When we launched this website approximately two years ago, we stated the following mission: “to wander our hometown and its environs in search of the city we’ve always wanted and often suspected was there all along. Essentially, we intend to squeeze the orange dry in the hopes that it yields some juice.”
We’ve done a lot of wandering. Take a click-trip through the 1000+ posts we’ve published on this blog and you will witness a fiery Vodou ritual in Little Haiti, an auction of alluringly abandoned luggage at Miami International Airport, a river of bikes flowing through the streets of Miami with a dolphin in tow, a private LCD Soundsystem show in South Beach (complete with melting Grey Goose ice sculpture), an expedition for shark blood, a library whose books smell of turmeric, and, perhaps most memorably, a staring contest between a naughty Jewish boy and a group of plus-size porn stars.
After all that wandering and witnessing and documenting, have we discovered “the city we’ve always wanted”? That’s a hard one to answer. In many ways, Miami remains a frustrating place to live: mercilessly muggy, tragically traffic-jammed, vigorously vain, shamefully shortsighted when it comes to the environment and development, chasing iridescent real estate bubbles like a child on a breezy summer’s day. And for the love of Vishnu, can someone point me to a good Indian restaurant!
At the same time, Miami, on several fronts, is indisputably becoming a better city. From Art Walk to Art Basel, it’s distinguishing itself as a cultural capital whose sunlight and club lights tell a mere fraction of the story. Its bands now produce enough good music to turn compiling our annual Top 50 Songs list into a rocking round of musical chairs, even as more big-name touring acts make the trek down to its venues than ever before. Its bike culture, in an improbable development for a city so infamously car-centric, is thriving thanks to the dogged advocacy of a grin-and-get-‘er-done corps of advocates. And its Miami Heat rule the world.
You get the picture. Despite the casino-shaped shadow upon the Miami Herald building and the recent passing of Wynwood visionary Tony Goldman and Walmart’s seemingly inevitable incursion into Midtown — despite all that and the Marlins, Miami’s future looks bright. There’s an energy here that I have never felt before. It’s an energy that emanates from many sources, mainly from a generation of young 305ers who have stopped waiting for someone else to transform their city and decided to do that for themselves, and it infuses everything that Beached Miami does.
As we get ready to celebrate our two-year birthday with a party at The Stage on Saturday (full details below), I’m not sure that we’ve discovered “the city we’ve always wanted”. But then I’m not sure, in retrospect, what “the city we’ve always wanted” would look like. I am sure that Beached Miami’s two-year journey has yielded more than “some juice”. Far more. And I know it will continue to do so for years to come.
We haven’t squeezed the orange dry just yet.
From the Miami Music Guide, here are the event details for our birthday party:
Notes: Put your dancing shoes on and head to The Stage to celebrate Beached Miami’s two-year anniversary with live and lively music by Krisp, Palette Town, and DJ Lolo, salubrious spirits ($3 shots, $4 drafts, $5 cocktails), and good eats by Ms. Cheezious. For discounted prepay, visit www.beachedmiami.com/krisp. To RSVP, visit the Facebook event page.