Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Bike Miami Days 2.0 Report

At Bike Miami DaysOn Sunday, Dec. 14, we had the second instance of Bike Miami Days, the City of Miami’s now-monthly event turning part of Downtown Miami into a car-free zone for cyclists, skaters and pedestrians to run around and enjoy. Mayor Manny Diaz and his office have been working hard to build this up as Miami’s own cyclovia, and their efforts are greatly appreciated.

This sophomore effort, however, had a smaller turnout than the brand-spanking-new one in November. Considering the time of year, the at-home Dolphins game and that fact that this lacked the novelty of the previous one, I found it understandable. There were, however, quite a few participants, even at 1:30 pm when I finally arrived, so it wasn’t a wash-out by any stretch of the imagination. 

The Green Mobility Network once again offered free bike valet services at both Bayfront Park and Mary Brickell Village (the two bookends of the route), and as before, there was a small army of volunteers riding around ready to answer any questions. The Everglades Bicyle Club held a toy drive in conjunction with the event, which was very cool. There were also a few changes from the previous event, all of them for the better: the route was extended along the waterfront towards the AA Arena (though I was never able to find this extension), the entire route was marked with sandwich board signs with arrows marking the directions to follow, and possibly the best addition, water stations were setup along the route for participants to freshen up. Bonus points go to Kirk Jewelers for handing out water during the day as well.

After the event, TransitMiami hosted a party at Tobacco Road. A bunch of the volunteers gathered there and I had a great time just chillin out after a fantastic day of bike riding around Downtown Miami. You can read my personal report over at Slow Bike Miami Beach.

The one complain I have about this event has nothing to do with Bike Miami Days, the City or the Mayor, it has to do with the local mainstream media:

Where the heck were you?

I never saw representatives of any of the local mainstream media outlets, televised or print, covering the event; if (IF) they were there towards the start of the day, they quickly took off afterwards. No local newspaper promoted the event leading up to it, and I have yet to see any mention of it pop up on the website of any local news show, let alone on the air. I mean, not even Deco Drive!

What’s the matter with you, Miami mainstream media? You’ll cover any gory event no matter how stupid it is as long as there is enough blood and/or scandal, but an event that actually builds up community pride, highlights the city in a positive light, can be a boost for local tourism and the local economy, and shows the commitment of Mayor Manny Diaz towards making Miami an improved city doesn’t get anything? Not even a micro-post on Twitter? Shame on you.

Bike Miami Days will return in January (date still to be determined). I plan to be there with my wife, and I hope everyone else joins us as well, including you, local mainstream media.

Art Basel Miami Beach: Here, and Gone

While I was away in Seattle, Art Basel Miami Beach, the yearly event showcasing artists from around the world right in our backyard, one of those events that proves that this city has a lot more going for it than the superficiality most people associate with it, took place at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Sadly, given I am currently the only Miami Metblogs writer and I was out of town, there was no coverage for this blog. To our good fortune, however, Alesh Houdek of Buildings and Food (and formerly of Critical Miami) did cover the event, so check out the following links and enjoy Art Basel Miami Beach 2008 vicariously.

Madonna @ Dolphin Stadium

Tonight is the Madonna “Sticky & Sweet Tour” concert at Dolphin Stadium, in Miami. If you’re going, be sure to arrive early so you can get parking and get to your seat without rushing. If you are not going, stay the hell away from the stadium and neighboring areas until tomorrow!

I won’t be going but my wife is, so I’ll see if I can rope her into giving me a report of the concert to share with you here.

25th MIFF Winners

The last day of the 25th edition of the Miami International Film Festival is here and we still got a full day of wonderful films ahead of us, including the documentary “One Water” -produced by the University of Miami- tonight at 6:30 pm at The Colony theatre in Miami Beach.

AND THE WINNERS ARE….

Audience Award for Dramatic World Feature: BLISS (Turkey-Greece)

Audience Award for Ibero American Feature: LA ZONA (Mexico)

Audience Award for Best Documentary: VENGO DE UN AVION QUE CAYO EN LAS MONTAÑAS (Uruguay)

Knight Grand Jury Awards:

World Dramatic Feature: TRICKS ((Poland)

Special Mention, Best Actor: IT IS HARD TO BE NICE (UK, Slovenia, Serbia, Germany, Bosnia-Herzegovina)

Special Mention, Best Script: FOUL GESTURE (Israel)

Ibero American Dramatic Feature: (tie) COCHOCHI (Mexico) and EAT FOR THIS IS MY BODY (Haiti, France)

Special Mention: PARPADOS AZULES (Mexico)

Special Mention: LAS NIÑAS (Chile)

World and Ibero American Documentary: SANTIAGO (Brazil)

Special Mention: RUE SANTA FE (Chile, Francia)

Special Mention: UN TIGRE DE PAPEL (Colombia)

Shorts Competition: HOMECOMING (Canada)

Honorable Mention: TRAUMATOLOGIA (Spain)

Special Mention, Best Animated Short: MADAME TUTLI PUTLI (Canada)

Special Mention, Best First Time Director: OVERNIGHT A ROSE ( Taiwan)

FIPRESCI Jury Prize: FOUL GESTURE (Israel)

Scrambled Beer (Chile, 2007, 92 mins.) – 25th MIFF

Vladimir and Jorge -two school friends already in their mid twenties- cross paths after many years. While Vladimir is a bohemian and has just been evicted from his apartment because he’s fallen behind on his rent, Jorge is a very disciplined chemistry professional, who holds a steady job, has a girlfriend and still leaves with his parents. They talk while sharing a cocktail called Scrambled Beer (dark beer and raw eggs blended together). At some point in the conversation they decide to rent a house together. And here is when things get interesting…

Besides the obvious problems of two radically different personalities adjusting to live together, something weird happens: Vladimir begins to experience temporal displacements and his life gets really complicated. At the same time Jorge… well, let’s say he has a surprise hidden up his sleeve.

Outrageously funny, this first film of Chilean director Cristobal Valderrama is yet another example of the fresh breeze this new generation of filmmakers is bringing to the big screen. This is a small story about human relationships, friendships, love and why not, some mystical undertones. Using the disguise of a comedy the director explores the darkest corners of his character’s souls. But do not be fooled. This is the kind of comedy in the best tradition of directors like Alex de la Iglesia, visually rich, conceptually paradoxical and sharp as a 2 sides sword. The film narrative is nothing but lineal and keeps jumping forward to the future and then back to the past to the point you’ll loose track when is the present. It will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last moment.

Get ready to relax, laugh and… enjoy!

Iron Ladies of Liberia (USA, 2007, 78 mins.) – 25th MIFF

Siatta Scott Johnson, journalist, was devastated about the images of her country -of the decade plus long lasting civil war- going around the world. “It saddens me that when people thinks of Liberia, these are they images that come to their minds” she says on the begining while showing those very same images of the war.  During 2005 the country was in the middle of an election campaing and the two main contenders were ex-football star George Weah and long time politician Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, fondly dubed “the Iron Lady”.  According to the BBC, during the run-off her supporters used to say Ellen had 2 advantages over Weah: she was better educated and she was a woman.  Needless to say she won the elections on 2005 becoming the first female leader of Liberia as well as the first woman president in Africa.

Siata and her team of journalists asked the Iron Lady to allow them to document in film her first year in the presidency, and she said Yes.

Iron Ladies of Liberia is a documentary film that shows that first year of deep struggle and huge challenges to begin the process of taking a country devastated by the civil war back on its feet, liderated by Mrs. Johnson Sirleaf as president and her team of iron ladies as heads of the Police, Commerce, Finance and Justice ministries.

Liberia, a country founded in 1847 by freed slaves from the US, is reach in some very sought after natural resources as rubber, gold and emeralds but has been torn appart by corrupt leaders and civil wars. “The men of this country have failed us -says Siatta at one point. There are few things they can do and the ones they can are not nice”.

Can a woman do a “man’s job”? you may ask. Well… as of the end of 2007 there were 11 women elected in power, in countries all around the world (Ireland, New Zeland, Finland, The Philippines, Mozambique, Germany, Liberia, Chile, Switzerland, India and Argentina).  In the case of Iron Ladies of Liberia, I’d say go watch the movie and judge for yourself. It is worthy.

Lokas (Chile, 2007, 90 mins.) – 25th MIFF

Charlie lives in Mexico with his son, Pedro. After being released from jail both have to move back to Chile where his father -whom he hasn’t seen in more than 30 years- is willing to receive them and help them on a fresh start.  As if that whole moving wasn’t stressful enough, Charlie discovers at the airport that his father is a “maraca” (derogative for gay) -as he calls “them”- and worst of all, he lives with his partner.

With a less than perfect resume, the only job he finds is as waiter at Lokas. The exterior makeover he has to undergo is just the tip of the iceberg of his deep turmoil. In the meantime, Pedro tries to adjust to the new reality, to understand the relationship between his granfather Mario and this “uncle” Flavio. While missing his mother he focus on helping his father addapt and cope with his prejudices -non the lesser because of family relationship.

Outrageously funny it is, nevertheless, the kind of comedy that makes you wonder -what am I laughing about? when it takes a deep plunge to explore the intricacies of the human soul. On their own style, at their own pace, each character has to deal with their own conflicts and find a way to resolve them within the small community of the family -“ok, not the standard family, but the only one i got” – as Pedro expresses in his own words, from the fresh innocence of his young years.

Gonzalo Justiniano’s eighth film is certainly a wonderful option to begin the the last weekend of the Festival with a smile and a nice subject to talk about during the dinner afterwards. Enjoy!!!

The Girls (Chile, 2007, 65 mins.) -25th MIFF

Director Rodrigo Marin makes a very promising debut with this film telling the story of two girls -Antonia and Sophie- and the conflictive relationship between them. One of them is liable to have breast cancer and this stirs the dinamic of their relationship in a new way.  It is an intimate film -uncomfortably intimate at some moments since Marin manages the camera angles and close-ups in a way that takes the viewer right in the middle of the relationship.

The action occurs in Sophie’s small appartment. The constrains and discomfort of the space seem to be the reflection of the ones on the relationship. Along the 3 acts of the film the story develops and we get a better idea of what goes on between them with the help of contextual interviews with friends, ex-boyfriends, teachers. As in a gestaltic game these interviews take place on open spaces, creating an outrageous contrast with the oppresive intimacy of the relationship between Antonia and Sophie. The final act will reveal the hidden element creating the conflict…

Rodrigo Marin wrote and directed using experimental techniques. The main actresses had been rehearsing separately without meeting of knowing about the other one. They actually met at the set the first day of the production.

Oh! did i mentioned it is in black and white? yeah…

A small story but a refreshing one and a very good example of the vision of this new generation of chilenean filmakers.

MIFF 2008 coverage

After some technical difficulties I am back with some reviews for you :) The Festival ends on Sunday and there still are plenty of wonderful films to watch.

I must say, the level of quality of the films as well as the overall performance of the different areas that make it possible for the public to enjoy the Festival experience has been outstanding and really worthy of a bright 25th anyversary.

Make sure to check the festival official website for complete screening schedule at www.miamifilmfestival.com and enjoy the experience!

Buenos dias Miami!!! :D

Hermoso domingo one Miami, aún mas brillante gracias a la presencia del 25to Festival Internacional de Cine de Miami.
Este año marca un hito muy importante en la historia del Festival y también en la historia y evolución de Miami, mostrando al mundo un reflejo del ultimo cuarto de siglo en esta ciudad.
Miami ha recibido el apelativo de ¨la puerta de las Americas¨y el nombre realmente le sienta.
El Festival de Cine de este año refleja esta realidad ofreciendo 160 films de todo el mundo, con una importantísima presencia de producciones Latinoamericanas. De modo que hay algo para cada uno, cubriendo todos los gustos e intereses cinematograficos.
Para obtener una Guia completa de los films en exhibición, por favor dirijase a la pagina del festival: www.miamifilmfestival.com
Por mi parte, estare escribiendo criticas de algunos de los films regularmente durante esta semana. Nos vemos en el treatro… Disfruten!!!

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