopes to cast Luis Guzmán and Philip Seymour Hoffman as the protagonists, with Bruce Willis and Janeane Garofalo rounding out the cast.