OCTOBER 29, 2015

Site-Specific in Retrospect

Miami Design District

by DEJHA CARRINGTON

Set under Sou Fujimoto’s glass facade in the Miami Design District’s Palm Court Plaza—an allegorical ode to South Florida’s seasonal downpours and blue skies—Mad Hatter, Mouse, March Hare, and the usual suspects from the Miami Center Theater hosted an interactive social in the neighborhood, transporting guests through the rabbit hole for a reenactment of Alice in Wonderland’s famed tea party. While kids from the neighborhood gathered at a table singing “Twinkle, Twinkle,” the dreaminess of a breezy October evening under the stars was not lost on the rest of us, who have been waiting for this weather since March.

By sundown, YoungArts alumna Mel Bryant (2013 Winner in Popular Voice) took to the mainstage at center Palm Court.  An old soul with a powerful voice, Bryant is barely in her twenties and studies commercial composition and production at the University of Miami Frost School of Music.  She describes her sound as parts electric, pop, punk rock and blues, and brought fellow Electric Church bandmate and blues rock guitarist, Conor McCarthy, along for the gig.  As if to punctuate YoungArts’ application season, which ended on Friday night, Bryant’s performance in the District shows how the organization’s program helps 15- to 18-year-old artists gain access to professional opportunities, monetary awards, and a valuable network, among other benefits.

Enter Miami Music Club, a loose collective whose members produce work independently and together.  There’s writer, musician and curator Rob Goyanes (Miami Rail, de la Cruz Collection, Bobby Flan), fellow curator Ryan Halstead, former Slashpine bandmate Brad Lovett (Dim Past), artist and archivist Dave Rodriguez, and videographer Ricky Vazquez.  In an interview with Miami New Times, Goyanes explained “We just wanna make a space that’s independent, inclusive, and artistically excellent.”

Miami Music Club was conceived at art gallery Space Mountain in Little Haiti last June, and has since experienced various incarnations, including a summer stint in the Miami Design District.  At the October 17th event, stationed at the very base of Buckminster Fuller’s neo-futuristic Fly’s Eye Dome, MMC’s Autonomous Party Machine filled the night with electronic music and projections. Everything was exactly in the time and space that it belonged.

The Site-Specific Performance Series takes place every third Saturday of the month in the spring and fall months in the Miami Design District.  Visit the website’s calendar of events for updates.