The Spaces That We Move In — GeoVanna Gonzalez: Ep 29

What does it mean to be at home? Where and with whom do we get to call home? Who gets to claim space? These questions are extremely charged in the context of urban development, where ‘home’ literally is in flux.

GeoVanna Gonzalez offers an artist and curator’s perspective to these questions as we talk about her art & community space Supplement Projects. We talk about what it means for artists to claim and create within space and the part they may play in shifting urban landscapes. For GeoVanna, the role of the artist & curator is undeniably tied to serving community and perhaps for holding, or hosting rather, space to connect with others, develop relationships, build homes - however you define it.

GeoVanna is a multidisciplinary artist and curator based between Miami and Berlin. She founded Supplement Projects, an alternative art & community space exploring ideas of domesticity within the urban landscape. As an artist, GeoVanna works with ideas of translation and forms of communication in today’s technological and consumer-driven culture. As a curator, she is interested in collective practice, working outside of institutional spaces and providing a platform for people of diverse backgrounds to have face-to-face conversations and interactions. GeoVanna also co-founded the collaborative project Coin In / Coin Out with artist Angel Garcia and the international reading club and performance art collective Read What You Want.

The Work Knows Before I Do — Jayme Gershen: Ep 28

Jayme Gershen shares the making of her first documentary Six Degrees of Immigration. As she discusses her development as a filmmaker, she illustrates how starting a new project or trying a new medium, though daunting, can be an important step in expanding and evolving our own creative language. Her story is an example of how the desire to create and share with others can work in tandem with our doubts.

Jayme is a filmmaker and a photographer based in Miami, FL. Her work uses universal experiences to shed a surprisingly relatable light on issues that at first-glance seem unfamiliar

Gershen recently premiered her short documentary, Six Degrees of Immigration, at the 2019 Miami International Film Festival, co-winning the Knight Foundation’s Made in MIA Best Short Film Award and is currently working on her first feature length documentary, Birthright?!, which explores what it means to be a hyphenated American through the eyes of Miami’s favorite Cuban-American electro-funk sweethearts, Afrobeta.

Gershen works around the globe, filming behind-the-scenes action on feature films and commercials, photographing history for publications like Bloomberg, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker and working as a director/cinematographer on a variety of documentaries and doc-style commercial content.

A Funny Sense of Dissonance — Monica Uszerowicz: Ep 27

Monica Uszerowicz’s experience as a writer cannot be separated from her challenging inner experience. We talk openly about her self-doubt, critical inner voice and self-image, as well as how she is able to find tenderness for herself through a sense of interconnectedness in the world around her. We also talk about the challenges of permalancing, her writing process (or lack thereof), being an “exposed nerve,” stress eating, Miyazaki soundtracks and more.

Monica is a Miami-based writer and photographer. She has contributed to a number of arts and culture publications including Hyperallergic, Bomb, Vice, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Hazlitt, and Filmmaker Magazine. Monica currently serves as a contributing editor for Cultured Magazine. 

Inspiration Comes From Getting Out — Liza Meli: Ep 26

Liza Meli owns and operates BarMeli69, a Mediterranean Restaurant & Wine Bar she opened in 2014. Through our conversation, Liza shares a glimpse of her 30+ years in the restaurant industry and her approach to her latest project. She offers an image of herself as a woman who knows who she is, what she wants and is actively & creatively living out her personal vision.

We talk about passion being a foundation to build upon, approaching work as a lifestyle rather than an endeavor compartmentalized from life, being willing to lose in order to gain, trying & failing rather than regretting, how to stay relevant & inspired, owning her role as a female restauranteur and more. 

Liza, raised in Sydney, Australia and of Greek descent, dedicated herself to travel, dance & music from the 90s to the early 2000s. She toured with her then-husband Flamenco guitarist Alex Fox as his agent, dancer and producer. 

Following the challenges of a growing family while traveling and an amicable separation from Fox, she rooted herself in Miami, Florida and pursued her passion for food & wine.

Liza is no stranger to the restaurant business, getting her first taste of the industry by working at her uncle’s popular Greek seafood restaurant at the age of 15. She owned Ouzo’s Greek Taverna in North Beach and Anise Mediterranean Taverna on the Miami River before opening BarMeli69.

Give Yourself a Break — Kira Tippenhauer: Ep 25

At the end of 2018, Kira Tippenhauer found herself signing the lease of her very own ceramic studio, a vision she hadn’t planned on realizing any time soon. She shares what lead her to open a space sooner rather than later and how her experience called into question her own abilities and sense of self-worth.

We discuss intuition, self-forgiveness & awareness, creating literal and figurative spaces for ourselves, embracing the imperfect, knowing when to work and when to rest and more. 

Kira is an artist and the owner of Kiramade, a design line of modern, handmade ceramic homeware inspired by her Afro-Caribbean roots and Haitian heritage. 

Kira moved to Miami from Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 2004. Since earning her MFA in Visual Arts from Miami International University of Art & Design in 2011, she continues to exhibit her collage work and ceramics locally and abroad. 

Kira incorporates collaborative teaching in her art practice, offering ceramic workshops and classes to people of all ages through her business. 

Unlearning to Relearn — Niki Franco: Ep 24

Kidnapped for Dinner recently partnered with Baiser Beauty to host Woman & Woman, a craft fair celebrating Miami’s up-and-coming women creatives through an intimate, indoor market and special programming, including a live recording of the show with community organizer and artist Niki Franco.

Our conversation focused on women’s insecurity, sense of lack vs love, shame and other themes factoring into self-worth and how we show up for ourselves and others. 

While placing these themes within a larger social and political context, we covered specifics such as non-commercial practices of self-love and care, intention as a kind of freedom, the power of community in healing and reimagining our environment and showing up in all relationships in more loving, honest ways.

Niki is a Miami Native of Puerto Rican and Panamanian heritage. As a community organizer, her work addresses issues surrounding systems of power and oppressive narratives and upholds reproductive justice, holistic health and building community.

She is the Political Education Director of (F)empower and Civic Engagement Organizer at Power U Center for Social Change.

No Wrong Notes — Nick Mencia & Oly: Ep 23

Trust, ego, chemistry, playing off of strengths & weaknesses, preserving & sharing ideas and empowering your peers — just a few things we cover with singer-songwriters Nick Mencia and Oly in our conversation about creative partnerships and collaborations. 

Nick and Oly are members of the newly-formed country supergroup Nick County & The Rainbow Smoke, which includes the respective talents of musicians Rick Moon, Jorge Graupera, Corey Perez, Juan Ledesma and Jason Mavila. 

Oly is a singer-songwriter, DJ and founder of Let’s Sang, a classic karaoke event for music nerds at Wynwood bar, Gramps. She also organizes LASH Wynwood, a female DJ collective. 

Nick Mencia is a singer-songwriter, UX designer and self-proclaimed Chihuahua lover. He released his first album, In the Valley of the Red Sun as Nick County in 2017.

Try All the Flavors of Pizza — Willie Avendano: Ep 22

How do you define yourself? Is it limiting to try? Should you stick to one interest and run with it, or do as much as you can? How do you know which opportunities are worth pursuing?

We entertain these questions with Willie Avendano, while discussing how he fell into co-founding 01 in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District, a prototyping lab and studio for new educational ideas and products in technology and gaming.

Willie has a range of interests and creative pursuits including virtual reality, artificial intelligence, education, art and music. As a new media artist, Willie has exhibited video & sound work at &gallery, Locust Projects and the Institute of Contemporary Art and DJs under monikers Yung Algebra and Drake Tears. He graduated from Columbia University in Operations Research and Computer Science.

It's Like Doing the Impossible — PAXy with Ominé Eager: Ep 21

Yaima Arbona Bello and Maudie Valero founded their arts organization PAXy without prior experience and in spite of other people’s skepticism and the red tape of starting a non-profit and securing funding, among other challenges. Due in part to adaptability while remaining committed to their original creative vision for the org, as well as a spirit of collaboration, they’ve seen steady growth since starting in 2015.

PAXy, which stands for “Putting Art in the galaXy,” is a non-profit organization connecting diverse communities through accessible arts programming and outreach. Their main community project, Wake Up Miami!, brings art into the everyday by offering free, live music and performing arts at Miami Metrorail & Metromover stations. Their first “mini concert” was with musician Ominé Eager.

Wake Up Miami! was awarded a $50,000 Knight Arts Challenge grant for their 2018 programming.

It's New If You Haven't Seen It — Barron Sherer: Ep 20

While some may take film and other analog media for granted, Barron Sherer immerses himself in it. He talks about how working with moving images can be a precarious act of using and maintaining technology that today could be considered “obsolete,” and more.

Barron is a time-based media artist and principal at Obsolete Media Miami (OMM). His background as film archivist, researcher and curator informs his art practice of altering and repurposing sound and moving images. As a 2017 South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellow, Barron has curated and co-produced various film programs and festivals for local cinemas, art spaces and moving image archives.

In 2015, he co-founded OMM with artist and cultural producer Kevin Arrow as an experimental archive and art project that invites media makers to repurpose their material. OMM presents these materials in new contexts through performances, collaborations and workshops.

Soul Currency — Christian Portilla: Ep 19

Journalism is not for the faint of heart, especially as a freelancer. Christian Portilla walks us through the highs and lows of developing her journalism career all while maintaining a sense of gratitude and passion. Beyond pitching stories, Christian illustrates the importance of independence, motivation, finding your worth beyond the glamour of working for any one publication or institution, having a solid support system and more. 

Christian is a journalist focused on diverse, culturally rich stories relevant to the South Florida community and abroad. She is a regular contributor to a variety of publications, including the Miami Herald and Miami New Times, and hosts a weekly radio show called Meet Them Mondays. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Florida International University.

Causes and Conditions — Cristina Nosti: Ep 18

Cristina Nosti, the Director of Events and Marketing at Books & Books, speaks about the chaos and magic of working in a small business; the challenges of fulfilling a demanding role that requires energy and creativity while carving out time for personal projects; the proximity of death as one ages and its effect on sense of time, security and being; and more in this episode. 

In addition to her role at Books & Books, a locally-owned independent bookseller and celebrated community center spanning nine locations, Cristina is a board member of the CINTAS Foundation, which recognizes creative accomplishments and encourages the development of Cuban artists in architecture and design, literature, music composition and visual arts.

Indulge My Foolishness — Jason Fitzroy Jeffers: Ep 17

Jason Fitzroy Jeffers has made a few leaps of faith in his life, including quitting his job at an established newspaper without knowing what would come next; taking time to develop his music career and, inspired by a Reddit thread on tire machèt he found in the midst of a depression, making a short film without prior experience.

As Jason shares these "leaps," a few threads emerge: trusting yourself and what you love, even if the outcome may be unclear; fueling conversations about what the Caribbean is and how it is depicted in popular consciousness; challenging (resisting, even) what is presented on different digital media platforms in today's social and political climate; and questioning why people have trouble being vulnerable and intimate with one another.  

Jason is a writer, filmmaker, journalist and musician who hails from Barbados. Above all, he is a passionate storyteller focused on the Caribbean experience and diaspora. 

He produced and co-wrote, with Keisha Rae Witherspoon, the award-winning and internationally celebrated short film, Papa Machete. He also produced Swimming in Your Skin Again and Dolfun, two short films featured at Sundance 2016. 

Jason is a founding member and director of Third Horizon, a media company, film festival and Miami-Based film collective of Caribbean artists, musicians and filmmakers. 

His most recent endeavor, Foggy Windows, is a “podcast and party decoding the mysteries of love through the history of sweet, sappy R&B.

Inside, It's as Huge as the Universe — Carol Jazzar: Ep 16

Read the transcript.

A deeply personal, challenging event led Carol Jazzar to shift her focus from the more public, established life of her art circles as a curator to her inner life and to reclaim her home as a personal sanctuary and studio, developing her own body of artwork which employs collage, writing, psychoanalysis and astrology.

Carol shares the details of this event and in turn, shares her wisdom about self-acceptance vs external validation, being present, the ever-evolving self, spirituality, art as a necessary means of expression and a tool for self-examination and much more.

Carol Jazzar is a Miami-based artist who helped shape the city’s art scene as a curator, turning the two-car garage of her home in the quiet neighborhood of El Portal into a thriving exhibition space in 2007. 


Spirituality is the CEO — Baiser Beauty: Ep 15

(Note: Due to technical difficulties, only the last half of the show was captured, though the Baiser ladies keep things real, insightful and fun until the end.) 

From frequenting pawn shops to make ends meet, stressing to the point of imagining one’s own early death and taking a chance on an out-of-budget PR agency — Erika Arguello and Maria Copello remind us that, despite the dread and anxiety that come with going after what you want, it’s important to have fun, to work with others to bring out our best ideas (and selves) and to approach things with a mix of spirituality, authenticity and humor. 

Erika and Maria founded Baiser Beauty in 2014 with a vision of living more conscious lives. Using the natural beauty around us to enhance the natural beauty within us, their products utilize organic, plant-based, aromatherapeutic-grade ingredients, old family recipes, and the spiritual, physical and healing principles of Mayan Medicine for a more holistic approach to skincare and cosmetics. 

Community-minded, they also conduct natural beauty workshops for the women of Lotus House among other non-profits and donate 10% of their sales to a number of organizations such as Miami Rescue Mission, Pridelines Community Center and the National Voices for Equality. 

Baiser Beauty has been featured in publications such as such as Nylon Magazine, Paper Magazine and Hello Giggles and are stocked at Urban Outfitters as well as internationally.

Pleasant Surprises, Not Pleasant Surprises — Melody Santiago Cummings: Ep 14

Read the transcript.

Melody Santiago Cummings, Operations Manager for O,Miami, walks us through O,Miami Festival 2017, when the organization's founder and director was hospitalized for most of the month. Rather than simply play proxy, she found new perspectives to her position and a heightened sense of purpose and community. If you skip to the end, you can hear Melody recite one of her favorite poems (hint: it involves eggs), but then you’d miss all the juicy stuff about goats and dogs, being “busy,” the importance of rolling with the punches and more.

Melody has over 10 years of experience in arts administration, business development, community organizing, event planning and publishing under her belt. She is the Operations Manager for O, Miami, a non-profit organization dedicated to building literary arts & culture in Miami, Florida. O,Miami’s programming includes an annual month-long poetry festival, a publishing imprint and a poets-in-schools residency, among others that expand access to poetry. Melody also serves as Managing Director for Jai-Alai Books, O, Miami’s independent publishing arm.

The Good Kind of Exhausted — Sara Rose Darling: Ep 13

Read the transcript.

Over chocolate donuts and rosé, we delved with Sara Rose Darling into the baby steps that equal the giant leap of starting your own business, learning to own your role, authentically promoting one's self versus the sales pitch, time — for one's self and loved ones — amidst multiple jobs and one's own venture, magic envelopes, setting intentions and more.

Sara Rose Darling is the founder and curator of Rose Coloured Floral, a floral design studio based in Miami. Developing a keen eye with her background in Art History, Sara curates seasonal flora and foliage and paints wild, whimsical colors and compositions in her pieces. Sara almost single-handedly runs Rose Coloured while also dedicating time to her curatorial and programming positions with organizations such as the Museum of Art and Design at Miami Dade College, EXILE Books and local galleries.

Beautiful, Unsettling Things — Jen Clay: Ep 12

In this episode, we talked about artist Jen Clay’s performance Nearing, questioning how clearly one’s ideas are communicated in art, seeking validation as an artist, the things that can limit one’s work, the challenges of saying no, how to embrace the things that scare us and much more.

While others may be afraid of what lurks in the dark, multimedia artist Jen Clay chooses to dive into it. Informed by horror and science fiction stories, H.P. Lovecraft, hallucinations and supernatural sightings, Jen navigates themes of the unknown, otherness, the uncanny and the inhuman. She contrasts these themes with a sense of childhood friendliness and constructs encounters with the “dark” through claymation, interactive performance, costume, video and installation.

Jen was included in the Girls’ Club Collection’s Off Site Performance Series, has shown at the SuperFine Art Fair during Art Basel Miami Beach and was voted “Best Emerging Artist” in 2016 by the New Times of Broward and Palm Beach.

Breadfruit is for Friends — Andria Morales & Rafael Vargas Bernard: Ep 10

Andria Morales and Rafael Vargas Bernard are artists-in-residence at the historic 777 Mall in Downtown Miami as part of Focus on Puerto Rico, an initiative by Clocktower Productions, Mana Contemporary and MECA International Art Fair. 

We spoke with Andria and Rafael at the end of their three-month residency which concluded in December, during Art Basel Miami Beach. The conversation was held at a pop-up at 777 as a collaboration with Dale Zine, Jolt Radio and Mana Contemporary. 

Andria is a NY-based artist who works with a variety of media, taking a more humorous approach to personal and cultural narratives to explore different aspects of identity. Her sculptures focus on objects that express individuality and her work at 777 explores wearable and portable audio inspired by urban life.

Rafael Vargas Bernard is a Puerto Rican-born artist who uses sound, programming, performance, video, painting and drawing to create work that explores functional and nonfunctional systems, such as power structures, as well as societal relationships to these infrastructures. His work at 777 is a response to Hurricane Maria and involves interactive pieces using readily accessible and found materials. 


Playful Physics — Michelle Weinberg: Ep 11

With artist Michelle Weinberg, we discussed how artists can be “uniquely marginalized,” being creative in one’s work and life, articulating one’s ideas and more.

Michelle Weinberg is a Miami and NY-based artist whose work depicts a “Pretend Dimension.” From painting and collage to rugs, mosaics, tiles and murals, Michelle renders fantastical yet familiar environments filled with vibrant color, geometry, stylized perspective and pattern — in other words, a “vivid backdrop for human activity.”

Michelle exhibits internationally, and is the recipient of a Pollock Krasner Foundation Award and the South Florida Cultural Consortium Award. She is the Creative Director of Girls' Club in Fort Lauderdale and artist/educator for Perez Art Museum’s Brick x Brick, an award-winning after-school program for teens.