Vote for Nudity!
Filed under: Politics
Times are tough, Miami. We're talking World War III tough. We've got our hand so far up Iraq's ass we can feel around and tell what it had for breakfast. The president of Iran has taken off his coat and rolled up his sleeves. Sabers are rattlin'. Things are looking dire.
Might all of this international tension be owed to the fact that our political leaders can't see each other's wives naked?
Here at Riptide, we think so.
Government has to be about transparency at its most basic level. How can a people have faith in a leader without knowing what his or her spouse looks like without any clothes on? Would we fear left-wing South American anti-Americanism quite so much if we could see Marisabel Rodríguez de Chávez in the buff?
Citizens of Miami Beach, if you have any interest in getting the ball rolling on this naked wife thing, begin November 6 by electing city Commissioner Simon Cruz as your mayor. During the crazy Eighties, Cruz's wife, Mariana Morgan, graced posterity with a couple of madcap movies: Private Lessons, an erotic thriller; and Busted, a sex farce featuring Corey Haim and Corey Feldman. Morgan gets nude in both, by God!
"They were B movies," Cruz points out. "At the time, she was a working actress and she was getting work." — Calvin Godfrey
Reading, Writing, and Pestilence
Filed under: News
Joanne Linardi isn't buying Miami-Dade County Public Schools' response to the reporting of a teenage student infected with a nasty, deadly germ. Linardi has been a teacher for 30 years, 22 of them at Homestead Senior High School as a 10th-grade biology instructor, so she is accustomed to district officials reacting to a problem only when the media exposes it. "Someone always has to raise a stink before they address anything," she says.
Linardi claims school administrators are not taking enough precautions to prevent the possible spread of MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant strain of staph infection that most commonly occurs among student athletes. "The teachers received a letter this past Friday," Linardi grouses. "But no one has notified the parents of the children."
According to a report released this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 19,000 people in the United States died after contracting MRSA in 2005. Five states, including Florida, have reported an increase in MRSA cases at public schools. A Virginia student died after the infection invaded his internal organs.
This past October 16, a female student at Homestead Senior High was sent to the principal's office for getting into a fight with another student, Linardi says. The girl's mother was called to pick up her daughter, who was suspended for the remainder of the week. When she met with an assistant principal, the mother revealed the child had been diagnosed with MRSA.
District spokesman John Schuster confirmed Linardi's account, adding that maintenance workers scrubbed down the eight rooms on the student's class schedule, including desks, chairs, computer keyboards, and anything else she might have touched. "We contacted the county's health department," Schuster explains. "They have not advised any further action."
As of Monday, the student had not returned to school, Schuster insists. Linardi disputes that claim. "She was back," she says. "One of her teachers refused to go into her classroom because she was there. The girl's condition needs to be checked out to make sure she is no longer carrying the bacteria." — Francisco Alvarado
Now That's Selling Out
Filed under: Culture
In 1920 the notorious public relations hack Harry Reichenbach checked into a New York hotel under the name Thomas R. Zann. He arrived with a huge crate containing, he claimed, a piano. He asked that the crate be hoisted to his suite, from where the next morning he phoned room service and ordered 15 pounds of raw meat. When the cook showed up — with the hotel detective — they discovered Zann with his pet lion and called the cops. When the press showed up with the law, Reichenbach began his pitch for the movie The Return of Tarzan.
Bert Rodriguez's corrosively droll solo show at Wynwood's Fredric Snitzer Gallery, which opened during the Saturday, October 13 gallery crawl, seems to be staking a claim to Reichenbach's mantle. Judge its merits for yourself — Rodriguez is fine with that. Plastering Snitzer's walls, the more than 30 vinyl banners hawking everything from booze to artists and hotels didn't cost Rodriguez a dime to make, and he gets to sell them all.
Instead he passed the $40,000 cost of production onto his "clients," pounding the pavement like an old-school huckster to pitch his show "Advertising Works!" — a slap at the cozy relationship between art, advertising, and consumerism and the inflated value much contemporary art now demands.
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"I contacted potential advertisers aggressively," Rodriguez says. "First I sent e-mail blasts and made phone calls; then I went door to door, talking to people to become part of my show. For two months it was like I wasn't an artist, but an ad man. It was like method acting."
Not everyone got the concept. "Some people ate it up and wanted to buy a whole wall," Rodriguez says. "Others thought I was fricking nuts and wanted to escort me out."
As for the "ad art" paid for by the "sponsors," Bustelo coffee, Stoli vodka, the Wolfsonian Museum, and the Standard Hotel: They don't get to keep their banners after the show. These ads are all now original artworks signed by Rodriguez, ranging from $700 to $6000 — about the same amount they cost to produce, the artist says. There's no public accounting required of Rodriguez, but he says the pieces are selling well, though he purports to be amazed at "the public's reception" of them.
"I've worked as an ad designer and know that most ad banners, after they have served a use, end up tossed. It's incredible that my Bustelo ad might end up on the wall of some collector's home." — Carlos Suarez De Jesus