Arts & Culture

Tiny Desk; Big Exposure

Jan 29, 2016

The deadline for NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest is next Tuesday, Feb. 2.

Tiny Desk Concerts are intimate concerts, featuring new videos of original music recorded at the desk of “All Songs Considered’s  Bob Boilen. Last year, NPR Music published 84 Tiny Desk Concerts, and they seem to be catching on.

Where a mainstream fashion magazine might do a special "black issue," like Italian Vogue back in 2008, or a black lifestyle magazine might run a queer feature, the perspective of queer black folks tends to occupy occasional outskirts in fashion and lifestyle glossies, never the mainstay.

Miami New Drama

In Jewish folklore, a golem is a creature fashioned of clay and animated by magic.  To Michel Hausmann, the golem is less a Yiddisha Frankenstein's monster than a dark knight.

“It’s a Jewish Superman,” says Hausmann. “It’s the ancestor of all superheroes.  When you don’t have the strength to fight your enemies, you create this creature to do the fighting for you.”

But what happens after it defeats your enemies?

“Then YOU become the enemy,” posits Hausmann.

The standard, highbrow obituary of Pierre Boulez would highlight the obvious facts and benchmarks of his life. 

They'd mention that he was born in France in 1925. That he conducted, sans baton, many of the world's leading orchestras. And that Boulez was known as an avant-garde composer. 

But I want to hightlight his collaboration with someone you may not expect: Frank Zappa. 

Yeah, that Frank Zappa. Leader of Mothers of Inventions. Freak Out! And the song with that all important message — "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow."

Nadege Green / WLRN

It's YoungArts Week in Miami.

That means young artists from across  the country (dancers, writers, singers, filmmakers, visual artists and more) are in town  performing and exhibiting their work. In between, they get the opportunity to take master classes and workshops with leading artists in their fields. The events are taking place at the YoungArts Campus and the New World Center. 

More and more, I eschew end-of-year best-of lists for the simple reason that they're arbitrary and imply a comprehensiveness on which they can never deliver. What works for me is to compile a list that reflects some of the enormous gratitude I feel for getting to enjoy other people's work and art — one that doesn't even pretend to define what is best, but simply to share some of the abundant good stuff I run into.

Luis Hernandez: It's not like any of us ever mention where we're from unless we're asked. I don't go around saying, hello, I'm Luis Hernandez and I'm from Puerto Rico. And until recently, the last few years or so, I haven't much thought about my origins. That's because I was raised in the mainland United States, in Florida. If anything, I consider myself more American than Puerto Rican.

You may be asking, wait, aren't Puerto Ricans Americans? Well, we're U.S. citizens. But, do they, I mean we, consider themselves, again I mean ourselves, Americans?

Joan-Ellen Deck

For the rest of this year, we're bringing you holiday scenes from South Florida homes during the holidays. The snippets of international culture are little homages to our hometowns' diverse ways of celebrating the end of another year and all the holidays that heralds.

As I write this, there are just two shopping days left before Christmas. That is plenty of time to grab armfuls of Publix-brand eggnog, if that happens to be the tradition in your house.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

Religiously, there’s nothing more Mexican than la posada, the December street procession that re-enacts the Virgin Mary’s search for a place to give birth to Jesus. Musically, there’s nothing more Mexican than mariachi — that roaring mix of trumpets, violins, guitars and flamboyant sombreros.

Put them together, as Homestead's burgeoning Mexican-American community did this month, and you've got the perfect Mexican Christmas.

But the mariachi part was an exuberant debut: It was the first public performance by the city's new mariachi academy.

Not long ago, Kathleen Franz was sifting through the archives at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Franz is a curator there, and she was working on an exhibit about the history of American advertising.