Monthly Archives: February 2017

A Business Gathering with a Spanish Accent

By mimorg33


Under a waxing moon with a lovely breeze swaying the palm branches, the Miami skyline shone picture perfect as the backdrop for the second year of Next Destination, Málaga: Gateway to Andalusia, where members of the cruise and shipping industry from Málaga got together with their Miami counterparts along with tour operators, travel agents and other professionals.
The air was perfumed with amontillado wine, tapas and paella; flamenco music played in the background welcoming guests to the Island Gardens on Watson Island for a night of Spanish-style business : with joie de vivre. The Consulate General of Spain in Miami, Don Cándido Creis Estrada, and his charming wife, Carla, presided over the event with typical relaxed style. Despite its laid back demeanor, Málaga is positioning itself to increase its traffic from the North America cruise traveler who in 2015 made up 48% of the total 23 million passengers in that category.

Monteajaque, one of the many White Towns.

Monteajaque, one of the many White Towns.

The area emphasized the many alluring possibilities available to visitors arriving to the port of Málaga that may be easily scheduled as excursions for cruise ship travelers: from the enchantment of the city itself with its many cultural and culinary offerings, to attractions such as the astonishing White Towns, the vibrancy of the Costa del Sol, as well as other cities in that area with the same lovely, easygoing Andalusian poise.

Algatocin, one of the White Towns

Algatocin, one of the White Towns

Chapeau to the organizers of Next Destination, Malaga: Gateway to Andalusia: the Málaga Port Authority, the City of Málaga Tourism and Marketing Department, the Costa del Sol Tourism and Planning Department, the Tourism Department, the Andalusia Advisory Tourism and Sport Board, and Málaga Cruises. In Miami, the effort was supported by the Consulate General of Spain, the Board of Andalusia Foreign Promotion Agency, the Spanish Tourism Office (OET), and the Business Office of the Spanish Embassy. Also several businesses contributed to the success of the evening: Málaga Virgen, Mahou-San Miguel, COVAP, Inés Rosales, Cardenal Mendoza, La Gitana, Hidalgo Imports, Montecristo y La Española.


Two great performances and the promise of more

by mimorg33

Salty, affable, sexy

Alan Cumming at Carnegie hall, photo by Tré.

Alan Cumming, photo by Tré.

Defiance, intelligence, and intimacy with a twist of endearing naiveté make Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs absolutely seductive. His modulation with that lovely, earthy Scottish rolling “r”s while exercising the balance to keep from going over the top as he introduced number after number were equally fascinating. He demonstrates deft control in the selection of the material he has been performing for a couple of years. Best known to many as the Emcee in Cabaret and Ely Gold in CBS’ The Good Wife, he opened Sappy Songs at the Arsht’s Knight Concert Hall with Annie Lennox’s Why, followed by Miley Cyrus’ chart-topping The Climb; he dedicated Billy Joel’s Goodnight Miss Saigon to his maternal grandfather Tommy Darling, who died in World War II and “to all victims of PTSA: It’s going to be a fun night ladies and gentlemen!”. To liven things up he narrated the story of a condom commercial together with its jingle. Scotland came into full light in Mother Glasgow, a lovely ballad seeping nostalgia. His complicated relationship with his dad, Alex Cumming, is the subject of his memoir Not My Father’s Son and here he sang Rufus Wainwright’s Dinner at Eight “the schism” telling song that almost brought him to tears. A Liza Minnelli anecdote brought a too-early end to the 75-minute cabaret-format show that left one wanting for more than the encore de rigueur: Ladies Who Lunch. Come back soon Alan Cumming, as an actor but mostly as this uniquely gifted individual with the gift of a sexy raconteur.



Ray Chen

Excellence displayed

The Bamberg debut performance at the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts reminded the audience why it has been one of Europe’s most respected touring orchestras for the last 75 years. Form the Mozart’s Overture to Don Giovanni to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 and the pièce the résistance of the evening: Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26 the orchestra was the perfect instrument to Christoph Eschenbach mesmerizing and expansive directorial arch.
Ray Chen displayed flawless virtuoso fireworks especially in the third movement: the Allegro energico as well as the encore when he played Paganini’s Capriccio No. 21, an ideal vehicle for his absolute control of the flying staccato passages.

Nonetheless, the night belonged to Eschenbach, his fresh reading of Beethoven’s Eroica made it sound like a recently discovered piece. The receptive audience responded appreciatively and it was rewarded with an encore, not usual from an orchestra. They played Beethoven’s lovely Overture to The Creatures to Prometheus with equal sense of adventure and discovery. It was an exhilarating event that left one wishing that both Eschenbach and the Bamberg come back regularly to the Arsht.

18 Gennaio 2010, ore 20.00, TEATRO ALLA SCALA, MILANO Direttore: Christoph Eschenbach Programma: Anton Bruckner, Sinfonia n.7

Direttore: Christoph Eschenbach<br

Pianos on the horizon at the Arsht’s Knight Concert Hallchick-corea-gonzalo-rubalcaba-duet-2017-hi

A night of controlled improv

On February 24th, the Jazz Roots program features Piano Titans: Chick Corea and Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Solos and Duets two renowned jazz keyboard giants, both Grammy winners. Corea recently celebrated his 75th birthday with an 8-week stint at the Blue Note. Rubalcaba a jazz piano master who continues to bridge the musical traditions of his native Cuban with that of North American jazz. Whether playing together or doing solos, jazz lovers will be treated to a scintillating event.


Ardent keyboard performance


For those who attend the Lang Lang in recital at the Knight Concert Hall on the night of the 25th the 34-year old larger-than-life Chinese musician will play Claude Debussy’s Ballade Slave followed by Franz Liszt’s musically demanding and intensely emotional Piano Sonata in B Minor, op 178. The program also includes a selection of Spanish composers: Suite Española by Isaac Albéniz, Danza Ritual del Fuego by Manuel de Falla, and Goyescas Op. 11 by Enrique Granados. Continue reading


Yo Yo Ma at the Arsht and much more

by mimorg33

It was an evening of magnificent music. The unequaled Yo Yo Ma returned to Miami’s Knight Concert Hall at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts last February 3rd where he joined The Cleveland Orchestra under director Franz Welser-Möst to play Antonin Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in B Minor, op 114. It is an exquisitely melancholic rendering of the Czech composer’s inner universe pulsating with homesickness for his native Bohemia. He completed it in New York, on February 10th, 1895, the same day his son Otakak turned 10 years old. His last New World work premiered in London on March 1896 with the composer at the baton.

Ma’s quintessential interpretation of the lyrical, poignant and expansive composition made for a memorable experience. In the Allegro Ma elaborated with melodic scaling the theme introduced by Michael Mayhem’s superbly executed horn solo. But in the Adagio Ma seemed transfixed with such alluring emotion and for the Finale he established an intense dialogue with concertmaster William Peucil that built up to the rapturous coda. The delighted audience rewarded him with an extended standing ovation that culminated with an elegant encore: an arrangement for cello and orchestra of Dvorak’s pensive Silent Woods, op 68.



It is fascinating to witness Yo Yo Ma display his charming personality, from the reverence he shows for his instrument to the amiability he demonstrates toward his fellow musicians. Once he finished playing he filled the Knight with sheer joie de vivre: hugging Peucil, shaking hands with other players, laughing and, finally dancing with Welser-Möst. You couldn’t help feeling happy.


After a brief pause, the orchestra returned to play Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien, op. 45, its final movement dominated by the intense brass and percussion with the dance rhythms inspired on the popular tarantella.

The Cleveland Orchestra under Maestro Welser-Möst is back on March 24 – 25 for the last two concerts of its 2016 – 2017 season at the Arsht at which time Italy will be the theme of the program. Two ballet pieces by Verdi from the operas Macbeth and Don Carlo; the Italian Symphony by Mendelssohn and, Respighi’s monumental Pines of Rome.

Two of the performances to take note at the Arsht this week are:
February 10th: 8 p.m.

Knight Concert Hall

Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs

Alan Cumming at Carnegie hall, photo by Tré.

Alan Cumming at Carnegie hall, photo by Tré.

The multifaceted Cumming brings to Miami his adrenaline driven one-man cabaret show where he runs the gamut from bitter to anguished, romantic to humorous through songs with depth, irony, theatricality and an intense dose of humanity. This is a unique opportunity to catch a uniquely talented performer in a very personal staging.

February 11th, 8 p.m.

Chen, Eschenbach and the Bamberg Symphony


A winning musical trio brought together for the second concert of the 2016 – 2017 Masterworks Season of the Classical Music Series at the Arsht Center. The concert will open with the overture to Mozart’s Don Giovanni followed by Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 and conclude with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, the ambitious and revolutionary (Eroica). We will be watching with anticipation how the young virtuoso violinist Ray Chen will perform Bruch’s very demanding piece with its brilliantly rousing Finale.




Union Beer Store: the New Kids in Little Havana


Following an exhausting day comprised of guiding our future voters, as Betsy DeVos, who is less prepared than Oscar the Grouch, was confirmed as Secretary of Education, I followed a friend/colleague to a new place she was raving about, telling me this would be our new hangout spot: the Union Beer Store.  Hanging underneath an old I Love Calle Ocho sign, the storefront is quite humble. The tinted windows were a little confusing making us think maybe it was closed, but to our good fortune, it was not.

We were greeted by Jake, the bartender, a representative from Doral’s M.I.A Brewery and Tony from North Coast Brewing, located in Fort Bragg, California, just a little drive outside of the Napa/Sonoma area.  Union has an intimate feel, detailed with wood, a huge whale, and cool signs such as “Don’t be a Dick” that hovers near the snack area. We tried some of the North Coast brews one of which I simply adore: Old Rasputin, a dark Russian Imperial Stout style beer while my friend had the Old Stock Ale 2016, a wonderful brown ale with some interesting caramel notes.  Both beers are meant to be sipped, which we most certainly did as we chatted with Jake and Tony, while nibbling on Sriracha popcorn that was amazing.

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Shortly after we met the owners, Cici and David…both who may look familiar when you meet them:  while CiCi started the Miami Brew Bus that takes interested folks to nearby breweries. David was part of the founding staff at Lokal in the Grove and later went on as a partner to manage Kush, Lokal’s sister restaurant in Wynwood.

As a huge fan of all the aforementioned spots, particularly Lokal, I immediately felt right at home. This would be our new hangout: wonderful ambiance, an awesome staff and music set at a perfect level to engage in conversation which we enjoyed for quite a while before going home with an assortment of sensational brews.  Go check out Union soon! Here’s their info:

1547 Calle Ocho (SW 8th Street), Miami, Fl 33135

and hey, follow them on FB while you’re at it…

Union Beer Store’s Facebook page