Last week the dailies reported that the stepdaughter of Broward sheriff Nick Navarro committed suicide and left a note alluding to sexual abuse involving Navarro. Her widower, for whom the note was intended, expressed his hope that the matter would not turn into a media circus. I won't disappoint him here. This item is not about Cynthia Clougherty's death, nor about Navarro's role in it. This program note is about the long-standing and always interesting relationship between Jack Thompson and Luther Campbell, both of whom need no further identification for regular readers of this space.
On Thursday past Campbell sent a missive to Thompson, stating: "Jack, What do you think of page seven in today's Local section of the Miami Herald? Are you going to have Nick removed from office? I am not surprised that this wasn't on the front page of the Herald but I am surprised that you haven't taken action. Come on, Jack. Regards, Luther Campbell."
Highlights of Thompson's response: "Re: `Nick at Nite' Navarro. Dear Luke, My Main Man: I said in the midst of your difficulties with Slick Nick that he was and is an absolute phony on the issue of obscenity and sexual abuse. He was in it for the publicity.... His absurd prosecution of you for the performance at Club Futura proved that. ...Saying Nick Navarro was genuinely concerned about explicit sexual material is akin to saying you're upset about foul language or that Jeffrey Dahmer is upset about high-protein diets. ...I'm still willing to discuss all this and our litigation over a round of golf. I'll buy the beers at the turn, and I promise to refrain from four-letter words upon missing a putt. Your most ardent monitor, Jack Thompson."
Ironic postscript: The very day I received the missives mentioned above, U.S. District Judge Hosie Gonzalez's ludicrous finding that the 2 Live Crew's As Nasty as They Wanna Be was obscene was overturned by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. When the bulletin broke, I immediately called Luke Records and offered congratulations. As soon as I hung up the phone, Jack Thompson called me (I testified in Judge Gonzalez's court that the album wasn't obscene) to offer me congratulations. And the world keeps spinning.
Back on the good foot, then, James Brown is allegedly going to play live in MiTown. I say allegedly, because of the Orange Bowl debacle, cancelled when not nearly enough tickets were sold. This time the Godfather of Soul is skedded for Sunrise (see "The Calendar"). But this item isn't about the concert. This program note is about Arturo "The Rhythm Rocker" Gomez's four-hour tribute to J.B. this Friday at 2:00 p.m. on WDNA-FM (88.9). "Man, we're gonna go from the gospel roots to the Sixties and Seventies to current," Gomez says. He has an interview with Bobby Byrd, taped by phone from Byrd's home in Georgia. The DJ is also putting serious effort into getting the Hardest Working Man in Show Business to appear live on the air. Dial it in to find out if The Man shows up.
Shows in genres: Funny folksters Last Rights with the Rayne enlighten up on Sunday at the Soref Community Center in Fort Lauderdale, call 964-7787 for details. Jazz-guitar god Randy Bernsen, with Charles Norkus and Steve Rucker, play music for planets, people, and washing machines Friday at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Lauderdale, call 527-2730. One, the Shrugs, New Reign, and Faith Nation all Square off on Friday, 534-1403. And the only band that spatters, the splendorific Kreamy Lectric Santa, brings some Amerikan music to Uncle Sam's this Saturday, 532-0973.
Recently I asked who coined the nickname "The Church" for Churchill's Hideaway. Sunday night isn't a great night for music writers, either. I, for example, have been mandated and required to be in my office just after dawn every Monday for the past four or five years. That explains my missing out. I'll let master magician and guitar paragon Roy Allen Fischer explain the rest: "Dave Daniels - the greatest proprietor in the history of Miami - invited Open Says Me to become a regular feature every Sunday from November 1990 to November 1991. As we started to show up each and every Sunday evening (a day not so popular with musicians) David was always so happy to see us and would invite us for a pre-show drink. As a toast, we would say, `Well, we had to show up - we go to "Church" every Sunday.'" There must be a way to work the phrase "losing my religion" into this somehow.
I love science-fiction movies, especially bad ones, so I'll plug the Film Society's Sci Fi Subterranean Soiree, a costume party to raise funds for the festival (see "The Calendar" again; damn, that thing's a good read). The party is Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Mayfair, and the folks at 377-3456 can fill you in.
Man, I'm watching far too much tube lately. Actually, I couldn't see this one on air because it's cable, but I obtained videotape of four episodes, and I'm thereby strongly recommending you check out the twelve-part Blues Slide Guitar Workshop (Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.; Thursday at 8:00 p.m.; Friday at 1:30 p.m. on Channel 36, all systems). Host Alex Gomez opens with a tune, talks about the history and importance of slide, and then brings on guests such as Larry Williams, Roach Thompson, and John Wenzel. Amazing stuff, whether you play guitar or not.
Nights of the town fable:The Sceptor Six mix at Penrod's digs underground on Thursdays. Evolution revolves around G.B. Reef on the Key on Saturdays; arrive early 'cause there's free brew till 11:00 p.m. and other drink specials to go with the DJ mixes. Crawdaddy's restaurant is going jazz (I use the term advisedly) with bands and duos on weekends and with the masterful Tom Toyama cooking during "crabfeast" Wednesday evenings.
TV tip: Tonight WLRN-TV (Channel 17) airs What Kids Want to Know About Sex and Growing Up. C'mon, you can turn MTV and its attendant bimbos and slagboys off for a little while to (help your kids) learn something. While we're at it, Channel 17 took some hot heat lately because of some show in which a Latin actor wore blackface in character. The show was pulled. Funny, but the late Benny Hill's show, rerun on WPBT-TV (Channel 2), included blackface and nobody's complained.
The Los Angeles chamber of commerce has a new slogan: "Come to L.A. We'll treat you like a King!"
Go figure dept.: You know those T.G.I. Fantasy weekend cruises on the SS Britanis? (Call 800-423-2100 if you don't, but want to.) The junkets feature live music. This week that comes from heroic and brilliant flutist Nestor Torres. Sold out. May 22's stars the illustrious Gary King and the Dream. Virtually sold out at press time. Down-the-road shows are also selling well. But...but...but the May 29 trip with the Roach Thompson Blues Band - without question one of the best blues bands in America - is not moving those $149 tickets. I guess the blues don't sell any more than blues players sell out. What's your guess?
From small things, baby, good things sometimes get all screwed up. Of course, to reggaeman Junie Strongheart, it was no small thing. And for those who loved the jammy-sweaty environment of the Hungry Sailor when Junie's posse was rockin' steady, it's a pretty big deal, too, because it's the reason behind the end of Strongheart's run at the Grove club.
"I always do my gigs on time, I have a reliable reputation," Strongheart notes. But he walked out on a scheduled appearance at the Sailor a while back without notice. His reason: He had been paid by the club with cash that included a counterfeit $50 bill. When he went to pay off credit with Ford, he says, the $50 was rejected and "my heart fell to floor." Then, Strongheart adds, the management at the Sailor jerked him around, ignored his calls, refused to make good on the debt. "I'm out $50, that's no big deal," he says. "But having a Secret Service file for passing a bogus bill is a big deal."
On the other side of the wooden coin is Oliver Bragolusi, assistant to Sailor captain Tino Bottanelli. "It's a really stupid thing," Bragolusi says. "Junie got paid. He comes back the next day and tells Tino he wants $50 back. Tino says okay, give me a copy of the $50. The same night Junie didn't come and didn't call. I called him three times, left a message, and he never called back." The way Strongheart tells it, it was Bottanelli who was avoiding him. "I beeped him, I went down there and talked to [staff members]," Strongheart says. Bragolusi, though, adds, "Maybe Tino doesn't speak English well, or Junie misunderstood, thinks Tino doesn't want to give him the $50. But only bring me a photocopy of the fake money, we'll give it to him." With Strongheart absent, the club had to rely on a DJ that night, and Bragolusi points out that the Hungry Sailor "is famous for having a band every night." But not Junie Strongheart's any more.
Doc Wiley is still accepting tapes from bands that would like to be included on the second live-at-Washington Square CD. Call 534-1403.
Butthorn of the week: You don't have to have good taste in cornbread to have good taste in stuffing. The parts and their sums, you know? Tom Petty deserves 100 butthornings for releasing his instant riot song/video before the embers even had time to cool. Not only is the tune a piece of "Dirty Laundry" garbage, the sentiment seems bogus, and seeing it on the tube made me sick to my stomach. Told you I've been watching too much teevy.
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The media circus: There isn't a whole lot of difference when it comes to local teevy news. Last week, I arrived home from a league b-ball game tired, defeated, and hungry. As soon as the food was placed (spouses are wonderful things) before me, Channel 7's news came on with a visual of a scalded baby. Needless to say, the channel was immediately switched and the food went untouched. Later I checked the other stations, and all of them reveled in their shot of the horrifically burned infant. (I know this newspaper has published gruesome photographs, but they were contextual and important to the stories they illustrated. I also am aware that teevy news lives and dies on the strength or weakness of footage. If it ain't got pictures, it ain't news.) There was no reason to show that gruesome shot, especially without warning.
One station distorted the image without weakening its report. That was Channel 4, which has been kicking butt generally as of late. "Everybody at Channel 4 is doing very good work right now," says correspondent David Bloom, adding his concern that he might sound like a flack. "We're on fire in terms of the energy here. The last couple of weeks we've broken some major stories, like Susan Wallace on the Dade County Jail." Nice of him to share the credit, but Bloom himself is chief buttkicker on the local airwaves right now. He blew the Joe Gersten story open on Wednesday and continues to regularly contribute fine reports for NBC's network programming. So even though they did show a brief snippet of some grotesque bedsores the other day, I'm sticking with Channel 4.
The media circus revisited: Here's a shocker I've still got stuff to say about the riot-lootin' and its fallout. Jesse Jackson appeared on Arsenio Hall's show, and I had the misfortune of seeing it. Jackson and Hall are white-owned losers who feed racism with their step-and-fetch-it, Nipsy Russell bullshit. The brothers and sisters on the street know what time it is, these Oreos don't. Sorry for the slurs, but these guys really, really disgust me. Meanwhile, a dark-skinned woman caught in a passing newsbit during other teevy coverage hit it so clean when she said, "Black leaders? What do they mean `black leaders'? What are we, aliens?" There is no black and white - check your blood, blood. It's all mixed up. All mixed up. "Black leaders." Forever or until terms and semantics such as that are gone from the language, we as a species will remain lost in our own collective stupidity.
et corner: Hey, Trigger, welcome to the Todd Anthony household. Cute puppy, here boy, c'mon big fella. Hope you read this. Or at least take a dump on it (like humans often do).