Awarehouse Takes Miami Second Saturday to a New Extreme

Group shows have always been a big part of Second Saturdays. Seems the more Miami rises in the eyes of the art world, the more Miami’s artists rise to the occasion. When galleries have stables that simply burst at the seems, well, it’s only natural for them to want to showcase as much as possible as the masses come out for the monthly bacchanal called Art Walk.

At Awarehouse this Second Saturday, the group show will not be culled from one gallery’s roster, but from a teaming scene of hardcore locals who are steadily making a name for themselves with and/or without any particular affiliation.

Put together by Rodrigo Arcaya and Nicole Martinez over the course of two wild weeks, the show — which really is too big to be named — comprises everything from holograms (Mark Diamond) and moving sculpture (Sinisa Kukec) to a 300 pound chandelier made of computer monitors (Juan Griego).

There will be multiple projection-mapped pieces (from Arcaya and Martinez, as well as Juan Maristany and Freddy Jouwayed), Coney Island-like she-monsters (Lisa Rockford), hair sculpture (Leah Brown), and much, much more. All told there’s a lucky 21 visualists showing their stuff, including my personal favorite, Gustavo Oviedo, aka 131 Projects, who’s taken the ephemera of our lives and given it an indelible place in our hearts.

Of course, no Awarehouse Art Walk Edition would be complete without some rad now sounds, and among this month’s merry racket-makers will be Beatmachines, Askultura, organicArma, and the one and only Mr. Feathers, who’s bringing his Galactic Trinity straight from the cosmos he calls home.

Come on, come all, to the transformation of Awarehouse. And rethink what you know about what it means to throw a group show.

Awarehouse Art Walk Edition June 11 6pm-late. Bands begin at 11pm. 550 NW 29th Street West of Wynwood For more info log on here.

Dirty Vegas Swings Symphonic on South Beach

From the looks of things on last Saturday night, you’d think the multiple Memorial Day Weekend shootings in Miami hadn’t happened. Kill Your Idol was packed and pumping with the roar of Rebel. The crowds in front of Cameo and Dream were thirty, forty, fifty thick. There wasn’t a table to be had anywhere on Lincoln Road. And at the intersection of Washington Avenue and 17th Street, where The Fillmore faces New World Center, Primus and Dirty Vegas were making their respective rackets. Hardly the kinda scene you’d expect after gunfire left one dead and seven injured.

But there’s no stopping the swing on South Beach, especially when you get an act like Dirty Vegas slipping into New World’s Frank Gehry-designed edifice and teaming with members of their Symphony. Add the fact that we’d all been waiting for this to go down since March and, well, you’ve got one of those proverbial nights to remember.

The occasion was called Synesthesia. For those up on brain matters, you’ll know the word springs “from the ancient Greek [and represents] a neurologically-based condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.” (Thanks Wiki!) In other words, it’s when we hear colors and see sounds. Dig?

The spectacular reveal of sound and vision Gehry and his co-horts created at New World Center makes it a pitch-and-picture-perfect place to pull off such a sense-shifting feat. The bright idea of drafting Dirty Vegas, whose own sound already evokes all sorts of visions, and then teaming the trio with an assortment of fellows from New World’s in-house Orchestral Academy (both current and alum), puts things into a whole other perspective. According to Erica Fickling and Ernesto Reyes (aka Veni Vidi Vici), who, with Daniel Saro (aka Tuzexx) and Bombay Sapphire, co-promoted the spectacle, it was all by high design.

“I knew Dirty Vegas through a local contact,” said Reyes, “and they were the first and only act we considered putting into New World. When we brought them the idea, they jumped at the chance. In fact, they made concessions few Grammy Award-winners would ever make in order to ensure this all took place.”

Once Dirty Vegas was locked in, Veni Vidi Vici got Alexa Ramirez to compose the orchestral arrangements, Sam Hyken to conduct, and Patty Garvey to organize the Symphony. Each of the aforementioned is or has been a New World op, and, according to Reyes and Fickling, all were instrumental in pulling off Synesthesia.

Dirty Vegas singer Steve Smith, who I sidled up with on the oceanfront rooftop of The Betsy hotel during the official after party, not only reaffirmed the above, he was still giddy that it had all gone down so seamlessly.

“The young cats and kittens from New World are all also into house music and they really seemed to have gotten what it was were trying to do,” said Smith. “I think tomorrow I’ll wake up and go “Wow! Those 45 minutes on stage were just a dream!”

As the conversation continued, with Wasabi Fashion Kult leader Pamela Wasabi both snapping away and recording the proceedings, Steve and I concurred that this was truly something for the 21st century. That Dirty Vegas opened their symphonic set with that very-named song was neither accident nor coincidence. It was the mark of a day and age coming into its own.

Photo by Pamela Wasabi

Our Man in Miami: Organic Hawtin

Anyone who’s ever dreamed in BPMs and believes that minus is always better than a plus knows full well that Miami went mad for a certain set of Deutschlanders over the weekend. Yes, we mean Richie Hawtin and the crew known as M-nus, who all saw to it that Made Events‘ most recent Sunday School was something very few folks skipped.

Admittedly, I’m a bit rusty when it comes to the nowest of meaty beats, especially as they’re issued from far off lands like Germany. Sure, I’ve been boxed by the Arkives of Plasticman, but to really get to the heart of the matter requires more than a listener’s affinity; it requires something participatory. And there’s no better cat for just that than organicArma‘s Dharma, who’s been making a like-minded racket since he could pick up drum sticks. Recently, Dharma and company (phAxas and Abraxas) took a take on M-nus man Heartthrob‘s “Baby Kate.” They call it “Antifan.” And next Saturday night they’ll bring it to the Awarehouse stage for all to experience.

It is with that notion that I sent a lens-armed Dharma into the mix last Friday night. The images you see here represent some of what he brought back. The rest is still ricocheting around town.


Stealing Murakami: The Plot Gets Still Thickerer

This was supposed to be a happy story, simple and just. Ring gets stolen. Ring gets recovered. Thief gets nabbed. Natural order is restored. Since the ring happened to be a rare, one-of-a-kind artwork from Takeshi Murakami, and that the theft happened during Art Basel, made it a story well worth telling. That the recovery took place in a pawn shop some two years later, just days before the ring was to be scrapped, and was only made possible by the keen eye of a certain David Tamargo, gave it a serendipitous slant — not to mention a storybook ending. Then the tale took turns no one could have envisioned.

First was the unequivocal “No Comment” from Murakami’s Kaikai Kiki studio, when by rights they should’ve been thanking their lucky stars the $72,500 ring was recovered. Then, as I reported Monday, it became clear that the bejeweled piece apparently wasn’t stolen from The Florida Room after all, but from the site of Basel satellite Design Miami, and rumor has it someone was paid a large chunk of change to keep mum. Worse, when Tamargo popped into Kaikai Kiki over Armory week in New York, he not only wasn’t thanked for what he’d so nobly done, but he was summarily booted from the studio.

Now I’ve learned that Kaikai Kiki has elected not to press charges, despite the due diligence of pawn shop owner Angel Parets and Miami Beach Police Department Detective Pete Rodriguez, who had a suspect in custody within 48 hours of the ring’s discovery. One would’ve thunk that Kaikai Kiki would be only to eager to prosecute; teach those crooks a hard lesson.

But don’t think for a moment that this case is closed. As the good Detective wrote last week when I asked for a copy of the original police report:

“The case is not closed as of yet due to my search for the actual thief of the ring has not concluded. The person who pawned the ring purchased or obtained the ring from another person. I am still looking for that person. I will advise you when the person is located.”

Now, I don’t know about you, but if I were the culprit and I saw that a dogged detective was dogging me, I’d be a little nervous. Granted, Kaikai Kiki’s inexplicable move leaves the cops without much leverage and makes the case more difficult to pursue. Yet that hasn’t seemed to have deterred Detective Rodriguez. Nor has it deterred me. If anything it only makes me even more curious about Kaikai Kiki’s actions — and of their motive.

Frankly I couldn’t care less whether Kaikai Kiki filed a false police report (if indeed they did) or even if they’d paid off someone to keep it on the QT (if indeed they did that too). I’m no goody two-shoes; far from it. And I’m a firm believer in letting folks do what they’ve gotta do. But when what they do impacts a pal of mine, well, then I get cranky, and I get curious, and then I get to work. Had Kaikai Kiki simply said “Thank You” to the man who saved the ring from oblivion, I’d have left it at that. Had they gone on and offered Tamargo a reward, I’d have sung their praises from here to proverbial eternity. I mean, Tamargo went well out of his way to behave righteously. And all he got for his trouble was the pointed heel of a very obtuse boot. Why so kooky, Kaikai Kiki?

Hailing the Gang Known as The Overthrow

To call them the cool kids would lend too much credence to those who still think in high school terms. Sure, the idea’s correct — they are the cool kids. But it’s also an oversimplification, so let’s just call it as they call it: The Overthrow. As the name suggests, this merry gang of creatives is out to overthrow the status quo, especially as it’s lived by night.

The gang came about almost by accident back in ’08 at a joint called Bella Rose. At the time, Chief Sorcerer Alexis “Lex” Mincolla was running a swingin’ soiree entitled Black Sunday, the highlight of which was a weekly murder movie shot by Evil Eye Charis Kirtcheimer and Viking Stian Roenning. Just about everybody who was anybody got knocked off in one of the cinematic kill fests, which were so blood-spattered YouTube took ’em down. They weren’t off site for long though, because a coalition of the willing lobbied hard to get YouTube to relent. And relent they did.

During all this melee, down the strip a bit, a cat named Sam Baum was running a hotspot called Heathrow. Heathrow was dark on Sundays, so Baum and company naturally gravitated to Black Sunday, a place where things were even darker. Baum and Mincolla first connected there, and within minutes the two had decided to do something together. That Halloween, each gathered their respective coterie and assembled en masse at Heathrow. The night was dubbed Haunted. And it would be the basis for The Overthrow. Since then, there hasn’t been a club in town The Overthrow hasn’t, well, overthrown. I got with gang members Baum, Caleb “Agent of ChangeJa” Gauge, Troy “Hand of Glory” Kurtz, and Tamara “Pussy Violence” Sky in the VIP Lounge of the Fillmore Miami Beach right before Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings took that fabled stage. The Overthrow has been helping out at The Fillmore for a good year now, and there are plans for the them to start bringing in the biggest and best of dubstep in the very near future. Till then, though, we had another Overthrowdown in mind, the one that’s coming up tomorrow night at 1111 Lincoln Road. It’s called Ivory Tower. And it’ll leave you learned and unleashed.

Tell us about Wednesday’s Overthrowdown…

Baum: Wednesday we’re doing a special event at the world-renowned architectural masterpiece 1111 Lincoln Road. Designer extraordinaire Kerin Rose of A-Morir, who’s draped the likes of Lady Gaga and Rihanna, will be previewing her new line for the first time. Sole Bikes will be doing a demonstration of their custom-made fixed gears. And the Miami-based international artist collective Primary Flight will be doing an installation. So there will be a whole lotta culture goin’ on.

Gauge: Gotta Dance Dirty is the blog sponsorship, so it’s gonna be blasted out to our entire family all over the world.

Kurtz: That doesn’t even include the music side, which is a showcase from The Windish Agency including Nadastrom, Beni, Brenmar, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and High Rankin.

Baum: It’s the best up-and-comers from mumba tone to dubstep to electronic.

What are you doing to the space?

Kurtz: Well, the space was designed by the world-renowned Herzog de Meuron, so it really doesn’t need anything. But since this is the first time the space is being open to the public we’ll do a little tricking to it.

Gauge: The venue itself will be a platform for all these various forms of art. This is something that you might see during Art Basel, but nobody ever shows light to this when electronic music is the focus of the week.

Can you sum up The Overthrow in one sentence?

Tamara Sky: The Overthrow is dark and different. Miami is pink; The Overthrow is not.

Anyone else we need to mention?

Baum: Yes! BlackBook! They’re our media partner, and they’ll be helping is live up to that blackness!

Stealing Murakami: The Plot Thickens

Even before I broke the story last Wednesday, the plot revolving around the recovery of the stolen Takashi Murakami Doruku ring was getting thicker and thicker. First there was the unequivocal “No Comment” from the New York offices of Kaikai Kiki, the Japanese artist’s studio, when by any rights they should have at least expressed some joy over the piece being found.

Then there was the fact that Joshua Wagner, the GM of The Delano Hotel’s Florida Room, had never even heard the ring had been swiped from the club he runs, though that of course was what Kaikai Kiki claimed on the police report. Then, when Urban Hunter David Tamargo popped into Kaikai Kiki for a visit, they kicked him out, which isn’t how one would’ve expect the folks to treat the very man who saved their jewelry/art piece from being scrapped in the first place. Would a simple “Thank You” have been too much to ask? Apparently so.

Then, after the story broke, the plot got thicker still. It now seems the ring wasn’t stolen from The Florida Room after all, but from Kaikai Kiki’s booth at Design Miami. Furthermore, a certain “publicist” is rumored to have not only hushed up the theft, but he also reportedly (we’re still trying to confirm) took a rather large chunk of change to do so. Of course Kaikai Kiki isn’t talking. At the time of this writing the media reps of record haven’t replied to my query either. So if it turns out I’m casting unwarranted aspersions, I’ll apologize. I mean, I dig Murakami as much as the next cat. And I feel likewise about Design Miami. But if that part of the story is indeed true, it not only adds a rather sordid element to things, but it also begs the question: “Why?”

More importantly, why not reward Tamargo for the recovery? After all, it’s not every day that someone stumbles upon a stolen something worth $72,500 and then has the good character to notify the rightful owners. Instead, he gets summarily booted from the studio without so much as a fare-thee-well?

Of all the folks in Miami, Tamargo is perhaps the most uniquely suited to the discovery. Not only is his place of employ (The World Erotic Art Museum) upstairs from the very pawn shop where the ring was found, but he’s exhibited in several museums and galleries, both nationally and internationally, that have featured Murakami’s work. In addition, his girlfriend Lindsay Scoggins was part of the Guggenheim Museum’s Youtube Play Biennial last fall in which Murakami was a judge, and she will curate a show at the Royal/T Gallery in Culver City, California featuring Murakami artwork slated to open June 2011.

Add it up and it makes him very familiar with the artist’s work — and with the high prices the artworks fetch. Had he been a different kind of cat, he could easily have bought the ring, flipped it and reaped some great reward. Since Kaikai Kiki can’t even be bothered to thank the good man, maybe that’s just what he should’ve done.

Takashi Murakami Ring Recovered in South Beach Pawn Shop

Last month, a one-of-a-kind Doruko (“skull”) ring created by the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami was serendipitously recovered from Costa de Oro, a South Beach pawn shop just steps away from the Miami Beach Police Department’s Washington Avenue headquarters. The platinum and diamond artwork, which features Murakami’s iconic smiling daisies, had reportedly been stolen from the Delano Hotel’s Florida Room back in December 2008, after the conclusion of the Art Basel satellite fair, Design Miami.

It was spotted in the shop’s window by David Tamargo, the art director at the World Erotic Art Museum, and an upstairs neighbor to Costa de Oro. Tamargo, an artist in his own right, whose Urban Hunting has been featured here in BlackBook, stumbled upon the infamous ring purely by accident. He was surprised as anyone else to see it in a pawn shop window.

“First, I did a double take,” he told us. “Then I got closer to the window for a better look. Immediately I knew it was a Murakami. What I couldn’t imagine was why it was there. I mean, he’s one of the most famous artists on the planet!”

Murakami’s works are indeed collected by some of the world’s most recognizable names and generally sell for well into the six figures. Last month, at Christie’s auction house in London, a 2004 painting by the artist entitled “Skulls Rock” sold for 493,250 pounds (approximately $796, 651). According to police reports, the Dokuro ring’s value was estimated at $72,500. But neither Tamargo nor Costa de Oro’s Angel Parets knew that at the time.

“The shop owner told me he wanted $6000 for the ring,” continued Tamargo. “$6000! I couldn’t believe it! It was then that I knew something was wrong. So I immediately went upstairs and called Murakami’s New York office to tell them what I’d found.”

Unfortunately it was President’s Day, and the person who answered the telephone at Murakami’s Kaikai Kiki studio told Tamargo no one was in. So he left a message with his contact information and a word about his discovery. A few days later, Tamargo learned that the ring was about to be shipped to a Tokyo jewelry expo, to be either sold or scrapped, so he tried again, this time with some urgency.

“There was no way I was going to let this ring out of the country,” said Tamargo. “When no one from Murakami’s camp got in touch after the second call, I went to the bank and withdrew enough to buy it myself. By the time I got to the pawn shop I heard a Miami Beach detective had been by the museum to see me. That’s when I got the full story.”

That detective was 23-year veteran Pete Rodriguez, who handles pawn shops on Miami Beach. After Tamargo’s calls, Kaikai Kiki had contacted him regarding the theft. The detective wanted know how Tamargo had found something that was stolen over two years ago. image

“The people at Kaikai Kiki were understandably suspicious,” said Detective Rodriguez. “I think they’d long written off the loss. So when David phoned claiming to know the whereabouts of the ring, they called me.”

Together, Tamargo and Rodriguez went to Costa de Oro, where owner Angel Parets not only put the ring on hold, but provided Rodriguez with the name, address and photo of the man who’d pawned it. A suspect was in custody within 48 hours.

“If you sell stolen goods to Costa de Oro,” said Parets, “you not only will be prosecuted; you will be convicted.”

While the fate of the suspect in the Murakami theft is still in question, Parets does mention that since Rodriguez came on to the detail in January of 2010 there’s been a “one hundred percent conviction rate.” Considering the way pawn shop owners are often portrayed or considered, it is an achievement Parets is understandably proud to share. The 33-year veteran of the trade is equally proud of his relationship with the Miami Beach Police Department, specifically Detective Rodriquez, who he considers “exemplary” and “outstanding.”

“Without a good relationship,” says Parets, “there’s no retrieval, no returns and no conviction. Since Pete has come on board we’ve worked closely together. And between our documentation and his resources and talents, we’re able to favorably resolve any questionable transaction.”

The detective, in turn, is equally effusive about Parets, who he credits with due diligence and eager assistance. Rodriguez also says Parets is “an upstanding citizen” and “a pretty nice guy.”

Tamargo also received Rodriquez’s thanks, as well as some credit for his “vital role” in the ring’s recovery. As the detective would come to learn from Parets, had Tamargo not stumbled upon the ring, it’s likely no one would’ve ever seen it again.

“I didn’t know Takashi Murakami,” said Parets, who still sounded surprised by the whole ordeal. “I was going to sell it for scrap. That David happened to see the ring before I could was a one-in-a-million shot. One-in-a-million. I’m glad he did though.”

We can only assume Kaikai Kiki, who had “no comment” for the story, are happy with the results. Photo Credit: Robert Harbour

The Jipsy, the Emperor, & the “It” Girl

Any suitably self-deprecating scenester keen enough to have made their way to Butter Gallery last night surely must have thought they’d either died and gone to scenester heaven or that they’d stumbled upon a class reunion of Hipster High. Yeah, I know, the truly hip wouldn’t call themselves hipsters even at the business end of the barrel of a gun. But hip is hip, and I’m sticking to it. The point is that virtually everyone worth her or his weight in afterdark cachet was in the place. Why? Because Miami’s beloved Jipsy was opening her debut photo show. And where the Nefarious Girl goes, so goes the scene. Really.

Make that scene-makers, in every definition of the term. There was of course Butter Gallery boss Paco de la Torre, charming the whirlwind and regaling folks with his recent showing at Scope New York, as well as Butter-repped lensman Rudy Dubue, whose work was snatched up at that very same fair. There was the spectacular Aban Sonia, also fresh in from wowing the Big Bad Apple, but in her case it was by producing and set-designing NAHM’s Fashion Week showing at the famed MILK studios. There was Overthrow chieftain Sam Baum, spreading the good word about the gang’s teaming with BlackBook for the upcoming Ivory Tower throwdown (March 23); Primary Flight’s Chris Oh in advance of Saturday night’s “Para Mi Gente” at Primary Project; Style Wars champ Karelle Levy, who just closed her own solo show at David Castillo Gallery; and Sweat Records’ Lolo Reskin and J-sin Jimenez, the queen and king of both vinyl coolness and Vagabond hotness.

There was studio wizards Arthur Baker and John Robie, who between them have produced and/or remixed enough modern music to soundtrack all of our now lives, and organicArma’s Dharma, just in from the UK and bracing for Thursday’s Breathe at Awarehouse. There was the inimitable Grace Jones, looking smart as ever, Chris and Heather G, and their remarkable Princess, the visually sublime Francesco Lo Castro, seemingly unscathed despite painting my portrait some months back, not to mention more names than I could ever remember no matter how many score cards someone put in my hands. And in the center of it all there was Jipsy, who for once was at the receiving end of a lens.

image But Jipsy’s stellar showing wasn’t the only thing worth noting about my yesterday. Earlier I’d gone to the Royal Palm to interview Morgan Spurlock, who came to town to screen his latest piece of cinematic slyness, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, which is being featured this year’s Miami International Film Festival (MIFF). And I followed that up with a sitdown with Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) director Bonnie Clearwater, who’s about to celebrate the museum’s 15th anniversary by launching the mammoth At Capacity and announcing an imminent expansion. Most importantly perhaps, I was aided and abetted in both quests by ace lensman Jeffrey Delannoy (who shoots just about every interview I do) and Breanna Elise Murphey (who just so happens to be MIFF’s “It” Girl). That’s right, she’s the lass seen all over town in the promotions for the 2011 Fest. And I tell ya, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer “It” Girl.

Bre’s image was made possible by a team that was led by the keen-eyed Stian Roenning, who’s shot more people than every legendary outlaw combined. Roenning was also among the throng at Butter, and in addition to the MIFF campaign he was boasting about the launch of the new Caligula clip, “Light in the Dark,” which Sam Baum calls “the sexiest dub step video ever.” What? You mean to tell me you’ve not yet heard Overthrow Records’ sonically-inclined racket-makers? Perish the thought. Better yet, maneuver your cursor a bit and dig for yourself. Because Caligula is something you’re gonna wanna know about. Just remember that you heard it here first.


Throngs Flock to Witness the Effects of Panic Bomber

Most times, when a panic bomber is let loose on a city, people flee for their lives. That’s the big idea. If they do gravitate toward any given crime scene, it’s usually long after the dust has settled and generally only to boast that they’d gotten close to the carnage. In other words, they wanna bask in the aftermath. Not so when there’s a strike from Miami’s Panic Bomber, who seems to attract the curious onlooker as if he were made up wholly of magnets.

Of course to feel the full effect of Panic Bomber’s onslaught, it’s necessary to be on the scene during the commission of one of his radical acts, which means the curious generally also possess a certain keen. But even those who stumble upon the madness by accident walk away smarter for having been there to bear witness.

At Awarehouse last Saturday night, after Panic Bomber left the building, one could sense a distinctive bump in the collective IQ. Not that the mad man makes music for eggheads, mind you; just that it’s impossible to not feel a good bit brighter for being present at its creation. It’s the pleasure of being in-the-know and of-the-now. The privilege of shared secrets. And it’s a bet that the effect is gonna help propel Panic Bomber into the hearts and minds of millions.

How a pocketful of inside knowledge will transform the way Miami will be perceived and heard from here on out remains to be seen. Nevertheless there are components from which we can easily assemble a barometer.

Born Richard Haig in California, the man now known as Panic Bomber came to the Miami at the beck and call of our city’s signature University, whose Music School counts luminary alumni like Grace Slick and Ben Folds. Prior the Saturday night, the UM grad was unfamiliar with either The Pinker Tones (who hail from Spain) or Mr. Pauer (one of the Magic City’s worldliest DJs), yet that didn’t diminish his enthusiasm a bit.

“My booking agent Wes from Madison House called and said ‘you’re on this bill,'” Haig tells me in a fast chat before the show. “And I’m like ‘great, let’s do it!'”

Haig hadn’t “played Awarehouse with a band” yet either. “I’ve done DJ sets here,” he adds, “including the Synthesis party where Prefuse 73 was also on the bill. I’ve also attended a couple different events. But I don’t know much about the place. I’d like to though.”

Noting the eagerness with which Haig expressed interest, I fill him in some on Awarehouse’s neo-collective sensibilities, as well as the amount of local talent that’s been staging there lately. Then I ask him if he sees some kinda scene developing.

“People having been saying [there’s a burgeoning scene] ever since I moved here,” says Haig. “The thing is I feel like people are waiting for it to break on some national level. I don’t think it’s necessary to have that in order to have a healthy scene. Yeah, that would be great. Who wouldn’t want for that to happen? But I feel like people are waiting around and there’s no need for that. Just keep doing your thing and your time will come.”

Why wait for the door to open when you can kick it in?, I ask, citing one of my own favorite mottos.


“The nice thing is music is starting to go in our direction,” Haig continues. “Miami is a very dance music oriented town and dance music is becoming mainstream. The Black Eyed Peas were on the Super Bowl! Dance music is now mainstream. House is now Top Ten. It’s a good time to be making dance music in Miami.”

Indeed, this year’s Ultra Music Festival, which features Tiesto, Deadmau5 and The Chemical Brothers as respective headliners, sold out all three days. And though the Toronto-based YYZ, who he’ll “be working with on a long-term basis,” released Panic Bomber’s thrillingly-received Discipline EP, Haig “just got confirmation that a Miami-based dance label, who are doing incredibly well considering how young they are, will be putting out” the next extended play, Domestic Violens. image

“I can’t announce it yet” he continues. “Though I so wish I could. But you heard it here first.” Off the record Haig did tell me the name of the label, which I’d kinda guessed, and he’s right, it’s young-gunned and making a helluva racket. I will tell you it’s affiliated with and run by some of the coolest kids in town. Put one and one together and you’ll know who I mean.

And whether or not Haig sees a need to define it as such, there is something of a scene stealing thunder here in Miami, especially electronically. And whether it’s the smooth cool beatitude coming from The Wonderful World of DJ Induce or the heady hijinks behind organicArma, it’s increasingly something to be reckoned with. Even Haig can’t help citing some of the Magic City’s scenesters.

“My boy Otto Von Schirach. He’s like my fucking mentor,” says Haig, praising Miami’s most otherworldly electronica artist. “I’m very close to him and [his accomplices] Mr.Feathers, David Tamargo and Jose El Rey,” and he also digs “the throwback style” of Miami Bass Warriors. “The Overthrow crew is really killing it now too,” he adds. “Damaged Goods, Caligula, Troy Kurtz. They’re very good with the Miami-style bangers. They have what I think is kinda defining what it means to be Miami mainstream now. Which is cool. They’re definitely on the cutting edge of it all.”

Considering the Discipline EP came out nearly a year ago and there’s still some time before we see either the aforementioned Domestic Violens, let alone the long-awaited longplayer Captive Audience, you could also say said scene is keeping Panic Bomber rather busy.

“I’ve been writing like a fucking motherfucker,”says he, “but life catches up, man. I’ve been touring a lot, which is great. We did Canada over the summer, and more and more dates are on the horizon.”

As Panic Bomber’s popularity grows, so do the opportunities to stage in places bigger than a breadbox and outfitted for a full-on live show. And now, after infamously ditching (and dissing) Miami’s live music scene, primarily due to the dearth of suitable venues, and adamantly going solo, Haig’s again found himself backed by a band.

“Both sides are great” says Haig. “I love the energy of playing with a band. I still am a pretty ruthless bandleader at times though. But hey, I am the bandleader. I am Panic Bomber. My musicians are fantastic, they’re all incredibly talented and I’m lucky to play with them when I can.”

The sidemen in question are Andy Panayides on trumpet and Tyler Burchfield on saxophone, both of whom are joined by one Madam Asuka on flute and additional vocals. Madam Asuka, who officially broke on to the scene last November with a Stephen Bauer-starring video of a rather frenetic track entitled “StarDust,” is an especially robust belter. And her powerhouse voicings on Panic Bomber’s “Getting on My Mind” add a whole ‘nother dimension to the neo-disco floorer.

Haig is also quite busy working with others, and while he doesn’t want to go on record naming the various projects he’s been producing, he will say it’s “a wee bit more” than merely twiddling a few knobs and lending an experienced ear.

“I’ll basically produce tracks that are then released under other names for those other names. So I’m kind of a ghost.” There’s a practical side to the work as well. “I’ve gotta be able to pay my bills. I’ve got rent just like everybody else. I mean, you’re never gonna see Panic Bomber brought to you by Pepsi, but I don’t mind Richard Haig as a musician. I’ve got certain skills. I went to school for this shit. I know what I’m doing.”

I’ve got a feeling Haig is gonna be Haig under any name. But right now my money’s riding on Panic Bomber — one because I dig singular sensations, and two because I like being in the thick of the action before there’s an aftermath. The there and the then of the right now. If the throngs who assembled at Awarehouse are any indication, I’m not the only cat in this here city to feel that way either.


Photo by Claudia Calle.