High-Spirited and Perhaps Highly Imaginative
Though I shudder at the thought that Kathy Glasgow's "Urban Shipwreck" (March 6) will amount to my fifteen minutes of fame, I respectfully request your correction regarding the following:
1) Robert Madsen has been paid in full through his last date of employment. He is owed nothing.
2) In 1987, while Michael Zapetis's offices were closed for four months, the state comptroller's office found no wrongdoing, no charges were brought, and Mr. Zapetis was not required to pay restitution or cease any of his businesses. The only effect of the 1987 investigation was that all the plants in the office died while the state's investigators went through all the files in the office and spilled coffee all over the rug.
3) Nick Zapetis has never been a partner of Michael Zapetis, but a very short-lived employee of Michael. Nick, who suffers delusions of grandeur, has never "lost" any money with Michael. To the contrary, he helped himself to whatever he could carry.
4) Anonymous quotes from folks who claim that Zapetis and/or the Rex Bear owes money to "everyone" on the river are blatantly untrue. Anyone proving money owed would have filed a maritime lien, which has not been done. The Rex Bear is free and clear.
5) I take some issue with the description of my demeanor -- "bristles," "protests," "cries," "ballistic." I appear close to a breakdown in the article, whereas my friends consider me simply high-spirited.
Karen Carazo, president
First International Finance Corporation
Kathy Glasgow replies: Robert Madsen says he was not paid all he was due between November 1995 and July 1996. He also asserts that he wasn't paid for his final four days.
As for the Rex Bear owing money, several businessmen on the river say the ship's owners owe mainly dockage fees and that in most cases it is not worth the time and expense to file a lien.
The court order closing Zapetis's businesses in 1987 states that he and his co-defendants were "transacting business in a manner which is fraudulent and otherwise violative of Florida law," and refers to "substantial amounts of unsecured monies acquired by the defendants in violation of Florida law." In the stipulated order of May 1988, Zapetis and his co-defendants agreed permanently to cease several listed business practices. They also agreed to "make restitution to any party who can demonstrate, upon proper application to a court of competent jurisdiction, that they have paid to said defendants improper expenses, fees ... etc."
Cantor on Kantor: A Sonero's Sad Serenade
I would like to congratulate Judy Cantor on her great article about Israel Kantor ("Exile Blues," February 27). It seems that history repeats itself. When jazz and blues came out, America ignored them at first, while in Europe people became very interested in the sound coming from America.
Being a European resident, I have seen the advantages of the Cuban-European cultural exchange. I have become deeply involved in the Cuban music scene in Europe and have had the privilege and honor of seeing groups such as Los Van Van, NG La Banda, El Medico de la Salsa, Climax, and others. Not only have I been able to attend these fabulous concerts, but I've gotten to know some of the musicians personally. A lot of them are very disciplined and dedicated to their music. They are true professionals and simple, humble young people, uncorrupted by this materialistic world. Never have I heard a political or communist statement -- and there was nobody in the room who would torture them if they made such a statement. Yes, maybe they did talk about how difficult things are, but even with their problems their attitude is a positive one. Their desire to share their music with the outside world has prompted an underground Cuban music craze, and now in European nightclubs you'll find people dancing "Cuban style."
It's a shame that Cuban Americans, out of hatred or resentment, have imposed a block on any cultural exchange with Cuba. These musicians, after all, aren't politicians. And what they have to offer is definitely better than the Latin music scene in Miami.
Thanks once again to Judy Cantor for shedding light on a very talented musician such as Israel Kantor.
(I prefer to remain anonymous. If not, I've been told, someone may put a bomb in my car. That's freedom of speech.)
Name Withheld by Request
Cantor on Kantor: Keep Your Hate Politics Out of My Concert Schedule
I find it ridiculous that Los Van Van were granted visas to perform in the U.S. but yet they could not play in Miami because of the intolerance of some reactionary Cubans who think they govern the city. Those Cubans left, as most of us did, due to intolerance and a dictatorship that has been reigning there for the last 38 years. Then they choose to do the same over here. Apparently they have learned very little about tolerance, pluralism, and diversity.
They also demand of artists visiting from Cuba that they "define" themselves, something that the Cuban government itself has done for years. That definition has to do with political orientation, specifically with coming out and saying that Castro is a tyrant and that the revolution has done no good whatsoever. We clearly saw this with Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, who did not criticize the government. And we saw it with Rosita Fornes, who wanted to sing in Miami but then would dare to return to the island.
I want to defend my right to see whichever performer I choose. If others don't agree with a certain artist because of political ideas or simply because the artist has not said anything against the Cuban government, they simply could opt for not going to the concert. I even defend their right to protest the artist -- if they do it without harassing those who want to enjoy some decent art.
Cantor on Kantor: Taking Cuban Music Beyond Albita
Judy Cantor's article on Israel Kantor was an excellent piece of writing, as usual. She got you inside the soul of Mr. Kantor and put you up on the bandstand alongside his most heated soneo stylings. Mr. Kantor is without equal in the long-lost art of Cuban vocal improvisers (soneros).
Sadly enough, though, he joins a long list of ignored Miami talents who have nothing to show for their efforts except the occasional gig at a local dive or a friendly neighborhood Holiday Inn. I am referring to Israel "Cachao" Lopez (pre-Andy Garcia) and Paquito Hechavarria, whose only steady gig is the Miami Film Festival after screenings; he's now an institution among fans. Continue with percussionist Luis Miranda, one of the pioneers in Latin jazz as the main conga man behind Machito's great orchestra and Cal Tjader's cool Latin jazz stylings.
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In today's music environment (fixated on airplay and sales figures), there doesn't seem to be a place left for real musicians. Fine small labels such as Redwood or Corason have either had to close their doors or reach only a very limited audience. Major labels are trying to break the next Madonna or gangsta rapper to swell up the pockets of the lawyers and accountants who run the music biz. Where is the love of the music? Where is Andy Garcia? His last sponsored concert was in 1992. Is Emilio Estefan really going to bring Cuban music (especially local talent) to the forefront with his money and power? No! Albita, as good as she is, has no appeal beyond her Versace attire or chic posturing created by her publicity department.
Many thanks to Ms. Cantor (herself a great talent) for bringing us music articles like this one. To those who feel that our local talent should be brought to the forefront and not forgotten, let's put our heads together and organize lectures, concerts, and just plain spread the word. E-mail me at cubop@ICANECT.NET. LET'S GET THIS TOWN ROLLING! WE MUST NOT DEPRIVE OUR KIDS OF OUR RICH MUSICAL HERITAGE.
Owing to a reporting error, a photograph accompanying Sean Rowe's article "Dig This" (March 6) was misidentified. The photograph purported to show dredging machinery behind the Coconut Grove waterfront home of Ronald Esserman. In fact the photograph depicted a waterfront scene in Miami Beach. New Times regrets the error.