Quite frankly, we had no choice. Mr. Kunst had financially bled and mismanaged the organization so severely that we were facing the certainty of bankruptcy within one week. Body Positive, earnestly concerned about having many of their homebound clients face a disruption in their home-delivered meals, was preparing to take over the food service functions of Cure AIDS Now. Even had we known about his trip, there would have been no Cure AIDS Now left for him to return to had we postponed our decision. As I see it, he abandoned his position in order to, of all things, search for his "roots" in a World War II concentration camp.
Mr. Kunst should be given full credit for fostering awareness about AIDS in South Florida, and for that I had supported him. But his unwillingness to separate the charitable and political functions of the organization, his globe-trotting at the expense of malnourished persons with AIDS, and his promotion of bitter divisiveness in the AIDS services community will also not easily be forgotten.
Douglas A. Feldman
THE NAVARRO QUESTION: STILL IN A SNIT?
What, exactly, is Rafael Navarro's problem ("Fest Asleep," February 12)? Is he still in a snit because he wasn't allowed to attend a screening of The Mambo Kings? The Miami Film Festival is about the only event around here that makes me feel that Miami is a genuine city: the international scope of the film offerings, the buzz of the crowds, its exciting venue in the much-maligned Gusman Center. Nothing quite beats the thrill of seeing a film in that splendid old rococo barn, surrounded by a thousand or so other cinemaphiles, and having the actors or director come out afterward for questions. The double-feature of Amantes and Delicatessen, a case in point, was a real joy. I schlep down every year from Broward for the festival, and it's well worth the trip. What's to be done with the Miami Film Festival? Easy. Let it grow. The real question is, what's to be done with Navarro?
THE NAVARRO QUESTION: ACID TONGUE OR ACID STOMACH?
Rafael Navarro is dynamite with the written phrase, but he should stick to the films rather than what goes on around them. Or if that's too easy, let me offer some tips from the primer on film criticism. (Sure I'm one, too. Isn't anybody with some degree of interest, scope, and sensitivity?)
First, never, never screen a film after a big meal. With Navarro's experience researching bars, bistros, and eateries, I needn't remind him how hyperacidity can affect creative evaluation.
Next, he should avoid back-to-back reviews, especially during a festival. The impact of one work of art can carry over into the modus of an immediate follower.
Third, practice patience and sit through the sucker! The way the film evolves might add sensibility and possibly enjoyment to its early premise. As our media rep, Navarro owes readers the impression that he's paid attention.
Finally, Navarro should give us a break with bad-mouthing the Miami Film Festival. I think he ought to show a little appreciation for the freebies he gets to see and for the hard work the festival folks put out in order to give us this kind of event. Or he should join the Miami Film Society and offer some constructive energy. Otherwise I fear he and I might not get to see these kinds of films in or around Miami. And his tenure at New Times will only be remembered for cry-baby laments about not getting what he wants.
RICH'S JOB APPLICATION
I don't know, maybe it's just me, but Jim DeFede seems to write about a couple of drug smugglers and almost glorifies them with a very detailed account of their endeavors ("Willy & Sal," February 12). A great story, well written, and I'll assume fairly accurate to boot, but why so much? You could have been just as informative, as well as entertaining, at half the length. Which brings me to my gripe: Miami Rocks, Too ("On the Rocks," February 12).
Who gave Todd Anthony this assignment? Instead of spending so much time making a "black list," checking out cleavage, and trying to get the bartender's attention, he should have put his energy toward writing a story about Miami Rocks's main ingredient: the bands. If he can't handle the temptations of the ever-so-alluring sex and drugs of rock and roll while on assignment, he just shouldn't be there.
Fifteen paragraphs to cover Miami Rocks, Too? Five of which had nothing to do with the bands' performances at all. What happened to Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids? Maybe Todd was afraid that what he saw was just a flashback from a chemistry experiment he and a local dealer participated in years ago. That's the only logical explanation this Vulcan could conceive as to why the most controversial band in South Florida wasn't even mentioned.
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For the record, Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids did not perform as great as I've seen before or even since, but they were tight; and everyone couldn't help but notice their intense presence (well, almost everyone).
Todd could have done worse, but we all know he could have done better. If you need someone to cover your music scene, call me. I'm drug-free and I know what's happening.