Ya know snowbound New York rock-industry hotshots have their calendars blocked out, and so should you, even if you aren't escaping the big chill. You rock, right? Mark off December 9 for the South Florida Rock Awards at the Button South. (By the way, I think the battle between this event and the defeated "Florida Rock Awards" might be the biggest nonstory in local rock this year.) The next snowbird vacation excuse comes along January 30, when Miami Rocks, Too! and the East Coast Music Forum festivities begin. And February 28, it's back to Miami again for Thon '92, Washington Square's annual on-stage megamarathon. Club owner Bill True is hoping to present 150 bands over a sixteen-day period this year. Those interested in appearing should get a demo tape and promo pack to the Square boys by the end of 1991.
I'll eat Yogi Berra's mitt if this ain't deja vu all over again. For weeks I've been enjoying the new 2 Live Crew album, Sports Weekend. Nobody 'panked me for being a bad boy, and I wasn't moved to rape, sodomize, insult, belittle, or harass a single woman or child. This private peacefulness was a really weird feeling, and it didn't last. Last week we listed a number of highlights from Jack Thompson's latest barrage of anti-Crew faxes. This week censorship expands its scope.
* Leonard Pitts, Jr. You know you're in trouble when members of the press begin intimating that censorship is okay in some cases. Censorship thrives on two great lies: 1) "I defend your First Amendment rights, however..." and 2) "in some cases." Sure, it's okay if the case happens to be Ice Cube or 2 Live Crew. And it's okay if it's MTV and music videos. And it's okay...if it's the Miami Herald? Pitts, the Herald's pop-music writer, denounced Ice Cube last week, supporting the censoring efforts of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which claims the Cube is anti-Semitic. "Where I come from," Pitts writes, "`bitch' is still an anti-woman term and `nigger' remains anti-black." Well, gee, if it offends you, Leonard, then it's offensive. Pitts also opines that "there is no right to hatred." If that's true, there may as well be no rights at all.
* Sen. Robert Byrd. The West Virginia Democrat has begun an attack on music videos, according to a report in Variety. I'm no fan of vids, but I hate censorship, and this is a prime example of how dissing 2 Live Crew for saying "bitch" can lead to the downfall of Western civilization. Variety quotes Byrd as saying, "Most rock musicians and actors in music videos emerge as sneering, antisocial, unkempt, undisciplined and arrogant punks, male and female alike." Byrd brain goes on to explain that the "images" purveyed by vids could make "the foundations of our society rot away as if from leprosy." When they outlaw sneering, only outlaws will sneer? This dangerous moron is still a senator?
* The New Times advertising department. "I got a censorship story for you," says Bill Orcutt of the Alliance, "and the offending party is your paper." Last issue the word "blowjobs" appeared in this space several times, only because I was quoting Jack Thompson. The salesfolk, in the same issue, prohibited the use of that word in an ad for No Skin Off My Ass, an Alliance film presentation. "A Fag, A Punk, A B.J." was what the ad read. "A Fag, A Punk, A Blowjob" is the way the ad was written by the Alliance folks. Policy, the ad department says. Fodder for further discussion, I say.
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Ready for a breath of sanity? Marc Bercoon, vice president and general counsel for Equity Properties, which manages the Mall at 163rd Street, says, in a very nice way, that Jack Thompson is a liar. Thompson sent out a fax press release stating that the mall "has just decided to demand...that Spec's pull all copies of 2 Live Crew's new obscene album...from their store shelves." Bercoon, on the other hand, says, "If this [album] is `obscene' and illegal, there are enforcement bodies out there to enforce the obscenity laws and pursue this matter in an appropriate manner. If it were our store, we wouldn't sell it. But it's a tough balancing test. This is maybe a more egregious case than other cases could be, but I feel it's irresponsible to pick and choose and draw a line when a landlord is going to step in and say this item is not to be sold. Since there are laws on the books, if this is not protected speech, there should be some police enforcement element telling Spec's it's illegal. As soon as that happened, we would step in. If Mr. Thompson is that interested in the issue, it's admirable, because it is an important issue."
Things happen: Kudos to Summers for staging the recent Miami Rocks listening parties, and for presenting the Homegrown Festival this weekend. Friday and Saturday the club hosts some fifteen local outfits. And Forget the Name is back, ready for an in-store at Yesterday & Today November 24. The excellent band has a limited edition five-song acoustic tape, Subtleties of Anger, ready for your ears.
Butthorn of the week: The cops who busted UM running back Marty Patton. Must've been Seminole fans.
The media circus: Did anyone else find it bizarre and hilarious that alleged sex-tape salesmen Guy Seligman and Guy Rubin met at Two Guys Italian Restaurant?