Ghost Repeater

Ecstasy swoons on the radio, plus pimp documentation and flag desecration

The Bitch was executing a Tokyo Drift-style parking-lot maneuver this past Wednesday night, which caused the Wire album embedded in the Bitchmobile's CD player to become dislodged and fly out the window, thereby becoming the property of Walgreens. The consequence of this sequence of events was positive, though. The FM radio station that became audible was emitting — unbelievably — not just electronic music but also dance music, and not just EDM but also trance. Wow!

Turns out the low-frequency station had been pushing a 150-watt signal that has reached most of central Miami-Dade for about a month. "It's a privately owned, low-signal station, right," confirmed DJ Pharaoh, who had been putting in fifteen-hour days at the station's tiny (and secret) console when The Bitch reached him by phone. "And, yes, I am trying to play some trance even though there are so many househeads in this community. I want to try to mix it up and play variety, play what people want to hear. But I'm concerned because the owner says dance music might not be the right format, might change to reggaeton or hip-hop."

The owner in question turns out to be Maurizio Martinez, a sometime-promoter, sometime-DJ who has been on the fringes of Miami's dance music scene for years. Martinez was a little evasive when The Bitch tried to ask him about what was going on, but she was able to extract a bit of data....

"The 107.1 station is a temporary, experimental situation," Martinez grumbled. "It will be taken down soon, as early as next Friday. It's really a springboard for what will be my digital radio station, Vyberadio.com. Also I want to revitalize AM radio in Miami. AM radio isn't what you think. If you get a good receiver, it'll sound great."

The emergence of the station has predictably yet inexplicably kicked up a ruckus on the reflexively negative message boards at CoolJunkie.com, where a topic slugged "107.1 is now the NEW 93.1?" has generated 90 posts and 1431 page views since June 17. "I'll give you 50 to 1 odds it sucks," flamed someone with the handle AdamSinger.

"I'm hoping since they're ... on a very public forum like ours that they've got their paperwork and such in order," chided one of the board moderators.

"Well, uh, it's got a temporary authorization for that bandwidth from the FCC due to the fact that it's ... temporary," Martinez said cautiously.

The other dance music station referenced in the posts on CoolJunkie, WPYM Party 93.1, collapsed in the fall of 2005 and despite a repetitive and unchallenging playlist during the day, had many fans.

Charles Cavalliof West Palm Beach has begun an online petition at www.myspace.com/party931campaign to persuade Cox Communications, the station owner, to turn 93.1's strong-signal broadcast back to an all-dance format. "107.1 is an excellent station that does what they can, but they can't even reach up to Fort Lauderdale," Cavalli sighed.

So far the petition has garnered 845 digital signatures, dozens of comments, and 1363 virtual friends. "Bring back the good shit — house, trance, and breaks!" demanded 22-year-old Michael Perezfrom Miami.

Cavalli, who did some programming for 93.1, admits, "We did play a lot of cheese because we knew that when you have the commercial masses on your side, you have power, and when you have power, you can play whatever you want. You can't tell me that we didn't have the street cred, because we did — 300,000 people a week listened!"


Ghetto Branding

The Bitch was uneasy when the wealthy white filmgoers at Sundance high-fived Hustle and Flow, Craig Brewer's paean to a Memphis operator, in 2005. The film about a black pimp's aspirations to become a hip-hop star was mad overrated. It seems as if white people are way too eager to embrace such modern-day minstrel shows that proffer the image of a black man made nonthreatening through extravagantly tailored suits, big hats, and crazily embellished cars. Then of course, there's the issue of exploiting women....

So the cynical dog (who is practically an albino herself) was highly skeptical when she heard about the lecture by Miami Beach photojournalist and author Bob Adelman promoting the re-release of his book Gentleman of Leisure: A Year in the Life of a Pimp. She expected the talk, which took place the evening of June 27 at Books & Books in Coral Gables, to be populated by a very vanilla group fulminating in either indignation or benign patronage. The anticipation was abetted by the verbiage from the book's jacket printed on the invitation: "They are the original macks, the original players. They are big-city pimps — the heroes of gangsta rap.... This stunning exposé explains the passionate bond between a pimp and his ho's."

Yet the evening offered some intelligent discourse and outlooks of pragmatic humanism.

The audience of about 30 contained people of all ages and races — including a smartly dressed fellow sitting in front of The Bitch who looked exactly like actor Giancarlo Esposito. Adelman spoke compassionately but unsentimentally about the subjects of his book — the pimp Silky and Silky's "wives" Lois, Linda, Kitty, Tracey, and Sandy, with whom the photographer and his collaborator Susan Hall spent months interviewing and lensing. (Prior to this summer's reissue, the book has been out of print for a while, and first editions, according to Books & Books owner Mitch Kaplan, are very expensive collectors' items.)

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