Explore Miami’s Natural Beauty: National Public Gardens’ Day is Friday

When many think of Miami, they often imagine sunny beaches, half-naked babes, and excessive partying. Unfortunately, botanical gardens are not up on list of elements typically associated with the Magic City; neither is natural beauty.

But, as most that have visited the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens or the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens will say, these preserved botanical spaces are spectacular.

Rich with history, art, architecture, design, and culture, public gardens provide the city with more than just a tour of the local, tropical vegetation. With some of the most serene, awe-striking natural landscapes and groundbreaking architecture in the city, Miami’s public gardens host culinary events; art fairs and residency programs; flower, fruit, or vegetable festivals, and a variety of horticultural classes.

They also provide a refuge from hectic city life, a breathing space where people can reconnect with themselves in nature; for this reason, public gardens have a significant function in the community……  Keep reading ” Explore Miami’s Natural Beauty: National Public Gardens Day is Friday” on the


Ten Years of Little Haiti’s Sweat Records: Celebrating Vinyl Records, Too, at Sweatstock [Article for the]

“Techno was created by a gay black man in New York City,” said Edward Adames, a quirky, fast-talking Dominican clerk who had glasses and an Afro. He worked at Sweat Records, the coffee shop/record store in Little Haiti next to Churchill’s Pub that boasts vintage vinyl records from Abba to Willie Nelson. Last year, I haunted it, searching the rack as the things music remembers better haunted me. Most days, I hoped to run-into someone I could interview to get a good story.

At the time, I was writing articles for local blogs about the local music and arts scene, and like most writers, I romanticized coffee shops, sipping a hot cappuccino and welcoming the muse. I also chose the dark cave at Sweat Records because it was quieter than Panther’s and cooler than Starbucks. Edward always had an interesting idea about music to share as he made me a special “extra strong” espresso. I was convinced he should have a radio show or blog detailing his theories: “Chronicles of a Sweat Clerk.”

I didn’t just go to hear Edward’s nerdy music facts, search the album racks, or work on stories. I went for the culture. I went to find out what was happening in the local music scene. I went to hear the latest underground music that clerks played. I went for the alternative books and magazines. I went to read a copy of Jai Alai—Sweat Records is one of the only stores that carries the poetry journal. I went for the vegan goodies. I went for the vibe. I went for the people. Usually it was just regulars who would stop in, drift ways from the pub looking for coffee or friends of the employees just hanging out.

But sometimes artists, business owners or far-traveling newbies would drop in looking for records, a gift, coffee or tea and strike-up an interesting conversation.

If Sweat Records hasn’t changed and cool people still work there; it’s still not only a record store but also a place where one can make friends, find out about the latest concerts and happenings in the music scene (locally and beyond), and maybe get some work done on your laptop—they have Wi-Fi. The Little Haiti record shop also hosts live musical acts, album release parties, art exhibitions, “dirty” (often offensive) comedy shows, movie screenings, and the board meetings of cyclist/activist group Emerge.

Even though my days of haunting local coffee/record shops are as far gone as some of them ghosts, I still fondly remember the time I spent there, the nice people I met, and the music they shared.

So, I say cheers to Sweat Records’ as its ten-year celebration approaches. Saturday, April 18, 2015 is also Record Store Day, which the vinyl-record store celebrates every year during their music festival Sweatstock. At Sweatsock 2015, there will be a huge line up of live-musical acts on outdoor stages in the store’s parking lot and at Churchill’s Pub along with merchandise exclusives, food trucks, drinks and more…….

Read more of Ten Years of Little Haiti’s Sweat Records: Celebrating Vinyl Records, Too, at Sweatstock on the



O, Miami 2015: Is it For Everyone? An Ode to the Magic City [Article for the]

The O, Miami Poetry Festival ( has given poetry a zip code in Miami; the literary art form has been welcomed in one way or another to the sunny metropolis under the shade of the community’s support.

The Knight Foundation primarily funds the festival, which has celebrated the city in the tradition of many poets, writing verses celebrating their vicinities. People were asked to submit their poems about the Magic City. The festival literally crafted a love poem to Miami, creating an electronic map of all of the first lines of poems submitted by people in each zip code. ( Each random poetic fragment was unified, creating a whole…..

Read more O, Miami: Is it For Everyone? An Ode to the Magic City on the


Also check out my articles on the festival throughout the last few years.

O, Miami Brings Poetry to the People in April 2014 [Article for the]

And, That’s A Wrap O, Miami 2013 [Review for]



Wall Brawl Miami Celebrates Graffiti: Guests Decide Winner Through Popular Vote

Competitions naturally intrigue people. Art, unbeknownst to many, keeps society alive, and everyone wants to be the “best” at what they do. Combining art and competition has led to recent popular entertainment. It’s evident in reality-television shows that present contenders battling it out to earn the description of the “best.” Apron-clad players clutter kitchens with hopes of creating the “best” dishes on popular shows; fashion designers craft elaborate pieces from scratch in attempts to be a top designer.

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Artopia Showcases Masterminds: Coral Gables Museum Hosts Multi-Sensory Gathering

For Artopia eventgoers, cocktails and food will tantalize, music will stimulate, and fine art and fashion will entice the senses.

The seventh annual multi-sensory gathering, presented by Miracle Mile and Downtown Coral Gables, will showcase food, art, fashion, music, dance and cocktails on February 26, 2015 at the Coral Gables Museum. The highlight of the evening will be the Miami New Times’ MasterMind Awards. The award grants $1,000 to three local artists, writers, craftspeople or other performer whose work “stands out for its enterprise, creativity, and genius.”

Read all about it on the


GrassRoots Fest Celebrates Virginia Key: 70-Year-Old Campgrounds Steeped in History

Nestled in the lush beachfront corners off the Rickenbacker, Virginia Key Beach Park provides a beautiful escape from the burdens of city dwelling. Yet, the sandy, palm-tree-lined grounds reveal more than nature’s secrets. The 70-year-old campgrounds also dispel a history of segregation; an “only colored” beach in the 1940s, the park today is a site for uniting the community through the arts and culture.

Taking place beginning on Thursday, Feb. 19 through Sunday, Feb. 22, the fourth-annual Virginia Key GrassRoots Festival of Music and Art will host a special multi-media performance to commemorate the anniversary of the natural treasure, where the festival has occurred for the past five years. The event will celebrate the evolution of the park from a dwelling space of racial division to a natural location of community building.

Read the full article here on the GrassRoots Fest Celebrates Virginia Key: 70-Year Old Campgrounds Steeped in History


FIU Spends Half Million On Miss Universe? Controversies Befall the Miss Universe Pageant 2015 [Article for the]

Controversies befall the Miss Universe Pageant 2015 and it hits us here, locally. The question is, “What is this doing in education and world politics?”

“World peace” is the answer most likely to be given by a beauty queen contestant when asked: “What would you like to see in the world?” Most of us really do want peace on Earth, but answering the prompt with such naïve, lingual simplicity would make one’s intelligence questionable in today’s world where harmony on earth seems a thing of fairy tales-not even possible in the world of the Miss Universe Pageant, where makeup magic twinkles her wand over most flaws.  Read more on the