Miami Beach

By Sculpting Through His Grief, Local Artist Finds Spotlight

Dec 6, 2013
Charles Soto / Instagram

Charles Soto started tattooing four years ago, after his mother died following a long illness.

“[It] was a moment in my life of desperation. I hit rock bottom," he says. "I was dead broke."

Three years later, Soto reconnected with his estranged older brother, just months before the latter died of HIV complications. His grief influenced his art with dark overtones, but also put him in the sightline of a company now displaying his work during Art Basel.

Alicia Zuckerman / WLRN

Basel is back in town and the annual artistic spotlight is swiveling around Miami, highlighting nooks and crannies the city normally passes by with nonchalance. Now in its 12th year, Art Basel Miami Beach has not only grown, but changed the landscape of the city and South Florida.

It’s easy to be cynical about the general milieu. I have been snarky about the crowds and traffic before and I most likely will be again. But taking a step back and appreciating what Basel has changed can be boiled down to a few simple questions.

Yahoo Images/

After last month's election, Miami Beach was left without having a Latino on the city commission. This got the city, which is 53 percent Hispanic, talking. In an editorial, the Miami Herald called on newly elected mayor Phillip Levine to institute what sounds like an ethnic quota when it comes to making appointments. Then Miami Today came out strongly against that proposal.  The Miami New Times explores an interesting issue: Do our commissions look like our communities?

Tom Hudson

As Art Basel Miami Beach gets underway, we’re thinking about what it means to be an artist. Though many would deny being an artist, we have all probably experienced a time when we embraced the title: childhood.

We asked our staff, “What’s the first creative thing you can remember doing?” The answers prompted lots of fun conversations about early aspirations to be the next big animator, choreographer or roller coaster designer. Try it with your friends.

And let us know on Twitter @WLRN using #whatisart.

Basel Recap: What You Missed Over The Weekend

Dec 2, 2013
Maria Murriel / WLRN

WLRN-Miami Herald News brings Art Basel to you through our digital coverage -- and our community of listeners.

Art Basel goes beyond the Miami Beach Convention Center. In the next few days, we want to know what you think about the art, people, and events you're seeing throughout South Florida during Basel.   Here are two things we're looking for:

For our If I Were Mayor project, we asked what you would do if you were in charge of your town. Now, after the elections, we’re taking your ideas to the mayors. I spoke to Philip Levine, who was sworn in as the new mayor of Miami Beach Monday, Nov. 25.

This is Levine's first time in elected office; he is the CEO of a multi-million dollar cruise ship media business. 

Here are highlights from that interview:

Florida State Archives

If you missed our Twitter chat about Jewish cuisine and Jewish delis, catch the recap here.

Ted Merwin didn't set out to become a deli historian. About ten years ago, Merwin was working on his Ph.D. dissertation about the popular culture of second generation Eastern European Jews -- such as vaudeville and silent comedy -- in 1920s New York.

Miami-Dade County Runoff Election Results

Nov 20, 2013

The seats for Miami's District 5 commission and Miami Beach's commissioners were filled in a runoff election Tuesday, Nov. 19. Look below for the results.

Meet The Man Behind All Those South Beach Pastels

Nov 16, 2013
Julia Duba

In 1976, South Beach's population was aging and so were the buildings.

Then came Leonard Horowitz.

"I'll take care of the buildings. I'll do the frosting on the cake because these look like they're going to be a lot of fun to play with," said Horowitz in a film from 1988 called "Pastel Paradise."

His love for Art Deco is why South Beach looks the way it does today.

Horowitz came from New York -- where he designed furniture, did window dressings for Bloomingdale’s and studied architecture.

WLRN's Five Most Popular Stories For Nov. 4-8

Nov 12, 2013
Mark Hedden / WLRN

You might not have time to sift through a week's worth of public-radio color in the form of feature stories and curated audience commentary. So we've rounded up the best of WLRN's content this week in an easily digestible feed, all for your viewing convenience.

Click on the stories to read their full versions, or plug in your headphones and listen in right from this page.

Although the position of Miami Beach mayor pays only $10,000 a year and carries no veto power -- or any executive power, really -- the race is one of the few competitive elections in South Florida. It's been an active battle among candidates Steve Berke, Michael Gongora and Philip Levine, even garnering unofficial endorsements from national influencers.

Former president Bill Clinton, Virgin CEO Richard Branson, billionaire Norman Braman and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson have weighed in on who they think should win.

Why all the attention?

What The UM Scandal Says About College Athletics

Oct 25, 2013

On The Florida Roundup: we look at the University of Miami’s punishment by the NCAA and the role of student athletes in the big money game of college sports with guests Billy Corben of Rakontur Films and Michelle Kaufman of the Miami Herald.

Claudia H. Munoz

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series on the Arts Season in South Florida that begins in late September and October and runs through the spring. The series will highlight some of the various venues and must-see events and attractions this year. This post is an overview of where the Miami arts scene has been and where it is going. 

William A. Fishbaugh/State Archives of Florida

Once again, Miami-Dade County is studying whether a light-rail train from mainland Miami to the beach would actually work.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez and the county’s metropolitan planning organization think it could be a solution to the traffic problems of South Beach. If traffic gets worse, Gimenez has said it will “kill the tourism industry.”  

A History Of Light Rail

MARSHA HALPER / Miami Herald Staff

An appeals court on Friday left Miami Beach to cancel a planned referendum on a $1 billion renovation of the city’s convention center, ruling commissioners must first approve a lease that voters could then consider.

The ruling comes a day before Miami Beach plans to print its ballot for the November 5 election, and the city’s attorney said there will be no time to appeal the decision by the Third District Court of Appeal.

Jose Smith, the attorney, said the lease negotiations with a development team South Beach ACE will probably last through the spring.