Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Guest Blogger: Two Sides of Gaza

There are some scary things going on in Gaza. Not surprising, I know. The ceasefire ended recently with the "Merry Christmas" deaths of over 300 Palestinians - civilians mostly. The Palestinian people live in occupied territories in Israel proper, and were shunned by the U.S. after voting in a Hamas party majority in a democratic (key word) election in 2006. Hamas is a political faction that is looked ill upon by Israelis and Americans because of past indiscretions. Look it up. 

On a personal note, Miami, bro was in Israel in '96, and even then, we experienced a blockade of water to the West Bank (described below). We stayed in East Jerusalem, and were without water for a few days. So you know, West Jerusalem, had water, where the Israelis lived, and right next to them, in the Palestinian neighborhood, they had NO running water. Palestinians have been enduring this for decades now. Imagine being without life's basics for an extended period of time, and imagine how you might respond. 

Another note: after reading about how horrible things are in Israel/Gaza/West Bank, please see You Don't Mess with the Zohan. My whole family loved it and Adam Sandler makes some poignant observations on the situation between the Israelis and Arabs, with which I agree wholeheartedly.  

Karin Brown, a friend of my cousin, is living in Jerusalem. It was there that she attended a peace rally detailed below:

Yesterday we attended a protest just outside the gates of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, with Israeli students lining one side of the street, and Palestinian students lining the opposite side of the street-- all students of the same university.  The protest was in response to the Israel's air strikes on Gaza, now in their fourth day, that have left over 360 Palestinians dead, and many more injured.  Israel's blockades of Gaza over the past months, years (restricting or completely stopping import/export) have left the hospitals short of medicine and medical supplies-- so they cannot adequately care for those injured by the bombing. This surge in violence marks the end of a 6 month ceasefire between Israel and Hamas-- Israel's blockade over the last months means that they did not actually keep up their end of the agreement.  About 80% of Gaza's 1.4 million residents depend on food aid-- and just as recently as Dec 18 this food aid was suspended because Israel closed the border.  Imagine Gaza, a place where life's basics-- water, electricity, gas, food, sanitation--- are not guaranteed.  They are controlled by Israel, withheld by Israel, manipulated by Israel.

Israel has the right to protect its civilians, but there is more to the story than just this. 

The students outside of Hebrew University exchanged chants in their respective languages.  At one point, in response to obscene chants from the Israelis, the crowd of 150 Palestinians turned their backs on the Israelis, and stood in silence with their hands in the air giving peace signs.  As the protest broke up Palestinian students left to donate blood.  

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

NY Times Praises La Carreta

Now the whole world will know how truly amazing MIA is, or at least learn how tasty La Carreta can be.
I can't tell you how many times I've stood right there, contemplating my order, completely sedated in anticipation of my flight, to the soundtrack of a growling tummy. 

Saturday, December 27, 2008

rep the 305 2nite

Too hungover to write. But I think you should go: Borscht Film Festival: CCCV.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

8:00pm - 11:55pm

Tower Theater

1508 SW 8th St. (Calle Ocho)
Join the The MIAMI BASS WARRIORS as they premiere their music video "Going Back To Calle 8" to the world at the fourth annual Borscht Film Festival Saturday, December 27th at the Tower Theater on Calle Ocho in Little Havana. 

Recently released online, the music video is generating enormous buzz on blogs and youtube so maybe soon Miami will be known not for its mixed culture and people, or its rich history in drug trafficking and decadent development, but for the formation of the best Bass Bumpin' Jams known to man!

Saturday will feature selected short films by Miami artists, followed by the South Florida premiere of "Medicine for Melancholy" (nominated for 3 Independent Spirit Awards!) by Miamian Barry Jenkins, with a late night screening of the world premiere of Aiden Dillard's "Special Angelz."

The night will also host a gallery featuring the best work by local visual artists.

The gallery opens at 8:00 PM, and films start at 9:00 PM.

Complimentary CCCV (triple-cee vee)s will be served. CCCVs are Jupina and Bacardi rum.

Come early and carpool, parking is crazy.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

There's no Christmas without the King

So my Christmas started out a little nightmarish, but I'm starting to lighten up. 
I figured I'd brighten up the universe by copying and pasting some more of the King into the world. 
I don't know what Christmas was like before Elvis, but I imagine it really sucked. 

Monday, December 22, 2008

A bit of Christmas flavored fun

Don't miss this tonight. I know none of you work or are working tomorrow, so swing by and show Andrews some love at White Room. Don't forget to wear your bad X-mas sweater. You can borrow one from my mom.  

After gorging on ungodly amounts of mashed potatoes and gravy, I think I might try to work off a bit of my fat at the Critical Mass bike ride. Join in the fun! It starts at 6:30, so you'll be nice and smelly by the time you bike out to wherever the party's at. Mmm...

Bass, bro

Miami-boy, Perez Hilton, posted a link on his blog in support of Miami Bass Warriors (Jose, Otto and Charlie). Check out their new video. 

Historical Coricals

Miami is blessed with beautiful coral structures. Mostly these are private residences in Coral Gables, but pictured here are two beautiful public places where you can go and loiter about. My friend was visiting from Minnesota for Art Basel, and, like me, she likes places with a good story and a significant atmosphere. 

I took her on a whirlwind tour of Basel parties and Miami spots. This included Miami Beach and Shark Valley as our outdoorsy adventures. But to satisfy her lust for history and the bizarre, we 
stopped by my third favorite house in Coral Gables (after my own and my parents'), the Merrick House.

Visiting the Merrick House was one of my favorite field trips when I was younger. The house on Coral Way is listed in the National Register of Historical Places, and was once lived in by George Merrick, the city's founder. It's open for tours only a few hours a day, but it's worthwhile. The lawn is lush with secret coral grottos. If you walk around the side of the house, there's a pond with koi fish and fern.  It has the feel of the city that I always reveled in as a child, and for which I'm still nostalgic. It can be defined by the damp air and grass under a canopy of vegetation, just 
waiting to be found. And once you find it, it's thick ghosts and feeling. Ohhh, I love it.  
After traipsing around the Gables, we drove down to Coral Castle in Homestead, a place I enjoyed as a kid, as well. One of the tour guides brought us around and showed us all the little fun things we wouldn't have noticed otherwise. For 
instance, the Florida Table, which has a little hole filled with water to symbolize Lake Okeechobee. This outdoor palace was built by Ed, one sad, Latvian bastard. He was heartbroken after being left by his fiance, and the mini-man (he was 5 feet tall) mined his own building materials and put together this conceptual home-house-art piece. 

Not far from there is downtown Homestead, a great place for Mexican and a taste of historical Americana. There's also Robert 
is Here, where you can eye tortoises and ostriches, while sipping a tropical fruit milkshake. 

The point is, there is so much more to do in Miami than checking out bad boob jobs and getting shitty. So, get out there and enjoy this city, because I know you're broke and aren't taking a vacation again until the economy improves. Have fun. 

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Milk to Move You

I waited a week to write this, because I've been busy with this and that and that. I was worried that I wouldn't have a chance to write anything at all about the intensely powerful movie, Milk

You may or may not have heard about Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in the U.S. Either way, you'll learn all about Milk when you watch the movie, and about the movement he spearheaded in San Francisco in the early 70s. I guess the gist of the tale is that this insurance salesman moves to San Fran with his new lover and decides to contribute to the Castro neighborhood, an already burgeoning gay scene. There he finds his own voice and helps create a unified gay community that is strong and self-sufficient, one that protects itself from gay-bashers and straight-haters, if you will. 

He realizes, as do all great leaders, the power of the many over the vulnerability of the one. As an outed force, the gays of the Castro are able to overpower the homophobic and anti-union Coors beer company, through boycotting, to gain the support of and an alliance with the Teamsters. I don't think there is anything more beautiful than a bunch of gays and a slew of manly union guys working together for justice. That's maybe just me, but man, I love it when the good fight is won by us and not them. 

Harvey, with the support of his lover, brilliant friends and community, runs for office and loses again and again, finally winning a position on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Eventually, he is assassinated, along with the mayor of the city, George Moscone, by a co-supervisor, Dan White, a man whom he believed was closeted, and who certainly had, at least, a screw loose.

However, Gus Van Sant really directed in a way that focuses the power of the gay movement as the heavy-hitting emotional component of the movie. The other emotional pull is Milk's openness and commitment to continuing to be honest about his homosexuality, his pure political brilliance and the love and appreciation of his supporters. Thus the film isn't crushingly Hollywood - focused on the murder of this brave man. Rather you see the sad act as a personal vendetta that was sort of the culmination of events that occurred between Milk and White, and not so much about Milk as a gay martyr. The murder wasn't the climax (as it would typically be in an American flick), merely a sad fact. 
This is what I liked best about the movie, that the focus was in the successes, and not in the failures, of men. 

I myself am a currently low-activity activist who has been on a bullhorn and marched with uni
ons and anarchists, so perhaps that is why I wept through the entire whole movie. I wept because I was so happy for the gay community, so moved by the heroism of this man, so hurt by the struggle and because of how far we've come in the last 30 years. It was a tragedy that Milk was murdered, but the work he did while he was on this earth, in only about 10 years, was comparable to (don't kill me black people) MLK, Jr. (though none of this would have been possible without the original civil rights movement). 
Milk made equality almost possible; he made equality a possibility. 

This movie has an unbelievable cast, the acting is dead-on (Hirsch and Franco: so sexy, and even Sean had his moments) and it will win Oscars (power of positive thinking). The message to take away from Milk has to be that it is up to us to have this country, this world, ourselves, actively pursuing equality and justice for all, all the time. 

Thursday, December 18, 2008

If you're in Tribeca tonight...

and you want to mosh a bit, stop by the Knitting Factory (74 Leonard Street) to watch: 
Monot​ractMetal​uxHeart​s of Darkn​esses​, Skint​, DJ Steve​ Lowen​thal

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Universal Mind Control Listening Experience - brought to you by Pepsi?

Common's a nice vegan boy, I guess he's got some "universal mind control" to offer?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Low serotonin and Christmas, horrah!

The internet is down at home and I am experiencing early onset premenstrual syndrome, all just in time for the holidays! I have a shit-ton of embroidery to do before next Thursday since the cheapest gifts are the most labor intensive. Luckily, I finished my aunt's present, a hand towel that says, "Jesus H. Christ." It's blasphemous, but appropriate, since it his JC's b-day and it's one of my aunt's favorite declarations.

Due to poverty, I missed the David Byrne show. I was right there on the Beach, but I couldn't get myself to spend 40 bones on a ticket that didn't fly me very far, far, far away from here. Instead, I bought some seasonally flavored Haagen Dazs and continued to gain weight.

Listen, if you hate me, don't like me, think I'm ugly, fat or stupid, fine. Just lay off right now, because being unemployed and pre-menstrual during the holiday season is one of those unique experiences that tends to try the soul.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Oh, the French and their Soda

Click on the picture for the full tale of "change."

Friday, December 12, 2008

Singles Night


1415 NE 129th Street 

(beforehand check out: 'THIS IS NOWHERE' by RAUL MENDEZ @ the Hollywood Art & Culture Center 6-9pm!)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Screaming loser.

Am I the only one who is like super psyched that Tanedra won Scream Queens? How retarded is that show, but how awesome is she? I love watching her act! 
I'm officially addicted to "reality" television.  
I didn't post the info I had about the Real Housewives of Atlanta, which was Nathan and my obsession, because someone (Karla) kept closing out my windows and one of them had all my good stuff on it. All I have to say about that amazing programming is: Kim, is it possible that you could change your birth certificate to say that you're like 10 years younger than you actually are? Does this look 30 to you? I have my fingers crossed for a second season! 

Me, A New York Book Club and Revolutionary Road

Can Love Survive? (the article)

I met Liza the first week of school, freshman year of high school. I decided we would be friends, and then we were. Although she only stayed in Miami for one school year, we've managed to drag this friendship, long-distance, through fifteen years and running. I recently organized her bachelorette party in New Paltz, NY, dragging five of her closest from their NYC apartments to the countryside for some good, clean fun. It was there that I met Shana, Jen, Kelsey and Emily. I already knew her sister Sarah. 
One of our first conversations involved Shana's book club. She wanted to know if I had any suggestions, and of course, I had many. I had to push my favorite book, though, Revolutionary Road. Two years earlier, I forced my mother, father and brother to read it, and they loved it- this was almost unprecedented but for Me Talk Pretty One Day. Then I strong-armed my mom to make her upscale book club read it, and they hated it. After I heard that, I didn't understand why she returned to the meetings, as clearly they had little taste.
Anyway, it was because of my insistence and Shana's wisdom that they read Revolutionary Road and thus were featured in an article for the New York Observer. Jen's friend wrote the article, and some of the others are mentioned. 
Personally, I am nervous about this fantastically insightful, honest and amusing book being developed into a film, but I suppose I just not watch it. It's funny, because I first read the book because I liked one of Yates' short stories and then I loved Rev. Road. I had heard his other books were inferior, but I read The Easter Parade anyway, and I seriously blame it for sending me into a downward spiral of severe depression and suicidal thoughts, culminating in a move home to Miami. Anyway. He's a genius. I love this book more than life itself. Here's the part of the article about my bff Liza and my homegirls & co. I don't believe I know the people who didn't enjoy the book, at least I'll assume that I don't! Glad you guys got press!

Last weekend, in a tastefully decorated garden apartment in Brooklyn Heights, a group of seven attractive and well-educated women met for their monthly book club to discussRevolutionary Road. Their ages ranged from late 20s to mid-30s, a little more than half were married, and almost all of them were lawyers. The hostess had gotten into the ’50s swing of the book and served accordingly: crust-less egg-and-cucumber sandwiches, salmon and crème fraiche bites, gherkins and a glass dish of pickles and, of course, plenty of wine. A discussion of the recession and fear of losing jobs—much like the one taking place at any point anywhere in the city—dominated the first half-hour. Then they delved into Revolutionary Road. Most seemed to like it. A couple said they couldn’t read it without seeing Ms. Winslet and Mr. DiCaprio in their heads. One woman finally leaned forward and said, “Is it O.K. that I didn’t like it? Is that bad?” No, no, no, she was quickly assured. “I’m just so over the whole suburban-bashing thing,” she said. “I didn’t feel sorry for them. What’s the fucking point? Buy a train ticket and go into the city if you’re sick of being stuck at home. Stop complaining.”
“I don’t know,” said another, a mother of two children living in Scarsdale. “I kind of felt like this is so my life.” All of the married women seemed to relate to the rawness of Frank and April Wheeler’s fights. “I’ve never fought like that,” one (lucky) woman said. “I have,” four voices replied in unison. “I don’t know,” the hostess said. “It comes down to accepting what your life is. It’s about being an adult. Life is not what you thought it would be at 19. Suck it up,” she said.
“But isn’t that depressing?” asked the woman beside her.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dino maka you crazy, no? Maybe a little TM, too?

Tonight from 9-1 at The News Lounge, NE 4th Ct. and 55th St.
Dino Felipe performs with visuals by TM Sisters

Monday, December 8, 2008

Friday, a night of mucho musica! Bravo, Basel!

Friday was great fun. 
There was music everywhere in Miami that night! 
My lovely, LA love Stephanie hooked us up for the night, dirty style. My friend Emily and I were able to hit the Obey party at the Shore Club which featured totes, signed posters and unlimited Bombay Sapphire. I was really happy to be in a non-Miami crowd for a moment, and enjoyed the slide show and drinks. 

After a throwing a few back, we went by Karu and Y for the Panda Bear/No Age/The Sads show. We heard, as did every other Miamian with an ear for this type of thing, that we needed to get on the list for this Nike/NADA/ANP Quarterly sponsored event. So we got ourselves on the list a few times over, not certain what would work and what wouldn't. My roommate even successfully wrote to the man himself, the Panda man, that is. 
After hours of worrying that we might miss any part of the show or not get in or get the wrong place (it was double advertised as being at Karu and also at the Paris Theatre).  As it turned out they let everyone present in, without a bother, and there was Grolsch enough for the load of us. 

No Age played a lively and high-powered set, encouraging the crowd to get into it, and the crowd actually listened! Most everybody was pumped and a decent sized mosh pit was created. The music was well appreciated and I really liked the flower visuals behind them.

I have been waiting to see Panda Bear for awhile and I actually, over the past two years, almost flew up a few times to NY to see him or the whole Animal Collective perform, but something was always coming up and keeping me away. When I heard about this event, I almost crapped myself, and I think I actually might have, you know though, just a little, tiny bit.

It was amazing. All I thought it would be, and probably would have been worth flying up for. 
I swung by White Room after, just before Adult went up. I missed much of the performance, but the sound was good and fun, people were jamming out and I thought thumbs up for a fun show. 

Finally, that's the last of my Art Basel posts. I had a particularly fun and eventful Basel, and I'm happy to be done summarizing and I know the quality of my writing has suffered much during the long process. Now next to dread: New Year's Eve! Oh, and CHRISTMAS! I get shivers just thinking about it. Bye Basel, a bientot. 

what is art, bro?

I went to O.H.W.O.W., Scope, and Basel this year, and I was impressed and overwhelmed. The Friends With You complex at Scope was truly impressive, and everyone, every age, that jumped in the huge bounce house, was smiling and having fun. I was in there for 30 seconds, and I fell on my head twice, tumbled out, out of breath, but it was fun. 

There was an abundance of art, too much to even begin to discuss. My favorite piece was this giant hamburger with sexy cow ladies on it by Alejandra Villasmil. It's my fav for obvious 
reasons... I mean, googley eyes, cow faces and big boobs, 
what more could you want (bottom)?  There was a little section of the fair where they were serving absinthe in order to get the art collectors nice and shitty and loose with the check book. 

These next two photos were taken at the Wynwood-ish  O.H.W.O.W art space. It's Nathan jumping in front of a Paper Rad video and the other is one dude smelling another's pit by Slava Mogutin. I thought it was charming and amusing. I missed Beth Ditto hosting a hipster karaoke hour because we stayed dancing at the Matt and Kim show. I heard there wasn't much to be missed, but I'm a karaoke addict, so I was disappointed.  
This was my first time actually going to the Miami Beach 
Convention Center for Art Basel, because I'm always so broke. This year, I went for half price an hour before closing, and I felt like I was running a marathon. I took notes of all the artists and galleries I liked, but it's never as powerful looking something up later as it is seeing it for the first time. 
I saw a few galleries from Brazil. I'm starting to consider my friend Eddie's theories about Brazil being the powerhouse of the future. The busiest booth was Deitch Projects. They really know what they're doing. 

Being at the Convention Center reminded me of a booksellers' fair I once went to in Providence, RI. The booths, people milling about, the gallery employees sitting there looking bored, the 
desire for commerce. 
It emphasized the commercialism of it all in the same way that the party pictures show how much of a popularity contest the art world is. It's hard to keep up. I can't imagine what it takes to put yourself in such a vulnerable position. The artists are the ones I admire, whereas the art, sometimes it's just as bold, and other times it falls short of intention. Either way, it's still so thrilling to have all of this creativity and talent come to town.   

Kill Your Idols- Basel '08

At the Marcy Building in the Design District, Converse sponsored four days of concerts for Art Basel. The walls were plastered with old concert flyers and there was a photo exhibit by Eileen Polk, themed: punk is everything. Although punk was present on the walls, and in some of the music, it was not so much in the crowd. For instance, check out the old lady, and the guy with the neon leotard-thong in the pictures. I wasn't seeing CBGBs circa '75, but there was definitely an element of asshole in the air. Meatball, in the white shirt up there, made the party for me as he really knows how to make it something special with his intense moves on the dance floor.
I went to two shows there: Matt and Kim and
Times New Viking. Both shows were really good.
The Matt and Kim show was packed and the
energy was fierce, presumably because they're
well liked, but also because it was opening night. Everyone was dancing and they had some free beer. After the show, Converse gave out something like 100 shoes designed by Matt and Kim; I got myself a pair, 6.5, women (ebay).

It was unfortunate that Times New Viking played on the last night of the fair because they were really good, but the crowd was clearly exhausted after a long week of art/booze/music. The little lady singer, Beth Murphy, really rocked it out. Really a worthwhile event. Hope they grace us with more chucks and bands next year. Thanks, Converse.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Friendsday on the Beach

I'm gonna break it down for ya. 
The containers were unimpressive. 
Skipped the Yelle show for The Gossip hosted by Deitch at the totally fabulous Raleigh Hotel. Drank for free, made friendly with Beth Ditto. Really fun drag act, The Kingpins, opened for them, pictures are below. 
Highlights were: Ditto singing Aaliyah's "Are you that somebody;" booze off of other people's tables; and everyone (me too) jumping up and dancing on stage with the band. 
Spotted: Rachel Zoe, Benicio del Toro, Ivana Trump, Grace Jones, JD Samson (pictured below) from le Tigre.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dec. 2 - a hot, drunk mess day one

I started the evening at Art Miami, which was relatively not fabulous, but worth hitting up for the free Grolsch I chugged. There were a couple of memorable pieces, but this Chinese dude is embroidered, and as a novice stitcher myself, I was wholly impressed. The artist is Chang Xugong. 

Next, I went over to NADA, which was supposed to cost $25, but when we arrived, they were like, donation only. I think the reason for this change was due to the fact that there were like 15 people in the whole place, and Casiotone was... forgive me... but he was painfully alone. I felt so bad for that sad bastard, but they should have promoted better. Look, there he is, all alone.

After that, we were going to see some local art at the Moore space, but instead ended up at the David LaChapelle show where there was no more booze, and the line for the john was out the door. However, as you can see in the pictures, I made a few new pals. I look like just one-a the gals with good ole Dave, don't I?? And then when I asked for a pic alone, Mr. LaChapelle gave me the big snub, so we took a picture anyway. Fuck it, right? I heard through the gay grapevine that he's gotten uppity since he became spiritual. Whatever. There was alotta Christ up in that room, I will say. It was like the gay stations of the cross, and actually I think his photos were simply that, pop, glam, gay stations of the cross. Nathan took these pics. They amuse me.

Last but not least, we went to the Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin and drank, danced, and rode on one of these things below. It was a really good time. BUT, the highlight was when I introduced Pharrell, who's showing there, to two lovely ladies, as if I knew him. I did attempt to take a picture of him and an old friend of mine at Pawn Shop like 3 years ago. My camera was new, and I didn't realize that I was video taping them just standing there smiling. Kind of funny. If I see him tonight, I'm going to pretend we're old pals, because basically we are at this point. You know?
Two star sightings on night one isn't too shabby. Let's see if I see Byrne tonight! 
Just dance.

UPDATE: Was Chuck Close at the opening of the containers? 

Prepare for Basel

Art Basel and the concurrent events are now in almost full swing. Last night was the kick off/preview for many of the art fairs and some galleries. I will be posting pictures and highlights later.

Right now, I just want to warn new Baselites about the nature of this beast.
It's much like preparing for a marathon. You have to drink a lot of water, for instance, and make sure to wear comfortable shoes. Most importantly though, be prepared; plan ahead if you can.

But also, be prepared to get tired, mostly of art, drinking and people.

During Basel week, I become increasingly stressed and overwhelmed by the number of possibilities and the humongous crowds. I have to constantly remind myself to relax and enjoy, and so in that way, it's a bit like having sex...

Many of my friends are opting out this year. But I am addicted to the prospects it has to offer, that, and the free drinks. So, basically, just have fun and try everything and anything.

I think though that I must reemphasize, drink lots and lots of water. Lots.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Panda, what? Panda, bro.

What is this about Panda Bear at Karu and Y on Friday? Is there any additional info? Here's what's on CrossFade.  I am eager to hear more...