Program Notes

Told ya I'd say more. Greg Brown's latest masterpiece, Dream Cafe, has been released, and might even be available in better record stores. (If you can't find it, call 800-695-4687.) The album is studded with mind-boggling guitar inventions - the acoustic glides of "I Don't Know That Guy" perfectly accentuate and support the lyrical craftsmanship, which has the narrator examining himself in the third person, and the scintillating electric tingles of "Nice When it Rains" will leave you stunned and dripping wet. Throughout, the writing is typical Brown. Dunno 'bout you, but I can feel lyrics such as "And I still remember the soft lines of her drunken face/As she stood there in my doorway like a cat up in a tree" from "Sleeper" and this bitter self-deception about loneliness from "Just By Myself:" "I'll fold the laundry/Just like I please/And put the sheets on/Just like I please/And in my dreams/Find sweet release/And I'll be happy/Just by myself/Hee-hee-hee-hee-hee-hee."

Thanks, Uncle Neil. (What do we owe ya, about $50K?)
Whoa, bro: Nestor Torres jams with guests at South Beat on Thursday for a mere $5 cover. But if you want to enjoy America's premier jazz flutist in concert Friday and Saturday at the same venue, it'll cost you no less than $15. Nestor's worth it, I admit, but damn that's a steep cover charge for a club show. Washington Square boasts a mega rockout with the screaming One, the piercing Genitorturers, "heavy metal" heroes Amboog-a-lard, and Jailbreak this Saturday. The Awakening Concert '92 to help Amnesty International takes place all day Saturday at FAU (on Glades Road in Boca Raton; 355-5293). One will be there, too, along with Big Tall Wish, Black Janet, Counter Point, the Funk, Gracies Buttons, Livid Kittens, Out of the Blue, Skin Tight, and Village Idiots. And the one-night Clash of the Titans seems to be settling in on Sundays at 455 Ocean Dr. This week's Clash features the Holy Terrors and the Funk, plus a tentative guest appearance by another top local act.

One of my favorite writer/journalists in the world, Legs McNeil, blew through this humble burg recently on assignment for a major metropolitan magazine. He told me in the strictest, off-the-record confidence what he thought of South Beach: "Models and drunks, nothing but models and drunks." Come back soon, Legs.

Time to start the hype for the Slammie Awards, planned for June at Summers.
Thanks to WSHE-FM (not, for sure, Shorefire PR or Sony Music), I heard some more NewBruce before this column's deadline. Both tracks sound a lot like Bruce Springsteen, as do the other advance releases, "Better Days" and "Human Touch." "Glorious Eyes" and "The Big Muddy" actually sound a lot like Bruce Springsteen B-sides (think "Held Up Without a Gun"). And the two new ones also sound like the exact same one-chord tune recorded at different speeds. And that's all I have to say. (Ha! Just kidding. There is no new Springsteen album. It's all a hoax!)

Temple Schultz is the new local Capitol A&R intern. Send those demos to PO Box 4311051, Miami, 33243-1051. Or dial her up at 669-8817.

SoFlo superhistorian Dr. Paul George and wife Laura are celebrating the March 19 birth of son Paul Sargis Vincent George. Congrats.

Butthorn of the week: The Miami Herald. The only "problem" with "illegal" jitneys is the establishment's refusal to face the simple fact that people pay for superior service, and deserve the right to do so. As in so many cases, independent operators have beat the government at one of its games by getting the job done better and at lower cost. Free enterprise, it's called. To Metro government and other authorities: Leave the jitneys - and the citizens who depend on them - alone. Get your own shop in order and compete, rather than crybabying and bullying to maintain your monopoly. To the Herald editorialists who've campaigned against the jitneys and for the government: Shut up.

The media circus and pet corner: Among the many difficult and unpleasant things I force myself to do is to read articles about how humans brutalize other animals. This stuff turns my stomach and makes serial murder seem a fairly reasonable course of action. Nonetheless I do it, and sometimes I come across writing so excellent I'm moved to share it with you. The cover story "Who's Stealing Your Pets?" in the April issue of The Animals' Agenda is one example. Author Merritt Clifton seems to cover the entire history of pet theft, breaks that down into specific numbers, explains the reasons and ways it occurs, examines deep underlying issues. The research is incredible, the writing style easily digestible. The story could be proudly published by any print medium in America. Summing up, Clifton suggests solutions: 1) reduce demand by campaigning against dissection for biological education; 2) regulate classroom dissection; and 3) inform police and judicial officials that people who harm animals will eventually turn their evildoing toward humans. The final sentence ghosts back to the article's anecdotal opening. "Somewhere in a dimly lit barn," Clifton writes, "a man in bloodstained overalls is still gathering up the guts from illicitly butchered deer to feed a yard full of stolen animals their last meal before they are gassed, packed in formaldehyde, and delivered to a school near you.

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Greg Baker