Scope Miami 2019

It took me a year to write about Scope Miami 2019. Nothing was preventing me from writing, but since I did nothing cool in 2020 (I think you know why), it feels good to reflect back on the fun I had last year.

The Scope contemporary art show in Miami Beach…

So what’s it like? A huge gallery of galleries on the beach in South Beach, Miami, filled with contemporary art from around the world. Like a museum on the beach. With a bar, and a dancefloor with a DJ. Some of the best art you’ll ever have a chance to see, and buy, and some of the most beautiful people on earth (that’s South Beach in general). Much of the art is similar to what you’ll see in magazines like High Fructose & Juxtapoz. It’s a candy-coated feast for the eyes.

Here’s the entrance, with the color-gradient yard art by Hot Tea:

Scope Entrance

The highlight of the show was by Asbury Park, New Jersey artist Porkchop, presented by  Jenn Hampton of Parlor Gallery:

Sculpture by Porkchop

Colorful money & a mirror ball in the party room. I don’t know the artist, but the gallery representing them was in C15.

Mirror Ball

Don’t sit on the King’s Tongue!

King tongue

Balloon Heads (I don’t remember the artist) on the beach.

Balloon heads

Metal & fur Moth. (I’ll add the artist and gallery when I figure that out). I liked this one quite a bit.

Moth

Teacup motorcycle helmet ladies by Lucio Carvalho were memorable. Gallery link.

Tea Cup Helmit

Laurina Paperina’s cartoon-based art was excellent & hilarious, and her parody of Maurizio Cattelan’s $120,000 duct-taped banana was funny as well:

I don’t have a photo here, but I liked artist Yuka Mitsui’s Japanese-style woodcuts of Eddie from Iron Maiden and Tim Conlon’s graffiti train car models that Roman Fine art had on display.

Here’s the full list of exhibitors and the virtual tour. There were other art fairs happening in Miami at the same time: notably Art Basel & Design Miami (which still happened in 2020 regardless of the pandemic).

Sunrise Miami Beach

South Beach Miami in 6 (or more) Images

December 5-8th, 2019, I visited Miami Beach for the Scope and Art Basel art fairs. I stayed at the El Paseo Hotel (clean, cozy, homey) on Española Way. I got breakfast from a local bakery, dinner from 5 Guys. When not at the art fairs, I enjoyed the beach and exploring the town. I recommend it, but definitely bring someone with you to enjoy it with.

Sunrise, Lummus Park.

Sunrise, palm trees, a big beach with coral & shells to beach comb, swimmable & crystal clear water: what more can you ask for? Miami Nice (yeah, I said it).

Sunrise

A Lifeguard Station

The lifeguard stations are a trademark of South Beach. They come in different shapes and sizes, but they’re all pink.

South Beach - Lifeguard Stand

Española Way

Where my hotel El Paseo is. Lots of restaurants & a gelato shop.

Espanola Way

Mannequins in the Surf Style window

There are a lot of souvenir & bathing suit shops in town.  The mannequins accurately reflect the local visitors of South Beach. Nearly everyone looks like a model — I felt like an ogre next to them (but also, I do not care).

Mannequins

man

Chicken advertising Chicken

Chicken

Ocean Drive Bars, Hotels & Restaurants at night

Each bar, hotel & restaurant in the Art Deco district was illuminated with a different color of light: orange, green, purple, blue, red — like a pack of colored crayons. The hum of celebrating people, dance music, and the roar of supercars filled the air.

Ocean Ave

And of course, there’s the Egg.

Not part of the photo set really, but this was the coffee/library room from the El Paseo hotel circa December 5th, 2019.

El Paseo coffee room

My Trips in 2015

I took two trips in 2015, one short and one long.

2015 map

The long trip, looped through 19 states.

The short trip was to Raleigh & Chapel Hill, NC.

These are my stories:

  1. South of the Border: the Quintessential Roadside Attraction
  2. Augusta Georgia: Golfers, Cookies, Grits
  3. Alabama the Jewel of North America
  4. Jackson Mississippi
  5. New Orleans in 3 Hours
  6. Exhausted in Little Rock
  7. Elvis Presley’s Jets
  8. Land Between the Lakes, part 1
  9. Land Between the Lakes, part 2
  10. Kuttawa Kentucky Huddle House
  11. Fort Massac Illinois Rest Area
  12. Big John: Metropolis’ Other Hero
  13. The Superman Museum in Metropolis Illinois
  14. The World’s Largest Statue of Superman
  15. Jungle Jim’s: the Greatest Supermarket in the America
  1. Welcome to North Carolina
  2. Chapel Hill and Snack Cakes
  3. Raleigh North Carolina
  4. I-95 is Atrocious
North Carolina Museum of Natural Science Globe

Raleigh, North Carolina

Crepe Myrtles

It is impossible to write about Raleigh, North Carolina without mentioning the Crepe Myrtles.

Crepe Myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica) are flowering trees imported from Asia. They seem to average about 10 feet in height, come in pink, red, purple & white, and are literally everywhere in the Raleigh area.

C to the R to the E to the P to the E

The sheer number of crepe myrtles is shocking. Now you’re thinking that I’m being hyperbolic, but I’m not. If you live in the area, you’re probably numb to it: “the sky is blue, the grass is green, and everything along the sides is pink.” But for an outsider driving into North Carolina, the experience is sort of like the “Stargate” scene in 2001, a Space Odyssey, but instead of a stream of colored lights, it is a stream of flowering trees.

If that reference is to obscure, just imagine driving through a pink tunnel made of flowers.

Gardiner, NC, Suburb of Raleigh

I stayed at a Best Western in Garner, NC. The hotel was fine: pool, “lobby breakfast”, quiet, comfortable rooms, and plenty of parking. Garner, NC, the city, is essentially a highway encrusted with strip malls and big-box stores, surrounded by a web of winding, hilly forest roads. That is my perception of it. I visited the local Walmart to check out the locals. While the Walmart did not have the bins of fireworks that I was hoping for, they did have isles of snack cakes, beer (which let to this), and the hairbrush & computer mouse I needed.

An UTZ truck in the parking lot of the Walmart: UTZ truck

Raleigh Museum of Natural Sciences

The primary place I visited while in Raleigh was the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science. As museums of Natural Science/History go, I would put it somewhere between the American Museum of Natural History and the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science; all are good, but the North Carolina one falls in the middle.

The first thing you notice when approaching the museum is the massive planet Earth/globe. It is massive enough to be mentioned in Roadside America:

North Carolina Museum of Natural Science Globe

Inside the Museum you’ll find four floors of Natural Science exhibits, most if not all, focused on North Carolina fauna, flora, and geology. The massive whale skeletons, and arthropod zoo, were most impressive.

Blue Whale Skeleton at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh NC

Whale Skeleton in the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

The arthropod zoo in the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Arthropod Zoo Bees

Other than that I also was impressed by:

  • The hummingbird exhibit
  • The live snake and amphibian exhibits
  • The massive sea shore and forrest replica/reproductions
  • Graphics that explained the different areas & layers of North Carolina geology
  • The large assortment of taxidermied animals
  • The gift shop was solid. I bought a squid replica, and admired an electric fan shaped like a fox.

Fox squirrels are massive — almost size of a house cat — I did not know that.

Fox Squirrel in the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Rambling Around Town

When visiting a city, I like to walk around the town without a plan or compass, with the goal of stumbling upon some interesting sights and experiences. I like to visit the stores & restaurants locals frequent; sit on park benches and observe the local vibe like a local would; try to see the city through a local’s eyes.

During my three hour ramble around Raleigh, I discovered a giant acorn, a sand castle 200 miles away from the ocean, and world-famous Clyde Cooper’s BBQ. Clyde Cooper’s BBQ had pork skins, which I get for my sister’s chihuahua from time to time. The chihuahua is passionate about eating parts of other animals.

Giant Acorn in Raleigh NC

Sand Castle in Raleigh NC

Clyder Coopers in Raleigh NC

Worth Mentioning

It is worth mentioning that I visited Raleigh right after all Confederate flags and memorabilia were removed from State/Government buildings, including museums. Had I visited weeks earlier, I may have had a different experience.

POWER VACATION!

In late May 2015, I went on a POWER VACATION! What is a POWER VACATION, you ask. Let me tell you.

These are the rules of POWER VACATION!

  1. You must visit more than one state or province per day. I visited 16 states in 8 days.
  2. You should have a pre-planned itinerary before departing, but you must deviate from your plans at least once.
  3. Never pre-book lodging. Use your cunning and the internet to find reasonably priced, and interesting lodging along the way.
  4. Take photos of the things you might never see again: roadside attractions, the sun setting over your hotel, a strange bug, the Doubletree warm-cookie van.
  5. You must pump your own gas. Except in New Jersey!
  6. Make massive mixtapes! Listen to an entire iPod of music. Fill a Flash thumb drive with 32GB of music, and listen to it all.
  7. Talk to strangers. Treat everyone you meet as a friend, even though you might never see them again in your life.
  8. Sample unique, local foods. This might mean a strange candy or confection at a truck stop grocery store.

Tips!

  1. Bring some Energy Drinks and 5 Hour Energy bottles. After driving for 9 hours in a row, you will need them. This kid has reviews of energy drinks.
  2. If you get sleepy while driving, pull over ASAP. Don’t put people’s lives at risk.
  3. Make sure your vehicle is road-worthy. If it’s your car, get it serviced before you depart. Make sure the spare tire is inflated.
  4. Make sure you have an assortment of things to listen to. Fast music for driving fast. Slow music, podcasts, and audiobooks for slow traffic.
  5. Keep your car clean. Don’t let energy drink cans and gum wrappers accumulate. Throw them out along the way.
  6. Stay alert to weather changes, and take precautions.

I’ll probably add to these lists, but you get the idea.