Every city has its arts scene. But here in Miami, where culture is constantly evolving at breakneck speed, the people in that scene are a unique breed.
Creative types often sacrifice money for craft; they listen to their heart and follow their bliss, even in the face of criticism, haters, stiff competition, and industries that are evolving in the digital era. Through it all, Miami's creative types innovate and endure. As Miami grows into its 21st century identity, these are the people paving the way to the future of South Florida arts.
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There are two ways to stay young forever: die young or become a rock star. Most musicians choose option B. They're celebrated for acting out-of-control, destroying hotel rooms, engaging in orgies while sniffing Molly off each other's asses.
Miami is a city of swagger, a glitzy show town, but most musicians here are pretty normal, easy to talk to, and cordial. Okay, maybe they're not the most intelligent lot, but they have heart and passion. Sure, there are the outliers, arrogant, drunken rogues swinging their dicks. But most are quite nice with strong family values. It's hard to keep a band together. Ask any musician. It's very much like a family.
South Florida actors obviously move to LA or New York if they want to progress. But there are still some stragglers here among us. Actors, not surprisingly, tend to be dramatic in real life, often blowing feelings and occurrences out of proportion. They're narcissistic and have conflict realizing everything is not about them. On the other hand, other actors are hollow vessels, quiet and introverted, waiting for a role and a director to make them complete.
You know the stereotype of the model: interesting and beautiful, yet a little shallow and unintelligent. But Miami's models have a bit more diversity. Many can be catty, hypocritical and selfish, while others are earthier yogi types. The same goes for designers or beauticians. People who work with beauty tend to dislike others, especially other people who work with beauty. Maybe it's an exaggerated sense of competition. Maybe they just have issues trusting others after working in such a cutthroat industry. Still, fashionistas can certainly be fun, flamboyant and filled with style. And did we mention they're super hot?
Here's another creative type that often relocates to New York or L.A. But as South Florida's film scene grows, more and more are staying put. Filmmakers are used to being in charge, and they walk a fine line between obnoxious and humble. But it's all for the craft, man. And they can generally back up that bossy attitude with genuine talent; they are hard working, innovative, and almost always interesting to have a conversation or drink with. Filmmakers, whether of short films, feature films, or documentaries, may be the best positioned to help Miami identify itself from the inside.
Ralph Notaro, copyright Nine Digit Media
And here's yet another creative type that migrates (Miami, we gotta work on your brain drain). Still, Miami has a vibrant, if underrated, comedic scene, and its comedians are awesome to hang with. They are in tune with current events, intelligent, and make you feel comfortable. Knowing how to handle a crowd, they are easy to connect with and obviously funny. Of course, they also cloud themselves in ego, and many are indeed miserable on the inside. But that doesn't seem to matter when they're cracking you up at the bar.
South Florida has traditionally been rich with literary talent. Unlike actors or comedians, writers don't need to move to LA or New York (screenwriters not included) because there are plenty of characters and news here to provide inspiration. But the problem with writers is that they lack social skills. They're awkward, shy, cerebral, and may transfer these inadequacies into ego and delusion of grandeur. They can also become bitter, because writing is lonely and the craft is filled with rejection, criticism, and stiff competition. Here's a little advice, from this writer to you: It's probably best to stay away from us altogether.
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From painters to graphic designers to photographers and the dozens of other types of visual artists, it's hard to define this diverse group. But artists are generally awesome. They think outside the box, explore and reflect truth, challenge convention. Artists are a little insecure, and may project or protect themselves with swagger, ego, and elitism. But deep down, they really are the sensitive and emotional creatures of stereotype; it's what makes them open to the muses. Hanging out with artists is usually a pleasure -- unless they're so delusional they truly think their shit don't stank.
J.J. Colagrande is the author of the novels Headz and Decò. Follow him on Twitter.