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I’m excited to work with our sponsors, AARP Cincuentañeros and #WeAllGrow Latina Network, to start this conversation with you!

I recently attended a Latina blogger conference in Long Beach, California called #WeAllGrow Summit; and got to speak on The Blogger Union’s panel on How To Build A Thriving Blogger Community along with Claudia Camargo founder of the Minneapolis Bloggers and Kimberly Pfaehler founder of the DC Bloggers. I never realized a conference could be such an uplifting experience. I met some amazing women who inspired me with their stories and strength. I learned a ton, took some time to ground myself with self-care activities and participated in unique experiences. I definitely recommend this conference to any blogger, influencer, or content creator.

One of those perspective-changing experiences was a dinner with a group of talented, Latina, content creators hosted by

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I have a thing for art and creative projects; and I have my mom to thank for that. “Thank you, Mami!” She was always up to something: painting a mural, collecting pine cones for a Christmas decoration, or trying some new medium like wood burning. Turns out my sister, Andrea, and I love making things just like mom did. Arts and crafts are our jam. We even started a blog about our DIY adventures and tutorials. It’s called Dapper Animals.

Dapper Animals paper maché masks

I like to create 3D crafts like paper maché, origami, sculptures, and piñatas. Andrea is a talented graphic designer, illustrator, mural painter, and hand-letterer. If you are in need graphic design and creative direction, check out Andrea’s design company, Vintage Unicorn. Her work ranges from whimsical to corporate.

Dapper Animals dinosaur felt bag tutorial

Between the two of us, we cover quite the range of techniques and we’re always trying new stuff. Resin jewelry, cement casting, crocheting, sewing, wood working, and the list goes on. There’s nothing like trying a new medium, but it’s nice to have someone guide you when you first try something new.

Watercolor warm up exercises.

That’s why when Andrea and I heard about watercolor classes at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, we signed up right away. Andrea has experience handlettering in watercolors, but this class was focused on painting plants. I was completely new to watercolors before the class and was happy to learn anything about watercolors really. Most important of all, I was ready to disconnect from my email for a couple of hours a day to work on art.

Drying watercolor background layer

There’s something akin to meditation when I work on an art project. Whether it’s paper mache, origami, or crocheting; focusing on the repetitive steps releases the tension from my muscles. Tension that I didn’t even realize was there. I zoom in on the task at hand (mixing colors, glueing, designing, etc), allowing me to let go of the constant checking of the never-ending-to-do list.

While I am a huge advocate of writing lists to get shit done. The non-stop-mental-to-do list – a parallel process running in the back of my head unbeknownst to me – is a relentless “tiki tiki” that frays my nerves. It’s an automatic thing that I do, a reflex. It makes me bunch my shoulders and scrunch my brain, leading to migraines and an icky feeling of stress. Am I the only one that feels this way? If you do too, you need to join me on my crafting obsession because it really helps. You take a break from the real world and dive into the project in front of you.

Student watercolor project

A great way to test the waters is to sign up for an art class at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Andrea and I signed up to what was essentially a 3-day long adult watercoloring summer camp. The class was relaxing and fun. You get an entire 5 foot table to yourself to spread out with all your art supplies. The fellow students ranged from seriously experienced artists to newbies like me.

Diane Lary

Our class was taught by Diane Lary – a talented watercolor artist, encouraging instructor, and member of the Florida Watercolor Society. We discussed how to capture tropical flowers and foliage using a limited palette of transparent watercolors, composition, and layering techniques. It’s amazing to watch her bring nature to life where I previously only saw splotches. Where my untrained eye simply saw a shadow, Diane sees a blending of colors transforming from gray to pink. The three days were about learning lessons like these that seem small but take a painting from blah to BAM!

While my watercoloring still needs a lot of practice, I saw a huge improvement from my first painting to the second. I learned several neat tricks and have a new appreciation for watercolor paintings. The few hours spent surrounded by students working on their watercolor craft was just the reset I needed to ground myself and rein in the anxiety.

Sign up for an art class at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. They have classes for all level of experienced artists from beginner to advanced. Plus, they teach different techniques including acrylic, oil, charcoal, pastels, watercolors, and more. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is located at 10901 Old Cutler Road Coral Gables, FL 33156 . Visit fairchildgarden.org for more information about their education programs for children and adults.

The post Enjoy the Zen of Watercolor Classes at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden appeared first on Coral Gables Love.

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Yes, that’s condensed milk you’re staring at.

Eating breakfast makes me happy. I don’t know what it is about this meal that is so enjoyable. Maybe it’s the fact that I get to drink my first cup of coffee; or maybe it’s that most breakfast foods are carbs. Give me all your breads, pastries, pancakes, and waffles!

As a lover of carbs, I recognize an extraordinary pancake when I bite into one. Coral Gables’ restaurant sensation, Eating House, has developed what can only be described as pancake perfection. By adding Captain Crunch cereal to the batter, Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli, has added a unique texture to this breakfast staple.

His Captain Crunch pancakes are served during brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Floating in a pool of condensed milk and topped with a hearty scoop of butter – this stack of fluffy, moist, and decadent pancakes will make your heart flutter. They will also knock you out for the rest of the day. Make sure to pencil in a nap after your brunch adventure.

Other brunch menu items I recomment include the Guava Mimosa that tastes like drinking a pastelito. The candied bacon sprinkled with Maldon sea salt is a must for bacon lovers. The tater tots are served with the house made Coca-Cola ketchup. They are crispy and delicious. Yum! Make sure you order some.

If you’re not in the mood for pancakes, order the Eggs Benedict Carbonara. The entire plate is rich with creamy carbonara sauce spilling over the eggs and a fat piece of crunchy toast. Oh and there’s slices of bacon somewhere in there too.

Make your brunch reservations because they get busy. Eating House is located at 804 Ponce de Leon Blvd, Coral Gables, FL 33134. eatinghousemiami.com

The post For the Best Pancakes in Miami, Make Reservations at Eating House appeared first on Coral Gables Love.

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Can you think of a time when you saw a movie that changed the way you watch movies?  When I think about this question, I sometimes think about 1999. Two friends and I went to check out the strange, newly-released, action film called “the Matrix”.   I remember the three of us walking out of the theater and into the (now demolished) Riverwalk Mall in downtown Ft. Lauderdale just after midnight between a Friday and Saturday.  I don’t think any of us could even process what we had just seen.

In some ways, I am still processing that film twenty years later (all the Baudrillard readers say yeah!).  Prescient commentary on the grand spectacle aside, the Matrix was also the first film in which I witnessed the kind of realistic CGI that has persisted to this day. Young me and my young friends were simply dazzled by the film.

Like a lot of experiences, that first time is hard to top or even come close to getting back to.  Ambitious contenders like James Cameron’s “Avatar” were fun to watch, but their technical achievements really don’t amount to much more than baby-steps beyond the Matrix’s bold leap into 21st century filmmaking. 

“Avatar” was one of the first attempts to usher in a new era of 3D, but these effects were clunky and hard on the eyes.  The rush to ignite this new 3D craze often felt as though studios were simply running any film they had through some 3D-ifying machine so that they could charge more at the box office.  The whole affair came off as phrenetic and gimmicky, and studios seem to have significantly curtailed its use in recent years.

Perhaps this was all a good thing.  The decade long stretch of underwhelming new visual tech allowed tastes to mature – even among uneducated popcorn crunchers like me.  Over time, you just start to care less about having your jaw-dropped via the special effects; you get more into things like story, tone, character arcs, and composition.  You turn 30.  The torch passes again from Charlie Parker to Miles Davis.

Then, in 2014, Alejandro González Iñárritu releases his Oscar-sweeping opus, Birdman – perhaps the most recent movie that changed the way I watch movies.  Birdman not only redeems Michael Keaton’s anti-action hero, but the film resurrects our expectation of genuinely new visual experiences.  Staying true to its low-key tone, Birdman doesn’t take the great leap for itself.  Iñárritu merely cracks the door to the future just a bit.  The exercise in restraint is in its own way a sublime thrill.  The film is also meta and funny.  The actors are artists and the music is good.  Birdman does read as a sincere attempt at the arduous process of reconstructing some of what has been deconstructed.

That brings us to today.  Bi Gan, a 30-year old filmmaker (and poet) is poised to release his second feature film: Long Days Journey Into Night.  Bi Gan’s first feature, the 2015 film Kaili Blues, won awards and critical acclaim in Bi Gan’s home country of China as well as abroad.  

Long Day’s Journey Into Night was released late last year in China and similarly blew up at the Chinese box office.  The new film is now making its way west amid a typhoon of over-the-moon press for its supposedly ‘unforgettable’, ‘mind-boggling’ visual achievements.  Critics from the NY Times, AV Club, the Atlantic all seem to be running out of superlatives for this new 3D experience.

I really haven’t seen headlines of early reviews like this since… well since the Matrix.  While the film’s english language title is textually unrelated to the famous Eugene O’Neill play, the trailer seems to promise a sense of poetry will be on offer here, as was the case with Birdman.  If the film can indeed harness the power of 3D visuals in the service of poetry, then that really would be something, wouldn’t it?

If you want to see this film any time soon, you better get on those tickets.  Our fair city will be graced with just 3 showtimes (all this weekend) at the Gables Art Cinema.  Probably a good idea to get your tickets now online because these showings will sell out.

Will this new film live up to all the acclaim?  Will Bi Gan pick up the baton from movies like the Matrix and Birdman and achieve the great leap that pushes the audience into the cinema of the 2020’s?  Will I actually read one of the greatest plays of all time or just do a quick wiki on Eugene O’Neill before writing my review of the film next week?  …Stay tuned.  

The post This Weekend, Discover if a 3D Movie Can Be Art appeared first on Coral Gables Love.

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It’s Sunday and Mother’s Day. A happy day for most people, but a tough day for me. I miss my mom the most on special days and Mother’s Day. So I decided to start off the day with some self care by taking a yoga class at Fairchild Botanical Garden. I didn’t realize what a magical experience I signed myself up for.

Photo credit: Vintage Unicorn

I’ve been taking yoga classes in studios for over ten years and I enjoy yoga. It’s an energizing experience. I push and stretch myself for 60 minutes and end up relaxed and happy every time; but it’s never felt like the yoga class I just finished at Fairchild Garden.

Photo credit: Vintage Unicorn

The class takes place on a second floor balcony in front of their library giving the experience a nice constant breeze and transcendental view. As I focused on my breath – inhaling and exhaling – I was staring at a tree in the distance swaying in the wind with a backdrop of bright blue sky and fluffy white clouds.

Photo credit: Vintage Unicorn

The class was led by Eric – a French and funny instructor unlike any I’ve ever had. Yoga in the past has been a serious affair; but Eric adds his personality making it a really entertaining hour. He’ll tell you to imagine a fire under your derrière and, “don’t drop it or you’ll get burnt!” I’ve got to say I worked out my abs as much from giggling as from holding legs in the air.

Instructor, Eric. Photo credit: Vintage Unicorn

It wasn’t an easy yoga class for me; but it’s for everyone. Eric started the class by welcoming everyone and stating that each person should do as much as they could. His yoga class is not a stage to impress or out perform anyone. Instead it’s the time to connect with yourself, find your limits, and enjoy yourself. That being said, Eric won’t let you take it easy if he can tell you’re able to do a pose.

Photo credit: Vintage Unicorn

I truly enjoyed this class and encourage you to at least try it out. It doesn’t even compare to taking a yoga class under fluorescent lights or in a packed stuffy room. I not only connected with myself on a tough day but I felt at peace with nature. As I finally relaxed the last minutes after a hard workout, the breeze brushed my skin and soothed my body and soul.

Photo credit: Vintage Unicorn

The yoga class is taught on Sundays from 10am-11am. It’s free for Fairchild members and $25 for non members. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is located at 10901 Old Cutler Rd, Coral Gables, FL 33156. For more information visit www.fairchildgarden.org

  • Photo credit: Vintage Unicorn
  • Photo credit: Vintage Unicorn
  • Photo credit: Vintage Unicorn
  • Photo credit: Vintage Unicorn

The post Yoga at Fairchild Garden Ruins Indoor Yoga for Life appeared first on Coral Gables Love.

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Local celebrity and super Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli has been bringing the noms to Coral Gables and surrounding areas since 2012, and he’s been a local obsession ever since. Cap n’ Crunch pancakes? A restaurant in Peacock Park? The guy’s tasty endeavors are starting to feel more like hype and less like the real thing. It’s Miami! We’re always exaggerating about something. But this guy’s the real deal, baby! If not I wouldn’t be writing this right now. Trust me. 

Amber Maxwell

House of Per’la is Your New Local Obsession

Yup, he’s back. This time Rapicavoli, wife Amber Maxwell along with Paul Massard and Chris Nolte, the duo behind Per’La Speciality Roasters, have come together to bring you the local coffee house experience Coral Gables has been missing. You may remember Café Curuba? The coffee shop behind Anthony’s Coal Fire? House of Per’la has officially taken its place selling Per’la coffee—but don’t worry, those tasty pan de bonos are still in stock along with other local goodies. Bread from Sullivan Street Bakery and snacks from Small Tea? Count me in! Plus, Rapicavoli oversees the menu so aside from smooth quality coffee from local roasters you guys can come in for French Toast Bread Pudding or their highly reviewed Avocado Toast! 

After years of looking into the coffee culture in other cities, Rapicavoli and Maxwell wanted to bring it down to the Gables, and we couldn’t be happier about it! House of Per’la welcomes locals, CG professionals, after school pick-up moms just looking for a snack! They’re here for all of it. So, if you’re in the area, swing by for the coffee or the noms. You deserve a pick-me-up, and House of Per’la has the goods. Be sure to follow them on Instagram to see what their offering the Gables area!  

The post House of Per’la is Your New Local Coffee Shop Obsession appeared first on Coral Gables Love.

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Eating House (Coral Gables)

Eating House offers a Burger Menu on Thursdays for Lunch & Dinner. The Burgers change every week and they are inspired by the show Bob’s Burgers, with names like “Parma Parma Parma Chameleon” – which is topped with their black truffle carbonara sauce, fries egg, applewood smoked bacon and grana padano and “50 Ways to Leave Your Guava” – which is topped with frita sauce, crispy potatoes, white cheddar and guava bacon jam. Eating House is located at 804 Ponce de Leon Blvd, Coral Gables, FL 33134. eatinghousemiami.com

Bulla’s ‘BULLA’ BURGER (Coral Gables)

The ‘BULLA’ Burger features Piquillo peppers, caramelized onions, tetilla cheese, brioche bun, honey thyme glaze, and is served with their deliciously crispy patatas bravas. This burger is available for lunch and dinner. Bulla is located at 2500 Ponce de Leon Blvd, Coral Gables, FL 33134. bullagastrobar.com

Lure Fishbar (South Beach)

The South Beach outpost of the popular, seafood-centric SoHo restaurant will be celebrating National Burger Month with a delicious discount. The notorious Lure Burger “Bash Style”, 5-time winner of the New York Food and Wine Festival’s Burger Bash and personal favorite of model and TV personality,Chrissy Teigen.  A classic LA-inspired burger topped with American cheese, loaded with secret sauce and caramelized onion, bacon jam, and shaved pickles; diners can indulge in the award-winning cheeseburger paired with a Japanese beer, Coedo for just $20 on National Hamburger Day – May 28th. The restaurant opens for dinner from 6PM to 11PM Monday-Saturday and 6PM to 10PM Sundays. Happy Hour is offered 7 days a week from 6PM to 7:30PM at the bar. Lure Fishbar is located in the historic St. Moritz Hotel building at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel at 1601 Collins Avenue. Telephone: (305) 695-4550www.lurefishbar.com.

Lightkeepers (The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami)  

Lightkeepers is celebrating National Burger Month with a burger and a brew. Offered during hours of operation, burger lovers can enjoy the LK Burger – double patty, arugula and watercress, Winter Park Dairy Cheddar, smoked ketchup + garlic aioli – and a draft beer for $15 (excluding tax and gratuity). Lightkeepers is located at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami at 455 Grand Bay Drive in Key Biscayne, Florida. Breakfast is served daily from 7AM – 11:30AM.  Lunch is served daily from 11AM – 5PM. Dinner is served Sunday – Thursday from 5PM – 10PM, Bar open until Midnight; Fridays and Saturday 5PM – 11PM, Bar open until 1AM. Saturday a la carte brunch 12PM – 4PM. Sunday brunch served 12:30PM – 3PM. Telephone: (305) 365-4156www.lightkeepersmiami.com.I

Pizza & Burger by Michael Mina

Ditch the backyard grill and celebrate National Burger Month at Pizza & Burger by Michael Mina at Fontainebleau Miami Beach. Burger and beer lovers can enjoy three sliders and three beer flight pairing for $25 (excluding tax and gratuity). Options include a Smoky Candied Bacon  & Truffle Slider with dry aged beef, white Vermont cheddar, truffle aioli on a pretzel bun, paired with Concrete Beach Havana Lager, Pilsner 5.2”abv, Miami  FL; Maple Turkey Slider with Heritage Turkey, Apple Wood smoked bacon, blue cheese, apples and caramelized onion chutney on a pretzel bun and paired with MIA 305 Golden Ale, 5.0” abv, Miami FL; and a Crispy Shiitake Mushroom Slider with confit shiitake, herb roasted Roma tomato, mozzarella cheese, basil aioli on a pretzel bun and paired with Salt Life Lager 4.5” abv, Jacksonville FL.  Pizza & Burger by Michael Mina is located at 4441 Collins Avenue Miami Beach, FL 33140 inside Fontainebleau Miami Beach, located right off the main lobby. They are open daily for dinner from 5PM until midnight and open for lunch at noon on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For reservations or to call in a takeaway order, dial (305) 674-4636. For more information, visit: https://fontainebleau.com/dining/pizza-burger. Follow Pizza & Burger, by Michael Mina and Chef Michael Mina on Instagram & Twitter at @dineBLEAU and @ChefMichaelMina

The Commodore (Coconut Grove)

This year celebrate National Burger Month at The Commodore, Coconut Grove’s chicest new cocktail club. Available all month long, burger lovers can enjoy sliders and a beer or signature cocktail for $22 (excluding tax and gratuity) in the luxury of an oversized leather chair or the lush landscape of an outdoor tropical oasis. The Commodore is located at 3300 SW 27th Avenue at The Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove, Miami. Valet parking is at a discounted rate of $7. www.thecommodorecg.com.

Dune Burgers on the Beach (The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami)

What better way than to celebrate National Burger Month than in a cabana at a contemporary oasis located on a private beach. This year Dune Burgers on the Beach will be celebrating in the chicest way possible. Available all month long, guests can enjoy the Deep Sea Burger made with blackened Mahi, mango and pineapple cabbage slaw, cilantro and tartar sauce, a side of fries and the famed Frozen Mojito for $15 (excluding tax and gratuity). Dune Burgers on The Beach is located at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami at 455 Grand Bay Drive. Hours of operation are Thursday – Sunday from 11 AM to sunset.

Rusty Pelican

In May, enjoy a burger by the bay! In honor of the savory celebration, Executive Chef Jim Pastor is creating a special burger that incorporates friendly fungi—Wagyu Ground Beef Patty mixed with Wild Mushrooms topped with smoked Vermont cheddar cheese, onion jam, rocket arugula, chanterelle mushrooms, and whole grain aioli on a toasted buttered brioche ($22). The juicy dish comes with crispy fries and all the napkins you need. The Rusty Pelican is located at 3201 Rickenbacker Causeway in Key Biscayne. Lunch and Dinner are served daily; and Brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Hours are Sunday to Thursday from 11 AM to 11 PM (bar closes at midnight); Friday and Saturday from 11 AM to 12 AM (bar closes at 1AM). Telephone: (305) 361-3818www.therustypelican.com.I

BurgerFi’s Street Stack

BurgerFi is debuting a new Street Stack that features melted white cheddar, smoked bacon, charred jalapeno Pico de Gallo pressed between two griddled corn cake arepas– the ultimate burger just in time for grilling season.

Aslo, on National Hamburger Day – Tuesday, May 28, they will also be offering $5 BurgerFi Cheeseburgers. You must mention it at the counter. BurgerFi is located at 136 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134. burgerfi.com

The post Celebrate National Burger Month at These Miami Restaurants appeared first on Coral Gables Love.

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I am excited to work with our sponsor, Coopers’ Craft, to share these recipes with you!

Last week, I attended a South Florida Bloggers Happy Hour at the Deck Bar in Wynwood. We were celebrating the launch of the new Coopers’ Craft expression, Barrel Reserve. The latest expression is a bolder and more robust 100 proof spirit compared to the original Coopers’ Craft – a gentle and light bourbon.

We enjoyed a few refreshing bourbon cocktails and they were delicious. I am sharing two of the cocktail recipes with you below in case you’re planning a get together and want to show off with a new tasty cocktail.

Bourbon Coconut Punch Recipe
  • 1.5 Coopers 100 proof
  • .25 simple syrup
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1oz unsweetened coconut milk
  • Add ice and shake well
  • Strain over fresh ice in 10oz short cocktail glass
  • Garnish: sprinkle cinnamon & Nutmeg 
Coopers Berry Lemonade Recipe
  • 1.5 Coopers Craft Bourbon
  • 3 muddled fresh raspberries
  • 3 muddled fresh blackberries
  • .50 simple syrup
  • .50 fresh lemon juice 
  • add ice and shake well
  • pour all ingredients into 12oz collins glass
  • top with club soda
  • Garnish: bamboo skewer raspberry & blackberry

I also got to try a bourbon lemonade slushie during the event. It was my favorite drink of the evening because I love anything that is both sweet and sour. Alas, I was not able to get my hands on that recipe, but we can enjoy looking at it.

The post Two Summer Bourbon Cocktail Recipes To Try appeared first on Coral Gables Love.

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Entering the cinema my eyes were immediately drawn to the two identical Steinway grand pianos.  Their black and gold edges gleamed as though they could somehow reflect more light than was naturally available in the half-darkened theater.  The amalgamation of the two massive soundboards outstretched the length of the theater’s screen.  Several antique horns and an old shipyard bell were stationed near the left piano, while a full set of brass concert chimes loomed above the piano on the right.     

As more audience members began flowing in from the lobby, Paola and I quickly snagged two of the last remaining seats near the middle of the auditorium.  The sizable crowd in the lobby suggested the Coral Gables Art Cinema may have sold-out the theater this Thursday evening.  Tonight was a special event and so the movie/performance was preceded by some opening remarks from local artistic luminaries including Steven Krams, Carlene Sawyer, and Nat Chediak.

Gables Cinema President and Founder Steven Krams spoke first and succeeded in his task of warmly welcoming the audience, and recognizing the cinema staff for their hard work.  Additionally, Mr Krams announced some news which I am excited to pass along:  The Gables Cinema is moving forward with plans to expand from one to three auditoriums in the next year.  They manage to do so many great things with just the one theater.  Imagine how much more cool stuff they’ll be able to do with 3 theaters! 

Mr Krams then introduced the Executive Director of the Dranoff 2 Piano Foundation: Carlene Sawyer.  Ms Sawyer spoke a bit about the Dranoff 2 Piano Foundation and the 2 renown pianists we were about to hear: Bobby Mitchell and Ashley Hribar.  If you are reading this, you’ll probably be interested to know that there is one more performance left in the Dranoff 2019 concert Season.  On May 3rd Dranoff is bringing together 2 incredible pianists and one vocalist for an evening of classic Cuban and Argentinian songs.  That sounds like another dynamite show and you can get more info and tickets at the Dranoff website.

Ms Sawyer then gave the floor over to the founder of the Miami Film Festival (now Program Director for Gables Cinema) Nat Chediak.  Mr Chediak was on hand this evening to introduce the film and provide the audience with some much appreciated context before we set our eyes on a film originally released all the way back in 1927.  While this film presents a very grounded and human story, it is also a marvel of technical craftsmanship.  It’s actually quite staggering when you consider the kinds of close-ups, dissolves, panning and overlays the filmmakers employ.  Not only were they inventing these new visual forms of narrative storytelling, they somehow managed to create all these special effects without so much as a single transistor’s worth of assistance.

Mr Chediak concluded his remarks by bringing out the evening’s performers and kicking off the show.  The 2 pianists emerged from the wings of the auditorium.  The audience politely applauded and the lights dimmed even further.  As the opening title card faded up on the screen, pianist Bobby Mitchell ascended the keys of the piano nearest the chimes with a smooth flourish of soft notes.  Just as Mitchell neared the upper reaches of his keyboard, Ashley Hribar (stationed over at the left piano) began issuing an equally charming answer phrase which seemed to sail down the left hand side of the auditorium.  This symmetrical interplay between the two brilliant musicians at either side of the room was immediately delightful and continued throughout the performance.

Just like that, with a few seconds of gorgeous music and a few picturesque establishing shots, 141 moviegoers in Coral Gables were transported to a rural seaside town in the year 1927.  You want to talk about movie magic, well it really doesn’t get more magical than that.  The film “Sunrise” is captivating from start to finish.  It’s no wonder that it won Best Picture at the very first Academy Awards Ceremony and is still rated the #5 best film of all time by the British Film Institute.  The film’s lead actress: Janet Gaynor also won the Academy’s first-ever best actress award for her work in this film.

What surprised me most about “Sunrise” is the film’s humor.  While “Sunrise” is mostly a serious drama, it’s got a lot of light hearted humor and some solid  comedic performances that made us laugh out loud.  I was also surprised by how modern the cinematic world of 1927 apparently was.  I tend to think of the 1920’s as ‘olden days’ but in reality the interwar period was the spring of modernity.  The characters in the film portray complex motivations and the film makes a brave attempt to unpack some of the difficulties of love, marriage, infidelity and forgiveness.  

I’ve said that the film was captivating, but I did manage to escape it’s spell for a few moments to pay particular attention to the stunning musical performance of the two pianists.  Hribar and Mitchell’s interwoven harmonies created a doubly intricate texture studded with grand flourishes and small, almost breathless, nuances.  Illuminated only indirectly by the dim silvery light of the film’s projection, I could only catch glimpses of the four hands effortlessly moving, flawlessly rolling on from the late romantic to the modern, veering in and out of the Jazz age toward the sounds of contemporary exploration.  At times Ashley Hribar would reach a hand over the keyboard action and manipulate the strings directly.  At other times Bobby Mitchell would play notes on the large set of chimes or add other accents that were both musical and timed to coincide with the on-screen action.  There are probably many other significant things they did which I can’t relate now because the seamlessness of their playing made it too easy to abandon critical awareness in favor of getting lost in the overall experience of sight and sound.  Hribar and Mitchell are players who usually perform on big stages, on television, and in large concert halls.  It was a rare opportunity and a real treat to hear these two performers up-close in such an intimate room.  

The performers: Bobby Mitchell (left) & Ashley Hribar (right)

Of course, not every frame of “Sunrise” achieves timelessness.  There are two scenes depicting a large man violently throttling a much smaller woman which regrettably pulled me out of the film and reminded me of the realities of violence toward women- realities which we seem more ready to grapple with honestly in 2019 (one hopes).  At least we can offer up as evidence of some progress that such subjects would not be treated in any way as blithely in any film produced today.  These two moments aside, the film actually focuses nearly every other moment on love and love’s most transformative power: forgiveness.  This theme of forgiveness and transformation is something I think we can all celebrate for another hundred years.   

As the film’s ending title card faded up onto the screen, the audience rose to their feet to enthusiastically applaud the evenings performers.  The two pianists took bows.  We all collectively reacclimated to the year 2019 and shuffled out into the lobby.  

The performers hung around for a brief time after the show to greet the audience.  I was able to have a few words with Bobby Mitchell and Ashley Hribar.  They told me a little of how they worked to score the film themselves.  They each took one of the main characters (Mitchell the man and Hribar the woman) and composed themes or selected works that could help describe each character.  Some of the music they chose wasn’t written until the 1930’s making the performance even more interesting and unique for its subtle anachronisms.  During the show I recognized some of the strains of Ellington, Gershwin, and Chopin, all of which they masterfully wove into 90 minutes of cohesive and engrossing music.  Part of me still wants to go back and watch the performance over and over again and analyze what each piece of music is and what it represents.  If it were a modern movie I could probably do that.  But tonight was a rare experience.  Now over and gone.

While this special screening of “Sunrise” was a one-time-only event, it marks the 3rd or 4th time the Gables Cinema has brought live musicians in to perform music alongside classic films of the silent era.  If that sounds like something that interests you, I’d encourage you not to miss the next one.  You can stay tuned-in to Coral Gables Love and we will certainly let you know, or better yet, head over to GablesCinema.com and get on their mailing list to make sure you find out about all of their cinematic cultural events.

The post We Watched A Movie With Live Music at Gables Cinema appeared first on Coral Gables Love.

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Looking for a gorgeous backdrop to take some photos in Miami? Your immediate instinct might be to head over to Wynwood with its extensive collection of artist murals. But why not try discovering a different Miami neighborhood? The Miami Design District is located a little north Wynwood starting on N 36th street up to N 43th street – sandwiched between West First Avenue and Biscayne Boulevard.

Miami Design District is known for it’s designer shopping, architecture, and art installations. It’s the perfect place to spend the day exploring, taking photos, and enjoying delicious food. I spent the day walking around the neighborhood with my friend Nicky Valdes. Here are the top places to take pics we discovered.

The Museum Garage

This colorful destination is FREE, unless you park inside, then you do have to pay for parking. On the very top of the Museum Garage you’ll find the floor painted in bright colors making it the liveliest parking lot you’ve ever seen. This museum also has a small playground area with a ramp, a slide, and a little nook with photo opportunities. The Museum Garage is located on N 41st street between NE 2nd Ave and NE 1st Ave.

Fly’s Eye Dome at Palm Court

The Fly’s Eye Dome was designed by Richard Buckminster in 1965 as a prototype for a futuristic self-sustaining home. The dome was recreated in 2011 as an art installation at Miami Design District’s Palm Court. Now, the dome has become a local attraction drawing tourists and locals to the neighborhood. You can find the Fly’s Eye Dome at 140 NE 39th St, Miami, FL 33137.

The Yellow FENDI Corridor

Wear an outfit that compliments the yellow corridor. You can pop or try to blend with the bright yellow for an interesting effect. This FENDI corridor is located at 150 NE 40th St, Miami, FL 33137.

Pollita Eats

Take a break from exploring at a little hidden taco truck called Pollita Eats or take some photos with the colorful food truck while you wait for your order. It’s tucked between the high end design shops at 160 NE 41st St, Miami, FL 33137.

Flower Mural Next To GUCCI

You’ll find this new flower mural next to GUCCI at 139 NE 41st St, Miami, FL 33137.

Tag us on Instagram @coralgableslove, so we can follow your adventures!


The post Latest Instagram Hotspots in Miami Design District appeared first on Coral Gables Love.

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