Words and Wine Open Mic at the American Legion

By | January 6th, 2011 | 42 Comments
Hello Kitty

W&W is an opportunity for humans and kittens alike to enjoy poetry, music, and vibes ... vibes.

Words and Wine is the kind of feel-good convergence of poetry reading, acoustic instruments, and neo-hippieism that may make some uncomfortable in our cynical day. Held, strangely, at the American Legion hall two and a half blocks east of Biscayne Blvd on 64th Street, the event is a free-form open mic fueled by cigarettes, cheap beer (on tap at the American Legion’s bar, Harvey’s by the Bay), and friendship of high school vintage. Words and Wine is organized by a gal named Nikki Rodriguez, who used to host the event at her home before it became popular enough to require a bigger venue. Dusty and dated, the American Legion sports billiard tables, plenty of inside space, an expansive bayside backyard, and a huge parking lot. Like Churchill’s a few blocks away, it is an unlikely sanctuary to get drunk, sing loud, and burn one down without worrying about the cops showing up. Fair warning: this is indeed “not the place to go if you are looking to crush it on Humpday”. Words and Wine is laid-back, dressed-down, and kinda cheesy in its Dazed-and-Confused-meets-Miami-hipsterdom/amateur-astrologers way. But in a cynical world, sometimes you need an unbridled love fest. Words and Wine has you covered.

Here are a few pics from last night’s W&W.

Finger Painter



The Pabst tapped out. Duh.

breakfast club
The mandolinist awaits his turn to take the stage.

The American Legion cook, surrendering to the invaders.


Alonso Menendez
One of the poets who read last night. Anyone know his name?


On the Legion’s bayside backyard.

Photos by Robby Campbell (@photogrobby)

42 Comments on “Words and Wine Open Mic at the American Legion”

  1. 1 Tweets that mention Words and Wine Open Mic at the American Legion | Beached Miami -- Topsy.com said at 10:47 am on January 6th, 2011:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by miamifavs, Beached Miami. Beached Miami said: Pics from last night's Words and Wine Open Mic at the American Legion http://t.co/p6XFQZB #miami […]

  2. 2 Nikki Rodriguez said at 2:15 pm on January 6th, 2011:

    Thank you for this article, it is lovely and you sure summed us up beautifully. Oh and that poets name is Alonso Menendez

  3. 3 alexis adames said at 2:37 pm on January 6th, 2011:

    The name of the poet in the second-to-last is Alonso Menendez. One of our very best.

  4. 4 Jordan Melnick said at 2:50 pm on January 6th, 2011:

    Thanks Alexis.

  5. 5 Colie Marie said at 3:50 pm on January 6th, 2011:

    3rd picture from the bottom… her name is Alex. Who-tf is Heidi lol.

  6. 6 Mark Richards said at 4:05 pm on January 6th, 2011:

    To many pot heads and alcoholics for my taste.

  7. 7 Robby Campbell said at 4:21 pm on January 6th, 2011:

    My sincerest to Alex. Thanks for the correction Colie. I didn’t know her name so I gave her Heidi – because she was hiding from my lens for a good portion of the night.

  8. 8 jen said at 4:25 pm on January 6th, 2011:

    @mark: agree

  9. 9 Diego said at 5:03 pm on January 6th, 2011:

    @ Mark and Jen, I work at a law firm and in my opinion, this is one of Miami’s best kept secrets (if you dont enjoy REAL music and don’t have any sense of art, i’d suggest hitting up club chonga and spending the $$$ listening to Pitbull to have a great time). The pot heads and alcoholics are bound to be in any scene. Stereotyping here is non existent. Peace and love guys.

  10. 10 Rosa Monzon said at 5:12 pm on January 6th, 2011:

    Well here’s the thing about Words & Wine for me. From afar, yes, you might get the impression that it’s just a bunch of “pot heads and alcoholics”, but when you get closer you discover a crowd of people craving to be loved and share the love they have. Many of them, yes, smoke and drink, but many don’t. That’s another thing about Words & Wine; you can’t stereotype for the looks because you never know what you will find (it’s SO DIVERSE). It is a very laid back ambiance, but you can dress however you want; crazy or conservative, comfy or casual. Its just a space and time to just be, be yourself and share love.
    That’s my opinion; what I came to discover. I may not agree with some things some people do, but then again, I’m sure some might not agree with some things I may do, but we all share love and accept our differences with the purpose of unity, peace, and self-discovery.

    PS: “Once has got to be willing to be in the world to impact the world. It doesn’t necessarily mean that one becomes part of the world.”

  11. 11 Colie Marie said at 5:29 pm on January 6th, 2011:

    No problem. “Hide-y” lol that’s actually really clever.

    All in all, I had a great time at the event. I guess I was sort of expected Miami-hipsters acting deep. I’m from San Francisco, so I’m a LITTLE stuck up about my brand of flower children. But it was just a great blend of people. Hnaging out with friends outside in the back, then coming inside and catching some AMAZING pieces. And where’s the party without the beer? And I friggin loved the guys with the drums. Just hella people vibing off eachother, it was a definite good time. Glad I made it out.

  12. 12 kristy said at 5:43 pm on January 6th, 2011:

    I agree with Mark. Get rid of the trash. No excuses from idiots in so called law firms. You should be fired.

  13. 13 Rupert Thornpower said at 5:54 pm on January 6th, 2011:

    Diego, I’m pleased a member of a law firm finally spoke up.

  14. 14 Sm said at 9:58 pm on January 6th, 2011:

    Not for the faint of heart, and certainly not for the aggressively uptight. Come one, come all, but if you’re going to bitch about the presence of alcohol, mary jane, and the like, I guess you could always go on home?

    Great article, sir

    “Amateur astrologer” …pretty good, I must say

  15. 15 Alexandra Frizell said at 11:39 pm on January 6th, 2011:

    lol Hide-y. very cute, and i must add that youre quite sneaky with that camera of yours, sir!

    For the people hating:
    Is your life that bitter that you just cant stand people getting together and having a good time? shit…we should have more days like these, and it would be wonderful if the whole world joined, that way for once people will learn to accept each other.

    If you dont like it, thats fine….stay home, but no matter where you go there is always going to be “alcoholics/stoners,” and guess what? YOU CANT DO SHIT ABOUT IT! HAHAHA so learn to deal with it.

  16. 16 Jim said at 9:00 am on January 7th, 2011:

    I see what you mean. When I went outside to take a break I notice all the potheads lighting up. The next time I see that I am going to call the police and personally turn them in. Having a good time and breaking the law are two different things.

  17. 17 Diego said at 9:26 am on January 7th, 2011:

    Someone light a “doobie” for miss Kristy lol. Take care all!

  18. 18 Jordan Melnick said at 9:32 am on January 7th, 2011:

    Jim, Jim, Jim: tranquillo.

  19. 19 Flavio said at 11:17 am on January 7th, 2011:

    Mark and Kristy need to smoke a joint. Too much negativity can damage your brain and the only cure is to loosen the fuck up.

  20. 20 Jorge Guerra said at 11:31 am on January 7th, 2011:

    @Jim: You would call the cops on the kids smoking weed? Why would you do that? What have they ever done to you or anyone? These are nice people just having a nice time, not bothering anybody. If you call the cops, you will disrupt a harmony that’s almost impossible to find anywhere nowadays. Peace, sir.

  21. 21 Danny said at 11:34 am on January 7th, 2011:

    Chill people, I know home girl is a freak and puts together freak shows but she never means any harm. Everyone that knows her know there is something seriously wrong with her head. Pot does that to people. Don’t blame the people when the leader of the set is a pothead.

  22. 22 Sm said at 1:39 am on January 8th, 2011:

    Jorge, I love you. Over and out.


  23. 23 Arma said at 1:02 pm on January 9th, 2011:

    OMG What century do we live in people? Wake up please. This event is all about poetry,Love,Music,Arts,Exchange of great energy between an amazing crowd. What Laws? The laws that legalize Alcohol which harms your body more than anything else. These are all politics and about money. They bring worst drugs into this country than weed & it’s all in the hand of the police itself. Please don’t be hating. Nikki has put a tremendous amount of energy & effort to make this happen & make it this big. It’s so sad to see that the people of this society are so ignorant & don’t even educate themselves enough to see what’s right or wrong for them instead of being affected by the media or what this government feeds them to keep them stupid so they can control you even more than ever. This Event is all about love, & if you don’t have that in your heart of course you are not going to enjoy & u gonne be a hater. So I suggest you stay home & let the ones who really enjoyed it go & explore this beauty.

  24. 24 Nikki Rodriguez (The "Leader" lol) said at 12:36 pm on January 10th, 2011:

    Wow I have to say I had not read all these comments because i have been in the hospital, but i am saddened to see some of the negative messages. Especially from people like (Mark Richards) who I know personally and has been to my house several times and has told me, and I quote “What you are doing is amazing keep it going, this is beautiful and I would keep coming out if it wasn’t so late in the night, you know being older and all…” Kind of hypocritical especially coming from someone who I thought had supported my ideas and dreams….but you know what, I am proud of what I have done and all the AMAZING TALENT surrounding Words And Wine. This started in my home and I have met some of the most lively, caring, talented, artistic, beautiful people as this project has evolved. If some of us do smoke or drink a bit, SO WHAT. Pot never harmed anyone and maybe your own personal frustrations with art or morals has not taught you this as of yet. All i know is that every Wednesday we get together, forget about some of the ugliness and negativity of the world. We get together, make music, play our drums, recite poetry, and are always peaceful. YOU WILL NOT FIND A VENUE LIKE THIS ANYWHERE ELSE. Again if it’s not your cup a tea, we all understand. Just don’t show…I guarantee you come Wednesday you will find another 200-400 people that love it just as much as I do.

    Peace <3


  25. 25 Nikki Rodriguez (The "Leader" lol) said at 12:39 pm on January 10th, 2011:

    Danny…Why am I a freak lol? I put on freak shows and this is because of pot? HMMMM interesting

    and Jim it is seriously stupid of you to want to purposely cause harm to our event. I would appreciate it if you just never came instead of calling the cops. Cops have been there before, it is the AMerican Legion and nothing has happened. So if the poetry and music and pot is going to melt off your ears just stay home watching old youtube videos posted by people who miss Bush or something

  26. 26 Ella Minnow Pea said at 2:14 pm on January 10th, 2011:

    Haters only hate the things that they cant do and the people they can’t be…

    They come in our territory, drink our wine, listen to our words, steal our vibes, and dare to discriminate. Now ain’t that some shit.

    Best Regards,

    p.s. I love W&W, Im a freak.

  27. 27 Diego said at 2:34 pm on January 10th, 2011:

    Yup, not much else to say but good to have you back from the hospital Nikki.

  28. 28 Mark Richards said at 3:52 pm on January 10th, 2011:

    Nikki I think you have me mistaken for another Mark. I enjoyed myself but did not like people trying to sell me pot outside. My girl took me there twice. Each time someone was smoking pot next to me. We have never met so I am not that Mark. I maybe an ass but I will not let someone else get blame for what I do. I am not a hater. You know that stuff is not legal. Do I care if someone smokes pot? No as long as they do not try to sell it to me or blow it at me. Now that was wrong Nikki?

  29. 29 Cindy said at 4:09 pm on January 10th, 2011:

    The drugs and alcohol are not an issue. That is everywhere. What bothers me is the lack of respect some guys have for the shorties. I was chilling with my sistas and this past week at Word n Wine this dude rubbed up against me drunk and put his hand on my ass. It’s on! My sistas and I will be prepared the next time.

  30. 30 Shaman said at 5:50 pm on January 10th, 2011:

    Jim is Jason

  31. 31 Jaramis said at 12:38 am on January 11th, 2011:

    It’s fine to share your opinions, be they distasteful or otherwise… but imposing these kinds of labels (pot heads and alcoholics was it?) on people seems somewhat unwise, to me at least.
    Someone trying to sell anyone anything should be a non-issue, it’s merely offering a service in exchange for a fee… regardless of legal implications. Somehow I find myself doubting that people are deliberately blowing smoke into people’s faces. Even if they are, one of the worst errors we can make is passing judgment on a collective based on the actions of a few.
    This is a free and non-exclusive event, there’s bound to be jerks in attendance. The best you can do is avoid this lot and hope they don’t continue to impose on you. The reason why Words and Wine is and will remain this way is because the core group responsible for this event would never make the unwise decision to trade freedom for security.

    On that note, smoking pot (while being illegal) is an action that actualizes (personal) freedom, and doesn’t impact security, assuming people aren’t blowing smoke in your face or driving really recklessly and shooting everyone up. Most potheads are less inclined towards violence, and will generally leave you alone to “groove out on the vibes, man” or whatever stoner stereotype you enjoy. Any harm they are inflicting is likely on themselves, why should laws need to prevent them from this? They’re not children, they’re reasonable adults.

  32. 32 Elayne said at 11:48 am on January 11th, 2011:

    People have their opinions and their beliefs. I think I can speak for everyone from Words and Wine, that we’re all pretty open to hear these opinions and we also do not mind hearing out those who do not “approve” of Words and Wine. Do you know why? It’s because we’re nice people. We mean no harm to anyone and understand that some might not like all the love and happiness that goes down at W&W. Totally understandable. Totally.

    So, what I don’t understand is if one doesn’t like something then why pay any attention to it? Please, I being a mom, a student, a hard working person, being a person who was born and raised here in Miami, I believe Words and Wine is one if the best things that has ever happened to Miami and to the people of Miami. I’ve grown as a person here. I’ve met great friends, people who I know will be in my life for a long time (and by a long time I obviously mean forever). And let me tell you all something that you might already be aware of, it is difficult to find everlasting friendships.

    I believe that if in your mind Words and Wine is something wrong, you really just haven’t opened your mind to the benefits this event can have on you as a person overall.


  33. 33 Paco said at 2:20 pm on January 11th, 2011:

    I agree with the sister. It may be true that a few bad seeds sneak in but by far that does not speak for everyone and as for Mark,I think you are back sliding because Nikki put you in your place. Peace Out

  34. 34 Bryant said at 8:23 pm on January 11th, 2011:

    I just came across this sight I’ve been searching for an open mic night to go to for a while now… I know it’s held on Wednesdays but at what time??

  35. 35 Jordan Melnick said at 9:50 pm on January 11th, 2011:

    I showed up at around 10:30, and it went strong for a while after that.

  36. 36 ZeeZee said at 8:39 am on January 12th, 2011:

    I love my pot. I never bother anybody so chico you need to back off the pot. Nikki you go girl! As for the negative zitts, Mark your drum circles are so fucken boring!

  37. 37 Nikki Rodriguez said at 3:18 pm on January 12th, 2011:

    so Jordan, were you expecting so much feedback lol?

    See everyone tonight ! For all of you who don’t like the vibe just stay home we don’t need any negativity. I appreciate your opinions, they have been heard now let us get back to doing our thing

  38. 38 Jordan Melnick said at 4:50 pm on January 12th, 2011:

    I really wasn’t. We’re like the Words and Wine forum. Happy to host.

  39. 39 T byrd said at 7:17 pm on January 14th, 2011:

    Insane, last night was insane. Loved it,Loved it,Loved it. As for Mark and all the haters,kiss my ass.

  40. 40 Alex said at 11:30 pm on January 30th, 2011:

    hey when is the next one? just found out about this. would like to check it

  41. 41 Jordan Melnick said at 11:53 pm on January 30th, 2011:

    I believe they’re every Wednesday. Check out the Facebook page.

  42. 42 Nikki's dealer said at 1:47 pm on July 7th, 2011:

    If anyone Cops want to Bust us were at PAX now on 8th street right under I-95

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.