Courtesy Knight Foundation

Art Week starts with good news for South Florida. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced on Monday $37 million in new funding for arts organizations in Miami.

Part of the new funding will ensure that the popular Knight Arts Challenge will continue every other year, starting in 2019. But most of the new funds will support the work of 22 existing local institutions.

Katie Lepri / WLRN

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. 

From left to right: Jason Matthews, Eric Escanes, Armando Lopez and Rodrigo Zambrano
Melanie Masterson

The Miami-based improvisational jazz and rock band Electric Kif in many ways reflects South Florida’s diversity. Band members are from across the globe except for Miami native Armando Lopez on drums. Guitarist Eric Escanes is from France, keyboardist Jason Matthews is from Philadelphia and bassist Rodrigo Zambrano is from Mexico City.

Because of the band’s diverse upbringings, they come to the music with a wide variety of influences including funk, jazz, electronica, rock and more. They will be playing the Moksha Art Collective in Wynwood next Saturday as part of the Art Basel performances. The band spoke with Sundial’s Luis Hernandez about Miami’s music scene, the need for more music venues and why they describe their sound as “post-nuclear.”

WLRN: So (Jason) what were your influences? What was a lot of the music you were listening to growing up as a kid?

Matthews: Yeah I grew up on jazz pretty much in high school. But before that I was obsessed with progressive rock. Me and my brother were obsessed with this band called Yes which you probably know for sure. Pink Floyd, Yes and ELP ... I was really into that. And then I started going into the jazz clubs in Philadelphia like there's this place called Time and Chris' Jazz Cafe. And we would go and do the jam sessions every Tuesday and that's how I got into jazz, which led me to the University of Miami.

How old were you when you were going into those clubs? 

Matthews: 15, 16. They had like a late night Tuesday jam. The guy was cool with us, he knew we were young kids just trying to jam so and no one was there. Late night it was just us pretty much watching like the older dudes. And you had to go and buy a drink so we could we would just buy Coke or whatever.

Compared to like other cities Seattle or L.A. or Chicago, where does Miami sit (in terms of its music scene)?

Zambrano: Low, low. I just think that like a lot of people in Miami don't want to pay to see live music. Well, like you said, mid-sized venues it's hard to get people to pay for tickets to see live music you know compared to other cities that we've played at all on the northeast. People always think it's included with the experience in a place that you go.

Who's going to describe to me what is post nuclear? 

Lopez: We were watching a Jim Carrey standup on Saturday Night Live. He does a post nuclear Elvis where he's actually doing a Saturday Night Live audition. He's dancing like Elvis without arms. And we found it hilarious and we're like our music is like post nuclear. We write a lot of dark stuff. So it kind of fit in there.

Watch Electric Kif's in-studio performance. 


A new play at the Colony Theater in Miami Beach tells the story of the night Cassius Clay won the heavyweight title and became Muhammad Ali.

The show, “One Night in Miami,” takes the audience back to February 25, 1964, and recounts the history of a celebratory night in an Overtown motel room with four best friends: Muhammad Ali, Sam Cooke, Jim Brown, and Malcolm X.

MDC Live Arts / Courtesy

A new show from Miami-Dade College Live Arts is putting a modern twist on an epic Greek tragedy. Miami native and New World School of the Arts graduate Yara Travieso is the brains behind the production of La Medea. The show incorporates a live Latin disco band, cameras and is being live streamed and filmed as it's happening.

Shine MSD
Caitie Switalski / WLRN News

More than 1,500 people gathered for the Actions For Change festival in Parkland’s Pine Trails Park Sunday night, where celebrities and performers like  Alyssa Milano and Skip Marley rallied people to register to vote.

Drama students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School performed songs from their soon-to-be-released album. One is a nod to the clear backpacks they had to carry right after the shooting - It's called 'Transparent':

Venetian Arts Society

Welcome to the salon.

Not the kind that gives you the cut and color. Nor the type held in the early 1900s in the Paris apartment of Gertrude Stein, where the work of notable visitors like Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway was lavished with effusive praise – or lashed with searing criticism.

And if 'art salon' evokes images of men and women in white powdered wigs, sitting on high-backed gilt chairs sipping tea out of Limoges china (with extended pinky fingers, of course), well...

Every year the National Book Foundation features a few fresh faces or unfamiliar names among the nominees for its annual literary prize. This time around, though, there's a twist. One of the actual National Book Award categories is something readers have not seen for quite some time: a prize for a work in translation.

Neil Simon, the enormously productive comic playwright who often adapted his work into screenplays, died on early Sunday morning. He was 91. The cause of death was complications from pneumonia, according to Bill Evans, his longtime friend and publicist.

Among the most prolific playwrights in American theater from the 1960s through the 1990s, he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1991 for Lost in Yonkers, which he said was his deepest play. But Neil Simon was better known for being funny.

David Bornfriend / Courtesy of A24

Nine years before director Barry Jenkins became know for his Oscar-winning film “Moonlight” - shot and set in Miami-, he produced his first feature film “Medicine for Melancholy” with an estimated budget of $13,000.


Alexander Gonzalez / WLRN

Miami nightlife runs on music and DJs are the maestros of that scene. It’s an industry heavily represented by men. But a group of women in a DJ class wants to drop just as many beats.

Courtesy of Seraphic Fire

For vocal students, the transition from college to professional choirs can feel impossible. Miami's only professional choral ensemble is working to change that this summer.

Frost Chopin Festival Comes to Miami

Jun 22, 2018
Courtesy of Kevin Kenner

University of Miami’s Frost School of Music and the U.S. Chopin Foundation are partnering to organize the first ever Frost Chopin Festival and Academy.

The Frost festival will give 20 pianists a chance to to immerse themselves in the work and legacy of composer Frederic Chopin. Most of the participants are from across the U.S. and some international.

Pianists were selected to  participate in masterclasses with Chopin experts and the week-long event will include public performances and lectures on Chopin's music and personal life.


All of Miami will be dropping beats Thursday.


The city is marking the longest day of the year – officially the summer solstice – with a lineup of free musical performances. 

Make Music Miami is joining the worldwide celebration Make Music Day, which began in Paris in 1982 as Fête de la Musique. More than 800 cities in 120 countries carry on the spirit of the day – that all musicians can play in public spaces.

One of the oldest and most distinguished Spanish language theaters in the U.S. is housed in a converted Manhattan brownstone. "It started actually as a private house," explains Robert Federico, executive producer of Repertorio Español.

The space is tiny — rickety wooden stairs lead backstage and small props are stored in the hallway. The sets are designed to be stashed flush against walls behind black curtains.