Rise of the MasterMinds: Meet the Ten Astounding 2015 Finalists

Categories: MasterMinds

This year's Mastermind finalists have BRAAAIIINNNSSS!
They wrap neon lights in intricate crochet. They stage guerrilla ballets in abandoned stadiums and empty fields. They invite the homeless to act in theater performances, bolt poetic street signs above parking meters, and blast South Florida's best underground acts across the internet.

They are this year's finalists for New Times' MasterMind Awards, and they each add a soul-stirring dose of artistic genius to the simmering local creative scene.

They also represent the best of the best from a record crop of entries. More than 130 artists, musicians, dancers, sculptors, and others submitted entries for the sixth edition of our annual arts competition.

A group of editors and critics chose these ten finalists from that pool. The winners, who will each receive a $1,000 grant, will be announced live onstage at Artopia, presented by Miracle Mile and downtown Coral Gables this Thursday at the Coral Gables Museum. The finalists will show off their work at the event. Here's a taste of what they'll bring.

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Interview With (Totally Lame) Vampires

Categories: Film and TV

Weird vampires are weird
Ten years ago, Wellington, New Zealand, was less welcoming of vampires. When Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, two unknown comedians, walked the streets in velvet frocks and ruffles for a 2005 sketch, dudes would drive by and scream homophobic slurs. Says Clement, "We were constantly abused."

Over the next decade, things changed. In 2006, Clement landed an Outback Steakhouse commercial. In 2007, he and college classmate Bret McKenzie launched the cult hit Flight of the Conchords and played the lead in Waititi's first feature, the cross-continental indie darling Eagle vs Shark. Their gang put a generation of New Zealand comics on the map. By the time Clement and Waititi had earned the clout to go back and expand their vampire short into a feature, What We Do in the Shadows, even Wellington had evolved. Clement and Waititi slithered into their bloodsucker threads and steeled themselves for more showdowns with brutes in too-big suits and running shoes. But today, Wellington out-hipsters Brooklyn.

See also: What We Do in the Shadows

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Victoria Gitman Turns Vintage Fashion Into Contemporary Art

Categories: Art

Artwork by Victoria Gitman / Collection PĂ©rez Art Museum Miami
A Beauty (2008)
"Is there a way it can go faster?"

Victoria Gitman peers at the monitor and impatiently taps the laptop's down arrow. On the screen, photos of purses scroll past in a rapid, jerky rhythm. She's using a borrowed computer; at home, she says, she flies through these listings twice as fast, watching the colors and shapes in the pictures blend together as they fly by.

Gitman knows exactly what she's looking for. The Buenos Aires-born artist, now based in Hallandale Beach, has spent 15 years scouring antique markets, thrift stores, and websites like eBay and Etsy that sell secondhand items, searching for just the right purse or piece of jewelry.

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Subtropics Introduces the Unconventional Claudia Quintet

Categories: Culture

Courtesy of Claudia Quintent
This is what a quintent looks like
The Claudia Quintet brings its signature sound to Miami Beach on Saturday as part of this year's Subtropics XXIII of music and sound art.

"The great thing about this band is that it is unconventional music, but very accessible," says John Hollenbeck, who formed the group in 1997 in New York, via email. "We are very excited to play in Florida. The first time with this band!" Claudia is just back in the United States after a European tour that took the group to Austria, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. In 2013, they played the Jazzmandu Festival in Kathmandu, Nepal.

See also: My Best Miami Memory: People Mover

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MasterMind 2015 Finalist: TM Sisters

Categories: MasterMinds

Photo by Monica McGivern
Monica and Natasha Lopez De Victoria
When Monica and Natasha Lopez De Victoria were growing up in Miami, did they ever imagine they'd work so closely together as adults? The pair laughs at the question. Their decadelong collaboration as one of Miami's most mind-bendingly creative duos came together by happenstance, not planning.

"No, not at all," says 34-year-old Monica.

"We both pursued different lifestyles," adds 31-year-old Natasha.

Monica chimes in, "It just kind of naturally happened."

Random chance or not, the result was the TM Sisters, a multidisciplinary collective between the siblings that has allowed them to explore their own artistic voices through live performances, video, sculpture, animation, dance, and anything else they can get their hands on.

See also: Congratulations to the MasterMind Awards 2015 Finalists

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Street Art Reinvigorates Architecture in Little Haiti

Categories: Art

Courtesy of Miami Jewish Healthcare
A close up of Chernin's mural
A boxy, sharp-edge tree skeleton crawls down the side of a pale building; its branches are a multi-colored rainbow of pink, purple, and blue hues. If you stare at the mural long enough, it starts to appear animalistic and wild. But a peaceful kind of wild. The roots are hidden underneath a cloud of colors, giving the tree a floating appearance. It is painted on the side of a building after all.

Murals have spilled out of Wynwood and through various parts of downtown and Miami, and now the trend has made its way to the Miami Jewish Health Systems building -- street art has officially infiltrated the healthcare community.

The mural was commissioned by the healthcare provider to both beautify their Douglas Gardens campus and help promote a happier lifestyle for its residents.

See also: New Downtown Miami Whole Foods to Feature Parking Garage With Curated Murals

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All the Oscar 2015 Losers Still Worth Seeing

Categories: Film and TV

Many people won't watch a film based solely on the fact that is was simply nominated for an Oscar. But if said movie takes home a statue, that's another story. "Academy Award winner" in front of a film title, actor, or director carries weight.

So here we are, just days after the 87th Academy Awards, with 24 winners chosen from 60 nominees. So, what about the films that didn't win? Here are all of the Oscar losers still worth seeing.

See also: David Cronenberg Talks About His New Film, Maps to the Stars

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Podcast: Winners, Awkward Moments, and Losers from the 2015 Oscars

Categories: Film and TV

Screenshot of Academy Awards Coverage
An awkward moment

There was an awkward moment between Fifty Shades of Grey star Dakota Johnson and her mom, Melanie Griffith, on the red carpet before the Oscars on Sunday. But the world got to see Johnson's impressive talent for pretending uncomfortable situations don't seem to bother her (see also: Fifty Shades of Grey). It was an eventful Oscars, and that was only the start. Your Voice Film Club hosts Amy Nicholson, Alan Scherstuhl, and Stephanie Zacharek break down the 2015 Oscars winners and losers, while Amy and Stephanie unveil their all-time favorite Oscar dresses. Plus, Amy tells us about how Channing Tatum is going to blow our minds in the new Coen Brothers movie, Hail, Caesar! As always, send mail to filmpod@villagevoice.com and follow us on the Twitter at @voicefilmclub.

[Subscribe to the Voice Film Club podcast on iTunes]

MasterMind 2015 Finalist: Jolt Radio

Categories: MasterMinds

Courtesy of Jolt Radio
Streaming live from Wynwood
The term "internet radio" may conjure some unsavory images: sad slacker dudes, perhaps, with bad haircuts ranting about conspiracy theories or playing pirated music from their moms' Florida rooms.

Banish those thoughts, at least when it comes to Jolt Radio. The South Florida web-broadcasting pioneer is based in the heart of Wynwood and features 37 DJs contributing to the station's unique blend of shows and sounds.

Founder John Caignet likes to keep the interviews local too. "It's what we love doing," he explains.

See also: Congratulations to the MasterMind Awards 2015 Finalists

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David Cronenberg Talks About His New Film, Maps to the Stars

Categories: Film and TV

Courtesy of Le Pacte Films
Mia Wasikowska in Maps to the Stars

Celebrities are flesh, David Cronenberg would say. Maps to the Stars, the latest film from the cult director, paints a grim picture behind the veneer of celebrity, but it also probes deep below the surface to explore damaged people in search of validity through speciousness.

Maps to the Stars follows a family of Hollywood archetypes disrupted by the appearance of an interloper (Mia Wasikowska), whose face and arms are mutilated by a childhood fire. She is Agatha, the sister of 13-year-old child star Benjie Weiss (Evan Bird), who is fresh out of rehab and hooked on energy drinks. Benjie's mother, a archetypal stage mother (Olivia Williams), pushes him to get back work on a sequel for a schlocky comedy hit called Bad Babysitter. His father (John Cusack) is a new-age sage who has his own TV show and offers private sessions that combine reflexology and Jungian psychoanalysis.

See also: Film Review: Maps to the Stars Has Little Fire, but Julianne Moore Is Grand

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