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
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
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
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
YMCA, and working on a few activist projects like singing in Reverend Billy and
Church of Stop Shopping's gospel choir (which later changed its name to
after shopping) and learning the ways of street theater from my
the time Monica
Hunken who was invested heavily in doing ballsy street theater,
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
time, but eventually I would come to apply my own bastardized version of
theatrical stunting I picked up from the NYC crew.
However, South Florida is a different political beast, and I am
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
right, and less hard right. And much less potential solidarity if you
into political trouble with shady night club business interests
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
class, which protects some terrorists (our terrorists), and chastises
(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
U.S. economic orbit by removing the Spanish. Cuba from 1900-until 1959
basically a U.S. proxy, with U.S. backed governments and economic
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
population. This of course is not good if you were a local business
that is used to having the money and everyone else must go to you to see
you want to spend it. Many of the top society that could get out of
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
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 '
This background is crucial to understanding part of my character and the
political and money climate that exists on the business side of night
that the frivolity rests on top of. There was another and perhaps more
significantly disruptive aspect to my character than my day time
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that was my dance and fashion style...a matter to which we'll return
Next week: My introduction to the club scene in Broward. The Rose and
Crown, and Roxanne's.