;Taste is a thing that's valued highly in this particular space. By definition, it's something I live and die by. But there are times, like this past week, when I see things that remind me that taste is sometimes totally relative or way overrated.

;Florida's not on fire


;;The mini-apocalypse of the annual Floridas Dying Rock Fight, a powder-keg collision between a battle of the bands and The Gong Show, occurred last weekend at Back Booth. This year's edition got out to a tortoise's start, with the audience practically needing a hot poker up the ass to get it going. Once it did, however, things got stupendously, gloriously ugly. The club's still standing, but the show was every bit the feral event it was built up to be. Nope, no fires this time, but the stage was effectively turned into a mâché of beer and newspaper (this one, naturally) and looked like an exploded dumpster.

;;Just so you understand how high the debauchery extends, remembering the "official" results the day after necessitated a collective effort between all four judges and the event's coordinator to piece together the night. So congratulations to aggravated punks PLF and metal merchants Rabbit Troop, who were surprisingly complete-sounding. I can't wait to hear how THAT split release will turn out. Though Damon Gentry & His Amazing Guitar Hero Band was disqualified for exceeding the one-cover limit, his entire set having contained nary an original note, he served up the most stupidly creative act of the night simply by dressing up like a gay Mork and playing Playstation's Guitar Hero on stage. The Rock Fight is the rudest, most retarded music affair in Orlando and one of the city's best "cultural" events. Back Booth's bravery in hosting it should be applauded.

;;Celebrated art-slut Peaches came to — and I suppose, all over — the Club at Firestone last week (which, yes, meant that Bar-BQ-Bar was a desert for a few hours). Bulked up with the live accompaniment of the Herms, an actual all-demi-star band, her show was a significantly bigger production this time around. Though her individual performance was a bit tame compared to the last tour, there is something supremely empowering about this one-woman dynamo.

;;It's both easy and appropriate to simply revel in her fantastic tastelessness. The way she boldly pimps all that is base in both music and look is impressive, to be sure. But through moxie, edge and wit, Peaches elevates this whole gutter schtick to a credible art form (just like our own Billy Manes). Beyond the immediate carnival of her music, performance and imagery and all of its outrageous indulgences, the subtext is a genuine challenge to convention. Normally, a woman smearing her sexuality all over you is something celebrated by the uncleansed masses, but Peaches pairs the sexy with the grotesque, thereby scrambling the politics of sexuality. She is both the anti- and ultra-feminist.

;;Not nearly edgy enough to defy the bounds of anything but somehow more distasteful than either of the two above is the coif-disco of cheap Killers clones the Bravery, who also played at Firestone later that week. When these guys first started getting airplay a few years ago, I thought, well, it's less crappy than all the other crap being played. But now, more good bands have penetrated the market (which surely signals the beginning of the end for them as well) and are showing these fashion boys to possess an artistic constitution as substantial as cardboard.


;Hard Rock goes tribal

;;The mystique of the original Hard Rock Cafe in London, a thing I stood in line for over an hour to experience as a teenager, is all but a vaporous speck in the rearview. The Hard Rock name brand is a global entity that's now more famous for its hotels, casinos and, in this city, its live venue. As of last Thursday, it's virtually a local affair, because the Seminole Tribe of Florida has won the auction to acquire Hard Rock's café and casino businesses, including two Hard Rock Live venues, from Britain's Rank Group. When an institutionally oppressed people manages to swing a deal like this, that's stickin' it to the man.


;Hey, big spender

;;Speaking of big purchases, the eBay auction of that obscenely rare (as in, only existing copy) acetate of the Velvet Underground's first LP, which differs from the commercial version, closed last Friday at a cool $155,401.


;FMF casting call

;Dates have been set for 2007's Florida Music Festival (May 16-20). Think it can be improved? Then put down the bong and get into the mix. Registration is now open (go to florida; Early registration ends December 31 and late registration ends March 1.

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