It’s nearly impossible to name a major American city that isn’t teeming with intractable contradictions and sordid history. By virtue of the United States’ violent past and dispiriting present, it’s a tall order to identify any metro area in the country that’s been immune from the malignant forces currently calling the shots.
As it happens, Miami’s own paradoxes are particularly pronounced. Even as the city sits atop one of the most picturesque spots in the world, a lethal combination of shortsightedness and willful ignorance continually place its most attractive features at risk. Likewise, despite Miami’s truly impressive roster of cultures and creatives, the hubs where movements would begin and communities should take root are repeatedly replaced with parking lots and high-rises for nonresidents.
But even as the city’s challenges play out against the horror show that is current events in the late 2010s, the past year has been rife with the sense that something new is stirring in Miami. With the Magic City’s clubland retracting and its once-unassailable institutions under renewed scrutiny, younger Miamians have begun exploring different avenues for self-expression and communal experiences.
And in true Miami fashion, it’s electronic, and it’s coming from the underground.
This Saturday, December 29, Miami-born record labels Omnidisc and Space Tapes will partner with local visual artists, designers, and vendors to mark a year of renewal for the city’s creative scene and showcase everything it has to offer.
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Event organizer Alexis Sosa — who DJs under the moniker Sister System — recently helped produce the Black Friday Rave. According to Sosa, the night marked a turning point for the possibilities of alternative events in Miami.
“The Black Friday Rave surpassed our expectations tremendously,” she tells New Times. “We were expecting maybe 200 people — 350 at best — and with 587 people in attendance, we nearly reached 600.”
Sosa calls the previous gathering “a pilot” for this weekend’s
Because it's a rave, two of
Sosa says the triumph of the Black Friday Rave and the amplified collaboration driving the forthcoming occasion are “a good indication that more people are enthused to be part of the [underground] community and unique atmospheres.”
Her opinion is shared by several figures spearheading the moment in Miami DIY. Ashley Solage, a team member of III Points as well as Space Tapes, characterizes 2018 “as a year where the floodgates opened for many creatives in Miami.”
“It was a year where people who had been secretly working on things finally gained the courage, traction, and spotlight they needed to reveal their projects to the world,” Solage says. “For a while, I felt that Miami was lacking momentum for people who aren’t into the mainstream thing. It felt like the options were extremely slim if you wanted to enjoy a good night with good music, a respectful crowd, and decent sound system.” Solage, who is set to mix at the rave as Ashley Venom, attributes the change in the city’s fortune to the hard work and tenacity of communal DIY initiatives such as Internet Friends and 229 Warehouse.
“It feels like the momentum is back in Miami, and we’re all working cohesively to power up this huge engine that’s pumping energy into the city.”
Solage and several of the DJs slated to perform this Saturday speak emphatically about the importance of throwing parties in nontraditional venues. New Times' favorite DJ of 2018 and Terrestrial Funk mastermind Brother Dan — real name Daniel Edenburg — spent the year spinning at hot spots across Miami in addition to curating recurring happenings such as the Miami Record Fair at Gramps. But even with his own deep ties to Miami’s musical focal points,
“As much as I love places like Gramps, Floyd, and the Pickle, I'd like to see more illegal events going on in Miami,” he says. “We need a little more anarchy in our party scene down here — it really adds to the air of the event.”
The aforementioned artists will be joined on the decks by Omnidisc partner Anshaw Black, a number of Space Tapes acts — including label head Nick León, Bear, and Tidur — an unannounced surprise guest, and others.
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Looking past this weekend and into 2019, Sosa aims to curate more gatherings and foster a community focused on what Miami could be rather than settling for what it is.
“Five years ago, I entered the scene without a clue of where to start or how to get involved. There weren’t any spaces or events accessible; people were throwing house parties, and you’d be lucky if you landed on an address,” Sosa shares. “These off-grid events are extremely important because they serve as cultural incubators that birth fresh ideas and keep the creative process active.
“To someone who’s never been to a rave, all I can say is this: There are no rules, don’t put yourself in a box, come as you are, be respectful, and be mindful of the energy you bring in.”
Warehouse Rave: Omnidisc, Space Tapes + Special Guest. With