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Thursday August 16, 2007

10 good cheap restaurants at Daily Candy. I’m concerned that lots of stuff on DC is paid advetorial, but this list looks pretty good to me.


Saturday April 22, 2006

Blue screen of death at MIA?

blue screen of death on CBS4

According to this report here (on UPN33 and/or CBS4), flights all over MIA were delayed because of a Win98-style blue-screen-of-death crash yesterday.

ORLY?! Uh, no, actually: the Sabre computer system has nothing to do with Windows – it runs on a mainframe computer, so the “blue screen” you see above is just some overzealous TV editor’s desperate attempt to show some sort of graphic representation of their idea of what a computer crash looks like.

I suppose next time they’re talking about a mugger they have no picture of, they can just use a sketch of the Unabomber or something, right? Or just do a search for “mugging” on YouTube. Good grief!

(btw, you do occasionally see windows errors on Airport displays, and it’s completely related to what happened here – one or two displays may be down, but with no effect on the actual flights. It’s a separate system.)


Tuesday July 5, 2005


Patriot Missile System See update, below! Well, we survived the 4th; no reports of people killed by stray bullets (the graphic plea has been pulled off the Miami-Dade web site). Yes, we got to see the fireworks. Big deal. Fireworks are not impressive, but then neither is the old saw about how blowing shit up is a piss-poor way to celebrate our national heritage.

You want patriotism? How about orphaned children from around the world becoming American citizens. Actually, there’s something sinister about this. These kids want a safe place to grow up, and we force them to pledge allegiance to our flag. While you’re at it, kid, you’d better pledge some allegiance to our massive national debt, which you’re going to be paying the interest on your whole life. And get to be drafted when you turn 18.

This so-called patriotism is sick. You want to be a patriot? We suggest making a distinction between our country (good), its people (a mixed bag), and our government (pretty ugly).

Update: This 13 year old girl was hit by a stray bullet shot into the air, Iraq style, in celebration.


Tuesday May 23, 2006

The City of Miami Shores Springs is sending out a flier which, among other Bird-Flu releated stuff, threatens a $50 fine for feeding “wild” birds.


Friday December 2, 2005

Art loves Basel . . . or something

Critical Miami is taking the day off from the fairs, but the world does not hold still for us, my friends. To wit:

Alesh, the good thing and the bad thing about a show like this is the utter randomness imposed on the viewer by the extremes of quality, the “static” of the crowd (which I thought looked pretty ratty this year, oddly enough) and the peculiar maze one has to walk through. it is good because it is like a jungle, setting up a pure, anti-museum chaos that puts the entire of burden on your eye. It is bad because of the sheer size and complexity and the inevitability that you will miss things. But when there is this much gold scattered in the dross it is as much fun as any hunting expedition.

The Basel brothels were breaktaking and broadening in a befittingly beastly kind of way.


Monday September 17, 2007

What is the best Mexican restaurant in Miami? Update: A review of Rosa Mexicana by Alex, who also has thoughts pertinent to this question.


Friday November 16, 2007

Nascar Weekend






Monday February 12, 2007

What's up with a trans-fat ban?

idiotic anti-trans-fat icon I can’t possibly begin to explain how much this crap bugs me. For those not following along, there’s been a wave of anti-trans-fat legislation sweeping the nation. It started when New York City banned it in December, and now Miami-Dade is getting in on the act.

Trans fat (aka Trans fatty acids) is some nasty stuff. (The 2¢ version of the science is that hydrogen atoms are added to existing fats, changing their molecular structure. Hey look, now they’re partially hydrogenated.) Restaurants and especially fast-food joints love the stuff, because it lasts forever without going rancid like other oils, and because it makes stuff taste deeee-licious. The bad news is that it’s a completely artificial food-like substance, and it will hasten the death of you. Trans fats pretty much stick around in your arteries forever, causing coronary heart disease and probably contributing to cancer and diabetes. Plus, ingested regularly, it will make you fat beyond your wildest dreams.

So, let’s get rid of it, right? We’ll save millions on public health costs, and all the kids complaining about slightly-less-delicious fries will thank us later. We’ve banned smoking and heroin, and those were way more fun then stupid artificial fats.

Not so fast. Trans fats are different. I would personally love to ban them from my diet, but passing a law against them crosses a creepy line. There is a very reasonable argument that smoking hurts people standing around the smoker. Even when you’re outside and it sounds silly, at least there a theoretical possibility of second hand smoke. No such luck with trans fats — you can stuff your face with them in my immediate presence and my exposure risk is nil. So this is strictly about looking out for our fellow humans, and the aforementioned public health bill.

But the public health argument doesn’t lead to a slippery slope — it falls off the edge of a cliff. We’re well into the territory of telling you what you can and can’t eat if we go for this ban. This opens so many doors that our self-appointed protectors won’t know where to turn next. How about how much sugar is in certain foods? How about things that pretend to be vegetables and aren’t? How about that other artificially-created horrible-for-you food-like substance, high fructose corn syrup? But you know, it’s not any one food you eat in isolation, it’s really the sum total of you diet that is or isn’t healthy. So really we should be keeping up with everyone’s whole diet.

The other reason this ban is an idiotic idea is that there is an equally effective and much less intrusive alternative: mandatory labeling. It’s the American way! As of January, Food sold in stores must list trans fats content (reports have food makers reformulating foods like Oreos to replace the dreaded stuff). Let’s just require restaurants to indicated which foods contain trans fats. Say, with a skull and crossbones icon.

Consider that an outright ban is a ban on certain types of food. Have we come so far in this country since September 11 that we’re ready to try to protect ourselves by banning food? And don’t kid yourself, only in a post-9-11 world America this be thinkable. We’ve gotten so used to the government taking things away “for our safety” and without any logical justification that this actually doesn’t sound unreasonable. “Sorry comrade, but you can’t take that water bottle on the plane.” What?! New York City should be ashamed of itself, and nobody who cares about freedom should emulate their example.

Update: In the New Times, Tamara Lush surveys locals about trans fats. The overwhelming majority miss the point and say shit like “well if they’re bad, then ban ‘em!”


Tuesday December 26, 2006

Jeb Bush’s official portrait includes his Blackberry. (via BoingBoing)


Thursday September 7, 2006

The chilling effect

new ac

Here’s Brook Dorsch hanging out on the roof of his Gallery, with one of three gigantic new A/C units, which are recently purchased (e-bay, baby), shipped from California, installed, wired, debugged, and switched on. And they work great — the opening this Saturday (Lucas Blanco and Marc Roder) shall take place in a pleasantly cooled gallery. So I sat down yesterday to chat with Brook about the A/C, the future of the Dorsch, and Wynwood in general.

The units were purchased (new) from California at a bargain price because a recent law made them uninstallable there. But it turns out that wasn’t the problem; nor was the problem installing them. The big pain in the ass was wiring them for power, which required a whole new electrical panel for the gallery, and ended up costing thousands of dollars. But nevermind: they work.

Standing on the roof, it’s impossible to miss the gigantic new power-lines running down the block eastward — not the ones you see in the picture, the much bigger ones supported by the fat pole rising in the the mid-right). They were rush-installed by FPL to power the almost-complete Midtown development, and they crackle softly in the damp air, murmuring about the changes rapidly approaching for the neighborhood.

When Dorsch moved his gallery from Coral Gables to Wynwood six and a half years ago, the only art-related thing there was “Locust”: and maybe the “Rubells”: (though they weren’t open to visitors yet). He was the first of dozens of galleries which flocked there at first because rent and property values were cheap, later because everyone else was there. But now, thanks to Midtown, the art-ification of the neighborhood, and general property-boom, property values are maybe about ten times what they were then. And when Miami 21 hits and almost certainly re-zones the whole area from industrial to some sort of residential/commercial combination, it’s really going to take off. At some point (methinks less then five years), the forces of the marketplace are going to force the galleries to begin to move out, and the Lincoln Road cycle will begin again somewhere else.

Update: Brook mentioned this about a million times, but not enough for me to remember: Onajide did a podcast Steve Kaplan did a podcast on Onajide’s blog about the AC. I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet, but there it is. Why isn’t Critical Miami podcasting? Why is the Miami Art Exchange blog opening in a funny box (rendering permlinks useless)? What do you get when you drop a piano on an army base? All excellent questions.


Friday June 16, 2006

The UM janitors are now officially unionized.


Thursday July 27, 2006

For those interested in an overabundance of information on the housing market, SFBJ does an extensive writeup of a recent report done by Metrostudy. Dig in.


Thursday September 6, 2007

Miami Beach 'CANDO' arts neighborhood

Borders: lincoln road, dade blvd, meridian ave, and the beach

The CANDO arts neighborhood got a preliminary vote of approval by the Miami Beach city commission yesterday. It establishes a neighborhood (see map, above) in the northern part of South Beach where the city intends to help the arts flourish by . . . well, allowing developers to build condos with smaller units. Specifically: buildings on the Beach normally must have units that are 400 sq. feet minimum and 550 average. In the district, the latter requirement would be waived, allowing buildings of all-400 sq. foot units, for developments where 25% of the units are set aside for artists and those who work for non-profit arts organizations. Qualifying residents would have to make 50% to 80% of the county’s median income (which is $39,100 for one person, $44,700 for a household of two, and $55,900 for a family of four).

The linked article above, and the longer piece in the Sunday Herald, report that it’s 80% to 120% of median income. My information comes from the city’s planning board documents [pdf], which I take to be correcter. Much of the complaining seems to revolve around the fact that the 80-120% is too high, so I wonder where this’ll go.

It’s a common refrain that artists increase land values with their presence and price themselves out over time. And while the specifics of this plan open it to criticism, I think it will actually have a positive effect over time. The map shows that their is a substantial arts presence in the neighborhood already, and indeed rental rates on the beach are sometimes pretty reasonable.

Anyone making 50 to 80% of median income deserves some help with their housing. The argument for giving this help to those in the arts is that they specifically and tangibly enrich a neighborhood. But what will be more interesting to me is whether this really becomes a cohesive neighborhood as a result of this program; that would be a true measure of its success. (thanks to a commenter for suggesting this)


Monday September 11, 2006

El Niño might signal end of hurricane season. Could also be accounting for why the hurricane season has been pretty unimpressive this year; something to do with cross-winds shearing and sort of tearing storms apart as they try to form. Confusing, and apparently the formation of El Niño right now is sort of a freak occurrence, so maybe back to 2005-type storm season next year. (thanks, Skip)


Friday July 28, 2006

R suggests voting for Mayday.


Wednesday September 12, 2007

History-based Sprint ad

Sprint ad

The trend in cell phone marketing seems to be local flavor (there’s an AT&T ad with four palm trees as signal graphs making the rounds), and Spring comes in with this handsome entry, bearing the headline “Our signal is way caliente.” And featuring a light painting made on South Beach. I dig. But.

See the problem? Let me give you a hint. That’s right — the lifeguard stand in the photo was removed after last year’s hurricane season. I don’t think this particularly diminishes the ad (it does give a glimpse into the time-lines that go into producing things like this). But it sure gives lie to the idiot officials that claim the new lifeguard stands are as popular as the old ones. Picture this in the background of that image. Not so much, eh?


Saturday September 17, 2005

The hurricane of 1926

It’s September 26th, the aniversary of the big 1926 hurricane that gave the first big popluation of Florida a taste of some tropical juice. It’s strange to think about this in the wake of Katrina, the strongest storm for as long as we’ve been keeping track, the most destructive since we’ve been giving them names . . . but 1926 is before all of that; this hurricane was just called “The Big One.” Nobody knows exacly how strong it was, but the Miami River rose by nearly 12 feet, damage reached $115 million, and more than 240 people died (most of them because they went out in the calm of the eye and got trapped). That’s $115 million in damage out of what little there was down here back then. But what there was, it pretty much destroyed.

Naturally, FPL was just as pleased with their own response then as they have been more lately. Martha Melahn reminices in the Herald:

Storms bring a lot of strange happenings because of vacuums. A strong wind passing over any object produces a vacuum in its holes and hollows. I left a car near the bay with the windows tightly closed during one storm. Afterward, it was found half filled with seaweed and small dead fish that apparently had been sucked in through gaps in the floorboards.


Wednesday November 30, 2005

Whither the weather?

[Contributed by Steve Klotz]

Epsilon hasn’t a clue. The 26th named storm of the record 2005 season doesn’t realize that she (he? it??) is doomed to oblivion; a death sentence to be carried out on Thursday 12/1 at 12:01 am. When the dawn breaks, there will be no sign of the straggling storm. As everybody knows, Hurricane Season runs from June 1 through Nov 30. There are no exceptions. Rules are rules, and as Masters of the Universe, we need to enforce the rules we create.

As sure as there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; as certain as from her deathbed Terry Schiavo asked to live; as absolutely Bill Clinton did not have sex with that woman, this hurricane season will abruptly cease at midnight. These are the fundamental building blocks on which we Americans build our beliefs. The check is in the mail, I won’t cum in your mouth, and I’m from the government here to help you.

If there’s one lesson we South Floridians should learn from this season, it’s that when it comes to hurricanes, nobody out there has any idea what’s going on, what to do, or what to advise, not that it silences a single soul. Chief among the ignoramuses is FPL, of course, but only because of its rancid prominence and far-reaching capacity for ruin. We haven’t even started on FEMA. And those pathetic faux prophets at the Hurricane Center might as well be witches ‘round a bubbling cauldron. Category One my hairy yellow ass.

So we welcome the end of the season, whenever it arrives. But we’re keeping the candles and the cans of Dinty Moore Stew for a little while longer. You never know.


Wednesday December 5, 2007

Art Basel day 1

Art Basel Miami Beach

The gates open at noon sharp on Wednesday for the uber-elite guests. Here they are moments before, crowded into the convention center’s lobby. The regular-elite get in at 2 pm, the merely special go to the Vernissage at 5 pm, and the riff raff gets in starting Thursday.

Art Basel Miami Beach

I bring this one up because my man Wolfgang Tillmans is one of the big photographers at the fair. I saw Nice work by Candida Hoffer and Gursky as always, but Tillmans was all over the place. The far wall in this picture shows one of his quintessential photo arrangements, albeit all in frames. The still-lives absolutely slay. (neuger-riemschneider gallery)

Art Basel Miami Beach

The usual suspects at White Cube were rounded out by a huge nazi/horror movie diorama by Jake & Dinos Chapman.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Two magnetized cubes suspended in a corner. Jeppe Hein, 303 Gallery NY.

Art Basel Miami Beach

At von Senger, a concrete-drawing robot. Not a very smart roboy (they had to re-position him once in a while), but he makes up in art brawn what he lacks in brains, yes?

Art Basel Miami Beach

Lara Favaretto. Yes, she wrote that on a wall with a marker and called it art. What are you going to do about it? (“Dimensions variable,” of course.) This is at Galleria Franco Noero, where I also very highly recommend Simon Starling’s “Four Thousand Seven Hundred and Twenty Five,” A projection of a film made by a motion-control camera panning around an exquisite chair, and accompanying diagram. Don’t take my word for that one — check it out.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Last one from Noero — Andrew Dadson’s flowers in black water. Do try this at home.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Arshile Gorky (from 1946) at Matthew Marks Gallery.

Art Basel Miami Beach

At De Carlo gallery, they are probably hating having installed this fake ATM with abandoned baby in silicone. Not to disapoint, attendees kept trying to use the ATM, and ignored the baby in a basket. Hey! How are you so sure that one’s real and that one’s fake!?

Art Basel Miami Beach

George Herold’s paining, Acrylic and bricks on canvas (with, I’m assuming, some sort of Herculean frame and substructure). Aizpuru, which also had more of that rockin’ Wolfgang Tillmans.

Art Basel Miami Beach

At maccarone, an installation dedicated to the Mass MoCA / Christoph Büchel fiasco, mostly framed court documents, e-mails, and a printout from

Art Basel Miami Beach

Also there: huge chocolate Santas with dildos butt plugs. also available in a convenient 1’ size. Yawn.

Art Basel Miami Beach

New this year: Art Supernova, a separate little section where each gallery’s art is separated from their storage and office areas, resulting in supposedly a more museum-like atmosphere. Well, slightly. Anyway, here’s a guy who’ll be performing hair sculptures all week. Stop by for a trim.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Nina Katchadourian’s Continuum of Cute. You’re not seeing the whole thing, but it goes from left to right and from top to bottom. Not sure if you can rearrange them to your liking.

Art Basel Miami Beach

A couple of Felipe Barbosa’s soccer ball sculptures. Too many people to get a good photo of his great wall-hanging.

Art Basel Miami Beach

ShanghART never disappoints. This year: Xu Zhen’s reconstruction of an Asian market. Far as I can tell, stocked with real groceries.

Update: Rather then do a new post, here are pictures from later in the day, NADA and the Stooges show:

Art Basel Miami Beach

Note: this is an animation! Three of these in a row, with discretely concealed projectors, at Vacio 9. Very nice.

Art Basel Miami Beach

This spaceman was part of an interesting installation at Ballroom Marfa.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Wilfredo Prieto’s El Tiempo es Oro/Time is God, at Martin Van Zomeren — this watch, suspended from the ceiling by a very long chain, in an otherwise empty and gray-painted booth. Appears to be accurate.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Gnarly balsa-wood sculptures at Roebling Hall. Yes, it’s about cutting wood, but it’s also about the 16 oz. beer can.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Yuken Teruya.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Blow de la Barra’s radiant booth.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Latest from Ian Burns. If you’re not familiar, it’s live video that’s generated by contraptions made from household objects. This one is a jet (Air Force One!) flying through a storm. It involves a tiny camera, live feed, a toy airplane, spinning background, haze effects (a spinning plastic cup between the camera and airplane, and several motors to make the whole thing shake and jostle for effect. Mesmerizing.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Graham Hudson’s Five Tools, which requires no explanation except that the tape measure at the bottom is about a quarter inch from the ground.

Art Basel Miami Beach

André Ethier, at Derek Eller Gallery.

Art Basel Miami Beach

I was required to post something from this gallery because it’s Czech: Jan Kotik, Coat of Arms of Le Sievr de la Mothe Cadillac (1658-1730), Hunt Kastner.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Yes, it’s the Stooges. They were really great, and it’s difficult to imagine Iggy ever in his life having less energy then he had last night. Another thing I learned — lots of kids are into the Stooges way more then I am. They were psyched.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Some well-orchestrated “mayhem.” Folks were invited onstage for one number, then invited back off before the show continued. Still not bad, and people were rowdy! I got hit in the head with a stray flying bottle, which some kid promptly dove for and threw back in the direction of the stage. Also: I think the Stooges played ‘I wanna be your dog’ like three times.


Sunday May 7, 2006

Cuban connection

A follow-up to the Herald blogging post is really not necessary, since most of the blogs, while based in Miami, are not really about Miami. (There are, by the way, two new ones.)

Oscar Corral’s Cuban Connection is interesting sometimes. He recently posted about breaking up his blogroll into pro-Castro and anti-Castro, which just comes across as weird: the Herald’s blog on Cuban issues is “neutral” about whether Castro is good or bad?! To top that off, he refers to the “irreverence” of some of the anti-Castro blogs. Robert actually had a pretty good-natured response to that comment, which I’d have been pissed off about if I were him. Also, babalú gets oddly snubbed.

In any case, the comments section looks completely unmoderated, and an unhinged argument ensues.


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.


Tuesday July 10, 2007

Hialeah park

A group of historical photos of Hialeah Park at Florida Memory. Three Cuban Guys have photos of what it looks like now.


Thursday June 23, 2005

Larry Lebowitz on TC

Speaking of traffic issues, this past Monday on Topical Currents, Joseph Cooper had Larry Lebowitz, the Miami Herald’s traffic columnist. The conversation managed to hit a lot of the things that Critical Miami regularly gets pissed off about, including the on/off HOV expansion (and the political manipulations that killed it), the dangers of cell phones, people who drive slow in the left lane, and traffic lawyers who can fix a ticked for a hundred bucks.

It’s a really interesting conversation, and a treat for connoisseur of the blasé npr voice. As of right now, the show is archived on TC site (here is a direct link to the mp3), but get to it quick; it might be gone by tomorrow.


Saturday September 15, 2007

Foodie Saturday



Thursday August 3, 2006

South Beach synagogues

935 Euclid

I lived at 936 Pennsylvania Ave when the Synagogue at 935 Euclid was being rebuilt; I could see their stained glass star-of-David window from my window on the alley standing at the sink in my kitchen. I have a big photo of the building, gutted and ready to be rebuilt as luxury condos, hanging in my present apartment (a couple of blocks down on Euclid).[1] Since then all the condos have been sold; probably for close to half a million each (wild guess—anyone know for sure?).

Another synagogue, on Washington and 3rd, became the beautiful Jewish Museum in the 1980’s (?), but I was under the impression that the synagogue a couple of blocks down the street from my new apartment was still functioning. Boy was I wrong. Unbeknownst to me (and so done much more subtly then the 936 job), it has been converted into one huge contemporary residence. I’m going to go ahead and declare this “creepy.” Who would want to live there? Well, we’ll see: it’s selling for 17 million. The one thing I think I like about this renovation is that they left the exterior intact.

So as far as I know the only functioning synagogues on the Beach are on Alton now. What we have, of course, is the Jewish population moving away, mostly to Broward. It makes sense that the synagogues in residential neighborhoods would be converted to residences, and the ones along the bigger arteries remain as is. Unfortunately, the ones being renovated were more architecturally interesting, so there’s a severe loss of history here. So it goes. (via Rick and thanks NicFitKid, in Rick’s comments, for additional info)

[1] That’s my attempt to rephotograph it through the frame glass, and so the crappy quality of the picture.


Monday October 8, 2007

'Stay as far away from us as possible'

Miami Beach Mayor David Dermer: “I come from a city that doesn’t have a lot of need to ask the county for things, other than to stay as far away from us as possible.”

Miami-Dade Commissioner Jose ‘Pepe’ Diaz: “I do not want to see that city come before us and ask for any money like the $300,000 to help with the festivals.”

Miami-Dade Commissioner Bruno A. Barreiro: “That’s one voice within a city. People when they’re leaving office go off on tantrums.”

Dermer’s response: “We are the engine of revenue production — certainly tourism revenue production — within the county. It behooves the county to ensure they have the cleanest, safest and strongest engine to keep that revenue coming.”


Monday July 17, 2006

Fans of Miamista already know that he’s back in town, and with a trio of classic rants: one to recap local politics and one to size up the state of our blogs.


Friday September 21, 2007

Park(ing) weekend






Friday September 1, 2006

Sunshine State with overheard snippets of conversations at the S&S diner. With gorgeous photos. (Previously re. the S&S: 1, 2).


Thursday November 1, 2007

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.”