La Vida Loca
Miami Style

“Oops! . . . I Did It Again” is the tune Miami officials might be humming after botching, for the second year in a row, efforts to relocate the Latin Grammy award show from Los Angeles to Florida.

The latest attempt by the Recount State to capture the internationally televised show began late last month, when Miami officials arrived in Los Angeles to meet with the folks at the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which puts on both the American and Latin Grammy shows.

The Miami team returned to Florida boasting that Grammy officials had agreed to keep Cuban performers off the show, according to Miami Mayor Joe Carollo and the Cuban American National Foundation. (They’re the same people who led the charge against U.S. federal efforts to reunite castaway “Little Elián” with his Cuban father.) Any ties to the tiny socialist Caribbean nation are deemed verboten in the politically charged, and powerful, Cuban exile community in Miami.

“I was told by two sources [that] they had talked to the Grammy people [who] had assured them no Cuban artists were coming,” Cuban-born Carollo told The Miami Herald.

The problem was that the claim by Carollo, who more recently has been back in the limelight after being arrested for allegedly hitting his wife upside the head with a tea canister, was simply not true. That’s according to Michael Greene, president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, who denied promising a Cuban ban.

Greene was unavailable for comment, but sources at the academy confirmed he had not pledged to bar Cuban acts.

Miami lost out on a bid last year to land the inaugural Latin Grammy show because of similar demands, which would have prevented Cuban performers such as the Buena Vista Social Club from appearing on the show. Greene and Grammy officials are expected in the next few weeks to announce where the September 12 Latin Grammy show will take place. After all the trouble, Grammy officials may well take their message for Miamians from another Britney Spears song: “Don’t Go Knockin’ on My Door.” —Sandra Hernandez

Clinton 2075

MARCH 11, 2075, WASHINGTON, D.C.: In a move that surprised almost no one, gravediggers, acting in response to a Senate subpoena, began today to exhume President Bill Clinton’s remains from Arlington National Cemetery.

The executive disentombing followed the Senate’s announcement of new hearings to investigate a particle of DNA found in the Oval Office humidor. The dead president is expected to receive a relentless grilling about the particle from Republican foes who seemed bent on bringing the former commander in chief to his knees, contingent, of course, on whether his knees have yet to decompose entirely.

It is the seventh time this century that the beleaguered former president has been dug up to answer questions concerning alleged wrongdoing, a record surpassing even that of former five-term President Hillary Clinton, who has undergone six unearthings.

With cryogenics playing an ever-burgeoning part in the Republican Party’s effort to humiliate the dead president, an amazing simulation of the late Senator Arlen Spector of Pennsylvania said, “Impeachment would not be out of the question.” If the Congress is successful in its efforts, this would be Clinton’s third such impeachment since his death in 2048.

One-hundred-seventy-two-year-old Senator Strom Thurmond, whose sustained efforts to embarrass the former president are surpassed only by his continued refusal to die, averred, “President Clinton was and still is . . .” (The rest of the statement was unintelligible.)

The death-impaired Clinton refused comment, but his office released a statement insisting, “The former president is once again the target of Republican enemies who still can’t run on the issues.”

From his cryogenic home at Disneyland’s famed Hall of Spinners, James Carville commented, “This is all a lot of Republican hooey. We all know that, even dead, Bubba could whup whoever the GOP puts up against him.” Carville’s comments seem supported by Bill Clinton’s unexpected third term in office (2060–2064), to date the only known instance in which a deceased candidate was elected president and served out his term. “His distinguished performance, considering his being a corpse, was first-rate,” the Ragin’ Cajun drawled.

From the Excellence in Broadcasting mausoleum, the late Rush Limbaugh issued a pre-recorded message taped for just such an event. “Clinton is like a bad burrito. He keeps repeating, and just when you think you’re rid of him, he returns and burns your butt,” Limbaugh said. The spectral broadcaster went on to add, “Dead or alive, after a hard day of hammering feminazi zombies and ACLU apparitions, I like to relax with a bottle of sugarless Snapple Iced Tea held between my formerly nicotine-stained fingers.”

With recent polls showing a 78 percent approval rating for the deceased chief executive, reporters have been asking the former president if he will run for public office again, especially given the fact that he remains severely dead. Reached in his grave, the obviously tired, but still enthusiastic Comeback Kid smiled. “It depends on what your definition of dead is.” —Steve Young

Barnsdall Butchery?

Controversy is brewing at Barnsdall Art Park, where a $21 million restoration is under way of the hilltop property and its crown jewel, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House. Community activists are objecting to city plans to remove hundreds of pine and eucalyptus trees from the Hollywood landmark to make way for an olive grove, in keeping with Wright’s original landscaping vision. They also fear that the renovation will spell the end to the 50-plus-year-old Barnsdall Art Center, the largest adult arts-education facility in the city.

“Frank Lloyd Wright may be a brilliant designer but he couldn’t build a roof that didn’t leak,” says Gordy Grundy, a founding board member of the Barnsdall Art Park Foundation. “Form must follow function in this public facility.”

Wright built Hollyhock House, his first L.A. project, in 1921 for eccentric oil heiress Aline Barnsdall. The concrete-and-stucco, Mayanesque structure with a recurring geometric motif representing Barnsdall’s favorite flower is considered one of the architect’s masterpieces. Barnsdall deeded the property to the city in 1927 to maintain in perpetuity as an art park. The adult Barnsdall Art Center had been housed in a Wright-designed guesthouse on the property. Other buildings were added in the 1960s and ‘80s for the Junior Arts Center, which provides children’s studio art classes, the Municipal Gallery and the Gallery Theater.

Park structures had been deteriorating for years, but after further damage from the Northridge earthquake and nearby Metro Rail construction, funding finally was produced for restoration. The city decided it would be too expensive to bring the Wright-designed adult Art Center up to code. Money was found, however, to replace the one-way circular drive around the park with a two-way road and traffic turnaround, to make drop-offs for the kids’ art classes more convenient. Some activists question whether saving parents a short walk is worth sacrificing the adult art center.

“They’re certainly not using any money for adult art classes,” says Aviva Weiner, treasurer of the Barnsdall Art Center Student Advisory Committee. “We don’t want to be tossed out with nowhere else to go. We’re too valuable to be lost in the bath water.”

The adult Arts Center is being housed temporarily at a nearby church, but organizers say they have no idea where or how they will survive for the long haul. Artist Jackie Dreager has made six photo collages memorializing 380 Barnsdall trees she says will be chopped down. Dreager’s work is showing at Coagula Projects gallery in downtown L.A. Hollyhock House was closed last June; the restoration was estimated to last about a year.

“There is still time for the artist and the concerned Angeleno, arm in arm, to throw some rationality and accountability into the real plan before this rusty new shovel breaks the ground,” Grundy says. —Dave Perera


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