Obsolete Media Miami Stages Eight-Hour "Friendathon" Fundraiser

Obsolete Media Miami
A taste of what's to come.
A younger generation of Miami artists owes a debt to Kevin Arrow and Barron Sherer, the catalysts behind Obsolete Media Miami (OMM). Their joint art project is part hoarder, part enabler, all brilliant. The two collect, educate the public, and advise fellow artists on media and equipment considered useless by most. But in 2018, obsolete and analog equipment is the stuff creative art kids latch on to and, ironically, use to craft the avant-garde.

“I feel like we caught a wave, and we were surfing that wave. And other people were surfing — or should I say paddleboarding — after us,” Arrow jokes.

“We were always on that wave since the ‘90s," adds Sherer of their obsession with obsolete media. "I think that younger people have interest in things that are tangible. That material process — I think a lot of people find value and interest in art with the materials we’ve used for so long.”

In helping artists use this outdated media in their work, Arrow and Sherer are shaping a scene. “We’re helping people get in touch with their memories, as corny as that sounds. To help them do things that they were only able to think about doing," Arrow says.

This week, the duo is looking back again — this time to the live telethons used to raise funds for charitable efforts in the '80s and '90s. The pair plans to stage an eight-hour live broadcast using the format and featuring the work of some of Miami's best-known artists.

Yes, this will be a real fundraiser, designed to solve a real financial need. In August, Arrow and Sherer created Film Art Expanse as part of Downtown Art Days. They screened artist films from archives and collections from around North America and Europe dating from the ‘20s to the ’90s along with performances. But this interactive presentation ended up being quite pricey. It made them realize it was time to pump up their fundraising efforts. That’s when they got their idea for the mega-fundraising day for nonprofits held by the Miami Foundation, Give Miami Day, held annually on November 15.

“It’s the one time of year we actually shake everybody down for cash,” Sherer says.

To do that, they are collaborating with Barry University on a Jerry Lewis-style fundraiser/art project called Friendathon. Instead of just pumping out emails and texts asking for donations, Arrow says, they thought, Let’s do something that day. A game changer. "Instead of asking for a handout, we’d do an eight-hour example of things we’re interested in and people we’ve helped out, and everybody emphatically said yes, they want to be involved.”
Barry’s Department of Communications had given OMM a huge donation of long-unused obsolete equipment and agreed to host the fundraiser — both this and next year — in their television studio. The plan is to screen a live program with some taped performances for eight long hours. Arrow and Sherer have never done a live TV show, but they have some experienced helpers. It’s going to be broadcast on the Barry University community access channels, on their Facebook page and YouTube channel, and other social media sites. OMM is pushing people to the Give Miami Day site and inviting them to give an online donation in commercial-style clips.

Friendathon will be hosted by artists Keaton Fox and Carlos Rigau, who are not in fact friends and have never met. Each hour features a musical performance, performance art, and an interview. “Our hosts will be moving things along with witty banter,” Arrow promises. Fox has her own show out of Cambridge, Massachusetts, 27 Minutes of Friendship, and in Brooklyn, Rigau has been doing “weird media mashup” works, Arrow explains. “They both have good camera presence, and we’ll see what happens when we get them into the room together… We’ll just throw them into a room together and pray.”

Praying is appropriate, because Barry is a Catholic university. "No Pope jokes and we should be OK,” Arrow says.

There will certainly be artists or musicians you recognize in this star-packed lineup that includes: show opener Rick Fantasies, Gustavo Matamoros, Siebren Versteeg, Monica Uszerowicz interviewing Najja Moon, Rene Ramos from the Wolfson Archives, the Art Center South Florida's Esther Park, David Brieske, Richard Vergez, Liz n' Bow, Donzii, Jan and Dave, Mr. Entertainment, Oly and Nick County, and more. They’ll also be screening the new video by Dracula, the dreamy group signed to Sweat Records Records.

“If I had my way, it would be a 24-hour telethon, like the Jerry Lewis telethons,” Arrow concludes. “With a phone bank, where you have conversations with people on-air. It’s something to work toward.”

Friendathon, Noon to 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15. Watch it live at