Have you ever had the amused displeasure of seeing a Duck Tour guide urging his or her flock to do the YMCA? Did your stomach turn when all those normy tourists quacked in unison as they pulled up for cocktails at Wet Willies? Have you thought, “Wow, that could be fun if I didn’t hate South Beach, the YMCA, and drinks with names like ‘Attitude Improvement’ and ‘Call a Cab’?”
WEIRD MIAMI is a bus tour for those who want to see Miami in all its bizarre and beautiful glory. Started by BFI, an artist-run gallery dedicated to experimental programming and exhibitions, the WEIRD MIAMI tours are artist-led excursions to places lesser-known and culturally significant. Although previous stops have included artist studios, these are not highbrow, nose-up tours where you’ll need to know terms like “contrapuntal” and “diagesis.” The goal of the tour is to show participants things they’ve never seen or experienced through the eyes of the artist-tour guide. Though exact destinations are kept secret till the day of, stops have also included restaurants in Little Haiti and a Native Calusa archeological site.
Due to the popularity of their first tour of Hialeah during Art Basel last year, BFI has again invited the inimitable SPRING BREAK to host another tour of the city-within-a-city. Patti Hernandez, who runs SPRING BREAK with Domingo Castillo, explains why she chose this locale:
“Naturally, I selected Hialeah. For me to bring people who see Miami as only Miami Beach was really important. Hialeah, the city of progress, holds a very special place in my heart. Most streets have two names and the city is not easy to navigate. It is made up mostly of immigrants and no one speaks English. People have figured out their own economy, there is nothing you can’t find there. Whatever you need, they can make it or find it for you.”
With each tour, there are always surprises. For instance, while on one of stops on the previous WEIRD MIAMI tour — the surreal and organically curvy and colorful Amertec building — she met with Miami-based architect Chayo Frank, also the building’s designer. “Frank is a practicing artist/architect living in a house he built in Pinecrest,” says Hernandez. “And not only is the Amertec building one of the only examples of organic architecture here in South Florida — it is also the only one he made. We planned the stop not thinking of having a tour inside but when we got there, the new owner was painting it! We ended up with a full tour.”
So if the idea of ballin’ out and sipping sangria on an air-conditioned yellow school bus while visiting Hialeah is more your steez, get your tickets now for the WEIRD MIAMI WuTz Up HIALEAH 2013 BUS TOUR, taking place Sunday, Feb. 10, from 12:30 to 6 p.m. Pick-up and Drop-off will be at BFI (100 NE 11th St., Miami). Tickets cost $25 before Sunday, $35 day of.
–By Rob Goyanes