Miss Universe Selfie Taken in Wynwood Causes International Uproar

Categories: Culture

via Instagram
Miss Israel Doron Matalon (left) took a photo with Miss Lebanon Saly Griege (center left), as shown on her Instagram account.
And you thought leaked nude selfies caused a stir.

As the Miss Universe pageant gets underway in Miami, we're all primed for a little excitement and a lot of drama. An early controversy stems from a smiling selfie, of all things. Miss Israel, Doron Matalon, snapped a photo with fellow contestants Miss Lebanon, Miss Slovenia, and Miss Japan as they walked around Wynwood last weekend. After the photo started circulating around the web, however, Miss Lebanon, Saly Griege, claimed Matalon "photobombed" the group and that she had been trying to avoid being photographed with Matalon throughout their Miami stay.

Griege's response comes in the face of backlash from Lebanon, where Beirut-based newspaper The Daily Star reports that the beauty queen is being admonished for posing with Miss Israel.

See also: FIU Angers Faculty, Spends More than Half a Million Dollars on Miss Universe Pageant

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Can You Escape the Quest in 60 Minutes or Less?

Categories: Around Town

Victorious challengers pose after a win.
If you and three friends were trapped in a mental hospital and your only hope for escape was to work together, what three friends could you count on?

If the way out could only be divined from hidden clues and the ability of you and your friends to connect them, would your choice in friends stay the same?

You may feel pretty smart right now, but there's only one way to Escape the Quest, and that's by heading to South Beach with your cleverest pals to face one of its three fun, adventurous, and cognitive challenges head on. Do you dare?

See also: Tiffany Noe Wants to Transform Miami Into an Edible Park

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Miami Beach Makes New York Times List of Top 52 Places to Visit in 2015

Categories: News

Photo by James Willamor | Flickr CC
The New York Times hasn't been particularly kind to Miami in recent months. Back in August, the storied publication skewered our fair city with an ill-advised editorial by Miami native Pamela Druckerman. Druckerman lambasted the city's lack of culture with an appalling absence of insight.

But that's in the past, and all is forgiven. We're snubbed, no longer! The newspaper recently saw fit to include Miami Beach in its list of 52 places to visit in 2015.

Okay, so Orlando came out ahead of us, but we still earned a spot -- and we can take a compliment.

See also: New York Times' Latest Drive-by of Miami Is Classist Trash

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Billy Corben's Dawg Fight Premieres at Miami International Film Festival 2015

Categories: Film and TV

Courtesy of Rakontur
Director Billy Corben and Dada 5000.
"The only way to escape the streets is to fight your way out."

That's the life philosophy that pervades Miami filmmaker Billy Corben's documentary Dawg Fight. The latest film from Corben's studio, Rakontur, chronicles the underground backyard-fighting scene in Perrine, a suburb that's just a few miles south of Miami but worlds away from the glitz and glamor so often associated with the Magic City. This isn't the scenic South Florida that dances across TV screens or graces glossy travel magazines.

Slated to premiere March 12 at the 32nd Miami International Film Festival, Dawg Fight is a raw look at a side of South Florida that's rarely seen. There are no cruise ships in Perrine, no tony art deco architecture, just an impoverished community trying to eke out survival. You can learn a lot about a neighborhood by the businesses that line its streets, and the area is little more than a series of check-cashing stores and rundown auto-body shops. Perrine is the home of the American grind, not the American dream -- but the purpose of the grind is the dream.

See also: Billy Corben, Sandwich Man

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Miami Jewish Film Festival: Havana Curveball Films Cuba Through Child's Eyes

Categories: Film Festivals

Mica Jarmel-Schneider in 'Havana Curveball'

How quickly things have changed in Cuba. After President Obama's declaration of "normalized" relations between the U.S. and Cuba, Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider's documentary Havana Curveball already captures what is, perhaps, a different Cuba. The new policy would have certainly made the mission of 13-year-old Mica Jarmel-Schneider a little easier.

The documentary, directed by Mica's parents, Jarmel and Schneider, the 13-year-old Giants fan and Little Leaguer spends a lot of time figuring out how to donate baseball equipment from his home in San Francisco. As a child, Mica's grandfather escaped Hitler's reach in Vienna and found temporary home in Cuba. Mica felt the need to pay something back to Cuba. Particularly as a huge baseball fan, Mica wanted to reach out to the Communist nation, to build a bridge using a shared love of baseball.

See also: Igor Shteyrenberg on Miami Jewish Film Festival 2015 and Its Limitless Possibilities

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Lacey Schwartz Discusses Autobiographical Film Little White Lie

Categories: Film Festivals

Imagine living the first portion of your life as someone who identifies as something completely different than who you are, simply because your family insists they were that type of person. In a way, this is Lacey Schwartz's story and her documentary Little White Lie shows just that. Schwartz, who now is comfortable in her identity as both a black and Jewish woman, spent a large portion of her life believing she was white.

Little White Lie, presents the chronicle of Schwartz's coming-to-terms with her identity and her family's secrets. It's a smart and tightly-edited documentary drawn with narration, home videos, and interviews. It's her parents' story as much as it's hers and Schwartz doesn't shy away from hard truths. It's the kind of film that is immensely draining, yet prompts one to wonder just how cathartic an experience telling your story must be.

When asked about the feeling of being able to share such a personal narrative, Schwartz responded by saying, "Yeah. I think that it comes from kind of being finished with it. And I think sort of my anxiety, not about making the film, but about choices in general, was the expectation of the confrontation and the fear of what the outcome of the confrontation might be."

See also: The Best Female-Directed Films of 2014

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Tiffany Noe Wants to Transform Miami Into an Edible Park

Photo by Laine Doss
Tiffany Noé isn't your garden-variety farmer. An expert on everything from urban foraging to cooking up organic potting mix, she's Miami's locavore champion.

This week, Noé's latest idea was was named a finalist in the Knight Cities Challenge. Her idea, officially dubbed "Wild Planting for a Fruitful Future," involves placing a whole host of edible plants in public places across Miami.

Should her dream come to fruition, Miamians will - one day - have a bounty of equal-opportunity fruits and edibles to enjoy.

See also: Knight Cities Challenge Announces Nominees, Ten From Miami

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The 20 Best Television Shows Returning in 2015

Categories: Film and TV

via YouTube
Can't keep track of when all your favorite shows return this year? You've come to the right place. Chances are now that the holiday season is over, and every station is done playing Home Alone 2 on a loop, your must watch show is nearing a return. Whether it be the pressing of play on a show that paused mid-season, or a fresh new lineup of episodes you've been anxiously awaiting on for what seems like forever; early 2015 is the time most small screen shows make their comeback.

From House of Cards, to Game of Thrones, the first three-months of this new year are chalk full of new TV. Here is when 20 of the most popular debut.

See also: The Ten Best Comedy Acts in Miami in 2015

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FIU Angers Faculty, Spends More than Half a Million Dollars on Miss Universe Pageant

Categories: News

Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Florida International University

Florida International University has raised more than a few eyebrows and the ire of its faculty over its agreement with the Miss Universe pageant. The university announced in October that it would serve as the site for the Donald Trump-owned beauty pageant, a decision made ostensibly to raise the school's international profile. It's a move that has proven both expensive and controversial.

According to documents obtained by the Miami Herald, the school has spent an estimated $544,073 on the deal. That amount is well over FIU's initial cost projections. Most of the overages resulted from remodeling the school's outdated arena - the site of the event - an amount that the university initially estimated at $70,000. But the necessary roof upgrades have cost FIU $400,000. Those costs were, in large part, the result of strengthening the arena's roof to hold the weight of TV lights and cameras.

See also: The University of Miami's Delta Gamma Recruitment Video Is Gross

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Free Events This Week in Miami: Stitch 'n' Bitch, Aerial Cuba, and Transportation Talk

Categories: Around Town

Photo by Elvert Barnes | Flickr CC
Thanks Martin Luther King Jr. In addition to being one of the most inspirational human beings to ever grace the planet, you ensured that the struggle for equal rights will always be commemorated.

In honor of the hero himself, go out and make the most of this free day. And while you're at it, line up a schedule for the rest of the week. We've got plenty of options -- all of which are easy on the wallet.

See also: "Poetry That Breaks Silence" Honors Martin Luther King's Dream

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