No one can manage all the things going on in Miami’s most recent incarnation; there is too much. Respectfully, here is my Best of Miami 2015.
Art: All about Basel
1. Art Basel: King and still champion. Needs no caps.
2. CONTEXT: aka the best parts of prestigious Art Miami.
3. pinta miami: Lowercase in Mana Wynwood. Spacious and tasteful from top to bottom. All kinds of great Latin American pieces.
4. UNTITLED : Edgiest of the satellites without descending into madness. Love the space on the Beach. No one suffocates.
5. SCOPE: Remains tasteful and high quality, antidote to the Convention Center despite its increasingly corporate presence.
6. Perez Art Museum Miami: Let’s see what Franklin Sirmans will do with a space so lovely it makes the Best of Miami even if it remained empty.
Film: Frankly, Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival, the O, the Tower, Coral Gables, and the Cosford have collectively raised C Level. There are always great films in Miami at fine venues.
I loved these films at the O Cinema:
1. Asif Kapadia’s electrifying, heartbreaking documentary Amy.
2. Spike Lee’s indescribably sprawling, ambitious, confounding, ferocious, lewd, profane urban drama/comedy/play – Chi-Raq. Love it or hate it.
3. Stanley Nelson’s The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution.
4. Special shout to whomever suggested curry to Melissa Gomez.
I loved these at the ever-improving Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival’s 32nd Edition:
1. The Salt of the Earth: Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and Wim Wenders gorgeous doc on 40 years of the photographer Sebastião Salgado.
2. Phoenix: Uncomfortable, hypnotic Who Am I Really drama
I loved these at the MDC Tower for GEMS.
3. The Assassin: Drop dead costumes and visuals as bodies drop dead.
4. Embrace of the Serpent: Stunning before and after in the colonial Amazon.
I loved this at the Cosford:
Meet the Patels: Hilarious, amateur view of love and cultural blindness.
I loved these at the Coral Gables Cinema.
1. Love & Mercy: Brian Wilson’s life as the brains behind the Beach Boys. Paul Dano and John Cusack play young and older. Sad and uplifting.
2. Wild Tales: Six short tales of Spanish stress: WOW!
The Martian at the Southland Regal Theater which smacked of popcorn.
Music: Take your pick.
1. Salsa Dura and Timba: Metropolitan Salsa Orchestra and Alexander Abreu
2. WLRN anytime
3. Hot 8 at South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center
4. Romeo Santos at the AAA
5. Kendrick Lamar: the last great rapper
6. D’Angelo and the Vanguard
7. Ball & Chain’s Music Festival: Elastic Bond’s indoor set.
8. Cleaveland Jones Trio at the Regent: Talented and happy.
9. Hal Roland Trio at Soyka: Talented, unaffected, and cool.
Dance: Just one shout-out.
1. SalsaCraze at the U makes hundreds of people happy twice a week.
On the Radar: The Upper Eastside. North of Edgewater, east of Little Haiti, south of the village of Miami Shores, and by Biscayne Bay featuring 50’s Vagabond, Ms. Cheezious, Limited EditionCaffe, Upper Eastside, Ironside District, Little River: This is an area with a name in need of being dumbed down/agreed upon until Little Haiti becomes further gentrified.
Poetry: O, Miami and WLRN’s Ode to Your ZIP Code
Liquidity: The Wood Tavern plus BXLDR and the breweries.
Food: Zak the Baker gets the big picture. Always conscious and caring.
Rebirth: The possible reawakening of Coconut Grove.
Sports: Hassan Whiteside
TV: CNN’s The Seventies and Anthony Bourdain