By Benjamin Leatherman
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Troy Farah
By Roger Calamaio
By Mark Deming
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Brian Palmer
The eyes of the world may be fixed on Fox News and CNN, but DanceStar host Roger Sanchez predicts on camera that "a billion people around the world will be watching this show." Certainly, the British television and radio crews in the media tent are less interested in the war than in the debut on the awards show of platinum-selling rapper and hip-hop entrepreneur P. Diddy's first dance single. "We're really just here for Puffy," says a kid from the BBC's music station, Radio One.
But Puffy does not appear in the media tent. Only less-hyped DJs and performers file past the press, fielding questions about awards – and war.
Miami DJ Tracy Young wears an American flag tee shirt. "Apart from the war, I wanted to represent American music," she says, smiling, her wide blue eyes sparkling. "Music always makes us happy."
Passionate beneath his dark shades and electro-shock streaked hair, progressive house music producer BT opposes the war. "It's disgraceful to be an American," he says. "That we can say that this war is not 100 percent about oil and money is a disgrace."
Felix da Housecat is down with that. "1-2-3-4, what the fuck are we fighting for?" he mutters. "How does that look? [Bush]'s just going into somebody's country. And then he's gonna get on TV and say, Don't burn the oil rigs.'"
Suddenly, fresh intelligence flashes through the media tent. P. Diddy will grant brief interviews. Select camera crews pack up gear and move through the dark, scurrying behind the stage. Half an hour later, the crews are still waiting. P. Diddy stands with his feet planted onstage in a cloud of smoke. He flails his arms, repeating frantically: "Let's get ill/Your dreams have been fulfilled."
Clusters of fireworks explode. Everyone ducks.
"Was that a bomb?" a woman backstage yells. "Are we at war?"
2:00 p.m. EST, Thursday, March 20
Paul van Dyk doesn't want to talk about his new album. Van Dyk, the East German, will speak on one topic alone: his opposition to the war. "When the bombing began last night, I was asking myself, How can I possibly go ahead and play and enjoy myself while I know there's a totally unnecessary war killing innocent people? The only other option would be to just stay in my hotel room and say nothing. It's my responsibility to take a stand."
Van Dyk sports the same sky blue "Stop the War" shirt he's worn to all public appearances this year. A few days after his early March show at the Roxy in New York City he received "a disturbing e-mail from a rather misinformed person." A fan berated him for wearing the shirt in New York after 9/11. "How could someone who's a fan of mine have such an opinion? To really understand electronic music you have to be cosmopolitan and open-minded."
WMC may prove him wrong. "To be honest, last night 90 percent of the people out in the clubs didn't even know the war had started," van Dyk points out. "It's not good, but that's the way it is in America. Otherwise, the Bush administration wouldn't be able to do what they do all the time."
2:00 a.m. EST, Friday, March 21
Armored columns roll across southern Iraq at 15 mph in a globally televised off-road rally the soldiers dub the "Baghdad 500."
The U.S. Army pushed its product in the days before the start of the war with a street team of hot enlisted chicks in camouflage who distributed mock dog tags to spring breakers outside the Raleigh Hotel. They're missing in action now that the bloodshed has begun. Their mobile recruiting unit has been replaced by a sunshine yellow H2 with two lions painted in black on its doors promoting Firdosi, purveyors of women's lingerie.
Just what is it about combat chic that helps sell negligees?
"It's big, strong and powerful," says the manly sun god behind the wheel.
Shock and Awe
1:30 p.m. EST, Friday, March 21
U.S. and Royal Air Force planes drop more than 1,500 missiles and bombs on Iraqi targets.
Six swimsuit models sashay down a runway jutting over the pool at the Playboy party at the Raleigh Hotel. Dressed in hot pants, each girl wears a Playboy Bunny insignia with an American flag in the middle stitched on her ass.
10:00 p.m. EST, Friday, March 21
Message sent to Iraqi generals: "Surrender now and live; the outcome is not in doubt."
After a long day of interviews, the Iranian-born DJ duo Deep Dish are hosting a party for their own record label, Yoshitoshi. Anything is better than sitting in the hotel room, watching CNN and getting depressed, says Ali Shirazinia. "There's nothing anyone here in Miami can do. The real reason for what's going on is only known by a few. Obviously I hate what's happened to my country." Still the DJ is hopeful. "Maybe inadvertently from what's going on [in Iraq] something will happen [to change Iran] from within. Change should come from within."