Schizophrenia is a serious illness not to be made fun of, but I can't think of a better term or a better way of giving in to the impossible (or at least implausible) pushing and pulling of planetary life. Probably most people feel this way. Which means I'm normal. Schizo. Some time ago, for example, I had occasion to phone Fred Rosen, the man who took Ticketmaster from ball-park bush leagues to the most powerful new force in the music business since video caught on and MTV stole your brain, saving you from schizophrenia. In print I dubbed CEO Rosen a Caesar figure and raised a few troubling concerns, but even after the story came out, Rosen was happy to chat, telling me his kids wouldn't let him live down the Roman reference. Me and Freddy, we're like that, dude.
So the other day I'm trying to compile some "agate" (the info tacked on to stories detailing the where/when/cost of the show in question). This one was at a prominent South Florida club I won't name (the Edge in Fort Lauderdale). The club declined to tell me what time the concert was scheduled to begin or how much tickets cost. "Call Ticketmaster. They're handling it." So Ticketmaster runs your club?
And why not? The Miami Herald has been Ticketmaster's shill since day one, and the paper isn't the only pawn in the Empire's game. In fact, Ticketmaster runs the entertainment-ticket business in this nation. Ticketmaster runs your life. Hail Caesar! But that's my problem. Each individual is responsible for his or her lives (both of them). Maybe next time I need to check a showtime at a club I'll just call Fred Rosen at home. Maybe not. But I will introduce a new feature near the bottom of this week's coly: "On Hold with Ticketmaster." Each week we'll call Ticketmaster at random and time the wait for human response. Should make you feel a whole lot better.
I sure feel better now that Charles Freeman has been exonerated. Freeman, you'll recall, was convicted of selling obscene music A the 2 Live Crew's As Nasty as They Wanna Be A in October of 1990. I testified in that case A hilarious, me, dirt-street bum with a mental disorder, suited, paid, and trying to convince a jury that music is art. Guilty. But on appeal the album was declared not obscene, so it seemed pretty ludicrous that Freeman had been convicted of selling something that was now not obscene. I love justice. It's so crazy. Early last week Broward Circuit Judge Robert Tyson overturned Freeman's conviction. I guess his $1000 fine will be refunded (with interest, right Dog?). Too bad that by now Freeman is serving a federal sentence for conspiracy to sell cocaine. The Sun-Sentinel reports that Broward has spent some $250,000 on this insanity. Maybe it's finally over. Maybe not.
It's definitely over for the legendary Fifth Street Gym and I really wish Tom Archdeacon (the erstwhile Miami News sports columnist now working in Ohio) was around to compellingly document the demise of a true historical landmark, one with real ghosts. I'll miss it.
Smellin' a trend: Following Tropics' lead, Chili Pepper has begun staging live local original music on Tuesdays, with Iko-Iko up this week. The very wild blues outfit Roadside Banditos brings its Tour de Grunge to Shuckers this Thursday through Saturday. This Hoboken band is steamin', rockin' with a big smile (or is that a smirk?) on tape, and here's betting they're even crazier live. Kidd Havock has a new cassette out and plays live at Button South this Sunday. This Monday Black Janet returns, in the company of Rooster Head, at Toonz in Sunrise. On the teevy tip, this week's Mr. Poe and Mr. Stock show (Wednesday at 3:00 p.m., Thursday at 9:00 p.m., and Friday at 9:30 a.m. on Cable-TAP Channel 35 in Dade) features electric jazz-rock violinist Hugo Martinez, who plays every other Tuesday at Taurus.
Bruce Berman, who helped raise nearly 90 grand for the Red Cross with his hurricane-oriented video, is also helping South Florida Food Recovery by donating money made by sales of the video. So far you and he have come up with $3226 to help feed the hungry. South Florida Food Recovery has grown into an important and successful operation that, unlike other food bank type outfits, works as a sort of dispatch service, connecting donors to agencies and individuals. What sets apart the North Miami-based service is that they arrange for the pick up of food directly from restaurants (that is, prepared food) and for its immediate distribution. Call them at 624-2273 if you care.
Americana Bookshop owner John Detrick, working closely with Alvah Chapman and Ticketmaster, is doing his part for hurricane relief. Detrick has formed "We Will Reload." Do you know how many guns were lost during Andrew? Come on, people, help out. Bring guns, live ammunition, and money to Detrick's Coral Gables store and carefully drop them off. Check your couches for old .22 shells. Look around the debris piles for missing shotguns and rifles. As Detrick says, "Let's get South Dade back to normal."
A relative viewpoint and a Roach Thompson update, as promised. As reported, the RTBB we knew and loved is no more. But Roach continues with a new horn section (the one on the album). His is still the Roach Thompson Blues Band, the former members are setting up a new band of their own. No hard feelings, straight from the Roach's mouth: "All that really happened," he says, "is I changed some members because the band that I had all work day jobs. There were times when I've been offered to do road work and the band can't go with me. So I was forced to put another band together, guys I've been working with for some time. Came to the point I had to make a choice -- either every Friday and Saturday or get out and do some work during the week."
New folk of the Nineties? That's a relative viewpoint and Relative Viewpoint. Check 'em out, along with an open-mike session, this Friday at the Fort Lauderdale Unitarian Universalist Church (3970 NW 21st Ave., Oakland Park, 563-3328 or 484-6734). Doors open at 7:00 p.m.
Yeah, like crazy Davey Koresh needs his ego stroked some more. Glenn David Allen has a new vinyl single out, "Wacko in Waco" backed with "W.A.C.O. (We Ain't Comin' Out)," that has some fun with the Lamb of God Slayer of Babylon Et Cetera. This Friday at Churchill's Hideaway is the official release party for the record, which is already available at all local record stores not run by quasi-religious paramilitary organizations or Ticketmaster. It only costs $2, and if you can't find it, you can write to Greenland Records, 4225 SW 84th Ave., Miami, FL 33155.
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Butthorn of the week: Fred Tondalo, a listener of WMBM-AM, nominates the station and one of its hosts, Mike Thompson. Tondalo says he was listening to Thompson slag gay people and hype a sponsor, Carroll's Jewelers, a family-type place. Call them and let them know you heard it here, Thompson apparently enthused. So Tondalo called Carroll's and told them he thought it was shameful they were sponsoring a hatemongering homophobe. After Thompson's show, talkjocks Ivan and Amie came on with their program, and talked about the incident. Tondalo says he and they emphasized that this was no boycott, just one person expressing an opinion. Ivan and Amie have been suspended from the station.
On hold with Ticketmaster: Friday, 1:00 p.m. On hold for two minutes and sixteen seconds.
The media circus and pet corner: Redemption for lawyers? Well, a small beginning. In the March/April issue of The Animals' Agenda magazine, legendary civil-rights barrister William Kuntsler pens an essay about compassion and common sense, two qualities rare in humans. "The pain felt by humans who are abused," Kuntsler writes, "and the pain felt by nonhuman animals who are abused...is the same pain." To see some real pain going on, read the whole magazine. And do something.