Deep City: Birth of the Miami Sound Screens at MIFF

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South Florida owes a debt of gratitude to former Florida A&M Marching bandmates, schoolteachers, and music aficionados Willie Clarke and Johnny Pearsall. Without their gamble on the short-lived Deep City Records, there would've never been such a culturally identifiable thing as the "Miami sound." While some of the Deep City Records' artists went on to much more with TK Records or into the vaults of obscurity, the slabs that were cut remain some of the best R&B and proto-Motown/funk known to man.

Had it not been for the disagreement between Clarke and Pearsall trying to push Betty Wright and Helene Smith respectively, the latter being Pearsall's wife; the musical landscape of South Florida might just be slightly different nowadays, for surely the caliber of their stars, had they remained under the same stable, would've vaulted this sliver of America into the same rooms Motown would eventually come to occupy. Oh, well.

This year's Miami International Film Festival will feature Deep City: Birth of the Miami Sound as part of their roster of fine films. For info on the movie and the team behind it, click here. Hopefully this piece of Floridiana will not go unnoticed by the locals and let's hope local filmmakers are detracted from pulling Ai Weiwei-styled protesting. What follows is a Miami sound playlist for your listening pleasure.

See also: Deep City Records Documentary: A Behind the Scenes Look


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Orbweaver's Sally Gates and Jason Ledgard: Guitar Heroes of South Florida

Janette Valentine

In part one of our series profiling South Florida's most inspiring unsung champions of guitar, we spoke with Orbweaver's Randy Piro about his gear, influences, and what sets him apart as a player. Here, we speak with Orbweaver's other intrepid shredders, guitarist Sally Gates and bassist Jason Ledgard, both of whom happen to be athletic, creative players that are integral to Orbweaver's off-kilter conjurings and belligerent pummeling.

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Lake Worth Is the Coolest City in South Florida

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Ian Witlen

That "One Human Family" bumpersticker? The one you see around that's inextricably linked with Key West, that speaks to that city's eccentric, tolerant personality? It might just as well apply to Lake Worth, a similarly quirky, gay-friendly pot of many ethnicities where social/political lines -- if they aren't non-existent -- are at the very least transparent, and their implications argued. Gawd, are they ever argued -- to the point of absurdity (we'll come back to that).

First consider this: Four or five or more nights each week you can hear live music coming from the various and varied venues of the burg, like Propaganda, Speakeasy, or Coastars Coffee Bar. You can stroll or stumble at your leisure, within a ten block area, along sidewalks of unhurried pace, sampling reggae or blues or jazz or hip-hop or an especially tasty indigenous form of freak-folk, gutter punk jive exemplified by bands like Everymen, the Darling Sweets, Bonnie Riot, and Vive le Vox. Music. Lake Worth knows its music.

See also: Ten Best Places to Drink in Palm Beach County


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Ten Notable Albums Recorded in South Florida

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Throughout the '70s and '80s, and even well into the '90s, the local recording scene -- bolstered by North Miami's Criteria Studios in particular -- produced some of the most memorable albums of the past 40 years. Here's a sampling of some of the great albums to South Florida can claim credit. So, as long as we remember great rock 'n' roll, someone out there can use this article to establish South Florida's connection to it.

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DRUMS Underground Cultural Dance Classes Teach, But Also Allow for Personal Exploration

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Brendan Eldom
Tony Turbo teaching at DRUMS
The word "drums" doesn't just stand for those round things you hit to make noise in a circle under the full moon, anymore. Not in Fort Lauderdale, at least. Nope. Nowadays, DRUMS indicates "Dancers Raw Underground Music Session," a free dance class that incorporates percussive elements, worldwide cultural moves and sounds, and your body. DRUMS offers every kind of movement you can think of, from Zumba to yoga, to capoeira to dancehall.

Each class starts with a half hour of proper instruction, then continues to freestyle dancing, where you can bust any move, pop, lock, whatever. "The concept of this half hour class is to expose different ideas of movement, as well as open the minds of our youth and give them positive outlets for expression," says Brendan Eldom, founder of the Oceans Deep music label and, this, the House of DRUMS.

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Top Five Upcoming Parties at Cowboys Saloon

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Howdy there, cowfolk! We, at County Grind love, country music, and Davie's finest, Cowboys, is bringing it hard over the next few weeks. With Jacob Jeffries Band performing, the chance to drink cheap beers with Jesus, and ladies dressed like sexy soldiers, this line-dancing hotspot is bumpin'. Hell, only thing missin' is Mr. Willie Nelson himself. Read on to see what's to do at Cowboys, as you polish your spurs.

See also
- Jacob Jeffries Band Will Rock You

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Shane Watt Graffitis DJ Andie Sweetswirl's House

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Better than: Anything that's ever happened at your house.

Lots of people have art in their homes. Many of them have art outside of them too. But few have murals like the one Shane Watt painted on the back of Andie Sweetswirl's house in Fort Lauderdale.

After two months of planning, drawing and painting, Sweetswirl, a longtime booker, DJ, and show promoter in Fort Lauderdale and Miami, turned the mural's unveiling into "Myland: A Mural Exhibition" and invited South Florida into her home. Literally.


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ActivistArtistA Rolando Barrero Says: "Miami Is Dead and It's Dying. It's Gone Commercial"

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There's an old saw in south Florida that says "everybody goes south." It harkens back to a time when BroCo was still seen as backwater suburbs and the retirement communities of Palm Beach were solely a winter playground for old snowbirds. Culture, at that time, dropped like a stone in a South Florida pond, landing only in Miami.

Though the "scene" crept slowly into Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale, that's still south as far as PBC is concerned. But with burgeoning downtown scenes dotting the east coast in towns like Delray, Lake Worth, and West Palm, that saying has lost its edge. Perhaps no community so clearly exemplifies this as the Boynton Beach Arts District.
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Alligator City Brings a New Flow to DMX Show

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What happens when two of South Florida's best MCs combine forces to bring the best of what the Miami and Fort Lauderdale hip hop scene has to offer? For those of you who were stumped, the answer is Alligator City.

An undeniable reference to the notoriously aggressive predator of the 'Glades and "an ode to the swamp and the sticks,"Alligator City, made up of Chris "Bizerk" Brajdic and Timothy "Protoman" McClure, is a duo whose raw talent and tag-team vocals are reminiscent of The Beastie Boys or Outkast.

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Rock 'n' Roll Ladies Night with Avenida Zero, All the Pretty Cars, The Reckless Dames, and DJ Sweetswirl


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Joan Jett, bad-ass leading lady of all time? Probably.

Green Room nightclub, the growing epicenter of the Fort Lauderdale's live music scene is hosting a girls' night of rock on this Saturday. 

The event, appropriately called "Ladies That Rock," is a tribute to all of the fabulous female-fronted bands of yesterday, today, and tomorrow who have helped shape the often male-dominated music industry. Think bad asses like Joan Jett and The Runaways circa 1976 meets No Doubt and Paramore -- need we say more?

The line-up of fierce performers are all headed up by lovely and talented ladies. There's Latin pop/punk five-some Avenida Zero, fronted by lead singer Lisa Abreu. Abreu agrees that Joan Jett exudes everything that is bad-ass, noting the frontwoman's influence on her own music. Madonna is another leading lady that Abreu admires, saying, "When I first discovered her (at age 8), I knew I wanted to be an artist/performer for the rest of my life." No arguments there. We think Madonna rules too!


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