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Friday May 13, 2005


[Contributed by Harumi Abe]

I went to Titanes Sumo-wrestling event. Wow. That was my first word.

I understand it is a costume party, but no body understand the difference between Japanese and another Asian country…. The hippie African type of dram with some music I suppose inspire by Akira, the Indonesian looking roof, all the geisha dance and costume like Kill Bill . . .

I understand where people are getting idea of Japan. But as a Japanese person how should I supposed to think of this culture cross mess. Even Franklin, a professor who knows the difference of Japanese and Chinese, was dressing china dress. Is this a Comedy show or an Art!????


Sunday May 29, 2005

Skin Color is the Only Issue

[Contributed by Steve Klotz]

Yessssssssssss finally we’re getting real south Florida weather: the sunny, hot, and humid stuff I like.

Makes me sweat just blinking. When an average white man from the frozen northeast can get himself a serious, cutting-edge dark tan . . .

Me, I do the beach from 10 to 4. I alternate 60 minutes dorsal, 6o ventral. You can feel the skin sizzle about hour 3—that’s when I know I’m making progress . . .

I’m listening in at a meeting of a Tanorexics Support Group. Like starving anorexic skeletons who perceive their own emaciated bodies as hidoeusly fat and bloated, these are people who, no matter how many hours they’re out there roasting their asses in sweltering sunshine, no matter how many shades they darken, swear that it’s never enough. One day – one hour – out from under the rays and they think they’re paler than Casper’s ass and nothing anybody says convinces them otherwise. They need the burn, the carcinogenic glow, the stiff leathery skin to feel completely alive.

One time I remember going straight from the dermatologist’s office to the beach after he’d burned off half a dozen skin cancers from my forehead and shoulders. It was painful seeing those white spots. I had to get them to match the rest of me right away!

Holy melted cocoa butter. And this is just one meeting, maybe 20 people, in a community of Ra-worshipers estimated in the thousands. They’re all ages, all sizes, both genders, and some are nudists (imagine the guys applying suntan lotion to themselves. Wait. Maybe don’t). I’ve attended neighborhood association meetings in Little Haiti with paler people.

This group meets weekly at night (of course) in the lobby of a skin care clinic whose name I can’t reveal. Sorry. But you can find your own group, if you want one, by checking out sunbathers. After a while it’s obvious who’s got a problem. Heard of Gay-dar? Use your Ray-dar.

Mmmmmm. Feel the burn.

[See all Articles by Steve]


Wednesday December 19, 2007

12 of Miami’s ‘future stars in Ocean Drive, including Lolo, Colby Katz, ANR, and a number of “fashion and accessories designers.” (via whl)


Wednesday September 13, 2006

Yay(?): Miami is getting the Bodies exhibition. It opens in (of all places) the old Virgin record store in The Shops at Sunset Place, September 22. Update: Interestingly, the article doesn’t mention which organization is bringing the exhibit.


Thursday October 5, 2006

cifo opening

cifo, outside

Stopped by the opening of “10 Defining Experiments” at CIFO last night. (Sorry: still not able to link to Flash sites.) Lovely event, I must say: fully stocked bars, beautiful people by the boatload, and a spectacular facility. The art was meh, and three gorgeous photographs absolutely stole the show. Big openings of course ≠ a good place to experience video so, you know, caveat there. And this sculpture made of bobby pins was very nice, though I expect it doesn’t look like much in the photo. Then I rushed over to the MAM, but the opening there was already over, having closed at 8:30(!) and people were on their way out.

Next time: opposite order!


Monday April 25, 2005

Fruit Loops

[Contributed by Steve Klotz]

Florida Department of Agriculture employees cut down and destroy trees

We all saw the delightful headline:
Florida’s Supreme Court ruled that
$100 worth of Wal-Mart garden shop certificates
insufficiently compensate homeowners for the loss
of a citrus tree in connection with citrus canker infestation.
Duh. Really? I mean, it requires a Supreme Court,
even in a back-asswards state system like Florida, to determine this?

As much fertilizer as the citrus industry uses on its fields and trees,
it has spread even greater shitloads defending the practice
of removing private citizens’ trees to save its sorry thorned ass.
For example, while steadfastly maintaining that citrus canker renders the fruit
so unsightly that it loses its market viability,
the industry omits mentioning that most of the Florida crop ends up as juice, anyway—sold not for its cosmetic appeal but its yield.

But my favorite is the enforceable 1900 foot citrus canker limit

The Aggies won the right to remove any healthy tree
within 1900 feet of an infected one based on a study
it knows is legitimate because it paid good money to get it,
and knew Tallahassee goobers would buy it
because it would screw primarily south Floridians.
It sounds like alchemy to me, or elementary wiccinism,
but following years of litigation with the industry emerging victorious,
its cheers were drowned out only by the sound of chainsaws firing up once more.

So here’s my solution.

Step away from the trees! Get out of my back yard!
Drive your crews of arboreal assassins up to the commercial groves you want to protect
and tear out a 1900 foot trench from the outermost edge.
There. You’re safe from citrus canker,
and all the uninfected trees in south Florida are safe from you.
Yeah it cost you money but that’s the cost of doing business—your business, not mine, and not non-commercial tree-owners.

You squeeze the fruit.
We’ll take our chances.


Monday October 16, 2006

Driving with Mr. Alesh

I’ve been out of pocket the last few days, sick and in bed. Here’s a video I made a few days before, driving down an unnamed street in south Broward, among lots of police activity. I’ll tell ya, though: trying to film and control the ol’ vehicle is like driving drunk, or driving and talkin’ on the celly. Anyway, I hear there’s been some sports-related controversy lately, but I stay out of that. More bloggin’ soon.


Wednesday April 16, 2008

Mo's Bagels and Deli

Mo's Bagels and Deli

So, we were just talking about the North Miami bagel/deli circuit, and I thought I’d mention my favorite. A little less cramped and hectic then the Bagel Cove and not overpriced like Sage Bagels, Mo’s has that old-school, family-run atmosphere you’re looking for. (There’s a new place up the street at Miami Gardens Drive and 18th Street that’s distinctly not what I’m talking about here.) The food is what you’d expect from a diner, but with massive portions and skewed towards your Kosher stuff. Delicious breakfast specials, massive sandwiches, homemade soup. You get the picture. By 10 am on weekends every table is full, and there’s a line out the door. Service is usually pretty good.

Mo's Bagels and Deli

Lox lox lox, and fish, smoked fish.

Mo's Bagels and Deli

So, does somebody really want to tell me this isn’t a “real” deli? True, it’s not from the 60s, but cut them some slack. Honestly, I don’t know what to do with any of this stuff. I sort of just admire it while waiting in the checkout line. Note the back of the take-out menu for a list of stuff available to go by the pound: 8 different types of smoked fish, 8 different soups, potato pancakes, knishes, and something called Israeli Health Salad. (Actually, the “Salads” section is a hoot, and features turkey, shrimp, and egg salad, in addition to the ominously titled “Vegetarian Chopped Liver.”)

Mo's Bagels and Deli

And of course pastries. And yes, you get a little plate of sweet nibblies when you sit down. Yum! Oh, thanks again to Susan for letting me use her camera!!

Mo’s Bagel & Deli
2780 N.E. 187th St
North Miami Beach, FL 33180 (they say they’re in Aventura, I say no)


Friday August 3, 2007



Monday September 24, 2007

goya etchings

Francisco Goya’s etchings, on view at the Freedom Tower (!) through November 9th (12 – 7 pm every day except Sunday and Monday). I saw these the last time I was in Prague; they’re exquisite.


Wednesday August 9, 2006


awards ceremony
‘Audience Choice’ award winner Nastassja Schmidt, Julie Lara Kahn, and Brook Dorsch, at the Dixie Dingo Super-8 “International Film Festival”

Okay, so first of all, if Brook ever gives you a little film camera and asks you to make a little movie, only only only ever turn it on in full midday sunlight. OK, we’re talking about the film screening last night, and actually almost all the movies were pretty great. Taken as a group, they just about made up a poem about Miami. Nastassja Schmidt absolutely stole the show. She decided to sing Amazing Grace while her movie played. Now keep in mind that nobody saw the movies before they were screened, right? So, she starts to sing, the movie starts to play, and the screen is completely dark.

Somehow her movie was the most underexposed of them all, and with only one little flash spot of light (which—important—made it clear that the problem was with the film, not the camera), Nastassja sang to a dark screen. She seemed a little taken aback, but not at all thrown. So, ok, she’s an amazing singer, right? And she’s doing this incredible acapella version of Amazing Grace, with little slides and flourishes and stuff, and just as she gets to the “but now I see” line . . . the screen comes a live with just the briefest shot of light, something that looks like a chandelier, or an explosion, or a bouquet of flowers (of which the latter is what it was, she explained afterwards how she had mixed artificial flowers with real flowers, and it was supposed to be about how misleading hasty judgements can be).

So yeah, it was unbelievable. After that, nothing was going to compete, though Crispin Sylvester’s movie was great, and apparently lost by only one vote. Some more thoughts about the night:

  1. TM Sisters did some crazy good titles, which somehow made the whole thing feel a little like the Oscars, and managed to perfectly complement grainy B/W footage, feature dogs (the festival’s named after a dog, remember?), and still be in the TM’s trademark style.
  2. Faktura Pet Projects were taking donations and selling artwork to support animal adoption (the dog the festival’s named after was found and adopted by Brook and Julie).
  3. William Keddell’s amoeba pictures and 3d viewers are great. You’ve seen the picture on the Dorsch site? Well, then, you haven’t seen anything.
  4. Cinema Vortex was involved with the projecting and technical aspects of the whole thing, cause, you know, Best Buy doesn’t sell Super-8 projectors anymore. And for example how they transferred the TM’s titles to Super-8 was the mystery of the night for me.
  5. The Miami-Dade department of cultural affairs gave them a grant to throw this thing.

All of which brings me to say that the Dorsch Gallery has now completed it’s transformation into a full-on cultural center. This is the sort of event that the smartest non-profit in the world might try to do, but for a supposedly commercial gallery? I’d say it’s pretty singular. Just wait until the AC’s in place!


Thursday June 28, 2007

With 16 of its 21 seats filled, the Miami-Dade County Charter Review Task Force can get to work. Not joking: four Miami-Dade commissioners (Carlos Gimenez, Sally Heyman, Barbara Jordan, and Javier Souto) appointed themselves to the committee. I suspect that if anything positive comes from this it will be despite their participation, not because of it. In any case, the task force is supposed to submit its final report at the end of October.


Monday June 18, 2007

mosquito Seems like forever since you’ve seen a mosquito? Here’s why: Since mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, their populations drop during drought. The bad news: the eggs don’t die — they just accumulate, and wait for the water to come back, which in case you haven’t noticed, it has. Please to be expecting a major spike in the mosquito population, and mosquito-related illness. Yikes!


Thursday February 8, 2007

Here’s a better picture of the banner on the SunTrust building at the west end of Lincoln Road. This is somehow related to the coming Herzog & de Meuron project next door. It actually looks perfectly like two buildings from one vantage point as you drive by, but I couldn’t get to it without getting run over. For those who’ve been sleeping, H&dM are also doing the MAM building.


Thursday October 5, 2006

Today we get homework: sift through MiamiPost’s City Hall Confidential and see if you find anything, anything of value. (via Tere, who says “When I started this blog, I considered making it an “exposing the ugly side” kind of thing. Then I realized, duh, I don’t know anyone who could help me expose jack shit.”)


Thursday February 22, 2007

Another day, another article about the rising costs of the Carnival Center. This time it’s an adjustment to the actual construction costs, up $12.5 million to a total of $472.97 million.


Monday April 24, 2006

Miami gridlock is a map of poor leadership, plans. Larry Lebowitz reflects on the recent shutdown on Biscayne, and what will happen after the various road re-re-reconstruction projects are complete. “What you won’t find is a lot of extra roadway capacity. Now imagine those same roads supporting traffic from 70,000 new condominium units, a Performing Arts Center, two new museums in Bicentennial Park, 600,000 square feet of stores at Midtown Miami, and another 10-story mall across from the PAC called City Square.”


Wednesday October 18, 2006

Tonight, Tigertail Productions is throwing a party to kick off its season. A panel discussion begins at 6:30, the party kicks in at around 8 pm. Astrid Hadad, who’s performance is this weekend, will be in effect.


Saturday July 14, 2007

Jelly fish Saturday



Thursday January 3, 2008

Here’s the scoop for anyone, like me, who’s passed by Pit Bar-B-Q in the last few months and been dismayed to find it closed: the original owner, Tommy Little, died. The good news is that it’s re-opened: under new ownership, but supposedly with the same cooks and same recipes. This is going to require some investigation.


Wednesday December 26, 2007

Housing prices are tanking faster in Miami then in any of the other 20 major metropolitan areas in the US: down 12.4% over the last year (vs. the 6.7% national average). The factors feeding the decline are scheduled to continue for 12 to 15 more months, so look for a bottom around the summer of 2009. (And don’t buy a home today unless you know what you’re doing, otherwise you’re almost guaranteed that it’ll be worth less in 6 months then what you paid for it.)


Tuesday August 1, 2006

Shameful: Study finds disparities in judges’ asylum rulings. In fact, Miami is one of the hardest places in the nation to get an asylum. Update: Trying to find more details about the study. This report says it was conducted by the San Jose Mercury News, but their report is from the AP. Hmm… Update: Here’s the report. (thanks Liz, you’re the best!)


Wednesday October 10, 2007

Now I’m getting all verklempft: two Broward Sherrif’s officers bought a bicycle for a boy who had his stolen and broken. I’m glad the BSO has a blog to keep us up to date on their deeds. No mention of the rubber bullets incident, but you can get a kick out of those who think this excuses any future police abuse. That’s right Rick, you remind us about this incident every time a cop tases someone for hogging a microphone or beats up a kid for riding a skateboard.


Thursday January 11, 2007

County Commissioners launch offensive against strong mayor. This is a case of, as one guy at the debate put it, “the more you talk, the less inclined I am to support your position.” Also, Bruno Barreiro (my commissioner!) is quoted as saying, “It’s going to be tough, but I think we’ll win once we get our message out to voters.” Whenever someone uses a soundbite opportunity to deliver empty optimism rather then an argument, I realize they have no good arguments. Update: A dubious meeting.


Friday July 4, 2008

This is the old blog. Go read the new blog, Buildings and Food.


Saturday March 3, 2007

“Homosexuals are going to hell.” Annoying people on Ocean Drive. Note how this gets stranger and stranger as it goes.


Tuesday May 23, 2006

The City of Miami beach is soliciting designs for new manhole covers. Anyone who lives in Miami Dade county can submit a design, due July 5. The city’s Art in Public Places Committee will review the designs, and the city Commission will approve the final selection. Fun?


Friday August 10, 2012

Shakespearean weekend






Wednesday February 22, 2006

Laurenzo's Market

Sometimes, North Miami doesn’t know how good it’s got it. Exhibit A: Laurenzo’s Supermarket. Packing a prodigous selection into a space half the size of a Publix, it’s food heaven, and not just for Italian food fans.

You get a full-on bakery that has breads, rolls, pastries, and cakes, all in dozens of varieties, each looking more delicious (in a homemade kind of way) then the next. There’s a butcher with everything from sausage to squid, a full deli counter, a whole asile of food prepared on the premesis for your reheating and consumption pleasure, and yep, a restaurant of sorts.

Barilla sauce in a jar? Sure, they have it. But witness the 10 or so types of homemade sauce. Yum.

They don’t have everything, but what they have is usually in staggering variety. Pictured: aproximately 20 different types of olives. Also: boxes of pasta as big as a case of beer.

Also: Ailes of wine. Also: spices and sauces, crackers, cookies, and (duh) gigantic mounds of cheese. Also: friendly staff (it’s family run), which reminds me—the sign on the door (IN ALL CAPS):

Setting the Record Straight: Laurenzo’s has not sold and probably will never sell. We have enjoyed the past fifty-four years of business with our loyal customers and employees. We hope the Laurenzo family and staff will celebrate our 100th anniversary. We thank Everyone for their valued patronage and support. – Ben, David, CArol, Diana, and Robert Laurenzo.

Oh, and across the street? A farmer’s market! Does it ever end? Did I mention all this was next to a Spanish Monestary?


Wednesday April 2, 2008

What's up Transit Miami?

miami from the air -- houses and water

Transit Miami is a great blog, it’s been around a long time and done lots of excellent work, but lately I’ve been troubled by the increasingly single-minded, almost militant, anti-car zeal coming from over there. Now look, I’m a big supporter of public transportation, so I agree with the direction that TM wants to see Miami move in. But I think that advocating change is more effective when one has a firm grip on reality, and — well, let’s take a look at a recent post, Gabriel and Ryan’s open letter to the Miami city commission.

An increase of net parking spaces – to one per unit, as the city commission proposed – will only worsen the traffic conditions along Biscayne Boulevard and the surrounding streets. The aim of the city administration and all downtown development should be to reduce automobile dependency, not enhance it, especially in one of the few areas well served by public rail transit. Any increases in available parking will only serve as a means with which our residents will continue to neglect and undermine the intended purpose of public transportation.

They go on to say that supporting both public transportation access and parking spaces is “contradictory – essentially taking one-step forward and one-step backward,” and conclude by quoting the notion that “in order for public transportation to be successful it [must] be at least equally attractive as the alternatives.”

I have to admit to being baffled by this. The way to encourage public transportation use is to make driving more unpleasant, parking more difficult? I have two suggestions here. First, that improving public transportation is a better strategy then worsening the experience of driving. Second, a realistic understanding of where Miami is, and how far and fast it can change, is beneficial when advising on public policy meant to hasten that change. Let’s consider.

When we talk about “public transportation in Miami,” we are of course referring to Miami-Dade County. The county runs the public transportation system, and the City of Miami accounts for a small fraction of the county’s population. It takes only a passing familiarity with Miami-Dade to see the difference between it and the cities with the great public transportation systems that TM so admires: most Miamians live in single-family houses with great big lawns, while the citizens of those cities live far more often in high-rises, mid-rises, townhouses, and rowhouses. In other words, the population density is higher. It’s a fact of life that the potential effectiveness of a public transportation system is proportional to density. Yes, increasing population density is a worthwhile goal. And yes, Miami 21 will move us in that direction. But these changes happen slowly, and in the meantime the simple fact is that the overwhelming majority of Miamians, whether they live in the great suburbs of Miami Gardens of one of the new towers in downtown, have a car, need a car, and use a car everyday to commute and run practically all of their errands.

But furthermore, as those errands and commutes become easier to do with public transportation, the way to nudge the nice folks is make that public transportation more pleasant. To try to get them to switch by making driving more difficult is suicide for elected officials and inhumane for public professionals. I’d think it’d also be inadvisable for bloggers who want to change public opinion.

Sure, it’s fine to look at other cities, but let’s be realistic about how much they can “illuminate … Miami’s potential.” Miami is not going to have the public transportation system of Montreal any more then it’s going to suddenly grow a mountain. And the same goes for cycling in the city — last year I challenged TM to show me how a bike-rental system like the one that works relatively well in other cities would look in Miami. Nothing came of that because it wouldn’t work here for the same population density reasons. (And trust me, I know a thing or two about cycling in Miami.)

These situations will improve, and we should certainly work towards improving them, but it helps to be realistic about the time frame we’re talking about: when this happens, it’s on the scale of generations, not years or even decades. In the meantime let’s do what we can to make public transportation — and driving — easier and more pleasant.