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Wednesday August 29, 2007

Ft. Lauderdale is going to supplement it’s eroding beaches with grains of recycled glass. (via MiamiNights)

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Monday April 24, 2006

Let’s talk about panty-dropping.” I agree that Carlos Suarez De Jesus’s ‘panty’ comment was pretty gratuitous. More importantly, KH is at her best when riled, and her deconstruction here is a great read.

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Monday August 14, 2006

If you can use photoshop then Fidel must be alive

castro holding a recent newspaper . . . and then you woke up.

No, seriously. What are you trying to do, lull us into a false optimism? This is just sad . . . my cat can work photoshop better then this. I used to do better photo montage with MS Paint when I was in jr. high. Or, were you trying to say that if you can whip up a cartoon with Fidel in it it proves he’s alive?

What, in Cuba they always do a 4-inch bottom margin on the front page of the newspaper, so that bearded dictators have a comfortable spot to grip? Well, ok, i’ll play along. Look at his fingers. Look at the newspaper right around his fingers. Anyone who’s ever held a newspaper knows that’s not how it looks to hold one. OK now look at the newspaper closely. You’ll notice that the paper is sort of an off-white in the photograph. Compare to Fidel’s (sporty, I must say) Adidas jacket. The jacket, along with his face, is clearly lit by crappy flash. The paper, on the other hand, has a much more natural lighting to it, sort of a diffused indirect-sunlight sort of thing.

Speaking of light, though, my favorite thing is the “shadow” the newspaper casts. Look at the neat little line running along the right side of the bottom part of the newspaper. We’re supposed to believe that this is the shadow cast by the camera’s flash. It doesn’t follow the shape of the bed because it’s all about the shape of the object (paper) relative to the flash and the lens. True: crappy flash pictures really do work this way; you can try it. The problem is that the exact thing should happen with the shadow of the top half of the newspaper. But our Comrade Photoshopper thought it looked pretty natural this way: newspaper casting a shadow on the vertical part of the bed, not horizontal. Give me a break. Buy yourself a newspaper, sit in front of a bed, and have a friend flash you. Have fun: get yourself a Cuban-flag-colored Adidas jacket!

Maybe the el Nuevo Herald guys learned photoshop on the island. Sorry, kids: I’m not sure if that’s a real newspaper or not, but I’m damned skippy that it was never in the same room with Fidel.

Update:

Fidel with Hugo Chavez and Raul

Here’s the photo released this morning, Fidel with Hugo Chavez and Raul. I haven’t had a chance to look at it closely yet, but on first blush I find this one a little more convincing. While it’s certainly possible that they montaged ‘em together, if I were trying to inspire confidence I wouldn’t choose a picture of FC lying in a hospital bed. Also, Chavez would have had to go along with it, and why would he put his integrity on the line like that? On the other hand, we have the weird “be prepared for bad news” comment coming out of Cuba, so it’s a mystery. I still say the first photo’s a fake, though.

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Monday June 18, 2007

Dark side of the Boom, a documentary about the housing crisis in Miami, is screening tonight at Barry University.

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Tuesday June 6, 2006

Streetcars in Miami

streetcar in portland

You missed it, right? The City of Miami considered, approved, and is now tweaking plans for a European-styled streetcar system for the area north of Downtown. These small trains share the road with cars, making frequent stops every few blocks. In high-density places (of which this area will be very very soon one), they make the prospect of pedestrianism much more appealing and realistic. And they’re fun to ride – overhead lines provide power to the electric engines, which make the cars very quiet, while their low floors maintain riders’ connection to the sidewalk. The streetcars in Vienna, for example, are so low that a woman with a stroller can get on them without help.

Streetcar map: Downtown to Wynwood. click for largerThe obvious downside is that they share the road with cars. Typically, the way it works is that the streetcars have their own set of traffic signals, and enjoy almost complete right-of-way over automobiles. Getting Miami drivers to accept this is going to be a little bit of a struggle, although if you factor in a decreased need to drive, streetcars actually don’t make traffic on the streets worse at all. Plus, they’re burly and intimidating, and carry a menacing jingle-bell-sounding horn.

Anywho, here’s the proposal pdf, but don’t bother, since lots of the specifics have changed: we’re talking about $200 million now (ouch: $4,200 per foot of track), not $120, and a completion date of 2010 instead of the original 2008. Check the map snipped from the proposal (click for larger), and the “Recommended Alignment Baylink” is demonstrative of just how pie-in-the-sky the writers of the proposal were feeling. Here we are, two breathless years later, and the project is locked and loaded.

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Monday May 19, 2008

New Times Best of Miami 2008, diversions

best of

By the time I went to grab a copy of the New Times this weekend, someone’d pulled out all the ‘Best Of’ inserts (couldn’t help but notice that the design of the interior had been nicely re-vamped), so we’re stuck doing the slog on the internet. Here we are: New Times best-of, Diversions (more over the next coupla days, if I have the energy):

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Thursday October 26, 2006

t-shirt design with a MAC-11, a Dade County logo, and the phrase 'Miami chopper'

Related to the Cocaine Cowboys movie, this t-shirt is hot. I gotta get me one, although at $26 it might not be right away. (via SotP)

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Thursday October 18, 2007

If you’re a high school kid, and you get kicked out of marching band for having a straight D average, don’t hold a big protest with all your friends, because people will either laugh at you or shake their heads in pity at your sorry misguided ass, and they’ll be right. (That said, I’m impressed they got 60 people out for the protest.)

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Thursday October 25, 2007

Sunset, Washington Ave.

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Monday March 17, 2008

museum park

A new design for Museum Park has been released. Basically, they cut about $10 million out of the grove area, the southern part of the park (where a lot of the interesting stuff was, it should be noted). Current projected price: $49-54 million. All together now: yeah, right!

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Tuesday July 12, 2005

Pirate Radio Station Shut Down

“All kinds of other things use radio signals – military, airplanes,” Stein said. “Pirate signals could be jamming different signals that could put people in danger.”

We are not buying it. Pirate radio stations give people what they want, and cost the government a little bit of extra money. Please e-mail us frequencies you pick up, along with style of music and where they seem to be strongest, for a Critical Miami Pirate Radio Station Guide!

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Monday June 11, 2007

Bob Norman dissects some choice phrases the Sun-Sentinel has been kicking around lately.

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Saturday September 8, 2007

Infection Saturday

virus

Well, the weird computer infection persists, but it seems to have calmed down enough for me to do some basic computerin’. I might even check my e-mail sometime this weekend. Meanwhile, I just spoke to a friend of mine who’s computer has been taken over, with some remote hacker moving her mouse pointer, going to websites, and even opening a command prompt window. Yikes!

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Sunday September 4, 2005

The Herald's arts coverage

In the Herald today, Elisa Turner reviews the show at the MAC we told you about back in July. Now you’re going to hear the Artblog crew bemoan that the MAC is getting another write-up, when the “much more deserving” Olitski show earlier this year got no coverage at all by local print media. There’s really no need for this to be an either-or situation, though: one review of a show per week would cover anything worth covering in Miami, and it’s not unreasonable to expect that of a major newspaper. The Herald fails us in this respect, and it fails us in many other ways, too. For example, notice that the review is running one week before the closing date of the show.

Now, suppose you wanted to see what other art exhibits the Herald’d covered recently. You might go to the story and click on the Visual Arts link in the sidebar, expecting to see said story prominently mentioned, followed maybe by a list of older visual arts stories, perhaps listed by author. No such luck: the link instead takes you to a mostly blank page that allows you to click on “listings” for Museums, Galleries, and Classes. It also gives you a brief bio of, of all things, the Herald’s architecture critic. (Why no other bios? Because this person is the Herald’s only writer who relates to this category – Elisa Turner is a freelancer, as is anyone who’s written about art in the Herald in a long time.)

The “listings,” by the way, are totally broken. We tried clicking on Galleries, and were taken to an unattractive listings page (1 of 8!) on which the first record was “821” (apparently a database error), the second record was “Actors’ Playhouse” (not a gallery, duh), and the third and fourth records were both “Ambrosino Gallery,” each providing slightly different fragments of information (at least they both agreed on the address, though neither gave any hint of what was going on there).

This is broken beyond belief, even before you consider that most people who would click on this link are interested in opening reception information. The Herald should be shamed that Franklin, working alone and for free, provides this information about a hundred times better then them. Over at Artblog we’ve frequently discussed the Herald’s failures in covering the arts; it shows little hope of improving. Is it too expensive to hire someone to write one review per week, and allocate a half of some clerk’s time to gathering useful art listings? It’s a tough sell when you consider that the Herald pays someone to do this.

Update: Franklin responds.

Also, a little more poking around shed light on the archiving issue: while the Herald is a little more lax about letting you see older articles, they still have a system in place where they charge heavily for older content. I don’t know what kind of major cash they’re taking in with this system, but I just want to go on record as saying that St. Huck hilariously and definitively disproved the profitability of this sort of system with real math(!) back in 1998. The New York Times, which he was specifically addressing, has seen the light, making all their archives (back to 1851!) available online for free. (oops . . . wrong!)

And another thing! The “charge” link above, points out this:

The Miami Herald Archive contains no photos, charts, or graphics.

WTF?! Were hard disk prices really so outrageous in the 90s that this stuff couldn’t be archived? But the real crying shame is that even now, when the Herald is feebly attempting to incorporate “multimedia” (the little icons next to some article headlines . . . it’s really pretty pathetic) content, the question should be begged of why online newspapers deal with photos so terribly badly. Why do we get little 250 pixel thumbnails that don’t get bigger? Why is the new version more of these little pictures, instead of more and bigger? The physical paper has a cost related that relates to the size of each photo, but since that’s not true online, why are the online pictures smaller? Why are pictures black and white online just because they’re black and white in print? Why are many pictures missing from the online editions?

The Herald is paying lots of photographers good money to be out there making pictures; why not post them online? Why not post almost all of them online, and then narrow them for the print edition? Why not show them at good resolutions . . . say, 1000 pixels across (you could easily allow low-bandwidth users to switch to lower resolutions)?

Update: This is out of context, but it’s also worth pointing out that the Herald has just caught on to what Steve realized back in July.

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Thursday January 10, 2008

Circa 28 Saturdays and Lolo part ways.

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Wednesday March 12, 2008

This year’s winter is the hottest since 1932. (They’ve been keeping records in Miami only since 1895.)

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Tuesday January 24, 2006

Hey man, nice shot

Sorry . . . this is a small item, but too much to pass up. I understand it’s an accident, but imagine if not. Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time is a pretty good platitude, but what about Don’t do the crime if you don’t want to get shot in the balls?

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Sunday June 18, 2006

Lawrence A. Johnson reports that members of the defunct Florida Philharmonic Orchestra are miffed about the Cleveland Orchestra’s 10-year deal with MPAC. Seems they believe that the deal will make it more difficult to reform a professional orchestra of our own.

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Tuesday May 8, 2007

A thought: if today’s high is 78° and the water restrictions make it illegal to set your thermostat any lower then 78,° does that mean that no air conditioner in Miami will even kick on today??

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Saturday October 29, 2005

Psychoalphadiscobeta

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Wednesday June 11, 2008

An illustrated demonstration of the new optical voting machines and accompanying article. It’s like taking a test in college, with multiple-choice bubbles you fill in with a #2 pencil. But so then why do the scanners need to be at the polling stations? Why not a big fast scanner at election headquarters?

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Thursday January 31, 2008

More on the Lyric Theater in this week’s Sun Post. Including this tidbit: the Miami CRA was going to donate a parcel of land to the Black Archives to complete the Theater’s expansion. The County is blocking the donation by laying claim to the land because of something to do with an adjacent housing development, so, I rest my case.

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Tuesday March 21, 2006

Musicians' Forum

The New World Symphony gets plenty of lip service around here, and I’ve been thinking I need to start actually attending more of their concerts (particularly after Marc’s recent visit, which he sounded exited about).

The Musicians’ Forum sounded like casual, adventurous fun (and it’s one of New World Symphony’s free events), although it turned out to be less casual then expected. The musicianship was first-rate, of course, but the program was pretty long, varied, and excellent. The evening opened with a couple of duets (who knew that a pair of trombones could be fun to listen to?), followed by the only piece composed by a NWS affiliate, 28 year old Fellow (?) Piotr Szewczyk’s violin concerto. Accompanied by a 38 piece orchestra, Szewczyk was obviously exited premiering the piece. Though I’m not sure it lived up to whatever expectations may be cast by the “very new music” claim, the piece was brooding and dramatic, and an excellent vehicle for the violinist’s scorching playing.

After intermission, more trombones, this time as part of a brass quintet, followed by an early-20th century solo flute piece. Performed by Ebonee Thomas, it had the drifting quality of much of the music of that time (see Saite and Debussy), along with some super-fast passages that Thomas executed gracefully. Ravel’s Tzigane, a violin/piano duet, closed out the evening. Ravel uses beautiful passages which dissolve into frenzied, hyperfast runs, and some Reeves Gabriel-style extended technique, atonality, rapidly alternating picking and bowing, and general craziness. A total show-stopper (the performers, Boris Zelichenok and Ching Ming Cheng, seen above accepting ample applause from the audience). Wow.

Next stop: the Percussion Consort.

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Wednesday April 30, 2008

New designs for Miami Art Exchange and Transit Miami, both modern and very nice. Congratulations, gentlemen.

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Sunday December 18, 2005

Critical Miami hits 'snooze'

If you’re a sharp observer, you noticed that Steve’s King Tut article had his own name in the Posted field at the bottom. Steve has begun to post his own articles, and the occasion is my trip to Prague, which goes for the next three weeks. Posting here will be light (at least for my part) during this time. (I don’t want to hear any kvetching on this point – my all-time favorite blog, Laughing Boy, hasn’t been updated since November 23, 2003!)

For those interested in following along on my trip, I’ve set up a space for some trip-blogging. I’m not making any promises about frequency of posts there, though.

The good news is that when Critical Miami returns to full-strenght (mid-January), it’s going to be hitting on all 6 cylinders like never before – with a new South Beach headquarters, digital photography aparatus, and unprescedented new respece. Get ready.

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Tuesday August 22, 2006

Let’s not get too comfortable, kids: Atlantic hurricanes could rev up any time. Take ‘ol Andrew, back in 1992. That was the first hurricane of hurricane in that year, and it hit on August 24th. The peak of hurricane season is about the three weeks before and after September 10th. “There’s absolutely nothing that I know of that is unfavorable (to hurricane development) in the eastern Atlantic,” said Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center.

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Tuesday May 31, 2005

Marking Time

A Morir The Miami Art Museum seems to want us to take exhibitions on its first floor less seriously then what goes upstairs. Downstairs is for uneven group shows and the small project room somewhat dismissively called “New Work.” Upstairs is for big, important traveling exhibitions – the draw. So it’s encouraging that we get a show up there that’s curated by MAM staff for a change.

Marking Time: Moving Images is a video art show for video art skeptics. Most of the work in the show is more closely related to photography then to television or film; in other words, it presents images that need motion to make sense, but don’t have conventional characters or plot. In fact, the closest the show comes to a plot is Miguel Angel Rios’ A Morir (Til’ Death).

The piece shows three views of the same surface, from three angles, projected on three walls. Heavy wooden tops spin and move through the scene, which is so alien and geometrically pure that it could almost be mistaken for computer animation. The sound, as the tops slam into each other and hit the ground, is loud and visceral. At the end, all the tops have been knocked down, and there is silence. Everything on the screens has been painted a neutral color; but for a few scrapes, the images would look to be filmed in black and white. The real/not real confusion (i.e. “what the fuck am I looking at?”) makes the piece immediately interesting. But the portrayal of violence and entropy is what makes the piece memorable.

Bill Viola’s superslowmotion classic The Visitation is among other great pieces in the show. Then there are the paper stack pieces by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, which apparently qualify as “moving images” because you can take one of the posters with you. Whatever. Paul Pfeiffer’s sunrise/sunset video splice is soothing and nifty.

The inclusion of non-video work in a show that’s mostly video is probably an attempt to “question the assumptions of the viewer;” and maybe it will do that for some. But the truth is that it emphasizes the tension between looking at video art vs. looking at non-video art (even non-video art that can claim to somehow “move”). They require a different sensory process, and switching back and forth keeps the experience from flowing.

Not to say that the show isn’t well curated, though – the MAM has always had a knack for presenting video art. Each piece is presented flatteringly; some in large darkened rooms, some casually projected on the wall. Alfredo Jaar’s installation of lightbox photographs and mirrors gets a lavish room with its own entrance area. Paul Ramírez Jonas’ airport terminal display is cleverly mounted on the wall of the stairs leading to the show. And so on.

Good show, then.

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Saturday June 18, 2005

Cockfighting Arena Closed

Speaking of roosters, police busted a cockfighting arena in northwest Dade yesterday. Not a sting operation or anything, they just sort of stumbled on it. And it’s not what you think; this place was very fancy: “about 50 caged cocks, wooden bleachers, a practice ring, numbered chairs and a VIP room.” We bet they had some primo hooch on hand, too. Ammeneties like that make one wonder how many cockfighting rings must operate down here.

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Monday December 3, 2007

Hey everybody it’s art fair week. Local galleries in Basel: Emmanuel Perrotin, Kevin Bruk (in Nova), Gavlak (West Palm Beach, in Positions). Snitzer is autoselected since he’s the selection committee’s resident Florida expert.

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Sunday September 10, 2006

September gallery hop

I may as well come right out and say it: it’s been a while since I’ve made any art. Lots of things interfere (not the least of which is this blog), but probably the most significant is the somewhat incomplete sense of accomplishment brought about by my most recent project, the wall pictures (which, surprisingly, a couple of people have quite randomly complemented me on lately, not the least of which was Tom Virgin, last night). I’m planning out another project which hopefully be more satisfactory, but my reason for bringing all this up is something else entirely: that last night I was looking at art more as a spectator then as an artist, and it is in that spirit that I share my observations, and my joy of looking, in hopes of attracting more non-art types out to the gallery walk, say, next month.

gallery hop

Michael Tedja at Locust, including painted and bejeweled bicycle tires, lots of ape faces, ab-ex scrawls, collage, a black Santa, crazy snatches of text (“More money more murder”), more fabric then immediately apparent, a pair of flip-flops with paint squiggles, and, yes, real beer bottles stuck everywhere. At some point I suspected that this was an art joke; that no serious person could leave without being annoyed by something. More likely, it’s created for the sheer joy of making stuff, without such overintellectualization.

gallery hop

Here’s Gean Moreno and Fred Snitzer hamming for a press photog in front of one of Gean’s pieces. Self-conscious and capital-A “Arty,” Gean’s pieces were nonetheless beautiful, and satisfying in a way that Michael’s weren’t. Attached to free-standing 2×4’s for no particular reason (nothing interesting happening around back), they made unnecessary reference to all sorts of shit (e.g. 80s metal), yet achieved a sort of effortless (say it with me) grace. I suspect that the effortlessness is more important to Fred then the grace, and for that I disagree with him, but as ever, the shit is good.

gallery hop

Frances Trombly at Kevin Bruk. Unless I’m completely ignorant, Frances didn’t knit, crochet, or weave the fabric for these streamers, as she did in the past. Still nice, though. (*Update:* Confirmed: I am completely ignorant. KH sez: “Frances spent a bazmillion hours weaving and hand dyeing that silk, man!”) The less said about Craig Kucia’s paintings the better.

gallery hop

I believe this is “Against the Girl” at MoCA’s Goldman warehouse. Sounding like a cross between Tori Amos and Iron Maiden, they left me, frankly, wondering who picked them and why. Here is someone’s idea of a representative half-minute of their performance. It’s a little more disco then the rest of their set. A Kyle Trowbridge video piece, of moshing at hardcore shows in 1984, in the next stall, made the visit worthwhile. (As did something else, which . . . more on that later.)

gallery hop

Here’s a bit of the actual “hoping.” Say what you will, but it’s September in fucking Miami, and it’s nasty hot outside. The industrial beauty of Wynwood is undeniable, but I was unplesantly sweaty all night, despite making any trip longer then a block in an airconditioned car. Maybe I’ll skip September and October and see you folks in November.

gallery hop

But no, because our last stop made everything worth it. A performance by Tracy + the Plastics. It’s funny, but though the “live performer + life-sized video of the same performer interacting” is so much of a genre as to be a cliché, when done right, it has undiminished power. Tracy’s was a piece of live performance art that also spanned elements of installation, (2-channel!) video, music, digital illustration, poetry, audience participation (the audience didn’t particularly rise to the challenge, actually), and more then a little sound design (microphone hiss that came and went depending on dramatic need, not any technological factors). It was a little drama wrapped inside a riddle (involving sheets), and it came down, as all performance art might, of being aware of yourself in the moment in which you exist. Which it couldn’t have been more successful at: I’m still aware of myself in that particular moment, a full day later.

gallery hop

By the time I got home (a road that involved a visit to Denny’s, and not to the Forge), there was a guy passed out in the street across from my building. It seemed fitting somehow; I feel like that guy. Don’t worry, he’s OK—I passed by looking for a parking space a few minutes earlier and he was in the same spot, but sitting up. And the cop cars swarmed the next morning around a completely different spot, down an entire block. Life goes on.

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