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. 

We're Not Selling Shoes — Dale Zine: Ep 9

Cuban pastelitos in-hand, we discussed with Dale Zine a number of things, such as not compromising your values as creatives/not having to be everything to everyone, recognizing that kids are artists, learning by doing and bettering your community through your passion.

Lillian Banderas and Steve Saiz are the brains behind Dale Zine, a creative platform for artists of all ages and imaginations. Established in 2009, Dale serves its community as an independent publisher and host of community art workshops and events related to zines, among other art forms. ⠀

Dale Zine has published work by artists such as FriendsWithYou, Michelle Weinberg, Ahol Sniffs Glue and Matt Furie and is stocked in Miami, Tokyo, LA, New York and Beijing, along with being available online.⠀


Don't Ignore the Scary Parts — Luisa Santos: Ep 8

In our eighth episode, Luisa Santos candidly lays out the origins of Lulu's Nitrogen Ice Cream and her fascination with nitrogen ice cream, the value of naivety and "winging it," the nitty-gritty challenges of finances and the red tape of opening a business, building/maintaining company culture, (im)perfectionism and more. 

Luisa is the founder of Lulu's Nitrogen Ice Cream, which she established in Miami, FL in 2015 with a prime storefront location on Biscayne Boulevard. While Lulu’s proudly sources local ingredients and liquid nitrogen to create the freshest ice cream from scratch, at the heart of Luisa’s business is education, community and sustainability.

It's Not That Easy to Breathe — LÜM: Ep 7

Lina and Caro of LÜM discuss their first major community wellness event, the value of simply starting a project and of keeping an open mind when running your own business, the importance of breathing and much more.

Founded in 2015 by Lina Chaparro and Carolina Montoya, LÜM is a multidisciplinary project focused on mindfulness, well being, understanding and self-empowerment. Through workshops and events incorporating yoga, meditation, oriental medicine, acupressure, crystals and more, Lina and Caro educate and guide others in balancing mind and body. 


There Are No One-Person Chihuahua Packs — AMLgMATD: Ep 6

Natalia Zlamalova and Laz Ojalde of AMLgMATD discuss the challenges and rewards of creative partnerships and collaborations, how nostalgia can inform one's work, art vs design, key lime pie and more.

AMLgMATD is the multidisciplinary studio and funhouse of artists/designers Natalie Zlamalova & Laz Ojalde. Wit, humor and nostalgia inform their practice, which ranges from furniture and painting to environments and sculptures. Their work has recently been shown at the Maker Faire Miami, International Contemporary Furniture Fair and UNTITLED Art Fair, Miami Beach.

500 Bad Ideas — Daniel Clapp: Ep 5

With Daniel Clapp, we cover failed ideas, being one's own obstacle, originality (or lack thereof), modular synths, psychedelic kung-fu movies, disco, painting and more.

Daniel Clapp is a visual artist, DJ and electronic musician performing in numerous projects such as Nightly Closures, Das SaD and Chilean Minors. He was based in NY for several years, showing with Giacobetti Paul Gallery in Brooklyn before returning to Miami to continue his art and music-making practice and to work as preparator for the de la Cruz Collection.