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Gay Mississippi Politician Found Dead
Mayoral Candidate Marco McMillian of Clarksdale, Mississippi, was found dead near a levee in northwestern Mississippi’s Delta region on Wednesday in what is believed to be a homicide.
The first openly gay man to run for mayor in Mississippi, Marco McMillian was “one of the 1st viable openly #LGBT candidates in Mississippi,” tweeted The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.
22 year old Lawrence Reed, was found inside McMillian’s SUV after a head-on collision and is currently in custody facing a murder charge. McMillian’s body was later discovered nearby. His campaign spoke of him in remembrance on Facebook: “We remember Marco as a bold and passionate public servant, whose faith informed every aspect of his life.”
Controversy surrounds the death of McMillian as the bizarre events and timing of his death have people wondering if it had anything to do with him being openly gay. His mother, Patricia McMillian doubts it had anything to do with his sexual orientation, telling CNN, “He did not announce in public that he was gay,” she said, adding, “I don’t think he was attacked because he was gay.”
McMillian had previously served as Executive Director of Phi Beta Sigma, where he secured the first federal contract to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and the impact on people of color. He also helped form partnerships with organizations such as the U.S. Marine Corps and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in discussing the disease.
Confirmation of how or why he was killed have yet been determined. ”It’s too early in the investigation to know what the motive is,” Sheriff’s Office spokesman Will Rooker said of McMillian’s death, reports CNN.
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Rediscovering Design District Dining at its Best
(Photos Courtesy of Oak Tavern & Felipe Cuevas)
By Rafa Carvajal
The majestic giant oak tree in the outdoor patio was the perfect place to enjoy the very popular dining gem of chef and restaurateur David Bracha (of The River Seafood & Oyster Bar fame) offering foodies affordably priced delectable food and appetizing cocktails in a very stylish, laid-back dining environment that had me coming back for more five days after my first visit. John, our waiter, also reminded me of some of the best professional waiters I have been privileged to be served by – excellent service that can be hard to come by in our Magic City.
Little did I realize when first deciding to dine at the Oak Tavern in the Design District that I had been to its location many times before. I also did not expect to enjoy such a delicious meal, extensive menu, and beautiful setting – which reminded me of dining al fresco in Europe under resplendent trees during a spectacular, cool Miami night.
Oak Tavern’s comprehensive modern American menu offerings include a selection of small plates, snacks, wood oven pizzas, charcuterie, large plates, and daily specials masterfully crafted from fresh, high quality ingredients. I particularly enjoyed the Stone Crab Crostini with avocado, dill, and lemon; the very large Sicilian Meatballs; a gigantic, super flavorful (yet very affordable $36) Mushroom Crusted New York Strip Steak with smashed rosemary creamer potatoes, grilled leeks, and truffle butter; and Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse Cake for dessert. I also loved their very stiff and affordable specialty cocktails, including the Flamingo and Moscow Mule.
The Oak Tavern menu certainly offers a broad array of mouth-watering dishes. Some other potential choices that caught my eye included the Crispy Skin Yellowtail Snapper with caper lemon butter sauce, tuscan kale, and boiled potato; the Sea Scallops a La Plancha wrapped in Virginia ham, lentils, and crispy shallots; the Duck Pizza with roasted pear, mustard, fontina, and truffle; the Sausage Pizza with tomato, house made sausage, meatballs, Fontina, and Parmesan; and the Baked Gnocchi with house made rabbit sausage, Taleggio cheese, and winter truffles; amongst many other alternatives that will make you come back for more.
This article was originally published in Wire Magazine Issue #8, 2013
The Magic Flute: Mozart’s Last Operatic Masterpiece
By Rafa Carvajal
Photos credit: © Gaston de Cardenas
Be sure to check out Wire Magazine at www.wiremag.com!
The Florida Grand Opera has welcomed a new year with one of the most performed operas in the world, The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte). This opera is also Mozart’s last operatic masterpiece and a timeless tale about the struggle between good and evil that comes alive through the imagination of a 1950’s teenage boy who reads a book of The Magic Flute at bedtime and is transported into the story in his dreams – becoming prince Tamino, its protagonist.
The hero, Tamino, is sung by Andrew Bidlack, a former FGO Young Artist and recent San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow. We caught up to Andrew to learn more about Mozart’s masterpiece.
Tell our readers why they should go see The Magic Flute.
This is one of the most beloved and most performed operas in the repertoire for a reason. Mozart’s music in this opera is outstanding; he wrote this opera at the end of his life and at the height of his ability, and it contains some of his most beautiful (and most famous) material.
Every member of this ensemble and orchestra is outstanding and I think it has to be one of the best Flute casts I’ve ever heard. We’ve all become good friends and genuinely love performing this opera together, and I think that chemistry is clearly projected out to the audience.
Add to that the very imaginative and clever production by Jeffrey Marc Buchman, which manages to bring some new life into the story without disrupting the original intent of its authors. Tamino is a boy who falls asleep reading a storybook, and the entire opera is a dream where elements of his real life and the “dream” world interact and the lines between the two are constantly blurred.
Describe your role as Tamino in The Magic Flute. What do you like the most about it?
Tamino is a standard fairy tale prince. Throughout the course of the opera he gets lost in a strange land, meets some new friends, falls in love, undergoes several ordeals and wins the girl in the end. I truly love singing this role; the tessitura is very difficult but it lies in a place in my voice that is actually very comfortable. This is also my first time singing a role this size entirely in German, and I’ve really enjoyed exploring the different sounds and expressive quality that the language allows.
What has been the most challenging role for you to play in an opera and why?
Every role certainly has its challenges, but one of the most difficult pieces I’ve ever been involved with was The Lighthouse by Peter Maxwell Davies, which I sang with Dallas Opera last season. The music itself is so tricky and it took me a year of almost daily study just to learn and memorize the notes. It is an incredible piece that explores the mysterious disappearance of three lighthouse keepers off the coast of Scotland at the turn of the century. The three singers each portray several characters, never leave the stage, and end up all losing their minds by the end. The level of concentration and focus required to make that journey (while counting and trying to sing the right notes) was extremely difficult, but it was one of the most exciting pieces I’ve ever been involved with.
What was your experience like being a San Francisco Opera’s prestigious Alder Fellow?
My experience as an Adler Fellow was incredible and was a major factor in launching my career. During my two years there, I was fortunate enough to be in 7 productions and almost 60 performances, and I was completely star struck sharing the stage with some of the greatest artists of our generation. It was so interesting to watch how they worked, how they paced themselves through a rehearsal period and how they turned in one world-class performance after another. The program also provided us with outstanding vocal and dramatic training and I came out of there a much more polished singer ready for the next step.
How do you feel being an FGO Young Artist propelled your career?
Being a Young Artist with FGO laid the foundation for what has become one of the most important relationships of my career with any company. I heard a fellow singer once say that getting hired is great, but getting hired back to a company is even better. Since my time as a Young Artist I’ve now performed three of my “dream roles” with this company: Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, and now Tamino. I have a lot of love for FGO and every time I’m back it feels like I’ve come home!
In which other operas will you be making a debut over the course of the year?
Next month I am making my debut with the Lyric Opera of Chicago in their production of A Streetcar Named Desire, which is an opera by Andre Previn based on the Tennessee Williams play. We open at Carnegie Hall in New York and then take the show to Chicago. After that, I’m doing a rare Donizetti comedy called Rita with Rochester Lyric Opera.
Who are some of your operatic inspirations?
Since we are talking about The Magic Flute, there is one particular singer that truly stands out. Just about any tenor that sings this repertoire will agree that the recordings of Fritz Wunderlich set the gold standard for Tamino. The beauty and phrasing of his singing was unmatched, and he effortlessly brought out the natural expressive colors of the German language. There is a clip from 1962 of him singing Tamino’s aria Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön, where Tamino is given a portrait of Pamina and falls instantly in love with her. He conveys the text with such elegance, style and legato, but at the same time he conveys this youthful joy in his singing. He is Tamino. Seeing this performance profoundly influenced my preparation for the role and my thinking about Tamino as a real, human character.
To what or who do you owe your success? Do you have any mentors?
I am forever grateful to the myriad of people who have helped me and influenced me throughout my career, but the person to whom I owe the most is, without question, my mom. Watching her playing the piano as a 5 year old is what first got me interested in music, and she was my first piano teacher. She was inspiring without being pushy, and went out of her way to expose me to music (especially Mozart and Pavarotti). Her influence and support gave me the courage to pursue this career and dare to be successful at it.
How did your interest in opera come about?
I was fortunate in that my relationship with classical music started at a very early age. I mentioned my mother was a classically trained pianist and my parents were great at encouraging our interest in all kinds of art and music. I played several instruments while in high school, but never sang at all until I was in some rock bands with friends. My teachers thought I had a good voice, so I joined the choir and sang in one of the musicals, but I loved the guitar and even started college as a classical guitar major. After a semester of that, I realized that singing was really where I was the most talented, and being on stage portraying a character brought to me a level of fulfillment that I couldn’t find performing instrumental music.
Is there anything else you would like to share with Wire Magazine readers?
Come see us in The Magic Flute at Florida Grand Opera!
CHISMEANDO con Raul V.
by Raul Vegas
Click Here to Read Original Article Published in Wire Magazine
La ciudad de Miami siempre se ha caracterizado por su distintivo sabor latino. Afortunadamente para ésta comunidad tener tantas matíces de cultura no ha sido un reto, más bien una gran ventaja y para muchos una bendición. Este es el caso de Aléxis Fernández, un inmigrante cubano quien llegó a la ciudad de Miami con una visión de sueños que para muchos parecían imposibles y que ahora son una realidad. Fernández ocupa un lugar esencial en nuestra comunidad y se ha convertido en un elemento artístico y cultural muy importante en nuestra ciudad, bajo su dual personalidad de Marytrini.
Marytrini, especialmente en la comunidad gay latina, ha sido y permanence siendo el ‘BOOM’ del momento. Ha revolucionado el entretenimiento latino y ha elevado el nivel para muchos otros artistas que se encuentran en el mismo medio. Marytrini se presenta cada viernes en Wet Bar, localizado en 1728 SW 8 Street en Miami; los sábados en su ‘casa matríz’ Solare Coliseum, localizado en 3666 NW 78 Avenue en el Doral, al igual que todos los domingos donde presenta su famoso Show de Cabaret – el cual se mantenido por 11 años y ha sido reconocido por el New Times y el Nuevo Herald por tres años consecutivos como el mejor show de cabaret del sur de la Florida. Tuve el gusto de sentarme con Aléxis Fernández “Marytrini” y no solo chismear de su secreto de éxito, sino también de los proyectos a los que actualmente se dedica.
Cuéntame como surge el personaje de Marytrini.
La historia de Marytrini comienza como un juego el día de Halloween de 1999 en una competencia de disfraces donde estaba disfrazado de mujer junto a dos amigos. Llevábamos maquillaje de $1.50 y de ropa solo una toalla, y resultamos ganadores del primer premio y desde entonces nace Marytrini.
¿Alguna vez pensaste que llegarías a cautivar los corazónes de tantas personas?
Uno nunca sabe para quien trabaja. Lo que si es seguro es que trabajando con dedicación, empeño y humildad todo sale de la manera correcta y eventualmente se gana el respeto de las personas que admiran el arte de un buen trabajo. Aunque un alago o un piropo nunca esta de más. Jajaja!
Hay mucha audiencia que admiran tu trabajo por la televisión, sabemos que has sido parte de diferentes producciones televisivas. ¿Donde podemos encontrarte en escena?
Generalmente todos los viernes en Wet Bar. Allí tengo la dicha de poder darle la oportunidad a varios colegas del medio, los que están empezando y a los más establecidos, para que deleiten al público con su talento.
Los sábados en Solare Coliseum, una noche de una mezcla increíble. Hay todo tipo de gente y todo tipo de música. Los sábados es garantizado que encuentres algo que te guste. El show también cuenta de artistas invitados locales y eventualmente invitados de otras partes del país y el mundo.
Todos los domingos en Solare Coliseum me presento en el Show de Cabaret “Marytrini y las Divas.” Es un show que vale la pena verlo, porque hay de todo. Comedia, drama, producciones, poemas, etc. Cuento con un gran elenco de artistas, un cuerpo de baile y un excelente equipo de trabajo que hace que la noche sea realmente mágica.
Yo se que aparte de la televisión, radio, teatro y tus presentaciones y producciones semanales, dedicas tiempo a obras sociales y campañas para beneficio a la comunidad. Muestra de ello lo vemos en tu participación en la campaña 25 Mitos-25 Realidades VIH Negativo o Positivo, Tu Decides. Y en el reconocido proyecto del gran fotógrafo Víctor Rodríguez y Hispanic AIDS titulado “Caras/Faces.” Pareciera imposible hacer todo lo que haces. ¿Cuentas de algún tiempo libre?
El tiempo libre en mi vida casi no existe, pero cuando lo tengo descanso y recargo baterías para el próximo round. A estas alturas, cualquier proyecto por mas pequeño o grande que parezca, es una gran responsabilidad, y las responsabilidades hay que asumirlas. Yo me he propuesto llegar al corazón de todos con mi trabajo. Busco dejar un legado a futuras generaciones de artistas, pautar la diferencia e inyectar positivismo en el entretenimiento y en el arte del transformismo.
¿Cual es la clave del éxito, en tu opinión?
El amor! Eso es lo que hace la diferencia. Con amor siempre uno logra ubicarse en un lugar muy especial en los corazones de los demás, por eso mi lema, “Amor, con amor se paga.”
Sé que siempre estás super ocupado, mil gracias por regalarnos un poco de tí para los lectores de Wire.
El gusto fue mío.
Recuerden de apartar en sus calendarios algún día del fín de semana y visitar a Marytrini en una de sus presentaciones.
Hagan bién y no miren a quien… CHISMEANDO estamos y CHISMEANDO nos quedaremos. Hasta la próxima!
Dining: You Should Read this Love Letter
By Rafa Carvajal
Photos Courtesy of Florida Cookery
Click Here to Read Original Article Published in Wire Magazine
I Iove Florida and its beautiful weather. I have now found a place where I can also love Florida’s cuisine – Florida Cookery at the beautifully renovated James Royal Palm Hotel. Kris Wessel, the award-winning Executive Chef and owner of Red Light Little River, has opened a restaurant that honors his more than 20 years working in South Florida and 100 years of his family ties to Florida and Miami Beach.
I caught up to Kris to learn more about his new culinary love letter to the state of Florida, after enjoying such delicious dishes as the Oxtail, Oyster and Alligator Empanadas served with soffrito jus and lemon cayenne rouille; the “Florida is the South” Pecan Dusted Grouper served with cheese grit cake, string beans and citrus beurre noir; and the Grilled Wild Boar Chops served with savory sapodilla jam, pois vert, and Caribbean cassoulet.
Q: What was your inspiration for creating Florida Cookery?
A: I looked at the South Florida fine dining landscape and saw no attention to the entire culture of “Florida” food and all of its influences.
Q: What can our readers expect when they dine at your restaurant?
A: We have dual settings for Florida Cookery. One is an upper level beautiful clean mid-century design opening up to a terrace overlooking the ocean. The other is the lower “patio” level, which has 80 seats of hip orange and white Corian tables and an Ipe wood-lined alcove looking over the pool deck. You can eat stone crabs, snapper, frog legs and oxtail while enjoying the Florida weather.
Q: Please explain Florida Cookery’s cuisine to our readers?
A: It is a direct reflection of the four strongest areas of influence on Florida – today and yesterday – the cultures of South America, the Caribbean, the American South and the contemporary demand of the Northeast.
Q: How are your Louisiana “culinary” roots reflected in your dishes at Florida Cookery?
A: Mostly in technique and applications to deliver the taste of Florida in the most succulent way.
Q: How is Florida Cookery different from other South Beach restaurants?
A: The dual levels give multiple experiences, but, aside from that, the “personal” statement I am putting forth is not just the inclusion of my family’s 90 years here, but of the other families and cultures who have and always will make up Florida.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with Wire Magazine’s readers?
A: I’m happy to be back in Miami Beach for the people who live on the beach! I owned two establishments here in the late ’90s: Paninoteca on Lincoln Rd. and Liaison on Española Way. It was a growing moment in South Beach, and now we are into a new type of growth and it’s fantastic!
CHISMEANDO: TP Lords y Su Amor por el Arte del Transformismo
Por Raul Vegas
Photos by Image1stmiami.com
Check out Wire Magazine at www.wiremagazine.com
Cada vez que salimos a bailar, a disfrutar de un trago, o simplemente a distraernos un rato, somos cómplices de la magia que nos ofrece cada establecimiento. También, somos partícipes de un derroche de talento que cautiva a una audiencia de una manera impresionante, uno de ellos es Alex Veléz, destacado con su dual personalidad bajo el nombre de TP Lords. Tengo el placer de concocerle hace más de 10 años y de formar parte de su círculo mas íntimo de amigos; por lo que era necesario sentarme a chismear con TP y compartir con ustedes un pedacito de esta gran diva que se pasea por los escenarios de esta ciudad.
Cuéntame… dame una breve reseña de quien es TP Lords.
Mi nombre es Alex Velez, tengo 35 años de edad. Nativo de la ciudad de Miami con raíces latinas de Puerto Rico. He estado en este medio artístico por 16 años y he disfrutado cada minuto. He participado y ganado en muchos concursos y siento orgullo en decir que soy la Madre de la Casa Lords (The House of Lords).
¿Qué significan tus raíces Latinas para tí?
Significan muchísimo. Aunque nací y me crié en la ciudad de Miami, me encanta visitar Puerto Rico, aprender de mi cultura y de como nuestra gente ha luchado para que nosotros seamos lo que somos hoy en día. He aprendido a cocinar muchos platos tradicionales de Puerto Rico gracias a la enseñanza de mi madre, y por supuesto me encanta bailar la música de mi país. Mis raíces latinas significan todo para mí, es lo que me ha formado a ser la persona que hoy soy.
¿Qué te apasiona?
Cualquiera expresión de arte. También crear diferentes estilos para mis presentaciones. Me encanta adentrarme en mi vestuario y mi producción para poder darle después vida en el escenario.
Debes saber que eres una de las figuras más queridas, admiradas, respetadas e idolatradas en el sur de la Florida en el arte del transformismo. Cómo te mantienes tan humilde y con tanta sencillez?
Trato de no pensar en todas esas caracterísiticas que me puedan subir el ego. Yo admiro y quiero a muchos artistas de este medio. Me mantengo humilde pensando en que todo me lo pueden quitar así de fácil como me lo dieron. Mañana puedo estar caminando y tener un accidente y perder una pierna, así que trato de disfrutar cada minuto de mi vida al máximo. Yo amo a todos por igual, así estén empezando en este medio o los que ya llevan años haciéndolo. Ayudo a todos los que puedo en lo que pueda, así sea un consejo o un tip de maquillaje. Nunca he actuado como una diva y es una actitud que nunca tomaré.
¿Qué sientes antes y después de una presentación?
Antes de una presentación siento emoción, porque tengo todas las ganas del mundo que la gente vea lo que he preparado. Después, siento orgullo. Orgullo de haber podido expresar mi talento de la manera en que lo hago, gracias en parte a todas esas estrellas transformistas de los ’70 que lograron pavimentar el camino para muchas de nosotras el día de hoy. Si no hubiese sido por esas divas esta expresión de arte aún sería ilegal.
Mucha gente no sabe que aparte de tu talento escénico también tienes una gran voz. ¿El canto es algo que quieres cultivar?
Si. Definitivamente.Por muchos años cuando empezé tenía mucha pena de hablar hasta en un micrófono; y mucho menos me imaginé el poder cantar. Con el tiempo me ví obligado a dejar el miedo y ahora soy anfitrión de muchos de los lugares donde trabajo y tengo que hablar por el micrófono. Me doy cuenta que soy una tipa graciosa (risas). En el futuro, planeo preparar varias canciones y armar una producción musical. Ya comencé y tuve la oportunidad de trabajar con DJ Josh Riptide, quien me produjo mi primera canción llamada 12 12 12, de venta en iTunes. Espero seguir ese sueño y desatar mi Beyonce interna (risas).
¿Quién es tu artista preferido de todos los tiempos y porqué?
Me fascina interpretar canciones de diferentes artistas, pero mi preferida es Beyonce! Sus producciones sacan de mi una energía increíble, me hacen sentir super coqueta y especial. Me encanta interpretar todas sus producciones grabadas en vivo.
¿Dónde te podemos encontrar rompiendo las tablas del escenario con tu talento?
Me presento cinco veces a la semana. Los miércoles en TWIST en South Beach, los jueves en Azúcar en Coral Gables, los viernes comienzo en Palace en South Beach y termino en The Manor en Fort Lauderdale. Los sábados en Discotekka en Downtown Miami y los domingos en Off The Hookah en Fort Lauderdale.
¿Cuál es tu secreto? Mantenerme sencillo, dulce… y acabar con el escenario!
Gracias TP por tu valioso tiempo y por ser tan maravillosa. Eres una inspiración para mí y para muchos que admiran tu trabajo.
No dejen de llegar a alguno de estos lugares y tomarse una foto con TP para subirla en Facebook. Les aseguro que a parte de un gran show el vestuario será un espectáculo!! Nos vemos en la próxima edición de Chismeando.
Hagan bien y no miren a quien!
Pretty Masculine’s Stunning Photos
Mike Ruiz (bodypaint/makeup by Dani Fonseca)
By Rafa Carvajal
Photos Credit: Mike Ruiz
I love my iPad and really enjoy using it to view beautiful photographs. I am also proud that Wire Magazine works with some of the best photographers in the world. We strive to bring you amazing photos every week in our editorial pursuits. So when I recently learned that celebrity photographer Mike Ruiz launched a new iPad App to transform Pretty Masculine, his very successful coffee table book, into an interactive photographic gallery for the iPad, I decided to find out more about how Mike is offering unprecedented access to his entire creative process.
One very interesting feature is the app’s interactive Studio Section that gives subscribers the ability to upload their own photos and transform them with a Pretty Masculine makeover by adding make-up, lighting effects and accessories from the Pretty Masculine collection to their personal photos and share them via Facebook, Twitter or email. Another nice feature are the behind-the-scenes videos where you can see models morph before your eyes from a blank slate to full body makeup – a great way to see the images come to life.
Mike is also utilizing the Pretty Masculine App to enhance his support of various charitable organizations that include The Ali Forney Center (a homeless shelter for GLBTQ youth), Bullies and Buddies Animal Rescue, GMHC and Green Chimneys. You can download the Pretty Masculine App in the iTunes App store by visiting this link: www.wiremag.co/mikeruizpmapp
Check out what Mike shared with Wire during our recent interview.
Q: Why do you feel it was important as a photographer to give your fans an inside look at your creative process?
A: With technology advancing so rapidly and information being so readily available, I felt that this was the logical progression in bringing art to the public. Also, people want to know everything about everything, and I wanted to give them an experience that goes far beyond just looking at an image. They get a much fuller understanding of what goes into a shoot, down to the history of the model and what inspired the make-up artists.
Q: What are some of the most notable interactive features of the Pretty Masculine App?
A: The most interactive feature is the Pretty Masculine Studio where you can either take your own photo or upload an existing one and customize it using a multitude of elements that I’ve isolated from various images of mine, giving the user the opportunity to really participate in my creative process. Another interactive feature is the ability to link to videos of all sorts – including interviews, behind the scenes and mini-movies of the images coming to life. There are also some really amazing time lapses of the execution of very intricate body art.
Q: Does the app give fans access to exclusive photos not included in the Pretty Masculine book?
A: Absolutely! Of the 120 images and 100 plus videos that appear on the app, only a dozen or so of the images are from the original book. The rest of the content is brand new.
Q: How do you come up with such surreal concepts for the portraits captured for the Pretty Masculine brand?
A: This project has evolved so much from its original form as a book. Artists and models alike have gotten to know Pretty Masculine as a creative opportunity not often encouraged in a single ongoing project. So, people come to it knowing that the sky is the limit as far as conceptualizing shoots is concerned. I allow everyone the freedom to come up with his or her most fantastical ideas and, as long as they adhere to the parameters of strength and empowerment, there really are no creative limits. As a result, I have some of the most talented and creative people converging on my shoots, culminating in a mind-blowing factory of visual stimulation. I feel so elated that I’ve been able to create this amazing environment for people to flourish in.
Q: Tell us about your work with the Ali Forney Center, Bullies and Buddies, GMHC and Green Chimneys and why working with such charitable organizations is so important to you.
A: The reason I became a photographer is so that I could create a better world for myself (aesthetically, anyway) and as I’ve manifested many wonderful things in my own life, I’ve come to see that my desire to create a better world doesn’t stop with photography. It’s so easy to pay it forward and I draw so much gratification from doing so.
Q: Aside from The Pretty Masculine App, how else can fans donate to these charitable causes that are very important to you?
A: There are direct links to several charities directly from my app and people can educate themselves and spread the word about the work that these organizations do.
Q: What’s next for Mike Ruiz? Do you have any major photography projects in the works that you would like to share with our readers?
A: I’m collaborating with a menswear designer to create a line of rock & roll inspired menswear. It’s called “Mike Ruiz for J. Cheikh” and I am very proud of the pieces we have created together. I also have my line of t-shirts showcasing several images from the Pretty Masculine series. Both are available at Any Old Iron in NYC and at anyoldiron.net.
As for shoots, I have a few things in the works but it’s all hush-hush for now (grins).
Q: What was the inspiration behind Pretty Masculine, both the book and app?
A: My initial idea for the book was to deconstruct gender stereotypes specifically with men and as the app has evolved, it has grown to include women.
Q: What do you want your fans to take away from being able to see inside your creative process?
A: I just want people to have a richer experience and better understanding of what goes into the creation of photography and hopefully to be inspired, somehow.
Q: Do you feel technology has allowed artists and photographers to push the boundaries of their creations? How?
A: It most certainly has. With a tap of a screen, one can now enter the world of the artist through a myriad of digital portals. It really brings the gallery experience home. It’s quite remarkable to invite people to participate in what you do by means of a handheld device.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with Wire Magazine readers?
A: Yes, I want everyone to try to do one act of kindness every day. That is the key to success and the road happiness.
Yusuf Myers (bodypaint/makeup by Cesar Abreu)
Bryce Kershaw (bodypaint/makeup by Suliman Nawid)
Matus Valent (bodypaint/makeup by Brian Bond)
Craig Capurso (bodypaint/makeup by Evie Love)
FLIX: ZERO DARK THIRTY
ZERO DARK THIRTY
Review by Alyn Darnay
Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Chris Pratt, Edgar Ramirez, Jason Clark, Jennifer Ehle, Joel Edgerton, Mark Strong
Zero Dark Thirty (military jargon for half past midnight) is a film about the decade‐long search by an elite team of intelligence and military operatives, working in secret across the globe, devoted to a single goal; to find and eliminate Osama bin Laden, the world’s most dangerous man.
CIA Agent Maya: “There are two narratives about the location of Osama bin Laden. The one that you’re most familiar with is that UBL is hiding in a cave in the tribal areas, that he’s surrounded by a large contingent of loyal fighters. But that narrative is the pre-9/11 understanding of UBL. The second narrative that he’s living in a city, living in a city with multiple points of egress and entry, access to communications, so that he can keep in touch with the organization. You can’t run a global network of interconnected cells from a cave.”
And so our doggedly determined heroine played brilliantly by Jessica Chastain (Lawless, The Help) begins her obsessive 10-year search for the most wanted terrorist in the world amid harsh interrogations, spotty information, repeated setbacks, and heavy bouts of political infighting.
You’ll find Zero Dark Thirty to be much more than a hunt him down and kill him film; it’s actually a hybrid. Though there’s lots of action and danger for the characters at every turn, in ways both brutal and engrossing, this is more a procedural film about methods and process, stumbling blocks and blind alleys, death and survival. A fascinating journey of tactics and obsession…and sudden death.
Even though we know the outcome of the film, Kathryn Biglow’s (The Hurt Locker) direction and vision for this film combined with Mark Boal’s superb screenplay succeeds in generating enormous tension as it layers on story element after story element until it truly captures the context of the situation and the times they fit into. The film asks no questions of the audience or of itself, makes no conclusions about the actions taken, and yet still manages to make us feel what we and the hunters must have felt at that climatic moment in history…relief. That is the brilliance of this movie.
The film is almost three hours long, yet to me it felt fast. The climatic scene of S.E.A.L. Team Six’s raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound; a pinpoint-honed logistical operation, and his subsequent assassination is played out in meticulous detail. I felt I was actually seeing events as they happened, just like I imagine Maya did, on a screen from a distance. I’d hate to have someone like her on my trail, but knowing that there are people like her watching over the country, makes me feel just a little safer.
This is a must see film, but be warned, the action is brutal and disturbing, just like real life.
TOTEM: CIRQUE DU SOLEIL’S NEW FEAST FOR THE SENSES
By Rafa Carvajal
Photos Credit: OSA Images
2012 is coming to an end and we are getting ready to welcome a new year full of wonderful new beginnings and opportunities to come. I love Cirque du Soleil and have seen many of its astonishing shows, so I am excited to welcome 2013 by going to see TOTEM, Cirque du Soleil’s new show, premiering January 10. This show is unlike any other show Cirque du Soleil has produced in the past, and you can go see it under the blue and yellow Big Top at its new Miami location next to Sun Life Stadium.
TOTEM traces the riveting journey of the human species. The word “totem” contains the idea of the order of species, as we carry in our bodies the potential of all species – from the original amphibian state all the way to our desire to fly like the thunderbird at the top of the totem pole. The characters in TOTEM magically evolve on a stage, as a feast to the senses, evoking a giant turtle, which is the symbol of origin for many ancient civilizations. The show is inspired by many founding myths. It magically illustrates the evolutionary progress of species through a spectacularly visual and acrobatic language, while exploring the ties that bind Man to other species, his dreams and his infinite potential.
TOTEM, its artists from 53 countries around the world, amazing acts and characters, elaborate costumes, magical set designs, cutting edge projections, and beautiful music represent the best of the best of Cirque du Soleil – which started as a group of 20 street performers in 1984. This Québec-based company now has 5,000 employees, including more than 1,300 artists from over 50 different countries, who have delighted and awed more than 100 million spectators on six continents. They will bring TOTEM to Miami in January 2013 for your viewing pleasure.
Here are just a few highlights of what you can expect. For the “Bars (Carapace)” act, a giant turtle at centre stage will represent the originsof life on Earth, and will be whisked away revealing an energetic and colorful community of amphibians and fish that lives beneath its carapace. Artists embodying frogs will launch themselves into the air from a power track and leap from one bar to the next, criss-crossing in mid-air within inches of each other. For “the Russian Bars” act, ten artists will perform feats of strength, balance and acrobatic movements wearing colorful costumes inspired in part by the lost civilizations of South America. These jumpers will be launched high into the air and fly weightlessly across “the sky” like cosmonauts, leaping from one bar to the next with stupefying agility representing the human race’s desire to escape the Earth’s gravity to explore space – the final frontier.
The artist the Tracker, an environmentally conscious friend of the animals, will guide and assist the Scientist in his explorations. He will be angered by the thoughtless, polluting actions of a clown, and transform into a Toreador right before your very eyes. The Scientist is a Darwinesque explorer who visits the different worlds of TOTEM, while dazzling the audience with his amazing physics experiments in his laboratory, aided by his assistants and a monkey.
The performers will be wearing brilliant costumes designed by Kym Barrett, TOTEM costume designer, that are rooted in documentary-based reality which required research into real animals, plants and birds, as well as studying traditional cultural and tribal designs. Kym utilized advanced printing techniques, fluorescent pigments, mirror fragments and crystals to “paint” on canvases as varied as Lycra and leather – producing results that constantly interact with and adapt to the show’s ever-changing lighting. Her techniques masterfully enhance the sensory feast generated by the show’s many characters. TOTEM’s impressive set designs are fantastically intensified by a world of multipletransformations through high-tech projections. Powerful images are projected on a marsh lined with reeds near an island (the stage). Set designer Carl Fillion gave the set curves and non-linear forms to mimic the natural world, and tilted it slightly forward so the image marsh can act both as a stage entrance and as a projection surface. Carl utilizes the magic of moving images to create a virtual swamp, a river source, a marsh, a lake, an ocean, a volcanic island, a pond and a starry sky – all captured from nature and shot for TOTEM in various parts of the world that included Iceland, Hawaii and Guatemala.
I sat down with Tim Smith, Artistic Director of TOTEM, to get a look behind the scenes of Cirque du Soleil’s inspiring new creation about the fascinating journey of the human species.
Describe TOTEM to our readers.
For Cirque du Soleil, it’s quite a feast for the senses in general, all of the shows – TOTEM not being an exception for sure. Director Robert Lepage, an international director that collaborated with Cirque du Soleil on this product, explores the concept and themes of man and civilization in general. Also its need to progress forward, particularly with the technology that we have today and our interest in progressing upward to flight, and into space. It takes us from our most primitive being to space, all throughout the show.
What was the inspiration for this particular show?
I think Robert in several of his pieces has an interest in species, people and how we progress forward as a group. When Cirque du Soleil was interested in exploring this native feel of the show, it was inspiration for both parties.
How was a show like TOTEM conceived and brought to reality?
As with any new Cirque du Soleil creation, every show is different and conceived differently; TOTEM was exactly the same in that manner. They come up with a general theme and subject that is interesting to Guy Laliberté, the founder of Cirque du Soleil and to his creative collaborator. They then hire a director to bring the production to the finish line. The subjects for each new production come about when Guy is interested in exploring a particular subject matter and then he finds the collaborative team to create the production for the company.
How do you think TOTEM is different/better than previous Cirque du Soleil shows that our readers have seen here in South Florida, Orlando, or Vegas?
Cirque du Soleil continues to top itself – which is amazing! If people are wondering, “why should we go see TOTEM,” remember that each show is completely different. There’s state-of-the-art technology in our show that has never been seen before in other shows, there are acts from all over the world that have not been seen by the public eye, and that is what Cirque du Soleil does best is really scour the earth to bring these type of art forms to the stage. This has become synonymous with the high quality that Cirque du Soleil provides, and TOTEM does that as well. We have amazing visuals and amazing artists from all over the world doing things right in front of your eyes that you’ve never seen before, even in another Cirque du Soleil show.
Tell our readers about TOTEM and how its projections complement the show.
They are amazing! Robert brought a fantastic team to the table and he has a real eye and interest in technology. The stage at certain points in the show turns to ice, fire, rock, and water, and all of those projections are also interactive – so when you step on them it reacts. That’s amazing that we can then go anywhere in the world, and that Robert has created this for TOTEM through these projections, which essentially becomes the foundation of our set. That gives you a little background to all of the acts as they are being performed, and it’s astonishing to see how it works with the transitions as we move through the show and what the projections can do for us and the audiences experience.
How do the projections work together with the music and how is it selected or composed for the show?
Every show’s music is original World Music performed live by musicians and singers, and with the projections and the way the show flows, as with any other theatrical piece, the show moves with the music and the projections. As the music gets more dramatic, so will the pictures on the stage. If there is a lighter type of feel, the pictures on the stage, the set and the tone will be the same. This was important to Guy Laliberté as well, particularly with TOTEM. The sound for TOTEM is a real native sound. We have an artist, his name is Clifton Divough, a singer in the show, who also collaborated with the composers to bring a real traditional Native American tone to some of the music in the show which equals a really earthy, grounded, excited evening in the theater.
How do the performers train for their particular routines in the show and what’s the breakdown between practicing and rehearsing vs. showtime?
Ninety-nine percent of the people that come to see a Cirque du Soleil show, especially TOTEM, say, “I’ve never seen anything like that before, and where do you find those people?” These people are amazing artists; they are not actors or dancers, they are ARTISTS. These amazing, disciplined artists are performing perfection right in front of your eyes and it’s due to the skill set that is needed for the show, therefore the concentration has to be equal to the level of high quality that your audiences comment on. They are constantly working out, constantly honing their skills, honing their bodies, and keeping the excellence that they hold for themselves high, and that translates directly onto the skill sets that they use in their performance. These people are incredibly disciplined. The performers train all day – at certain times during certain acts, obviously. We have trainings all day, and then show call is around 6:30 p.m. for an 8:00 p.m. show, for example, and, of course, they get a break and warm up for that particular show.
If our readers could get a behind the scenes look at TOTEM, what do you think would surprise them the most?
I think the diversity of the actual environment that we travel with. It’s a huge production. There are 74 trucks and we bring a whole world and environment to Miami, not just what the audience gets to experience when they buy a ticket and come to the tent. Behind the scenes we have our own kitchen, and our own school for the kids. There are 19 countries and 11 languages represented, working on site. We work in that environment day in and day out. I think what is most exciting is the collaboration from that many different cultures and types of people in one working environment. The most exciting thing that Cirque du Soleil brings to its employees is the diversity, the education, and collaboration from all over the world daily.
Why do you think audiences continue to flock to Cirque du Soleil shows in droves?
I think it’s due to the opulent style of Cirque du Soleil that has become synonymous with the shows. What’s great about Cirque du Soleil is that they are the only people in the business doing what they are doing. When you have that type of specialized entertainment, I feel people are always looking for something – especially in this economy, when people are desensitized from so many things. When you can provide a visual and an emotional experience that people have never seen or felt before, that is really a testament to how special Cirque du Soleil is and the product that they provide. I think people come to the shows because it gives people a chance to dream and to see people and human beings do things that they’ve never seen before, right in front of their eyes. This translates to their own lives, goals, and what they would like to achieve.
Is there anything else you would like to share with Wire Magazine readers, particularly those who love Broadway and have never seen a Cirque du Soleil show?
Cirque du Soleil is a whole new environment; but it’s still a very live musical and spectacle experience. If you really give it a chance, you’ll get an opportunity to witness something that is not your normal fare. With theater there is always a certain model that is expected, bringing people from Plot A to Plot B and really driving the emotion through the scene and song. With Cirque du Soleil, they give the audience the crayon. I could be sitting next to you and you could have a totally different experience and story going on in your head while seeing these avant-garde images. It is like living art in that it allows the audience to do their own dreaming and thinking. I think it is an extension of theater and is an exciting opportunity to feel and use your mind, something you don’t get to do when you watch a play or musical. It’s exciting to do those things, but what I like about Cirque du Soleil is the newness and uniqueness I get every time I go and see a show.
Reveling At the Palace White Sunset Block Party
Every year during the height of White Party Week, the streets are shut down at 12th Street & Ocean Drive, galvanizing beats fill the air, hundreds of alluring men flood the streets and Palace Bar delivers a momentous block party nothing short of unforgettable. This year, Jerry Torres, owner of Stereo Entertainment, alongside Palace will bring you its annual block party that correlates directly with White Party 2012’s theme of RESET; bringing you even bigger productions and performances. Don’t miss another stellar Palace block party sure to keep everyone’s body moving.
Wire got the inside scoop about this year’s party from Jerry Torres.
Describe the Palace White Party block party. What should guests look forward to? Since The Palace began producing these mega-block parties, the caliber of production, performers, and DJs gets better and better. This year, the White Sunset T-Dance is better than ever with refreshing drinks, good-looking people from all over the world, amazing music and a show that will leave you breathless. The best part - THERE’S NO COVER! It really is the place where White Party regulars, locals, and out-of-towners come together.
What kind of live entertainment will be showcased this year at White Sunset T? We have designed a spectacular show for the White Sunset T Dance on 12th Street, looking at every single detail from costume production to choreography, with aerial dancers, special effects, go-go dancers, drag queens and two amazing DJs. You will not want to miss this party.
Why do you think Palace’s block parties are so successful, not only during White Party Week but during other events such as Winter Party and Winter Music Conference? It takes a lot of hard work to produce a block party, and we work with one of the best audio and visual companies in the state, hire some of the best entertainers, and always think of our guests’ experience. At the end of the day, they are what make the party successful. No one does a block party the way The Palace does a block party and that is evident in every detail of the event.
How did you select the talent for White Sunset T Dance? I listened to our guests and carefully picked what I thought would be the hottest DJ combination: DJ Cindel and DJ Jalil Z. Both of them have a great following and the type of energy that will resonate easily with revelers. These two DJs will make sure you dance until you can’t dance anymore.
How will White Sunset T differ from previous block party productions that Palace has done? We have created a new concept for this block party. I personally designed and selected the staging, shows and costumes, and we are taking the entertainment to a whole new dimension with special props, and aerial & pole dancers, something that has never been seen at The Palace before.
What are your suggestions for those who want to beat the crowd and attend Sunday Brunchic? Your best bet is to make reservations, we have a fabulous show planned and we always sell out in advance.
Is there anything else you would like to share with Wire Magazine’s readers? I’m very excited for the Sunset T-dance and cant wait for all of you to experience what we have in store for you. Remember this is a free event and its located on Ocean Dr and 12 St, the event starts at noon on Saturday, November 24. Happy Thanksgiving and White Party Week!
Visit www.wiremag.co/palacewst12 for the extended version of this story.
White Sunset Block Party Saturday, November 24, Noon - 9 p.m. 12th Street & Ocean Drive. FREE event!
By Antwyone Ingram
If Vas Bet’s TWIST Walls Could Talk
by Antwyone Ingram & Rafa Carvajal
Images by Rafa Carvajal
If you’ve ever spent an evening at TWIST, there is a chance the murals have caught your attention, or reminded you of traveling to a beautiful rainforest when spending time in Bar 5. Have you ever wondered who painted the vivid zebra print, leopard print, and “Latin Jungle” that surrounds you? Wire Magazine catches up with Vas, the artistic mastermind behind TWIST’s most picturesque artwork.
Q: Tell us about the murals you created within TWIST and what kind of feel you were trying to accomplish with each.
A: It all started over three years ago when I was introduced to Richard Trainor, one of the owners of TWIST. He told me that every year at least one of seven TWIST bars goes through a complete makeover. Fairly soon I was asked to paint a zebra-skin motif, I thought it was a great idea, very fitting for a nightclub. I took time to meditate, to internalize the rhythms - and painted it all in one long night. I like to paint fast, allowing images to flow through me, I enter into a kind of trance, I relax and try not to think too much - it feels like the best work results from attaining and holding a state of effortlessness. Naturally, it takes work and concentration to reach this state. The next was a leopard skin bar that ended up spilling all over the walls and ceilings, filling the space with loosely interpreted tiger stripes in different scales and colors. Finally, there was my dream project. Richard came up with the theme “Latin Jungle” and when I heard it, I was close to levitating.
It was a serious challenge: two and a half thousand square feet of walls and ceilings in a nightclub with an opening date set and fast approaching. Then, during preparation I also thought of designing light fixtures, and sconces in the shape of Monstera leaves. More excitement, more work. I chose dark grey as background and painted vegetation stepping out of the darkness as if around a campfire at night in the woods. Then I went totally over the top with highlights - it’s a nightclub and the Jungle is “Latin.”
Q: What is the meaning of the murals you painted?
A: Pantheism, Pagan sense of wonder, the dazzling sexiness of the tropics and the curiosity about what is hidden from view. For me, forests and jungles were the first cathedrals of humanity.
Q: What influence has living in London, Rio De Janeiro, and finally Miami made on your work?
A: Immense. My world opened up, I was immersed in diverse cultures and languages; for me it is impossible to overstate the benefits. Moscow was a great springboard, Rio was an effective cure for London’s winters - and Miami seems profoundly agreeable to me. Aren’t we quite lucky to have a mixture of everything here?
Q: To date, what is your favorite creation and why?
A: I love painting murals in private homes and I have done many that I will always remember with tenderness. There was a sliding door with a view painted on both sides, night view on one side - same view in daytime on the other side. That was fun, as was working with UV activated pigments and lighting effects that turned a mural into a 24-hour cycle. As to my favorite - at the moment it is TWIST’s “Latin Jungle.” It was unusual, challenging and tremendously enjoyable. I did not want it to stop, I went on adding to it for six weeks after the opening night, then I painted two tables at home in a similar manner - my wife was very pleased!
Q: Which mural took the longest to paint and where is it located?
A: I have done large-scale work in two shopping malls in Rio, two sports clubs and a number of casinos, but the TWIST jungle is probably the one that took the most time and effort to-date. My other murals can be found on-line at www.art2good.com
Q: How/Why did you end up painting the murals at TWIST?
A: It all happened because of wonderful ideas of Richard Trainer and the trust he had shown me.
Q: Did you have any interest in art prior to studying architecture at the Minsk Architectural College?
A: I consider myself lucky; I knew I was an artist very early. As a child, I often used to stop and draw with my finger in the air, just for a few seconds at a time. I remember well how it felt - a sudden intense desire to give form to a specific shape, a rhythm - seconds later I was free to resume playing.
Q: What made you choose art versus going into architecture?
A: Office politics. I enjoyed making paper architecture as a student, but the prospect of becoming an architect never really appealed to me. Before graduation I went through three months of practical training. I learned about the importance of office politics as well as my lack of enthusiasm for it. On another level, I always wanted to study painting, but in the Soviet Union it was one of the most sought after professions. This might sound strange to Americans. Studying art and then being an artist was seen as one of the few ways of escaping the drab reality of rigid state control in most aspects of life. I was urged by my family not to waste time - they were certain I stood no chance of getting in. But after graduating as an architect, I realized, I would never be happy unless I tried; It took me five years and it was worth it. I was ecstatic for months and years; finally I was studying art in a great university, it was exhilarating!
Q: What is your favorite work of art and why?
A: Quantum mechanics. It’s utterly fascinating.
Q: Was there ever a moment in your life that changed your perspective of art?
A: There were many. When I saw Chagall’s canvases, when I read 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and when I heard Penderecki’s “The Demons of Loudun.”
Q: Do you feel it is harder for an artist to survive solely on his/her art in this day in time?
A: I rather do. Though my point of reference is unusual. 25 years ago it was really easy to live as an artist in the old Soviet Union. I had a job painting propaganda posters; it took me on average two days to do all that was required of me in a month, and I was paid as if I worked every day. I had more free time than I knew what to do with. And in the ‘80s there was a lot of creative freedom. One could indulge, study obscure subjects, have endless conversations - I don’t think many Americans know the taste of freedom that comes from having lots of free time. Yet we thought of ourselves as somehow oppressed. Real freedom was to be found in the West.
Q: Do you have any upcoming major projects or murals that you are working on?
A: I am always looking for projects. When there is nothing concrete on the horizon, I invent my own projects, I paint some canvases, I potter around in the garden, I go fishing - but there are always visual ideas, turning around in the back of my mind.