Tuesday, July 22, 2014

 Taft Hotel

Art Deco Walking Tours

Published on WhereTraveler.com
by James Cubby
Every year millions of tourists visit Miami Beach, one of the most popular beach resorts for international travelers, flocking to the area for its popular beaches, nightlife, and thriving culture scene. But there’s also a group of travelers that come for the unique collection of architecture. You may ask: Who would come to an internationally renowned beach resort to look at some old buildings? The answer may surprise you, because travelers from all walks of life, all ages, and from almost every country in the world have visited Miami Beach in search of Art Deco. Miami Beach is a unique town, mostly rebuilt in its now-iconic Art Deco style after the Great Hurricane of ’26 and most of those buildings have been saved thanks to Art Deco activist Barbara Capitman, responsible for the district’s historical credentials. The historic district boasts the world’s largest collection of Art Deco architecture, some examples of which are located on Ocean Drive right across from the sandy beaches of the Atlantic. Hotels like the Breakwater, the Colony, the Carlyle, the Cardozo, the Clevelander, and the Park Central are all beautiful examples of Ocean Drive's Art Deco architecture. You can stroll the historical district—which extends north from 6th Street to 14th and spans west from Ocean Drive to Alton Road—on your own and view some of the beautifully restored buildings, noting there are over 800 such buildings in the district, or you can take one of the Art Deco Walking Tours.
 Wolfsonian - FIU Museum

The Art Deco Walking Tour offers a two-hour walk through the historic district led by informative tour guides who take you back through history with fascinating stories about the birth and growth of Miami Beach. Did you know, for example, that this beautiful tropical paradise was once a mangrove swamp swarming with alligators and crocodiles before Carl Fisher, known as the Father of Miami Beach, began transforming this billion-dollar sandbar into a winter playground? The tour winds through the Art Deco district starting in the lobby of one hotel and ending in a bar in another, in a room that was once an illegal casino in the ‘30s. Along the way you learn the history of Miami Beach, the story of the rebuilding of this little town after the Great Hurricane, tales of World War II, and the transformation of “God’s Waiting Room” into this tropical paradise. The tour travels through hotel lobbies, up on rooftops and through the streets, making stops at nearly two-dozen historical buildings like the Versace Mansion and the Wolfsonian-FIU Museum, each with their own story.

Art Deco Walking Tours—unlike many similar tours because there are never more than 8 people—takes the group to places most visitors never get the opportunity to see. Popular among tourists from all over the world, locals who have taken the tour were amazed at the information and the behind-the-scenes looks at hotels, especially the breathtaking rooftop views. While the tour focuses on the Art Deco architecture and history of Miami Beach, it also includes information about “Miami Vice,” film sites, Versace, fashion shoots, prohibition and illegal gambling. Designers especially love this tour because of its architectural and design focus, but the tour offers a great way to learn about Miami whether you’re visiting or a resident. Art Deco Walking Tours also offers a cocktail tour—a tour of some of the choice Art Deco hotels and bars—and a Little Havana Walking Tour. Remember, Miami Beach is more than a tropical playground. It’s a historical landmark with the largest collection of Art Deco buildings in the world. Get more than a tan and discover why this town has been called “A Sunny Place for Shady People.”

The Carlyle Hotel

Here are two views of the beautiful Art Deco Carlyle Hotel located on Ocean Drive in South Beach. You may remember this beautiful building as "The Birdcage."

Thursday, June 26, 2014

This is a photo of me taken when I was a talent agent in L.A. My desk is still messy but now it's covered with word documents and files for writing projects.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tara Solomon Interview

Interview with Tara Solomon that was originally slated for Le City Deluxe Magazine..

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Real Housewives of Miami star Lea Black interview

Here's an unpublished interview with Lea Black, designer, philanthropist, and star of Real Housewives of Miami, that was commissioned by Le City Deluxe magazine

Friday, March 28, 2014

LEADERS, LEGENDS & LOVELIES BALL Celebrates Pride in the Arts

While some may feel the heyday of Miami’s performing arts scene has passed, the Unity Coalition will not let those who have shared their talents with the community go unnoticed. The Unity Coalition’s Leaders, Legends & Lovelies Ball will once again celebrate and honor those who have made a positive mark or contribution to the LGBTQ community. This year’s fundraising gala, held on April 9 in the Jackie Gleason Rehearsal Hall at the Fillmore Miami Beach, will celebrate “Pride in the Arts” honoring Sebrina Maria Alfonso, David Chacón-Perez, Richard Jay Alexander, and Pedro Pablo Peña. The evening, usually one of the highlights of the Miami community’s season, will feature live music and entertainment including special performances by singer Maryel Epps, Florida Grand Opera's tenor Rolando Polo, singer Richard Araujo, South Florida Symphony, DJ Romullo Azaro, and CIRC X & Cynosure.

This year’s Impressive honorees are all accomplished in their fields. Sebrina Maria Alfonso, conductor for the South Florida Symphony, was the first Cuban American conductor invited to conduct Cuba’s premier orchestra. David Chacón-Perez, a producer and artistic director, has participated in over 100 television, special event and theatrical productions. Richard Jay-Alexander, a producer and director, has worked in television, film, video, commercials, and recordings with some of the biggest stars in entertainment including Barbra Streisand, Bernadette Peters and Kristin Chenoweth as well as working on Broadway with blockbusters like Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera and Miss Saigon. Pedro Pablo Peña, former dancer with Havana’s Opera Ballet, the National Ballet of Cuba, and Musical Theater of Havana, is the Founder and Director of Creation Art Center Miami Hispanic Ballet, the International Ballet Festival of Miami, Cuban Classical Ballet and is currently General Director of the Miami Hispanic Cultural Arts Center.

The host committee for the event includes Dr. Ken Wilcox & Nicol Pindelea (co-chairs), Chris Aguilar, Max Brava, Walker Burttschell, Angel Camacho, Jane Castro, George Coronado, Francesco Duberli, William Dionne, Michael Gongora, Luis Gonzalez, Maria Lago, Aryah Lester, Weslee Lim, Tony Lima, Diana Laura Noris, Chris Padron, Angela Salter, Herb Sosa, and Michael Stein. This year’s event promises to be a stellar event and tickets are still available. Besides the incredible entertainment there will be an open bar and hors d'oeuvres. The Leaders, Legends, and Lovelies Ball will be held at 7 p.m. on April 9 at the Jackie Gleason Rehearsal Hall at the Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach (enter on the south side behind the theatre off of 17th Street). For more information visit www.unitycoalition.org.