Program Notes

We've got five years, man, that's all we got. (Sorry, Mr. Bowie.) But it's true, the millennium is quickly running out on us, and I consider it a deadline. People have to turn around what's been neglected in recent years: Feed the hungry, clothe the ragged, console the hurt, heal the wounded, house the homeless, all like that. While the legalization of cannabis would be a big step forward, even that relies on the action of the people. And so we interrupt this column for a public service announcement: The other day I received what I thought was yet another compilation CD put together to help a charity and boost the careers of certain pop stars. But there was no music on the disc, just some words spoken by Michael Stipe, Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish, Angie Hart of Frente! and others of that stripe, all repeating the same set of sentences for radio broadcast as PSAs. Well, hell, nothing to critique there, no oh-so-clever ways to meld the musical content with the benefiting cause.

That cause is RAINN, an acronym for Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. According to Congress and the FBI, there are more than 100,000 reported rapes in the U.S. of A. each year. (That's 8 times more often than European women report rape in a year, 26 times the Japanese figure.) The point is this: 800-656-HOPE. The PSAs point out that calls to this number will not appear on phone bills, which is a critical point for victims of domestic violence. The D.C.-based nonprofit seems to have everything in order A if you need them, call that number. If you don't, keep in mind those who do. As I'm sure someone before me noted, a civilization that batters its women, its children, and its animals is a civilization doomed. We'll check those rape figures again in five years.

Chord cruncher Marianne Flemming is on tour, so tonight (Thursday) and next Thursday the Blue Steel instead will present Sue Embler.

Mr. Tasty and the Bread Healers hit the Silver Dollar tonight (Thursday) with Dead Family and then play Club Crash (or is it the Crash Club?) tomorrow (Friday) with the highly recommended Drive Choir, who appear tonight (Thursday) at Cheers.

If you read last week's issue of XS and are wondering why the paper's entertainment editor went ballistic on I Don't Know for missing a photo shoot A he essentially called them stupid A maybe it was because he was just trying to fill space. One problem with that theory: He could've filled space and pointed out the ironic nature of American life, while actually reporting something. Which is that I Don't Know did perform "The Star Spangled Banner" before a recent Heat-Hornets game. The group says they showed up and rehearsed before running into a Heat exec who cringed at Ferny's dress A not just the way he was dressed, but his dress A and told the Hialeah hepsters that there was no way they'd be allowed to salute this great and free nation. So the group hauled ass over to the Omni mall, just a few blocks from the Arena, to pick up some overalls, in which Ferny ended up singing the praises of this land for the live crowd and viewers of Sunshine, the cable station that broadcast the game (and the anthem). "It was chaos," Ferny says. "But the choice was don't do it, or change and do it and deal with it later." One small victory: During their performance, bass player Tony was wearing a Jack Off Jill T-shirt.

Adam Gordon is trying to get things going at Cafe Atlantico on Thursday nights. By "things" I mean live local rock music. Tonight it's the acoustic-driven and mesmerizing Elysian; next week it's the funktastic Jennifer Culture. Bands interested in booking a gig at the cafe should send the usual package to Taxi Productions at 2932 Prairie Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33140. Fo' mo', call 672-8062.

The beneficiaries of the Talkhouse's closing seem to be apparent already. Check out the magnum lineup at Talkhouse neighbor Rose's this week: tonight (Thursday) it's the charming and provocative Red Road with the insane and gonzo Baboons; tomorrow (Friday) Magda Hiller and Diane Ward (who between them have won some 12,000 Best Female Vocalist awards) with the rock band Sabatella; Saturday those funky Jennifer Culture guys; Sunday it's Island recording artist Arlan Feiles.

I said my farewells to Stephen Talkhouse recently when Greg Brown performed there, with ol' Arlan opening. Brown began his set with "Misty" A a few verses, anyway, before he announced April Fool's. Though he's released a couple of albums since last year's visit, including the stunning masterwork The Poet Game, and though he has several hundred (if not thousand) original tunes of merit, he included in the first hour of his set several new songs. What brought the greatest revelation to this observer was not the magical brilliance of Brown's songwriting. Not his deeply moving (movingly deep, too) voice. Not his charismatic way with an anecdote. Not his incisive patter about life and living it. Nope. Now I'm prepared to argue that Greg Brown is the greatest guitar player alive today.

As for the Talkhouse itself? It closes this Sunday with Nil Lara performing. The 'House had a good three years. See ya at Tobacco Road.

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Greg Baker