As election officials reach out to planet hip-hop to register to vote in time for November, the use of hip, or at least loud, figures from the music world as spokesrappers is one strategy that might lure the young generation of black voters to the polls. The objective is crucial in light of the 2000 presidential election. Among the fiascos to surface in the wake of our state's voting procedures was the claim that thousands of ballots cast in black precincts were lost. The allegation has charged up black voters and politicians to get more black Florida residents politically active. State Rep. James "Hank" Harper, Jr., in fact, has recruited one of the state's loudest rap personalities, Luther "Uncle Luke" Campbell -- former frontman of the notorious 2 Live Crew and freedom-of-speech exemplar -- to head Election 2004: The Movement Tour, a campaign to get legions of hip-hop desperadoes throughout Florida to register.
The vociferous Luke, a compelling if not abrasive speaker, in turn got Miami rappers Trina and Trick Daddy to join him in the campaign. "We need to awaken a sleeping giant and send the hip-hop generation a strong message about voting," gushes Luke, famous for the anthem "Me So Horny," on a press release announcing his participation in the civic effort. "We can't just wait until election day."
The tour will also include Florida sports personalities and Miss Black Universe Karley Wright. Along the way more hip-hop celebs might show up, including Wyclef Jean, Pitbull, and Latino rapper Big Trigger.
The goal of the movement is to transform at least 40,000 young African Americans into registered voters at the various stops the tour makes on traditionally black college campuses and in black neighborhoods. Today the registration rally kicks off at noon at Florida Memorial College, 15800 NW 42nd Ave. Admission is free. Call 305-557-6212. -- By Juan Carlos Rodriguez
Modern society suffers from a lack of cool cars. One thing lost to the pragmatics of modern living is the feeling one gets while riding around in a car with bitching bat fins. The bubble window of a classic Buick, the space-age taillights of an old Thunderbird, and the sheer fantasy of chromed-out muscle cars spoke of a romantic charm that seems lacking in today's streamlined world of Toyotas and Saturns. Today's sensible sedans would never inspire a song such as Springsteen's "Thunder Road" or even Prince's "Little Red Corvette." For a look at some of the region's best restored classics, check out the Downtown Classic Car Show. Members of the local chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America will be motoring through Flagler Street showing off their pride and joys. Cherry condition MGs, extra-long Cadillacs, testosterone muscle cars, all humming beautifully down the road. Club president Ira Shapiro says all owners of cars 25 years or older in original condition can be members. We're hoping to see some vintage Pacers, Gremlins, and Le Cars. The fun starts at 10:00 a.m. on Flagler Street between NE 2nd Avenue and the courthouse. Admission is free. Call 305-379-7070. -- By Juan Carlos Rodriguez
Hialeah briefly holds onto history
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The city of Hialeah, a world unto itself with its own street numbering system and powerful Mayor Raul Martinez, might be the closest thing South Florida has to a Medici fiefdom. Minus the arts patronage, of course. Hialeah, in fact, is hideous compared with Florence. If Michelangelo or da Vinci drove along 49th Street and saw the rampant sign pollution and results of lax zoning codes, they'd poison themselves right in the car. But culture even the Medicis would approve of has arrived in the gritty city. Today through Sunday the 22nd annual Italian Renaissance Festival will bring a taste of 1470 Tuscany to Hialeah Park (32nd Street and East 4th Avenue). That means knights on horseback, a living chess game, court dancers, costumed characters, vendors, musicians, and making their 20th appearance, flag throwers imported straight from Asti, Italy. Now that's class! Admission is $8 and $15 ($3 to park your car). Call 305-895-7317. -- By Nina Korman
Bow Wow Powwow
Can't get enough of dressing up your dog, humiliating your hound, petrifying your pooch by squeezing his fat furry English bulldog body into a ballerina's tutu? (Oh, but he looks so good in pink!) Then throw on his tulle and toe shoes and march him over to the City of Miami Lakes' 2nd annual Spring Dog Parade, taking place from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Graham Park (Bull Run Road and Meadow Walk Lane). There he can sniff the butts of other tarted-up canines and hump the legs of their insensitive owners just before taking a quarter-mile stroll around the lake and participating in celebrity-judged contests. Cutesy categories include Best-Dressed Pet, Pet/Owner Lookalike, Longest Tail, Longest Ears, and Stupid Pet Trick. The $25 registration charge includes a raffle ticket and helps cover food costs, spay and neutering expenses, and veterinary fees racked up by Pet Rescue, a nonprofit, no-kill animal shelter founded by tennis great and Miami resident Gardner Mulloy. Call 305-839-4354. -- By Nina Korman