Saturday June 30, 2007
- This lazy kid only bothered to learn the second half of Stairway to Heaven.
- How to operate a shower curtain.
- Knife and Sharpening Steel Hardness.
- Holy crap, more annoying then real kids.
- A new American portrait.
- Sokushinbutsu: The Self-Mummified Monks of Japan. “Each day he rang a bell to let those outside know that he was still alive. When the bell stopped ringing, the tube was removed and the tomb sealed.”
- Best Thing.
- Another thing about idiotic disclaimers: Who’s afraid of Time Inc.’s e-mail disclaimer.
- 60’s model poses decoded.
- From a conversation I had last night: How to Select the Sharpest Aperture Considering the Simultaneous Effects of Depth-of-Field and Diffraction.
- “Between 2000 and 2006 I together with writer Cia Rinne undertook travels in seven different countries with a view to gaining an insight into the life of the Roma and the conditions they face. We always tried to spend a considerable length of time among the people whom we wanted to learn about and, if possible, to live with them for a while.” The Roma Journeys.
- Cop vs. skateboarders
- Price of a gram of cocaine around the world.
- For a flash website, this is not too bad.
- Shitty flash, but amazing content: Juilliard Manuscript Collection.
- One day aboard the Space Shuttle.
- Unusual foods.
- Andy Warhol: eating a hamburger, time capsule, philosophy [Click again: loads a different page each time!], Day in the life (with fantastic Velvets backing track), the classic interview, quotes, drawings, and life. Also, possibly the most annoying thing you’ll click all day, a million thanks for Andy Warhol.
- Bloxorz. I’m up to stage
1220 (and sort of done with it).
Friday June 29, 2007
Miami 21 pushed back another 90 days. One of the tactics used to get people scared: “Commissioners themselves at moments seemed confused over one detail: whether many existing homes in the city would be deemed in violation of the new code.” Um, no kids — the plan effects new construction. Duh. Update: Ryan has some comments on this.
It’s a rainy weekend, so everyone’s going to be running around with their clear umbrellas. Right. Actually, rain chances are only 30% over the weekend, so let’s see:
- IFE-ILE Afro-Cuban Dance Festival, dance and drumming workshops and parties.
- Family Expo. Got kids? Don’t know what to do with them? Here you’ll be accosted with every kid-centric organization in driving distance: clowns, magicians, facepainters, storytellers, games, and of course food.
- William Shakespeare’s Cymbeline finishes a run at the New Theater.
- Tonight: Tigertail and the Florida Dance Association present danceAble.
- Also Tigertail: Sidiki Conde & Tokounou West African drumming and dance ensemble.
- Closing reception of the Prayers for Saints and Orishas photo exhibition at Centro Cultural Español, with a performance by Jude Papaloko & Loray Mistik Band from Haiti (free).
- Sicko opens tonight.
- Get your laptops and turntables on at PS14, including The Gaslamp Killer, w/r/t which, here he is getting his hair cut, and here’s actual music.
- Saturday: Finale of the Florida Dance Festival.
- Upper Eastside Garden: putt-putt, live music, and an open bar.
- Mildly experimental rock-en-español: Marcelo Lupis (Argentina) and Naturaleza Muerta (Venezuela) at Churchill’s.
- Sunday: Some community/guerrilla gardening, organized by RagTrade. (More info at GreenerMiami )
Thursday June 28, 2007
Discovering new “Miami” blogs and websites is becoming a daily occurrence in these muggy and rainy days of Summer, as peoples retreat into their air-conditioned rooms and behind glowing terminals.
The new street fashion blog 2 Live Looks is different, because Matthew actually has to leave his house to gather material. “Websites similar to this one have long existed for other cities, with Miami conspicuously missing.” Sure enough. The question is whether Matthew can keep up the post-a-day pace he seems to have set for himself. (Remember Miamity?) I sure hope he does.
With 16 of its 21 seats filled, the Miami-Dade County Charter Review Task Force can get to work. Not joking: four Miami-Dade commissioners (Carlos Gimenez, Sally Heyman, Barbara Jordan, and Javier Souto) appointed themselves to the committee. I suspect that if anything positive comes from this it will be despite their participation, not because of it. In any case, the task force is supposed to submit its final report at the end of October.
I don’t get it: over a number of years, property values have shot through the roof, and property taxes have followed. The current tax reforms are intended to roll back some (not all) of the disproportionate increases. So why is everyone in such a crisis mode?
Wednesday June 27, 2007
I am given to understand that this is the finished new Ikea building, getting its blue paint. Still no more specific an opening date then “Fall 2007.”
Yes, it’s a grasshopper. But really it’s a caption contest, isn’t it?
Night tennis. Somewhere downtown?
“Our mission is the historic preservation of the Hialeah Park Race Track (1925) and all of its elements. We are a group of community residents [MySpace] working cooperatively to attain local, state, and federal support necessary for the Hialeah Park’s restoration and preservation.” Also: Hialeah Park decays in the sun, 11 most endangered places, Activists celebrate designation, and Dig calls for a multi-disciplinary [read: arty] competition to propose programs for the park.
FIU and UM have a new program in place that allows students of either school to attend classes at both. But wait: it only applies to Doctoral-level students. What’s up with that?
LOL: The Miami Dolphins sent an e-mail to hundreds of their season ticket buyers in a way that revealed all of their e-mail addresses
Tuesday June 26, 2007
Miami Nights has a dSLR, and they’re not afraid to use it. They are, however, afraid of editing their photos down to two manageable sets. I scoured through their two most recent galleries (I only recommend doing this if you were there those nights and you’re looking for pictures of yourself), looking for diamonds in the rough. A few I liked: Black fingernail: there’s a blank but distrustful look, but there’s also a lot of interesting stuff happening with fingers and feet. Two hamming girls: but the guy in the background sort of steals the picture. Overhead: reminds of that Gursky rave picture. Saddest picture: Closed bottle — nobody looks good in this, least of all the photographer that instigate the scene. Update: Nefarious girl’s photos from the Dirty Disco night.
A super-comprehensive rundown of South Beach hostels. Are there hostels anywhere else in Miami?
Easy: you remove the shoulders. Here’s the re-striping in progress on Southbound I-95 — the solid stripes are the transition to the small section that’s striped the new way, in preparation for the doubled for-pay express lanes. Observe:
- Original shoulder. Wide enough to accommodate a pulled-over car or an emergency vehicle.
- New shoulder, approximately two feet wide.
- Here’s where the double lines diverge. The faint line is where the lines originally were. The solid lines are the temporary transition to the repainted section.
- So all the lanes move over and get a little skinnier, creating a new lane over here.
- Here’s where the physical new express lane barrier will go, cordoning off the two left lanes.
So right about now what you’re thinking is “Wait a second, if they think they can just add a lane, why didn’t they do it like, maybe, a few decades ago?!” Well, traffic engineers take it on faith that adding lanes to existing highways brings diminishing returns. You read that correctly: they don’t think a new lane would have helped. So the difference here? Well, they hope that by erecting a physical barrier between some of the lanes, they’ll effectively be creating a separate highway, and this is supposed to make the difference. Charging for the two lanes is more tied to creating a justifiable new revenue source then an integral part of the solution.
In other words, everybody wins. Except the drivers in the regular lanes. Oh, and two-person carpools, who get booted out of the express lanes. And the people paying an amount as yet undisclosed floating rate for the privilege of driving in non-rage-inducing rush-hour conditions. I still say it won’t work.
Update: A commenter suggests that the lane reshuffling may be unrelated to the express lane conversion.
Monday June 25, 2007
Hmm: South Beach man whore meets his match. This could get interesting.
The latest draft proposal of Miami 21 is available for download. I can’t say that they’ve made it easy for people . . . rather then a web-readable format, or a reader-hostile pdf, the planners have chosen to do this as an extra-reader-hostile multi-pdf. The meat begins in section 4, where, on page 17, the maximum densities for downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods are laid out.
I’ll leave it to urban planning experts to judge the details of the plan, but the broad outlines of it are based on modern urban planning principles that are well established, and as such this is very important for the long-term growth of our city, as I’ve argued previously. You’ll hear a lot of criticism of the plan, and almost all of it comes from self-interested land owners who fear (oftentimes incorrectly) that the plan limits their options on how they can develop their land. But remember that we’re talking about making our city more livable here. (And sorry sir, but we really don’t need a high-rise in the middle of this neighborhood of single-family homes.)
Passing the plan will be an important step, but since the effects of something like this take place over the course of decades, the real test will be how seriously future city governments take it. I guess we’ll have to see how it plays out. For now, Verticus says that Miami 21 is going before the commission for first reading Thursday.
Update: Ryan runs down some of the changes.
Hey kids, it’s Lightning awareness week! Stop by every morning for the next few days for fascinating information about this mysterious force, and helpful tips for staying safe. Lesson #1: Lightning can strike without warning out of a clear, rainless, and cloudless sky and kill your ass instantly. Bonus fact: Florida is #1 in the nation for lightning deaths.
Oak Plaza, coming soon to the Design District. Pedestrian-friendly ground floor shopping with residences above, just the way we like it.
Saturday June 23, 2007
- Unreal videos of the surface of the sun.
- Susan Sontag’s 1975 review of a Leni Riefenstahl book.
- Get your photography on: 2000, from Magnum’s first 60 years, one photograph per year. The the work of Edward Burtynsky. Dismal world. Finally, Michael Poliza’s photostream.
- The Scooter Libby Love Letters, pleas for leniency written to the judge in his case, some by prominent democrats.
- “You can’t really do this at home. But the canard à la rouennaise or duck in blood sauce is an antique, spectacular, barbaric and sophisticated recipe you need to see at least once in your life.”
- A couple of weeks old, but: “To read a dissent aloud is an act of theater that justices use to convey their view that [these fucking men are] not only mistaken, but profoundly wrong.” [Times Select account required]
- The new Fiat 500, w/r/t which good fucking luck, because it’ll probably never be sold stateside. [Also, note that this idiot website will set a cookie and make you register if you try to visit twice.]
- From awake to leave home.
- Related to the Ed Bobb incident (maybe): How a photo can ruin your life.
- Everybody else is linking to it so why can’t I: One day, your computer will be a big ass table.
- Another fun google maps close-up for you to enjoy zooming out of.
- Why are milk containers square when soft-drink containers are round?
- Don’t eat hair from your mom’s hairbrush [warning: disgusting].
- A bunch of kids with welding equipment made a train roller-coaster loop.
- The Dunning-Kruger effect. Also, here’s my monthly link to the List of cognitive biases.
- Not fun, or particularly educational, but build an atom.
- Disney Mars colonization movie from 1957. Parts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
- Oh, I almost forgot: Czech news station gets punk’d.
- Crap, one more: How to survive a shark attack.
Friday June 22, 2007
New Flickr set: Graphs and infographics.
Daily downpours and nonstop mugginess? Must mean that Summer rolled in at 2:07 pm yesterday. Appropriately, I recommend cowering in the air-conditioned box, or going whole hog and heading down to the beach and sweating it out in direct sunlight. But if you must:
- Water Stories opens at the Historical Museum of South Florida.
- Last weekend to see the Merce Cunningham show at the MoCA Warehouse.
- Friday: Stanogold at PS14 tonight.
- Saturday: Global Groove at the ArtsPark in Hollywood.
- Moving Current Dance Collective performs as part of the Florida Dance Festival.
- Issac Delgado at the James L. Knight Center.
- Get your dose of mediocre indie pop-rock: Longwave at Studio A.
- Sunday: Shocking: it’s a painting show at MAM.
- Stay away from the Colony Theater around 7 pm, because it’ll be teeming with creepy David Lynch fans, there for the opening of his new movie, which he will introduce by webcast.
Thursday June 21, 2007
Hey everybody, New Times is hiring. Know anybody that can “understand the difference between magazine-style reporting and the hurried fact-finding of daily papers”?
The seawall around Miami Circle is disintegrating. Not good. The article has links to two old Herald articles which track the history of what happened, and what was supposed to have happened, to the circle (which looked mighty strange next to each other in my RSS reader, causing a confused early version of this entry).
The Coconut Grove Village Council is behind on posting notices of their upcoming meetings and minutes of past meetings on their website. Tom challenged them on it, and got back a very polite letter which basically said, we don’t have the time to do it. Which Tom correctly points out is BS — you don’t not have time — you just don’t consider it a priority. If you can send out e-mails and press releases, you can update a website. If you thought it was important, at the very least there’d be a message at the top of your website along the lines of “Volunteer help needed running this website. Please contact us.”
“[W]hen you came to Miami in 1964, were I-95 and I-395 already built, ripping through Overtown and basically converting it into the slum it is today? Did you drink from the segregated drinking fountains or eat at a segregated lunch counter? Did you see the ID cards blacks needed to come to Miami Beach? Or when the hotels advertised ‘Always A View, Never a Jew’? [. . .] Miami was a divided city long before the Cubans arrived and it will continue to be.” — Alex cuts to the heart of the matter, which almost makes this post (which accuses me of accusing Rick of being a racist — no wait, it really accuses me of accusing Rick of almost being a racist — no, sorry, I think it actually accuses me of thinking that Rick is a racist but not saying it) worth it.
Wednesday June 20, 2007
So, this* is a bike I’ve had for probably maybe about 10 years, and for most of that time it sat unused at my parents’ place. A while ago I brought it down, but I didn’t really start riding it until a couple of weeks ago, and you know what? It was fun. Cycling isn’t nearly as good exercise as running, but two hours on a bike is better then twenty minutes jogging, and you get to see a lot more. I’d even planned a bus+bike route to work. But getting the damned thing in and out of my closet was a pain in the ass, and leaving it in the middle of my living room was getting annoying, so, enter the above lock.
Long story short, the bike lasted two days on the bike rack in front of my building, and was gone. So, yes, I recognize that it’s a shitty lock, and probably pretty easy to crack. But my question is this: who stole my bike? Was it someone who just happened to see it (someone from the immediate neighborhood maybe) who recognized that the lock was easy to pick, and did it sort of for the heck of it, or was it more of a “professional,” who would have been able to get through any lock (bolt cutters?) and has some sort of buyer of stolen bikes lined up?
In the end, this is just a good excuse to buy a better bike. But I need to know if I can keep it outside (with, say, a Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit), or if it’s going to have to live in my apartment with me.
Marginally related: Abandoned bicycles of New York.
* This is the closest picture I could find. My bike actually had a 5-speed shifter and straight handlebars.
Tuesday June 19, 2007
Marty Margulies is taking back his sculpture collection, which has been on loan to FIU since 1994. Why? One possibility is that it’s fallout from the MAM building flap (Margulies opposes the building, and a prominent FIU trustee is also a trustee at the museum). But my inside sources (!) have a different story: FIU has been taking crappy care of the outdoor sculptures. They have often been rusty, and on one occasion, a construction bulldozer supposedly backed into one of them. BTW, I still have yet to hear an explanation of why Margulies opposes the new MAM building that makes sense to me. Anyone??
A good discussion about Museum Park has been going for the last couple of days at Transit Miami.
So, the Battles show at Studio A last night was, surprisingly to most, packed. Also: the Battles’ ethereal, otherworldly on-record sound becomes something quite different live. Pitchfork’s observations notwithstanding, when you take a laptop-assisted rock band, and remove the post-production laptop aspect, you’re mostly left with a band jamming along to, and with, loops. E.g.: Guy plays a riff on a bass, which is recorded into a loop device. He continues playing, layering the sound. Two guitar players follow suite. Uber-heavy real drums come in. Mix-n-match to fade.
Or so it would be if Battles weren’t four exemplary musicians. But they are, and by throwing three different versions of guitar/laptop-based multi-instrumentalism into a pot with an absolute beast of a drummer, they’ve arrived at something special. I don’t know that it’s a finished product yet, but they’re on to something — or, on their way to something (or, at least, pointing the way to something).
Oh, about that drummer. John Stanier used to play for Helmet. I don’t know about you, but the chance to hear him take an “arty” turn was one of the thing that got me off my ass and down to the show. Shure enough, his kit is minimalist (save a singly showy-high cymbal) and front-and-center on the stage (“He’s a real showman,” said Cohen). It’s tough for a drummer to interact with loops, but you’d never know it watching Stanier — he’s as natural as he is heavy. Another thing — one thing he does not make it look is effortless. Three songs into the set and there wasn’t a dry stitch in his shirt. He nails everything perfectly, but the Sisyphean effort he’s putting in is inescapable. It would be forgivable — hell, it might be musically advisable — for him to ease off on the attack a bit here and there. But he is either unable or unwilling — alternating strictly between full-on and full-off.
So, there I am about half way through the show, and something’s nagging me: this music is reminding me very strongly of something that the record didn’t. Then it hit me: The Feelies! The Battles are The Feelies + laptops. It’s all there — the angular guitar interplay, the fronting of strong and unusual rhythms, and the barely-there vocals. (It appears that The Feelies’ seminal Crazy Rhythms is out of print, but I’d encourage Battles fans to seek it out, um, “by any means necessary.”)
In the meantime, I note how moving music can be when it is this reduced to formal qualities. Like Helmet, the Battles’ sound is mostly devoid of emotion (well, there is a sort of glee to it), but it’s somehow infectious. It’s strange how potent cheap music is, but it’s even stranger how fun really cerebral music can be.
Finally, yes: Studio A deserves credit for bringing down bands like this. The probably wouldn’t have been any other place that’d have hosted them. (And believe it or not there was even some sporadic dancing.)
Monday June 18, 2007
Frank Houston visited Miami Childrens’ Museum and was none too impressed.
Seems like forever since you’ve seen a mosquito? Here’s why: Since mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, their populations drop during drought. The bad news: the eggs don’t die — they just accumulate, and wait for the water to come back, which in case you haven’t noticed, it has. Please to be expecting a major spike in the mosquito population, and mosquito-related illness. Yikes!
Anyone who’s ever worked in the higher levels of any government organization (which, improbably, I have) will particularly appreciate this: Let’s say you’re the head of your own office. The boss you report to is off-site — in another state, actually. One Friday morning she drops by your office, and very cordially (these things are always cordial) hands you a three-page memo of reprimand [pdf]. What do you do?
Well, if you’re Bill Proenza, director of the National Hurricane Center, you call the goddamned press, that’s what you do. You tell them your bosses are being assholes, and no, you do not shut the fuck up (Bill has reputedly criticized budget appropriations that have endangered weather satellites and has generally had the nerve to be honest about predictions). I could kiss this guy. Oh, and NOAA? Get off Bill’s back. And send him the money he needs for some new equipment. There’s people down here counting on it.
The sordid tale of Biscayne Landing. This patch of land between FIU North and Oleta State Park was considered for a zoo, an “international center” with a revolving restaurant atop a tower, an amphitheater, a golf course, and airport . . . well, for most of the 70s it was actually a dump. It was an EPA Superfund site from 1982 to 1999. Now it’s a condo development, last seen promoting itself with ultra-cheesy billboards featuring scantily clad women and silly “too cool for downtown” taglines. Not unsurprisingly, 93 units have been sold, out of a planned 6,000. Also not unsurprisingly, the superfund business is not mentioned on the development’s FAQ. The saddest part is that the city of North Miami gambled with the developers on this, leasing them the land and paying $31 million to clean up the site, hoping for a tax windfall.
Clevelander renovations. Lovely wrap-around billboard that doesn’t promote anything other then general hedonism.
Friday June 15, 2007
The Herald profiles Mika, the gay/ambiguous singer who’s playing Studio A Sunday. I skipped it in my weekend roundup because the show is $20 and his album got crazy panned in Pitchfork. But check out the profile — they’ve got audio clips, and it just might be your thing.
All hell broke loose in Coral Gables when a whole bunch of sacrificed, headless animals were found in front of a house last week. (via MVB)
- A classical guitar festival in Coral Gables.
- Tropical AG Fiesta. (Wow that’s two websites in a row that break in Firefox.) Personally, I prefer Fruit and Spice park when it’s empty, but this looks like fun.
- Tonight: Really the biggest buzz of the weekend seems to be Shop Miami at the Moore building. Looks like half party, half ultra-high-end flea market. Have at it, 7 to 11 pm.
- GableStage new play, Smut (“or The Travails Of A Virtuous Woman”), opens, followed by a discussion by the ACLU about current censorship issues in Florida! (Technically it opens Saturday and this is a special preview.)
- The Caravaggio movie at the Wolfsonian. 7 pm.
- Eve Interrupted launches Heroine, a weekly women-only party at Amendment XXI. “We are committed to creating a new atmosphere for queer women and their friends. FEMALE Artists of all sexual orientations and backgrounds are welcome to participate.”
- Hey old rockers!: ASIA at Gulfstream (and no, it isn’t free) and RUSH somewhere in West Palm Beach.
- Saturday: JüneFest, a Caribbean festival, featuring food, drink, and Inner Circle. $40, or $60 for VIP.
- Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers at Churchill’s. $10.
- 11th anniversary of Jazid, with The Spam Allstars and Suenalo Sound System.
- Sunday: Father’s Day brunch? Father’s Day sunset cruise?? Fuck all that — I say you take your dad to a bar for some pints and greasy food. Plus, there is officially nothing happening.
Yay: The Google embargo has been lifted. Attention Google visitors: Critical Miami is safe.
Thursday June 14, 2007
“Ms. Drucker was a master of ignoring budget or board to book a stellar performer.” — Michael Lewis’ touching tribute.
Ceviche on the beach.
Damian Fernandez was enjoying his summer vacation, taking a nap, when two guys broke into his parents’ house. He woke up, grabbed his Samurai sword, and fought them off. One was arrested.
Miami Circle is going to be run by the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, and will probably be opened to the public at some point. It’s been nine years since the site was discovered — why did it take the state nine years to make this deal?
Wednesday June 13, 2007
Miami Beach nude cycling event. One arrest, but no actual nudity. What I want to know is how it’s illegal to organize a group of people to ride bicycles down Lincoln Rd.
Contrary to all predictions, the weather on Saturday was actually very nice — not just no rain, but sort of almost comfortable out. We’ll see about July. Anyway, I decided to do this as one of these slide-shows (10 images), so click the picture to get started. You’re not going to see a whole lot of art, because frankly, there wasn’t much art to write home about. A few nice pieces here and there, which we’ll hear about later.
Monday June 11, 2007
It has been brought to my attention that Critical Miami has been flagged by StopBadware and by Google. All I can say at this point is that I’m operating on good faith, and nothing malicious that may be happening is a result of anything I’ve deliberately done. I’ve appealed to the respective authorities for help in tracking down and eradicating whatever problems exist, but I also need your help — if anyone’s noticed any peculiar behavior out of this site lately please use the comments. Hopefully this is all a misunderstanding; watch this space for updates. (Thanks to everyone who pointed this problem out.)
Update [6/12/07 8:11 am]: Aha! The answers are coming in. It appears that CM was, in fact, hacked! Along with 3,500 other Dreamhost customers (curse Dreamhost — maybe time to switch?). Information at Dreamhost’s blog and numerous other sources. I’ve removed the offending code, and will keep an eye on the situation, so CM is now once again safe for your computer. Watch this space for information as it develops. In the meantime — alternate hosting suggestions?
Update [6/12/07 8:45 am]: I’ve gone through all the various domains and sites I host, and sure enough, the offending “iframe” code was in every single index.php and index.html file. I’ve variously fixed or yanked down all the sites. The first sign of this was when Steve’s blog disappeared last week (so no, Steve, it wasn’t your fault (for once) — sorry), because it seems that in some cases the script that’s doing the hacking replaced the files rather then appending (which of course makes it much easier to spot). I’ve also changed my ftp password. The good news is that Steve’s files were not re-infected over the last week, so hopefully this was a one-time thing. Stay tuned.
Update [6/15/07]: Yay! The warning has been removed from Google. It’s still listed at StopBadware, which is odd since I the appeal was submitted through them.
Bob Norman dissects some choice phrases the Sun-Sentinel has been kicking around lately.
“Ingots were buried under the Miami Performing Arts Center by workers installing the subterranean infrastructure. The performance was photographed. The ingots remain.”
Friday June 8, 2007
- City Theatre’s Summer Shorts festival begins this weekend at Carnival Center’s studio theater. Two programs, running Thursday through Sunday for the rest of the month.
- Yep: another boat show.
- You can’t make this stuff up: a bamboo festival at Fairchild. Presented, of course, by the American Bamboo Society. Next weekend: the stick festival.
- The Brazilian Film Festival concludes.
- Tonight, the Creatures of the Night hike at Greynolds Park, 7:30 pm, $5.
- Artists: today and tomorrow, Seminart will have portfolio reviews with Wallace Whitney. E-mail them to reserve a slot.
- Off the Radar [MySpace], now at the Sandal Club.
- Saturday, Critical Mass bike ride.
- Ancient and Celtic Music Concert at the Immanuel Presbyterian Church. 7 pm, free.
- Second Saturday, with openings at Dorsch, Lowenstein, and much more, plus Who’s your DADA III [MySpace] , free with costume, $3 without.
- Then, go to Circa 28 [MySpace] and wish Lolo a happy 25th birthday.
- Maroon 5 at Stuido A.
- Sunday, Haya Pomrenze and Nina Romano, South Florida poets, at Books and Books.
- Not that you would, but that Socialist meeting.
Thursday June 7, 2007
A couple of weeks ago I was left needing a jump-start in front of my apartment on South Beach. I don’t have jumper cables anymore. I asked a few people, and they were all very sympathetic but nobody has jumper cables anymore, so I marched down to a busier street to find a cab (cabbies will sometimes jump you, but they charge). Against all odds, I spotted a tow-truck from one of the two great towing companies we have down here before a cab. I flagged him down. How much for a jump?
“If you’d called the station and they dispatched me, it would have been $75, that’s how much we’re supposed to charge,” he said. “I’ll do it for twenty bucks.” And sure enough.; I got a ride the two blocks back to my car, and in another minute I was on my way.
Reflecting on this, the $20 seems like a perfectly reasonable and appropriate fee, consider the inconvenience caused the jumper and the benefit to the jumpee. And so I propose that the $20 be formalized as the informal going rate for a jump with someone else’s cables. Henceforth, if somebody gives you a jump with their jumper cables, hand them a twenty. If it’s a private citizen, they’ll be grateful, and the price is commensurate with the help they afforded you. If a cabbie asks you for $40 for a jump, wave an Andrew Jackson in his face, proclaim loudly, “I’ve got twenty bucks,” and watch him melt. On the other hand, if someone gives you a jump and you’ve used your own cables, I say all they get is a friendly handshake and a sincere thank-you. After all, this is still a society, and we’re all helping each other out here.
Glimpse from inside the Vamos a Cuba appeal. The ACLU is all like, “All a publicly elected body has to do to ban a book is utter the word inaccurate? If that’s the case every library administrator and library association in the country should be worried.” And the judges are all like, “[what about] a book about Adolf Hitler that would credit the Nazi leader with creating the Volkswagen and bringing Germany out of the depression — but not mention the Holocaust.” Also, for the sake of posterity, I’m mirroring the court documents posted at the Herald: School Board’s Complaint [PDF]. ACLU’s response [PDF].
Wednesday June 6, 2007
How beneficial was the Super Bowl for South Florida? South Florida CEO magazine takes 2,000 words to say that nobody knows. The high estimates are in the hundreds of millions of dollars. One thing’s for sure — the indirect TV publicity is priceless. (Ok, not priceless: “the report by Sports Management Research calculates that just the region’s exposure thanks to the Super Bowl — Miami, South Florida and Dolphin Stadium hometown Miami Gardens were mentioned 65 times during the game broadcast — was worth $48.5 million.”)
The (Ft. Lauderdale) airport expansion, she is approved. Meanwhile, the power plant is denied. Update: “I probably would have voted no, but I don’t really care. This place is already ruined anyway.” — anonymous Pulp advisor.
Now, Drucker is a phenomenon. In 2003, the SunPost said, “Drucker virtually created the vibrant performing arts cultural scene in South Florida over which she reigns as supreme and indispensable diva.” But the Concert Association has a deficit that from the sound of the article is approaching $3 million. Drucker is described as “feisty,” which many who have worked with her translate to mean “difficult,” “obstinate,” and — well, you get the picture. She’ll be replaced by Al Milano, who’s been with the CA less then a year, but she’ll stay on as an adviser, so I don’t think this will really tarnish her reputation.
The bigger question is what this portends for Miami’s future. There are two ways to read the events. It’s possible that Drucker simply made some mistakes, and with someone else keeping an eye on the books everything will level itself back out. A more ominous possibility is that if Drucker couldn’t make it work, maybe nobody can. Remember that a chief justification for building the Carnival Center was six major performing arts organizations that needed a home. Well, the Florida Philharmonic folded before the center was even completed, and now we’re down to four. The Herald article lists the increased “rental costs and other service fees” at the Carnival Center as one of the main reasons for the Concert Association’s troubles. Remember the tense negotiations early last year between these organizations and the center? What if the center just pushed too hard, and the fees are such that, especially after a little miscounting, they end up sinking the Concert Association?
It’s just possible that Drucker couldn’t make it work because nobody can make it work. And if the CA folds, it’s just going to make life that much worse for the Carnival Center. Heck, it’ll make life worse for everybody. I talked this over with Tiffany Hill, who is on the board of directors of the Florida Dance Association and Artistic Director of the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood (yes: where I work), who helped me think this through. She summed it up this way: “It’s all bad for the cultural scene of South Florida.”
“As Miami underwent one of the most explosive growth periods in its history, with luxury buildings reshaping the downtown skyline, the city [government] squandered millions of dollars on troubled housing projects and failed to collect massive overdue loans — some borrowers haven’t made a single payment in years.” — Cenziper, Corral and Lebowitz share credit for a big expose in Sunday’s Herald.
Tuesday June 5, 2007
hay-zoos: Free Jams goofs around in the sand.
“As any careful reader knows by now, the St. Petersburg Times and The Palm Beach Post were the only Florida news organizations that sent reporters to cover Gov. Charlie Crist’s trip to Israel. But The Miami Herald still found an enterprising way to get a little coverage.” The St. Pete Times nips in the general direction of the Miami Herald, who nips back. Feisty! They’re talking about Charlie Crist’s trip to Israel, which was kinda sorta covered for the herald by state representative Dan Gelber.
Just got around to reading Matt Meltzer’s guide to searching for jobs in Miami-Dade. It’s equal parts sarcasm and actual information (ok, maybe 2:1). Pretty good.
How do I love this? Let me count the ways:
- It’s so true: every time I convince myself I need to splurge and try Karu & Y just to see for myself, I hear another horror story about it.
- Fucking hilarious: I can’t verify the 25-24=1 math, but even if remotely true it’s one for the record books.
- Just plain good: I read most of the best-of issue, and while it’s full of solid, sometime unexpected, choices and good writing, this stands out as particularly insightful. Yet . . .
- Manages to insult the entire city: see, we just don’t have enough “foodie enthusiasts” to enjoy this place’s “cutting-edge cooking style.”
- Exposes a certain meta-ness of the “best of” issue: you know some of their categories are custom-made for someone they just want to shout-out to. This is the best of all possible examples of that phenomena.
- It’s written in a style I can relate to: lots of punctuation, lots of linguistic asides, and lots of numbers.
- Exposes discrepancies between the print edition and the online edition: it’s right there on page 137. But online? No está aquí. Numerous discrepancies between the online and print editions have been spotted, but an entire missing category takes the cake.
Bonus reason: I love the way we get a partial line right before the column break where a weird box juts part of the way into the column (between “cooking” and “style”). Whazzup to my crack New Times layout department, slapping it together and getting it out there! Previously on “Let me count the ways:” What’s up with the Art Miami ad? and What’s up with the Sunguide ads? Also, let me point out that the entire text of the above listing is in the scan’s alt-tag, just to make this legit and accessible.
Monday June 4, 2007
I spent most of the day Sunday neck-deep in code and stuff like this, trying to make you a new and improved Critical Miami. I mostly got done the more “coding” type stuff, and left the sorting/data decisions for another time, because I can officially only use one half of my brain per day, and I need to do this geek-out stuff during my rare forages into sobriety. Anyway, here’s a summary:
- Date archives are fixed. So when you click “January 2007” in the sidebar under “Archives by date,” you get all the articles from that month on one page. This is what I always wanted those links to do, and now it works. Hooray!
- “Related articles.” Individual article pages now show a list of links to articles with similar tags. I want to refine this some more — it’s for people who land on a permalink to a specific article, to help them find similarly interesting content. Not sure it’s there yet.
- Random articles. This is a link that currently lives right below the tag cloud. Shows 30 completely random articles from the archives. Kind of fun.
- Speaking of tags, I’ve cleaned them up a little, and added a little functionality. Props once again to Nathan Arthur, who’s plugin makes CM’s tag engine go. The big job of tagging all the old articles remains.
- Number of users currently online displayed in the sidebar. Silly, and probably very temporary.
- Aforementioned satellite feed in the sidebar.
- And just so you don’t think we’re slouching around here, May had 274,945 page views from 54,522 distinct hosts. Click the graph above for larger view.
- Alas, no blogroll yet. Hopefully next weekend.
South Florida Menu Pages: easy to use, comprehensive menus for damn-near all restaurants, with virginal ratings. This has been tried before, and now somebody did it right. Get in there and write some reviews, people! Update: A number of the menus seem to be old information. Good for getting an idea of what the restaurant serves and how expensive it is, but not necessarily accurate for calculating exact pricing.
Hurricane season began Friday, and goes through the end of November. No worries, though — this chart has things staying at a low simmer until around August, and peak of the season is in early September. But the beginning of June is important conceptually, because it’s a good time to at least start thinking about the storms. This survey found that more then half the people living in hurricane strike-zones don’t feel vulnerable, and haven’t done anything to prepare.
Well, as someone who lived through Andrew, I can safely (har!) tell you that you are vulnerable. And on the other hand: relax, people. It’s not the end of the world. Your chances of dying are vanishingly small, especially if you’re not a knucklehead who decided to go for a drive during a storm. Your property damage is covered by insurance. For the most part, hurricane season consists of watching storms whiz through the Atlantic, betting on who they’ll hit and when. When one comes close it generates a lot more in exited preparation, days off from work, and hurricane-party intoxication then it does in actual violence. Chill out, people — hurricane season is fun.
Having said that, I do recommend getting into the hurricane frame of mind. Here’s a hurricane crib-sheet to catch you up on the physics of a storm. Here’s the Red Cross hurricane preparedness style guide. Here’s NOAA’s think-piece about harvesting the energy of hurricanes. Oh, and click the retro-chic hurricane tracking map above for NOAA’s home page, with your daily official predictions. But don’t sweat it. If you want, get yourself some plywood or shutters if you don’t have them already (you don’t want to be one of those fools on TV standing in a Home Depot line for three hours and then going home empty-handed, now do you?). Pick up some basic supplies. And keep a stray eye on the news. For your convenience, I added live satellite imagery to the sidebar. Now hurry up and relax.
Friday June 1, 2007
Yesterday was the last day of the school year for most kids. The punks (and the teachers who teach them) get two-odd months of kicking-around time. But this isn’t about bitching about having to work. I want to point out a post by Frances Nash about the last day of school, which pretty well summons up the feeling of the last day of high school.
As I sit on the curb and wait for Dad’s car, a tide of papers cartwheel in the breeze. Weeks later, they will crumble into the grass like melted snow: all the quadratic equations and gross national products, the research papers and dangling participles. I will try to remember them and draw a blank.
Congrats to all the kids that survived another year, especially those that just graduated high school. You’ll never experience anything like that ever again. Not that you’ll miss it, but it’s a memory that will seem more surreal with every year that goes by. Do like Frances: get yourself a digital camera and use it.
It’s the first day of hurricane season, and the first day of kids summer vacation today (and the stinkers had a half-day yesterday — when was the last time you had a half-day at work?). More on that later.
- All week and next weekend, actually, the Brazilian Film Festival. Don’t miss Pro Dia Nascer Feliz (For a Better Day) on Saturday, and yes a free party tonight.
- Today is the last day to see Anna Gaskell’s Still Life (PS picture credit above) (ha — it’s a video), at Vizcaya. They close at 4:30, so you’ll be ditching work. Next up: Christina Lei Rodriguez, who’s work would appear tailor-made for Viscaya’s gardens.
- The immortal Steven Wright at Carnival Center.
- Terence Blanchard at Arturo Sandoval Jazz Club. Four shows between tonight and tomorrow.
- Um, Tool. Yeah.
- Saturday afternoon, a fashion sale benefiting Coconut Grove Cares at DotFiftyOne gallery. 51 NW 36 Street, 1 – 6 pm. The vintage Gucci will go fast so get there early.
- Reptile Expo & Sale in Davie, including live snakes, lizards, tortoises, turtles, and frogs to see and buy, and I kid you not, the “3rd Annual Reptile Photo Contest.” Please do not bring your own reptiles.
- The usual blowout at Chuchhill’s, with two stages, a million performers, artists, DJ’s, and tap beer in plastic cups. What’s not to love. $5: cheap.
- Has anyone heard of something called the Budious Warehouse? Starting at 10 pm, they’re having a An All Analogue Nite in the Sunny Ghetto, which Lolo says “live performances by Opus Finis, Ronin, and 8* with guest DJs Dr. Kernkrach (Germany) and Vajra. There will be record vendors and collectors so all vinyl enthusiasts are welcome!!” Hmm.. free, so worth a try?
- Sunday is the last day to see LeWitt x 2 at MAM. The show is mostly stuff from the 1990s and on, but one fabulous room has a wonderful group of works from the 60s and 70s, and the accompanying exhibition is work by other artists that LeWitt’s traded work with, much of which is fabulous. Downstairs are two shows of new acquisitions to the MAM’s collection (some from recent shows), including a piece by Gavin Perry that will kick your ass when you see it in person.
- Israeli folklore dance Festival Yachad.
- Badagwell In Action at Miami Beach Cinematheque, a film about a Haitian immigrant who becomes a Bishop at the “Church of the End Of The World.” “We need money to do the work of God. Without money we cannot do anything. Therefore, if anyone wins at PowerBall, he or she must pay 75% of that money to the Church. Otherwise he/she will die!”