Friday, October 29, 2010

The Spirit of Brickell Gallery Night

So you’ve just finished your meal at Perricone’s and plan to meet some friends at Baru for a drink later. What to do? Grab some gelato and then check out the outdoor art kiosks and participating galleries in the area. Tonight corresponds to Brickell Gallery Night.

Spirit del Art Gallery is one of the participating galleries located in the Shops of Mary Brickell Village. The majority of the work on display is from the principal artist Amparo Garzon. Garzon is from Colombia and specializes in a style which Director Tatiana Gomez refers to as magical realism.

The other artists represented at the gallery include Carla Fache, Natalia Preciado and Carmen Gusmao.

Spirit del Art Gallery
Where: 900 South Miami Ave. , Shops at Mary Brickell Village
When: Oct. 29, 2010, 7 – 10 pm

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Viernes Culturales adds a spooky twist

By Alexandra Figueredo

October 28, 2010

Little Havana’s popular arts and culture festival Viernes Culturales is bringing several treats to visitors on Friday, October 29. The lineup of performances includes poetry, ethnic dancers, break dance, live painting and more.

The new CoraZona, in the heart of the festival space, encompasses SW 8th Street from 14th to 16th Avenues. Beginning this month, the main stage will include 45 minutes of poetry and storytelling both in Spanish and English, based on a particular theme. Appropriately the theme will be Halloween this month and Miami Herald writer Enrique Fernandez, among others, will be sharing one of his pieces about a werewolf.

Local historian Dr. Paul George will lead a free walking tour of Little Havana with special emphasis on spooky tales. The tour starts at 7 pm in front of the Tower Theater. There will even be a pumpkin carving station next to the McDonald's on 8th Street to take the kids.

Viernes Culturales will still bring the usual salsa and bongo playing, local artists and artisans sharing their pieces and a domino competition held in Domino Park. The Tower Theater will be open and screening the last films of the Festival of New Spanish Cinema. And the art galleries will be open and displaying their latest exhibits and collections.

The program for the CoraZona Stage (at the end of Domino Plaza off of SW 8th Street and 15th Ave.):

7:00 pm: Poetry & Storytelling (Theme: Halloween/Spooky)

7:45 pm: Fina Escayola y su Estudiantes de Flamenco (Flamenco dance)

8:15 pm: Rhythm King Warriors (B-Boys break dance & Latin Percussion)

9:00 pm: "Yansan" Afro-Cuban Folkloric Dance by Marisol Blanco & Ire Obini

9:30-11:00 pm: Orquesta America (Salsa)

For more information and a full schedule of Viernes Culturales, visit

Viernes Culturales/Cultural Fridays Arts and Culture Festival
Where: SW 8th Street, from 13th to 17th Avenues
When: Friday, Oct. 29, 2010, 7 – 11 pm
Admission: Free 

© 2010, Alexandra Figueredo
To contact the writer, please email her at

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dream Girls Review - Ain't no Dream

So I love Musicals. No, really… I really love ALL Musicals. My dream is to play Velma Kelly in a full production of Chicago one day and I'm actually writing my own Musical. Really.

I can't say I've ever NOT enjoyed a Musical. And Dream Girls was no exception. Except... 

I was a little disappointed this time. Mind you, I've never watched the movie nor the Musical so I really didn't have anything to compare it to. The only thing I did to prep for the show was read a full synopsis of all the Acts and the background information. 

Oh and I also YouTubed "And I am Telling You" sung by both Jennifer Holliday (the amazing original cast member who played Effie) and Jennifer Hudson (the studio version from the movie), upon advice of a friend. Watching those incredible performances made this version sound amateur-ish, if you can believe that. (Of course I can’t get this song out of my head and keep belting it with the gusto of a gospel singer, just without the gut-so.)

For those of you who are clueless, this is a story about a black all-girl singing group called "The Dreams" that try out for a singing contest at the Apollo Theater in NYC. There they meet both their soon-to-be slime ball manager Curtis Taylor as well as James "Thunder" Early, a popular playboy R&B singster a-la James Brown. The girls sing backup for “Thunder” until they finally get their own solo gig. The full-figured diva Effie White becomes the natural lead singer, followed by the daintier beauties Deena Jones and Lorrell Robinson. The group dynamic takes a turn for the worse when Curtis decides that Deena should become the lead singer because of her softer pop sound over that of meaty soulful Effie, and then Effie gets replaced all together. In the mix, there are jealousies, sour romantic relationships, conspiracies and drama. Lots of drama.  

Moya Angela who plays Effie definitely has a voice and can act, but she was often pitchy and flat on certain higher notes. And I already mentioned my thoughts on "And I am Telling You." I was looking forward to Syesha Mercado playing Deena Jones. Syesha is not only a second runner up on the seventh season of American Idol, but she's also an FIU graduate. I know her voice is supposed to seem purposely inferior to Effie's but I still feel her performance could have generally been stronger. Of the three girl-group members, Lorrell played by Adrienne Warren was the most consistent throughout the performance, keeping a balance between "pretty" and powerful vocals and excellent acting.

The energy of the ensemble was somewhat bipolar, going up and down throughout the show, and the singing was a bit flat at times. True I went on Sunday evening, which was the last night of the tour in Miami. Although I was hoping for a balls to the wall finale, I'll give the cast the benefit of the doubt and say a few long nights out on South Beach is enough to zap anyone's energy by the last day.

Constant scene changes did help the flow. Plus the set design and costumes were magnificent. And of course the show is backed by Award-winning script and music.

The best part of the show was overwhelmingly the character of James "Thunder" Early played by Chester Gregory. His performance was titillating and brought much-needed comic relief and excitement to the show. His electrifying high-pitched screams and “Give me an Oooh Oooh”'s thoroughly entertained the audience!

Overall the show was enjoyable for a lazy Sunday evening. Fortunately I’m no critic. And I really love all Musicals. Have I mentioned that?

Broadway Across America "Dream Girls" Musical at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami

Modeling in front of the beautiful architectural structure that is Ziff Ballet Opera House. I love how my Play Bill blends in with my dress.

In our seats. Pretty good ones too.

The cast after they've bowed and are starting to leave the stage.

© 2010, Alexandra Figueredo
To contact the writer, please email her at

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Art exhibit creates interactive DNA sequence

By Alexandra Figueredo

October 20, 2010 

Miami artist Xavier Cortada is never shy about creating a buzz around his artwork.  

“Would you like to give a sample of your DNA in the name of art?”  

That’s what students donning lab coats and clip boards asked visitors at the opening night of Cortada’s “Sequentia” exhibit at The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum. 

The “Sequentia” exhibit explores the sequence of events that make up life, beginning at the molecular level. The title of the exhibit also references the series of steps the artist will take to create a genetic sequence from a participatory art project at the Museum. 

“The Four Nucleotides” is a series consisting of four large, colorful paintings depicting each of the four bases of a DNA strand that make up all life: Adenine, Cytosine, Guanine and Thymine.  

In “Genetic Sequence,” Cortada invites up to 400 visitors at the Museum to participate in an interactive installation. Participants randomly select a post card depicting one of “The Four Nucleotides” and place them sequentially in a grid on the wall. This will form a genetic sequence that the artist will use to create a DNA strand.  

The clever interactive project has participants “leave their DNA behind” by touching the post cards they select. “In essence, they are exchanging their DNA for one of the 400 drawings hanging in the exhibit,” said Cortada.

Two weeks into the exhibit, Cortada will partner with Dr. Kalai Mathee from the FIU Department of Molecular Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. They will hold several laboratory sessions to determine if the random sequence created in the participatory installation actually exists in the human genome. The presence of the specific DNA strand will be sequenced and analyzed against other existing DNA sequences. All the results will be exhibited in the museum as they become available.  

“Sequentia” runs through January 2, 2011 at the Frost. For more information on the exhibit, visit:

“Sequentia” Solo Art Exhibit by Xavier Cortada
When: Oct. 13, 2010 through Jan. 2, 2011
Where: The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, Florida International University, 10975 SW 17th Street, Miami, FL
Admission: Free 

© 2010, Alexandra Figueredo
To contact the writer, please email her at  

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Frost Museum brings master painter Rubens to collection

By Alexandra Figueredo

October 16, 2010

The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University is steadily gaining a world-class collection. It recently acquired a Peter Paul Rubens piece in its repertoire.

The oil painting “Adoration of the Magi” is attributed to Rubens (1577-1640) and fellow Flemish artist Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678). Painted between 1618 and 1619, the painting depicts Virgin Mary presenting baby Jesus to the three kings. Religion was a central theme in much of Rubens’ work and this painting was originally an alter piece.

Although the painting is on special loan to the Frost by private collector Natan Saban, it is still an incredible asset for the Museum.

Carol Damian, Director and Chief Curator of The Frost, said, “The Rubens is an outstanding addition to our exhibitions – rare in any part of the world, especially in Florida, where there are only a few great masters on exhibit.” 

The Frost is offering lectures and educational programs to the public during the fall 2010 season for the Rubens and other pieces of the collection.

“To have this in our museum is an extraordinary gift to all of us and an amazing opportunity to teach about painting, history, religion, and the world of the past – still very relevant to the present because of its beauty and significance,” said Damian.

© 2010, Alexandra Figueredo
To contact the writer, please email her at  

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Opening reception of exhibits at the Frost Art Museum

Students, professors, artists, art collectors and patrons alike hobnobbed Wednesday at the opening of four exhibitions at FIU's Frost Art Museum. Hundreds of visitors checked out the exhibition space, packing the Frost Museum's three floors. There was even a lovely choral performance in Spanish, much to the delight of the crowd.

This lovely piece on the wall below is by Xavier Cortada and is one of Four Elements: Water, Air, Earth and Fire. They are changed seasonally and this piece is "Aer" (aka Air).  The scrolls span three floors of the the museum and add fabulous color and texture to the museum. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Frost’s new exhibitions reflect 500 years of global art history

By Alexandra Figueredo

October 11, 2010

This Wednesday October 13, The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University (FIU) will be holding its opening reception for four fall exhibitions. The event will continue the Museum’s popular “Target Wednesday After Hours” series held monthly throughout the university’s academic year.

The Museum is featuring four new exhibits this fall: “Embracing Modernity: Venezuelan Geometric Abstraction”; “Florida Artist Series: Selections from Anomie 1492-2006” by Arnold Mesches; Xavier Cortada's “Sequentia”, and “La Habana Moderna” in the Wolfsonian Teaching Gallery at The Frost.

Carol Damian, Director and Chief Curator of The Frost, said the exhibits represent the very mission of FIU and its new Worlds Ahead theme.

“We are international and part of the new world. The exhibits represent Europe, America, Latin America and the Caribbean art histories and span 500 years of artistic production,” said Damian.  

The Frost has partnered with Target to hold the monthly receptions, which complement the Museum's exhibitions. Visitors have the chance to meet and socialize with artists and patrons, learn about the Museum, and experience different forms of art, music, film, dance, and other performances. 

“Target Wednesday After Hours” are free and open to the public and take place from 6 – 9 pm one Wednesday each month. For more information on events at The Frost, visit

Target Wednesday After Hours: Opening Reception for four fall exhibitions
When: Oct. 13, 2010, 6-9 pm
Where: The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, Florida International University, 10975 SW 17th St., Miami, FL
Admission: Free

© 2010, Alexandra Figueredo
To contact the writer, please email her at

Sunday, October 10, 2010

FIU emphasizes the Arts as part of its Worlds Ahead theme

By Alexandra Figueredo

October 10, 2010

Florida International University (FIU) has adopted a new theme this year -- Worlds Ahead -- as part of a new communications plan to rebrand the University as innovative and vibrant, community-focused yet global.

The theme is further complemented with the University’s Quality Enhancement Plan: “Global Learning for Global Citizenship.” This initiative stresses global awareness, a global perspective, and an attitude of global engagement for students, faculty, staff and the community.

According to Carol Damian, Director and Chief Curator of The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, FIU has made the Arts part of this strategic plan, recognizing its significance in forming a world-class citizen.

FIU is supporting the arts through its robust schedule of arts, design and culture events this season at its two museums The Frost and The Wolfsonian, as well as the College of Architecture + The Arts. The College has even added new Worlds Ahead faculty artists such as renowned flutist Nestor Torres and orchestra conductor Dr. Grzegorz Nowack from the Royal Philharmonic in London.

Global learning is an educational approach, and The Frost is leading the way with its rich selection of lectures and exhibitions.

“As a university museum, we are first and foremost dedicated to education – of our own students and community, and the community of South Florida as well,” said Damian.

For more information on the museums and College and their schedule of events, visit the websites below.

The Frost Art Museum:
The Wolfsonian Museum:
College of Architecture + The Arts:

© 2010, Alexandra Figueredo
To contact the writer, please email her at

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Review of Mosquera Collection Exhibit at Freedom Tower

Friday was the opening night reception of the Mosquera Collection exhibition. What a lovely event! First we were welcomed by a gorgeous glowing florescent pink Freedom Tower that exuded Art Deco flair!

Then the entire event was packed with movers and shakers checking out the extensive Cuban American collection of the Mosqueras. One floor was dedicated solely to paintings, mixed media and installations. Another floor was dedicated to films. The venue was beautiful and the event overflowing with art lovers. Overrall it was a truly magnificent artistic evening!
This is me in front of a Pablo Cano piece, who is known for his puppets and toyish art work and sculptures.

In front of a Soriano, one of the Cuban master artists. His art work exudes an ethereal and dream-like haze, and uses bright bold colors.

Abstract painting by Baruj Salinas. Salinas is one of the living master Cuban artists who is a true asset to Miami Dade College and the community teaching art technique classes.

Punching bags with the faces of major US and foreign political figures? This installation is by Antuan Rodriguez, a Cuban artist whose work has many socio-political undertones. He also had an excellent video in the exhibit also incorporating the punching bags.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Private Collection of Cuban-American art on display at iconic Freedom Tower

By Alexandra Figueredo

October 5, 2010

Miami natives Dr. Arturo and Liza Mosquera have a really expensive hobby -- they’ve been collecting art for more than 20 years.  Their passion has led to one of the most extensive private collections of Cuban and Cuban-American contemporary art in South Florida.

On Friday, October 8, Dr. and Mrs. Mosquera will be presenting the exhibition Ways of Worldmaking: Notes on a Passion for Collecting which highlights several works from their collection, at Miami Dade College’s Freedom Tower in Miami.

Over 85 works from 70 Cuban-American and Cuban artists will be exhibited, including Cesar Trasobares, Pablo Cano, Baruj Salinas, Arturo Cuenca, Liliam Cuenca, Pedro Vizcaino, Gustavo Acosta, Adriano Buergo, Heriberto Mora, Glexis Novoa and Antuan Rodriguez, among others. There are also important works by artists from the early exile group, many who are now deceased, such as Eduardo Michaelsen, Agustín Fernandez, Rafael Soriano, Guido Llinás and Jorge Camacho.

The exhibition recognizes the collectors’ contributions to the arts in South Florida and their support of both established and emerging artists. Over the years they developed relationships with many of these artists, which led to a greater appreciation and understanding of collecting.

Dr. and Mrs. Mosquera began collecting art in 1989. In 2000 they created a quarterly exhibit called “Art @ Work” hosted at Dr. Mosquera’s orthodontic offices, which steadily grew in popularity and reputation. They later opened the Farside Gallery adjacent to the orthodontic practice as an alternative art space to feature additional artists.

Collection pieces range from paintings, sculptures, photographs, video and installations. The exhibition is curated by Cristina and Vivian Nosti, a sister team known as DUO NOSTI for professional purposes.

The opening reception is free and open to the public. The exhibition period will run through November 6, during which there will be a series of panel discussions with the collector and many of the artists featured in the exhibition.

Ways of Worldmaking: Notes on a Passion for Collecting
Exhibition Opening Night
Where: Freedom Tower, 600 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33132
When: Friday, Oct. 8, 2010, 7 pm - 9 pm
Admission: Free

For a link to the article on Mosquera Collection Exhibit

© 2010, Alexandra Figueredo
To contact the writer, please email her at

Friday, October 1, 2010

Oktoberfest bier, music, food and fun hits Coral Gables

The Deutschland is definitely the place to be this October 2010. That’s because it’s the 200th anniversary of Oktoberfest! What other celebration allows you to dance polka while wearing lederhosen and still maintain your dignity?

If you aren’t fortunate enough to jet across the Atlantic this month, a close alternative is hitting Fritz & Franz Bierhaus in Coral Gables, FL.

The Bierhaus is planning Oktoberfest festivities from October 1 through October 10. That’s 10 days of great bier, music and my personal favorite… the bratwurst sandwich!

The Bierhaus will highlight three typical German biers in their bier garden: a blonde pilsner, a dark lager, and the “Oktoberfest” which is somewhere in the middle.

Although you will catch me practicing my German by ordering “Ein bier, bitte,” I much prefer to accompany my Brat with a glass of Riesling, which can be purchased at an adjacent wine garden.

As I’ve already alluded, Fritz & Franz serves traditional Bavarian/Austrian foods. Bratwurst, wiener schnitzel, sauerkraut, strudel… all the usual Oktoberfest staples to maintain atleast some level of sobriety.

Several bands from Austria and Germany will be performing throughout the festival as well. The catchy polka tunes are just perfect for the “happy” patrons to dance along to. And in usual German style, the bands stop playing every few songs to lead the crowd in a toast (any excuse to drink!).

If you’re brave (or inebriated), you can participate in Jodel and Bratwurst-eating contests. Plus they have a station conveniently located next to the alcoholic beverages selling raffle tickets to raise funds for CHARLEE Homes for Children. Help support the kids!

So bring along your stein (aka liter-sized beer glass), or better yet an enormous glass boot to toast to cooler Miami weather! Prost!

For more information on Fritz & Franz Bierhaus in Coral Gables, visit

Oktoberfest at Fritz & Franz Bierhaus
Where: 60 Merrick Way, Coral Gables, FL
When: Oct. 1 – 10, from 11 am – 12 am midnight
Admission: Free; payment for food and beverages based on tickets paid for in cash

© 2010, Alexandra Figueredo
To contact the writer, please email her at