Plus, a local film festival is keeping it virtual and cruise lines could be setting sail sooner rather than later.
The New Tropic

🔊 Ultra Music Festival finds a permanent home in downtown Miami

Plus, a local film festival is keeping it virtual and cruise lines could be setting sail sooner rather than later.

Welcome to Thursday, Miami.

As yesterday’s newsletter signaled, The New Tropic is literally counting the minutes until Memorial Day weekend. 🕚

Well, we now know a little more about what the weather might look like in the days ahead. We’re not going to say anything for fear of swaying things one way or another, but it’s worth noting that Miami is a very powerful city, and our collective energy — or vibe, if you want to call it — is accordingly potent. If we will it, the weather will be lovely. 🙏

But as long as everybody's working for the weekend, let's see what Miami-Dade's got going on in the here and now...

💧 What Miami is talking about 

Blue is beautiful. 💙 | Want to see your own picture in this space? Tag either #thenewtropic or @thenewtropic to be featured in our Instagram of the Day. (📸: @miamicolortheory)

💃 After years of protracted squabbles, it seems Ultra Music Festival has finally cemented its home in downtown Miami. Yesterday, the legendary music gathering released a joint statement with the Downtown Neighbors Alliance announcing that the two parties had resolved their longstanding disagreements. This opens the door for Ultra to take place at Bayfront Park on March 25-27, 2022 without fussing or fighting between the festival, local officials, and downtown residents.

The statement from Ultra’s spokesperson, Ray Martinez, said in part that “[w]e look forward to continuing to partner with area residents with the common goal of advancing a shared vision of sustainable coexistence, which will allow us to continue showcasing Miami and its local culture as the dance music capital of the world.”

If I — hi, Zach here 👋 — can editorialize for a second: Ultra was the first music festival I ever wrote about in a professional capacity, pieces on Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival for my college newspaper notwithstanding. Even before I relocated to the 305, I deprioritized my MWF 7 a.m. class and the corresponding 30-odd page paper I had due in order to make the trip down from Gainesville and write about the fest for Miami New Times. Since then, Ultra has been a permanent fixture of my social and professional life, even during the strange period of time where I worked as a litigation reporter. 😜

Over the last five or so years, I’ve been there for the transcendent performances, disappointing sets (not naming names 😉), fleeting fears that the festival would leave Miami entirely, and ill-fated excursions to Virginia Key. Like many, my relationship with Ultra hasn’t always been an especially smooth one. But imperfect though it might be, the fest and cultural events like it are what make Miami — or any major city for that matter — worth living in. Maybe it’s the romantic in me, but I’m hopeful that after two years off, Ultra will return in 2022 complete with the locale it’s most associated with, and put on a party for the books. 🙏

In other news...

🎥 Speaking of Miami-based cultural gatherings, Third Horizon Film Festival is returning and will be taking place on June 24 through July 1. This will be the collective’s fifth celebration of Caribbean cinema, as it was one of the rare gatherings that just skirted by before the world shut down in March 2020. Filmmaker Jason Fitzroy Jeffers, one of Third Horizon’s co-founders, explained the decision to keep the fest’s 2021 edition mostly virtual in a must-read Instagram post. Jeffers wrote that the move was largely motivated by wanting to adopt a stance of solidarity with the Caribbean and other communities still struggling with the pandemic. He pointedly noted that the capacity for the UK and U.S. to reopen while much of the world remains at the mercy of COVID-19 — compounded by an international shortage of vaccine supplies — is rooted in "a history of wrongdoing and neglect." (Third Horizon via Instagram)

🚴 Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced two new public safety initiatives earlier this week. One, “Bike 305,” is meant to encourage best practices on bicycling around the 305. The other, “Vision Zero,” is an ambitious program aiming to eliminate all traffic-related cycling fatalities and serious injuries by 2030. (CBS Miami / Mayor Daniella Levine Cava via Instagram)

🛳 Royal Caribbean is slated to begin test voyages from PortMiami as soon as June 20. The cruise line announced it received the go-ahead from the CDC to start simulated sailings with post-pandemic precautions in place. If you’d like to set off for the seas yourself, this unofficial Royal Caribbean fan blog has information on how you can volunteer to participate in these test cruises. (WPLG Local 10)

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💅 Get dressed up for the next edition of drag bingo at Time Out Market(Miami Beach)


💃 Live it up with DJ Jackie Danza during Latin-Ish Fridays at Time Out Market(Miami Beach)

🍔 Celebrate National Burger Day at Time Out Market Miami with boozy strawberry milkshakes from Kush along with discounts and a special secret menu item honoring the hamburger holiday(Miami Beach)

🎵 Jam out to the genre-bending tunes of Haitian Twoubadou group Khalbass at the Center for Subtropical Affairs (Little River)

🎨 Get lost in Aṣẹ: Afro Frequencies, artist Vince Fraser's new multi-sensory visual experience at ARTECHOUSE (South Beach)

🇺🇸 Enjoy live performances by the United States Army Band at Espanola Way on Friday, May 28 from 6-8 pm(Miami Beach)

🤗 Apply to the CreARTE Grant Program & help make Miami a global hub for the arts(Online)


🍰 Stop by Bunnie Cakes and join the Stars, Stripes, and Sweets Cupcake Decorating Class to bake a burger-shaped cupcake, cookie fries, and more tasty Memorial Day treats(Doral)

🍔 Taste your way around Downtown Doral eateries one patty at a time during the Burger & Bao Hop starting at The Doral Yard (Doral)

🎸 Rock out with Seafoam Walls and more during The Black Market at The Anderson (Upper Eastside)

🎶 Sip on a Polynesian-style cocktail and sway to the sounds of Afrobeta at Casa Tiki (Little Havana)


💃 Freak out on the dance floor with some of Miami's best DJs along with international masters of mixing DJ Harvey, Moodymann, and Soul Clap during Where Are My Keys? (Miami)

🕊️ Honor those we've lost during the Interfaith Concert of Hope and join the South Florida musicians coming together to raise money for a good cause (Allapattah)

🛍️Peruse the best local artisans and chefs at The Tropical Flea (Little River)


📖 Join HistoryMiami Museum's resident historian, Dr. Paul S. George, as he embarks on a weekly series detailing defining moments in South Florida history (Online)

🎙️ Tune in to the latest edition of Fantasy Theatre Factory's online show "Random Questions with Larry Fields" (Online)

Thursday, June 3

💅 Witness the fierce Athena Dion reinvent the game night wheel while DJ Mike Trotter provides the soundtrack at Time Out Market Miami's weekly Drag Bingo (Miami Beach)

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☝️ One more thing… 

Yesterday The New Tropic had the good fortune to speak with ICA Miami curator Gean Moreno as well as Knight Foundation arts program director Koven Smith. The museum recently launched the 2021 season of its Digital Commissions series, and the duo was nice enough to speak with me — hey, Zach here again 👋 — about the initiative.

You can watch the Instagram Live interview right here as well as check out the first edition of this year’s series on ICA Miami’s website and YouTube channel. Sable Elyse Smith is the first artist to have their digital work featured, and there are more installments to come from creatives Rev. Houston Cypress, Dara Friedman, and Minia Biabiany in the months ahead.

Thanks for reading and see you back here tomorrow,

Zach at The New Tropic

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