Currently The Stranger's Mike Ramos, Seattle Times' Andrew Matson, myself, and our significant others are in Miami, taking in the events in and around the Art Basel festival. We're staying in South Beach a block from the sand. When we bought these plane tickets back in spring, we all acknowledged that it would likely be just in the nick of time, to jailbreak us from Seattle's scheduled programming of rain and drear. The piss-dumping week leading up to this trip definitely set that in stone. So now we're here, the sun's out, the coffee's thick and sweet, the ropa vieja is sublime. The cab drivers give you game: don't get run over, people are crazy, some of the cabs are actually undercovers. Every sixth car is a Bentley. Cab Driver Jean (pronounced, I think, like 'Wyclef Jean') tells us that billionaires from everywhere are here, copping rare artworks. Diddy is definitely walking these streets. (We'd rather run into Gunplay.)
My request for press credentials was denied—wamp wamp—so I guess I'll be missing what's happening at the convention center, but there's so much going on out here that I doubt I'll miss a thing. There's art happenings everywhere. There's a GIF festival presented in part by Tumblr, with Dan Deacon DJing. ASAP Rocky, SpaceGhostPurrp (word is that those two squashed it for now to make sure there's no repeats of last month), Mr Muthafuckin xQuire, Metro Zu and plenty others are all doing shows. It seems like the music component to Basel is really taking off.
Last night we hit a spot in Wynwood called The Stage (a half indoor/half outdoor venue—it's a goddamn shame we can't have more stuff like that) and took in a show with THEESatisfaction and LA's Georgia Anne-Muldrow, who's Madlib-produced Seeds was one of my favorite albums of 2012. Stas and Cat, making their first Miami appearance, killed. There was a crew of young women that looked right out of a THEESat video, and they stepped lively to every word. Even the real-hiphop-looking heads nodded approvingly.
The show started late and the opener played for something like an hour and a half, so it wasn't until 1:45 am that Muldrow hit the stage. To warm up, she brought her "Husfriend" Declaime AKA Dudley Perkins AKA Dr. Stokely onstage to perform four solo songs, then Georgia took center stage. She's got a powerful voice, a Betty Davis wardrobe, and an enveloping Earth-mother aura that got the crowd grinning and singing her hooks on command; everybody in there joyously sang the words "I'ma feel brand new", and at that moment, I did. "Y'all got me, though", Georgia grinned, smile big as a Cheshire cat.