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The already crowded field of glossy magazines aimed at gay men in South Florida is about to get a new competitor. Muchacho magazine will join David, Scoop, and HOTspots! next month in vying for the attention of barflies and club hoppers across South Florida. As the name implies, Muchacho will focus on the gay Latino market. Its publishers hope to capitalize on the huge Hispanic population in the area, as well as on a groundswell of interest among gringos in all things Latino. (Can you say "Ricky Martin"?)

Muchacho's co-publisher John Whitaker, who was formerly the national sales director of David, notes that almost every gay club in the area now has a thriving noche latina or some other promotional shtick to attract Hispanics. "It's completely booming," he says. "The Latins have completely come out of the closet."

While South Florida will be a major focus, the folks at Muchacho expect eventually to distribute their magazine internationally. Arrangements have already been made to give away the magazine at locations in Los Angeles, Houston, New York, San Juan, and several other cities. The initial circulation will be 20,000.

Muchacho also hopes to differentiate itself from the other gay-themed publications in its design. The magazine is no bigger than a postcard, so it can fit in the back pockets of loyal readers. And perforated pages featuring advertisements can be ripped right out. What about the articles, you ask? Look for a heavy dose of travel and entertainment -- not to mention a lot of advertiser coddling.

Who reads the articles in these kinds of magazines anyway?

Back in 1993 Delray Beach was dubbed an "All-American City" by the National Civic League, and since then the city has flaunted the commendation with all the subtlety of a hurricane. The patriotic designation looms behind the dais at city commission meetings, adorns road signs, and is noted on the city's Website. Delray Beach was once again a finalist for the honor last year, although it didn't make the final cut of ten cities.

At last week's otherwise sleep-inducing city commission meeting (note to Hollywood commissioners: The entire proceedings took no longer than two hours, with a break), neighborhood activist Carolyn Zimmerman sprinkled some dirt on Delray Beach's apple-pie image.

Zimmerman is part of a city-appointed commission of 40 citizens considering whether Delray Beach should enter the National Civic League's competition in the year 2000. Peeved by recent city developments such as the possible construction of Worthing Place, a five-story, apartment-and-retail complex slated for East Atlantic Avenue, she told the commission she believes the city is no longer worthy of the "All-American" moniker.

"I believe you must listen to the needs of the community," she told the city commissioners, "and not to outside developers."

Apparently someone forgot to inform Zimmerman that kowtowing to developers and other moneyed interests is the American way -- or at least the South Florida way.

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Rich Shea