Nery Saenz: Killer Comic

Categories: Comedy

Photo by Stian Roenning
"All my co-workers said, 'You should do standup, you should do standup,'" Nery Saenz remembers.
In this week's Miami New Times, we profile 30 of the most interesting characters in town, with portraits of each from photographer Stian Roenning. See the entire Miami New Times People Issue here.

Nery Saenz is a funny guy. Everybody around him can sense it. In fact, his friends and co-workers have been predicting his success in standup comedy for more than a decade.

The problem was that Saenz couldn't see it himself.

"All my co-workers said, 'You should do standup, you should do standup,'" Saenz remembers. "But I always just kind of brushed it off." After all, Eddie Murphy, Saenz's comedy idol, had begun his career at the age of 16. Saenz, then 22, figured he'd missed his chance.
But at the urging of a fellow comic, Saenz signed up for a standup competition in 2003. When he finally took the stage, he killed.

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Rebekah Monson: The Life-Hacker

Categories: Technology

Photo by Stian Roenning
"There isn't going to be another Silicon Valley. We are going to be Miami," says Rebekah Monson.
In this week's Miami New Times, we profile 30 of the most interesting characters in town, with portraits of each from photographer Stian Roenning. See the entire Miami New Times People Issue here.

A conversation with Rebekah Monson is like that moment in The Matrix when Neo sees everything in computer code. She may not practice kung fu or pluck bullets from midair, but Monson understands the digital world we live in. As Miami's coding guru, she knows this city now faces a choice: Take the blue pill and stay a sleepy tropical town, or pop the red one and join the international tech revolution. Needless to say, Monson is pushing the red pill pretty hard.

"There is room here to grow and to do more kick-ass stuff in the digital space," she says. "We need to pull this city forward. We need to level up."

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Giving Thanks: UM Professor Explains How Gratitude Can Change Relationships

Categories: Lifestyle

Photo by Eflon | Flickr CC
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and while its moniker suggests a time for giving thanks, sometimes that's easier said than done -- particularly when familial relations are involved. It's easy to be grateful for your kinfolk from afar. Not so easy when they're invading your personal space and badgering you about when you're going to get married and POP OUT THOSE GRANDBABIES ALREADY.

Miami's own Michael E. McCullough, professor of psychology and director of the Evolution and Human Behavior Laboratory at UM, is a world-renowned expert on gratitude, forgiveness and generosity.

Given the upcoming onslaught of holiday stress, we spoke to McCullough about why gratitude exists, how it affects relationships, and what we can do to make more of it happen.

See also: Kindred Spirits Sanctuary in Ocala: A Haven For Turkeys

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Reminisce Late '70s Miami With ¿Que Pasa, U.S.A.?: The Remix

Categories: Film and TV

Meet the Peñas, the stars of ¿Que Pasa, U.S.A?
Do you live in Miami? If you answered yes to that question, it's quite possible you're Cuban-American, and if you answered yes to that proposition, your top five favorite shows is likely to include late-'70s classic ¿Que Pasa, U.S.A?

The first bilingual and Cuban-American sitcom is near and dear to all hearts in Miami, and it's also just a really adorable program. In celebration of its three years of excellence and charm, PBS hooked up with remix artist Melodysheep and local producer Luis Beyra to give ¿Que Pasa, U.S.A? a fresh new groove.

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

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Miami International Film Festival Reveals New Poster and Mystery

Courtesy of Miami International Film Festival
Last night at a special reception at the Tower Theater, the Miami International Film Festival revealed quite a bundle of exciting news about its upcoming year. Specifically, it was a night dedicated to revealing the latest poster for the festivals 32nd edition.

The poster, which you can see just above, features a photograph of Orson Welles visiting Miami Beach in 1943. It was unveiled last night to an audience of excited folks prior to a fitting screening of a new documentary on the great filmmaker. Documentarian Chuck Workman's film, Magician: The Astonishing Work and Life of Orson Welles, takes us through the life of the filmmaker, and guests had a chance to watch it months before its spring release. And hopefully, the presence of Welles in the poster and the screening will offer insight to the festival's line-up.

See also: MIFF Director Jaie Laplante Talks MIFFecito Lineup at Tower Theater

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MOCA Set To Keep Most of Previously Held Artworks

Categories: Art

Babacar M'Bow of North Miami's Museum of Contemporary Art
In the wake of litigation settlements between the Museum of Contemporary Art and the City of North Miami, the fate of hundreds of artworks will be decided today. According to an agreement that will go before the North Miami City Council meeting, MOCA will retain about 500 of the 709 works previously held, while 205 will go to the new Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA Miami) created by its former board members.

The agreement states two works by Afro-Caribbean-influenced artist Jose Bedia will stay with MOCA, while two by pop artist John Baldessari will go to ICA. All 20 works by Miami-based Pablo Cano and two by the late street artist Keith Haring will stay with MOCA, while two works by Ana Mendieta and one by British artist Tracey Emin will go to ICA.

See also: MOCA, Former Directors Settle Dispute, Will Split Museum Assets

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Art on the Move: Ron Terada Puts Art on Taxi Cabs and an LP for Art Basel Miami Beach

Ron Terada is a Vancouver-based artist operating in the fields of painting, video, photography, sound, and graphic design. Art on the Move is an ongoing public commissions initiative and for this project, Dominic Molon, the Richard Brown Baker Curator of Contemporary Art at the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, has commissioned Terada for a two-part project that ties into the artist's personal canon Soundtrack for an Exhibition, which he began in 2000.

Through Locust Projects, this seamlessly marries Terada's clean grasp for graphic design with an audio-related form of art that is equal parts mood manipulation in the vein of a great mixtape and High Fidelity-esque record-loving snobby nerdiness. But in a good way. This results in an execution that, though vaguely familiar, harbors elements of pranking and "disruptive dissonance" that challenge expected perceptions.

See also: Art Basel Miami Beach 2014 Local Gallery Guide

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Andy Cohen Makes Miami Book Tour Stop, Talks Real Housewives, Tinder, and Puppy Love

All photos by Carla Torres
Andy Cohen with the Real Housewives of Miami.
Andy Cohen is hitting the road for a tour promoting his new book, The Andy Cohen Diaries: A Deep Look at a Shallow Year. The memoir recounts his star-studded adventures of the last 365 days, which means tons of name dropping (he actually states in the introduction he almost called the book Diary of a Name Dropper) and the dirty scoop on the rich and famous who Cohen gets to hang with on the daily.

Last night, fans of Cohen gathered at Villa Azur for Gilt City exclusive book launch and signing party. The guest of the night was of course Cohen himself, who took questions from the audience on anything from what housewife he'd shag, marry, or kill (Nini, Teresa and Vicki, in that order) to who his boy crush (it updates every minute). Miami's Real Housewives were there for support and to mingle with fans who drove from the outskirts of Kendall for a photo opp and a signed copy of Cohen's book.

See also: Seinfeld Writer Peter Mehlman on New Novel: "The Entire Book Was Inspired by Annoyance"

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"Auto Body" Takes On Gender Inequality in the Art World (NSFW)

Courtesy of the artist and Mor-Charpentier Gallery
Maria Jose Arjona, Right At The Center There Is Silence
As long as there is human expression in art, there will be problems with art. Humanity is filled with contradiction. People love and hate. They can create and destroy; they can inform or withhold. There is the desire to express and impress. Art created and consumed by such beings is rich in duality, feedback, and contradiction. Consider the idea of capitalism and gender and you will find more ideals to rebel against or celebrate.

Auto Body, the new exhibit produced by Spinello Projects, calls profound attention to art exhibition and its contradictions as much as it subverts the idea of the exhibition. From December 4 through December 7, the group show will unfold alongside Art Basel Miami Beach as both a protest and a conceptual art experience of profound merit. Fundamentally, it seeks to make the spectator think as much feel while denying the idea of commodification. Textually, much thought has been put into the work by a group of curators and artists who span several generations but are all women.

See also: Art Basel Miami Beach 2014 Local Gallery Guide

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Bad Jews at GableStage: Identify, If You Dare, With This Acrid Dramedy

Photo by George Schiavone
Playwright Joshua Harmon may or may not have been thinking of No Exit when he wrote his acrid dramedy Bad Jews. But after seeing the riveting new production of Harmon's play at GableStage, Sartre's metaphysical masterpiece seems like a touchstone in at least one sense: It depicts a handful of tortured souls, trapped and bickering in a prison of their making, with no resolution on the horizon. Hell is other Jews.

The infernal setting, in this case, is a studio apartment on the Upper West Side, a property so privileged that, as two characters point out, "You can see the Hudson River from the bathroom!" A pullout sofa and two air mattresses of varying quality are spread along the carpet of the space, a single person's sprawl converted into a cramped barracks for four.

This is where the religiously observant Daphna Feygenbaum (Natalia Coego) and two of her cousins -- the loose-canon atheist Liam (David Rosenberg) and the quiet doormat Jonah (Mark Della Ventura) -- will spend a fraught night on the day of their grandfather's funeral, arguing chiefly over the possession of a Jewish family heirloom. Daphna wants it because she's the most fervent believer of them all, a kosher-keeping, Hebrew-speaking carrier of the torch, with a boyfriend waiting for her in Israel. Liam has his own designs on the sacred amulet, which becomes all the more infuriating to Daphna because they involve his shiksa girlfriend Melody (Lexi Langs), whom he has brought along uninvited.

See also: Mothers and Sons at GableStage: Theater as Gestalt Therapy

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