South Florida is clogged with bands trying to pass off anger, volume, and beefy muscles as some kind of artistic statement. This path-of-least-resistance approach works part of the time, covering up weak spots with a sheen of shouts and bar chords. Enter Hashbrown, a Fort Lauderdale group that's not exactly subtle itself, but there's some real innovation in the band's decibel-heavy onslaught. Starting at slab level, drummer Steve Williams and bassist-singer Clarence Spencer form a perfectly symbiotic rhythm section, laying down guillotine-sharp grooves for guitarist Duncan Cameron to stretch his effects across. Adding turntable master Boogie Waters to the mix last year may have been Hashbrown's smartest move, with the smorgasbord of sound effects adding a new dimension to the rock-solid funk. Hashbrown may be grounded in the old-school machinery of Parliament/ Funkadelic and the like, but the group has obviously spent time plotting the future of the genre, too: Modernizing the sound puts Hashbrown in the same league as industrial-funk powerhouses like Tackhead and Little Axe. The band members are serious, too -- silly stage patter and self-congratulatory back-patting are kept to a minimum. Call it thinking man's hard rock.
South Florida is clogged with bands trying to pass off anger, volume, and beefy muscles as some kind of artistic statement. This path-of-least-resistance approach works part of the time, covering up weak spots with a sheen of shouts and bar chords. Enter Hashbrown, a Fort Lauderdale group that's not exactly subtle itself, but there's some real innovation in the band's decibel-heavy onslaught. Starting at slab level, drummer Steve Williams and bassist-singer Clarence Spencer form a perfectly symbiotic rhythm section, laying down guillotine-sharp grooves for guitarist Duncan Cameron to stretch his effects across. Adding turntable master Boogie Waters to the mix last year may have been Hashbrown's smartest move, with the smorgasbord of sound effects adding a new dimension to the rock-solid funk. Hashbrown may be grounded in the old-school machinery of Parliament/ Funkadelic and the like, but the group has obviously spent time plotting the future of the genre, too: Modernizing the sound puts Hashbrown in the same league as industrial-funk powerhouses like Tackhead and Little Axe. The band members are serious, too -- silly stage patter and self-congratulatory back-patting are kept to a minimum. Call it thinking man's hard rock.
John Dufresne isn't really a Florida writer, even though he lives in Dania Beach and teaches at Florida International University. But Dufresne doesn't trade in detective novels suffused with only-in-South Florida weirdness like most of our local scribes. There are no hurricane-liberated rabid monkeys or drawbridge-jumping manatee lovers populating his stories. Dufresne's forte is something more enigmatic, more universal, more difficult, like true, monogamous love and whether it can truly exist. Or the substitution of everyday life and its frustrations with fictional representations or past-life remembrances. In his most recent novel, Love Warps the Mind a Little, Dufresne delightfully chronicles the hapless, bitter life of unsuccessful writer Lafayette Proulx. Laf's comrades in misery include his perpetually crying, soon-to-be-ex-wife, his cancer-ravaged psychiatrist mistress, and his Jeopardy!-obsessed coworker at Our Lady of the Sea fast-food fish joint. It's a funny, beguiling, and thoughtful contemplation of love, death, failure, and, well, life. And there's a bit of South Florida weirdness thrown in: The rest of Laf's family has relocated from Massachusetts to La Florida, where his brother worships Jesus and professional wrestling equally and his parents own a Canuck-catering hotel in Dania Beach.
John Dufresne isn't really a Florida writer, even though he lives in Dania Beach and teaches at Florida International University. But Dufresne doesn't trade in detective novels suffused with only-in-South Florida weirdness like most of our local scribes. There are no hurricane-liberated rabid monkeys or drawbridge-jumping manatee lovers populating his stories. Dufresne's forte is something more enigmatic, more universal, more difficult, like true, monogamous love and whether it can truly exist. Or the substitution of everyday life and its frustrations with fictional representations or past-life remembrances. In his most recent novel, Love Warps the Mind a Little, Dufresne delightfully chronicles the hapless, bitter life of unsuccessful writer Lafayette Proulx. Laf's comrades in misery include his perpetually crying, soon-to-be-ex-wife, his cancer-ravaged psychiatrist mistress, and his Jeopardy!-obsessed coworker at Our Lady of the Sea fast-food fish joint. It's a funny, beguiling, and thoughtful contemplation of love, death, failure, and, well, life. And there's a bit of South Florida weirdness thrown in: The rest of Laf's family has relocated from Massachusetts to La Florida, where his brother worships Jesus and professional wrestling equally and his parents own a Canuck-catering hotel in Dania Beach.
What festival would be complete without plenty of head-sucking? We're talking about crawfish, of course, and the annual Cajun/ Zydeco Crawfish Festival comes with 35,000 pounds of the gnarly little crustaceans alive and kicking. Then throw in red beans and rice, crawfish bisque, étouffée, alligator, and muffulettas, all of it spicy. And there's enough gumbo at the festival to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool, too. When you're not busy spiking your tongue with the hot eats, you can get up and dance to the accordion-squeezing, foot-stomping zydeco music playing on stages complete with wooden dance floors. Bands like BeauSoleil, the Savoy Cajun Band, the VooDudes, the Déjà Vu Cajun Dance Band, and the Gumbo Junkyard kept the stadium rockin' in 1999, and if that wasn't enough to loosen you up, the fest offers red hurricanes and other assorted spirits being poured at a harrowing clip. For all you family stiffs, the place is tailor-made for kids, too, with children's activities, storytelling, and Cajun history lessons. Of course, it doesn't come cheap: Tickets cost $12 (will be $14 this year) at the gate (children age 12 and under free), and you have to pay for the food and beverages. Then again, the good things in life are rarely free.
What festival would be complete without plenty of head-sucking? We're talking about crawfish, of course, and the annual Cajun/ Zydeco Crawfish Festival comes with 35,000 pounds of the gnarly little crustaceans alive and kicking. Then throw in red beans and rice, crawfish bisque, étouffée, alligator, and muffulettas, all of it spicy. And there's enough gumbo at the festival to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool, too. When you're not busy spiking your tongue with the hot eats, you can get up and dance to the accordion-squeezing, foot-stomping zydeco music playing on stages complete with wooden dance floors. Bands like BeauSoleil, the Savoy Cajun Band, the VooDudes, the Déjà Vu Cajun Dance Band, and the Gumbo Junkyard kept the stadium rockin' in 1999, and if that wasn't enough to loosen you up, the fest offers red hurricanes and other assorted spirits being poured at a harrowing clip. For all you family stiffs, the place is tailor-made for kids, too, with children's activities, storytelling, and Cajun history lessons. Of course, it doesn't come cheap: Tickets cost $12 (will be $14 this year) at the gate (children age 12 and under free), and you have to pay for the food and beverages. Then again, the good things in life are rarely free.
At first glance Morey's Lounge looks like your average hillbilly hangout. No flashing neon lights announce "Topless Showgirls." No billboard promotes special appearances by porn starlets like Barbi Leigh. No valet awaits in some feeble attempt to make it seem like you're doing something more refined than gawking at naked babes. Morey's offers simply a pair of signs on the windowless door warning against "weapons" and "biker attire" and a small roadside billboard advertising "topless go-go-girls." Topless (and bottomless) go-go girl is more like it. Most nights the lone dancer on the makeshift runway is on a first-name basis with the handful of men in the joint and consults them before picking her tunes from a jukebox stocked with Bob Seger songs and country standards. Don't expect to see silicone-enhanced, liposuction-sculpted beauties like you find at most South Florida titty bars. The dancers at Morey's more closely resemble the big-haired girl from the wrong side of the tracks whom you secretly lusted after in high school. We're never sure whether to cover our eyes in embarrassment or order another $4 Bud and slip another dollar in her garter belt. After all, she probably has six little ones waiting back home at the trailer park.
At first glance Morey's Lounge looks like your average hillbilly hangout. No flashing neon lights announce "Topless Showgirls." No billboard promotes special appearances by porn starlets like Barbi Leigh. No valet awaits in some feeble attempt to make it seem like you're doing something more refined than gawking at naked babes. Morey's offers simply a pair of signs on the windowless door warning against "weapons" and "biker attire" and a small roadside billboard advertising "topless go-go-girls." Topless (and bottomless) go-go girl is more like it. Most nights the lone dancer on the makeshift runway is on a first-name basis with the handful of men in the joint and consults them before picking her tunes from a jukebox stocked with Bob Seger songs and country standards. Don't expect to see silicone-enhanced, liposuction-sculpted beauties like you find at most South Florida titty bars. The dancers at Morey's more closely resemble the big-haired girl from the wrong side of the tracks whom you secretly lusted after in high school. We're never sure whether to cover our eyes in embarrassment or order another $4 Bud and slip another dollar in her garter belt. After all, she probably has six little ones waiting back home at the trailer park.
One of this bar's best traits is its location, location, location. It's far enough north on Hollywood's Broadwalk to escape the teeming sunburned masses, but it's still only footsteps away from the tide. Mexican tile, honey-toned woods, and a cascade of white Christmas lights adorning the walls give the place a cozy and unpretentious feel. Two large plate glass windows face east and south for a nightly view that includes coconut palms, moonlit waters, and cruise ships twinkling on the horizon. But this lounge also opens up at 8 a.m. and serves buttermilk pancakes, omelets, and freshly squeezed orange juice, which, for those in need of a little hair of the dog, can be spiked with your choice of vodka. The kitchen also offers a prime rib special on Thursday nights ($11.95) and typical bar fare such as fried mozzarella sticks and slaw dogs. Weekends get hectic with regulars roaring up on Harleys and Ninjas, but weeknights belong to the mellow, the contemplative, and the clandestine.
Ocean's Eleven On The Beach
One of this bar's best traits is its location, location, location. It's far enough north on Hollywood's Broadwalk to escape the teeming sunburned masses, but it's still only footsteps away from the tide. Mexican tile, honey-toned woods, and a cascade of white Christmas lights adorning the walls give the place a cozy and unpretentious feel. Two large plate glass windows face east and south for a nightly view that includes coconut palms, moonlit waters, and cruise ships twinkling on the horizon. But this lounge also opens up at 8 a.m. and serves buttermilk pancakes, omelets, and freshly squeezed orange juice, which, for those in need of a little hair of the dog, can be spiked with your choice of vodka. The kitchen also offers a prime rib special on Thursday nights ($11.95) and typical bar fare such as fried mozzarella sticks and slaw dogs. Weekends get hectic with regulars roaring up on Harleys and Ninjas, but weeknights belong to the mellow, the contemplative, and the clandestine.

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