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Artopia: MasterMind Winners Walk Away With Big Bucks

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View photos from Artopia 2012 at Villa 221 here.

The Big Mango got shellacked with a savory dose of the surreal and no, we're not talking about the Dali exhibit in the Design District that's left some eyebrows raised.

Instead it was the Miami New Times' 4th Annual Artopia bash that had tongues wagging and drew a crowd of hundreds enjoying live music, quirky performances, avant fashion and the announcement of our three MasterMind Award winners at eve's end.

This year we had the most submissions ever --nearly 150-- vying for the three $1000 grants.

The MasterMind Awards recognize creative mavericks who contribute to elevating the local scene with their work and this year's finalists included visual artists working in diverse fields, filmmakers, furniture designers, record label bosses and others who have left heavy footprints on Miami's booming cultural life.

Check out our 2012 MasterMinds and how they plan to spend their modest "genius" grants.

Jillian Mayer
To say Mayer's star is ascending is a bit of an understatement. Let's just say she couldn't join us last night because she was on a flight to Austin, Texas for the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival where four of her short films will be screening over the next week.

One of them, Jacuzzi Boys: Glazin is a catchy music video which after searing our peepers, made us realize we'll never be able to look at a certain part of a lady's anatomy the same. It depicts several women's vaginas gussied up as cultural icons and "lip synching" one of the Miami band's tunes in scenes certain to make the likes of Dali turn cartwheels in his grave.

"The casting process was easy because I am blessed with beautiful, liberal and open-minded friends," says Mayer. "Most of my friends are in my work in one way or another. I am definitely way over-my-head in debt in the barter system," she adds before mentioning: "I will get a tattoo of the girl who got a tattoo of Drake on her forehead on my forehead," with her winnings.

The End/Spring Break
The Magic City's top purveyors of all things alt and edgy, Patti Hernandez, Domingo Castillo and Kathryn Marks have staged over 100 art happenings, lectures, poetry readings, marathon music concerts, pop-up shops, and the almost impossible to access "Karaoke Speakeasy" this past Basel turning VIP culture and status anxiety on its head.

The mysterious cultural provocateurs appear to want to share their new found wealth with the masses not unlike all the other projects they have staged on behalf of the community in the past.

"We are maybe thinking of contacting 97.7 FM and hiring a DJ, getting a bounce house, a cotton candy machine and organizing a lecture on local radio culture," they say.

Drugged Conscience Records
When he's not creating one-of-a-kind, hand-produced music releases and packaging for acts, Chris Donaldson, Miami's tireless Punk Goodwill Ambassador is booking talent for regular shows at Churchill's or performing with No Children, his own band.

Donaldson strikes us as the most serious and devoted twenty-something year old we have ever met (we wouldn't mind marrying him off to our daughter if he wasn't already attached). He says he will use his award to "revamp my website, set up a security fund for the bands I work with and open a PO Box for my label." Will he also be releasing new records soon? You betcha. 

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