It was the end of the '90s and I found myself without a car and relying on Miami's public transportation. It was Sunset Drive, a couple doors down from the liquor store and across from the Winn-Dixie and the sun was at its blistering best and I was on a bench, my feet stretched before me. Waiting. And waiting. Looking to my left I saw a dude hauling ass down the sidewalk on a bike and I retracted my feet a little to give him berth.
He ran right over my feet and kept going like nothing had happened. I'll never forget him because I did take a pretty good look at him as he approached; oversized shades, goatee, grey shorts, faded t-shirt, fanny sack and bulky sandals. I remember telling myself after my yells went unanswered that one day, somehow, I'd murder that motherfucker.
So here we are, thirteen years later and down come the walls. Turns out the offending cyclist was none other than the Wallflower Gallery's self-proclaimed funk finder, C.D. Flash. While I'm not entirely clear on the history of the little Downtown corner that they've inhabited for this long, I do remember theirs being the only light after dark in that neighborhood for a very long time. Yup, before the "hip" face-lift of Downtown Miami, the Wallflower was the sole bastion of arts and culture in that corridor for locals off-the-beaten-path.
Now, do I still want to kill him? Nah. Time and experiences have gone by and in retrospect the sun probably did more damage to me that day than Flash and his bike and now that I'm thinking about it, the Wallflower was the first place that I read my poetry aloud to a group of strangers and it's also the place where I saw my friend Paul Lewin's bizarre and funky paintings up close. I also heard Carl Ferrari do some beautiful things on his guitar in their intimate setting. Come to think of it, I've never encountered anybody with negative commentary about the joint or had a bad time there.
But we're still here at unlucky number thirteen and it seems that for a myriad of reasons (mostly financial and architectural) the little light on the corner of Third and North Miami Avenue will be no longer. Undeterred by where he finds his funk, Flash is soldiering on and literally throwing the house out the window with a day-long celebration that begins Saturday at 1 p.m. and rages on until 6 a.m. Sunday morn. The plan is to relocate within the neighborhood, but only time will tell if that comes to fruition, I hate to be a douche about it, but many places have closed with promises and remained closed forever.
I do not wish that unto them, I wish them a speedy recovery and a longer and more successful run wherever they end up. I can also wish that Flash has gotten better at his "cycling" skills, but shit, I might be asking for too much. There will be dancing, art, readings and music; a microcosm of thirteen years. So don't be a dick and donate the fiver at the door, it will go to a good a cause.
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