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The stage is a fixed space. It is the axis around which story, conflict, and character revolve. When that fixed space shifts, new possibilities emerge. Starting Wednesday, April 23, a shifting site for theater emerges at Deering Estate, a 444-acre environmental, archeological, and historical preserve along the edge of Biscayne Bay in Palmetto Bay. Four local playwrights have collaborated ..

Nearly two years ago, Miami’s Zoetic Stage took its first trip into the world of Harold Pinter with an intense, superbly acted production of the Nobel laureate’s 1978 hit “Betrayal” in the Arsht Center’s Carnival Studio Theater. Now Zoetic is delving further back into the Pinter canon with a riveting production of “The Caretaker.” This 1960 work is, like “Betrayal,” a three-character ..

Imagine animation created live on stage, with mini backdrops, puppets, and low-tech props. Channel it through multiple cameras and mix it live into a projected film. Add a string quartet and a DJ. This is the structure of “Nufonia Must Fall,” an upcoming project presented by MDC Live Arts. The show is slated for appearances around the world, from Asia and the Middle East to Europe and..

That Actors’ Playhouse opened its production of Robert Schenkkan’s “All the Way” on the same day that the American Health Care Act was pulled from a vote by the House of Representatives is ironic and more than a little instructive. The much-touted replacement for Obamacare didn’t have enough sure votes to ensure passage, as Speaker Paul Ryan told President Donald Trump, so the “replac..

The take-no-prisoners world of high finance and ruthless business deals has long been a tantalizing subject for artists. From filmmaker Oliver Stone’s 1987 “Wall Street,” with its antihero Gordon Gekko spouting “greed is good,” to Damien Lewis’ slick hedge fund mogul Bobby Axelrod in the Showtime series “Billions,” movies and television allow those of us in the 99 percent a glimpse at wha..

Miami’s venerable M Ensemble is a company that sometimes dips into its rich history to mount fresh productions of past shows. For its second production in its versatile new home at the Sandrell Rivers Theater in Liberty City, the troupe is revisiting Darren Canady’s “Brothers of the Dust.” Winner of the 2012 M. Elizabeth Osborn Award from the American Theatre Critics Association, the ..

“El cuento de Rene,” actor and director Larry Villanueva’s adaptation of Cuban writer Rene Ariza’s short stories into a work of theater, is more than an homage. It’s a statement on oppression. Ariza was sentenced to eight years in prison for trying to send manuscripts abroad. He was banned from creating theater in Cuba and condemned as “counter-revolutionary.” Ariza served five years of h..

Those who attend film festivals aren't looking for the mainstream, Cineplex offerings. That isn't the goal. Amid the indie films, the foreign entries, documentaries, and the world premieres, there's another reason to canvass the program for something you might not see anywhere else. Given the Miami Film Festival is the only major film festival to be produced by a college or university..

{This interview was conducted before the film making team went on to amazing Oscar success.} Playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney and filmmaker Barry Jenkins are nine miles away from the Liberty City housing projects where they both grew up, but they are worlds away. They are at the picturesque Standard Hotel to talk about the new movie "Moonlight," with a screenplay by Jenkins base..

First things first. Actor-playwright Elena María García does explain the meaning of “¡FUÁCATA!” somewhere deep into the 90-minute running time of Zoetic Stage’s “García Or a Latina’s Guide to Surviving the Universe.” The familiar Cuban term, she confides from her perch on Michael McKeever’s Mondrian-evocative set, suggests the sound of a slap. As in, “¡Fuácata! You really stepped in i..

O Miami Poetry Festival Assaults the Ivory Tower


Photo: ©gesischilling
Written by: Sean Erwin
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During the month of April the organizers of the seventh iteration of the O Miami Poetry Festival intend every resident of Miami Dade county to encounter a poem or – even better – write one!

And they’re willing to pull out the stops. For the founder/director of the festival, Scott Cunningham, the festival is above all “a Miami festival, and if we're serious about that, we have to be serious about reaching all of Miami, not just the easy-to-reach parts. Poetry is the way we do that. Poetry travels easily and anyone can write a poem.”

Cunningham is ready to ruffle a muse to do this. “Poetry has a reputation of being overly serious,” he says. “We try to fight that by putting poems in places you wouldn't expect them. Joy is an essential part of poetry, but unfortunately, it's a part that gets lost in the mix all the time.”

The festival hosts 31 events and 25 projects during the month of April, and to create new literary audiences in South Florida organizers have arranged some unlikely encounters.

For instance, everyone has read those difficult-to-repeat-in-polite-company limericks scrawled on bathroom stalls.To reach the goal of one citizen/one poem organizers took the next logical step – why not just put the poo right on the verse? The O Miami “Poo-etry”program embraces the idea of a poem so bad it smells! During April, while waiting for Fido to get on with it, Miami residents can distract themselves with poems printed on the green plastic poo bags the county’s parks distribute for free.

Just like the “Poo-etry” program, other O Miami poem-encounters capitalize on the day-to-day. These include poems printed in three languages on Miami transit tickets or gas pumps wrapped in lines of verse at county Tom Thumb gas stations.

“View-Through” situates the poetic experience right beneath our fingertips. Programmer Julia Weist and a corp of over 2,000 volunteers have hijacked Google’s algorithm to generate spontaneous lines of verse from persons incarcerated in Miami-Dade county prisons. “We've temporarily monopolized the Google search autocomplete in the Miami area.During April, if someone searches for miami inmate or even potentially miami i.... the poems appear as search predictions,” described Weist, as in this line from inmate and author Nancy de Nike: “Miami inmates are believing in the unseen.”

Added inmate and author, Allen Dorsey, Sr.: “This project is different because it gives me an individual voice, where other projects involving inmates only made me one of a group.”

Finally, the festival also branches out in collaborations with organizations from both in and outside Miami. “We welcome creative collaborations because it's an easy way to expand our reach, and it makes the festival more interesting,” says Cunningham. One such hook-up includes The “Kerouac Bukowski Drinking, Poetry, and Drinking Club,” whose members encourage audiences to profit from self-destructive tendencies, put pen to paper and bring the consequences of bad behavior to Gramps Bar (176 Northwest 24th St., Miami) on April 24.

A final collaboration brings back an audience favorite from last year, Chicago-based Manual Cinema, for three performances on April 28 and 29 at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center (10950 SW 211 St., Cutlet Bay).Think hypnotic fusion of Thai shadow puppetry, Victorian silhouettes, mime and avant-garde film technique mixed with the electricity of real-time performance. This year’s show, Lula del Rey, is billed as a coming of age story in the American southwest, set to favorites like Roy Orbison and Patsy Kline.

Afterwards on April 29, hang around to thank the muse for an active and interactive month when the O, Miami Poetry Festival will close with a free all night party at the SMDCAC Plaza with DJ, food trucks, bars, and live music by the Rambling String Band.

For a complete list of events, locations and links for those events that need tickets see the O Miami website at: http://www.omiami.org/.

 


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About The writer

Sean Erwin is a writer and assistant professor of Philosophy at Barry University, with a focus on aesthetics and contemporary french philosophy.
Sean Erwin is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Barry University and received his Masters and Doctorate in Philosophy from Vanderbilt. He has presented and published on topics in political philosophy, Italian and French philosophy, and technology and performance studies. He currently serves as the senior editor of the Humanities and Technology Review.

Erwin is also a performance critic for Artburst, with performance previews and reviews appearing regularly there and in other South Florida publications. Artburst gives him the platform to critique the aesthetic principles he writes on as a professional philosopher through analysis of the concrete movements embodied by performers.

He is also an accomplished dancer and teacher in the Argentine Tango community. In 2000 he founded and served as editor of the Chicago webzine, Tango Noticias, a specialty dance periodical dedicated to examining Argentine Tango as a set of social practices rooted to the Southern cone’s history, politics, and culture.

Since his move to South Florida, he has both taught philosophy and served as a principal tango instructor for the Miami-based, Shimmy Club, a non-profit program that teaches Argentine Tango to vision-impaired teens. Through his involvement with the program, Erwin has been featured in articles and several news outlets including Univision, Telemundo, NBC News, KPFK Los Angeles, and the Miami Herald. For more information, see erwinsean.com.

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About the Writer

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