A Journey Through Miami’s Culture
Tour offers an overview of the main historical, cultural and popular elements that have shaped the city of Miami. Pedro Medina León shares through essays and brief chronicles, how Henry Flagler opened the doors of Miami to the rest of the country; how the decline of the legendary rock band The Doors started in Coconut Grove; how Opa Locka, a city inspired by The Thousand and One Nights, was conceived as one of the most ambitious urban projects and today is one of the poorest neighborhoods in the United States. How Bob Marley died in a hospital bed in Downtown Miami and how Cassius Clay was crowned the world boxing champion in Miami Beach. And among these fascinating and controversial characters he describes the different faces of a city that started as a small agricultural and fishermen village, transformed itself into the world capital of crime and drug trafficking in the 1980s, and has now become a haven from Latin America.
Paperback: 242 pages
Publisher: Jitney Books 2019
Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
Available at the following stores
Woodstock in Front of the Sea
Michael Lang began organizing concerts in venues such as the Coconut Grove Dinner Key Auditorium. These concerts consolidated him and his shop as one of the main references of the Counterculture in Miami. But his major project was brewing in his own kitchen: the first music festival in Florida history
The Literature District
For nine years Geroge E. Merrick worked the land and earned his living in activities such as paving what is currently the Coral Way for a dollar a day, a task he performed with pleasure because he was fascinated with the settlers and tropical fruits and vegetables that he had never seen or tasted before. Still, his writer's soul and his devotion to reading were always a priority.
The massive Cuban exodus to Miami began in 1959 when certain persona, unmentionable to many, tallnand with a scruffy beard and military green uniform, divided Cuba's history in two. Although at first the stay in Miami was thought short and transitory, the Cuban community pretended to emulate the life and customs they left behind. They arrived at an area that was not highly valued, neighboring Coral Gables and Downtown and inhabited mostly by Jewish families. Today this area is well known as Little Havana.
Days in Paradise
The Beatles spent their time in the pools and the ocean, staying in direct contact with the huge number of fans that constantly asked for autographs – therefore the many "I met the Beatles in person" anecdotes in Miami. The city was caught in the heat of the John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Star fever.
The Greatest Of All Time (G.O.A.T.)
Cassius Clay landed at the Miami International Airport with his twenty-one years and the firm conviction of dethroning champion Sonny Liston. He settled on a motel on Biscayne Boulevard and immediately started his routine. He got up at five in the morning, jogged down the MacArthur Causeway towards the Fifth Street Gym on Washington Avenue.
Al Capone was the First One
Al Capone´s presence in the city was controversial. Many loved him for his generosity, while others repudiated his presence. In Miami, the justice department was always following his footsteps. They tried to incriminate him on several occasions and even banned him from entering Miami Dade's jurisdiction — Miami Beach belonged to another jurisdiction
A Noir in Pastel Colors
Miami Vice´s episodes were not set as traditional noir stories are, in plush bars, sinister backrooms and dark alleys. They unfolded in broad daylight, in mansions, drinking cocktails among bikinis and pools and showing off the Art Deco splendor of Miami Beach, although the lumpen had the same nature as that of the dark alleys.
The Briefest Concert
The concert started at eleven o'clock with "Break on Through," in front of an impatient and uncomfortable audience due to the delay and excessive assistants. Jim Morrison wanted to try a different format. To interact more with the public, emulating the live theaters of Los Angeles, but alcohol and drugs caused him to denigrate into insults.
There is a Light that Never Goes Out
The government's interest in the Cape Florida Lighthouse went beyond providing security for the navigators. The Lighthouse was essential to attract villagers to the area, and thus take another step in the displacement of native Indians, Seminoles, with whom they were at war to strip them of their territory.
Pedro Medina León
Pedro Medina León is an award winning author, speaker and editor. He is the author of the acclaimed novel Varsovia (Florida Book Award 2017), Mañana no te veré en Miami, Marginal and Tour: A Journey Through Miami’s Culture and editor of the anthologies Viaje One Way and Miami (Un)Plugged. Medina León is a speaker member of the Florida Humanities Council and co-creator of the Escribe Aquí Festival, for the Betsy Hotel, which was awarded with a grant from the Knight Foundation and frequently gives talks around the country on writing, reading, and multiculturalism. In 2008 he created the cultural portal Suburbano Ediciones and today suburbano.net is the leading Spanish-Language cultural network in the United States. He is columnist for several magazines and studied Literature at Florida International University. @pedromedina5 @pedromedinaleon
“The story of a city that deserved to be written. Pedro Medina León gives us a surprising work of Social Anthropology with a pop touch.”
“Miami would not be the same without Pedro Medina León dynamic participation.”
"Whether you're a tourist or a Miami native TOUR lets you see South Florida with a new set of eyes. From Opa Locka to Coconut Grove it takes you on a bus throughout the region with colorful characters from Al Capone to Jim Morrison along for the ride."
"TOUR: A Journey Through Miami’s Culture, by Pedro Medina León is the best non-fiction book written to date about Miami.”
"After 25 years of living and writing in this Magic City, I couldn't imagine all I didn't know that I didn't know about this, our very own Macondo. But Pedro Medina Leon's Tour vividly brought it all to life for me."
“A book that I insist on recommending ”