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Travel Back Into The 1950s And 60s With Miami Motel Stories

Imagine stepping back in time just by stepping into a hotel room.

Through one door, it's 1957 again. A young couple arrives in Miami for the first time.

In another room, it's the mid 90s. A recovering alcoholic has found God and is struggling to stay sober.

In a third, you enter 1964. A Playboy Bunny takes a break from work with a man she's met at the club. 

This December, the Juggerknot Theatre Company is taking over a disparaged Miami Modern Miami (MiMo) motel — the Gold Dust Motel — for its second installment of Miami Motel Stories, thanks to a partnership with Miami real estate developer and founder of the Vagabond Group, Avra Jain

Tanya Bravo, executive artistic director of the theatre company, and her team were handed the keys of the Gold Dust for a month-long show of mini-plays, directed by Juan C. Sanchez, to show the history of the neighborhood and the people who made the hotel what it was.

"We knew that we wanted to work with the developer Avra Jain. She's kind of an amazing preservationist of the area [who is] bringing back the boulevard to what it used to be," she said. "Our missions fall in line."

Taking a cue from true-life stories, each room in the motel is made up to a specific moment in time to show off Miami's history from the 1950s onward. 

"This is the space that we're in so we have to pay homage to it," Bravo said. "We work with the spaces almost like another character in the play. We can't work against it, we can't create something new."

Sanchez, working with HistoryMiami Museum and interviews, is archiving the history of the Boulevard. 

"The history of Miami is really important and it's not to be erased. It's a moment in time for us to archive this information," Bravo said. 

Miami Motel Stories was the recipient of a 2017 Knight Arts Challenge Grant. Their first cinematic installment was in Little Havana last October.  Expect to see the third edition of Miami Stories Motel in North Beach in 2019.

If you go:

When: Nov. 30 - Dec. 23

Where: Gold Dust by Selina. 7700 Biscayne Blvd. Miami Fl

Buy tickets at miamimotelstories.com.

Katie Lepri Cohen is WLRN's engagement editor. Her work involves distributing and amplifying WLRN's journalism on social media, managing WLRN's social accounts, writing and editing newsletters, and leading audience-listening efforts. Reach out via email at klcohen@wlrnnews.org.
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