Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Basel Briefs 2011

Making the Grade

It is not clear how exactly success is achieved during Art Basel Miami. It depends on who you ask, but a good yardstick measure criteria is just how swampy are you willing to get.

Chopper One

In the days before Basel, a private helicopter makes an elegant landing and heralds the coming exuberance of excess.

Art in Public Spaces

As if artistic interpretation did not abound, the reconstruction of a railroad along the Biscayne corridor in anticipation of future crowds.

Snap With a Twist

Last year , like every year for the past ten years, success for some is about who will take your picture. If it is Cyn Zarko or Patrick McMullan consistently then you are an A+ type.

Perennial Pink n Pinkier

How do you get a picture with these fixtures? Just ask with a smile...

Sans Cintas

To open doors and windows into the upper echelon of blue chip markets and parties, one will need to take out all the guns. Be it who you know, where you shop or even divulging secret information. Emilio Sanchez is my long lost cousin, Anais Nin is also a relation and Buckminster Fuller courted my grandmother in Havana.

Holy as Swiss Cheese

The Bucky Exhibition across from the heart of the Design District is a marvelous display of genius and melancholy.

Eleven Fingers... count'em.

The local chapter of the Allegory-Rich Kids Club earlier this year at Carol Jazar's.

Bob's Your Uncle

Robert Chambers at the Ping Pong Show in the Design District.

Chilling in the Hood

Congratulations to the originator Brook Dorsch and his 20 years in Wynwood.

DASH kids get a donation of american marble (aka styrofoam) compliments of the benevolent deep pockets of Locust Projects.

Please, do not mutilate the signage.

This is a wonderful art installation at an undisclosed location.

More art, i guess.

Before and After

A stark reminder of the need to take a hard look at what is sustainable in the swamp and this awesome video from Kerry McLaney's Independent Thinkers.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Eye on Surfside

Church of Chance

A harbinger of thing to come is sometimes found in the most unsuspecting places. Such is this sign for a place of worship located in an unassuming neighborhood in a city that is on the verge of a precipice called legalized gambling. Scripture says odds are when the cat's asleep the rats will reap.

Three Ring Circus

Interestingly, here below are several comments posted by anonymouse on the state of things in the quiet little Town of Surfside. A place many residents still consider Simply Splendid. But lately the concern for some is, for how long?

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A Hotel Is Not a Home":

Soon after one zoning blowout project was approved for 92nd Street, another developer – going under a newly assumed name – proposed an even larger hotel for Collins Avenue and 94th Street, a scheme to more than triple the size of the pre-existing hotel on that property. Just before asking for huge zoning increases, the developer made a little “donation” of $15,000 (for a $10,000 fireworks display!) that the Town Manager wanted to fund from the ‘outside’. The Town Manager and Town Attorney tried to keep the identity of the “donor” secret. The property was purchased for $25 Million - a price far higher then currently appraised – because the buyer knew – in advance – that the property would quickly be vastly upzoned to accommodate maximum private profits. The property was purchased in cash, no financing reported. The Town Attorney, Town Manager, and ‘Town Planner’ all pushed and it was “approved” 4-1 despite major violations of the Town Charter. The attorneys for the developer? The same ones as for the developer of the first bloated project, the ones who are also the lawyers for the “Town Planner” an outside contractor company - and they also represent the “Town Engineer”. “Town Engineer”? That very same outside company, now replacing all water and sewer pipes in the entire town at a cost of over $16 million dollars (+ $9 million more for interest and fees). New water/sewer system? The cover story is about leaky old pipes, but no other community in the country is replacing and increasing the capacity of its entire system. Pipes could have been lined – inner coated - to seal leaks. It is really about more capacity, bigger pipes -facilitating major new overdevelopment. They changed zoning laws, denied citizens the right to vote – a right guaranteed by the Town Charter - and they are using public money to try to remove any issues of ‘utility concurrency’.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Surf and Turf":

Surfside’s hidden methods and agendas are unraveling. Officials are starting to realize that the public really did have a right to know all along and that right was trampled. So was residents' right to vote on big zoning increases. Little known but true that departing town employees are being forced to sign non-disclosure agreements to keep their mouths shut about Town Hall dealings. In 2011 Surfside Florida seems to be ‘leading the nation’ as a web of undisclosed conflicts of interest and ethically impaired government.

There are paper trails to examine of records independently posted on government and publicly accessible web sites. A connected group with friends at Town Hall started work in 2006 and continue working today. They asked Surfside officials to change zoning laws to enable a far more dense project with more units, smaller units, less parking, more mass of building, more height, and changes in permitted uses, for a group of 5 lots at 92nd Street & A1A across from the ocean. All without the referendum required by the Town Charter. They got together with some hired guns with bought and paid for 'opnions' to say that there was no Charter violation even though it was there to be seen if anyone really looked.

The developer is represented by a particular law firm, which proposed zoning changes to the “Town Planner”. The Town Planner is a company, an outside contractor. This same company has obtained numerous contracts from the Surfside Administration with no competition. Dozens of no-competition contracts for millions of dollars of public funds. The “company” assigned one of its employees to act as Surfside's “Town Planner”.

The developer’s law firm made proposals for zoning changes which were presented to the “Town Planner” in a series of private, closed door meetings. Simultaneously they conducted dozens of scripted, controlled “public meetings” with pre-set agendas giving no public notice of the major changes being made, and with no actual public participation other than full fledged members of the ‘plan’, all marching towards manipulated and predetermined outcomes.

The same lawyers represent both the developers and the Company that is the “town planner” – and those same lawyers are former partners of the Town Attorney. How's that for an inside job?

And the same company is also the "Town Engineer" doing a 16 million dollar project to expand water and sewer capacity to allow for more and more and more overdevelopment. Cozy?

* swampstyle does not necessarily endorse the opinions of commenters.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Enter the Exiles

Again another birthday,

Think i'll plant a tree,

With roots and bark flowers and fruit,

I'm turning fifty three.

A smile wide a salty tear,

A very simple thing,

I want to share with you,

The joy that love can bring.


Pedro Oliverio Sanchez Menendez

A Child Born of Revolution 1958.

It is fair to say no one life is simple. But few take the time to write their story; few leave behind an accurate representation of their sentiments and experiences. One such exception is my dear aunty Angela Sanchez Tischler who has written her lovely memoirs entitled Los Denengaños, a story of family, country and intellect. The book ends at the time of my birth.

Available in electronic form at Amazon Kindle or in paperback by request here, limited edition publication.

Gradpapi Adolfo and his two daughters (Lucy and Angela)

Here is a brief description penned by another relation, my long lost cousin John Paul Rathbone, author of "the Sugar King of Havana"

"It is hard to think of a more fitting epitaph for the Cuban revolution than el desengaño, the disenchantment. Yet, almost perversely, Angela Tischler has taken the word as the title for her pre-revolutionary Cuban memoir. This is just one of lesser way in which "Los Desengaños"(in fact the name of disused sugar mill) sets itself apart from other more honeyed tellings of pre-revolutioany Cuban Life. It offers a rare glimpse of pre-revolutionary times in "provincial" Cuba: in this case, the almost waspish province of Camaguey-no Havana centrism here! It is almost unflinchingly hones-sometimes painfully so. The result is a bittersweet portrait of the "cuba de ayer"; the joys and beauties and simple pleasures that Tischler found in Camaguey's countryside and people (especially her family), but also the province's sadness and prejudices-traits that are treated in the same way one might describe the foibles of a cherished family member; with love that forgives but does not exonerate." JP Rathbone

The author and husband Chip Tischler

It has always been acceptable to throw a French word here and there in English writing usually without translation. The educated reader is expected to understand: if they don’t, tant pis. I am requesting the same treatment for Spanish words, including those in the title. If Les Misérables can do it, why not Los Desengaños? Angela

In Laws in the country 1954. Grandmother Julia Menendez, Grandfather Adolfo Sanchez with my parents Oliverio and Martha

"...What happened in Cuba in the 1950’s was so large and complicated that one single historian cannot grasp all the nuances. Many have told the story from many different angles and with various degrees of impartiality and scholarship. One point of view that has mostly been missing is that of ordinary Cuban citizens, those of us who were neither politicians nor revolutionaries. There were many of us who were not trying to change the country; who were just trying to take care of our lives. I will try to compress those lives into a very small color tile to be added to the large mosaic of the Cuban tragedy." Angela

Rare Glimpse at Ranch Life 1938 ( front row left; Angela, Lucy and my dad center)

"...These memoirs are based on my recollections. I am writing this near the end of my eighth decade of life taking advantage of a phenomenon of aging that together with my contemporaries I am experiencing: we may forget if we had lunch and the names of friends, but the names of playmates of seventy years ago are coming back. I noticed this with my mother, and now it is happening to me." Angela

Great Uncle Julio Sanchez hangin' with Hemingway, perhaps Key West or Bimini.

"One would think that more places would be named Esperanza, “Hope”, but that is not the case. Desengaños, “Disillusions” seem to be more common occurrences. Who would name a sugar mill the Spanish equivalent of “Disillusions”, and why? Were these disillusions in love, business, or any of the other aspects of life that tend to go wrong? We will never know." Angela

Not a Vacation but a Pilgrimage

Terrazzo monogram still adorns the threshold to our home in Camaguey; today a public building occupied by the "Daughters of the Revolution" (whatever that is).

Angela today celebrates 80th with great niece Lucia Del Sanchez. Crescent City, Florida

"I fail to see the beauty in anything made by man." Angela Sanchez


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nato No No ?

In a world of endless Oops, appearance is 99% of perception. The bigger the lie the harder the truth. We report on Libya, you decide.