Monday, November 30, 2009

Bro, Basel is Craaaaazzzzy, Bro

The madness returns.

It's the first week in December and Miami will again be the coolest city in the world for the next few days, all thanks to Art Basel Miami Beach. The mere thought makes me sigh with excitement and also makes me nail bite at the prospect of that much art and Grolsch in one city. Sigh.

I can't tell you what to do for Art Basel, because I don't necessarily know you. However, I can post a few things that I've found that sound like fun to me. Interview Magazine has some good suggestions, too.

Tuesday night will be the big night for locals. Most out-of-towners don't show up until Wednesday, so enjoy this day of private and public events with friends. There's the MOCA opening, which is aligned with Vanity Fair. The after party is at the Gansevoort. The Friends With You party takes place Tuesday from 6-10pm at 3930 NE 2nd Ave, Suite 202. Make sure to end your night at Churchill's where many Miami legends will pump out some worthy music, including such performers as Kreamy 'Lectric Santa and Dino Felipe.

OHWOW will have a busy year, hosting many of what sound like the best Basel shows and parties. First of all, on Tuesday, they're opening up a Max Fish (a quaint LES bar where Team Tracy has kicked ass at pool) at the former PS14 (RIP) space. Neat, I think! It'll be open till 4am each night and the line up looks like this: Wed -IUD, Silkflowers, Animals of the Arctic; Thurs - Barr, Mike Bones, Wilder Zoby (Chin Chin), Jaccuzzi Boys; Fri - Gang Gang Dance, Endless Boogie, Teepee; Sat - ?.

At the traditional OHWOW space, Dark Night of the Soul is a collaboration between Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse with visuals by David Lynch. Most awesomely though, Atlas Sound will be performing Thursday at Stages, an event that will raise funds for Lance Armstrong's foundation. It'll be at 888 Biscayne. This is so freaking awesome, I peed a little when I heard. Last year we got Panda Bear and now Atlas sound. Check out the song they made together and love it all the way: Walkabout.

I think this is all I have the energy for right now. Remember, you cannot see or do everything, so ask your friends where they have work up and check it the fuck out.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Miami, Bro Loves Borscht

Under the indoor twinkling stars of the Gusman Center in Downtown Miami, the Borscht Film Festival managed to do the almost impossible. A full theater sat waiting over an hour to watch two and a half hours of homemade, independent films. Although the crowd was restless in waiting for the films to begin, they all managed to hang in there and suck down numerous $5 rum and Jupinas. In typical grassroots style, the projector at the Gusman wasn't working. As another projector was rushed downtown, musical acts and comedians, both from the audience and what appeared to be preplanned performances, entertained. Luckily, it sufficed for people like me, compulsively late and then inappropriately impatient, people who, surprisingly, arrived on time for the first times in their lives.

There were so many little things about this event that just radiated love for Miami. Although most of us grow up wishing we were somewhere else, we are still truly dedicated to this sometimes lame, mostly strange, very non-traditional American city. Our humor and perspective is so unique. Miamians are easily amused; we love to laugh. Each film made a nod to our hometown in a way we, the audience, could appreciate, and Miami, bro loved it.

The screening began with independently produced shorts chosen from community submissions. The video for Miami's own thoughtful but danceable group, Afrobeta's "Land of Lost Lovers," was sexy and cute. I thought the most notable of these films was Oda a la Pina, which takes place in Cuba, was in Spanish without subtitles and features a woman dressed as a pineapple. Even with the language barrier, it was a beautiful, poetic tale, conveyed visually with humor and compassion. Another well done short, Waking Olguita, takes place in Puerto Rico and features a slutty but nice exchange student who lightens up the life of her old lady, host mother.

Nothing pleased me more than the shot of the street on which I live in The Rise of Panic Bomber. This short fully grabbed the attention and laughter of the audience through humorous quips and shots of the downtown areas we live in and know so well. It was the creation of Andrew Hevia, who is one of the festival's main organizers and whom I've known since he was wee lad. I was also tickled when I saw one of my high school english teachers, Sandra (Doc) Riley in the slow but important documentary on the Miami Circle.

This year the Borscht received funding from the Miami World Cinema Center and the Downtown Development Authority to commission five feature films. I would say my favorites included Velvet, which, although it was shot in the Design District, could be shown anywhere and enjoyed by any audience. The biggest crowd pleaser and the feature that most closely reflected my experience of growing up, was an animated short, "Xemoland," which took place in Key Biscayne. I know must of us didn't grow up as Key rats, but the little details brought me back to my youth. For instance, the OP logo on the main character's shirt, the Goo poster on his brother's wall, the nuclear holocaust image from T2 and most importantly, Riviera Cinema. I worked at Riviera for 2 years in high school and I happened to be sitting next to one of my oldest friends who worked there with me, so, if you heard someone shout out for Rivera, that was me.

If you've grown up in Miami, part of you never leaves. Maybe you're always late, or you're a shitty driver, but you're probably also the best dancer at whatever white-bred party you're at, and definitely, you know how to have a good time and laugh even when a hurricane blows through town. The Borscht Film Festival highlighted all those regional quirks we hold dear and which sometimes hold us hostage. I hope they maintain all the community support for next year and at least double their funding. If you helped out with this event, Miami, bro wants to say to you, bravo and que bueno!

Here's my roomie, Jessica Gross, doing some off the cuff ass kicking comedy.
I didn't take many pics, but aren't Dylan and Kizzy's sweaters adorable? I barked at them to pose, hence Kizzy's face of horror.

These 2 are from the Oolite Visual Arts Showcase.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Borscht, bro

Just wanted to post this before I forget. The Borscht film fest showcases local, talented filmmakers. I'll be writing more later, but I just wanted to remind y'all. It's free and well funded this year, thanks to my friend Amanda.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I saw the Fantastic Mr. Fox, and you probably didn't

Last night, I ventured out into the darkness for the midnight preview of Wes Anderson's newest movie, The Fantastic Mr. Fox. The internet buzz on this movie began many months ago and considering that this movie is just being released now in the US, the teaser time was a bit extended.

Everyone seems a little excited to see the movie, animators and fans of Anderson. This is 20th Century Fox's first feature in stop-motion animation. You may ask, how was it?? Here's the catch, the fire alarm went off about 15 minutes before the film ended. My title then isn't 100% true. We were ushered outside and I didn't catch the end. How can I possibly make a claim about a movie if I haven't seen in full? I can't, but I will make a few observations here which you can take or shove.

Even though this film is based on a Roald Dahl book, it's been modified/personalized enough to resemble something Andersen himself would have written. There's the Mr. Fox character, the mischievous father figure, whose love of adventure eclipses all else, even his family's well-being (see Steve Zissou, Royal Tenenbaum, Herman Blume). Kylie, the opossum character, is the sidekick, similar to Pagoda in the Royal Tenenbaums, with his stout frame and his willingness to conspire. The mother, Felicity Fox, is mostly serene, detached, not without her redeeming qualities nor her flaws. There's the brotherly type rivalry with between the quirky Ash and his naturally adept at everything cousin Kristofferson.

Visually the movie is interesting with its tiny details and funny close up shots on the animals' faces. The muted colors create a sort of timelessness. The foxes are just so darn cute. Maybe it's the fact that they're fuzzy little bastards use the word, "cuss" instead of actually cursing, but Anderson's characters are infinitely more likable when they're only voices and not entire human beings. All in all, I think you're basically a black hole of misery if you don't enjoy this film at all.

p.s. other things I didn't mention. The theater was empty. We were the only 2 in there and then a few others showed up at midnight, making a total audience of 8 people. Only in Miami.
The other thing - I appreciated that one of the evil farmers in the movie lived off of only yummy cider. I love cider. Cider, mmmmmm...

Monday, November 23, 2009

A bro's Christmas gift ideas

I usually have to think things over long and hard before I spread the word on cool junk I've found on the internet. I think it over and then over again and then I don't share. It is, though, the Christmas season, and no matter how much I actually want to buy everything for myself, I realize my bank account will not permit this fantasy to become a reality.

The newish and brilliant blog Regretsy has taken this idea of sharing internet finds to a new level. Please take it into consideration when writing your gift list.

For those of you who are penniless, I think the right thing to do is to Give-A-Tree Card for the Arbor Day Foundation. These adorable cards cost only a few bucks, but you get to give Mother
Earth back a tree or two. You've certainly used enough of them on your bottom over the years.

These next few suggestions are just off the Urban Outfitters site, which is not too creative on my part, I know. However, these are actually cute, little finds. This whale tail hook is like my dream stocking stuffer and the Slimer penny bank is incroyable (rad, bros).

Also worth mentioning are these headphone mitten type things and a 3D model of a swine's anatomy. It's kind of what Christmas is all about: Slimer and swine.

There are a ton of awesome gift possibilities on the Three Potato Four Shop.
You need an antique life preserver for a friend in St. Louis?
You've got it!
Have a hankering for an Indian Motorcycle trophy?
They have not only one, but a collection of these bad boys.
What's that, you say? A notebook with a skateboarding pigeon on it?
Oh, yes, it's there.
This site has hours of eye candy on it. Enjoy.

I know these booger candies are sold out on Blue Ribbon General Store site, but if you keep your fingers crossed, maybe they'll restock them.
A gal can dream!

Stay tuned for more ideas.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Slate asks the question of the year and it's about John Mayer

I was talking on the phone with my brother Jimmy yesterday and we came to some conclusions on a few things. One of the things we discussed I've explored in more depth here, the other I need to research before I post anything on it, too controversial (think solutions for the the US deer problem).

Jimmy was reading Slate and happened to read aloud the title of the article, "Why Aren't John Mayer's Songs as Funny as John Mayer?" I thought this was one of the most insightful questions I've heard in quite awhile. Forget, "when will the recession end," or "why haven't we caught Osama Bin Laden," this is the kind of stuff that keeps American thinkers awake at night.

If you've ever watched TMZ, you know that John Mayer is really, very funny. He's got a good sense of humor, one that isn't tragically embarrassing or shameful. It's actually biting and forgiving, pushes boundaries, is self-depricating, in a backhanded way. He mocks himself while admiring his own status as a pop star. My brother, like many others out there, didn't know this interesting factoid about Johnny boy. I mean, why would he? He's not reading the gossip pages. I suppose this is a good lesson for him, considering he's stunted technologically, doesn't even check his e-mails regularly anymore (get it together, Jimbo).

Back to the question: why, John, why? No one's saying you need to be the next Weird Al Yankovich, but your music so so lacking in quality lyrics, it's shameful.

I don't want to just jump in on the complex and thoughtful conversation published on Slate, but I would like to note a few things. I think that if you have Mayer's natural gift of humor and his ability to gain a lot of attention singing and strumming guitar, you have some personal responsibility to marry these talents. If I were really friendly, thoughtful and kind, but also a waitress, a rude, cold waitress who was unpleasant and mean at work, I would be like John Mayer is now, subpar.

I disagree that his new single, "Who Says," is humorous. I think it's more honest that his other sappy singles, but truly, it just sounds to me like he's only trying to push the limits of his audience's sensibilities. If you watch the John Mayer TV show (1 and 2), he's doing the same thing there, busting the balls of the ladies who love him. It's sort of douchey, sort of some borderline personality shit. He's testing those who adore him, saying, "you like me? Well, how much do you like me? Do you like me even when I mock you and hate on you, reveal your lameness, your insecurities?" The sad part is that the young ladies will still like him and on the John Mayer TV show, they even believe that Richard Marx writes his songs. They don't even question him on it. It's funny to the rest of us, it's true, but let's just say, this is a women's studies dissertation just waiting to be written.

I guess this new single has a certain level of irony to it that could be seen as humorous. Thankfully, it is lacking in the extreme corniness of a tune like "No Such Thing," which happens to be a song that physically sickens me. I'm just glad this topic made it to Slate's front page because maybe it will encourage Mayer to reconsider singing the lyrics he's written on the toilet or while stoned and start to work on ones that are a little truer to the side of him that is actually likable to the rest of us.

Here is proof that John Mayer is funny:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Get on the bike, bro

Do something good for once.

Meteors, Meteors Everywhere!

Two of my lovely girlfriends came out with me to the Everglades to try and see the leonid meteor shower taking place right over our heads, right now. We drove down 8th Street, a bit past the lights. There wasn't much to see but some stars. We did manage to each catch at least a few glimpses falling meteors. A magical ending to a pretty darn good day.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Books are cool, bro.

The Miami Book Fair International was the happening place to be this week. As witnessed in the photo above, it will make you do very, and I mean very, cool things. The Mystery Writers of America passed out fans with Edgar Allen Pow on them, and what a relief, because our lovely, little cold snap kind of vanished this afternoon.

I kicked off the week last Friday or Saturday with a reading by Barbara Kingsolver. In high school, we read Animal Dreams, which I have reread many times since 12th grade AP english lit. Although I went through an early Kingsolver ready frenzy in college, I never really got into her more recent epic novels. Maybe I was distracted, because they're international hits, and this means everyone else loves them. Anyway, one of her more recent books, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, documents her and her family's year of living off of local produce and their own little plot of heaven in Appalachia. She's not only a brilliant author, Kingsolver is an extremely interesting person and a great reader. When she signed my book, I actually became starstruck and stuttered my way through telling her my favorite book and about a mutual family of friends we share. So neat.

Though there was no Antiquarian Annex this year, the booksellers with the good oldies were situated in a tight little group by the entrance. There were some interesting things to flip through.

Please, someone tell me that they have read this book and that it was wonderful.

This is my friend Hillary. She's wearing a limited edition A Walk in the Woods backpack. Not sure if you know how extremely awesome Bill Bryson's book is, but it is a combination of the funniest and most interesting book ever. If I could date this book, I would.

Headz is a novel for music lovers, and The Jewish Lady, the Black Man and the Road Trip, is for black men and Jewish ladies.

Here are the McSweeney's people. The guy on the left and the chick in the middle were pleasant enough to bargain with me on a book. It looks like it'll take me an hour to read, so I thought it should be more inexpensive. They didn't agree.

These 2 dudes had long hair and tons of style. Yes, these are dudes. A pink french braid? I think this will rule my fashion world for the next few weeks.

Poetry is making a comeback in the 305. You may occasionally catch the Poetry Depot typing away at art walk, tailoring poems to your liking. They also have Five Cent Journal an anthology of local poets. Google it.
I also found some guy who writes road trip/travel guides, American Auto Trails. I want to buy some when I finally make some cash.

The Books and Books, pre-fair teaser, John Irving:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Music and fashion, bro.

Clearly, directly influenced by my last post regarding both Sonic Youth and a top 12, Criterion's newsletter went out yesterday with a link to Sonic Youth's top 12 favorite Criterion Collection films.


Artist Caroline Hwang, whom I've had the pleasure of spending some time with over the years, was recently featured on the Yves Saint Laurent Parisienne blog. As I looked through the beautiful pictures, I quickly noticed that the majority of recent content is about the our magic city, Miami. How majorly awesome that the people of YSL feel that Miami has what it takes to make it big. I always knew we were a cute city, not so fashionable all the time, but this demonstrates progress. We're making strides. We're almost big time!

Books and Books is featured, which gives me a thrill (the Book Fair is this week-go hear some authors and read something on paper for a change), and so is A La Folie, the yummy creperie on Espanola Way.

Welcome to Miami, YSL! We're all sun and fun here. Sun and fun.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

He Crazy

I found this on White Lightning.
I can't even begin to explain how this brings me back. It's not like I'm Kim Gordon or anything, but one 0f the highlights of my high school trips to NYC was going to X-Girl and X-Large. X-Girl is/was Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth's line where all the clothes are engineered for miniature, slender or Asian women. X-Large was the Beastie Boys store nearby. A few years ago, I bought my favorite jeans at the X-Girl in LA, but I think it was on the way out and is now closed.
The clothes themselves weren't what was actually cool. It was the whole idea that your favorite musicians made clothes you could afford. You could wear their gear of your idols, and it made you feel closer to being a part of the music they made, the image they portrayed. I loved Sonic Youth when I was in middle school, which was, sadly, before 1994, so the whole visit to the store was a thrill. With time, X-Girl clothes became much more stylish than this. It's sort of a sorry representation of what the era and X-Girl was all about. Anyway, I was excited to see this.


I love Chuck Klosterman. I'm not like in love with him, and I mean, it's not like I've read every single thing he's written. I admit I hit a wall reading Fargo Rock City, but I loved Killing Yourself to Live. I think he's a personality genius.
Flavorpill has a post listing his top 12 albums that'll kick writer's block. Given the inconsistent blogging I've done this year, I feel I may need that inspiration.
Posting this just in case you do too.

One last thing:


Congrats to my bro and bros.

I was jetsetting 2 weeks back, not for fun in the sun (though I did manage to get some in), but for the weddings of my little brother and one of my oldest and dearest girlfriends.

Jimmy, my brother, married Leah in DC and the following weekend, Stephanie married Flo in Los Angeles. Both weddings were beautiful and most importantly, very, very fun! Whereas I end up dancing to Robin S at gay clubs worldwide, I got to get low to Debbie Deb at 2 weddings, at both ends of the nation. You can take the bros out of Miami, but you can't take the Miami out of the bros.

In DC, it was so amazing to catch up with my family and old friends all at once. I loved having all my aunts and uncles and many of my cousins, Eddie (who flew in from London for 2 days), Liza and Kevin (from New York for 1 day!) all in one place to celebrate. It was so awesome caching up with Steph and Flo's friends, meeting new ones and bringing Miami to LA. I couldn't have seen more people I loved or met more interesting people in one week, short of getting married myself.
I wanted to write some sort of beautiful, sweeping congratulatory toast to the two wonderful couples, but I feel incredibly insecure doing so. I guess I could just say that it's rare to see couples more devoted to each other than these two. Both couples are best friends with their partners, they love and respect each other in all things. I think that no matter what, these bastards love the crap out of each other 'til the end and will be committed to making things work - and that is what marriage is all about.

Even though the journey around the country was exhausting for me, I was honored to attend the celebration of two unions that, I believe, are solid and enduring.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Halloween 2009

Stevie Nicks playing my jukebox
Kim from Housewives was at my house - Tardy for the Party

Lil' JonBenet Ramsey and MC Hammer

A tall glass of water and an alka seltzer for your belly

One hot piece of ass

Roy and Leela

Just a Power Ranger on a rainy day

Diego as a mummy

Poor taste

Alvaro and Jen working the dead surfer/snorkeler look

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What's up in Miami right this very second, well maybe in a few seconds, or days...

I keep starting blogs and not finishing them. Right now I'm going to attempt to write something coherent and publish it. Attempt.

So, tonight, there's an art opening called 305//Neon Life for Francesco LoCastro at Kidrobot. It starts at 6 p.m. and Jose El Rey will be the DJ for the event. I guess LoCastro's show is about the 305, as Miami lovers, it might be neat to check out. I don't understand why Kidrobot doesn't have more events like this. I mean, maybe I'm just out of the loop and they do all the time, but isn't it just the perfect nerd or wannabe nerd gathering spot? They always can bring out a crowd. Some new Japanese toy that literally looks like my ass comes out there's a line around the block. I don't understand, but I get it.

Also, tonight at Electric Pickle, there's a rockabilly thing going on. Not 100% sure about this, but I'm going to swing by. I hear karaoke Miami is making people sing at Ecco Lounge on Thursdays. It's the new restaurant/bar that I haven't been to, but which is owned by the Poplife/PS14 folks. Now I must go, because I am a karaoke fanatic. Neck Face is signing books at OHWOW tonight too, 8 p.m., if you're interested.

Friday night, I think there's an opening at Spinello Gallery, called Littlest Sister, at 7 p.m. The roster is long, very long. You're bound to know someone showing.

On Saturday, Justin Long's show at 20/20 is closing. I'm not sure there'll be oysters this time, but there will be Justin, and that's good enough for me.

Also, there's the Sleepless Nights thing on Miami Beach. I know this event started off weak a few years back, but I have high hopes for it this year. Definitely stop by the Bass Art Museum. Christy Gast will be performing at 9 p.m. and I am saying - go, so go. Also, my buddy Carlos told me he made these gigantic Nirvana tee-shirts that'll be on display there too. The whole thing sounds awesome. Swing by the Art Center to say hi to me on your way down Lincoln.

That's it, I'm publishing this shit right now. Whew. I have almost nothing to do all day, and I manage to get nothing at all done. It's fascinating. Have a good weekend, bro.