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Tuesday July 3, 2007

Your 4th of July

fireworks photo

I don’t mean to lecture you people, but let’s not get engulfed with nationalism this 4th. Maybe go read up on the American Revolution, or better yet, the Washington Post report on Dick Cheney (you know, who fights every day for the right of our troops do far worse then what was pictured in those Abu Ghraib photos).

But OK, July 4th is a celebration of our history, and a chance to party, and — well, there are at least a dozen government-sponsored “parties” scheduled for tomorrow. Rebecca Mandelman compiled a comprehensive list of them all posted at Wormhole Lab. More what-to-do’s are at New Times and About.com. A sampling (all these events are FREE):

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Monday February 5, 2007

Fruit and Spice Park

Fruit and Spice Park, in the Homestead Redland, is part exotic plant sanctuary, part park, and part tourist attraction. $5 admission gets you an hour or two of wandering around, tasting strange fruits, and checking out a few little exhibit type things. Here’s a little collection of old farm equipment. No information or anything; they’re just sort of sitting around.

Tasting

Funky fruit tasting (click through to see what’s what). The gourd-like thing in the middle is Black Sapote, which tastes shockingly like melted chocolate. The little glass dish towards the back contains Miracle Fruit, little berries which have no flavor, but which will make your mouth impervious to bitter flavors for about a half an hour (try one of those grape-looking things, which are super bitter, then try the Miracle Fruit, and then eat another berry, and it won’t taste bitter anymore). The lady was super-nice and let us sort of pig out on everything. Then she sliced open that big gourd thing and let us try that.

Then they set you loose to wander around the park, or you can take a “guided tour,” which is on a horrible motorized trolley thing. This is one of many weird banana-like trees that dot the park.

The rule is that you’re not allowed to pick anything, but if it’s fallen to the ground you can eat it. Here’s a big Canistel that we found. It’s got a very strange consistency, sort of like dry dough, and a flavor a little like cooked squash. It’s such a bizarre bright shade of yellowish orange that my camera freaked out and made everything else dark trying to understand it.

Squash

The spice section in the middle of the park has raised planters with all sorts of little plants and spices. Here are some baby eggplants.

Catalina and Ross. This is the park’s only real concession to tourist trapyness.

Poisonous Plant Collection

The poisonous plant collection was a little disappointing. Hey, isn’t “poisonous” the botanical word for “hallucinogenic”? Just kidding — don’t eat that. (Actually, they tell you not to eat anything in the park unless you recognize it — apparently some of the plants in the regular area poisonous too.)

Greenhouse

The best thing about the greenhouse is that when you leave, going outside feels like walking into an air conditioned building. It’s hot in there.

Strangeberries

These are the bitter berries again, which grow, unbelievably, attached directly to the branches of this tree. Never seen anything like it.

Fruit and Spice Park on google maps, and here is the official web page.

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Friday January 26, 2007

Maps weekend

old map

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Wednesday January 24, 2007

101 things to do in South Florida. #2: See Manatees in the Wild. #47: Jai-Alai. #85: Palacio de los Jugos. Great list. Update: Let’s play ‘what’d they miss?’

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Wednesday January 3, 2007

OK, another question. True/false: Sylvester Stallone once donated $1 million for a renovation that kept the Gusman from closing. Forget google — if it happened, the internets don’t know about it; the best I found was $75,000 for the Miami Film Festival back in ’98. But I’m sure someone told me this in all seriousness once. Were they talking out their ass?

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Friday December 15, 2006

Pre-holiday tension weekend

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Thursday December 14, 2006

The Blue Man Period of Milton Van der Spuy

The Blue Man Period of Milton Van der Spuy

Greig Coetzee performed this one-man play tonight, and will do so again Saturday and Sunday. It’s a fantasy about a man who fancies himself an artist, a “Renaissance Man,” but is actually a wannabe dabbler. Coetzee lets us laugh at his character for most of the play, but of course he’s got a sad twist up his sleeve: the refrain of the play seems to be “but mother says, my talents lie elsewhere.”

Any one-person play will struggle to be more then a monologue, right? But Coetzee does a remarkably good job, making excellent use of fractured story lines, jumping from present to reverie, and making surprisingly great use of props. It’s a low-key and whimsical little piece, but completely worth seeing.

At the Carnival Center Studio Theater; two performances this weekend. Coetzee is also doing White Men with Weapons, which looks at least as good. (At just over an hour each, it seems like they could have done them both together with a long intermission.)

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Sunday December 10, 2006

Basel weekend: everything else

This one and the next one are the only thing I have from Pulse, which was pretty small, cramped, overcrowded, and cost $10. There were, however, lots of great pieces. This scary little photograph is by Roger Ballen. It totally fooled me into thinking it was a real Joel Peter-Witkin-style photograph, but for some reason on screen now it looks much more like what it is: a digital composite.

More obviously digital, this is a detail from a big image by Dionisio Gonzalez.

Jesus looks over the entryway to NADA.

This little joke piece shows up every year. At $200, (unframed) in an unlimited edition, it makes a killing.

Installation with a customized Gucci suitcase at the Sister gallery (L.A.).

An arresting photograph of an empty Jack Daniels bottle by Melanie Schiff, titled Emergency. Not the only alcoholic humor art we saw: a David Kramer print at Pulse prominently read, “WHOEVER IT IS THAT SAIDLESS IS MORE’ PROBABLY OWES ME A ROUND OR TWO.”

Here’s the NADA building from the outside. Very relaxing, with a big lawn, hammocks, and a little restaurant (nothing to write home to mom about there, though).

This guy performed on the lawn, heavily reverberated voice, guitar, and chime percussion. He sounded a little bit like Panda Bear, but he kept stopping to chat with his friends who came up. We got impatient and left.

An opportunistic resident outside Scope, spraycan-changing the price for parking on her property from $10 to $15. I think her logic was that if someone eventually did park there, she’d boost her profits by 50%. Unfortunately for her, everyone was just parking on the street.

One of the things I really enjoyed about Scope (oh, sorry: ~scope) was the outdoor scene. There was a lot more there then I’m going to show you, including a big stage, a bus with a tent in the back that you entered to see a light show, and some extremely fancy porta-potties. This is the immortal Eric Doeringer, hawking his bootleg versions of contemporary art. Eric is beyond cool: I have a picture of him holding up a fake Art Basel VIP card, with which he apparently got into the Vernissage, among other things.

blood for art

The Blood for Art table. This idea is simultaneously great, depressing, morbid, and inadvisable on a long weekend of running all over town and spending most of your time on foot.

Oh the art. This amazing drawing by Mat Brown.

Other then the Nike logo, a great sculpture. Christopher Cutts Gallery, Toronto.

Sometimes you just can’t pass up a picture.

Locust Projects contacted Flight 19 (Tampa) to co-present something at Scope this year. They came up with this Negativland piece, Rightmanland, a singing animatronic Abraham Lincoln. Efforts to bring Negativland to Miami are in the works!

Photo Miami was excellent, and for some reason sparsely attended.

Here’s one piece, by Luis Molina-Pantin.

Earnest

Opening/party for the Monster Show, Thursday night. This is a link to a photoset; click the picture to see more photos from the evening (probably not interesting unless you were there).

Opening at Carol Jazzar’s on Friday evening.

One last visit to Basel.

This wasn’t up before: a loop of magnetic cassette video tape hovering in the field between two fans. No artist info, sorry. Zilvinas Kempinas, Spencer Brownstone Gallery.

Saturday night in the Design District/Wynwood. This is the incomparable Cody ChesnuTT. Cody was performing a new suite of songs, solo electric, and recording it, so he asked us to hold our applause until the end. He was great, and a surprisingly agile guitar player, though I’m not sure the self-indulgence that bugged Pitchfork is waning anytime soon.

Cody’s crowd.

We spent the rest of the night hanging out at Lenny’s. The show he has up includes pieces from his private collection, including a Gregory Crewdson, a Robert Rauschenberg, and this lovely drawing by Hope Gangloff.

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Wednesday December 6, 2006

Miami Vice was released yesterday on DVD. It’s an Unrated! Director’s Cut!! with Bonus Features!!! so we should all give it a second chance, even though it sucked the first time. I’m game; just moved it to the top of my Neftlix queue. I can’t tell from the marketing speak whether the Port of Miami intro sequence is on the DVD, but after seeing the second season of The Wire recently, I sure hope so.

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Wednesday November 15, 2006

Miami Nights reviews the Bang festival, and does a better job then the Herald. “If your set starts at 6:45 and an hour later your still not on, you might as well scrap the performance.” Bang was a financial bust.

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Friday October 20, 2006

Damn weekend

Design Art Miami Now

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Wednesday September 27, 2006

Carnival Center for the Performing Arts opens

Carnival Center for the Performing Arts John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall

The Carnival Center for the Performing Arts Sanford And Dolores Ziff Opera House had its big opening night last night with the musical The Light in the Piazza. Michael Hardy was on the radio earlier in the day saying that part of what made it a good choice for the opening that it was relatively simple, technically—a good idea for the opening night of anything.

It sounds like everything went off without a hitch. In addition to the article, the Herald has a video, a slide show, and trotted out (hopefully for the last time) their crappy flash animation depicting the construction process.

The parking situation was hassle free, though I don’t think we’re out of the woods yet—this was only one of the houses, not even completely full (see the pic), and since it was an opening party, people arrived over an extended period, not in a big rush. Rave reviews for the hall itself, as well as for the outdoor and lobby artwork, though. Sounds like everything went very well!

Update: Right after I hit “post” came the review of the show from Christine Dolan: “And in the very first test of the new theater’s sound, from the orchestra-level seats, it wasn’t just good—it was superb. Near the end of the show, when an agitated Clara sits alone trying to sort out the truth of her life, as she smacks at her face and smoothes the flowing skirt of her dress, you hear the slap of skin-on-skin and the rustle of lacy fabric.” Yay!

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