Wednesday, May 30, 2012

swampthing for dummies

 "I didn't have a title for it, so I kept referring to it as 'that swamp thing I'm working on.
' And that's how it got its name!"
Len Wein

The Creature From the Black Lagoon was released in 1954 and was the first ever 3-D film requiring special glassed.  In the film, the cast go aboard a tramp steamer, the Rita, which is captained by a crusty old codger named Lucas.  The Creature  has webbed hands, sweaty palms and frankly is not exactly a people personthing.  

For obvious reasons divas are less than receptive to the Creature FTBL.

Surprisingly, when the mask came off he was not such a slimy ameba turd after all.

Not to be confused with the CFTBL, the Swampthing is quit another creature. 
Still mostly vegetable,  mineral and a bit of human,  Swampthing was way more likable and quite the ladies man. 

The roots of Swampthing can be found in your own backyard and in wikipedia. Our Mr. Swampy is actually one of the first environmentalists.  Unapologetic and bulging with purpose, the very green photosynthesis of earthiness drips from his moist physique.

With clarity and persuasiveness, his message of sustainability is being embraced from coast to coast and his posture of steadfast resistance to stupidity and greedy over-development is overwhelmingly contagious.

He is after all very 'fungi'.

Iconic and cool, a green star for our times.

His legend is rich with metaphor and mitochondrion. He is firmly planted and rooted on the secret bio-restorative formula.

Tragically Swampthing is misunderstood for his ability to do good is hindered only by his inability to articulate as a result of stuttering brought about by cluttering of too many thought at once from all problems of the earth and all those gorgeous creatures that wander his garden.

Of late, his image has been trivialized by trendy renditions of his galant greeness.

And that is OK because we all have to sell Tee Shirts...

.... and whatever else that licensing guy decides is marketable.

But to distort the virtue of his message is not OK. Swampthing is no wide eyed daisy joke.

He is non the less part human. And with that comes the realization of selflessness for the greater good and the inclusiveness in the general population.

Today he has a day job vacuuming the algae off the tank glass walls at the SeaWorld park.

But at night his heart belongs to Mrs. Swampthing.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

unabashedly urbanized

Irony is not lost on the awkwardness that permeates the urban swamp.
From the affluent enclaves of the beaches to the sprawling destitute of the mainland, there is a dichotomy that overwhelms the last vestiges of sensitivity for modernism in a healthy society.

Above, another seemingly superfluous bank adorns the manicured approach to Bal Harbor Mall.

A corporate mastodon of a building sits vacant, blighted de-tusked for over a decade on the major intersection of 79 street and NE second avenue.

At South Point Park on Miami Beach a monumental candy coated crankshaft towering over the palms is dwarfed by the magnificent expanse of water that surounds us at government cut. In the distance the very privatized residences on Fisher Island stand alone, beacons of luxury and the first welcomers for the next big storm.

As with much of South Florida SoBe is replete with capital improvement projects. There is no place to turn when panning the urbanscape for a view void of orange cones and heavy equipment, yet often there is not a work crew in sight.

On this Memorial Day Miami Beach officials and out of town extra police officers are on heightened alert and ready for action.  With so many people (black) visiting here to have a good time and spend money, the focus is of funneling the fun living to maximize citations. One might call this the recurring circus of entertaining entrapment.

To welcome the fools that flock here, the ubiquitous work of embarrassing maestro Britto defines what is 305 in the minds of the transient be they black, brown, white, yellow or green visitors.

But to get to the coveted beach party all must enter through consecrated concrete arches and pay their respects to progress. At a snail's pace the much touted and truly titanic Tunnel to Where? makes it's subaquatic way to completion.

No this is not the next water park, it is a really big cork screw for replacing swamp with cement.


On the site of what was once a pretty cool open helicopter pad, the 305 Children's Museum struggles to make itself noticeable and remain accessible or at least viable behind the crushing weight of new urbanism.

Here is the scene of the crime, the relative location where police killed a naked face-eating fat man just hours after this photo was taken on Memorial Day Weekend.

The much touted new Miami Art Museum aptly renamed the Perez Pavilion promises to be a blabylonian garden of eden for contemporary everything.  But it will more likely resemble the pyramidal quagmire facade that is the performing arts center nearby.

There was a time not long ago where bayside living was the desired lifestyle in the swamp.
Aside from the lush and splendid inland charm that was the Moral Gables Merrick sold, settling on the high ground along the shores of Biscayne Bay was most desirous for its proximity to the beaches and safe harbor from storms. Today, not so much as a coconut remains of that charm.

Nearby, a survey of the swampscape shows that some things haven't changed much.
A temple stands firmly rooted on the belief that the faithful will congregate and donate.

A ramshackle abandonment barely standing signals the approach to Wynwood, testament to newer better street art ahead.

Doggonit we Krave a ScoobySnack! another marvelous mural by 305's own Daniel Fila, creator of the sentimental mural commemorating the Women in White of Havana, Cuba.  I like his work allot because he likes big butts.

And ass for big things, visit the Diet Gallery in Wynwood for consistant concise contemporary posteriors.

Together with Lester's Diner nearby,  Nina Johnson and Daniel Milewsky seem to be the golden couple that is doing everything right.  That is to say they are not parroting the predictable.

Wynwood is a great place to get a load of culture.  But one need not go far astray to be back in the merengue of befuddlement that is Miami.  I am not sure what other kinds of churches there are out there but this one in Little Haiti is very clear about who they daddy is.

No words are necessary.

Nothing rhymes with orange.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

it's Worth it

Driving I-95 is a harried experience to be certain.  If you do not go 30 miles over the 55mph speed limit, you are liable and look pretty stupid slow among the cluster flub of luxury sedans and jalopies that clutter the teflon highway.  Going north from the magic shity there are plenty of exits, all of which promise predictable SoFla attractions.

One such exit is Lake Worth in Palm Beach County.  There you will quickly find yourself in a quintessential sleepy town sulking in sub-tropical slumber. There is the classic alpine christian chapel.

There is certainly a Town Hall in Ponce DeLeon Mediterranean Revival style.

There is often a town square in the shaded canopy of old leaf making Banyans.

And of course every affluent place has to have a contempo art museum...

... and several other nondescript establishments.

There is often nearby the endangered and charming general store...

... and the obligatory jewish deli offering an affordable lunch and excellent cole slaw.

Upon approaching the waterways, there is often a draw-bridge resembling 9-11 and backing up motoring traffic for blocks and blocks to allow for a single solitary sailboat to traverse. 

And of late there is desperately the making of a casino to spur the sputtering local economy. 

There are seashores of really really cool retro condos built by cubans and mexicans for northern retirees. 

And there is ample alphabetical evidence of the demographic.


The scale of Lake Worth Florida is charming, tolerable and manageable.  It is a place resembling a sanity that is lost on todays Miami and vicinity.

Be it the Keys, Lake Worth or Coco Beach, This peninsula is resplendent with opportunity. 
That is why we live here.  Like the surfing analogy goes;  wade for the perfect wave, catch it and ride it to the shore.

Curious that after an hours drive at 80 mph, the shoreline there is no different than here.
Conclusion being the beach is beautiful, accessible and abundant all up and down the Florida coast. And that is swampy.