Ten Alternative Spaces for Live Music in South Florida

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With all the fuss that's circulated over Churchill's Pub switching of hands, coupled with the closing of the Broward County staple the Talent Farm, we at County Grind got to thinking about location. More specifically, venues. After watching what seems like the whole music scene have an emotional collapse at the thought of one integral venue changing in any way shape or form, we got to wondering whether or not we, in the tri-county area, are putting all our eggs in one basket. That can be a seriously dangerous thing for a music scene.

So, we asked ourselves: Where else could we throw wild punk shows or freaky noise nights around these parts? What follows are ten places -- a few more practical than others -- that we think would make the coolest alternative venues in South Florida.


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Rap Shirts for White People Are Painfully Accurate

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Whoa! Check it out! The internet did something funny again! Oh, internet. You're too much. The latest soon-to-be-viral phenomenon addresses a serious issue that many aren't sensitive to in our day and age -- that it's hard out here for a white person. So damned hard. And for those porcelain-fleshed, plaid-shorts-wearing beings so inclined to grasp onto any bit of culture and pretend it's their own, it's even harder.

Despite being in the highly diversified South Florida, we still have our fair share of white-boy bros who don't exclusively rap out to Macklemore and Eminem. They treat all rappers with the same feigned understanding. For those freckled fellows who shout "THIS IS MY SHIIIIIIIT!" upon hearing a song about coming up from the streets, Rap Shirts for White People is for you!

Yes, these are exactly what they sound like. They take famous rap lines and make them a little more relatable for all the crackers out there. What a good deed, amirite? Let's take a look at some of our favorites and read a few of our own.

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Crazy Hood Film Academy's Avaricious Needs Your Help

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"Between greed and desire lies necessity." That's the tag atop the teaser poster for Crazy Hood Film Academy's (CHFA) upcoming short narrative film Avaricious. Michael Garcia and DJ EFN have been steadily making a name for themselves outside of South Florida since the release of their excellent documentary on Cuba's current underground hip-hop scene, Coming Home. Lauded in the festival circuit and currently on rotation on Puff Daddy's Revolt TV, the success of the film led to another documentary focusing on Lima, Peru,'s hip-hop that is currently in postproduction.

DJ EFN is already a legend in hip-hop and mix-tape circles, and Garcia, a heavy-hitter in the local rap scene, is no stranger to behind-the-camera work, as he has directed numerous videos for acts like Tech N9ne, Kat Dahlia, and N.O.R.E. He's now switching focus to a more straightforward narrative in what will be the first of four short films detailing the influence and tangible disruption of money within the microcosm of South Florida.

See also: Tech N9ne on "That Fast Flow," Strangeulation, and Being a "Job Creator"

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Jason Handelsman: the Poet Preacher of Cutler Ridge

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Untitled rough draft manuscript for The President's Reality Show sequel.

The night before I met Jason Handelsman at the Sports Grill on the Green (the one at the Palmetto Golf Course off U.S. 1), I was pacing in my bathroom and brushing my teeth when, out of nowhere, I felt like Jason and I were communicating somehow -- both of us in our respective lavatories, toothpaste burning our mouths, and that tingly feeling in the back of the skull that comes with what people sometimes think of as telepathy.

Handelsman -- writer, poet, musician, performer, and ordained pastor -- is glowering proof that our identities and lives are not cohesive, straightforward things. Not because of all the creative capacities just listed but rather due to the fact that before becoming a man of God, Handelsman was Azar Alcazar. He was also the Ghost of Dirty. Not to mention, The President, a practicing freemason, and more.

Harder things first, though: In 2009, Handelsman was writing for New Times, interviewing countless luminaries such as Rick Ross and Lil Wayne and growing an audience for his out-there, Dadaist style of writing and humor. It was then, while rising in the sordid ranks of South Florida's cultural journalism circuit, that everything came to a bloody halt. On Halloween night, on assignment in South Beach, Handelsman struck a man with his car while driving drunk.

By Rob Goyanes

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The 2014 Grammys Were Actually Good

Categories: Good Ideas

Guaranteed, there's a Grammy-hater contingent out there picking their tight asses and snorting away about how lame the award show was last night. But we watched, and the 2014 Grammys were actually freaking good. And dude, would we lie about how entertaining something is? No way. We're usually snorting away with the best of them.

What follows are a ton of great (thank you very much) reasons why the show was actually well thought-out and finely executed.

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Yoko Ono on John Lennon: "We Understood Each Other"

Categories: Good Ideas

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John Lennon

As a kid, I rummaged through my parents' cassettes, separating the good from the Billy Ocean. Sometimes, though, I'd come upon a tape that was beyond great, that was nearly perfect. And then I'd listen to it a thousand times while lying on my bedroom floor and eventually let it control my entire future. That's what happened with Double Fantasy. There was something holy and timeless when John Lennon's perfect pop sensibility met Yoko Ono's haunting sensuality.

When speaking with Ono this week about John Lennon's upcoming art show at the Village of Gulfstream Park, she emphasized their dynamic and fitting creative partnership. Yoko was a delight to interview. Easy with a laugh, she was emotionally open and realistic about her experiences. When a bad connection made my voice reverberate oddly, she laughingly made the sound on the other end of the line, patiently waiting for me to figure out how to fix the problem.

Yoko Ono is now 80 years old and still as relevant and productive and experimental as ever. She hit the dance charts with her Plastic Ono Band; just came out with a book, Acorns; curated the Meltdown Festival in London; and remains an intriguing visual artist. But this weekend is all about John Lennon and his artwork. Proceeds from the show benefit Feeding South Florida, Ono said, "because that's what John would have wanted."

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"We Didn't Start the Fire" Expanded Lyrics

Categories: Good Ideas

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When Billy Joel plays the BB&T Center on January 7 and 11, odds are pretty good according to his recent set lists that his first encore will start with "We Didn't Start the Fire."

The 1989 novelty song that will not get out of your head, as it lists historical names, places, and events in chronological order from the time Billy Joel was born in 1949 until the song was recorded in early 1989. But 25 years have now passed that aren't represented in the song. So we thought we'd help the Piano Man out with new verses that represent the last quarter century. You might as well sing along, since the melody will force you to anyway.


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Musical Wish List for 2014

Categories: Good Ideas

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Ian Witlen

With 2013 almost in the books, we can sit back and recollect on what a great year it was musically, or we can be greedy and count next year's chickens before they hatch.

We're choosing the latter.

Sure, 2013 had its sweet moments. There were crossover hits that (almost) everyone enjoyed, like everything Daft Punk or Drake, a solid number of fantastic musical acts that performed locally -- from Arcade Fire to Bob Dylan to Janelle Monae -- and not to mention the phenomenon that was twerking. But we expect even more from 2014. And here's exactly what we want the musical gods to give us in the New Year.


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New Party Rules for Millennials

Categories: Good Ideas

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Ian Witlen
The stage is THAT way. Jeez.

Millennials, you still do all the drugs and have all the sex, but I have to break it to you -- #realtalk -- you do not know how to party.

And it's bringing me down. Heading over to what's supposed to be the "jam," hosted by 24-year-old "scenesters," I always hope that there won't be finger foods but that the fridge will be so packed with Miller High Life that it won't totally close. But then I get there, and there's artisan, sprouted, gluten-free hummus with homemade organic cheese sticks and vegan crackers for dipping. And no one looks like they're having fun.

Meanwhile, partying with Gen Xers is the best ever. There's never any food beyond a bag of Doritos, an old pizza, or Taco Bell someone grabbed at the end of the night. There are bongs everywhere, but people are dancing, and someone's getting a blowie in the bathroom. There's going to be a fight. Not just skinny straight guys throwing shade but a bloody nose, "bitch, I'ma kill you" fight. There's nothing good to drink, but there always something to drink. There is a naked guy at the party, and you're probably going to make out with his friend. You will talk to strangers, and there's always good music.

Rip me to shreds in the comments, but someone had to say it. For the millennials who want to party right, here are some new rules for you.

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Outkast Reunited! Big Boi and Andre 3000 Are So Much Better Together

Categories: Good Ideas

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Billboard Magazine reported the mind-blowing news earlier this week that Outkast may reunite to headline Coachella in 2014. The internet then cried with joy.

Over the years, organizers of the massive California festival have made a point to facilitate the reunions of other classic acts, like the Pixies, Rage Against the Machine, and the Stone Roses. We're hoping Outkast actually follows their lead. And if not for their enormous fan base, then for the sake of the Atlanta bred duo Big Boi and Andre 3000 themselves. We believe they will benefit from a reformed Outkast as much as their adoring fans.

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