Category: Florida

Photo Diary: Gettin’ rednecky at Mullet Toss 2010!!

“Rednecks” get crunky on lots of domestic beer at Mullet Toss 2010 on the Florida/Alabama border. Best viewed LARGE. In fact, this photo is so damn good, y’all better make it your desktop wallpaper. (Photos by C-M.)

In the event that you were wondering what the redneckiest of redneck events in these continental United States might consist of, I’ll fill you in: the Interstate Mullet Toss — an annual party in which the good folk of the Florida panhandle get together at an old honky tonk called the Florabama to toss mullets across the state line, drink lots of bushwackers and Bud and cheer on the local ladies during the bikini contest. Naturally, there’s also plenty of clothing removal and occasional fist-fighting. Though, admittedly, it’s not all straight-up rednecks. There are also redneck wannabes, redneck-watchers and rednecks-in-training. All around, it was an excellent time. And, for the record, I threw my mullet 38.2 feet. Not bad for a virgin.

Many more photos after the jump. Click on images to supersize. You know you want to see ‘em.

Continue reading

Kayaking the Ten Thousand Islands.

Above: Me. Pretending to be a badass. (Photo by Zach Stovall; borrowed from Florida Travel + Life.)

Last December, I escaped the art fairs in Miami early to spend several days camping and kayaking in the Ten Thousand Islands on assignment for Florida Travel + Life, where I serve as a semi-regular contributor. It was pretty awe-inspiring . By day, we explored the mangrove isles that make up much of the southwestern Florida coast. At night, we camped on small beaches, carbo-loaded and admired the stars. It was the perfect antidote to the overload of shiny baubles I’d just gorged on at the art fairs. I’m also pretty dang proud I managed to survive the physical demands of the trip (blogging doesn’t do much in the way of developing stamina), but I’m also pretty excited about the story that came out of it. I’ve been spending the last few years making regular Everglades pilgrimages and I’ve developed a real affection for it. It kind of bums me out that the many Miami types who live right on top of it rarely show it much appreciation.

You can find my story on this journey in the April 2010 edition of Florida Travel + Life (available at Barnes & Noble) or you can cheat and read the PDF version here. Though if you could support the mag — which helps support me, I’d be deeply appreciative.

If you’re interested in doing something similar, I would like to heartily recommend the wonderful folks at Everglades Area Tours, who not only organize some mighty fine kayaking excursions (there are day-trips in case you don’t do camping), but are super cool folks to boot. And if for some reason, you spend any time at all in South Florida (be it for art fairs or because you like to get butt facials), consider Michael Grunwald’s The Swamp required reading. No ifs, ands or buts.

What I’m reading.

Flo Joe at Miami’s Marine Stadium. (All images courtesy of James and Karla Murray.)

By now, graffiti in cities like New York and L.A. and London and Berlin has been copiously documented. Which is why it was such a treat to pick up James and Karla Murray’s Miami Graffiti, which offers a broad survey of what’s been going down on that narrow strip of concrete that sits at the edge of the Everglades. Miami’s intense sunlight and weather seem to inspire a hyper-bright tropical color palette among its artists, and the Murrays do a good job of documenting it. The book covers everything from legal walls to abandoned industrial sites to transportation overpasses.

My favorite shots, however, are the ones that incorporate a broad view of the architecture, and truly reflect the ways in which graffiti artists play off of specific structural environments. The image of the giant tag by Flo Joe, at Miami’s stunning Marine Stadium (above), an abandoned Modernist boat racing viewing stand built in 1963, is a prime example.

The Murrays have been assiduously documenting graffiti since the ’90s and have thousands of images from New York, Miami and beyond, which have been published in various tomes. I’d like to suggest the topic of their next book: one that focuses exclusively on the way that graffiti interacts with architecture. I’ll be the first geek in line to buy it.

Miami Graffiti hits bookstores this month.

Junk and Rekal, at an old industrial site in Miami.

The Digest. 03.11.09.

Halo, Las Olas Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale, Fl., 2007 by Francie Bishop Good. (Image courtesy of Francie Bishop Good.)

So Many Columns, So Little Time: The narchitecture of the Florida panhandle.

’80s-style Spanish Mediterranean + ginormous columns + fugly color palette = Narchitecture. (Photos by C-M.) 

If narchitecture is architecture that looks as if it were commissioned by drug traffickers, then the narchitecture of northwest Florida would appear to have been devised by their thuggish suburban cousins. This thriving regional school of design takes narchitectural staples, such as Italianate balustrades and Classical columns, and showcases them against a backdrop of oversized structures that scream ‘stuccoed Mediterranean citadel’ and ‘psycho homeowners association’ — all at the same time. Not to mention the colors: a rainbow of shades that are drawn straight from the polo shirt selection at Abercrombie & Fitch. What’s most intriguing about these McManses, however, is their voluminous scale, intended to make the average late model Denali look downright puny. The best part? All of the structures shown here are actually simple beach “cottages.”

Click on image to supersize. Many more after the jump.

Continue reading

The Digest. 10.13.08.

The Waffle Stop in Sarasota, Florida: Elvis ate here in 1956…and had three eggs, two orders of toast, three strips of bacon, pan fried potatoes and three glasses of milk. (Photo by C-M.)