The YouTube comments section, your Facebook feed, and even world news headlines can be scary things. Sometimes the internet doesn't paint a rosy picture of the world, and though the web connects us all, it doesn't always help us feel closer. That's where Miami-based online magazine HGAB comes in.
“Our tagline is 'We speak human,' and the stories we put up on HGAB magazine are just very personal stories about ourselves and our readers,” says HGAB President Kendrick Vasquez. “We want to bring the human element back to the internet because there's a lot of negative things out there, and a lot of crazy stuff. We want to tell stories that other people can relate to and maybe inspire people.”
It's a noble goal, and during this year's Miami Art Week, HGAB mag extends that goal into the offline world and offers busy Art Basel-goers a free space to sit, chill out, charge their devices, have a snack, and do other things. The online pub has transformed its physical office space at F.A.M.E. Studios, right across the street from the north end of the Shops at Midtown, into the friendly, no-strings Art Basel Basecamp.
“We're locals,” says HGAB director of operations Andy Montoya. “We realize that there's really not anywhere where people can regroup or maybe not feel judged because of guest lists and all the craziness of VIP. We decided we'd have an open and inclusive space for everyone to just come in and hang out.”
HGAB's Basel Basecamp began as an idea for a one-day special event, but that need for a common hang soon blossomed into something bigger. The crew has teamed with its fellow F.A.M.E. Studios tenants to bring a weeklong escape complete with interactive paint by numbers, a braid bar, a board game section, vendors, a PB&J station for snacking, a beer and beverage bar, charging areas, Basel information booths, and more.
There's a daily schedule of events, like campfire night Wednesday and Thursday's yoga under the stars, and throughout, HGAB is showing off local bands and DJs. The HGAB folks even converted the inside of their office into a gallery so local artists can get some shine.
“You can come charge your phone,” Montoya says, “come grab a PB&J sandwich, come have a beer, come talk to us, and hang out basically.”
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Basel Basecamp is conveniently located just across from the city-run shuttle service that takes Basel-goers from the Beach to midtown and back again free of charge. HGAB hopes Basecamp becomes an easy meeting spot for friends and a cool place to chill between bouts of hectic exploration.
The week culminates in one big ticketed event Saturday, when the Base is converted into the magical woods of Alice in Wonderland. Attendees will enter through a keyhole after drinking “shrinking potion" (AKA tea), and inside they'll be entertained by live music, a local-designer fashion show, and lots of Wonderland-themed diversions.
“We want to bring the elements back into the internet, but we're starting in Miami because Miami is where we grew up,” Montoya says. “By doing this event, we want to make people aware that we're here, we're ready to hear their stories, and we're ready to share their stories.”
HGAB Basel Basecamp
Tuesday, December 1, through Saturday, December 5, at F.A.M.E. Studios, 46 NW 36th St., Miami. Basel Basecamp events begin at 4 p.m. daily. For a full schedule, visit eventbrite.com.