Knight Arts Challenge People's Choice: Mexican American Council Hopes to Open Mariachi Academy

Categories: Art, Culture

For 20 years, the Mexican American Council has been devoted to helping migrant farmworkers like these
The Knight Arts Challenge South Florida 2014 People's Choice Awards nominees are live. The community can vote now through November 17 via text message for one of six selected Knight Arts Challenge finalists to receive $20,000 to fund their projects. It's a text-to-vote campaign: pick your favorite group, and text their code to 22333. Of the 75 finalists, the six People's Choice nominees are small, emerging groups from different parts of South Florida, all working to make the region a better place to live.

Maria Garza knows more than a little something about the challenges faced by children of migrant farm workers. She was one herself. And she's devoted a good portion of her life to trying to help those same children overcome the obstacles they encounter and to offer them every opportunity that can help them succeed -- 30 years, in fact.

Along with her husband Ciprano, she has spent more than 24 years at the helm of the Mexican American Council (or MAC for short), a not for profit agency devoting to improving the quality of life in the South Florida migrant farmworker community. Incorporating such initiatives as advancement of education, assistance in health care, fostering family engagement and encouraging cultural awareness, the group's mission has been to ensure that every child of migrant farmworkers is given equal opportunities to obtain a quality education and with it, the chance to become productive and prosperous citizens.

See also: Teo Castellanos Returns With 23 Characters in Third Trinity, Directed by Tarell Alvin McCraney

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Miami Poetry Read-Outs To Fight Police Brutality: "It Can Happen to Anyone of Us"

Categories: Culture, Literary

Photo by Sabrina Rodriguez
Protesters show their support for Michael Brown in August in downtown Miami.
Poetry has long been a vehicle for voicing unrest, from the words of Maya Angelou to Nikki Giovanni. A new series, "Poetry for the People" Read-Outs, is using the words of poet-activists like Audre Lorde, Lucille Clifton and more to add Miami's voice in the fight for justice for Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager who was killed by Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson. The gatherings, held October 21 and October 28, will feature FIU students and faculty members reading works by renowned poets as well as original works.

A read-out was recently held at FIU's Biscayne Bay Campus, which included a chance to sign the petition, to "establish state-wide task forces to provide community oversight of the Florida Police Departments," which will be sent to Rick Scott. The events at the Modesto Maidique Campus will give students and faculty an even bigger opportunity to air their concerns about current racial issues plaguing the country.

See also: The Spotlight: New Spoken Word Venue Seeks Poets and Performers

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Madi's Tea Garden Throws a Harry Potter-Inspired Tea Party for Halloween

Categories: Culture

Courtesy of Denise Gomez
October has now become the best month ever because you get to wear your Harry Potter Halloween costume multiple times without looking like a total weirdo.

In addition to donning your house robes on the 31st, you can throw them on for Madi's Tea Garden Tea Room Harry Potter-Inspired Tea Party this weekend. Your mouth will not only be full of words as you try to say that fast three times, but also plenty of delicious English fare.

Madi's Tea Garden owner, Denise Gomez, has organized a special tea party celebrating her favorite book series complete with all the best wizardry decorations and treats her shop can handle.

See also: Inside Universal Orlando's Diagon Alley at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Video)

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Foundation Report: Miami Spends More on Housing, Transportation Than New York

Categories: Culture, Lifestyle

Photo by Averette | Wikimedia Commons
Every week there's an arbitrary new ranking released by some dubious website or publication: Miami ranks last in number of Ivy Leaguers, first in number of Brazilian butt lifts. It's great fodder, but how does Miami stack up when it comes to the stuff that actually matters?

Last night at the Bakehouse Art Complex, the Miami Foundation revealed the findings of a new report outlining how Miami is doing in eight key areas: arts & culture, civic engagement, economy, education, environment & public spaces, health & safety, housing & affordability, and transportation. There was lots to talk about.

See also: The Miami Foundation Raised $130,000 to Help You Create and Beautify Miami's Public Spaces

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Halloween 2014 in Miami: Ten Things To Do Before the 31st

Categories: Culture

Photo by Jipsy
Halloween is one of those holidays that isn't just celebrated for one day. Rather, the world sees fit to revel in all things spooky all month long.

For those who would rather steer clear of the Grove or Miami Beach on Halloween (a most wise decision), and those who want more options when it comes to the festivities, we've got you covered with the ten best things to do before October 31.

See also: Terror in the Jungle: Aztec Ruins, Moss-Covered Mutants, and Total Darkness

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Day of the Dead Workshops Come to Miami: "We Want To Help Families Say Goodbye"

Photo by Sid Graves
Don't panic, but you're going to die.

"It's inevitable. You're gonna die, I'm gonna die, every person reading this article is gonna die," says Jim Hammond, founder and executive producer of Florida's Day of the Dead celebrations.

Phew. Now that we've got that awkward part of the conversation out of the way, we can skip to the good news: Florida's Day of the Dead Festival, symbolically reflective of the ancient Aztec celebration, has made its way to Miami-Dade County for the first time. And, unlike Halloween's "zombie culture," its mission statement is to remember the dead in ways that instill peace of mind, not fear.

"It's to feast together on their favorite foods, on their favorite drinks, to listen to their favorite music, and to metaphorically have an opportunity to dance with them," Hammond says.

See also: "Savage", An Exhibit of Art Made by Animals at Bakehouse

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Free Events This Week in Miami: Everglades Art, Salsa History, and Mid-Week Treats

Categories: Art, Books, Culture

The world only gets one Everglades. Let's appreciate it whenever possible.
III Points is over. Did you make it out alive?

Even if you weren't taking part in the massive Wynwood music, art, and technology fest, chances are you went and spent a load of cash trying to forget the work week behind you. The trouble is, another one is in full-swing, and that cash is still gone.

Not to worry, there are ways to distract yourself without mula. Here are a few of our suggestions.

See also: III Points 2014 at Soho Studios, Day Two

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The Crossfire Kids Airs Tonight on WPBT2: "Young Immigrants Are Not Villains"

Courtesy of WPBT2
"We like to think we are a humane country, but the way the United States treats their immigrants, particularly those from Latin American countries, is appalling." Miami-born filmmaker Oscar Corral echoes the feelings of many in our city, thousands touched by the immigrant experience.

His latest endeavor, The Crossfire Kids captures the struggle of young immigrants caught in the political crossfire over our country's immigration policy. Premiering tonight on WPBT2, the multi-week, cross-platform programming event features a web companion series and an exclusive online original mini-documentary. The web companion series will begin releasing on October 14 through WPBT's uVu channel, with new videos each week through October.

See also: Cubamerican Airs on WPBT2 Thursday: "It's the Story of Our Exile"

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Jazz Legend Johnny O'Neal Talks Music Roots and Playing Art Tatum in Ray

Categories: Culture

Jacob Blickenstaff
Perhaps you're wondering what singer-pianist Johnny O'Neal will do during his appearance on Saturday. So is he. "I never go by a set list," says O'Neal, who will perform at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium, the first performance of Tigertail Production's season. "I don't like not being in the moment.

"I don't want to sound braggadocious, but I have a lot of variety, from pop to gospel to blues, current stuff, modern contemporary stride piano..."

It all started when a rendition of Erskine Hawkins' "After Hours" by his father, also a singer and pianist, inspired 13-year-old O'Neal to study piano. He was a natural. "It only took a few months of piano lessons," he remembers. "I started playing for a church like two months after I learned where the keys are."

Gospel music was his first love, and he remembers winning piano competitions in that genre as a young man in Detroit, where he was born in 1956. "I never really felt that I would be a jazz cat," he says. That changed during a trip to St. Louis, where he had gone to play standards in a hotel.

See also: Miami's Top Ten Jazz Musicians

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Intergalactic Nemesis: Target Earth Brings Apocalyptic Graphic Novel Alive On Stage

Courtesy of Target Earth
The time is the 1930s. The place is the wintry mountains of the Alps. You are part of a journalism team investigating a promising lead when BAM! Attack! Your lead is gone -- but a bigger story is looming. You're trapped! Now you are on the run, the literal fate of the planet on your shoulders as you race around the globe and solar system, trying to stop an alien invasion of epic proportions.

Such is the world of Intergalactic Nemesis Target Earth, which makes its South Florida debut Saturday at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, courtesy of Culture Shock Miami.

Created by Jason Nuelander, Intergalactic Nemesis got its start in an Austin coffee house, before turning into a radio drama. A later incarnation saw the work develop into a graphic novel featuring illustrations by Tim Doyle, and it now comes to the stage as a live action graphic novel.

See also: Miami Comic Book Trio to Debut The Agency at Florida Supercon

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