Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Eye Candy - Francesca Woodman

My current art obsession...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Amanda Palmer: Culture Room Review

I have a problem with beginnings. I feel awkward when starting a new blog entry, relationship, a hobby, etc. I can only attribute it to some kind of performance anxiety. But the opposite was true of Amanda Palmer on Saturday, March 28th at the Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale. She began with an electrifying performance of her song Astronaut and ended it by cooing Radiohead’s Creep with a ukulele.

She sang a total of ten songs at the most. But she charmed the audience with a generous number of smiles, stories, and jokes. In fact, the personal nature of her performance – laced with details about her favorite type of pancakes and how badly she wants to get dropped by her record label [see the video below] – made me forget I was in a club. Instead, I felt like I was visiting a friend who happens to be a musician and in between conversation, she played piano and sang some great songs.

One highlight involved an ‘Ask Amanda’ segment; she answered questions from the audience written to her on post it notes before the show. Well, guess what? She picked my question, which was: Bob Dylan, Tom Waits or Leonard Cohen? She didn’t understand the question and asked for clarification. So, I raised my hand to catch her attention and, once she saw me, I explained I wanted her to pick the musician she liked the best and had been the most influential. She chose Leonard Cohen but explained that Tom Waits is ‘the coolest guy ever’ and that you have to respect Bob Dylan because, you know, it’s Bob Dylan.

The most poignant moment of the evening was when she sang the unreleased Trout Heart Replica, which was inspired by a trip to Minnesota to visit her friend, Neil Gaiman – mastermind behind Coraline. During her visit, they went to a trout farm to score fresh fish for dinner. But, much to her horror, she witnessed one of the farm workers kill a fish by beheading it and then slicing it open to take out its guts and heart. For 'laughs', the man grabbed the heart, showed it to Palmer and Gaiman and told them that, "the kids love this trick!"

“It didn't just keep beating for like a couple of seconds, it just kept going for like a minute," she explained teary-eyed.

She then began singing the lovely and haunting Trout Heart Replica and the absurd beauty and tragedy of the song best summarized both Palmer’s music and performance that evening.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Last Night's Wine Tasting

Every last Friday of the month, Kendall's Cork and Bottle has a wine tasting that begins at seven and ends at ten. It only costs ten dollars and, if you buy a bottle, you get ten dollars off of it!

I went last night for the first time and it rocked! I was completely inebriated by the end of it and discovered a couple of new and affordable bottles of Malbec that were divine.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Tribute to Ginsberg

Since I've started this blog, I've focused on the artistic endeavors of others and have not displayed any of my own. So today I've decided to post a poem of mine. It was inspired by a particular poem by Allen Ginsberg [hence the title] called America written in 1956.



No one walks your streets
Except for bums
Begging for something to eat.


I’m tired
I’m weeping
I have your dream stuck in my mind,

Was it just a lie?

Sweet nothings
To lure me into
Your one nightstand
Then good-bye?


I miss Walt Whitman, John Coltrane and James Dean.


Who am I to believe? What am I suppose to be?

You replaced God and Jesus with Disney and reality TV.


It’s passing me by:

9 to 5 train ride
Bum holding up a sign
Wal-Mart and radioactive French fry,

And always the same repeat:

Commerce, concrete, and Hollywood telling me I’m not skinny enough to eat.


Who am I to believe? What am I suppose to be?

I don’t understand. Yesterday, a water bottle that had no fat or calories advertised.


Your epic poem
Begins with a soldier
Leaving at 18 and never again seeing home.


I don’t need guns to incite a war:

I often sleep until noon, I drink too much and too soon, I can’t stand Jerry Springer, I refuse to eat taco bell for dinner, I sign petitions to ensure the Amazon won’t get thinner, I read books so my mind will remain limber.


Who am I to believe? What am I suppose to be?

I miss Walt Whitman, John Coltrane and James Dean.


9 to 5 train ride
Bum holding up a sign
Wal-Mart and radioactive French fry,

And always the same repeat:

God, Jesus, and reality TV.


Blame it on the breakdown of family values. Blame it on AIDS. Blame it on the Gays. Blame it on my ‘unpatrotic ways’. Blame on the Middle East. Blame it on a lack of religion. Blame it on too much religion.


I’m tired of your drive-thru TV dinners.


Don’t even get me started on health care.


The war hasn’t been won yet?


The world wasn’t ready for you
Hitler wasn’t ready
Kennedy wasn’t ready
John Lennon wasn’t ready
I’m not ready
Are you ready America?

Are you ready for you?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

An Alternative to the Winter Music Conference

Amanda Palmer, of Dresden Dolls fame, will be performing live at the Culture Room in Ft. Lauderdale on Saturday, March 28th - doors open at 8.p.m. She will be performing songs off of her solo album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer. Here's a review of it from Spin magazine:

Manic and depressed, Amanda Palmer's solo debut is either artful psychobiography or deeply twisted dramatic monologue. Either way, the album is a dark gem, a high-IQ song cycle that combines guilt, neurotic lust, and low self-esteem into piano-based tunes that come studded with lyrical daggers. On the rapid-fire "Runs in the Family," Palmer recites a catalog of maladies, including an impulse to "open my legs up to anyone who'll have me." On the sultry, over-amped "Leeds United," she intones over a slurred, high-stepping horn section: "Who needs love / When there's Southern Comfort?" On this Method-acted album, that's a rhetorical question.

I bought my tickets today and I'm excited! Who needs the Winter Music Conference when there's Amanda Palmer?

Here are three great songs off of her solo debut:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Breaking News Update


1. I refuse to pay 30 dollars to get into a club. To be fair, though, I've read there are about 2 free events out of 300.
2. I don't like most of the crappy electronic music that will be playing. I prefer The Smiths, Charles Mingus, CocoRosie, Fad Gadget, Diamanda Galas, Dead Can Dance, The Knife, etc. And don't get me wrong: there is nothing wrong with electronic music. I like Ladytron and plenty of other electro-influenced bands. But annoying music is ten times more annoying when you're packed into a sweaty club like a sardine that's selling drinks at $20 dollars a pop.
3. Large groups of drunken Miami people scare me. Let's face it: intelligence and class are not two traits typically found in this type of crowd, which may be the biggest understatement of the year.
4. Parking will be a nightmare - South Beach and downtown become a madhouse during any festival or special event. Plus, on top of paying $30 dollars to get into a club, you will most likely have to pay at least $20 for parking. So, let's do the math: $20 dollars plus $30 dollars equals $50 dollars and you haven't even started drinking yet!
5. I don't like most of the crappy music that will be playing - worth a repeat mention, for sure.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Annual Winning Art Raffle

Yesterday I entered ArtCenter/South Florida's annual Winning Art Raffle, which gives you a chance at winning an original work of art for a mere ten dollars.

Here's how it works: you purchase a raffle ticket online, by telephone or in person at the ArtCenter, choose one original piece from a selection of 41 different works, fork over ten dollars and voila! You're entered into the raffle.

The winner will be chosen on April 25th at a closing reception party beginning at 7:30 p.m. [free drinks guaranteed] and raffle proceeds will be used to promote local talent. You can see the 41 works of art online at http://www.artcentersf.org/raffle/index.htm.

The piece I choose for the raffle is featured on the left, so wish me luck! I adore the overwhelming, almost vomit inducing, girliness of it!

Those unfamiliar with the ArtCenter, located right off of Lincoln Road, can read about the non-profit arts organization here.

Friday, March 20, 2009

No Good Deed Goes Unnoticed

On March 21st, the very cool Radio-Active Records in Ft. Lauderdale - located at 19308 East Sunrise Blvd.- will be celebrating its second annual Artists Unite for Kids in Distress (K.I.D.) Benefit, a non-profit organization providing services for the prevention and treatment of child abuse in South Florida.

The event starts at 5p.m. and includes paintings, photographs and digital images from twelve different artists. There will also be local bands jamming out and, in between their sets, djs will ensure the tunes don't stop.

The artwork displayed will be for sale and at least 15% of its profit will be given to K.I.D. According to REVMiami, last year they raised $600 and are hoping to double that this time around.

The event is a rare chance to have fun and contribute to a worthy cause.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Poem of the Day

I love the simplicity of form and flow in this piece...

My Makeup

on my cheeks I wear
the flush of two beers

on my eyes I use

the dark circles of sleepless nights
to great advantage

for lipstick

I wear my lips

By Rochelle Kraut

Saturday, March 14, 2009

If It's Free Then It's For Me Vol.3

The News Lounge will begin its 'Cinematic Sounds' series tomorrow, which is a flashback to the silent film era. Beginning at 8p.m., you have the chance to catch the classic horror film, Nosferatu with live piano accompaniment and free popcorn! For those of you unfamiliar with the film, here's a little background info:

The first on-screen depiction of a vampire was captured in Nosferatu. The story is based on Bram Stoker's Dracula. But the director, F.W. Murnau, couldn't secure the rights to the book. So, he changed the film's title and made some adjustments to the script. Still, many similarities between the movie and book remained and, as a result, its film company shut down after the movie's completion in an attempt to avoid a copyright infringement suit. Years later, the movie Shadow of a Vampire paid homage to the stunning black and white - another great vampire flick starring William Defoe and John Malkovich.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Hail Bacchus!

Many people associate wine with elegance and class. But two upcoming events will help you celebrate the God of wine in the tackiest spots of Miami: Kendall and Hialeah.

The first will take place this Saturday and Sunday, March 14th and 15th, at Hialeah’s PRP Wines International. The company will open its warehouse doors for a free tasting of 30 to 40 wines from from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Bottle prices range from $18 to $25, with a handful of boutique wines priced at $30 and up. No need to RSVP; just ask for wine consultant Seena Chriti.

The second event takes place at ABC Fine Wine & Spirits on Wednesday, March 18th from 6p.m. to 8p.m. The store, located at at 12620 SW 120th Street, is charging ten dollars for the event - a souvenir ABC Fine Wine & Spirits logo wine glass, gourmet hors d’oeuvres and a coupon good toward any purchase made on the night of the event are included in the price of admission.

If you're a wino and can't make it to those events, don't fret. Here are two ongoing Miami wine specials:

Every Tuesday, wine bottles are 50% off at the Brickell restaurant Novecento. But, even better than that, Wine 69, located in the Upper East Side, has a Happy Hour deal that gets you up to 60 percent off wine “flights” - 2.5-ounce portions of three wines. Prices normally range from $13 to $16 dollars.

Here's how it works: you get charged based on the time you place your order. So, if you order at 6:15 p.m., you pay $6.15. Order at 7:02, and you pay $7.02. Happy begins at 6p.m. and ends at 8p.m.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Here are some pics from the show last Friday in Ft. Lauderdale. It was fun and I danced the entire time he was on stage.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Local Artist Meet and Greet: Soto Soto

Please tell me something about yourself that the average person wouldn't guess.

I think the color black is aesthetically boring. This is why you don't often see me wearing it. It (black) represents conformity and conservatism. It’s the color of lawyers and bankers, not radicals. It’s boring! All right, EVERYONE [all of my family and friends] know that about me. I'm a practitioner of Hispanic Spiritism and Lukumi (Santeria) and most of my friends belong to several local Wiccan Covens of Alexandrian and Georgian traditions. But then so many people know that about me as well. I guess I'm an open book as they say.

Picasso, Miró or Dr. Seuss?

Wow that’s hard! All are masters of line drawing and so similar in a broad sense. I have to say Theodor Seuss Geisel because I adore the art of children's book illustrations and his work seems so spontaneous and sincere.

What is your first art making memory as a child?

I was about five or six and I doodled some kind of anthropomorphic bird cartoon character that shocked the crap out of me because it was so simple yet dynamic; and as I remember it, looked just as good as Mickey Mouse or Snoopy or any other cartoon character on TV. My brain was somehow wired to work great at this kind of stuff and suck horribly at math from a pretty young age. Anyhow, some kid I showed it to grabbed it and tore it up.

If you could have a drink with any artist, living or dead, who would it be?

Well, that's complicated because my main influences are from unknowns like the makers of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, ancient Geek or Roman sculptors as well as painters of amphorae, Neolithic cave paintings and such. In my earlier teens, I loved Michelangelo and I think he would be an interesting person to talk to since he lived in such a horribly repressed time. And for those who know about real astrology and not the fashion magazine kind, he was a solar Pisces like me and I relate to him in many ways.

What's the last book you read?

The last book I read is Allan Kardec's 'The Book on Mediums: Guide for Mediums and Invocators' first published in 1874. The book I'm currently reading is 'Northern Mysteries and Magick' by Freya Aswynn.

Andy Warhol, Basquiat or Crème Brûlée?

All three in just that order actually. If you look at my stuff, it’s all very low-brow and I mean that in the lowest sense of that term, which now we also call 'pop-surrealism'. My stuff is totally influenced by popular culture. Even if I'm using ancient religious or occult symbolism, my work still remains something that was meant to issue from a spray can or Xerox machine.

Do you have a favorite local artist? If so, who? If not, why?

I'm my favorite local artist (laughs). Actually, there are a good number of local artists of extraordinary talent that I'm sure don't get the recognition they deserve. Tony Chimento is a Miami local who's been making photo realistic still life in oil, on the level of Vermeer I dare say, for years. The first time I walked into his studio in the original Lincoln Road, long before it was radically commercialized by generic retail stores, was I wanna say 1993 or '94. He probably doesn't remember me but I barged in and introduced myself while he was painting and his reaction was typical of artists who work seriously and meticulously.

Do you need long periods of time alone for artist inspiration or are you energized by interaction?

I have to say I'm most inspired by companionship. And I mean that in the romantic sense of the word. I've been single for a while now, like years, so my creative juices are flowing ever so slowly. It pisses all of my friends off. I started this one series in a digital medium about four or five years ago. I call it 'Transfiguration' and [they are] self portraits involving a process of change
represented by death and rebirth and so forth. The classic mythic symbolism underlying the anime influence is pretty clear and traditional. I have the images on my Myspace profile in one of my picture folders and, when I started the series back then, I told people I'd have newer images all the time. Well, [skip ahead to] four years later: I just finished adding four new images about a week ago. I had a friend ask me, "What happened to that series you were working on?” That was about two years ago.

[The] truth is, it’s a process of death and rebirth, or more precisely, radical changes to the self by which you no longer relate to the person you once were. These changes don't happen over night.

* See more of Soto Soto's art work on Saturday, April 18th at the Bear and Bird Gallery*

Monday, March 9, 2009

Here and Now - A Review

I had the pleasure of attending the Miami Light Project’s Here and Now performances this past Saturday and can best summarize the experience by quoting Keats,
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing...”

The yearly Here and Now series has promoted the work of over 65 South Florida based artists in the last ten years. Many of the featured artists have gone on to perform in other states and countries. Saturday’s installment of Here and Now showcased two different performances, Symbol and Various Stages of Drowning: A Cabaret.

Each performance meshed dance, music, theater and film together. Both relied on the cascading swing and sway of body language to communicate poetry, desire, longing and grace.

Symbol was the first of the two performances. Three dancers – two female and one male – occupied an almost bare stage. However, three platforms, which were suspended in the air with plastic cords, stood hidden in the shadows waiting to emerge.

The lights played hide and seek but spotlighted the dancers unabashedly. At one point, one of the female dancers performed a solo and the light boxed her into a confined space. Her movements projected controlled chaos while she remained inside the lighted square.

After more solos from each of the dancers, the two females placed themselves on the platforms and danced while suspended in air. It gave the illusion of birds flying inside a cage – trapped but the desire to fly remained.

During the performance, I jotted down key words that came to mind: confinement, prison, industrial waste, yearning, and freedom’s illusion. All in all, it was hypnotic and breathtaking.

After a fifteen minute break, the second performance began. Fourteen dancers graced the stage and the scene was electric: chattering, constant motion and vivid music. Comedy greeted the audience when water was splashed on some of the dancers’ faces and bodies– giving the effect of a pie in the face.

One of my favorite moments involved birthday cakes. More or less eight stools were placed on the stage with cakes on top of each. Two male dancers carrying a laughing, waif-like ballerina placed her on top of each cake. She literally became caked - pun intended - in sugar and frosting. By the end of the surreal sequence, her laughter became suffocated by tears.

Water prevailed from the beginning to the end of the Cabaret. At first, it was used for comedic purposes. But, as the performance wore on, it became a dream symbol. The last sequence involved video footage of what appeared to be a drag queen floating in a swimming pool. The dancers were also on stage. But they laid flat on the ground, as if each of the previous images was just a dream within a dream.

After the performances, I left completely satisfied. As I've mentioned in a previous blog entry, exceptional art is a reminder that, though as a species we are capable of the most horrible brutality, violence, cruelty and cowardliness, we are also capable of provoking beauty, mystery, tenderness, intelligence, sensitivity and compassion.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I Love the 80s Volume 3

Devo - Jerkin' Back 'n' Forth

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday is Date Night

...and I have a date with:

The first time I heard Tricky's album, Maxinquaye, I promised myself that I would one day pop that album into my stereo and seduce someone with it. The songs exuded such raw power and sensuality that I became engulfed in flicker and flame.

Though, I can't claim every album of his has made me feel the same, his latest effort, West Knowle Boy, is something you play when getting ready to hit up a club or go to a party. It's catchy and switches back and forth between cooing sexuality and screaming it.

Watch him tonight at Revolution:
200 W Broward Blvd
Downtown Ft. Lauderdale

Tickets only cost $22.00 dollars but Ticketmaster will add 11 more due to their mysterious fees and evil monopoly.

Take a peek:

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Life is Art and Art is Life

Life is Art is a new non-profit organization that promotes local talent with arts fairs and business education. As indicated on the flyer above, the group will be hosting their first artist fair this Saturday, March 7th with over ten different artists. Admission is free and the visual art will be accompanied by music, food, and, of course, alcohol!

I had the chance to catch-up with two of the artists particpating in the fair - Angelica Clyman and Dan Vidal - and conduct short, informal interviews with each. So, here's a sneak peek at some of art you will see at the fair and a chance to 'meet' two local artists:

Angelica Clyman - according to a Life is Art press release, she is a native of South Florida whose work centers around introspective experience and the search for the sacred in the most ordinary places. Her paintings explore the shifting perceptions of her changing environment, and express stillness, solitude, and a sense of private adventure. She is currently an artist-in-residence at the Art Center/ South Florida.

Please tell me something about yourself the average person wouldn't guess.

There is nothing more beautiful to me than industrial trash - from idle factories on the side of the turnpike to abandoned buildings, love it.

Picasso, Miro or crème brûlée?

Ménage à trois.

Do you have a favorite local artist. If so, who? If not, why?

Bob Ross lived in Florida for many years, didn't he? Well, no other single person is more responsible for me playing with paint.

The Beatles, Rolling Stones or Run DMC?


If you could have a drink with any artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?

I would share some absinthe with Vincent Van Gogh any time. Judging by his letters, we share a similar outlook on certain things.

On a random Thursday at 8:15pm, would you prefer to drink tea, coffee or a martini?

See above.

Dan Vidal - according to a Life is Art press release, since 1999, the bulk of his photographic work has focused on the nightlife culture of the major cities of the U.S. During this time, the nightlife photographer has risen from being a marginal player in the scene to an integral, almost ubiquitous documentarian. With an eye towards getting away from that ubiquity, Vidal utilizes all the elements within the events and locations where he shoots, existing lights, reflections, fog, smoke, and expression for that elusive “right” look.

Please tell me something about yourself the average person wouldn't guess.

I take the bus everywhere. Yes, even to the clubs I shoot at. The irony is wonderful. I bump elbows with the entire caste system of Miami in the space of an hour on a Saturday night, from the time I get on the S bus till the time I walk past the ropes of (insert club name).

Man Ray, Cindy Sherman or crème brûlée?

Man Ray because I enjoy his work and the name sounds mildly suggestive.

Do you have a favorite local artist. If so, who? If not, why?

Lebo, because he's not afraid to use loud, obnoxious colors nor is he afraid to take a corporate commission. We all gotta eat.

The Beatles, Rolling Stones or Run DMC?

The Rolling Stones because if Keith Richards has managed to last this long [then] my bad habits probably aren't so bad. Though Run DMC also since they're fans of the drum machine.

If you could have a drink with any artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Andres Serrano; anyone who manages to piss off (maybe piss on in his case) the neo-conservative element in this country while using taxpayer dollars deserves a drink.

On a random Thursday at 8:15pm, would you prefer to drink tea, coffee or a martini?

Coffee, as long as it's Cuban.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Viva Brazil Tuesday! Viva Brasil Terça-feira!


Ladies, drink free Lime Caipiroskas at Brazilian restaurant/bar Boteco every Tuesday, from 7-11pm. It's located at 916 NE 79 St.


The Miami International Film Festival will be showcasing seven different Brazilian films as part of its program. Take a peek at two of the films that will be playing [both descriptions taken from the festival's Web site]:

The Ballroom (Chega de Saudade) - One long night in an old time dance hall in São Paulo: a meeting place for disparate, yet endearing and spectacular characters, where through the fervor of non-stop dancing these characters ultimately find themselves. The dance hall isn't merely a place, it's a home.

Monday, March 09, 2009, Tower Theater 1, 7:00:00 PM
Wednesday, March 11, 2009, Regal South Beach 17, 7:15:00 PM
Friday, March 13, 2009, Regal South Beach 17, 7:15:00 PM

Filmphobia (FilmeFobia) - In Kiko Goifman's fictional "making of," a film director (Jean-Claude Bernardet) explores people's irrational fears in the intimate environment of a film set. There, a succession of "volunteers" face their phobias, everything from snakes to butterflies to blood. Top prize winner at the Brasilia Film Festival.

Sunday, March 15, 2009, Regal South Beach 9, 4:30:00 PM

Read about the other Brazilian films here.


Brazilian Samba siren Daniela Mercury will be giving a free concert on Saturday, March 21 [ Hollywood Beach, 8pm] as part of the Brazil on the Beach festival. Find out more about the show and festival here.

Jam out to her music for free on Last fm.

Also, a helpful reader, C.L.J. said...

Ares Flores Symphony plays at the Broward Center on March 14th.

Monday, March 2, 2009

If It's Free Then It's For Me - vol.2

Two great free events are coming up at The News Lounge. The first is tomorrow:

DJ Moses will be playing his favorite tracks from Fela Kuti and sons of all nations; a nice, mellow evening of music you don't usually hear in restaurants and clubs in Miami. For more info: (305) 672-5202 or www.rhythmfoundation.com.

Later this month:

The News Lounge will begin its 'Cinematic Sounds' series, which is a flashback to the silent film era. On March 15th at 8pm, you have the chance to catch the classic horror film, Nosferatu with live piano accompaniment! For those of you unfamiliar with the film, refer to my January 30th post, where I provide both a description and a YouTube preview.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Greatest Break-Up Story Ever Told

I absolutely adore the animated film, Sita Sings the Blues. It's adorable, creative, beautifully illustrated and tragic.

Here's a description of it [taken from the film's official Web site]: Sita is a goddess separated from her beloved Lord and husband Rama. Nina is an animator whose husband moves to India, then dumps her by email. Three hilarious shadow puppets narrate both ancient tragedy and modern comedy in this beautifully animated interpretation of the Indian epic Ramayana. Set to 1920's jazz vocals of Annette Hanshaw, Sita Sings the Blues earns its tagline as "the Greatest Break-Up Story Ever Told."

Take a peek with these two clips: