Dope People Doing Dope Sh*t: Part II
September 18, 2015
“Innovation is creativity with a job to do.” – John Emmerling
There’s no denying that the city of Miami has an excess of sunlight, breaking through even the darkest clouds of our (seemingly endless) wet season. Yet the true brilliance in our portal town comes not from the sky downward, but from the ground up. It’s here, on our now stencil-painted sidewalks and steaming concrete, amidst the cool stone floors of bookstores and performance theaters, that the light bulbs of infinite ideas shine brightly, chiseling away possibilities until only the most incredible facets of magnificence are left.
It’s funny how a modern metropolis like New York City is heralded as the city for dreamers to thrive when day after day, I witness some of the most unique and unprecedented ideas come to life in the vibrant city that Miami has become. Sure, it’s still relatively young and, like most adolescents, has gone through a few crises in identity. Now more than ever, Miami is becoming a Mecca for young dreamers, planting their visionary seeds amongst the already lush foliage of established revolutionaries. It’s here, in this humble series where we highlight the great ideas in our city, both flourishing and yet to fully sprout:
The Leah Arts District
One of Miami’s most powerful and passionate voices, JennyLee Molina of JLPR, teamed up with Hialeah’s youngest Councilman, Paul Hernandez, to transform the downtown area into a safe haven for artists looking to escape the crowds in Wynwood and other now popular and expensive neighborhoods. A perfect example of creative minds not taking “no” for an answer.
The dopeness: With the unanimous support from his community, Councilman Hernandez has redefined what creative philanthropy can do for an entire city, bringing some of the greatest local artists to splash color on the walls of a seemingly unlikely place. Art is at the core of any renaissance, and these selfless spirits are elevating Hialeah’s culture for years to come. Find out more about the initiative and make sure to experience the movement in person at the Only in Hialeah Block Party.
We all know that a Miami persona is, well, loud. Animated to say the least, our characters are what make this city so f*cking fun. So what happens when you take two of our most colorful local personalities in Jeff Quintana and Peter Mir and give them a theater? One of the city’s most successful improvs to date: Villain Theater.
The dopeness: They are dedicating their home at MADE at The Citadel (a dope reliquary in and of itself) to the art of Chicago-style long form improvisation, gathering a cast of hilarious talents and forming one of Miami’s most impeccably timed comedic troupes there ever was. Not only do they boast sold-out shows every weekend, but they share their comedy knowledge with the city through classes and workshops, founding a home for the deliciously weird Miami characters the city has always needed. Find out more about the theater, showtimes, and lessons here.
Before technology and our subsequent informative spoiling, books and the art of printed material were our sacred stones. To this day, no other place in the world matched my feeling of safety and refuge than a shelf-packed bookstore or library. Knowing the significance of the written word, Amanda Season Keeley has blended her background of design and curation with her passion for printed art at Exile Books.
The dopeness: A Knight Foundation collaboration, Exile is a traveling bookstore that has popped up everywhere from Books & Books to YoungArts and even NYC. Through thematically curated performances, workshops, lectures, and interactive events surrounding the shelves, the words on the pages come to life before your eyes. Find out more about Exile and their current collaborations and exhibitions here.
NEWT Miami & Carrington Projects
Dejha Carrington is a PR guru, creative clairvoyant, and absolutely adorable soul. Museums, galleries, agencies, arts districts, artists, freelancers; you name it, she’s probably been involved to some extent. She sees everything as a blank canvas for innovative arts and culture initiatives, even a city skyline.
The dopeness: NEWT Miami: Experiments in Light, Color & Sound is a fully immersive, sensorial public art installation inspired by Isaac Newton’s theory of color and music. Know the dancing girl on the InterContinental in Downtown? Well Carrington is about to give her a much-needed break with unparalleled animation and thoughtful patterns that will make our cityscape come alive to the sound of an original musical composition by DJ Kelly Nunes accessible online, on-site or at home. Get into the choreography of our city here.
Sam Hyken & Nu Deco Ensemble
Music, like most artistic forms of expression, can be melded with nearly anything under the sun to transform the way creativity is absorbed by its observers. For a long time, classical music was one of the world’s greatest purveyors of that empathetic phenomenon. But when you blend symphonic orchestration with modern interpretations, only magic can be made. That’s where Sam Hyken and his co-founded Nu Deco Ensemble come in.
The Dopeness: They call it “genre-bending musical exploration,” we call it genuine musicality at its finest. Hybriding all forms of creative media with and eclectic chamber orchestra, Nu Deco Ensemble generates an entirely new platform for complex music. They worked with Afrobeta, developed classical orchestrations to Daft Punk’s music, and even have a whole symphony dedicated to the sounds of LCD Soundsystem. And guess what? They’re right here in our very own backyard. Check out their upcoming season here.
Want to get to know more Dope People? Take a look at Part I of the series here.