I’m truly moved by Miami students’ mature and engaged response to Trayvon Martin’s killing. But watching this video of a protest in front of Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School, where both Trayvon and I went to school, I wonder: Where are the white students? Why aren’t they standing out there with their classmates?
Arielle Angel is a Miami native and Brooklyn-based writer and artist, the co-founder of ketuv.com, and an occasional Beached Miami contributor.
On New Year’s Eve, on my way to a potluck in North Miami Beach, I spotted a Shih-Tzu running headlong at my car with his tongue hanging out, the poof of his off-white fur ablaze in my headlights. I stopped the car and opened the door. He jumped in and laid down in the passenger seat. He was filthy and collarless. Just like that, I had a dog.
Miami-born, Brooklyn-based writer and artist Arielle Angel recently spoke to best-selling novelist Nicole Krauss, who will do a reading at the Miami Book Fair on Friday, Nov. 18.
Nicole Krauss’s third novel, Great House, is populated by private and solitary people: a pair of siblings who increasingly become shut-ins, a son who sends pieces of his manuscript home from the army in over-zealously sealed boxes marked “private,” and two female writers, one in America and one in Britain, who forgo motherhood and withhold from their partners to focus on their work.
So when I asked Krauss if she belonged to a writing group or ever shares her work-in-progress, her response wasn’t surprising.
“I’m a pretty solitary person and a pretty private person, especially when it comes to my writing. The idea of belonging to a group of anything makes my skin prickle,” she said. “Some joy and excitement about this thing that only I am working on gets deflated if I show it too early.”
While the Great House cast of characters includes the pair of female writers, Krauss said fiction gives her an opportunity to transcend her own biography.
“I’m often not interested in writing exactly in my line of experience,” she said. “I’m interested in the other path, the one that I can imagine, but that isn’t my own.”
Arielle Angel is a Miami-born, Brooklyn-based writer and artist. This piece originally appeared as a blog post on ketuv.com, a boutique for limited-edition and custom fine art Jewish marriage contracts by contemporary artists.
Though I would feel somewhat incomplete if I did not observe the Jewish holidays, I usually prefer to do so at home, in my own private way. The high cost of tickets around the holy days, paired with my inability to find a service that fits just right, has left me fasting at home, alone in my bed, year after year. It goes without saying, I think, that I feel the loss of community in this method of observance, but it has always felt preferable to standing awkwardly in a service that does more to alienate me from my fellow Jews than bring me closer.
This Yom Kippur was different. On Friday night, for the Kol Nidre service, I stood with more than 1,000 Jews of all ages and denominations, and we lent our voices to the Occupy Wall Street protest. Held across the street from Zuccotti Park, Occupy Wall Street’s claimed territory, the event was organized by Jewish activist Daniel Sieradski and promoted largely via social media. On his blog, Sieradski introduced the event with a quote by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel:
Prayer is meaningless unless it is subversive, unless it seeks to overthrow and to ruin the pyramids of callousness, hatred, opportunism, falsehoods. The liturgical movement must become a revolutionary movement, seeking to overthrow the forces that continue to destroy the promise, the hope, the vision.
Though the event itself was unaffiliated, the machzors (prayer books) were donated by the Rabbinical Assembly (the Conservative movement’s organizing body) and, in many respects, it was a traditional service. Although there weren’t enough machzors to go around, some of the most powerful moments were when we didn’t need the text to join in — the music and the lyrics embedded somewhere deep in our (collective?) consciousness, as illustrated in this short video.
As a Miami native who lives up north, I’ve developed a bad habit. When outdoor life becomes unbearable — when the wind-chill factor knocks the temperature into the negatives, or when a full week of slush awaits — I just can’t help it: I check the weather in Miami.
It’s an irresistible kind of self-torture, like clicking through Facebook pictures of your ex and his new flame. At this distance and reduced to these terms, Miami seems like the best thing you ever had, and you curse yourself and the mistake you made in moving on.
This was the weather in Miami last week:
The sun and the moon, alternating in perfect harmony. Zero snow. Zero rain. Warm, breezy days into cool, comfortable nights.
Simultaneously, the weather in New York:
With 2010 about to give way to 2011, Miami native and Brooklyn-based writer Arielle Angel shares her thoughts on Patti Smith’s memoir Just Kids, in which New Year’s Day plays an almost mystical role in the life of the artist. In November, we covered Smith’s Miami Book Fair reading — easily one of the best local events of the year — so we figured this essay was apropos. Enjoy, and happy New Year’s — whatever it means.
I recently read Just Kids, Patti Smith’s award-winning memoir about her relationship with fellow-artist Robert Mapplethorpe. In the book, Mapplethorpe and Smith begin to go their separate ways once they both achieve stardom, and so a look into their relationship is also a look into the most formative years in their development as artists, from 1969 to 1974, when they were in their early 20s.
What strikes you when you read about their early artistic process is that they were not simply making artwork, but making themselves into artists, and that the two endeavors were parallel but not necessarily identical undertakings. The people they wanted to be were always hovering just above the people they were, directing them, propelling them forward, chiding them when they didn’t do it right, and the minutiae of their lives — the way they dressed, where they hung out — were never superficial, but genuine expressions of their interests and values.
Sometimes the level of self-consciousness seems slightly absurd, perhaps even juvenile. Patti is constantly coordinating her own life events — moving out of an apartment, for example — with the birthdays of her heroes, Rimbaud or Brian Jones. Robert spends hours in front of the mirror picking out the right number and combination of necklaces before he and Patti can go to Max’s, the Warhol superstars’ hangout. And yet, when we consider the outcome, the incredible achievements of these two, it is difficult to laugh off their mindfulness, the holistic and committed way they set about becoming artists.
In this world, where everything is self-expression, where every object and action has the capacity for transcendence and the power of symbol and myth, it is no surprise that the advent of a new year, too, has a special significance. Each year, Patti invokes her mother, who believed that what you do on New Year’s Day somehow foretells what you will be doing the rest of the year. Patti spends one New Year’s on the floor of St. Marks Church listening to a poetry reading that goes on from early afternoon well into the night. “I felt the spirit of my own St. Gregory,” she writes, “and resolved that 1973 would be my year of poetry.”
In no particular order, here are ten places in (and around) Miami where you can eat well for a Hamilton or less.
1. Steve’s Pizza
12101 Biscayne Blvd
North Miami, FL 33181
It’s that sweet sauce and their generosity with toppings. Open until 4 am, so perfect for late night munchies.
2. Bali Cafe
109 NE 2nd Ave
Miami, FL 33132
Authentic Indonesian food catering to the Indonesian employees that work on the cruise ships. Gado Gado is the delicious signature dish, $9.99 for a large plate.
7030 Biscayne Blvd
Miami, FL 33138
Love these dogs, which average about $4 a piece. Vegetarians can substitute a veggie dog in any of the signature styles for a dollar more. My recommendation: the Chicago.
In no particular order, here are my ten favorite Miami Bass songs.
1. My Baby Daddy – B-Rock and the Bizz
2. My Boo – Ghost Town DJs
3. Scarred – Luke
I Wanna Rock – Luke
I grew up in Miami, but it never felt like home. Now I’m in Brooklyn. It’s a difficult place to live — sometimes it neglects you — but, for me, it feel likes home. The things I love most about it read like a laundry list of what Miami lacks: public transportation, music, density, cheap food, bike lanes. And yet there’s one thing I miss about Miami, one arena where Miami reigns supreme on the world stage.
Yea, I said it. I live in New York, and I miss Miami bagels from the bottom of my soul.
It’s not through any familiarity or sentimentality that I prefer Miami bagels. I’ve already explained my disappointment with the city in general, but I should add that I take bagels exceedingly seriously. It’s almost a hobby. Even in New York, many famous bagelries do not meet my standards.
The perfect bagel is somewhat thin, economizing, not inflated. There should be a hole in the center — when they’re too fat, the middle can resemble tight lips. It’s crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. Otherwise, you’re not eating a bagel, but a roll with a stab wound.
A good bagel is a little sweet, almost imperceptibly so (though you notice when it’s missing). And then there’s that something extra — call it lusciousness. I can tell just by looking whether a bagel has it or not, but you’ll know by the first bite. It should feel like an indulgence.