Nightclub Jitters

La Covacha, the Northwest Dade salsa and Latin rock roadhouse, has a new logo -- a red parrot wearing a fireman's hat. The bird appears on the club's invitation to a "hot, hot, hot party," which reads, "We told you and we proved it. We are so hot we burned down!!"

On the morning of Tuesday, July 25, a fire department dispatcher called La Covacha owner Aurelio Rodriguez to tell him the club was on fire A and he wasn't describing the ambiance on the dance floor. By the time Rodriguez joined firefighters at the scene, the thatched roof, bars, tables, and sound system were destroyed. The club owner spotted what he considered a suspicious sort pedaling a bicycle away from the blaze, and police caught up with the alleged perp at a nearby shopping mall. The suspect, Celestino Zayas, age 40, of Little Havana, was arrested on felony charges of second degree arson, according to Metro-Dade Police Det. Pat Brickman. Rodriguez believes the fire was instigated by either a jealous competitor or someone who had been denied admission by La Covacha's selective doorman.

Rodriguez had the ruins bulldozed the day after the fire, brought in a pressure-cleaning crew and a sound technician, and set up a huge white tent in the club's parking lot, which will serve as a temporary site for La Covacha's popular weekend parties. The Saturday after the fire it looked as if a Cuban wedding were in progress -- sizzling barbecue, all manner of Latin music pouring from the tent. "You got to make the best out of the worst," observes Rodriguez. "Oye, we're still here, baby."

Child's Play
By Michael Yockel
Hey, kids, toss away those Power Rangers. Here comes West Kendall's Susan Shane-Linder with her debut album, Singin' with Susan, a ten-song collection of souped-up children's classics (a percolating tropical take on "You Are My Sunshine," a rocking medley of "ABC/Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star/Eensy Weensy Spider") and originals -- including the boogie-a-go-go "Freeze Dance" -- that Shane-Linder wrote with producer C. Paul Hoyle. "He'd approached me about doing this," relates Shane-Linder, "and I'm thinking, right, who wants to listen to me sing 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star?'" He persisted; she relented. While Shane-Linder sings and accompanies herself on guitar, Hoyle works overtime on the synthesizer and computer to fill out the mix. Shane-Linder notes her target audience lies in the two- to eight-year-old range. When they hit eight, kid-song tune-out sets in. No way: Who won't love Susan's bass-poppin' cover of Mac Davis's "I Believe in Music"? Available from Shane-Linder, 14472 SW 138th Pl., Miami,

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Judy Cantor