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Miami's Ten Biggest Arts & Culture Stories of 2012

Tom Wolfe's Back to Blood blunder: totally on the list.
Tom Wolfe's Back to Blood blunder: totally on the list.
Bob Adelman

It's been a good year, Miami.

Sure, we've had our disappointments. CSI: Miami was canceled, meaning we'll never hear another so-bad-it's-really-bad-but-also-kind-of-great Horatio Caine pun. The Kardashians received the key to North Miami, embarrassing us all. Local tattoo goddess Tatu Baby did not win Ink Master.

But we've had a bounty of good fortune, too: A triumphant eighth Borscht Film Festival, a new home for YoungArts, a transforming downtown, and an Art Basel packed full of spectacles, from serious art to silly installations around town. And those aren't even in our top ten biggest arts and culture stories of 2012. Check them out after the jump.

Miami's Ten Biggest Arts & Culture Stories of 2012

10. Back to Blood

When literary giant Tom Wolfe announced his next novel, Back to Blood, would be set in Miami, we got all giddy inside. Then the book was released, and promptly torched by just about every reviewer on the planet. Why can't we have nice things?

9. The Real Housewives' Bitchslap

What's more entertaining than Tom Wolfe's fake, hysterical dramatizing of our city? Real Housewives' slightly less fake, hysterical dramatizing of our city. Viewers waited nearly an entire season to see the slap heard 'round the Bravo-watching world this year. But it was, like, totally worth it.

8. Pain & Gain

Not to pat ourselves on our thick, rippled, muscle-y backs, but sometimes, New Times feature stories can be downright cinematic. Just ask Michael Bay and his awesomely/terrifyingly giant Hans and Franz-esque duo of The Rock and Mark Wahlberg.

Miami's Ten Biggest Arts & Culture Stories of 2012

7. Banksy at Art Miami

Arts lovers around the city got extra excited for Art Basel week this year when we reported that Art Miami's new CONTEXT fair was bringing real Banksy walls to Miami. Not that excited: Banksy himself, and supporters of street art in general, who objected to the works being moved from their original locations and what they view as Art Miami's implicit condoning of such an act.

6. Edward Villella Leaves MCB

Miami City Ballet's founder and former artistic director grew the company into one of the nation's best batch of ballerinas. But this year, he left his position in a rumor-filled dramafest fit for the stage, with rumors flying that he'd been ousted by the MCB board.

5. Trump's Movie Studio

Donald Trump unveiled some pretty ambitious plans for a giant film studio on 800 acres of Homestead swamp ... and was then derailed by city ordinances and safety concerns. We're still holding out hope for the project, if only because we can't wait to refer to this town as The Donaldwood.

Miami's Ten Biggest Arts & Culture Stories of 2012

4. Red Grooms', Uh, Thing

What can we say about the Tremenda Mierda Fountain that hasn't already been said? Nothing, because we already spent the better part of 2012 mocking it relentlessly.

3. PAMM

Glad tidings of more and better art in Miami turned to sour grapes at the end of 2011, when Jorge Perez ponied up an extra $5 million in exchange for putting his name on the building. In the year since, more benefactors have stepped forward, including Stephen Ross and Mike Fernandez, and with its opening scheduled for 2013, PAMM's sure to be making even more news in the New Year.

2. "Why Are Miami's Best Artists Moving to Los Angeles?"

That's the question we asked in May, and in response, readers gave us an outpouring of anger, frustration, name-calling, and yes, even a little bit of support for Miami artists just trying to keep doing what they love. At the time, the realization that the Magic City was losing Friends With You, Jen Stark, and others felt like a wake-up call. But now, seven months later, can we say the scene has changed?

1. Tony Goldman

When South Beach and Wynwood developer Tony Goldman passed away in September, he left a legacy of supporting the arts in Miami -- one that continues to influence both arts-minded locals and visitors, as seen in the tributes to Goldman that sprung up during Art Basel this year.

Follow Ciara LaVelle on Twitter @ciaralavelle.

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