Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida, Europe and Sweden. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura.
Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Florida is still showbiz 'terra incognita' just like 1970's: Conan O'Brian ignoring Sunshine State for upcoming comedy tour; Jon Marlowe, influential rock critic and confidant

Geography as entertainment destiny?
South Florida as unknown land?
It's déjà vu all over again.

Today's edition of The Wrap this morning carries the news that we all could have predicted almost
from the moment we first heard that Conan O'Brien couldn't appear on TV until this Fall as a result of his exit deal with NBC-TV, and would be keeping his name in the news -and polishing his material- thru a nationwide tour.

The Wrap TV Editor Josef Adalian reports that, among other things, the Sunshine State is nowhere
to be found on the itinerary, not even Gainesville or Orlando, which you'd think would be the state default.

The closest venue to South Florida where he's appearing on his Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour is -wait for it -Atlanta.

Like that's the first time that's ever been the case for something of interest, right?
That's an emphatic no!

It's déjà vu all over again, since that was the case with The Clash's first American tour, Pearl Harbor '79which if I recall correctly, started at the Fox Theater there, as the great Jon Marlowe of the late Miami News was all over that story in a way that no reporter in South Florida today could be.

Just as Jon had been in-the-loop for The Sex Pistols before, during and after their first visit to our shores.
(Or maybe the Fox was where the Sex Pistols first U.S. venue was?)

South Florida kids today take it for granted that a group or entertainer who's hot or topical will perform in South Florida, even if that requires a trip up 95 to Palm Beach.

Back in the '70's, when the only South Florida venue large enough to handle crowds for big acts like Bob Seeger or Fleetwood Mac was the Miami Baseball Stadium, and then, only during certain part of the year, music fans down here who wanted to see LIVE performances had to consistently get in their car and make tracks for Tampa/St. Pete or Orlando.

This latest bit of news reminds me of fun weekend trips with friends in the late '70's and trips never taken because Atlanta was just a bit too far to get back to North Miami Beach Senior High in time for school on Monday morning.

While I was in high school at NMBHS, because I was such a good and reliable source for the Miami News' Sports Dept. in covering high school sports, esp. soccer and gymnastics, I was a frequent visitor to the newspaper, located inside of The Herald Building on Biscayne Blvd., with a killer view of Biscayne Bay and the Venetian Causeway.

There, I soaked up the atmosphere like a sponge, usually not venturing far from the Sports and Entertainment desks.
Sports was manned more often than not by Marty Klinkenberg, Tom Archdeacon and Charlie Nobles, later of the New York Times.

The Entertainment desk was often in the hands of the incredible Jon Marlowe, a South Florida institution who was a very influential national rock critic in our own backyard.

Jon became a sort of musical mentor for me, introducing me to many new and exciting performers I was unfamiliar with, even though I already subscribed to Rolling Stone, reading it cover to cover, as well as New Musical Express.
Performers like Eddie Money and Elvis Costello were among the performers that Jon turned me onto before anyone down here had ever heard of them.

Jon would think nothing(!) of simply calling me up at home at night around 10:45 p.m. on a school night and telling me that he had something in his hands that I "just had to hear."

Then he'd play the record and put the phone next to his speaker -that's how I first heard of a little band called The Clash, long before they were well-known and before their albums and EPs were available in the U.S.

He did something similar one night for Graham Parker on his 1979 "
Squeezing Out Sparks" album before it was released. 

He played one song three times just to be sure that i got every reference! 

There has never been anyone in Miami before or since like Jon Marlowe.

See story on Miami News at bottom.
The Wrap

Exclusive: Coco A-Go-Go! The Conan Tour Starts April 12


Conan O'Brien will begin his Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour April 12 in Eugene, Oregon, working his way across the United States and Canada over the course of two months.
Read the rest of the story at:


Conan O'Brien t
our dates here:

Miami Herald

http://www.miamiherald.com/entertainment/arts/story/1427188.htmlTHE MIAMI NEWS
Reunion recalls good old days
January 17, 2010

Richard Dymond, a reporter with The Bradenton Herald, did a tour of duty with The Miami News sports department from 1979-1980.

The Phone Caper Story and many others like it are surely being retold this weekend as 100 or so Miami News staffers gather in Miami for a remarkable, out-of-nowhere reunion -- 21 years after the demise of the spunky afternoon newspaper.

Here's how it goes:

Telephone connections weren't smooth shortly after The News moved its operations from a plant along the Miami River into the bayfront building of The Miami Herald in 1966.

While attempting to call out, News humor columnist John Keasler reached Gene Miller at the rival Herald through a phone operator's mistake. "City desk,'' Miller barked. Keasler recognized the voice. "I was trying to call out,'' he said. "That's OK. You reached City Desk. Tell me the story, and I'll relay it to The Miami News,'' Miller cagily responded.

Hoping to cause havoc, Keasler made up a story: "Twelve dead on the Palmetto. By the Big Curve.'' As he was hanging up, he heard Miller, whose competitive fires would carry him to two Pulitzer Prizes, snap, "What? What? We have to scramble. . . .''

Keasler and Miller are dead, but memories of that keen sense of rivalry are resurfacing as staffers reunite to swap old tales about the The Miami News -- born in 1896, died the last day of 1988.

In its heyday and beyond, The News was a raucous, feet-on-the-desk kind of place, known for its highly competitive poker games (sometimes in the newspaper's conference room), merciless pranks and beer breakfasts after a long shift. It was also famed for its colorful characters, such as the critic who wore leather pants and ballet slippers in the newsroom and the staffer who, kicked out by his wife, set up housekeeping in the back of a hearse.

Back then -- before blogs, Google, Twitter, cellphone cameras and Facebook made everyone a "citizen journalist'' -- reporters woke up with night sweats for fear that the competing paper was out scooping them. Today, with fewer newspapers but a more fragmented news media, a blogger working in his parents' basement could be the one who eats your lunch.

Among News veterans scattered around the globe and many still in the news business, there is a sense of pride at having fought the good fight, taken on a much bigger rival and, most days, held their own.

"We were always the underdog to the mighty Herald, and we played the role to perfection,'' says Pedro Gomez, an ESPN bureau reporter who was a member of The News' sports department under the late Leo Suarez.

"We consistently broke stories and, if you really look at the results, I would say The Herald was at its best when The News was around, because The Herald had to work hard and not get beat by the little stepchild that we were,'' Gomez adds.

Miami News staffers paint a portrait of a passionate newsroom that nurtured distinctive and edgy writing, that remains an important touchstone in their lives, even more so with the passage of time.

DeWitt Smith, on The News' night desk from 1984 to 1986, has worked on 11 newspapers in the last 30 years.

"What made The Miami News different was the esprit de corps,'' Smith says. ``It was palpable, particularly the night desk. The News had a spark to it. The News attracted people who liked the go-get-'em style and lived for that vibration and energy.

Former managing editor Sue Reisinger calls her stint at The News ``the most exciting time of my life. I have never cared so much about a room full of people as I did about those folks.''

Reisinger is one of a handful who labored for The Herald after The News. Another is Mel Frishman, who retired in 2007 as The Herald's Broward news editor.

Frishman's Miami News career began in 1959 when he was 17 and a senior at Miami High. His job, which paid a buck an hour, was taking raw copy off a wire service machine, gluing it to cardboard and shipping it to proofreaders through a pneumatic tube. (This was before electric typewriters, much less computers.)

Frishman, who would have six job titles over the years and remained at the paper 'til the end, remembers The News' bold, sometimes sensational headlines -- a counterpoint to the more staid Herald.

"Miami News headlines were meant to grab you and set the tone. We were very picture oriented,'' he said. "We were a liberal light.''

The News attracted many colorful individuals, says reunion co-organizer Mary Martin, a business reporter from 1985 to 1988.

Jon Marlowe was one. He usually wore leather pants, purple blouses and ballet-like slippers that drew stunned looks from the formally dressed competitors riding the elevator with the rock-'n'-roll critic.

"When I hired Jon Marlowe I told him, `If I ever understand anything you are writing, you are fired,' '' says longtime News editor Howard Kleinberg, now 77 and one of the emcees at Saturday night's reunion dinner at Parrot Jungle. Not to worry.

"I never understood a goddamn thing he wrote,'' says Kleinberg, who started as a high-school correspondent in 1949 and joined the staff a year later. "But everyone seemed to love him.''

Keasler was one of the biggest devils in the newsroom. He was once photographed, in formal attire, presenting a rhinoceros with a bottle of bubbly, apparently as part of a sight gag to accompany a column about a new birth at the zoo. Other practical jokers included Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Don Wright and the late photographer Charlie Trainor Sr. They practiced practical trickery on their colleagues -- and each other.

"Wright used to toss his keys onto his desk when he'd come in,'' Reisinger says. "Every few days, when he left the office to go to lunch or even the bathroom, they'd slip an old key onto the key chain. This went on for a week, and his key chain grew immensely heavy with old keys. One day he came in, threw his key chain down on his desk, and was heard to swear because it was so heavy. He exclaimed, "What the hell! I don't even know what some of these keys are for!' ''

He retaliated by tossing confetti all over the photo department, says photographer A.G. (Gary) Montanari. Montanari, who became a court bailiff after The News closed, also remembers that he once caught Trainor putting marbles into the hubcaps of Wright's car.

What's up? Montanari asked. That's to distract Wright, Trainor explained, so the cartoonist won't notice the mullet that had been placed on his engine block.

Another character was the late Milt Sosin, ranked by News editors as the afternoon paper's top reporter.

"Milt had contacts all over the place,'' says David Kraslow, publisher from 1977 to 1988. ``I remember once that no one could find Meyer Lansky, he of Mafia fame. The phone rang on Milt's desk, and a voice said, `Miltie, it's Meyer.' ''

Sosin would score an exclusive interview with Lansky on the mobster's deathbed.

CBS4 anchor Elliott Rodriguez, who was hired as a Miami News reporter in May 1978 one week after graduating from the University of Miami, met Sosin his first day on the job.

"Milt was told to show me around. The first thing he did was show me his Jaguar sports car in the garage. Milt was tall, skinny and had a long neck. He was definitely Felix from The Odd Couple, but he looked more like Oscar. He always wore a sports jacket but hardly ever a tie. He preferred a neckband tucked into his shirt. He smoked a pipe and almost always had one with him.''

Julia Marozzi, who is coming to the reunion from Great Britain, was a neophyte copy editor named Jules Murphy during those heady times.

"All the night owls were a fantastic bunch of misfits and eccentrics who banded together after first edition, occasionally for a slap-up breakfast before heading home to try and get some sleep,'' says Marozzi, who became a high-ranking editor of The Financial Times in London and is now director of lifestyle media for Bentley Motors.

After 1966, The News and The Herald labored under a joint operating agreement in which two newspapers in the same market share business operations while maintaining separate and competitive newsrooms. As the afternoon newspaper, The News was at a distinct disadvantage.

"We were the little guys on the block and had to fight for everything,'' Kleinberg says.

Although this isn't the forum for a symposium on the future of journalism, Martin observes: `The current state of journalism is perilous. Many of our former colleagues have been laid off or are waiting for the next staff cutback or are hoping there will be an early retirement offer. We are all worried about what that means, not just to us, personally, but the quality of news and information available to all of us.

"I think The Miami News reunion is, in part, about honoring a tradition of news gathering that seems to be disappearing fast, to the detriment of all of us.''

The final headline of The Miami News on Dec. 31, 1988:


David Kraslow's front-page column ended: ``It hurts when any newspaper with a rich and proud history dies. But this is not just another newspaper. Not to me. And not to this town.''

After the last edition was put to bed, newspaper lingo for finished, the staff opened a case of champagne, and corks popped, recalls Merwin Sigale, now a journalism and mass-communications professor at Miami Dade College.

The champagne was good, but it left a bitter aftertaste.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and insight onto Florida and local Broward County government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in local media now. On this blog, locally, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger and laser-like attention on the coastal cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood and Aventura.

If you lived in this part of South Florida, you'd ALREADY be stuck in stultifying traffic, paying higher-than-necessary taxes and continually musing about the chronic lack of accountability among not only elected govt. officials, but also of city, county and state employees as well. Collectively, with a few rare exceptions, they couldn't be farther from the sort of strong results-oriented, eager work-ethic mentality that local residents deserve and expect. But seldom if ever see...

This is particularly true in the Broward County city I live in, the City of Hallandale Beach, north of Aventura and south of Hollywood and right on the Atlantic Ocean. Here, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent. Sadly for its beleaguered residents, HB is where even easily-solved, quality-of-life problems are left to fester for YEARS on end, because of myopia, lack of common sense and ineffective supervisory management. It's a city with tremendous potential because of its terrific location and well-educated populace, yet its citizens have almost become numb to HB City Hall's frequent outrages and screw-ups, the result of YEARS of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, residents and Small Business owners wake up and see the same old problems that have never being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion, merely kicked -once again- further down the road for others to solve in the future.

I used to ask myself, not always rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters who want to show that through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?" Hearing no response, I decided to start a blog of my own that could try to do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable-but-skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time with fresh eyes, and wanting questions answered in a honest and logical way that citizens have the right to expect.

Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change in public policy and goivernment engagement. If there's one constant gripe in South Florida, regardless of your age, race, nationality or political persuasion, it's about the fundamental lack of PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY of Florida's state, regional and local govt./agency officials, elected and otherwise. Hallandale Beach Blog aims to be a small step towards regaining some of that needed accountability, whether it's thru shining some well-needed public scrutiny on the issue or pol, or requires a higher degree of follow-up investigation and public exposure of the incompetency, cronyism or negligence -South Florida's usual governing style.

Paradise Lost? South Florida

Paradise Lost? South Florida
TIME magazine of November 23, 1981: Paradise Lost? South Florida . Click photo to see original article.
Unless otherwise indicated, all ORIGINAL photos appearing here were taken by myself. © 2014 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. The use or modification of original photos or original images appearing on this blog WITHOUT the written permission of the author is expressly prohibited. DO NOT modify or alter any original photo/image on this blog and use it in any other media, whether for commercial advertising, marketing purposes, political campaign advertising, or on any Social Media platform or digital media forum. Do NOT modify or alter the photos or use them in a confusing way that suggests sponsorship or endorsement, or in a way that seeks to confuse Hallandale Beach Blog with another blog. This includes but is not limited to sites such as Dipity, Facebook, flickr, MySpace, Pinterest, Posterous, Topsy, Twitter, YouTube or VIMEO. Original photos and images also can NOT be used as avatars or icons on website forums.

A fish rots from the head down, and so does local government in Hallandale Beach, FL

A fish rots from the head down, and so does local government in Hallandale Beach, FL
City of Hallandale Beach Municipal Complex, 400 S. Federal Highway. The City of Hallandale Beach Municipal Complex: If it's true that a fish rots from the head down, so it does in local government in Broward County, FL. This monument sign on the west side of the intersection of U.S.-1 and S.E. 5th Street, across from Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and the Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex, alerts you to your proximity to HB City Hall and the HB Police Department HQ. It's a place and culture whose very own words and actions have made clear to taxpayers of this city -regardless of age, race or income- that it holds itself apart from and above from the very citizens it's supposed to serve, often acting like they don't have to follow the same laws that govern everyone else in the state of Florida and the U.S., whether of logic, reason or contracts. (More to the point of this blog, the Florida Statutes on Sunshine Laws and Public Records.) City employees in Hallandale Beach routinely refuse to answer perfectly reasonable questions posed to them by taxpayers, and as I have found out myself and witnessed, are not above berating you for even having the nerve to ask! As it happens, it's also not a very safe area, despite who operates here, and over the past nine years, the public parking lots have often been pitch-black for 6-9 months at a time, including in front of the HB Police Dept. HQ. Then-Police Chief Thomas Magill even shrugged his shoulders at City Comm. meetings when told about this a few times. As if they couldn't make a worse first impression, at one point, even the spotlights shining on this sign didn't work at night for over FOUR YEARS, either. October 13, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.


The welcoming party that greeted me at the luggage carousel at Arlanda Stockholm Airport in January of 2013 was... ABBA. As seen in my May 7, 2013 blog post. Click photo to see that post!


Hej #STHLM, jag saknar dig, hejdå. So wish I was there RIGHT NOW!

Solrea - Sveriges bästa resesök

Solrea - Sveriges bästa resesök
The colder and snowier it got in Stockholm, the more this simple ad seemed like genius. Sometimes, you don't have to reinvent the advertising wheel. When you're a travel agency and it's cold and snowing, make your target audience think of summers and traveling to an inviting warm beach. Above, one of the many Sistaminuten.se display ads I saw on the side of pay phones throughout Stockholm. This one was located on Ringvägen, across the street from the Åhléns Dept. store (with the Hemköp grocery store in the basement that I frequented) west of busy Götgatan and the Skanstull T-bana, the southern commercial heart of trendy and fun Södermalm. January 11, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. I used this photo in my April 22, 2013 blog post titled, Tourism game-changer for South Florida travelers & Fort Lauderdale-area businesses -but only if they're smart and start planning now. Ruminations on the upcoming Norwegian.com flights b/w Ft. Lauderdale and Oslo, Stockholm & Copenhagen, and the need for Broward's hospitality industry to take full-advantage of the opportunity; @Oslo, @norway, @stockholm, @sweden, @copenhagen, @denmark. Click photo to see that post

More travel advertising in Stockholm

More travel advertising in Stockholm
Speaking of advertising, only two blocks from the wonderful 4trappor B&B I stayed at in Södermalm, Stockholm on my trip -and also located on Ringvägen- were two more display ads promoting travel. The one in the distance is for SAS, Scandinavian Airlines Systems, which I flew on to Stockholm, and the one in the foreground, on a public telephone booth, is the "Holiday is where the Heart is" ad campaign for VING. January 12, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. Click the photo to see their TV ad!

Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and Village at GP retail complex, Hallandale Beach, FL

Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and Village at GP retail complex, Hallandale Beach, FL
Entrance monument to Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and The Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex on U.S.-1 & SE 3rd St. Hallandale Beach, FL. October 5, 2010 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Hallandale Beach Water Tower, looking east from State Road A1A/South Ocean Drive; May 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)

Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)
Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard) wearing the teal-colored Miami Dolphins cap I gave her in January 2013 (in Stockholm) while recording her 2nd album, "The Grazing Grounds" at Sandkvie Studios in Visby, Gotland, Sweden. Also pictured here are sound engineer and co-producer Linus Larsson and musician/DJ/co-producer Mats Jönsson, April 12, 2013.Click the photo to see her videos, read my blog posts and Tweets about her and learn more about this dynamic and original talent with personality to spare!

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers
Before I was a Hoosier, I was an NMB Charger, Class of 1979.

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation
"In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation." -South Beach Hoosier, 2007.

Let's end the 29-year NCAA title drought!

Let's end the 29-year NCAA title drought!
IU All-American and U.S. Olympian Steve Alford on the cover of the 1987 Indiana University basketball media guide, months after IU won the NCAA basketball title.

The NCAA Championship Banners

The NCAA Championship Banners
Assembly Hall, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. I was there in 1981 for NCAA Title #4 vs. North Carolina. Click on photo to go to the IU Basketball homepage.

Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot

Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot
Like longtime U-M fans everywhere, including me, Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot, hasn't had very much to cheer about lately, given the general state of mediocrity and underwhelming performances coming from the Hurricanes. Isn't it about time for fans to finally see some tangible signs that the new AD is moving things in the right direction? Where are the signs? I'm NOT seeing them. The woeful U-M Women's program is largely composed of teams that are NOT even close to being competitive for NCAA titles like their ACC competition, and they don't even field Women's Lacrosse or Field Hockey teams. It's embarrassing! Click on Sebastian for retrospective photo gallery of The Orange Bowl

Risk för snöras, istappar

Risk för snöras, istappar
One of the many such warning signs that I saw on buildings and on sidewalk barricades while in Stockholm in mid-January 2013, alerting you to the possibility of falling snow and ice, often by men shoveling it off roofs. This one was spotted on a residential building in the Södermalm area of Stockholm, on Ringvägen, while I was walking over to the Åhléns Department store on Götgatan. It wasn't until I was walking back later to the B&B that I noticed the inflated Santa that some resident had intentionally placed outside of their window, so it looked like Santa was falling! January 13, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Congratulations Sweden - 200 years of peace! Solveig Rundquist (@RundquistS)

Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden

Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden
Poster display seen on Ringvägen, in Södermalm, Stockholm, Sweden. January 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. Here's snapshot of the poster featuring the ubiquitous St. Erik, whose crowned head is the City of Stockholm's coat of arms. The Affischplats plan in Stockholm, while not perfect, strikes me as a pretty good compromise in helping cultural and civic groups catch the public's eye in a way that's better than a free-for-all of groups plastering posters on the sides of buildings and utility boxes, and watching as the weather makes a mess of them. The tangible effort the city makes to get the public involved in a genuine and meaningful conversation about what is going on long-term for the city as a whole, or in a particular neighborhood, is very impressive, and made me wishful that the local government employees and planners where I live and write about regularly in my blog and in conversations with other concerned civic activists did even one-third of what Stockholm's planning employees seem to do as a starting-point.

Using a map of Stockholm and my Samsung mobile's Latitude app to find out where some friends and contacts in Stockholm were before I called to let them know I'd arrived from Arlanda Airport and had checked into the B&B in Södermalm. If only it had been an OpenStreetMap! January 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved; Click the photo to see OpenStreetMap's amazing map of Stockholm and a whole world of useful maps you never even knew existed

Which European country has the most attractive citizens?

As seen in my July 31st, 2013 blog post titled, "Which European country has the most attractive citizens?" Sweden won in a landslide with almost four times as many votes as second-place France, with Spain third and Norway fourth. Yes, seeing is believing!; Norwegian.com's non-stop flights from Fort Lauderdale to Oslo start in 4 months! :) http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2013/07/boredpandacom-poll-of-europeans-asked.html