Beach Head

At the Winter Music Conference, P. Diddy blows up dance music while the U.S. blows up Iraq

Just what is it about combat chic that helps sell negligees?

"It's big, strong, and powerful," says the manly sun god behind the wheel.

The pretty young thing nestled in the passenger seat agrees: "This is a safe car."

Every muscle absorbs the shock waves
Steve Satterwhite
Every muscle absorbs the shock waves

Shock and Awe

1:30 p.m. EST Friday, March 21

U.S. and Royal Air Force forces drop more than 1,500 missiles and bombs on Iraqi targets.

Six swimsuit models sashay down a runway jutting over the pool at the Playboy party at the Raleigh Hotel. Dressed in hot pants, each girl wears a Playboy Bunny insignia with an American flag in the middle stitched on her ass.

Mass Surrender

10 p.m. EST Friday, March 21

Message sent to Iraqi generals: "Surrender now and live; the outcome is not in doubt."

After a long day of interviews, Iranian-born DJ duo Deep Dish is hosting a party for its own record label, Yoshitoshi. Anything is better than sitting in the hotel room, watching CNN and getting depressed, says Ali Shirazinia. "There's nothing anyone here in Miami can do. The real reason for what's going on is only known by a few. Obviously, I hate what's happened to my country." Still the DJ is hopeful. "Maybe inadvertently from what's going on [in Iraq], something will happen [to change Iran] from within. Change should come from within."Give Peace a Dance

11 p.m. EST Saturday, March 22

U.S. Marines report "fewer than ten" casualties in a firefight outside Nassiriyah.

Outside the main entrance to Bayfront Park, a single demonstrator carries a placard that says, "Shocked and Aweful." It's unclear if he's commenting on the war or the sensory bombing campaign beyond the gates, where nearly 40,000 vibe troopers march between five staging areas. Bodies lie scattered on grassy knolls, casualties of pharmaceutical friendly fire, fallen into cuddle puddles.

Ten hours into this 14-hour megafest, the faithful await the Miami debut of British live techno duo Underworld. Sitting in the garden of the Royal Palm Hotel at sunset the day before, frontman Karl Hyde said he hoped to offer the crowd deliverance.

"I feel uncomfortable and powerless," Hyde said of the war. "But you know, I came to dance, and that's my job today. It's not [to] preach. Dance is creating positive situations where tens of thousands of people have got happy for hours and hours on end. It's like ripples in a pond, isn't it?"

Hyde says his father was worried about him boarding a flight for a gig in the United States. "Can't they postpone it?" his father asked, reaching his son at the airport, where just a few days before, two men had been stopped carrying homemade bombs. Hyde knew what his father meant, but he egged him on. "Postpone what? The war?"

As a Brit, the heir of an already-fallen empire, Hyde has lived with terror his whole life. He remembers seeing a bartender blown up when he was a young man in the IRA Birmingham pub bombings of 1974. "Do you think the world is any less safe now than at any other time?" he asked his father. "Postpone what?" he repeated to himself in the garden at the Royal Palm. "Postpone life?"

Going on at midnight, Underworld transforms the amphitheater into an orgy of the perpetual beat. Waving hands in the air, the crowd dances ecstatically in the aisles, on the benches, against the barricades, and in circles beneath green lasers skittering like tracer fire. They have been liberated.

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