Support the Arts or They will Die

I’ve heard countless times -- mostly from former New Yorkers and Chicagoans -- that Miami and its Beach are cultural deserts, black holes for new expression. In fact, MIA can feel like that some weekends when the best theater option is something the East Coast saw years ago and the most independent film showing is one put out by a mega studio.

Sunday was the closing night of the inaugural edition of the South Beach International Animation Film Festival. There were about ten people at the Miami Beach Cinematheque where organizers showed a provoking selection of disturbing, sexual and amusing shorts from a Canadian fest. Animation like Milk Teeth, which explored a child’s peek into his mother’s dark side with visuals that looked like a fluttering series of Rembrandt paintings.

Another chronicled the descents of a dancing gumdrop featured in an old-school movie concession commercial and a loon that served as a breakfast cereal icon. All in all, pretty damn entertaining. But with only two handfuls of people to watch, such pushes to add another layer of artistic expression to Miami and the Beach will wither and die. And those who don’t support them will largely be to blame for the stale culture that results.

--Janine Zeitlin

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