Program Notes

Don't you know who I am? No, me neither. After paying five bucks to not see Nil Lara live at Stephen Talkhouse (see "Butthorn of the week" below), I was looking for something to do on the streets of South Beach when I bumped into Rene Alvarez of Forget the Name. "Yo, bro, let's go to Velvet!" He looked at me as if I were crazy, which I am, which he knows. But he came along anyway. We got to the ropes A still blocking a public thoroughfare, which is illegal and will (as soon as someone smart stumbles over one and "injures" himself) bring some hefty lawsuit action A and eyed the doormen. They smirked. I said, "Hey, is Leonard Pitts here?" The doorman said he didn't know who Pitts was. "How about Tara Solomon?" A flash of recognition in the doorman's eyes, then glumness: "Don't know her." All right, buckwheat, how about Rene Alvarez of Forget the Name? "Never heard of him." Darn, and I figured you for a Burdines commercials fan. Sorry to put you through that little gag, Rene, but ignorance always makes me laugh and I needed one right then.

The Plus Five is scaling back on the original rock. Apparently the club will continue booking the good stuff Thursday through Saturday, but no more seven days per week.

My wife and I caught Jonathan Richman the other night at Talkhouse. The audience was silent -- not quiet, silent -- during the two sets, which is fortunate because Richman himself wasn't much louder. The guy refuses to sing into the mike, refuses to be heard without strain. He makes Greg Brown sound like the Ramones. When a speaker near us began to buzz, it overwhelmed Richman's guitar and voice. (Thanks for turning it off, guys.) When the ice machine cranked up, it provided powerful percussive backing. And it was cool A the Bermuda skit was hilarious, and when someone showed up late and got word to Richman that it was her birthday, Richman began the second set with "Happy Birthday" for the special guest whose name I couldn't find out. Richman tours by Greyhound, and on the way home, in the dense rain on 836, we passed a bus that I'm sure was his.

This Saturday the (new) Volunteers play live at Churchill's Hideaway. Break those chains.

Couple of big names in town this week: The great jazz guitarist Bill Frisell A whose workshop at UM was overbooked two weeks in advance A plays live at Talkhouse on Sunday, followed by the voice-percussion-keyboard trio Kia. And the equally great bluesman Eddie Kirkland streaks the lights at Tobacco Road on Saturday.

Mr. Twister hits the Road tomorrow (Friday).
Doubt it's dedicated to me, but "Insanity" is what they're calling the Baboons's debut at the Edge in Fort Lauderdale next Wednesday. The ten-plus (it varies) member band is recording and has several other big shows scheduled in March.

One of the ascending groups in South Florida, the always intriguing Six Silver Spiders, crawls into Squeeze tomorrow (Friday).

Happy fifth anniversary to O'Hara's Pub.
They're back, for sure, Live Bait, joining the Kasuals at Musicians Exchange tonight (Thursday).

Butthorn of the week: Stephen Talkhouse for booking Nil Lara. The guy's too big a name to play such a small venue. The place wasn't packed, it was mobbed, and I even had one of the owners out front screaming "Talkhouse sucks!" No, I don't have a solution, and yes, I'm half joking. It was ugly, and if Loren hadn't bought me a beer, I'd have demanded my five dollars admission back because I could not get inside to hear and see Meester Lara and his amazing band. On the other half of the equation, it's nice to see a true local hero getting nuff respect from the masses.

The media circus: Don't know what you thought of John Hood's take on White Zombie, especially because you probably aren't aware -- and he didn't mention it -- that Hood has followed the splattercore monsters since their earliest days at CBGB in New Yawk. Essentially, Hood was raving about the band, though I don't care for them much, and most of the people I spoke with on the club circuit last week don't either. However, Stereophile magazine, the bible of high-tech audio geeks and freaks, apparently does. Each year the mag publishes a "Records to Die For" list. The criteria: "A musical selection must not only feature a performance of great significance, but must also be presented with impeccable detail and sonic excellence...." Most of the list features classical and other highbrow stuff. But the list also includes, yes, White Zombie's La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Vol. 1. So there.

Pet corner: To everyone who writes me or the editor about the gibberish I get published in New Times: thank you. David and Albert and the rest of you who sent me tons of stuff about the Everglades and Carl and Ron and others who claim to like my work A your words are my paycheck. (God knows I couldn't live on a journalist's salary alone.) And special thanks to Jennifer Winston, the communications director at the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida. She asserts that while reading a story I wrote not long ago about hanging out in what's left of the Everglades, she actually cried. I'm not as impressed by the fact it affected her that way as I am that she bothered to tell me. Jennifer used to be involved in the local-rock scene -- "a few years ago you and I were introduced at the Island Club (I think the Nukes were playing)" -- but decided to devote all her energy and life to the fight to end the vicious and inexcusable cruelty humans punish other animals with. "It is a shame," Winston writes, "that before people realize what beauty they have here in Florida, it will all be gone." It's more than a shame. It's beyond words what people have done to this planet. It's evil and vast and there's no adequate name for it.