Los Locals: Mixed Media Artist Vanessa Garcia Shares Her Picks For Where to Hang in Miami

Vanessa Garcia is a Miami based mixed media artist that works in various mediums from writing to journalism; visual arts to theatre and film. She’s been an integral and influential part of Miami’s growing arts scene — having been named one of Miami Herald’s 20 under 40 and one of Miami New Times’ Top 100 Creatives. Her most current project is her play, The Cuban Spring, focused on the lives of ABCs (American Born Cubans) and the various ties that keep them connected to an island they have never known personally, but that is an undeniable part of their identity- a story many children of immigrant families can relate to. The Cuban Spring is currently showing at New Theatre at South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center and you can catch a performance from now until November 2.

1. Tell us what you do?  
I’m a multidisciplinary artist. Primarily, a writer — a playwright, journalist, fiction, and non-fiction writer. Sometimes I’m a poet (but that’s just sometimes).

Havana (part of series called “Internet Access”), 2011
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2. What’s the perfect night out in Miami?
It’s in fall or winter for sure, which means it’s still in the upper 70s and low 80s outside. The summer sun has stopped sizzling and the sky is pink and purple, just like Miami Vice, but prettier, much more romantic. Start with a stroll on the beach, or an afternoon ride on one of Miami Beach’s Deco Bikes, then end up across the bridge in Wynwood for some art watching/gallery hopping, or possibly catch a show at Miami Light Project. End the night at Lagniappe, sharing a bottle of wine with your date or your friends (depending on what kind of night it is ;).

3. What local bands/DJs should we have on our radar?
I’ve always been a fan of Uncle Scotchy (a one-man-band, bad blues kinda guy). He played live for one of my short plays (called Model City)at the Arsht Center a while back, and he’s just great. Rachel Goodrich — she’s another cool-Miami-cat.

4. Best venues for live music?
Wynwood and The Design District have some good spots. Hipster hang-outs, for good or bad. Places like Grand Central and Bardot.

5. Best place to go out dancing?
Oh god, I don’t dance. I know, I know…only Cuban in the world that doesn’t dance. Forgive me. Please, forgive me.

6. Best Latin place for hangover food?

La Carreta on Calle Ocho for Fufu de Platano (yuummm), and so many other garlic-y Cuban goodies.

7. Best place to hook up?
It’s Miami: toss a coin, and wherever it lands you’ll be good to go.

Oh god, I don’t dance. I know, I know…only Cuban in the world that doesn’t dance.

8. Which bars/clubs should we avoid?

Club Space… I mean seriously, this place is still around??

9. How does Miami inspire your work?
Miami’s pulse is like no other. It speaks Spanish with a Cuban lilt, that turns into an Argentine song, that runs into a Colombian Cumbia, and sops up all the spice in a Dominican Sancocho. What’s not to inspire? Migration waves — immigrants and snowbirds both. Miami’s got the best strut around. That strut always makes its way into my writing.

10. Best hidden gems?

There are two places that come to mind. Scotty’s Landing in the grove is one. You are facing the bay and sipping a beer with hippy locals. Down-home-old-Florida. And the second one I’m not going to tell you about, let’s keep that one a real secret.

11. Most inspiring local?
Edwidge Danticat. Need I say more?

12. Favorite local artist?

There are so many. Really, so many. Miami’s full of vibrant talent. Right now I’ve been revisiting Jen Stark. Probably because her pieces make me think of the micro and the macro re: the universe and the organic elements of our bodies. Cut outs that spurt out in magic and cut through to another dimension. Good stuff.