Running down the 305’s cultural and cinematic gems.
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🎬 Shining the spotlight on Miami filmmakers

Running down the 305’s cultural and cinematic gems.

Hey, hi, howdy everybody, and welcome to the week. 

My name’s Juan Barquin — I’m an absolute clown and non-binary writer here in Miami, and I’m taking over The New Tropic’s wonderful newsletter today to coax you into reading and watching more art. Some of it is made by locals, some of it isn’t, but I can guarantee you it’s all culture you might not otherwise hear about. 

Let’s dive in.

🗣 What Juan is talking about

It’s easy to shop local when the art prints are this pretty. 😍🖼😍 | Want to see your own picture in this space? Tag #thenewtropic to be featured in our Instagram of the Day. (📸: @off_thedribble)

What Miami news story has piqued your interest recently?

I really enjoyed April Dobbins’ piece on the Hampton House, the central location of Regina King’s new film "One Night In Miami" (which you should be checking out on Amazon Prime). It’s a piece that doesn’t just highlight a good film and its creative team but actually dives into the history behind a bona fide Miami landmark. Hampton House was the premier Miami motel for Black luminaries visiting the city during its day, including the likes of Martin Luther King Jr., Sammy Davis Jr., Nat King Cole, and others.

In light of Black History Month, which begins today, I’d also like to highlight some other great recent films by Black women that you should be streaming ASAP: Garrett Bradley “Time” (Amazon Prime), Leilah Weinraub’s “Shakedown” (Criterion Channel), and Angela Robinson’s “Professor Marston and the Wonder Women” (Hulu). Also, Criterion Channel’s “Afrofuturism” series is a goldmine of work that happens to house two films by Miami filmmaker Keisha Rae Witherspoon (“1968 < 2018 > 2068” and “T”). 

What are you reading this week? 

I’ve been dedicating my 2021 to delving deeper into works by queer and trans writers while lounging by my apartment poolside with some of Miu’s Tea’s perfect lavender lemonade. 

Torrey Peters’ new novel “Detransition, Baby” and a re-read of her novellas “Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones” and “The Masker” have been a major highlight; they’re an exciting mix of trans lit featuring characters and stories not usually found in your basic, played out coming-out narratives. 

On top of that, McSweeney’s Queer Fiction collection has been revelatory. It’s introduced me to writers like Bryan Washington and K-Ming Chang while reinforcing my fondness for authors like Lee Lai, Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, and Kristen Arnett. The latter two authors are actually both Miami writers, and as a fan of “Mostly Dead Things,” I’m really looking forward to Arnett’s next book, “With Teeth.”

My favorite spot in the city to pick up and pre-order books is obviously Books & Books, where they’re nice enough to even order anything they don’t have in stock. Plus, they’re friendly folks with a great cafe and outdoor seating in case you want to enjoy the sun and a fresh breeze to go along with your read.

What are you up to this weekend?

Mentally, I’m out here living my best life attending an endless series of film festivals (just kidding, that’d be great though). 

With Sundance’s virtual edition finishing up, I’m looking forward to checking out the upcoming Sun Pass Film Festival. I’ve always had a fondness for short films and think they don’t get enough attention in our blockbuster-obsessed culture, so it’s been great seeing my friend Chris Molina organize a virtual fest showcasing shorts exclusively made by Miami-based filmmakers.

If you need something to do and are looking for some Miami-made cinema, supporting Sun Pass is a wonderful way to uplift the local creative community. Grab a ticket online, and I’ll “see” you there.

What’s your favorite project you’re working on right now? 

Fair warning: This next segment is a bit NSFW.

Now that that’s out of the way: My friend Isabelle Arf and I recently started a podcast called “For A Good Time…” that explores one of the most misjudged and under-discussed subjects of cinema: Pornography! I’ve always relished showcasing and talking about erotic art (I previously collaborated with the amazing O, Miami Poetry Festival on Flaming Classics’ Club Jewel Box event that paired drag with queer shorts) and this has allowed me to have in-depth conversations on the artform. 

If you’re at all interested in this kind of jam, you can check out our podcast at the above link as well as visit Miami’s “Wilzig Erotic Art Museum.”

What’s the best way to follow or get in touch with you?

Want to talk more about movies and queer culture? Then shoot me a message at (yes, I was once a foolish teen who put their year of birth in their email address and hasn’t changed it since — what of it?). Alternatively, you can just follow my idiot Twitter account @woahitsjuanito where I tweet a lot about movies and queer things while trying to highlight both my own writing and that of others that I find interesting. I may also complain about not having a boyfriend yet, so if anyone is as much a fan of Paul W.S. Anderson and Nancy Meyers as I am, please feel free to send a dating resume. 

Promotion from the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust

💡 What is your homelessness IQ?

Giving spare change, blankets, tents, and food to people experiencing homelessness may make you feel good, but it does little to change the outcome of a homeless person’s life.  

To help Miami-Dade’s unsheltered homeless or to assist shelters that house thousands of people and have great need, visit the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust’s volunteer page to learn more. 

Learn even more about homelessness in Miami-Dade County by taking our quick four-question quiz. (HINT: if you read the above, you are sure to get at least one question right!)

Donate to make real change!

💪 Resolution stamina

The New Tropic’s latest giveaway with The Tank Brewing Company will bring you a buzz without any of the bloat. 🍻 (📸: @juliarosephotog)

Many of us had cutting back on calories as a top New Year’s resolution for 2021. This week, we’ve got a giveaway to help you stay light and still enjoy a refreshing craft beer. Enter here for your chance to win a six-pack of The Tank Brewing’s newest offering, Lo-Ca. Lo-Ca is a Tropical Blonde Ale with only 94 calories and 2.8 grams of carbs (in case you are counting). Good luck! 

Things to do

Submit your events to our calendar.


🎨 Get the deets on creating an exhibition at nationally recognized alternative art space Locust Projects with this free webinar hosted by co-founder and practicing artist Elizabeth Withstandley (Online)

😂 Join Fantasy Theatre Factory for some laughs with Larry Fields as well as Miami magician and creative Billy Byron (Online)


🤔 Set yourself up for a mindful reset and delve into the psychology of procrastination (Online)


🎨 Celebrate the eighth anniversary of the PAMM's Fund for African American Art, Art + Soul, from the comfort of your home (Online)

🎭 Watch a one-person show based on the life of Harriet Tubman (Little Haiti)

😋 Sweeten up your life with tastes from 13 of your favorite local bakers at vote for your fave at the Doral Yard (Doral)


🌿 Get greenery during the annual plant show and sale at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (Coral Gables)

👋 Farewell for now

Before I turn this into a therapy session or start talking about the possibility of Real Housewives of Miami coming back, I’ll be signing off for now. But thanks for reading, and if you’re anything like me and could use a break from the world falling apart, go stare at the Coral City Camera feed. Despite being surrounded by beaches, we so infrequently get to experience the magical world beneath those crashing waves, and there’s magic in getting to exist in the sea, if only through a digital lens. 


— Juan

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