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By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Daniel Reskin
"There's a whole subculture of people that live with their sex dolls," says Gary Farmer, cultural affairs program manager for the City of Miami Beach. "I couldn't present pictures of these sex dolls on public property because that would be too controversial."
With names like Britney, Amanda, Jenny, and Gabrielle, he explains, the dolls — costing upward of $6,500 — belong to men who swear their silicone companions have distinct personalities and voices and, in several cases, their own Twitter accounts. Some of the owners even marry their dolls and take them on honeymoons.
Canada's Jean-François Bouchard, whose show "Still Life" was exhibited during the Toronto and Paris versions of Nuit Blanche this year, took the striking portraits, which will be on display at the Shore Club (1901 Collins Ave., Miami Beach) beginning at 8 p.m. this Saturday as part of Sleepless Night Miami Beach.
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"Their blown-up faces are accompanied by quotes from the dolls' owners," Farmer says. "The men explain why they prefer these dolls to real women. It's very, very odd."
The Sleepless Night marathon will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday and run until 6 a.m. Sunday. It will boast 150 free events, performances, and exhibitions scattered at 80 venues citywide. They run the gamut from full-length plays, concerts, and operas to groundbreaking dance pieces, film screenings, street spectacles, experimental sound works, and unexpected installations.
Now in its third edition, the Miami Beach event is one of 15 internationally. Other locations include Paris, Madrid, Montreal, and Rome. It will all happen November 5, the night Daylight Saving's Time ends and we turn the clocks back. So there will actually be 13 hours of sensory-jarring cultural offerings to delight even the most jaded insomniacs and night owls.
Another of the shows will be Camposition's Intention Intervention, an epic multimedia, yoga-influenced installation combining an art film, a choir of more than 100 singers, performances by creator Octavio Campos and others, and a cadre of yoga practitioners.
"It's the first offering of a series of performances for my new project, Please Don't Hate Me, in association with artist/film director Rick Delgado of Nufrontier Pictures, and is a true hybrid work of film accompanied by live performance," explains Campos, who last year was named one of the New Times Cultist blog's 100 Creatives. "Rick has... created a truly beautiful piece of socially conscious video art and moving images."
Campos is the first choreographer to create a piece for the New World Symphony's SoundScape Park (17th Street and Washington Avenue, Miami Beach), where the 7,000-square-foot film screen will feature Delgado's movie, accompanied by 200 live performers.
Delgado's film features a stunning performance by Natasha Tsakos, who portrays the anguish of the 108 human delusions, represented in both Buddhism and Hinduism by the 108 beads of the Eastern rosary, or mala. The original score by Michael Walls elevates the ethereal nature of the production.
Farmer says audiences can expect another monumental film experience at the Bass Museum of Art (2100 Collins Ave., Miami Beach). Marco Brambilla's "Civilization (Megaplex)" will contain 300 individual channels of looped video blended into a multilayered tableau of interconnecting images satirizing contemporary concepts of Heaven and Hell.
"It's a mind-blowing epic where these incredible images bleed into each other, creating the sensation of this huge Hieronymus Bosch painting come to life," Farmer observes. "Brambilla used to be a Hollywood director [he helmed Demolition Man in 1993 and Excess Baggage in 1997] before turning his attention to art." Since shifting his focus to video and photography in 1998, Brambilla's work has been exhibited internationally and added to the permanent collections of the Guggenheim Museum and the New Museum of Contemporary Art. Brambilla will discuss his work at 7 p.m. at the Bass.
From 6 to 6:30 p.m. at the Bass's Art Reflecting Pool, don't miss Sleepless Muscles and Slovakia, by experimental composer and musical genius Juraj Kojs. The first is a muscle-powered multimedia installation employing the kinetic energy of a performer riding a bike to power audio-visual electronics. Kojs's second opus is a 35-minute program combining Slovakian folk instruments and experimental electronica, transporting viewers to a mysterious world full of ancient ritual and dramatic myth.
Tigertail Productions' Mary Luft says spectators can anticipate more of the weird when Brazil's Livio Tragtenberg parachutes onto Lincoln Road at Washington Avenue for the U.S. premiere of his interactive piece The Cabinet of Dr. Strange, originally commissioned for the São Paulo Biennial.
"He is one of the most intriguing of Brazil's contemporary composers, with an extraordinary range of performance styles. He encompasses traditional classical concerts, film and dance music, street performances, and installations such as Dr. Strange," Luft explains.
Tragtenberg will perform inside a cage with a sign that reads, "Please feed the composer with images and sounds. The composer is an extinct animal. Come and share your sound problems with Dr. Strange. Dr. Strange will solve your sound problems."
From within his barred enclosure, the composer will invite audience members to scream, chirp, sing, or play cell-phone ringtones into an open mike, thereby making them collaborators in his cacophonous symphony.
In between, eventgoers will discover everything from Pablo Cano and Jim Hammond's shadow-puppet play Dog at the Colony Theatre to Dinorah de Jesús Rodríguez's expanded cinema installation Sonambula at the Miami Beach Cinematheque.