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You can take the name of Sweat Records, Miami's against-all-odds bastion of independent culture, in different ways. But it was never coproprietor Lauren "Lolo" Reskin's intention for you to actually, well, sweat inside while shopping.
And thus, when the air-conditioning unit of the mint-green Little Haiti store finally went bust earlier this summer, so did nearly all of Sweat's activity. "It got to the point where we realized we needed to replace the whole thing instead of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic," Reskin says. She and co-owner Jason Jimenez cut the store's hours to just 5 to 10 p.m. six days a week in the face of this summer's relentless heat, and tried to retool.
But the bigger problem is that Sweat isn't only a record store. It's an all-out community hub for a metropolitan area oppressed by chain stores, and before the summer, it was hosting events almost nightly: stand-up comedy shows, book club meetings, film screenings, in-store performances, and even origami classes. Those are all now on hold — except, in a lemonade-out-of-lemons move, a weekly "sweaty yoga" class.
550 NW 29th St.
Miami, FL 33127
Category: Community Venues
Region: Midtown/Wynwood/Design District
Simply buying a new AC unit hasn't been an option — the store is still bouncing back financially from a major break-in last year, which left the space's fixtures, business machinery, stock, and even its fish tank broken.
To get back on track, a benefit show was an obvious choice, but beyond roping in the usual suspects, Reskin and Jimenez decided to aim high and try for the support of Miami's resident rock royalty: Iggy Pop. His iconic mug already looms large along NE Second Avenue on Sweat's exterior Wall of Idolatry mural by local artist CP1, and CNN taped him in front of the painting last winter for a segment on his favorite Little Haiti haunts. So Reskin reached out, asking for his help, and hoped for the best.
"He just called me and said he'd like to meet and talk at the shop. He breezed in — shirtless, of course — and though I rarely get star-struck, it was definitely a tad surreal at first," Reskin recalls.
But Iggy agreed to lend his mug to the store again, but this time in an authorized version to raise some cash. Thus was born the limited-edition Sweat X Iggy T-shirt, featuring CP1's version of his face, with further design by Chuck Loose, and printed by Iron Forge Press. Sale proceeds will go toward a new AC unit and, to keep that cool air inside, replacements for the store's old, creaky doors. So will the entry fees for a party this Saturday to celebrate the shirt's release, which will feature sounds by Miami's two best rock 'n' roll hopes: Awesome New Republic and Jacuzzi Boys. Iggy won't perform, but he'll attend as guest of honor and no doubt still steal the show.