i wanted to capture some silliness around miami here before it is a distant memory. it was a short trip, only the weekend, and it totally blew my mind. the amount of art that i saw and the wealth, as the new york times article aptly titled “the art costco for millionaires”. i read over $400 million exchanged hands. it was impossible to take all the art in, but it gave me a really good context in what is happening in the art world today (or at least what the art world feels like is happening in the art world… if that make sense?). i feel like all art school students should be required to go in their 2nd year, or then maybe it would be depressing because you would realize it really all has been done before and that revelation you thought you were having is really cliché. ha! somehow it still would be inspiring and hopefully propel you forward and deeper into that revelation. i’m always the optimist and perhaps that is a survival skill as an artist?

back to miami, we stayed at a really divey hotel on the main strip that we affectionately referred to in a tone that one would use for “the ritz”, but was called the “san juan” and didn’t really have the same effect. the air-conditioning was too cold, so their solution was to cover the vent with masking tape so that it buckled and flapped through the night. not to mention the soggy carpet where the mini fridge drained. but to dwell on OUR hotel is missing the point.

the actual art shows were shown in other people’s (fancier) hotels. that is, besides the main art show that was held in a convention center, the rest of the art, the satellite shows were shown in rooms of hotels, sometimes with the beds still in them, sometimes converted into installations that barely resembled hotel rooms.

and yes there were parties every night by the poolside and drinks that were $15 each (for a beer, that’s right). and somehow the artists among us seemed to seek each other out amongst the billionaires. was it the shoes? or the fact that we frequented the cuban restaurant next door to our hotel 3 times a day for $3 coronas.

my favorite was the aqua fair, which showcased a lot of san francisco artists and friends and had a mellow vibe and so perhaps i’m biased. there were also some containers along the beach filled with art and young talented kids skateboarding and go-go videos projected that were fun.

one of the stories that my friends and i keep recounting was a funny incident where we were on the beach soaking up the sun and this unkempt man straight out of “fear & loathing” plopped down next to us. he had a nice camera and i complimented him on it and his lens, naively. soon after, we realized that, hey, what’s going on? he kept hiding his camera under a little blanket and pervertedly whipped it out every few seconds and then hid it again. then we heard him mumble something like… shmoody shmarelson (i think he was drunk or just slurred frequently).

so we looked over and in the distance, there was a very tan, bald man who did indeed resemble woody harrelson and we realized that we were in fact this papparazzi’s camouflage. ick.

so my friend christina and i went swimming in the beautiful aqua-teal-turquoise waters and were jumping through waves when we realized mr. shmoody shmarelson was swimming not to far from us, so we inched over a bit and that’s when i got stung by a man of war. so it was a hard call whether or not to stay swimming inches away from the golden celeb or to deal with the stinging on my thighs from at that point an unknown source.

the stinging increased so we went onshore and the paparazzi dude (named bill whose number is sun-boat if you’d like to ring him), who was now sitting on our towels and talking to my friends, told me to go to the lifeguard so he could spray vinegar on the sting (which were on both sides of my thighs between my legs) and in reading about the man of war it says to expressly not spray vinegar on it for the stinging increases, which it did! so here i am, feeling conspicuous enough in that i’m pale and in a retro polka dotted full coverage bikini (instead of savagely tan and in g-strings like the natives) freaking out about the “man of war that came between my legs”… yes i am now blushing, for i must have repeated that dozens of times and loudly as the lifegaurd sprayed vinegar and looked for “blue tentacles” that could be left behind and i asked, “am i going to die?”. at which point the child near me laughed.

we, christina came with me for moral support, returned to my towel area to find that as soon as woody saw the paparazzi he started running full throttle towards him to beat him up directly on our towels where my friends were grimacing and trying to distance themselves from the scene. i.e. no we are not friends with bill the pappa so please. don’t. hurt. us. woody is calling him a “parasite”, etc. and then somehow they make up and are asking us to take their pictures together, which was even more awkward. and then woody hung out and called our friend marisol “hot” and vice versa and he was very nice to us saying he’d remark “that he knew us when” after we became well known artists. sweet talker. and all i can say is- only in miami, especially during art basel. oddly enough, here are the pics from that day and a bit of a skewed story, as i’m sure that last part about escorting woody was staged. anyway, the pappa soon left to go take pics of paris and her pooch, but we kept running into him on his bike sloshing along, which gave us the idea to do a documentary on the paparazzi. or a documentary of the documentary, or better yet not even make a documentary, but a painting of the making of the documentary with just the director’s notes. and this is where we could talk for hours on no sleep in the super shuttle van.

maybe next year.

another memorable moment was waking up at 6am and microwaving cuban coffee from the night before (because my friend deb has forethought and the cuban restaurant closes between 6-7am only) and seeing the sunrise for the first time in ages.

thanks girls, there will always be miami.