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Plus, a heartfelt spotlight on Hialeah and the finale of Little Haiti Book Festival Online.
The New Tropic
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🖌 There’s a battle brewing for Wynwood’s walls

Plus, a heartfelt spotlight on Hialeah and the finale of Little Haiti Book Festival Online.

Welcome to another “We can’t believe it’s already Wednesday,” Miami.

And for that matter, we can’t believe Memorial Day Weekend is already right around the corner either. Thankfully, it seems there's only a slim chance of rain this weekend. 🙏

This is especially great news for me — Zach, the guy who writes these newsletters and always feels compelled to remind readers who he is whenever writing in the first-person 🤗 — because I’ll be diving into the deep end of socializing again with this year’s edition of Where Are My Keys?, one of Miami’s best ongoing parties. I was able to shake off the second vaccination shot chills, but come this weekend’s DJ sets by Moodymann and a cadre of esteemed Miami selectors… I’m not sure if I’ll be able to kick that feeling when it hits.

With that said, unfortunately, there won’t be any newsletters on Monday and Tuesday. 😞 I know, I know, but even the most dedicated of Miami newsletter writers take holidays off too. We’ll be sure to remind you again before the week is out, but before that time arrives, let’s survey what’s happening around the Magic City...

💧 What Miami is talking about 

Yeah, the views in Miami are OK, we guess. Not sure if we’d use the words stunning, spectacular, or even cinematic… but they’re alright. 😎 | Want to see your own picture in this space? Tag either #thenewtropic or @thenewtropic to be featured in our Instagram of the Day. (📸: @ronancolinmiami)

📰 The Miami Herald’s ongoing series of features profiling what lies ahead for 305 neighborhoods — we made mention of the paper’s spotlight on Overtown in a newsletter not long ago — recently turned its attention to Hialeah. The article is a comprehensive examination of the city’s makeup (Would it surprise you to know more Cuban Americans live there than any other city in the U.S.?), its history, and the developments signaling where it’s going.

One of the best quotes in the story comes from Rick Perez, the person behind the Instagram account @Hialeahlove1925. Perez’s page is a love letter to all things Hialeah, and his affection is, well, infectious:

“Hialeah to me represents the American dream, ever evolving,” Perez told the Herald. “I love how a new generation of Hialeah kids are reimagining our culture. Unlike Wynwood, our growth is organic — slower for sure, but more authentic. Art, literature, and even cutting-edge creative chefs are making a difference. But hopefully Hialeah doesn’t change too fast. I like it just the way it is right now.”

In other news...

🗣 The good folks over at the Doral Yard were profiled in a wholesome Miami New Times piece yesterday. Cultural curators (and good friends of The New Tropic 🤗) Robyn Baltuch and Trina Sargalski spoke with writer Jeremy David about livening up an area more known for its suburban sprawl than its late-night antics, living up to the legacy of the Wynwood Yard, and the spot’s ambitious plans for the future. (Miami New Times)

💵 ICYMI: Florida is ending its federally-supported unemployment benefits program on June 26. The decision to stop distributing $300-per-week payments is part of the state’s “Return to Work” initiative. Earlier this month, Gov. Ron DeSantis revived the work search requirement mandating that unemployed Floridians must demonstrate that they searched for five jobs per week in order to receive benefits. (NBC 6 South Florida)

  • Related: While some folks claim that unemployment “benefits” are what’s keeping people from returning to work in the hospitality and tourism industry, others are citing low wages and little-to-no-job benefits — can you believe such a thing?! (Editor’s note: Sarcasm. 🙄) Some Florida restaurants are responding to the ongoing worker shortage by increasing would-be employees’ pay. (Orlando Sentinel)

👀 The delicate line between art and advertisement has never been more blurred: The Wynwood Business Improvement District is speaking out against the proliferation of commercial, sponsored murals along the neighborhood’s walls. The org maintains that it’s looking to crack down on such pieces in order to preserve Wynwood’s character and ward off an avalanche of advertisements. However, there’s tension over whether or not that ship has already sailed, and the need of many artists to take on sponsored projects in order to get by. (Miami New Times)

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🇭🇹 Little Haiti Book Festival celebrates myth and timeless storytelling

(📸: @miamibookfair)

All May long, The New Tropic has partnered with Miami Book Fair and Sosyete Koukouy of Miami, Inc., to spotlight offerings from this year’s Little Haiti Book Festival Online. Although we’re sad to see this virtual celebration of Haitian Heritage Month come to an end, we’re happy it’s doing so on an uplifting note. This week’s contribution from festival director and author M.J. Fievre — who was kind enough to author each of the Little Haiti Book Festival Online pieces featured in the newsletter — speaks to the interplay between fiction and fantasy, the importance of better understanding ourselves through the tales we tell, and how Miamians can learn more about Caribbean storytelling traditions this Sunday. Thanks for reading along!

The Miami Book Fair and Sosyete Koukouy are presenting Taptap Krik? Krak! Books and Music for Families on Sunday, May 30 for the finale of the Little Haiti Book Festival. We’re thrilled to welcome oral storytellers Muriel Johnson, Jude Joseph, Charlot Lucien, and Paula C. Pean. We’ll also be exploring new books with Angie Bell, Tico Armand, Danielle Joseph, OliGa, and Imane Kernizan. 

Many Caribbean stories represent a welcomed pause from realism, a chance to give in to and briefly live in the fantastical. Legends continue to proliferate, with creatures such as the morphoisé or mofwasé (from the word “metamorphose”) who shed their human skin to turn into wild dogs, or the antikri (the “antichrist” or Devil) who takes the form of a bat to suck on human blood. The baclou and the maskilili, both specific to Guyana, grant wishes in exchange for sacrifices. The ti Sapoti are tricksters who look like elves and scream in the night. The boundaries between human and animal are crossed with longing—each still separate, still human and animal. There is an embodiment, but also a shared experience between the everyday and these otherworldly beings. In Haiti, the zombie is understood as a man or woman who comes back from the dead but has lost their “bon zanj,” or “core identity.” 

Though Caribbean stories consistently touch on dark themes such as death and deception, the genre also deploys magical realism and is full of color and light. The oral literature often swarms with pawòl vwe (Word-Truth)—tales that create a portrait of the islands with their history of slavery and their social differences, while retaining the exuberance of storytellers of yesteryears. Full of the unbelievable and the ordinary, the funny and the heartbreaking, the stories pack a great deal into a relatively small number of pages. 

Whether laughing or flinching, Caribbean people understand the importance of such tales as well as the need to allow them to live on by retelling them and exploring these stories from new angles. When you dive into Caribbean myth, you might give yourself over to words and worlds you’ve touched before—but you feel renewed every single time.

Taptap Krik? Krak! Books and Music for Families takes place on Sunday, May 30, and you can register in advance on Miami Book Fair’s website. You can revisit The New Tropic’s past coverage of this year’s Little Haiti Book Festival Online and its explorations of Haitian Carnival, Creole, and the fallout of social media at the respective links above.

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Today

🗣 Attend Tech Talk at The Underline and learn from experts discussing the convergence of technology and public spaces (Brickell)

Tomorrow

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

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

Friday

💃 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)

🇺🇸 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)

Saturday

🍰 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)

Sunday

💃 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)

Tuesday

📖 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)

👋 That’s all for today

We’ll see you back here tomorrow for what we hope will be a straightforward, productive, not-at-all-stressful Friday Jr. 😌🙏😌

Cheers,

Zach at The New Tropic

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