Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Who is Miami? Miami Beach Artisan

This is the new Who is Miami? series in which the people who make up this city have a chance to talk to us for about a minute.

Marta Noriega from Bogota, Colombia sells her own jewelery in Ocean Drive. In Part because she likes it, in part because she cannot find a job.

Who is Miami? Ocean Drive Valet Parking

This is the new Who is Miami? series in which the people who make up this city have a chance to talk to us for about a minute.

Let me know what you think.
Who else should I interview?

There will be more coming up with all the kinds of people that make up this land.

This is Alfredo, from Lima, Peru. he has been a Valet Parking in Ocean Drive for 12 years. He says the money is good, but slower lately.

"The economic recession has not only affected us, but the whole tourism industry here. We hear everyone complaining about it. Still we can't complaint, there is still money," he said.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Coladas, Poets, Artists and Whores

I went to Sweat Records on Saturday night to see Pure Imagination with Matt Gajewski, the guy from the UM radio that writes fiction and reads it on air. He was reading his David Sedaris/Realismo Magico/This American Life prose to a room packed of indie kids with live music in the background. I got a delicious espresso from the coffee bar at Sweat, it is not that easy to find good coladas or espressos these days in Miami, believe it or not.

Then, journalists, nerd, intellectuals and snubs we all went outside and talked bout the Dr. of Death, News and Notes closing down and the decease of Vagabond. Bout the kind of shit that people who go to this kind of shit talk bout, nerd shit.

Anyway, I was supposed to go to The Vagabond because there was a Miami.com open bar of vodka from 10 to 12, but instead I stayed home. Even though I was already all dolled up. It seems like now going to the Vagabond is like going to a glamorous photoshoot and let’s not even talk about the White Room, where if you are not topless, wearing a costume or kissing a girl you don’t make it in. Talking of which, Magic Baby girl, Clara Infante, who is usually topless, wearing a costume or kissing a girl announced she got a DUI on Sunday at 9:17 a.m and proudly published her own mug shot.

So I ended up not going to the Vagabond probably because of the whole gloomy talk at Sweat of: “remember when it was not embarrassing to go to the Vagabond.” “Let’s not even mention its name so much around this crowd.”

We were joking, of course, in a truthful kind of way.

So, on Sunday, I woke up before midday, for a change, and went out to promenade around Miami in what was a beautiful Sunday, those that make everyone repeat how much they love this city.

We drove towards the area where I grew up on Collins and 73.rd I showed Pati and Gregg how I used to come to Northshore to see my friends play soccer and how I used to volunteer at the Centro Comunitario Hispano de Miami Beach, while eating Venezuelan cachitos at Moises Bakery, which is still there.

But, we went to have lunch at Manolo’s. Yummy empanadas, pan de miga of ham and hearts of palm, prosciutto, cafĂ© con leche and fresh orange juice. hmmmm...

The only thing that sucked was the colada that we ordered at the end. We didn’t understand if it was American coffee or they had just made it disgusting by mistake; it was all water and tasted like crab. You see you could actually encounter bad coladas even on 73rd st. We returned the colada and asked the Argentineans to politely change it because it sucked.

We got a second really bad colada, this one was also watery but it didn’t even had sugar. These Argentineans don’t know how to make the coladas. They should just stick to the emapanadas and churros please.

Not giving up our craving of a good colada, we went across the street to a Cuban place.

Outside there happened to be a quite lively street art fair and a concert in the amphitheater, part of the Cuban Music Fest that has been going one this past week.

So, we walked under the sun, amongst the dogs, kids with their faces painted, food, art, tourists, locals and the nice cool wind.

We threw ourselves in the sand for the rest of the afternoon and had mango ice cream under the sun.

(Photos Pati Laylle)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Rojo Rojito

For the tenth year anniversary of Chavez being in power of my native Venezuela, I decided to throw a Venezuelan party. Also, because I wanted to serve arepas which are both easy to make and delicious. Although nothing is too easy under champagne and whiskey, even less cooking for about 60 other hungry drunks.I was in the middle of a sea of people dancing to "La Fan Enamorada," because part of the whole cultural immersion theme is that we also listened to Venezuelan music: joropo, tambores, gaita, merengue y salsa, while trying to cook for people, most of them who had never eaten arepas.
At least we did have masks of Chavez and got to play the dictator for a bit.
It is not that I am a Chavist. The truth is that I got cured from socialist leftist romanticsm last december when I was in Caracas. The corruption is bad and the crime is worse. Just a couple of months ago Foreign Policy said Caracas was the city with the most homicides in the world, and that doesn't even count murders made by the government or the police, which are as dangerous.
But, I did come back from Venezuela also full of nostalgia of the food, the party, the family and the alcohol. I had it all on Sat. except for Venezuelans: for the first half of the party, I, the hostess, was the only Venezuelan in the house. So much for the Venezuelan theme.
But, I made ropa vieja the night before, we had tuna salad, black beans and various types of cheese to fill them up: guayanes and de mano. There was no food left the next day, I'm telling you people are hungry these days.
We also bought the ridiculous amount of 11 champagne bottles and a couple of whyskie, if we are going to celebrate venezuelan style we have to drink like if owened all that oil.

Friday Miami at PS 14 & Vagabond

On Friday, I am going to take it slow, I said. But, it was Adam’s memorial concert at PS 14, where bands would be playing as usual, but it would be dedicated to the deceased musician. And, so I had no choice.

We arrived late, right at the best time, and it was one of the best nights I have had at PS 14. Bands inside and outside constantly rotating, it was hard to walk though the people and hard to dance inside, so we stayed outside the whole time except for the repetitive trips to the bathroom.

There was a band from Orlando outside that talked and talked and talked, and thanked millions of people no one had any idea who they were.

“We don’t care,” I yelled, it had been too long without music.
“Go back to Orlando,” somebody else said.

It was funny.

We saw
Gato and Johan and many other musicians who came to remember Adam, including his brother Josh. There was another concert/open mic in his honor on Saturday at his house, and although I couldn’t make since I was hosting a party myself, I heard it was amazing.

At Vagabond we met people and people, as always, it probable is the worst place to cheat on the whole of Greater Miami. We were by the fountain and the dj kept on playing punchi punchi, until I approached him and politely asked for some hip hop. Tonight is not hip hop night, he said. But ended up completely giving in: after a few minutes we had what we wanted for the rest of the night and danced to old school beats.

We took the after party to my house where we celebrated glamorously with champagne and something else until 6:30 am.

Thanks to my love, Pati Laylle , for pictures.