Friday November 30, 2007
The tropical depressions live satellite map has been retired as per due to because of the end of hurricane season. See you next year, map! On a personal note, with the notable exception of Dean, the season was a bit of a let-down. Here’s to a more exiting season next year. (And more rainfall.)
- Opens the new Sweat Records, with a big party at Churchill’s (next door). Million bands, and of course cupcakes. To not miss.
- The Miami International Short Film Festival, all weekend.
- Viernes Culturales/Cultural Fridays.
- 1800’s style live music and dance workshops at the Barnacle, 6 – 10 pm.
- Ira Sullivan does Jazz at MoCA.
- Please by all means spend $128 to $481 per ticket to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, starring the Rockettes, and call me a fool for thinking it’s stupid without seeing it. Broward Center.
- Anime Supercon, all weekend long, only in Ft. Lauderdale.
- First chance to see Work in Progress: Herzog & de Meuron’s Miami Art Museum. We get it, it’s a work in progress. But this is a big deal. 10 am to noon is for MAM members, then let in the hordes (although with new $8 admission, you might to look into getting a membership for yourself).
- Rag Trade’s Kraftworks 3, y’all.
- Louines Louinis Haitian Dance Theatre: An Evening of Haitian Folk Dances. 8 pm.
- Ballet mécanique at the Wolfsonian. Beautiful invitations went out on this, but nothing on the web. $85 a ticket, I think, but call them to be sure, and RSVP: 305.535.2631.
- Fake Pink Floyd at the Fillmore.
- I’m so Stereo all girl party at PS14.
- Overtown Walking Tour and People’s Bar-B-Que Lunch, noon.
- First Sunday of each month is some sort of Bluegrass Jam at the North Miami Ives Optimist Club Building, 1 – 5 pm. Worth a checkout?
Thursday November 29, 2007
Well, rainy season is drawing to a close, and suffice it to say that it wasn’t a washout. We’re fine for now, but our water levels are lower then we want them, and there’s trouble ahead. We can wait for panic to set in, and then start frantically talking about forbidding anyone else to move to Southeastern Florida (to recap: it’s a pointless idea because the problem is already severe, and it’s a useless idea because it will never happen). Or we can start talking about some real long-term solutions.
Luckily, we’re not inventing the wheel here. Other parts of the world experience much worse droughts, and have come up with clever ways to deal with the problem. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Australian toilet. A more efficient design, and with two flush buttons. How simple is this: you use a half-flush for pee, a full flush for Well-You-Know. This alone saves a staggering amount of water (8,500 gallons per household per year (also, btw: no clogs)), but of course there’s a lot more: special shower heads, washing machines, dish washers, strict water restrictions, and yes, expensive water treatment plants (Hiaasen has this exactly right).
It’s all tied together with a progressive pricing system, where water gets more expensive the more you use of it. Use a modest amount, your water bill is low. Waste, and it spikes sharply. All the gadgets in the world don’t help unless the people using them are motivated to save water, right? A lot of this is cultural — once people are constantly reminded of all the ways water can be saved, it becomes the expected behavior, and social pressure brings in line those who, say, can afford to be wasteful. What we need is a cultural shift, but it needs to start with the legislature.
Let’s put the two-flusher into new homes. Let’s make water restrictions permanent, so nobody is ever in doubt about what’s in effect when. And let’s get some of that progressive water pricing going. Because more droughts are on the way, and the future may make this Summer look like a cakewalk. We need to get ready now.
Update: Think about the water you use in a typical day and you’ll realize that the overwhelming majority is for flushing your piss. You just don’t need 3.5 gallons for that. If you go 6 times per day, that’s over 10 gallons saved per person per day. There are 2,400,000 people in Miami Dade. Do the math, and you get something close to 8 billion gallons of water saved per year. Of course it’d take decades to get to universal deployment, but there’s no time like the present to start.
Wednesday November 28, 2007
“You get your ass elected to make as much money as you can get away with. Most of the time you won’t even get caught anyway. But even if you do, your fate is in the hands of some dickless entity like ‘state ethics investigators’ who in turn use their own authority to position themselves for future consideration.” — Klotz doesn’t pull punches.
Tonight and Saturday:
See the Miami Hidden History website for more info.
Tuesday November 27, 2007
Children’s’ block and syringe. Wynwood.
UDB vote today.
Well, I did it: I signed up for the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program run by Redland Organics. My first batch of food came the weekend before Thanksgiving, and it was an impressive haul — two squashes, two turbocharged avocados, some crazy Komatsuna greens (seen at left in photo), green beans,
turnips watermelon beets (the incredible flavor of which I can never convey, but the eye-poping color the inside of which I will reveal in a later photo) with greens on, plus fresh dill, garlic chives, and basil. Wow… and they start light in the early season?
I wasn’t really ready for this, and so a lot of it got consumed in a big stir-fry, with sauces probably overpowering the freshness which is the point of the whole thing. By next time (this Saturday!), I am will to have a salad spinner (as advertised, these veggies come with soil very well attached, straight from the farm style, and washing is necessary), an empty fridge, and a mind ready to eat whatever vegetables are put to my usage. Prepare for more reports of where this came.
Monday November 26, 2007
I cannot possibly explain to you how much I am hating this Monday. Update: And that was fucking before i lost my fucking cell phone somewhere on the street. Fuck the fucking fuck. Once there was a very ugly barnacle. He was so ugly that everybody died. The End. Update: Believe it or not, I retraced my steps the next morning, and found my phone in the grass, a few inches from the pavement, on a street in Hollywood. A bit the worse for getting morning-dewed on, but fully working. Thank you Jesus, thank you Lord. Y’all may please to resume blowing my shit up, 305.532.2587. Also: the SNPA is far from my dessert-island beer, but I can dig the flowery character once in awhile. A full discussion of beer is beyond the scope of this update.
Rick on the idiot red-light cameras that are soon to be up in various cities around Florida.
Herzog & deMeuron’s plans for the new Miami Art Museum building will be revealed during Art Basel.
“Latin America has a homicide rate of 27.5 victims for every 100,000 residents, compared with 22 in Africa, 15 in Eastern Europe and 1 in industrialized nations. Other studies show that Latin America, with only 8 percent of the global population, accounts for 75 percent of the world’s kidnappings.” — Andres Oppenheimer, who argues that the explosion of crime has fueled a wave of immigration to — you guessed it, Miami. The column is a summary of his new book, although it never actually gets around to the “solutions” section the book seems to promise.
Many condos are currently selling for $225 to $250 per square foot. When it hits $175, Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff wants to buy units and subsidize them for teachers, police, etc. Sounds like a no-brainer, but when condo prices really bottom out, those folks may not need subsidies. The article also points out some trade-offs with building dedicated low-income housing.
Friday November 23, 2007
- White Dreams, White Gold, White Trash . . . Yes, it’s White Party week. This is all ongoing and through the weekend.
- If you haven’t been in a Target or similar store, where they began putting up Christmas decorations sharply after Halloween, then you don’t realize we’re upon the holiday season. Get yourself all festive tonight at the Bayfront Park Tree Lighting — live Christmas carols, fireworks, etc. Bring school supplies for a drive for needy children if so inclined.
- Deep in the heart of Ft. Lauderdale, Rat Bastard, Dan Hosker, Dino Felipe, et al. present Ongo, a three-hour structured improvised performance, featuring sort of a who’s who of local musicians.
- FWIW, something called, rather ominously, the Tim Charron South Beach Music Festival. Take with grains of salt.
- The wonderful folks at the Rhythm Foundation are bringing my man Caetano Veloso, performing at Carnival Center.
- The culmination of the White Party insanity, tonight at Vizcaya, a $150 HIV/AIDS fundraiser. Oh — with Cyndi Lauper.
- Black Kids drop in on Circa 28, free show as per always.
- The (actual) Misfits, at the Culture Room.
Wouldn’t this be kind of a big deal?catch
- Casa Lin opening, 11am – 1 pm. Featuring Daniel Arsham, Bhakti Baxter, Duane Brant, Pip Brant, Robert Chambers, Naomi Fisher, Adler Guerrier, Gean Moreno & Ernesto Oroza, Ralph Provisero, Samantha Salzinger, Diana Shpungin, Mette Tommerup, Frances Trombly, Michelle Weinberg, Wendy Wischer, this is one of Miami’s main faces to the art world for Art Basel.
- Monday it kicks off officially the Miami International Short Film Festival.
Thursday November 22, 2007
Hey y’all! I’m about to tear into some turkey, but I thought maybe some of you would enjoy some light Thanksgiving Day reading. How about this: Locals, exhiles, and cosmopolitans: a theoretical artument about identity and place in Miami [PDF]. Get back to me if you have any idea what it all means.
Recent theoretical advances point to the dynamic and plural nature of processes of identity formation. Moreover, the ascendance of the globalisation paradigm implies a greater emphasis on their geographical dimension in terms of place and mobility. Illustrated with the case of Miami, this paper presents a theoretical argument about place, mobility and identity in contemporary global cities. The need to go beyond conventional and singular categories of identity is argued, with special reference to the impact of rapid increases in spatial mobility. In this paper, the role of Miami’s different populations is framed in the context of their geographical identities and the ways they identify with Miami as locals, exiles and cosmopolitans. The high mobility of Miami’s population and the small number of locals pose some major challenges, with implications for this city’s civil society. The case of Miami also sheds a different, and less idealistic, light on the meaning of cosmopolitanism.
Wednesday November 21, 2007
More info on Mouse-over (only in standards-compliant browsers, sorry).
Urban Development Boundary update: From information received by Boom or Bust, it appears that there are 4 pending applications to open a total of 178 acres beyond the UDB to development. Only one of those is currently recommended for rejection. Please to attend the Miami-Dade County Commission meeting on Tuesday, November 27, 2007, write your commissioner, or at least customise and submit this action alert.
I frankly don’t understand the pros and cons of Charlie Crist’s gambling deal with the Seminole tribe. (And I’m not sure I have much sympathy for the whining pari-mutuels.) The Miami Herald, on the other hand, is vehemently opposed to the pact. Update: But certainly not everyone agrees.
Tuesday November 20, 2007
The New School Preparatory in Orlando is suing a parent for publishing a blog critical of the school. This is just exactly the heartwarming story of censorship and corporations pushing around anyone who dares to say anything critical about them that warms my heart.
Basically, Sonjia McSween’s daughter attended this school (doesn’t anymore). She had some unpleasant experiences, and her mom started a blog about the school’s alleged practices. Yadda yadda, the school SLAPPs her with a lawsuit. Which is to say something like “We don’t like what you’re saying. We may not be right, but we can make your life so difficult that you will be forced to stop.” Of course this works like a charm, and the Sonjia McSween’s blog, here and here is long gone, unretrievable by Wayback Machine or Google Cache.
But the internet, the court system, the media . . . these things sometimes have a peculiar poetic justice sometimes. See, the court documents the school filed, by necessity, need to substantiate their claims, and so must reproduce the blog’s content. Read the entire pdf of the complaint blog lawsuit complaint.pdf, or just click the images below to see the blog’s content, as captured and reproduced by the school. And if what McSween says isn’t enough to convince you about New School, ask yourself whether you really want your child to attend a school that uses the courts to silence its critics. Judge for yourself whether her statements rise to the level of “slander” against the school. You may also note that it appears from the lawyer’s letters intermingled with the below that McSween complied with every obnoxious takedown request the school’s henchmen threw at her.
Update: from the Orlando Sentinel story:
David Simmons, an Orlando attorney representing New School, said the lawsuit, filed in late October, was prompted by McSween’s postings suggesting a possible kickback scheme between a psychologist and the school. Simmons described that allegation as “ludicrous” and “damaging.”
“We’ve only asked that she tell the truth if she’s going to make any kind of statements,” Simmons said. “No one should be able to hide under the cloak of freedom of speech by making false statements.”
This is pretty transparent bullshit. The wording on McSween’s website makes it extremely clear that the “kickback scheme” is a suspicion, not an allegation. What’s more, she provides some pretty convincing evidence for her suspicion, based on her conversations with other parents and the school’s administration (see second page of the above documents).
To boot, contrast “we’ve only asked that she tell the truth,” the line David Simmons gave the press, with “in order to avoid incurring and additional damages in the future, we hereby demand that you and/or your representatives cease and desist,” from his letter to McSween. “You or your representatives”? What a mocking asshole.
Monday November 19, 2007
Commitment to place.
A few places you can get Thanksgiving dinner, but there’s gotta be lots more, right? Anyone have any recommendations from years past?
Heading to a ballot question near you: the results of the charter review, mainly a change in salary from $6,000 to $92,000 for county commissioners, and the requirement that they not have outside employment. Can we pass this, please? (Similar measure have been rejected by voters in the past.) Update: Pushed back, at least until November. It sounds like the Commissioners are having cold feet about having to give up their “other” jobs, and the possibility of term limits
[In fact, here’s an Archived text version].
Miami-Dade School Board members have to pay a public records fee — just like anyone else — when they request information about the school district they’re trying to run. Which would be crazy enough even if the fee sometimes didn’t run into the hundreds of dollars.
School District Chief Communications Officer John Schuster: “It’s a process. In some cases, the records are in storage, and we need to get them from a warehouse. In other cases, we need computer programmers. It can be costly and time-intensive.”
Two things: First, get your information storage in order. You know those commercials Xerox runs on TV, where you can scan all your documents (like, thousands of pages per hour) and make then text-searchable and instantly accessible from any computer? They’re talking to you, Schuster. Call ‘em up. Get a quote to ship everything to Bangalore and have it scanned there on the cheap if you have to.
And second (this one’s at a higher pay scale), STOP CHARGING THE SCHOOL BOARD FOR INFORMATION THEY NEED. Jesus Christ on a stick — are you really trying to cultivate the dumbest, least active board possible? I mean, if you’re afraid their requests will become an unreasonable burden, you can give them a budget for this and charge out of that. But you’re better off implementing the system I just described. This is the fourth largest school district in the country, and we at least deserve a shot at having it run decently. The school board can be a bunch of knuckleheads, but let’s not actually try to actively prevent them from making good decision, bokay?
(Also noteworthy from the article: this website, the school board’s “clearinghouse” for public records and information. Seems to be not much more then a collection of links to other spots on dadeschools.net, which itself deserves a bit of my anti-Flash fury, but there you go.)
The Sahara Hotel of North Miami Beach. If you’re like me, you’re thinking this place will be torn down, for vague political-correctness reasons, any second now (or at least the crazy lawn ornaments will be). Then again, I’ve been thinking that since the 1980s.
Saturday November 17, 2007
- If you’re ever in deep space without a pressure suit, exhale. You have two minutes to live, but if there’s oxygen in your lungs they’ll rupture.
- You didn’t know about it, you don’t care about it, and I haven’t even watched it yet, but here it is anyway, just so I can say I linked to it later on: Quarterlife.
- A little fashion photography. Take a look — it won’t kill you!
- Why does a salad cost more then a big-mac? Because the US government subsidizes corn and soybean production, which lead quite directly to lower-cost junk food. “Fruit and vegetable farmers, on the other hand, receive less than 1 percent of government subsidies.”
- Some real-world observations about quality and manufacturing in China.
- The Mailer/McLuhan debate.
- If you don’t click this link, Dick Cheney will shoot you in the face.
- How to build a cable release and light-activated release for Canon SLRs.
- Glimpse of the forthcoming Firefox 3.
- New (last week) Malcom Gladwell.
- Zeitgeist and response.
- A survey of digital tampering with news photographs. “Redbook’s editor in chief Stacy Morrison said, ‘The retouching we did on Faith Hill’s photo for the July cover of Redbook is completely in line with industry standards.’”
- Hanging out on the space station (you’ll want to mute your sound before clicking).
- Iraq hotel reviews.
- Lou Reed ’74: Walk on the Wild Side and interview.
- Thank you for making it to the end, you pathetic, needy little punk. Now take what you deserve: What celebrities are watching on YouTube.
Friday November 16, 2007
- Youssou N’Dour at the Gusman!
- Ploppy’s Podium Poetry Night at the Wallflower.
- African Dance Celebration at New World (tonight and all weekend).
- Big Major NASCAR Races will be in Homestead all weekend. I don’t understand — sort it out here if interested.
- All of our betters will be at Carlos Alvarez’s Mayor’s Ball on board the Carnival Freedom. Tickets run $750 to $10,000.
- Whoa, etiquette crash-course for children, at the Ritz Carlton (scroll to the bottom), $58 each: “‘Elbows off the table’ and ‘napkins in your lap’ are just two etiquette tips to be shared with children during a two-hour class complete with a gourmet four-course meal . . . to help prepare young South Florida children ages 6-12 for the busy social season.”
- Miracle on 136th Street Parade at the Falls.
- Last day to catch medEia, an attempt to reinterpret the Greek tragedy Medea “with an English-language script interlaced with song lyrics by groups such as The Doors, Joy Division, Twisted Sister and Public Enemy”
- Reggae Explosion at the Gold Coast Roller Rink (!) in Ft. Lauderdale.
- Xperimento at Jazid.
- Fairchild Ramble for the gardeners.
- Soulfrito, urban latin music festival at Bayfront Park.
- La Belle Captive, screening at MAM, 3 pm. Not sure if this screening is still free, since Sunday admission isn’t, anymore.
- Ballet Folklórico de México at Carnival Center. Enthusiastic NYTimes review here.
Thursday November 15, 2007
I’m having a bit of a difficult time focusing right now, and I’m not sure I can give you a specific post to read, but I think it would be an excellent idea for you to go over and look at Herald Watch at some point. Just a lot of interesting things going on over there.
Waterfront parking lot.
Holy crap: “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers refuses to contribute a dime to Florida water projects to reduce high levels of pollution flowing into and out of Lake Okeechobee, according to a memo released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The Corps claims the state is disqualified from federal assistance due to its continuing violation of minimum national water quality standards, noting that the state ‘is not likely to come into compliance for several decades.’” (via EoM)
“The great lawn in downtown Miami’s planned Museum Park would be smaller but still expansive. There would be many more shade trees but cheaper palms. Concrete paving, and less of it, would replace stone paths. And some design flourishes like water features and themed outdoor ‘‘rooms’‘ would be deleted.” — Story about the proposed changes to Museum Park, but no images.
Wednesday November 14, 2007
A startling graph, taken from This FIU study [pdf]. Covered here. Related: residents forced out as trailer parks close. I still say this will drastically improve over the next 6 to 18 months, and there are sub $1000 and sub $600 rentals around, but damned if the numbers don’t speak for themselves.
The restoration of the Everglades is way behind schedule, and faltering, mainly because federal funding has dried up. The only presidential candidate to mention the Everglades has been Fred Thompson, and that was to say he might allow oil drilling there. Meanwhile, Central Florida farmers just missed their first phosphorus reduction target in 11 years. (via TM)
Tuesday November 13, 2007
Can I get a laptop orchestra up in here?
All charges against Jeff Weinsier have been unceremoniously dropped. It is now this guy’s responsibility as a journalist to sue the police for false arrest. Update: Bob’s got the full text of the SA Maggie Gerson’s memo. I love her for her common sense (Rick should read this twice): “As to the . . . Failing to Obey a lawful command charge, the arrest may have been lawful had there been a lawful command. However, the command does not appear to be lawful in this case since being on the sidewalk in and of itself is not illegal.”
Mural at Locust by Ed Young. (btw, I’m debating whether to do these this way, or in the slideshow. But for now, you can click them to see bigger.)
Inside, a rockin’
installation site-specific sculpture* by L/B.
I’ll tell you what — word got out about the Diet Gallery. Or maybe it was the heavenly neon sign outside, but the place was packed. And the art, it was good. Welcome DG! Anyway, here’s Andrew Mowbray.
I was a little taken aback
and forgot to get this artist’s name. Anyone?? Abby Manock, who’s website is worth a visit.
The consistently stunning María José Arjona. (Actually, a better picture here.)
How to impress people at your gallery opening or function: make delicious mojitos.
A few stills from Carlos Rigau aka Kenneth Cohen’s new video, which distills down all the man’s-head-on-boy’s-body stuff into a mind-bending 5 minutes. Nice work, sir! This is at the lovely show Erika curated at Tachmes, which consisted almost entirely of video and sculpture based on television sets (up through Basel).
And during which was produced this guitar cake.
* I give up: is it an installation or a sculpture? Is it site-specific?
Monday November 12, 2007
On November 17th, over a dozen boats will leave Jimbo’s on Virginia Key, packed with volunteers. They’ll approach the shores of Fisher Island (wealthiest zip code in America!) and the volunteers will swim the rest of the way, and then proceed to enjoy the “public” beach. You can download a registration form [.doc] if you’d like to participate.
It’s organized by SEIU Local 11 as a protest to the treatment of workers on the island. More information at One Miami Now. Whatever your feelings about that, this seems like a completely reasonable action, and possibly lots of fun to participate in (although the water will be cold!). Free buses will be available to transport folks down to Jimbos — those not swimming are encouraged to come and cheer the swimmers on.
From Saturday’s bike ride. Despite the scenery, I do not recommend that stretch of Krome Ave.
Whoa: Ode to Biscayne Boulevard.
Savepalms.com: bemoaning the removal of royal palms along Biscayne Blvd. I saw this website on a bumper sticker. (Not sure if they’re still sending these out — the website hasn’t been updated since February. I suppose the fight is over.)
Saturday November 10, 2007
- “A Dresden police report written shortly after the attacks stated that the old town and the inner eastern suburbs had been engulfed in a single fire which had destroyed almost 12,000 dwellings including residential barracks. The report also said that the raid had destroyed ’24 banks; 26 insurance buildings; 31 stores and retail houses; 640 shops; 64 warehouses; 2 market halls; 31 large hotels; 26 public houses; 63 administrative buildings; 3 theatres; 18 cinemas; 11 churches; 6 chapels; 5 cultural-historical buildings; 19 hospitals including auxiliary, overflow hospitals, and private clinics; 39 schools; 5 consulates; 1 zoological garden; 1 waterworks, 1 railway facility; 19 postal facilities; 4 tram facilities; 19 ships and barges.’”
- Ikea’s crazy accounting scheme. Note: it’s run by the world’s largest non-profit foundation, which is apparently primarily a tax shelter.
- The new postal rates are a threat to the freedom of the press.
- Williamsburg’s new Polish/Slovakian beer hall. I’m jealous.
- Reflections on GuoDuGongYuan by Ariel, Silvia, and Ross. Wonderful.
- New version of Feed the Head. Starts the same, then goes crazy.
Friday November 9, 2007
I just added to my Book Fair rant, but please go if you think it’ll float your boat. Try the Herald, which has good coverage and the answer to yesterday’s mystery: YES they are charging again this year. Pony up those Abraham Lincolns.
- Tobacco Road’s 95th Anniversary (!) party.
- Ayabonmbe at Carnival Center (all weekend).
- The freeking Auto Show, dude. Get your steroidal lifeless American ass out there.
- First day of Carnival Center’s Globebeat free monthly performance day. Fushu Daiko goes on at 3 pm — do not miss!
- The Mad Hatter Arts Festival in the Grove. Very little information on the web for what sounds like a big event.
- Last game at the Orange Bowl evar. Don’t forget to steal yourself a seat!
- Arthop to-sees would include the new Gallery Diet space. Check TNFH tomorrow for more suggestions, but you know the drill.
- Aesop Rock at Studio A with a gazillion guests.
- House of Diehl’s Miami Style Wars, of which I’m not exactly sure what it is, but it sure sounds fun.
- Unbreak Miami.
- Queen Latifah’s show at the Fillmore is canceled. (btw, did you know she sings jazz standards now? I didn’t.)
- Bonnie Raitt at the Hard Rock Live. This is a little bit of an old-guy rock alert, but I can get with a little Bonnie. Not going, but wish I was ever so slightly.
Thursday November 8, 2007
Miami’s Book Fair, one of the largest* in the nation, now in its 24th year, is considered generally a big deal. I’ve never been, and I don’t intend to go this year, unless someone coughs up a compelling reason. It’s not for a lack of love of books — in the last year I’ve finished several novels, a couple of books of essays, and an ass-load of non-fiction books (including Woodward’s 600 page State of Denial). I should be the book fair’s target demographic. But the whole idea strikes me as ass-backwards.
For a fair to make sense, the subject of the fair has to gain something from gathering lots of people with whatever the interest together in close proximity. Star Trek, stamps, ham radio, PHP, international relations, and lobster eating all make great subjects for a fair/convention/conference. But “books”? Books cover everything. You can be a fan of lots of things, but what does it mean to be a “fan of books”? Reading is an inherently solitary activity. It is, essentially, a specific mode of dispensing language. I see nothing that is gained by gathering adherents of a particular mode of language-dispersion together.
There are exactly two types of people for whom a “book fair” makes sense: #1: writers, and #2: book “fetishists.” Baring that, here are some reasons thrown out for why the book fair is great:
- You get to meet lots of authors. I’d suggest spending the time reading more. The whole reason someone wrote a book is that they took their best thinking and put it down in words. Do they have other interesting things to say? Maybe so, but if they’re a halfway decent author, their best thinking is in their books. If an author you particularly admire happens to be at the fair, it makes sense to go. But the author of a book you enjoyed? Would it be better reading another great book, or hearing “the story behind” the first one?
- You discover books you’d otherwise never see. Spare me. This is the fucking internet. Over here is Google book search, and there is the New York Times book review, which allows you to see any book review published in the last 100+ years. That’s two websites out of several million on the web. And you’re going to tell me that a fair is a good place to find a good book? Is your age higher then your room temperature?
- You’ll meet other book lovers. I don’t want to meet book lovers. I may possibly have some interest in meeting people who have interests similar to mine, but insofar as books cover every topic known to man, this is no more likely to happen at a book fair then at Starbucks.
- It increases literacy/awareness of books. No. Nobody wanders randomly into the book fair (ESPECIALLY NOW THAT THEY CHARGE ADMISSION) and suddenly realizes what books have to offer. And, nobody says “I heard about this big book fair happening, let me go check that out” and suddenly becomes a big reader.
The fair is probably great as an industry get-together, similar to what lots of industries have. It’s terrific for would-be writers, and for those who get a warm fuzzy feeling when they hold that special book in their hand and flip through those beautiful pages. But for anyone who’s interest in books doesn’t extend beyond the words, sentences, paragraphs, knowledge, ideas, and perspectives they contain, what is there to be gained from a “fair”?
* Or the largest?
Update: Thanks to Steve for helping me hash out some of these ideas a little bit. Obviously they’re not hashed out adequately by any stretch, so, to answer robotkid, yes: I’m fishing for someone to convince me that I’m wrong.
Update: Ha ha — the book fair build a new website, but to see what’s actually going on, you go to this page and download a 16 megabyte PDF. Nice work guys. Also, your navigation is all in graphics (with no Alt tags!), so it’s invisible to screen readers and search engines. That’s ok, right — the visually impaired don’t use books, do they? MKH still has plenty to be embarrassed about.
Update: Sweet Jesus — I just opened the PDF and it turns out to be graphical reproductions of the fair’s program — again with no machine-readable text. Barely human-readable, in fact.
Update: I just spent 20 minutes surfing the site and PDF looking for the answer to ONE question — is the fair charging admission like they started last year? — and couldn’t find the answer.
I ♥ Cuba. Same spot as previous photo (see geotag at flickr).
Untitled, from the Castles of Miami series.
Wednesday November 7, 2007
The new CEO of the Carnival Center, Lawrence Wilker, will also act as Artistic Director. This is a good thing — it’s important for the chief of the organization to be intimate with the actual programming. By the way, Target Globebeat, which brought in the Center’s opening last year, will take the form this year of monthly free outdoor performances by local groups on the second Saturday of every month.
Incident at Whole Foods and followup. A woman is arrested in the parking lot (apparently somewhat roughly) after a food fight(!) inside the store. Our own Genius of Despair reports, and is told off by a WF manager for taking pictures in front of the store.
Jorge Rivera, P.A., Immigration Law Office. I love this building.
“Cambio:” 70 young people were arrested last week in Havana for wearing wristbands with this word, which means “change.” Depending on your perspective, this is either a sign that things are changing or a sign of a new wave of repression. BTW, get your “CAMBIO” bracelet (or any phrase) here.
Miami Beach will have a runoff for the Mayor’s post, and all your election results at the Herald.
LOL: The slogan of the City of North Miami Beach is “Now More Beautiful!”
Tuesday November 6, 2007
The Miami Herald noticed that there are actually no bookstores (none) in the City of Miami. Boy is that embarrassing. (But one is on the way.) Update: Commenter have noted that there are in fact a couple, which the Herald article considers “specialty bookstores.”
Don’t go to Ikea! It’s waaaay too crowded on the weekends, at least for now. Like overflow parking lot, trolly, Disneyesque line for parking crowded. I thought it’d calm down a couple of weeks after opening, but not yet. Here’s the obligatory shot of the outside. Now let’s walk through.
Drop your kids at the play station and head up the escalator to the showroom.
So, now you’re in a maze of little cubicle-rooms, each looking quite homey and stylish. Everything’s for sale; you jot down product names and “aisle numbers” of stuff you’re interested (more on that later) with little Ikea golf pencils. A few central open areas break up the rhythm, with like a sofa section, a desk section, etc.
A bachelor pad sort of thing. I’ll say it again — it was packed.
This kitchen was pretty impressive. By the way, there are several different price points at work here. You can get the $9 chairs, but you can also get very very nice stuff if you’re willing to pay something like a normal price.
The table strategy: mix and match table surfaces (steel!) with various leg designs (not pictured: sawhorses). For extra credit, just get the legs and attach them to an unfinished door from Home Depot.
Recycling garbage cans. Remind me again why we can’t have these everywhere?
Back downstairs, you’ll find linens, rugs, kitchen stuff, and about a million other things, some clever designs on familiar themes, others quite unexpected.
The lighting area is always one of my favorites. I got one of these.
Finally, a walk through the warehouse to the registers. Remember those aisle numbers? You find your stuff here (or helpful folks will find it for you) and grab as many as you want. You also get to see the thing in context with all it’s variations. For example, a dresser you saw upstairs might turn out to come in three colors and two different sizes.
At check-out, a $.05 charge for plastic bags. You can also buy a huge re-usable and super-useful tote bag for a couple of bucks.
The line for the restaurant upstairs was like about a city block, so the meatballs will have to wait for next time.
Monday November 5, 2007
Hipsters in My Hood video about gentrification in Wynwood. Sorry, folks, but it’s just inevitable that neighborhoods change over time, and yes, as property values go up some people are forced out. This is a burden for some people. Particularly renters — if you’re a home or business owner who can’t take the tax payments anymore then presumably your home or building is worth lots of money, and you can sell it for a tidy profit. But on the whole, nobody has a right to be upset because property values increase in an area. (via MiamiNights)
Double the Vote, a project of Category 305, is out to increase participation in local elections, starting with tomorrow’s elections in Miami Beach, Miami, Hialeah, Surfside, Homestead, and Golden Beach. Only 10% of registered voters vote in local elections in Miami-Dade. This is particularly silly when you realize that in local elections, every individual vote is proportionally much more important then a vote in national elections, and that local issues have much more effect on your day-to-day life then national ones.
Ah, but who to vote for? Who follows local politics, anyway? Well, DtV has links to information about Miami Beach candidates at Category 305, and the Sun Post and Miami Vision. See also the Herald’s recommendations for tomorrow from their politics page, which links to numerous stories related to the election(see also this). So read your ballot, do your research, tell your employer you’ll be in late tomorrow cause you’re voting (prepare for looks of shock, but most bosses have no problem with this), and off to the polls first thing in the morning.
Saturday November 3, 2007
- Jacqueline Hassink’s bank boardroom photos.
- Some blogs I should might be reading: one about google, and the one by Bruce Sterling.
- With Cheeseburgers.
- How not to display your artwork on the web, via, and also see, Jörg’s rant about same.
- The Fully loaded touring bicycles. Sift through, but if you get bored, just don’t miss this one. And speaking of bicycles, Sheldon Brown is my new main man. ‘nuff respect.
- The ten most incomprehensible Bob Dylan interviews of all time.
- The badger debate.
- Ross gets slightly political about the situation in China.
- How many bacon jokes is he going to do? A lot, actually.
- An interview with Paul K of BibliOdyssey on the occasion of the publication of his book.
- How Apples stores work.
- The impressive photography, and rather interesting flash website, of Ralph Schultz.
- American terms and their British equivalents.
- The map of the world, resized according to various factors. Above: tourism receipts.
- I thought I posted this before but apparently not: hate to break it to you, but Mother Teresa was a hypocrite and a fraud. She had a sick obsession with suffering and gave much of the money intended for the poor she was supposedly helping to sacred religious causes. Oh, and also, she stopped praying in 1959 and didn’t believe in God. See you Monday!
Friday November 2, 2007
Sun Post: “Hundreds of thousands of Miami-Dade trailer park residents could be forced from their homes.” Dave, comment at TM: “there are a grand total of 14,674 mobile homes in Miami-Dade County. I find it hard to believe you could fit more than 50,000 people in them much less ‘hundreds of thousands.’”
Sorry, Flavorpill, your new site blows. Please bring back the old layout, which was much more useful!!
- Locust’s Smash and Grab fundraiser. Snag yourself a piece of art.
- Musafir: Gypsies of Rajasthan, tonight and tomorrow at Carnival’s studio theater.
- If you are feeling so as to be so inclined, there for your enjoyment will be Ribfest, all freekin weekend, baby. (Nevermind that heart disease is the #1 cause of death for Americans.)
- Hands on Miami Day, with 25 different places where volunteers will be improving the city (registration is closed, though).
- Rasin Festival of Haitian music and culture, 2 pm to midnight at Bayfront Park.
- Miami Beach’s Sleepless Night, with truly an impressive amount of stuff happening all over the city from 6 pm to 6 am (that’s 13 hours, natch). Too much good stuff to pick highlights, you’ll have to troll the schedule yourself. There’s a flash widget that lets you select the events you’re interested in and print a custom itinerary.
- I’ll be at this.
- Starts, believe it or not, the Miami International Book Fair.
- Community Leadership & Activist Training Workshop at the Wallflower, 4pm.
- Seema Chandra Keswani discusses her book Nature Notes at B&B, 6 pm.
- The Rhythm Foundation presents Nosso Trio, Brazilian jazz.
- Protokoll at Buck15 (707 Lincoln Lane).
- Helmet, at the Culture Room in Ft. Lauderdale.
Thursday November 1, 2007
Photos from Oktoberfest last two weekends at the German American Club of Miami.
One of three zany kraut* bands. Note that these are serious working professionals with repertories of hundreds of songs, and they were doing their “American” set. Anyone for Achy-breaky heart with German accents?
The club’s main hall, tho all the real action was in the huge drinking tent outside (see dancing photo, above).
I’m not sure what’s going on here, but the dude in the hat was absurdly cool. That pitcher’s all for him, and he was drinking straight out of it.
Empty kegs after a single day.
* It has been brought to my attention that ‘kraut’ is considered a slur for the Teutonic peoples. My dictionary says “often,” and but so it should be obvious that in this context it’s NOT intended to be in any way derogatory. (See also, e.g., ‘krautrock,’ which is a wholly non-offensive term). The bands at Oktoberfest were actually Austrian, and I was looking for a casual word to refer to that whole sub-ethnicity so as to not draw attention to this distinction without being technically incorrect. Also, (and I’m not sure if this is relevant) there were large quantities of sauerkraut being consumed, not the least of which was by me.
The Miami-Dade commission has scrapped the recycling program under dubious circumstances.
At ArtsJournal, Glenn Weiss has an excellent report on Britto in Miami, including pictures of all the public art pieces, the perfume and liquor bottles, the cars, and the 2006 superbowl
halftime pre-game show. Also lots of interesting insights, including the comparisons to Peter Max and Dale Chihuly, and this: “As Britto may have learned . . . printing art on anything – cups, T-shirts, fishing rods – has a positive effect on distribution of the imagery. The goal of the marketing is to familiarize a broad audience with the imagery and its appreciation by the rich and famous.”