On March 7th I went to watch I've Never Not Been From Miami at the Olympia Theater. One of the opening gems of the Miami International Film Festival this year. I had a purpose, a mission to see this movie and get all the feels. This Miami trip had a theme: nostalgia. Would I experience any? after disliking the place so much during my teenage years? after avoiding going there to visit family?
I had the wonderful company of my dear friend, Linda Martin. We talked about the differences of me living in the Pacific Northwest vis-à-vis SoFla, high school, our days at Florida International University studying art history, and what I missed about Miami. The film started and I immediately focused, finally allowing myself to get lost in every short, with every subject matter speaking about the trivialities of living in Miami, the loved things, the sweet things, what magnetic force drew them to the place, what kept them from moving anywhere else, and what made them return after years in exile. I loved it!
There was one piece in particular that moved me, however. Directed by Jonathan David Kane and portraying Rosie Herrera, a Miami based dancer, choreographer and artistic director of the Rosie Herrera Dance Theater, the short film enthralled me and my friend. It was beautifully shot and contained Herrera's vibrancy. I remember Herrera explaining that when she was being trained in classic ballet it did not feel natural to her, she had within a need to include her own rhythms, her roots, and so evolved into the dancer she is today. It seemed to echo some of my experiences as an art historian and person. How much can I try to be something I am truly not? how do I take the steps to define myself within my field without stepping out of it? How do I revolutionize the way art history is written and interpreted?
As the after party started I looked around and saw a few familiar faces: a former high school classmate now working for the film festival, some artists and movers, like Sam Baum whom I used to see six years ago at the different cultural/entertainment venues in the city. I am happy Miami has someone like him, helping it define its culture, realize its own artistic potential and compete with the other big cities. The guy has talent, so I am expecting big things to come in the future. Best of all, I got to meet Rosie Herrera and she was charming and open - did not expect any less to be honest. Great night in MIA for me. Jaie Laplante, curated an awesome program after all.
So, I took the rest of the week and divided my time between art exhibits I wanted to see, events I wanted to attend, family and friends time, and alone time. Each helped me reintroduce Miami into my life and vice versa, and to accept that this place is an important part of who I am. Miami is loud, colorful, hot and humid, at times sunny and at others tempestuous, so in many ways it is home. After six years of active disavowal, I would not have it any other way.