There is Enough Content: Reflections of a Disco Infiltrator Part One

Evan Rowe is a local songwriter and performer best-known as

Catalonia, a professor of political science and history at Broward

College, and a small-d democratic strategist with no party affiliation.

Each week, we surrender our space for his thoughts on the music industry

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and how they relate to our region. This week, a background piece regarding Evan's past in the club scene.

This is a background piece on my time developing a night

club character and then being stalked and psychologically tortured by

"party" interests that act, as they stated to me, above the law and

above the politicians and that I should move on and forget about it.

Words, inevitably cannot really explain most of it, but the medium is the

message, and I'll fit what I can into this format.

A few years back, after I moved back to Fort Lauderdale from New York, I

was

bored and looking for action. I was 27 and it was 2005 when all of what

I'm about to tell you started.  I had little interest or knowledge of

night clubs or where the action was down here but I was going to find

what

there was just because there wasn't much to do.

I had just finished

graduate school, where I had spent my time reading, playing basketball

at the

YMCA, and working on a few activist projects like singing in Reverend Billy and

the

Church of Stop Shopping's gospel choir (which later changed its name to

life

after shopping) and learning the ways of street theater from my

girlfriend at

the time Monica

Hunken who was invested heavily in doing ballsy street theater,

political

theater and other types of things you never really see down here. I

mention this because it influenced me, probably more than I realized at

the

time, but eventually I would come to apply my own bastardized version of

the

theatrical stunting I picked up from the NYC crew.

However, South Florida is a different political beast, and I am

inherently a

political person.  The general political climate down here is a noxious

combination of an apolitical or mildly informed majority and a committed

minority of power worshiping right wingers. Despite the electoral wins

for big D Democrats, the actual mechanics of the political climate of

the big D

is driven by the same right wing business forces (the need for private

financing of campaigns for instance) as it is in the GOP. So it's

culturally liberal, but in terms of real power, you have the hard

ideological

right, and less hard right.  And much less potential solidarity if you

get

into political trouble with shady night club business interests

(accidentally),

and even less if you get into that trouble in Miami, home to "one of the biggest terrorist havens in the world".

Of course, the crucial support for terrorists must come from the

political

class, which protects some terrorists (our terrorists), and chastises

others

(those that aren't serving us).

But all of this was purely abstract to me in 2005. I know the basics of

Castro coming to power, about as much as I knew about the Platt

Amendment from the Spanish American war when the U.S. moved Cuba

into the

U.S. economic orbit by removing the Spanish. Cuba from 1900-until 1959

was

basically a U.S. proxy, with U.S. backed governments and economic

policies

carried out for the benefit of the U.S. and the local elites on the

island.  When Castro comes to power, he basically takes the wealth that

was controlled by the few, and at least in theory kicks it out to the

general

population. This of course is not good if you were a local business

elite

that is used to having the money and everyone else must go to you to see

how

you want to spend it.  Many of the top society that could get out of

Cuba,

took what they could, and hauled ass. That's Cuban revolution 101 from

the broad perspective of the U.S. track record in Cuba and many other

places. Now, I tell this story pretty quickly when I'm discussing this

in

public.  I'm not much of a pimp for Castro or the Cuban Revolution.

But I'm fairly matter of fact about saying that Castro, compared to say

Pinochet or the Contras that attacked Nicaraguan civil society in the '

80s looks

mild.

This background is crucial to understanding part of my character and the

political and money climate that exists on the business side of night

clubs

that the frivolity rests on top of.  There was another and perhaps more

significantly disruptive aspect to my character than my day time

politics--and

that was my dance and fashion style...a matter to which we'll return

next week.

Next week:  My introduction to the club scene in Broward. The Rose and

Crown, and Roxanne's.


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