For Valentine’s Day, my lady friend gave me a batch of clues and sent me on a wild her chase from the site of our first date, Coconut Grove’s Greenstreet Cafe (“where blue meets yellow”), to Vizcaya Gardens, where she was waiting for me in a pair of mint sunglasses. I grew up in Miami and lived most of my life here, but I’d never visited Vizcaya before. Quite an oversight. The place is beautiful, a fitting setting for a Valentine’s Day tryst.
You may have heard about the four abandoned Art Deco buildings that went up in flames in South Beach over the past two weeks. If you live in South Beach, you may have smelled the smoke from your bedroom at 2 a.m. and scurried from your apartment with your wife, cat, guitar, and Charlie Hough rookie card in tow. The Miami Beach police have charged Joel Paul Williams, 33, “a Miami native with a penchant for knives and the word ‘Rage’ tattooed on his abdomen”, with setting one of the fires, and he is the only current person of interest in the arson spree, according to the Herald. With the smoke clearing — hopefully for good — we went out this morning and documented the aftermath of Williams’ alleged pyromania.
Tyler Apartments (420 21st Street; caught fire Feb. 9)
It did rain on Liberty City’s Martin Luther King Day parade, but the procession went down anyway, kicking off with the FIU marching band’s downpour-defying version of Sam & Dave’s “Hold On!”. Here are some photos taken along 54th Street.
A dense gray fog swallowed Miami this morning, obscuring cars and buildings only a hundred feet away. An eerie beauty came over South Beach, like in the woods of Kurosawa’s “Throne of Blood”. Luckily, I was awake to take a few photos.
In search of the black breast of the New World, we shimmied over to the Raleigh Hotel last night for Gatsby Gone Goth. Eventually we left to take in Lincoln Road, which resembled Lincoln Road on any other busy night but with a few more self-styled Chilean miners and precisely one more six-foot inflatable penis. Here are some photos from the excursion.
Today at the Antique & Collection Market, a biweekly market on Lincoln Road which started on Oct. 10 and will run through early May, I encountered a dark Halloween spirit among the faded costumes and patinated wares. Exhibit A: This rhinestone arachno-cuff.
Nothing scarier than a bad hair day.
Near sundown tonight, the dead rose from their graves across Miami and stalked over to Lincoln Road to terrorize the beautiful with their untanned bodies. We have the photos to prove it. Hide the children.
A few photos from tonight’s storm.
Miami and Hollywood share a coastline and that’s it.* Our northern neighbor is dirtier, older (seeming), drunker, gloomier, poorer, and uglier (Young Circle’s recent facelift notwithstanding). It’s also, to me, more beguiling. In a way that would probably titillate David Lynch, Hollywood seems to have its secrets, and to hide them right out in the open. I sense that in a bar like the Lamp Post Lounge, north of the Circle on US1, which is open for business but, in its wooden, one-windowed shell, utterly uninviting. I sense it in the Gold Coast Roller Rink, further north on US1, a grand inverted hull with the words “ROLLER RINK” spelled out in sickly lightbulbs across its mint-green and purple facade. The building is actually a few feet into Fort Lauderdale, but it is a Hollywood outpost through and through.
I sense it most, though, in the neon-lit motels north and south of the Circle on US1. Some with incongruous names (Grand Motel, Light Haven), others, like the Lucky Boy, whose names are spot-on, these buildings, bleak and garish at the same time, beg the question: “What is going on behind those doors?” At the slight swaying of a curtain, the report of a shut door, the sight of a cigarette cherry pulsating in an otherwise dark corridor, you dream up the strangest things. And yet these motels, landmarks of ugly Hollywood, are alluring, even beautiful. Hunkered low and lurid on the side of US1, havens for God knows what manner of recreation (maybe sleeping), they are beautiful in a way foreign to Miami, at least along its southern stretch of shimmering coastline. If Miami’s brand of beauty personified is a sculpted, finely tanned, flawless figure, then Hollywood’s is Patricia Arquette by the end of True Romance, a bedraggled harlot who’s been through the shit.