Friday, July 31, 2009

The Art of Alice in Wonderland - Annie Leibovitz

These photographs were taken by Annie Leibovitz for Vogue magazine in December 2003. Leibovitz's Alice in Wonderland intermingles Carroll's fantastical masterpiece with the strange and glamorous world of fashion. The Russian model Natalia Vodianova portrays Alice alongside some of the world's top fashion designers.

Olivier Theyskens (Rochas)

Tom Ford

Nicolas Ghesquiere

Viktor & Rolf

Marc Jacobs

Christian Lacroix

Karl Lagerfeld

Jean Paul Gaultier

John Galliano

Donatella Versace

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Move Over Wynwood, Miami Beach is Stepping in

The art walks in Coral Gables, the Design District and Wynwood have a new competitor in town: Miami Beach. The first Lincoln Road Art Walk takes place this Saturday, August 1 from 7pm to 10pm. The core of the action will take place at the Art Center South Florida, located at the #924, #810 and #800 buildings on Lincoln Rd. Miami Beach, 33139. The event is free and, if you take the printed flyer to the art show [featured on the left], you'll enjoy complimentary hors d'oeuvres and wine. If not, a cash bar will also be available.

Other Miami Beach art galleries include: Carel Art Gallery at 928 Lincoln Road and the In Fashion Photo Exhibit at 910 Lincoln Rd.

There's also the Britto gallery next to the Art Center. But I recommend avoiding the place. If a rainbow could vomit, it would look like a Romero Britto painting.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Art of Alice in Wonderland

I've adored Alice in Wonderland since childhood. My first exposure to it was the Disney movie at 10 or 11. As I grew older and my taste in literature and art expanded, I read the original print version by Lewis Carroll and eventually stumbled unto his photograph of Alice Liddell, the real life inspiration for the main character of Wonderland and his other famous work, Through the Looking Glass. For those of you who have never seen what she looks like, here it is [the photo was taken by Carroll]:

In college, I took a children's literature course and reread Alice for the second time. It solidified my fascination with the story. But, after learning the literary history around Wonderland, I became more intrigued by the author than the book itself. Lewis Carroll, whose real name is Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, worked most of his life as a professor of mathematics, even after achieving fame with Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. He also had a keen interest in photography, which was still in its infancy during his adulthood - he was born in 1832 and died in 1898. Here are two more Carroll photographs:

As you can see, both photographs feature little girls. It was wasn't an accident that I picked these pictures. Carroll was rumored to be in love with Alice Liddell, a girl 20 years younger than him. He was about 30 when he met her and she was 10 or 11. No one knows for certain if that is true. Nonetheless, many literary historians have hinted that Carroll was some kind of pedophile. Though he never 'acted' on his supposed love for Alice or any other child, according to historical records. What we do know is this: a ten year old girl was his muse, he loved to photograph children, he was a mathematical genius and he wrote one of the most beloved children's stories of all times. Carroll was as mysterious and labyrinthine as the stories he wrote, quite an unusual treat!

So in honor of Carroll and his lore, expect a couple more Alice in Wonderland posts coming your way in the following weeks.

Monday, July 27, 2009

RIP Merce Cunningham

And with a flick of the dice, you equally imparted beauty and inspiration. The only time I caught a glimpse of your dance company was a couple of years ago when they visited Miami to perform Split Sides. It was awe inspiring, mysterious and electric. I felt regenerated, like I had new eyes and ears. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Merce Cunningham

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tasty Treats - Audrey Kawasaki & Walt Whitman

The first time I saw Audrey Kawasaki's images I was awe struck at the contradictory nature of her work: innocent yet erotic, tender but volatile, subdued though expressive, melancholy yet joyful. But that's exactly what attracts me to art: contradictions.

The American poet Walt Whitman once wrote:

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

And I agree: to be human is to contradict. Each of us carry voices from our childhood and memories of distant lands, books and food. Each trace echos of faces, lovers and friends.

The American poet Walt Whitman once wrote:

I Celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Eye Candy - Casey O'Connell

From the Artist:
In her imagery, Casey is accessible. The paintings she creates are often autobiographical dialogues that capture both her inner 12 year old and a woman who should know better. She paints what she lives and feels.

Discover more here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Art Lovers: Miami Needs Your Help

Miami's mayor yesterday released the FY2009-20010 budget and it includes cuts and workforce reductions to fill a $427 million projected budget gap. Should this budget be adopted, it will require the elimination of nearly all of the Department's grants for arts and cultural organizations. "Grants to all social service community-based organizations and mom and pop small businesses are slated for elimination also," according to Michael Spring, Director of the Miami Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs.

Here's what's happening next in the budget process: the Board of County Commissioners will meet on July 21st to determine what can be expanded before the final budget is adopted. So, what can you do? Reach out to your county commissioner. Tell them how important fostering art is for our community! Call or write a letter! Let your voice be heard. Find your county commissioner and their contact information here and here.

Here's a sample letter to make e-mail writing easier:

Dear Commissioner [Commissioner's Last Name here. Be sure to spell it right!],

I am very concerned about the proposed cut to the county arts budget. Your past support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs has helped make the arts a Miami-Dade County staple.

The proposed more than $11 million cut to the Department of Cultural Affairs would have an enormous detrimental effect on Miami-Dade County. Our arts organizations, from small to large, contribute greatly to the economy of our region. Just the loss of jobs resulting from this proposal will be huge, let alone the impact on tourism and the general economic and cultural health of our community. Thousands and thousands of jobs and services would disappear overnight. Tourists would be left with little to do and Miami would retreat to an image that all of us have fought hard to change.

I strongly urge you to vote to continue current support for the arts and community-based organizations.


[Your Name]
[Your address]

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Top 5 Worst Things about the Cat Power Concert

Last night I ventured to the Culture Room (an hour drive for me) to watch the lovely Cat Power (aka Charlyn "Chan" Marshall) coo an hour and half of rhythm and blues. And though her performance and covers of Nina Simone and Billie Holiday were polished, passionate and inviting like a piece of silk stroking an electric guitar, the night tittered between heaven and hell. And the latter often won out:

5. I admit the ticket said 8pm and I arrived at 9pm. But, normally doors open at the time listed on the stub and the performance begins an hour and half later. So, going by that logic, I had 30 minutes until the show. Wrong. When I arrived, there were about 40 people standing in line waiting to get in. Some people had tickets. Others didn’t. It was annoying. It took 35 minutes to get in and I missed two songs.

4. If you’re not familiar with Cat Power’s music, it’s bluesy and mellow. It’s not the type of music that’s fit for a stadium or an amphitheater – it’s intimate, like a confession. But one chap insisted on repeatedly screaming, "Hell yeah" and "I love you Cat Power." He acted like he was in a football game. He cut off the ending of seven or eight songs.

3. I learned what it means to be ‘packed like a can of sardines’. I could barely breathe. I became closely imitate with several strangers. I think I may owe money because I’m sure some people charge for that. Then there was the pushing; the constant fear that someone was going to accidentally spill beer on me. It was a fire hazard waiting to happen. And trying to reach the bathroom was like climbing Mount Everest.

2. Why do some people choose to attend concerts to loudly and obnoxiously talk during the entire performance? There are plenty of locations where carrying a conversation is better suited, like a restaurant or even a bar. But, during a show when you have to compete with a band and singer? It’s distracting and rude to your fellow concert goers.

1. If you’re over 25 and want to feel old, go to a Cat Power show. The majority of the kids will be 18 or 21.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I Love the 80s - Volume 9

While searching for vintage U2 on YouTube, I stumbled unto Rattle and Hum, which is the name of an album and a film documentary that details the band's tour of their 1987 release The Joshua Tree. The clip below is from the latter and it depicts a gospel inspired version of I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.

U2 - I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (Rattle and Hum)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Bonus Poem of the Day - by Shakespeare

"Caliban," from The Tempest, III, ii, 148-156

Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again; and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked,
I cried to dream again.

Poem of the Day - by Thom Gunn


It was your birthday, we had drunk and dined
Half of the night with our old friend
Who's showed us in the end
To a bed I reached in one drunk stride.
Already, I lay snug,
And drowsy with the wine dozed on one side.

I dozed, I slept. My sleep broke on a hug,
Suddenly, from behind,
In which the full lengths of our bodies pressed:
Your instep to my heel,
My shoulder-blades against your chest.
It was not sex, but I could feel
The whole strength of your body set,
Or braced, to mine,
And locking me to you
As if we were still twenty-two
When our grand passion had not yet
Become familial.
My quick sleep had deleted all
Of intervening time and place.
I only knew
The stay of your secure firm dry embrace.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

KIDSART: Free Art Program For Children

With all the recent budget cuts in public schools, art programs are often the first to go. But one light at the end of the tunnel exists: Artocenecto's KIDSART.

Artocenecto, a non-profit organization focusing on "connecting the community through art", is offering children in Miami-Dade county an opportunity to discover their inner artist in a series of five free workshops. The sessions will take place in a variety of art studios, from Little Havana to the Upper East Side, and will focus on themes such as recycling, diversity and nature.

Each workshop will be conducted by a South Florida based artist, such as Tracy Hagen, who is planning a collage session involving family photographs.

The sessions will run on Saturdays from July 18 to August 15, beginning at 10 a.m. until noon. Kids ages 7 to 13 can participate. The last day to sign up is tomorrow: July 9.

And here's something to make the deal even sweeter: kids participating in the workshops will have their artwork displayed at the Second Saturday Art Walk in the Wynwood District on September 12.

For more information and registration forms contact:
Danny Brody
Community Relations

Monday, July 6, 2009

Seeking Art in Unlikely Places: The Library

Did you know that several branches of Miami-Dade County Public Libraries offer art exhibits? The exhibits are free, open to the public and differ from branch to branch. Here's a rundown of what's currently on display:

Dog Tales: Words and Images, Fact and Fiction
Main Library – Auditorium
June 11 - August 23
Over twenty artists explore the many facets of a dog's relationship to man, from companionship to protector and more.

Analog/Digital – Part 2
Miami Beach Regional
2nd Floor Exhibition Space
June 18 - August 19
Analog/Digital, by a group of eleven artists, explores the tension between old and new technologies using analog and digital media, found objects, painting, audio, photography, installation, and new media.

Puppy Dog Tales: Stories and Images of Dogs and Other Critters
Miami Beach Regional
Pinecrest Branch
South Dade Regional
June 20 – August 9
This exhibit features stories and artwork about animals by K-6th grade students.

Asser Saint-Val: The Melanin Project
Main Library –1st Floor Exhibition Space
June 1 - August 31
Melanin is the pigment that gives human skin and hair its color and artist Asser Saint-Val's exhibit at the Main Library studies "the phenomenon of melanin" and the roles it plays in people of all races.

Patches, the Disgruntled Carrot and Other Stories
Main Library – 2nd Floor Exhibition Space
April 18 - June 18
This exhibit by New York based Benjamin Entner, an artist influenced by author/illustrators such as Edward Gorey and Tim Burton, was created especially for the Library’s Art of Storytelling International Festival.

Journeys, Stories and Healing through Art
North Dade Regional
May 20 – August 13
All the artwork displayed was created by Miami-Dade County Public Schools students during art therapy sessions.

The Language of Flowers
Pinecrest Branch
April 11 - August 5
A group of Miami artists developed an exhibit of watercolor and mixed media paintings depicting local native flora.

The Sword and the Sorrow
West Dade Regional
March 26 - September 15
Writer and poet James Slater Geggis, Jr. and visual artist Marlon Zuniga joined forces on a series of poems and drawings that explore the wastefulness and absurdity of war.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Follow Me On Twitter!

I finally joined Twitter! So far, I'm really enjoying it because it's like the fast food of communication! Anyone else out there on Twitter? Hit me up here:

Friday, July 3, 2009

Inside My Mind's Eye

I was supposed to go to a poetry reading and planned on blogging about it. But due to a cold and the incessant rain, I'm home. So instead of a poetry review, enjoy a peek into some of the ins and outs that are me:

Film Still From Kenneth Anger's Rabbit's Moon

Film Still From Maya Deren's The Very Eye of Night

A Cassavetes Classic

Maya Deren

Of Human Bondage

Doll Parts


Silent Siren Louise Brooks


Hamlet's Ophelia

Persephone's Treat

Thursday, July 2, 2009

An Alternative to a Lazy Sunday

Here's a nice, artsy option for an upcoming late Sunday afternoon: a collection of Miami-based artists and fashion designers will come together on July 19 at the Redland Koi and Pond Gardens between 3pm and 9pm to showcase and sell their work.

Click on the flyer at the bottom for more information and check out some of the fashion styles you can expect to see below: