THE MUSICIANS Sam Hyken & Jacomo Bairos

The co-founders and artistic directors of Nu Deco Ensemble are changing the way Miami experiences classical music.

In an era when the musical greats of classical music seem to be on the cusp of being irrelevant or forgotten, Nu Deco Ensemble is dedicated to a revival.

At the helm of the Wynwood-based Nu Deco are co-founders and artistic directors Sam Hyken, 35, and Jacomo Bairos, 40. Friends for more than a decade, they thrive off the sounds of vivacious violins and booming bass. As Bairos, the conductor, leads the orchestra in a recent rehearsal, his body moves in time with the music arranged by Hyken.

They are preparing for a trio of April concerts at The Light Box in Wynwood, followed by a collaboration with a Brooklyn hip-hop dance company on Miami’s biggest stage: The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.

“We try to bring relevancy to classical music, bring more connections to the popular world,” Bairos said.

Read the rest at Miami Indulge online.

A Long Walk

Fort Lauderdale continues to experience rapid, sustained population growth. The question isn’t whether the city will continue changing into a more urban, crowded place – it will. The question is what we do about it.

If you want to show a visitor where Las Olas Boulevard is, simply point to the construction crane.

From the glass windows on the 11th floor of the 101 Building in downtown, you can spin in a circle and count the cranes hovering over scaffolding. On Las Olas, neighboring the historic Stranahan House, the Icon building is shooting out of the ground with 272 units to be filled. Nearby, the soon-to-be-finished Las Olas Place will bring a dozen more businesses and the visitors that come with them. A short walk to the north, new apartments and condos continue to go up in Flagler Village. The city is booming, and with it comes more people and more cars.

Driving through Fort Lauderdale, likelihood is high that you’ll be stuck in traffic or circling through city blocks in search of a parking spot. However, there’s not much of a chance that you’ll find yourself stopping to allow pedestrians to cross the street. Sure, there’s a few lawyers clad in ties and suits running to the courthouse or perhaps coworkers picking up coffee during their lunch break, but Fort Lauderdale — or South Florida as a whole, for that matter — is not known for being a place that’s easily navigable on foot.

“Fort Lauderdale definitely has a walkable downtown, but what are you walking to? Where are you going? Right now, the environment is very one-dimensional,” says city councilor and vice-mayor Dean Trantalis. “The idea now is to fill in the blank spaces, fill it in with the needs, fulfilling the needs of the people who will live and work downtown.”

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A Sense of (Las Olas) Place

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A new building next to the Riverside Hotel promises to fulfill a need while fitting in with the city’s shopping and dining main drag.

Just east of Las Olas Boulevard’s historic Riverside Hotel, a soon-to-come, mixed-use building is the first commercial construction project on the boulevard in more than 20 years.

The first shovel went into the ground in June 2016 at what once was a quiet, empty green space between Maus & Hoffman and Gran Forno. The anticipated completion date is the fall of this year.

The building, dubbed Las Olas Place, will boast 31,500 square feet of retail and office space — the brains behind the project are tight-lipped about the exact businesses that will be moving in. A two-story building, Las Olas Place’s most exciting feature may be a 13,000-square-foot rooftop event area that can fit more than 500 people. For those planning events in Fort Lauderdale and wanting a venue outside the normal hotel ballroom, finding a space that will fit just 200 is a challenge.

“I had an opportunity to go up and it’s a really interesting view from the third floor, so it got a little more exciting to me to actually go up and stand out,” says Vann Padgett, the vice president and director of real estate for the Las Olas Company.

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Not Silent, Not Alone

Amy Daumit suffered in an abusive relationship for nearly 20 years. Today she works to help people find a different way.

The Forget Me Not flower is a small, unassuming blue bloom, named for the mission not to forget the suffering, the poor and the needy. This flower and its heavy meaning is embedded in a Fort Lauderdale woman’s mission to educate her community about domestic violence.

Amy Daumit, 40, works at Expresso Coffee. She’s in a happy relationship, has earned multiple degrees, and her laugh is infectious. You’d never know that eight years ago, she left an abusive relationship that lasted nearly 20 years. Because of her experience, she formed the Forget Me Not Advocacy Group for domestic violence prevention.

“Abuse still sadly hides in the shadow,” she says. “It’s easier to ignore the screaming going on next door than to intervene or help, because ‘It’s not my business.’ But people don’t realize it is your business.”

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HRC Releases Ultimate Guide to Raising Trans Children

The Human Rights Campaign teamed up with two national pediatrics groups to produce a comprehensive guide on transgender children to help family, friends, and physicians.

The 24-page guide, Supporting and Caring for Transgender Children, was produced with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians (ACOP). It goes over basic definitions of gender, the benefits of affirming a child’s gender identity, debunks myths, and provides support and tips for those who care for transgender children.

“As we’ve made more and more progress with transgender rights and our society is getting a deeper understanding of what it means to be transgender, more and more people are comfortable in coming out at younger ages,” said Sarah McBride, the national press secretary at HRC.

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The Boys of Bangladesh

In April, two men were hacked to death in Bangladesh putting a spotlight on a hidden population in the small Southwest Asian country: LGBT people.

Xulhaz Mannan, the editor of an LGBT magazine, and Mahbub Tonoy were killed in the Bangladeshi capital by six attackers, leaving a third man seriously injured.

“It’s a really painful thing for us,” said Mir Abeureyad, the acting general secretary and a volunteer at Boys of Bangladesh (BoysOfBangladesh.org). “We can’t express ourselves as an LGBT person in Bangladesh. So it’s really tough for us.”

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For Ben Brafman, Becoming A Leader In Mental Health And Addiction Meant Overcoming His Own Obstacles

It was supposed to be a normal day for one of Ben Brafman’s clients. But a simple trip to a meeting ended with the client in jail. The client, who was battling a mental illness, began acting out, which prompted a bystander to call the police. Brafman assured the officers that he just needed a few minutes to calm his client down and they would be on their way.

“They ended up arresting him for being loud and boisterous,” Brafman remembers. “As soon as they tried to handcuff him, he got aggressive, agitated.”

Brafman, 47, founder and CEO of Guardian Behavioral Health Foundation, says this incident and others aren’t uncommon in the arena of mental illness and addiction.

“We have a tendency to minimize things in society and not really put a lot of stock in it. We’re asking for trouble,” the Parkland resident says. “We need to crack some stereotypes and stigmas.”

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Glitz & Glam

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Photo by Emily Harris

Harken back to the glamour of the swinging ’60s with the newly opened ELV venue and reception space in Miami Beach. Originally designed by famed architect Morris Lapidus in 1966, who was also the mastermind behind the Fontainebleau and Eden Roc hotels, the building recently underwent a $2 million renovation to restore the property to its former glory. Features include a first-floor cocktail reception room, an expansive ballroom with original chandeliers and a 4,000-square-foot commissary for in-house catering by chef Yung Ngo-Hong, formerly of Nobu. Located in South Beach near the Fillmore and New World Symphony, the venue is a hidden gem, that can now be enjoyed by couples who appreciate chic architecture and the city’s illustrious history. Venue rental from $8,000, 1723 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, 305.407.2266, elvmiamibeach.com

Originally published in Modern Luxury Weddings South Florida and the Caribbean

My 305 Style: Lexing Zhang

The owner of Art Lexing Gallery in Miami describes her personal style and art preferences as “experimental and bold.” She believes that the more unique and irreplaceable, the better.

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THE DANCE “Miami City Ballet is a real gem. They have dancers from Cuba, Venezuela, Brazil, scholarship programs, freelance dancers from all over the country, and I think it’s a true reflection of how diverse Miami is.” Miami City Ballet, 2200 Liberty Avenue, Miami Beach; 305-929-7010; miamicityballet.org.

 

 

 

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THE TOWEL “I use them every time I go to the beach, and people always ask me where I got them. They’re a round shape with beautiful tassels on the edge. This takes beach towels to another level.” $148, The Bazaar Project, 4308 Northesst Second Avenue, Miami; 786-703-6153; thebazaarprojectshop.com.

 

 

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THE ART “Typoe is one of my favorite local artists. Not only is this piece beautiful, it also has a very powerful social message.” typoe.com.

 

 

 

 

Making a Scene

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Music on Main Street (Photo by Kelly Coulson)

“Hip” and “trendy” have never been words that dripped off the tongue when discussing Oakland Park. But a mixture of ambitious plans from city hall, comparatively low rents and a handful of pioneering businesses are changing the place’s look and feel.

In one of the hottest brewery taprooms in the area, the game is on the TV sets, bartenders pull from Buddha beer tap handles, friends challenge each other to rounds of cornhole in the game room, and a crash of giant Jenga pieces crumbles to the floor.

Next door, Alberte’s Restaurant serves up authentic Caribbean cuisine. Across the street, hipsters wait their turn to play the favorite video games from their childhoods at video game bar Tenth Level Tavern. A couple blocks down the road, a server presents a plate of fried chicken at Kelvin 3200.

After a week of work, this crowd has chosen to spend their night in Oakland Park. Not Himmarshee, not Las Olas, not Beach Place.

“A couple of years ago, I was getting a lot of phone calls from different people who wanted to do stories, whether it be print or otherwise,” says Kathleen Margoles, Oakland Park’s community and economic development director. “I remember this one guy said to me, ‘When I was a kid, my dad used to take me out there on the weekends to buy hardware and parts in the warehouse in Oakland Park, and now I go and drink beer in one of the coolest places.’ To me, that really exemplified the change and it has been fast.”

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