Puppet Master Jim Hammond Explains Day of the Dead Fort Lauderdale's Roots (VIDEO)

Jim Hammond Discusses the Road to Day of the Dead South Florida from Voice Media Group on Vimeo.

A peculiar thing is happening this weekend, a salute to the Mexican tradition of honoring those whom we have lost and who have, somehow, turned to dust and left this planet. This special holiday, Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, comes around once a year and takes over downtown Fort Lauderdale for two days of revelry. Saturday and Sunday, roughly 9,000 attendees will show up in full-on sugar-skull makeup -- ornate face paint with floral designs and striking black-and-white skeletal details -- and clad in authentic holiday garb to join a massive skeleton-puppet processional while mariachi bands sound off among the folkloric ballet dance troupes, an artisan craft crypt component, and an installation of ofrendas altars. Food trucks, tequila, and burlesque will also figure into the weekend's festivities.

But what's odd about this popular fifth-annual event is that we're not in Mexico, and South Florida has a relatively small Mexican population. Moreover, the event's founder, Jim Hammond, director of the Puppet Network, is not of Mexican descent. And yet, the Florida Day of the Dead Celebration kicked off in 2010 with just 700 attendees and now brings in thousands each year.

So why, as Hammond himself asks, "is a crazy gringo from Vermont" putting on one of the city's best-attended events? And one that's well-funded to boot, by $40k in John S. and James L. Knight Foundation grant monies? Hammond explained all this and more to New Times.

See also: Photos of Day of the Dead 2013 in Fort Lauderdale

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Vague Information on "The Takeover a Record Store Tour" This Monday in South Florida

Ian Witlen

Perhaps you received an invite on Facebook to a mysterious event dubbed "It Is The Takeover A Record Store Tour." The description for the October 6 event reads: "2 notorious troublemakers with nothing better to do will be taking over South Florida record stores with protest and pizzaz. It is on a Monday so quit your job and get on the dole for rock and roll. The music police will take over the store until you scream for more."

No times or locations are listed, so we hit up Mr. Entertainment (or Mr. E, if you're nasty) for more information on the affair.

His response was, "Rumor has it two dangerously witted songsmiths armed with only guitars and disguise will hold hostage all record store patrons with song and dance."

Vague, we thought. So we wrote back, "Are you cool with talking with me on the phone about it?"

"Only if you disguise my voice and blackout my face."

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Macabre Drawing Time: Asylum Sessions at Undergrounds Coffeehaus


By MR Sheffield

It's 9 p.m. in a dark room behind a local coffee shop. A statuesque young woman with blue and pink hair poses on the stage holding a Styrofoam skull with nails driven into it, a mask partially obscuring her face, a plastic dagger sheathed at her side.

It's not a haunted house or an insane asylum, it's Asylum Sessions, a weekly drawing class that allows artists to delve into their dark sides. Most drawing classes are sterile, uptight, focused on nudes and formal technique. Not so here where the models are culled from the crowd and all are encouraged to put pencil to paper to see what twisted nightmares they may create.

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Yoga Noir at Undergrounds Coffeehaus Offers Alt Rock and Espresso with Your Lotus Position


By Sean Chambers

Yoga Noir is an unusual way to stretch limbs and find your center. Instructor and creator Jacquie Roach made sure that there wasn't just one thing about these classes that make them special, but a slew of little cool things.

First of all, it takes place in a coffee shop.

Aileen Liptak, the owner and manager of Undergrounds Coffeehaus happily had Roach set up shop in this eclectic, artsy, and caffeine-fueled environment. Roach says she was "drawn to the idea of a modernized alternative class of yoga," which would be "more geared to people who may be hesitant to actually try yoga out at a studio." And it gave her a chance to add her own flair to this ancient practice.

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Echos Myron United Different Generations of South Florida Artists and Musicians

Monica McGivern

Sometimes Hollywood, Florida, is a weird place. Sometimes you see things there that you never thought you'd see. Sometimes the streets are desolate with nothing but the neon lights and bits of music bursting from storefronts, lending breath to the boulevard. Sometimes the streets are packed beyond recognition. Wine-drunk and liquor-drunk folks strolling side by side. The place is sometimes a siren.

Opening night at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood for Echos Myron -- a musically focused exhibition curated by Holly Hunt's Beatriz Monteavaro and Kreamy 'Lectric Santa's Priyadarsini Ray -- was a song that lured the most colorful young culture-seekers to Harrison Street. They came from both Broward and Miami to witness a brazen showcase of artists who make music and musicians who make art.

But really, is there a distinction?

See also: Echos Myron at the Art and Culture Center in Hollywood (Slideshow)

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Jason Handelsman's Psychedelic and Personal Exploration of Echos Myron Art Show

Art by the author.

Disclaimer: Jason Handelsman will be exhibiting his artwork at this Echos Myron show.
Did you know that one of the most evil men in the history of the world, who was culpable for the systematic slaughter of millions of innocent people, was a struggling multi-media artist like us? The fact that he could not get into art school stoked his hatred for Jews and homosexuals and his fascination with ancient symbols led him to a cosmic planetary level of completely negative turmoil.
I do not want this to happen to you. I want your innovative artwork (as a reflection of your life) to be so extremely positive so that it remodels our big beautiful world into an even more magnificent place. You are an incredible person, and I love you so much.

See also: Beatriz Monteavaro and Priya Ray Curate Echos Myron Exhibition with Art by Musicians

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NFL Asks Money to Perform the Super Bowl Halftime Show: An Imagined Correspondence

Sayre Berman
This is what Chris Martin's face must have looked like when hearing the news.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that the National Football League asked representatives of Katy Perry, Rihanna, and Coldplay how much they would pay to play next February's Super Bowl halftime show.

While the NFL generally hasn't paid its Super Bowl halftime performers in the past, it did at least cover those act's travel and production expenses. But seeing as how last year Bruno Mars and the previous Super Bowl's Beyoncé performance brought an uptick in those acts' touring revenue, the NFL figured they might as well wring every dollar asking candidates, according to the Wall Street Journal, "to contribute a portion of their post-Super Bowl tour income to the league, or if they would make some other type of financial contribution, in exchange for the halftime gig."

Here's how we imagine the NFL's correspondence with musicians went regarding this matter.

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Ten Musicians Besides James Brown Who Deserve Biopics

Universal Pictures

The trajectory of the life of a rock 'n' roll star and the Hollywood movie go hand in hand. Our protagonist is often a tortured genius, raised from the gutter to the glitz and glamour of fame, drunk on its toxic alchemy of drink, drugs, and destructive romance. There might be a sense of a life wasted, an element of martyrdom about their end, or even better, a comeback. The excesses of stardom are nixed in favor of a simpler life where the protagonist finds comfort in walking their dog on the beach over snorting mountains of white powder.

The new James Brown biopic, Get On Up, set for release today, should provide examples of some of the above and then some. Born in a shack in Georgia, and raised for a time in a brothel, Brown exploded from the southern "chitlin circuit" scene, breaking new ground in music, performance, and badassedness. Against the turbulent backdrop of the Vietnam and civil rights era, the "Godfather of Soul" became a spokesman for black America, creating challenging, exhilarating music, frenetic live shows while sporting increasingly wild costumes and hairdos. There is of course the darker side -- substance abuse and car crash relationships -- and an element of career twilight redemption in there to boot. It's surprising that Hollywood didn't latch onto this sooner after his 2006 Christmas Day death.

Here's a list of other artists whose larger than life antics could provide fodder for Hollywood.

See also: James Brown Killed Dumb Biopics: Why the Messy Get On Up Gets It Right

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Ten Best James Brown Appearances in Movies and on TV

D. Stevens

With Get on Up opening tonight movie audiences will be reintroduced to the hardest working man in show business, the Godfather of Soul, Mr. Dynamite, and yes, this is all the same person: Mr. James Brown.

Though early reviews of the film are solid, the fact that it's directed by the visionary behind The Help has us a little worried that the portrayal of this complex, insanely talented man might be oversimplified. But fortunately, we have YouTube where James Brown still lives.

The man was not afraid to stand before the camera and do what he did best. Here are the ten most fantastic instances in movies and television where James Brown got down.

See also: James Brown Killed Dumb Biopics: Why the Messy Get On Up Gets It Right

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Musicians Who've Taken Sides in Israel-Palestine Conflict

Sayre Berman

To us mere plebeians, social media is often a voyeuristic peek into the glamorous idiocy of celebrity. We get to see their endless slew of selfies, obtain a first glance at whatever new thing they are trying to sell us, and we can chuckle at their all caps, poorly written rants on subpar first class travel or their odes to quinoa.

However, the terrible violence and escalating death toll in Palestine and Israel have seen some celebs taking to social networking sites seriously to offer their thoughts on the crisis -- with mixed results. Rihanna and Selena Gomez quickly deleted or altered their tweets within minutes of posting last week, despite that fact neither were particularly controversial. Pearl Jam frontman, Eddie Vedder, was branded "anti-Israel" by the Jerusalem Post after comments he made about Israeli settlements. Vedder then took to the band's website to state, "Attempting to make a plea for more peace in the world at a rock concert ... is not something I'm going to stop any time soon."

This is not a recent phenomenon. Stars who have articulated their positions on the conflict in Israel and Palestine have received as much of the ire of their fans as they have their support. Here are a few.

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