It was after school one day when I realized the usual frenzied tone had changed. The girls in my classroom looked worried.
As a journalism teacher, my room doubles as a newsroom, work space, photo studio and home away from home. It is the place where the kids brainstorm, write essays and articles, and -- every once in a while -- solve a few life crises. This was one of those days.
Placing my counselor hat on, I asked what was wrong. One girl’s eyes were wide and her face was folded into the saddest frown I'd ever seen. Another seemed just as dejected.
The 2013 Miami Performance International Festival obliterates the line between viewers and mid-career and emerging artists from Miami and around the world. In its second year, the festival, curated by Charo Oquet, takes place in Miami’s Design District and the Miami Beach Botanical Garden and runs through the month of June.
Video as an art form has come a long way. Although artists started seriously working with the medium at least a half century ago (some will pinpoint Nam June Paik’s German exhibition in 1963 as its official arrival on the scene), it remained somewhat the stepchild, not getting a lot of respect until the last couple decades. And in Miami, video art – good video art – was late in taking hold with local artists and in shows. That’s changed dramatically in recent years, and yet there have been few outlets dedicated to highlighting the form.
I moved to South Florida in '82 from Canada and immediately became a Dolphin fan and season ticket holder up until 2009. Through that time I saw the privately funded Joe Robbie Stadium get built, and then renovated and subsequently host a couple Super Bowls, which brought great benefits to the local community. I owned a print shop and design firm in Tamarac at the time, and you could literally feel the benefit to the community from there. It seemed that everyone was busy and profitable in and around those Super Bowls with the massive influx of revenue these events brought in.
CCEMiami (Centro Cultural Español en Miami), the Spanish cultural arm here, often falls of the radar when it comes to the arts. Since moving into the bustling downtown area on Biscayne Boulevard (from its sometimes forbidding building in the Gables), it may be that some people simply don’t know they are there. Time to rediscover.
The center offers up some impressive and diverse cultural events, including music and theater – the latter includes their innovative Microtheater, “small” plays of about 15 minutes, set up in the back courtyard for only about 15 spectators.
I've learned that teaching is hard. Not only because of the curriculum, not only because of the new tests, new rules, new measures. Not only because there are tests, tests, and more tests. But because it so often feels like an insurmountable, thankless, stressful endeavor.
The rules are always changing. The tests are always changing. And the blame for anything and everything that goes wrong usually falls squarely on our shoulders.
Longevity in the arts, like any field, requires constant learning. Performance labs provide this space. It’s where artists can experiment, research and refine their skills. In these labs, sometimes new ideas emerge and old ideas are fleshed out. It’s where artists—dancers, choreographers, directors, composers—innovate and hone their craft.
I can imagine my dad's excitement leaving gritty Newark behind him and hitting the highway in his old Studebaker bound for paradise . . . Miami Beach. I can see the bathing suit postcards guiding his way and hear the ocean calling his name: M-I-L-T-O-N B-R-A-N-D, come on down!