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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Relive the Beatles Invasion in Traveling Memorabilia Exhibit at HistoryMiami

(c)The Bob Bonis Archive
While there have been literally millions and millions of words offered about the Beatles, none come close to what it was actually like to witness the music and mayhem that was reaped in their wake. The anticipation of each and every new album; the cool and charisma that found fans worshipping them like gods; their indelible influence on fashion and style; the revolutionary sounds they created and inspired. All of this was part and parcel of the Fab Four phenomenon, a cultural event that has never been replicated since. In less than a decade, they forever changed popular music, leaving an imprint that remains undiminished a full half-century since.

That's one reason why anything associated with the Beatles has taken on an air of awe and intrigue, as if it can somehow connect us mere mortals with some kind of sacred sacrament. The connection was especially clear here in South Florida, when in 1964 the band's second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show was broadcast worldwide from Miami Beach and the locals were given opportunity to watch them romp in the surf and travel about like tourists.

See also: "Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow" To Highlight Untold Civil Rights History

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Avra Jain Preserves Miami's History at Vagabond Hotel (Video)

The long line of Biscayne Boulevard is home to a string of historic hotels in various states of decay and charm. Looking to recapture the seaside glamor of these spots is the Vagabond Hotel on Northeast 73rd Street, the iconic inn whose soft opening last month gave us a glimpse of the carefully reconstructed details and upscale adjustments to come.

See also: Inside the Vagabond Hotel, Biscayne Boulevard's Restored MiMo Gem (Photos)

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PHOTOSTREAM: Share Your Miami Instagrams in Dwntwn Arts Days Project

#DDAFF2014 participants.
Blowfly has seemingly saved his home with IndieGoGo and some numb-nutz named Zack Brown conned 50 grand for "potato salad." Crowd-sourcing can be a powerful tool. From filmmakers to musicians, the possibilities are endless -- even more so when a pair of local artists utilize the basic concept of it for an installation this month during DWNTWN Art Days, which celebrates the way our town has changed and continues to evolve.

Artists and frequent collaborators (read: artistic instigators) Barron Sherer and Kevin Arrow have taken the concept and translated it into a locally-sourced photo project using Instagram and hashtags as the unifying front for the creation of the installation that will stream at the Miami Center for Architecture & Design from the September 19 through September 28.

The end result should be a compilation video on YouTube that won't make you cringe and/or wince in pain. The best part of the project is that its relative success hinges on the community's participation. Here's where you, the smart phone-wielding public, comes into play.

See also: DWNTWN Art Days: Fringe Projects' Public Installations and Frost's New Maker Space

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

Courtesy of Danny Bellas
Andy Garcia in Cubamerican.
To live in Miami is to be immersed in Cuban culture, but how many of us really know the tale of our neighbors, our ancestors, and ourselves?

José Enrique Pardo had enough of romantic Hollywood depictions and took matters into his own hands. With only two short films under his belt, he set out to document what drove millions of Cubans to leave their home, to send their children more than 90 miles away -- perhaps never to be seen again -- and to answer the equally important question of what these first-generation immigrants have done with their freedom.

What gives him the right? It's his story too.

See also: Cubamerican: Moving Documentary on the Cuban Experience in America, Debuts in Miami

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Miami Icons: Vizcaya Voted Your Favorite Local Landmark

Photos by Karli Evans
All month long, Cultist has highlighted Miami's most deserving landmarks, from Ocean Drive's Art Deco beacon the Colony Hotel to downtown's early Cuban-American sanctuary the Freedom Tower. We asked readers to choose their favorite of 15 local haunts last Friday. The competition was steep but the votes are in: Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is your most beloved Miami Icon.

See also: Miami Icons: Vizcaya, Birthplace of Magic City Luxury

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Miami Icons: Last Chance to Vote for Your Favorite Local Landmark!

Flickr cc | Michael Shane
All month long, Cultist's Miami Icons series has spotlighted Miami's most deserving landmarks. There are the obvious choices, like Ocean Drive's Colony Hotel. There are the historical gems, like Vizcaya. There were modern additions, like the Arsht Center. We even threw in a couple weirdo picks -- El Faraon, for example -- just to keep things interesting.

Readers have been vocal, from blasting the historical integrity of monuments to praising powerhouse structures that scream "Miami." Well, it's time to put your money where your mouth is and choose: Which Miami Icon deserves to represent the Magic City to the rest of the world?

Today is your last chance to take our poll and make your voice heard. Should it be the opulence of the Versace mansion? The picturesque MacArthur Causeway? The fantastical Opa-locka City Hall?

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Freewheeling Encounters With Miami's Past: Take a Bike Tour With Julia Tuttle

Miami may be known for many things, but history isn't always foremost among them.

Oh sure, there's the ancient Tequesta ruins squeezed beneath a rare stretch of untilled land adjacent to downtown, and the Freedom Tower, which serves as our complement to Ellis Island. We can boast an array of iconic buildings, from Vizcaya and the Biltmore to Overtown's Lyric Theater and the art deco curiosities of South Beach. Then there's the pioneers that inspire retro reflection, people like Henry Flagler, Julia Tuttle, George Merrick, and James Deering, larger than life individuals who helped lay the foundation for what would eventually become our world class destination.

That ought to be proof enough of our own worthy back story of sorts, even if that tale is barely a hundred years old. Even so, Miami's cutting-edge reputation and continuing urban sprawl make unsurprising that people tend to overlook our legacy.

See also: Miami Icons: Vote Now For Your Favorite Miami Landmark!

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Kendallsuyo Book Seeks to Spotlight Miami's Overlooked Andean Roots

Courtesy Américo Mendoza-Mori
The "Lady of Coracora" Celebration, a traditional festivity that originated in Ayacucho (Southern Andes).
In the wake of the Pamela Druckerman fiasco, it's pretty clear that lots of folks (even former residents) still harbor stereotypes about Miami.

University of Miami Ph.D. candidate Americo Mendoza-Mori thinks that even the city's Latin culture tends to overlook crucial aspects of its own identity. One aspect includes the unique segment of immigrants who originated from Peru and the Andes, eventually forming the Kendallsuyo settlement in Southwest Miami.

To get the word out, he's launched a Kickstarter to support his book project -- a tome focused on the fascinating stories of this singular group and how they've helped shape Miami as a whole.

See also: Miami Book Fair: Daniel Alarcón Recounts His Drive Into the Dark Heart of Peru's Drugland

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Miami Icons: The Versace Mansion, a High-End Hotel Inspiring Macabre Fascination

Photos by Zachary Fagenson
San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge. St. Louis has the Arch. Las Vegas has its retro welcome sign. It seems like every city has an iconic structure to represent itself to the rest of the world. Every city but Miami, that is. The Magic City is full of architectural gems, and maybe that's why no one building has come to define it. But that's left this town without a symbol of its own. In our Miami Icons series, we're aiming to fix that. Today, writer Lee Zimmerman argues for the Versace Mansion, AKA Casa Casuarina.

It was an indelible image seen around the world. The bloodstained steps of the Versace Mansion in the immediate aftermath of the inexplicable murder of fashion icon Gianni Versace. who, in spite of his wealth and influence, seemed a most unlikely target of an assassin's gun. For all the opulence that this palatial home represents, it's those stairs, where the homeowner was inexplicably ambushed by the crazed killer Andrew Cunanan, that still finds tourists gawking and gazing in amazement.

How strange that that small parcel of cement turf should overshadow the grandeur and spectacle borne by one of Miami Beach's most lavish domains. With ten bedrooms, 11 baths, a magnificent center courtyard, and 23,000 square feet of living space, it's imposing indeed. Versace was a man of impeccable taste, and up until his death in 1997, the furnishings and décor that he surrounded himself with reflected that fact.

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