The image below shows folk singer Woody Guthrie’s resolutions for 1942, written in his notebook weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States entered World War II, thus, resolution no. 27: “Help Win War — Beat Fascism”. Not all of Guthrie’s 33 “New Years Rulin’s” were so solemn. There were also hygienic pledges — “Wash Teeth If Any”, “Shave”, “Take Bath” — and familial prompts: “Love Mama”, “Love Papa”, “Love Pete”. (Pete, judging by the doodle alongside the resolution, was Guthrie’s pooch.)
All in all, the list, from its self-admonishing beginning (“Work More And Better”) to its earnest end (“Wake Up And Fight”), is a testament to the wisdom, humor, and noble simplicity of one of America’s great songmen. My favorite resolution of the bunch: “Keep Hoping Machine Running.” As the clock winds down on another wild year, I will drink to that.
See all those empty seats? We want to put you in them. -- photo by Mike Ehrmann
Remember several years back when the Miami Heat were average, Dwyane Wade was incandescent, and you could sit in the upper deck for 10 bucks? Well, with the Big Three calling American Airlines Arena home now, those days are far behind us (though, on a good night, you can still read by the light coming off of D-Wade’s brow).
The recent hike in ticket prices is one of the reasons Beached Miami is partnering with ScoreBig to offer our community discounted tickets for live local events, including Heat, Florida Panthers, and Miami Dolphins games. The process is easy:
Considering he caught major flack for a homophobic rant back in June, Tracy Morgan has chutzpah for booking a gig at the Fillmore Miami Beach, right in the middle of one the world’s gay meccas. The comic has since apologized for his remarks and gone as far to atone for his mistake as to play 7 Minutes in Heaven with another man (see video below). His performance on Saturday, Nov. 26, is presented by Miami Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasono’s eponymous foundation to support children and families affected by autism, and we’ve got two tickets to give away to the show. To enter to win, simply leave a comment on this post. We will announce the winner, chosen at random, on the Beached Miami Facebook page on Thursday Friday morning. Until then, watch the following video to find out ways Tracy Morgan is and is not similar to a horse.
The sun may have other ideas, but the weekend ahead suggests we humans are doing everything in our power to put the sluggish and suffocating days of summer behind us. Here’s the goings-on rundown for a stacked Friday and Saturday. (All music listings come from our new Miami Music Guide.)
Headline: Sketch and Ride Where: Opa-Locka Cost: FREE Event Page: HERE
Notes: Taking off from the Northside Metro-Rail station, this free group bike ride through Opa-Locka is a partnership between activist collective Emerge Miami and Miami Uplab. The “Sketch” component of the ride entails sketching certain streetscapes and buildings in Opa-Locka with a mind toward understanding and rethinking Opa-Locka’s urban layout.
Headline: Art Walk Where: Wynwood, Design District Cost: Breathing room
Headline: Psychic Mirrors Where: Bardot Cost: $?? Event Page: HERE
Notes: Less than two months after releasing their “Dark Shadows”/”Mystic Hustle” 7″, Psychic Mirrors will take the stage to celebrate a new 12” release. Ryan De Grandy leads this 11-member funk ensemble, which includes Capsule’s Ryan Haft and the emerging Luma Junger.
It is a paradox of the our time: The tools of media are unprecedentedly accessible — anyone with an internet connection can start broadcasting via blog, podcast, Twitter, or various other outlets within minutes — even as the vast bulk of the media itself has fallen into the iron grip of a few conglomerates. Quoth Josh Stearns’ piece, “Take Back the Media”, in the current issue of Orion Magazine:
In the U.S., years of runaway media consolidation have diminished the diversity of voices on the airwaves, gutted our nation’s newsrooms, and wrested more and more media out of the hands of the people. Just a week before the demonstrations in Egypt began, the Obama administration approved one of the largest media mergers in a generation. Comcast, America’s largest residential cable and internet company, now controls NBCUniversal, one of the nation’s most popular news and entertainment studios. The combination of production and distribution into one megamedia giant means, for many of us, that one company will have unprecedented control over what we see and how we see it, online, on cable, and over the air.
Such developments should worry anyone who appreciates the Fourth Estate’s crucial role in a functioning democracy, not to mention in a dysfunctional democracy like ours that is coping (ineptly) with monumental fiscal, political, and economic woes. But media consolidation is only one aspect of the story. The counter-narrative is that the internet has empowered individuals to chip away at the monolithic media industry, a quintessential for-better-and-worse development that is accelerating the demise of both worthy big-city newspapers and worthless oil-rich tyrants.
While blogs and Twitter have garnered a fair share of headlines for their role in the upheaval of the 21st-Century media industry, another potentially game-changing medium remains broadly unsung. Low Power FM (LPFM) stations are nonprofit radio stations that broadcast at low wattage within a short radius (several miles or so depending on, for example, topography). Local radio activists champion LPFM stations as an antidote to the elephantiasis afflicting mainstream media in the form of the Comcast-NBCUniversal merger and its ilk. Such stations, organizations like the Prometheus Radio Project say, transcend their literal power shortage by amplifying the volume of independent voices that would otherwise be drowned out in their communities.
Leah Weston is one such voice. A member of the progressive activist collective Emerge Miami, WVUM DJ (on-air name: Leah Swanky), and all-too-infrequent Beached Miami contributor, Weston is hoping to launch an LPFM station in Miami, provided the FCC ends up giving our fair city a license (or several). While the chances of that happening are better than ever since Congress passed the Local Community Radio Act last December, there is still a lot standing in the way. For one thing, Miami is a competitive market, and commercial and even public radio stations aren’t necessarily eager to welcome LPFMs onto “their” dial. Then there’s the fact that the FCC is still digesting the Local Community Radio Act and figuring out how to dispense LPFM licenses. There is no guarantee Miami will get one.
But the what-ifs are not deterring Weston from laying the groundwork for Miami’s first LPFM. On Tuesday night (i.e., tonight) at Sweat Records, she will be giving a presentation about LPFM and its future in Miami for anyone who wants to listen, brainstorm, and take action. It is a move born out of frustration with Miami’s existing media outlets.
“Our public media favors either 24-hour music programming or news that doesn’t touch on local issues very well, or very meaningfully,” Weston says. “So I think this would be a good way for people who are doing progressive things in Miami to actually broadcast from the same platform and strengthen people’s knowledge of what’s happening here.”
As a possible model, Weston points to BBOX, a new Brooklyn-based station that broadcasts locally sourced content out of a red shipping crate in a farmer’s market. Programming includes interviews, call-in shows, street journalism, radio documentary, DJs, and live music performances.
Weston envisions a similar mishmash of Miami-sourced content on her own LPFM. It’s a lofty aim, with obstacles at both the local and federal levels, but she is confident the Miami dial will ultimately get a bit more crowded with low-power, high-volume community stations.
“The amazing thing about radio is that it’s pretty rudimentary,” she says. “You can set up a bare bones operation with a relatively small budget.”
To learn more about it, head over to Sweat Records at 7 p.m. Tuesday night.
Via BuzzFeed, this list could have been honed down to a solid, side-splitting 20. The pics of the abandoned walker and the parked Rascal, for example, could have been a diptych, and none of the other “Florida is a hotbed of Christian zealotry” photos manage to top #8, a mobile shrine to Jesus and owls in equal measure. Still, it offers a hilarious and disconcerting snapshot of the Sunshine State as a hyper-religious Land of Oddities speeding toward chaos and ice cream burgers (you’ll see) on 26-inch rims — a snapshot we know in our hearts isn’t entirely misleading. Click the image below (my favorite of the batch) to view the whole list, including a shot of raggedy Santa riding through South Beach on a trike and a lizard eating a Cheeto.
We didn’t scrap together a podcast this week (as scheduled), but luckily Al Letson, host of NPR’s State of the Re:Union, stepped in with a nearly-hour-long episode that makes a valiant and vivid attempt at the impossible, to figure Miami out. Here’s the teaser from the show’s website:
Famous for its beaches and clubs, Miami is also the 3rd poorest city in the nation. If you own a store in South Beach, your customers are equally likely to be billionaires or homeless people. And, on top of that, they’re very likely to have started life somewhere else. Miami is an incredibly international city — but not in the way many others are. Here, instead of working towards assimilation and blending with one another, ethnic communities exist as a patchwork, remaining like isolated microcosms of their homeland.
The episode begins in Little Havana and chronicles the area’s ongoing transformation from Ground Zero of the Cuban exile to a tourist-frequented hub for people from all over Latin America. It then heads south, into the heart of Haitian Miami, to discover how the earthquake that devastated Haiti 18 months ago reverberated here. We also hear an ode in the form of a letter, addressed to Miami, written and read by acclaimed Haitian writer Edwidge Danticat. An excerpt:
One of the things I love about you, Miami, is that, in addition to your house wives and basketball wives, your vices and burn notices, you are so full of other stories … You don’t have many secrets. Maybe that’s why novelists and other storytellers love you so much. No one will ever be surprised that you are both dirt poor and filthy rich, and I’m not just talking about money either.
The last half of the episode is spent in Overtown with Marvin Dunn, who tells the history of the “Harlem of the South” and the story of the Roots in the City farmers’ market, which he founded years ago to help feed Overtown residents. From there we hear the story of Leroy Jones, a three-time convict and former dope-needle seller who became the first black non-professional to win Miami’s Merit award and a vital force in the city’s business community.
As with so many Miami nights, the episode ends at the club, with a segment on the Spam Allstars.
On Saturday morning, I attended Miami International Airport’s semiannual auction of abandoned baggage because 1) I suspected a scam and 2) I wanted to know what breed of humanity shows up for such an affair (besides shameless bloggers) and why.
Approaching the auction site, a musty storage room on the third floor of an ugly, glass office building on MIA’s northern fringe, I passed a man pushing a dolly stacked four boxes high toward the elevator. There was a light-brown fedora atop the stack of boxes, its brim almost as wide as the man’s smile.
Inside, several hundred people clamored for a hodgepodge of unbelongings: iPods, Blackberrys, surfboards, bicycles, crutches, memory sticks. An iPod, undistinguished by the auctioneer in any way (Nano? Touch? 4 gig? 80 gig?), promptly went for $200. This only strengthened my suspicion, particularly as bidders couldn’t check if anything was broken or damaged until after forking over a double-taxed, cash-only, unrefundable payment. Nonetheless, the “winning” bidder giddily took his ticket.
There were two main auctioneers, one a middle-aged Latino who looked like a third-base coach with his goatee and windbreaker jacket, the other a wizened geezer with overgrown facial features (see photos after the jump). They both had microphones and often appeared to be working at cross purposes: talking over each other, raising the bid independently of each other, snapping at each other on occasion, even calling the bid for different people once or twice. Still, the bids grew and grew. They knew exactly what they were doing.
The South Beach Comedy Festival gets in to full swing tonight with two performances by Doug Benson at the Colony Theatre on Lincoln Road. I don’t have tickets to see Benson or any other comic performing before the fest ends on Sunday. Apparently I’m the guy who secures press passes for Sobe festivals he’s almost sure will treat his soul like a spittoon and sleeps on ones that promise days on end of laughter. Of course, I could buy tickets (ha ha ha!), but I’ll probably opt for a private comedy fest brought to me by Youtube. If you’re of a similar mind (and/or disposable income), here’s a video from each of the comedians performing this weekend (except for Kathleen Madigan, whose funniest clip was unembeddable).
Doug Benson (March 2 @ the Colony Theatre; 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.)
Diplo breaking it down in the WVUM studio late last year.
You might have heard that University of Miami’s WVUM is in the running for an mtvU College Radio Woodie Award. We’ve got love for WVUM, both for their indefatigable insistence that Miami “keep it locked” at all costs and for hosting us on Miami Time for an epic local jam last month. So we’d love to see the station take home a Woodie when the awards show airs live from SXSW in Austin, TX, on March 16. But rather than blithely asking our readers to give WVUM their vote, we asked the station to prove itself in the form of three hand-selected clips. If you like what you hear, head over to the virtual ballot box — before the March 1 deadline! — and crown WVUM as the best college radio station in the land.
First up, we’ve got Diplo manning the decks on Electric Kingdom Live (Thursday nights, 7 -9) hours before spinning for a huge crowd at Grand Central on Dec. 23, 2010.