Weird Miami Bus Tour, O, Miami Edition: Naked Guys and Drug Drops in Miami Beach

Categories: Art, Books, Culture

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Photos by B. Caplan.
Say what you will about the drunken creeps lurking in the alleyway shadows of South Beach, but they are pretty well-read. Or at least they were this week when the O, Miami poetry festival hosted a poetry-themed edition of Bas Fisher Invitational's Weird Miami Bus Tour.

On Wednesday night, Nathaniel Sandler, founder of the Bookleggers mobile book exchange, led a couple dozen ambulatory readers on a safari of the beach's alleyways, showing off hidden passageways and levers that could cut off power to a city block with just one tug. He paired each stop with a poem that evoked some spirit of the place, a daring challenge given that there are only so many poems about sticky puddles or severed thumbs.

See also:
- O, Miami's Pin Up Pop Up Poetry Exhibit Melds Graffiti and Verse
- Poetry Is Dead Parade: O, Miami Invites Dead Poets to Walk the Earth
- O, Miami Poetry Festival Returns: Ten Most Exciting Events, Including Thurston Moore, Borscht Films, and Parks and Recreation

The brave crew was deposited by a school bus near that mysterious all-night massage parlor down the block from Tap Tap. "The code of the alleyway," Sandler warned them as they stepped off of the street and into the network of back passages, "is always watch your six."

The crowd was a head mix of poetry fans and local luminaries. One turn down the wrong alley and Miami would have been down one half of Afrobeta, the Wolfsonian would be listing a curator opening on Craigslist, and there'd be no more Real Sorbet. Thankfully, an informal headcount at the end of the night seemed to indicate that everyone safely made it back to the mainland. This is what the Weird Miami Bus Tourists saw:

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This is, according to Sandler, "one of the least famous arches in the world." The entry to this alleyway led the group to a building that Sandler said was probably a brothel. There was nothing from the outside of the building to suggest this, although Sandler (in the black jacket) did seem pretty confident, as well as an unusual combination of relaxed and itchy.

weird o miami jim drain
Many of the South Beach alleyways have gated alcoves where garbage bins are stored. An eyesore? For artists like Jim Drain, there is beauty (and likely flesh-eating bacteria) everywhere. Now that rents are rising in Wynwood, could this be the location of Miami's next hot art scene?

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This padlocked box appeared to be either a drug drop or the location of the new Miami Herald offices.

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Melody Flash
Melody Flash

I usually take people that don't know south beach through the alleys, it's a priceless experience... I'm glad to see this type of tour!

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