When minimalist friends accuse you of hoarding, do you reply, "How many times do I have to tell you? I'm a collector!"
We can sympathize. We've got every Nintendo system released, an IKEA shelf full of old vinyl, and a closet stacked with CDs from the 2000s. The Nintendo and the LPs, we want. The CDs, not so much. But we don't want to just throw them away.
Thankfully, hoarders and collectors will both get the chance to trade old or unwanted media when Nayib Estefan (yes, the son of Gloria and Emilio) sets up shop at Wynwood's Gramps with his Fading Formats Swap Meet.
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"It's something which grew out of necessity, with a bunch of friends who have crazy collections of stuff that they want to get rid of and have issues getting rid of them," Estefan says. "We all get in the same room and give first crack to the crowd to get some really special stuff. Then, if they don't grab it, everyone trades and sells between each other."
What's up for grabs? Almost anything you can imagine, from classic vinyl and cassettes to old videogames and consoles, classic movie posters, vintage toys and action figures, rare and unopened VHS tapes and comic books, old-school synthesizers, and other music-making gadgets.
Estefan has seen copies of Bunny Yeager's old collection of videos at a previous edition of Fading Formats. And when the old Miami Planetarium was temporarily shut down for renovations, someone offered up trippy '70s lighting equipment and old reel-to-reel audio tapes from the laser shows.
Because the swap meet is held in Shirley's, the movie theater behind Gramps' bar, there are also sometimes impromptu screenings of video and film treasures, like when someone brought an official VHS of the first Ultra Music Festival ever, complete with backstage footage.
Another time, Estefan remembers, "There was a VHS called Acid Trip. We didn't know what it was, and we put it on. It was just some dude recording himself on an acid trip with visuals in the background. Crazy stuff."
Thanks to regulars like musician Otto Von Schirach, Schematic Records label head Romulo Del Castillo, and artist Kevin Arrow, the chances of an incredible find are good, and the deals are better, mainly because everyone involved is a real-life collector who just wants things to be appreciated.
"Come out and bring a box of that stuff that's been sitting in your closet for a while; there's someone else who will take it," Estefan says. "It needs a good home."
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Fading Formats Swap Meet. Sunday, February 8. Gramps, 176 NW 24th St., Miami. The swap starts at 5 p.m. and ends at 9. Admission is free. Ages 18 and up. Call 786-752-6693 or visit grampsbar.com.
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