MasterMind 2015 Finalist: Bistoury Theatre

Categories: MasterMinds

Bistoury Theatre's latest production, Tribe, explores homelessness. It's an intimately familiar topic for the troupe's cofounder Alexey Taran, who lived life on the streets firsthand.

Born in Santa Clara, Cuba, in 1970, Taran grew up in Havana and graduated from the Cuban National Ballet School before spending two years as a dancer in the Cuban National Ballet Company. His decision to leave Cuba for Caracas, Venezuela, in 1991 led to months of desperate living without a home.

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Rise of the MasterMinds: Meet the Ten Astounding 2015 Finalists

Categories: MasterMinds

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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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MasterMind 2015 Finalist: TM Sisters

Categories: MasterMinds

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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.

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MasterMind 2015 Finalist: Jolt Radio

Categories: MasterMinds

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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.

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MasterMind 2015 Finalist: Liz Ferrer

Categories: MasterMinds

Rather than argue endlessly about what to call Liz Ferrer's work, viewers should simply experience it.

"I think categorization is socially problematic," Ferrer says. "Ideas and work... can exist as many different things; it's hard for me to identify as one."

Consider her latest project, Subaqueous, an "underwater musical" inspired by a community called Islandia, an unincorporated island community off the coast of Miami that was abolished in 2012. "Knowing there was a group of people living off the radar on a beautiful, tiny island... excited me," Ferrer says.

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Artopia 2015 Promo Code Gives Readers $10 Off

Categories: MasterMinds

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Photo by Monica McGivern
Artopia, 2014.
It was only a couple months ago that Art Basel mania descended over Miami. That week in December feels more like a month, a frenzied time full of expensive and exclusive events basically unrelated to its lovely host city. Lucky for our readers, Artopia, New Times' annual soiree honoring talented area artists, is right around the corner to satisfy your neglected arty party needs.

Now in its seventh year, the revelry returns to the Coral Gables Museum February 26 ready to blow your hair back with artists, fashion, music, fine art and installations, plus endless food and booze. And starting now, we're offering a special promo offer that gives all you last-minute ticket-buyers $10 off.

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MasterMind 2015 Finalist: Alex Trimino

Categories: MasterMinds

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Courtesy of Alex Trimino
Installation at the Deering Estate, 2013
Fluorescent bars wrapped in crocheted cylinders. Glowing neon draped in tangled yarn. Tree-like structures of light sprouting leaves of knitwork. Exploring an Alex Trimino art exhibition can feel like wandering through an exotic, synthetic jungle -- a surreal spectacle.

The Colombian artist studied art at Florida International University and earned a bachelor's degree in art and a master's in sculpture. Along the way, she began exploring the themes that had followed her since childhood: science -- a subject in which she says she has always been interested -- and the traditional crafts of Colombia.

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MasterMind 2015 Finalist: Randy Burman

Categories: MasterMinds

Randy Burman selects a black sandal from a heap of shoes in a cardboard box. With a devilish grin, he hurls it across the length of his small studio. It lands on a painting of Rick Santorum's face with a satisfying thwack.

He's demonstrating Vent-o-Matic, a chainlink fence structure on which he's hung his own paintings of Republican politicians such as Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, and Donald Rumsfeld. When it goes on display, viewers will be able to hurl shoes at the conservative visages too.

"The sound is just so -- " Burman gestures enthusiastically. "Originally I got a bunch of squeezy dog toys to put behind the boards so it would squeak. But it really doesn't need it."

Vent-o-Matic is one of dozens of diverse art projects Burman has produced since he returned to fine art a decade ago, spanning painting, sketch work, sculpture, installation, and more. In 2014, the 67-year-old artist collaborated with O, Miami to install lines of poetry on street signs across Miami-Dade.

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MasterMind 2015 Finalist: Hattie Mae Williams

Categories: MasterMinds

For Hattie Mae Williams, Miami is the ultimate performance space. Williams, a longtime dancer and choreographer, created her own style and company, the Tattooed Ballerinas, to bring movement and attention to both everyday and unique spots. Their guerrilla-style dancing began in New York subway stations and supermarkets before moving south to Williams' first home, Miami.

"Miami nurtured my young artistic self through community programming and organizations," the 33-year-old dancer and choreographer says. "I participated in Voices United, led by director Katie Christie, [and] performed and practiced community outreach at the Village under the guidance of Teo Castellanos. Both opportunities gave me insight into how art can be used as a tool to implement positive change, share my artistic voice, and comment on local and global issues."

Williams received honors in modern dance and choreography at the New World School of the Arts in Miami and attended the Fordham University/Alvin Ailey BFA program in New York, where she graduated with choreography honors. She is working on a master's in interdisciplinary arts at Goddard College in Vermont.

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MasterMind 2015 Finalist: Limited Fanfare Records

Categories: MasterMinds

Lil Daggers - Dada Brown [Official Video] from Michael J. Ruiz-Unger on Vimeo.

For Brian Kurtz, it all started with a Fisher-Price record player in his Brooklyn apartment.

When he was a kid, Kurtz fell in love with music while spending hours listening to Michael Jackson and the Pointer Sisters on the cheap set.

These days, the 33-year-old has upgraded his sound system but still spends as much time as possible reveling in the possibilities of records. It took him time to find his niche, but Kurtz has lately become a major player on the local indie scene, thanks to his imprint, Limited Fanfare Records.

"I'm not a huge label, but I'm very patient," says Kurtz, who's won plaudits by focusing on his acts' growth over net sales.

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