Sunday, November 17, 2013

Introduction to Art Basel 101

Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines. What you are about to see may disturb you. And now for something completely different, your moment of zen is about to begin. Let’s get this party started quickly. It takes two to make a thing go right. Art Basel is upon us, and here are some straight up tips for those of you joining the throngs and in need of some confidence.

Info 101: Art Basel is to an art show like Ridley Scott’s Alien is to an octopus. The mothership itself is the Miami Beach Convention Center, where 250 or so galleries entertain 50,000 visitors. The rest of the tentacles spread far and wide: there are about twenty satellite fairs, and a thousand, for lack of a better word, parasites. These include parties, meals, concerts, readings, and getties -- many of which simply feed of the host.

Clothing Tips: Black is the new black. If you want to be noticed at Art Basel, good luck. Everybody from all over the world will be wearing their coolest things; only the most secure of us will ignore the fashion sirens. During this week, we are all artists. Accessorize wisely and think, “I don’t always visit galleries, but when I do, I prefer to dress sharply.” Boots -- mandatory. Square shades! Raybans. Lock all your sports gear up at home unless it is something like a vintage Muhammad Ali tee. Chill on the high heels. Tattoos and porkpies are 2010. This is not the car show or boat show.

Swag Tips: Act like you’ve been there. Big camera, not small. Sport the Afghani Taliban/relief pitcher/House of David beard. Men - button up your shirt if you are not wearing a tee underneath. No faded denim, and god forbid -- no holes. Ethnicity is worshipped. European types -- think Scandinavia, thick rimmed glasses and if it’s cool -- wear a scarf. Gold chains no. Gold teeth okay.  Deep facial plastic surgery? Since you may be the frequent buyers, of course, you are not only welcome, but to some degree, running the show. This is not the car show, boat show, or Super Bowl, though a bit like courtside at a Heat game these days.

Parking tip: Take a bike or pray.

Miami Rookie Destination Tips: Like American Werewolf in Miami -- Stick to the main road: Art Miami and its neighbors; the Design District; Wynwood Walls.
Miami Cognoscenti Destination Tips: Pulse, Context, Perez Art Museum Miami, and of course, venerable Art Miami.

Beach Novice Tips: Follow the leaders.
Beach Doyen Tips: NADA and Scope always keep it real. 1111 Lincoln Road, colette, and Alchemist.

Jury is Still Out Events: Brazil ArtFair, Tapas in the Moore Building

Food Tips for the Wealthy Stylish: Not necessary.

Food Tips for the Working Stylish: La Sandwicherie, Club Deuce, Panther, Salsa Fiesta, Buena Vista Deli, La Latina, Lagniappe, and a nondescript Peruvian, Jamaican, Haitian, or Cuban place with a coffee window as far from Ocean Drive, Lincoln Road, or Midtown as possible. Calle Ocho still mostly manages to keep it real.

Closing Thoughts: If you plan on going away for the week, rent your place with AirBnB. Hotels are full and prices astronomical. Otherwise, plan ahead, join hands, and get on the love train.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Only a Fool Would Say That

It’s been a long time since I attended a concert. Conversely, I have taken perverse pride in being present in the present. Though I reminisce a bit, nostalgia and Oldies have never been second nature to me. I appreciate such music, but I don’t live or listen in the past. While I loved Motown, the Beatles, funk, and Psychedelica, I try to stay current. That was then, you know. However … there are exceptions to every rule.

Steely Dan, an American jazz rock/rock band created by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, has crossed borders since they first began writing songs in the Big Apple in the 1970’s. Though the band's popularity peaked in the late 1970s, a decade in which the band produced seven albums blending elements of jazz, rock, funk, R&B, and pop, Steely Dan has always been mysterious and peculiarly unusual, reaching cult-like status among diverse types of fans. The albums, Royal Scam, Gaucho, and Aja among others, get older folks nodding a bit. “Yeah,” they say. “That was good stuff.”

In the early 1970’s, Steely Dan sang pop favorite and chart toppers like “Do It Again,” “Dirty Work,” and “Reelin’ in the Years.” Two years later, Donald Fagen released his solo album, “The Nightfly,” in 1982. Here they are now, in 2013, still at it! Now, on Thursday, September 12, Steely Dan will perform in Boca Raton’s Mizner Park Amphitheatre at 8PM. Ironically, the band broke apart early on because Becker and Fagen despised touring. Things change.

It might seem unusual to see things about the origin of Steely Dan’s name discussed on, a rumor-dissolver site, or on the crazy humor blog the Onion, but go ahead look ‘em up. Perhaps the interest is natural given Becker and Fagen and their bios. Both born a stones throw from 1950, Fagen in Passaic, New Jersey and Becker in NYC, the two grew up listening to jazz idols like Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, and John Coltrane. They meet at Bard College and 40 some years later, they are still friends coming to Boca as part of a massive tour called Steely Dan Mood Swings: 8 Miles to Pancake Day, 2 months of shows culminating with 7 nights at the Beacon Theater in New York City.

When he was still living, my father advised me to keep one eye on the present because that is where you are, to keep one eye on the future, for that is where you will go, and one eye on the past, for this is where you have come from. When I reminded my father that I only had two eyes, his eyes twinkled as he said, “That’s the problem son.”

Steely Dan is part of past, present and future, but is this a problem? Only a fool would say that.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I Never Saw True Beauty Till This Night

As President Obama gets criticized for comments about Kamala Harris, take a look at Olivia Hussey as Juliet in Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Art Reigns Supreme: Miami's Best of 2012

  1. Pulse Art Fair, Miami Project, Art Asia during Art Basel
  2. Critical Mass Bicycle Rides (on the last Friday of every month)
  3. Miami Heat becoming NBA Champs and Lebron doing his magnificent dance
  4. The Artist being held over for several weeks at the Coral Gables Art Cinema 
  5. Marley, 144 minutes of reggae rapture and respect screened at the O Cinema 
  6. Black Violin laying low at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center
  7. Miami Book Fair International: Miami Dade College keeping it literary for 29 years
  8. Zak the Baker, Panther Coffee, Lagniappe: art, craft, eating, and drinking
  9. ULTRA musicfestival: massive electronic music bacchanal in Bayfront Park
  10. Miami Made Festival at the Arsht: free, local, and creative