If South Florida Was Like HBO’s Game of Thrones

If South Florida Was Like HBO’s Game of Thrones


You may have heard of the HBO show Game of Thrones. It’s filled with gorgeous geography, devious characters, and gratuitous sex. Kind of reminds us of South Florida for some reason. So here is our take on South Florida as Game of Thrones.

Miami is our King’s Landing. This is the center of the action, the power seat of South Florida. The Lannisters and the Miamians are the richest people in the world. They spend 8 dollars on a beer. At a bar. And those are just the Miamians: the Lannisters would totally spend 9. Miami has a small council that has been plagued with liars and thieves (although no eunuchs that we know of). Miami and King’s Landing are the beautiful yet seedy, politically slimy cities of riches amid crippling poverty; there’s prostitutes, violence, jousting, Art Basel, melees, baseball stadiums, and wonderful music. Miami even has its own Littlefinger, the most scheming and duplicitous man in the city: Jeffrey Loria. Littlefinger and Loria both have an uncanny ability to get people to do things that are against their best interests. This comparison might not be totally accurate though: we think Jeffrey Loria is a bigger liar than Littlefinger.

Fort Lauderdale is our home, our Winterfell. We are humble and steadfast. It’s not cold exactly, but we do like our wine. We may not be concerned that winter is coming, however global warming could have a disastrous effect on our city. Perhaps our words should be “The Tide is Rising.” Although we love the quaint canal-laced city we call home, we travel south to Miami/King’s Landing for entertainment at the Fillmore, Grand Central, sporting events, etc., yet Miamians would probably push us out of windows and behead our family members to continue their way of life. We live north of that city but can’t stay away. Fort Lauderdale is Winterfell, the City of the North (at least before that dick Theon Greyjoy burned it to the ground).

Far to the south beyond Miami, across the Narrow Sea, is an exotic land that is Dothrak, Qarth, and Astapor all wrapped up in one. Cuba has a different political system, they speak a different language, and they might even have dragons. Ask Kennedy about that one.

Far to the north beyond West Palm Beach, there is a wall 700 feet high separating our realm from the wild lands beyond. The rest of Florida is the land beyond the wall, populated by Wildlings that we know little about and do not understand. They fear different things than we do and pray to harsher gods, like the White Walkers and Tim Tebow.

Humorless old Stannis Baratheon is stuck out on Dragonstone with a crazy redheaded religious lady who has an unnatural hold over him, so maybe he lives in Davie? We don’t spend a lot of time in Davie but we imagine that city is lousy with mesmerizing redheads on horseback.

The Iron Islands, home of the Greyjoys, are the Florida Keys. While our Keys are no doubt warmer and more inviting than the Iron Islands, both are surrounded by water and apparently lawless, and there’s only like five people who actually live there. Watching Balon Greyjoy makes us think of the old-timey Florida Keys, the drug and rum-running, give-your-son-away-to-settle-a-debt Florida Keys. We love those Keys.

Certain groups of characters in Game of Thrones spend a substantial amount of air time just kind of wandering around. There’s Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth; Arya Stark, Gendry and Hot Pie; and Theon Greyjoy (between his torture sessions). They are stuck in the Everglades where travel is treacherous, wild beasts might eat you, and there’s always danger of running into an unruly band of airboat enthusiasts.

We don’t want to get too caught up in comparing local individuals to the mostly-terrible Game of Thrones characters, but Fort Lauderdale’s Mayor Jack Seiler must be one of the kings in King’s Landing, even though he lives and rules over our Winterfell (because there’s only one Ned Stark). Seiler’s certainly not the terrible King Joffrey Baratheon. Mayor Seiler is the late King Robert Baratheon. Like Seiler, King Robert was a man of the people who loved to throw raucous celebrations for his city, and Mayor Seiler seems like the kind of guy who throws a couple back and enjoys a party. Plus Seiler is the immediate successor to the Mad Mayor Jim Naugle Targaryen. We pray to the old gods and the new that Mayor Seiler’s rule does not end in an unfortunate encounter with a wild boar. Perhaps he should steer clear of next year’s Python Challenge.

Thankfully we do not live in the Game of Thrones world. It is a horrible violent place where the main character (existentially speaking, that is either you or me) may be killed at any moment. We South Floridians live in a realm of love and happiness and eternal summer, at least for now. For the tide is rising.

Get a Glimpse into The Von’s Studio and New Single ‘Nothing To Fear’

Get a Glimpse into The Von’s Studio and New Single ‘Nothing To Fear’

South Florida rock n’ roll duo The Von are sticklers for high quality sound. When you listen to their new single ‘Nothing To Fear’ it’s one of the first things to stick out. And it’s not just because we’re comparing it other local bands who are typically less inclined to worry about the production quality (nothing wrong with that, to each their own). Their recordings are on par with a lot of established rock music you hear on satellite radio.

The members of The Von, Luis and Marek, are publicly unleashing the single ‘Nothing To Fear’ very shortly. To get more insight into what it took to produce the new single, we decided to ask them about their studio setup and overall recording process (plus some other stuff towards the end). Here were our questions.

The sound quality on ‘Nothing To Fear’ is great. Tell us about your recording studio.

We’re a DIY band, not by choice but by pure necessity like most bands. We took the whole DIY thing way further than most bands though when we decided to record this entire album by ourselves in a studio that we found and further improved. We did it with obsessive attention to detail and borderline OCD behavior. We took the utmost care– something we know is impossible to get when you go into a studio on a budget. We had complete free range and access. It was our space.

Was it just you guys doing the recording and production? Did you bring anyone else in?

We recorded everything in our studio in Boca Raton without an external sound engineer. When we first started producing our own stuff, we were a trio. I was the sound engineer. I’m a self taught sound engineer enthusiast. I picked it up from personal trial-and-error, research, and learning from more accomplished producers and engineers that worked on my Diestra albums– my first band. I was always asking questions and even playing the role of the assistant’s assistant, just for the sake of learning.

How big is your studio? 

Everything was recorded in the studio’s main live room: drums, guitars, bass, some percussion, and crystal bowls. The room is a pretty decent size. I think it’s approximately the size of a 2 car garage with 16 foot ceilings– all with wood flooring. It’s nice.

Now for the technical stuff. What equipment do you guys use to make it sound so good?

We used a Toft ATB 16 console to record, which is a redesign of a very famous rock n’ roll console from the 70’s called the Trident Series 80B. The Toft ATB is kinda deep, kinda thick, and far more “expensive” sounding than the price of the unit would imply. The headroom is sufficient, the EQ is musical, and the mic-pre’s are far more competent than the price would suggest. Overall, it’s a really solid, full-sounding console. Just the sound I was going for with The Von. I believe Arcade Fire tracked one of their latest album on a Toft ATB. We also used other outboard gear like UAD 4710, which we sprinkled on some mics for the drum kit and the bass cabinet mic setup. We recorded vocals using a Focusrite ISA 220 and a Blue Mouse mic– a very clean sounding preamp and mic combo. We collectively own all of the gear.

As far as microphones, the bass had a pretty wild setup. I mic’d the cabinet with 5 different mics, why not? The one that made it on the album was the Shure SM7B. It really nailed my live bass sound.

Watch the video below to see the setup.

For guitars, we used a stereo setup– one Orange amp and a Mesa amp. We mic’d Marek’s guitar with 3 sets of mic per amp, why not? More colors to choose from. I love having lots of options for the mix.

Watch the video below to see the guitar setup.

And for drums, well we ran out of channels, we used all 16 channels.

To capture all this program information we used an UAD Apollo 16 interface which I really enjoy using. What a piece of equipment! It is great, and the UAD plugins– a delight to listen to how they emulate classic outboard gear. We used Logic as our DAW.

On a different note….what’s the best part about the South Florida music scene? What could be better?

South Florida has a very eclectic range of bands, you got your washboard bands, indie bands, latin rock bands, country, singer songwriters, and of course hip hop. There is a lot of variety, and then you got your other Floridian music staples like punk rock, hard core, death metal, and bluesy hillbilly bands. You can satisfy your live music cravings any time.

In terms of what could be better, one thing that really needs to be collectively worked out among a lot of venues is the quality or setup of PA systems.

What was the most interesting show you guys played? Tell us about it.

A show that satisfied the ego was one we played at Revolution. It was a benefit event so they had the budget to have proper band green room “refreshments” and things like that. It felt good to play on a real proper PA that would rumble beneath your feet with every kick drum hit. The people responded very well, and we had a good time.

Another gig that stands out was one in Delray Beach. We played on a hip hop bill at an now-closed club Delux. We definitely were the fly in the soup. We turned heads like the hottest chick walking down the street, but for the wrong reason. So we set up, and we get ready to do our thing… everyone is looking at us, not even dancing while the hip hop blasted out the club speakers. We start playing, and by the end of the first song to our amazement we could see the crowd loosen up and enjoy it. It turned out to be a great gig. People got into what we were playing. Totally unexpected, really. The vibe was incredibly good. The people were receptive. It was a very good night. As a bonus, there were lots of hot chicks there too.

You have an entertaining YouTube channel with all kinds of videos. How important is video to the band? What’s the thought process when you decide to film?

Video content on the web is essential, and YouTube is king. We know that, and embrace it. Video is a way to let the world known who we are and what we are all about. We do these videos to give an insight into what’s going on with the band, and share with people our experience in this journey to spread our music and have it be enjoyed by many. We are not going after the image of the typical hard ass bad ass rock/metal band. Our mission is to give viewers a hole in the wall from which they can peek from.

The thought process is very simple. We always want to keep it short and engaging. This same principle of simplicity transpired into the lyric video that we will release for Nothing To Fear. This one is totally DIY. Marek and I shot it, no one else helped out. It’s like one fancy selfie video. We are really proud of it because it’s more like a hybrid– kind of a music video, but with kinetic typography . The entire video is one continuous shot with a few jump cuts.

Tell us about the meaning behind your new single ‘Nothing To Fear’.

It’s a creative mindset– an empowerment to breakthrough any fear based self-limitations. That one can fear something, and let it control their life OR to choose not to allow any kind of fear and live in their true potential of creativity. You have the choice to control your life and not allow external circumstances to control it.

Besides the new song, what is another song you guys are most proud of?

Truthfully, we like all our songs equally since each of them touches different emotions and feelings. Some songs are deeper in intellect, while others might project more energetic musical expressions. Pride is a relative word imposing limits, so instead of one song we feel that there are 3 others after ‘Nothing To Fear’ of the same magnitude:
Love Supreme, Let It Out and Atomic Sun.

Stream Love Supreme below.

Listen to more of The Von on their website | Follow them on their Facebook Page / Instagram

South Florida Bands On The Road: Boxwood Heads To The One Man Band Festival ‘13

South Florida Bands On The Road: Boxwood Heads To The One Man Band Festival ‘13

Heading North

Some while back, I had submitted to play at the One Man Band Festival in Montreal throughSonicBids, an online booking and marketing tool for bands. Their electronic press kit is good to have, but it can cost up to $30 to submit to some festivals, which smelled scammy to me.And if I, Boxwood, couldn’t get into a one-man band fest then my suspicions would be confirmed. Not the case here.

“Congratulations, you’ve been selected!” Crap… That’s a long drive.

On Monday, May 20th, my girlfriend packed my musket and some sandwiches, our driver packed all my music gear into the carriage, and we were off to Canada. Three days later, on a wet and stormy Wednesday night, we arrived in the old city of Montreal, a long and uncomfortable ride to say the least. Along the way, one of our horses fell ill. Janette spent a good part of the ride tending to our driver’s arrow wound and we were almost rejected at the Canadian border. Apparently, and this is important, you need a work permit to play at a bar outside the U.S. No, you can’t just go in and take a Canadian’s job. Luckily, a work permit was not necessary because the festival was renting out the bar. A loophole… wow, epic fail averted.Canada_US_Border

So here we were, the day before the festival, shoes and socks soaked with rain, checking in to a 100 year old converted hotel. I was scheduled to play tomorrow, day one of this four-day festival at a place called Barfly. 10 venues scattered in-and-around Montreal’s St. Laurent district were hosting 50 one-man bands from around the world. Yes, 50 one-man bands from all over had congregated to this city for this bizarre festival, and I was one of them. I could feel them out there in their tiny rooms, calmly settling within the spectacle of this raucous weather. Any anxieties now defused to a mere giddy anticipation. A strange feeling was setting in, one of kindred-ship with the unknown because, really, that’s what we were, the unknown result of a brain left to itself. Different variations of the same species left to evolve on islands miles apart. We were a Darwinian experiment brought together, and soon we were going to display our plumes, our quirky mating dances, a curious posture. I hope my shoes dry by the time I wake up tomorrow.

Day 1 of One Man Band Festival

Barlfy is a dingy little spot that the locals hold in high regard, sort of like a Churchill’s but a third of the size. There were already a few scraggly bar patrons curled over the bar when I arrived at 5pm for my sound check. They appeared to be the loner/territorial kind, but were quick to lend a hand to my driver as he unloaded my heavy amps into the bar. After a quick sound check, I met up with a young French documentarian, Anne-Charlotte Gellez, in the back courtyard. She had flown in with a small crew to shoot some footage and to interview some of the acts in the festival. The documentary they were making was called We Are A One Man Band. A small excerpt of that can be seen here.

I regret drawing a blank on the last question, which was “if you could give a name to this documentary, what would it be?” I figure the answers will be compiled at the end of the film, displaying the varied personalities of each artist. They’ll have a shot of me staring at the wall for a long minute.

And it’s go time. This was one of three shows happening that night, and the turnout is looking pretty good. A mixture of Fest goers, regulars, and fellow OMB’s are trickling in. First up isDevin Friesen, AKA Bitter Fictions, from Calgary. He flew in with a bunch of pedals and rented a guitar and amp at a local music store. He turned on his gear and began layering fuzz, swells, and feedback, the kind of sounds that would float over a Sonic Youth track. Calgary is a few hours drive north of the Montana border. I don’t know anything about it, but it’s probably the exact opposite from South Florida. Through conversation, Devin and I seemed to be cut from the same cloth, and I couldn’t help but think I’d sound more like this if I lived in Calgary. As a result of his set, I imagine the place to be beautiful, vast and haunting. I’ll refuse any more knowledge on this city to retain this picturesque image for now.

Next up is the scene veteran, Evan Symons, an eccentric specimen from, I think, the Vancouver area. This was one of the stops on his seemingly eternal Canadian tour. Both Devin and Evan spoke of the dreaded drive through the barren wasteland that stretches between east and west Canada, usually breaking the few bands that attempt to cross. But Evan didn’t give a shit; he was a bad ass, a migrating road beast, more in common with the Canadian wildlife than it’s people. He played his set off to the side putting the main focus on a giant screen projecting videos of native birds pecking away at the soil or eating seeds off his hand, him ice skating on a frozen lake, footage of boats in a coastal village. He was like a nature guide speaking in code. The sound track was quirky 90’s pop rock. Maybe like Luna doing Captain Beefheart, if that’s possible. The man plays and records every instrument at home, then plays it back through a laptop on stage. He accompanies it with guitar and vocals and all the life lessons you’ll ever need in the lyrics.

My turn. Part of me was eager to show any skeptical rock purists that watched as my gear clogged up the little bar, that I wasn’t a diva for bringing in an overkill of equipment. It all served a purpose and it’ll all make sense in a minute. The other part of me was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to sing. I had been battling a cough and sore throat the whole way up, and knew that any attempts at a falsetto would be greeted by a squeal or silence, hopefully the latter. With a cough drop in mouth, I made sure to cake on the reverb, and to pull away from the mic when approaching questionable notes. Not bad. The crowd liked it, and I had no sound issues.Boxwood_live_looping

Danny Lutz, a local, was headlining the night. His load-in and set up was about as intense as mine. Where as I bring in an arsenal of amps, he sets up a cockpit of samplers, mixers, synths, guitar, laptop, more stuff, and shakers– essentially, a mini recording studio. I was very psyched to see his set after watching the live vid on his profile page via the festival’s website. He writes music for a living, and can whip up a catchy pop hit like it’s nothing. In fact, he wrote all new songs to perform specifically for this festival, and they were all solid. It was a great night overall. Got a great response after the show, sold some CD’s, got to chat with my own species, very nice people.

Finding Jesus, An Adventure With Couch Surfing


Jesus’ home

Jesus lived in a quiet, gentrifying, blue-collar neighborhood in southern Montreal. Our driver stayed outside to tend to the horses as Jesus welcomed Janette and I into his third floor apartment at around 1 AM. He was a thin olive skinned man of about 40 years or so. He was built with sharp edges and looked like an artsy Devo-type nerd. He cracked open some strange beers, and we talked a bit on his balcony. It turned out this man had no idea about the festival, of who I was, or what I was doing in Montreal, despite the whole OMB artist-hosting program. “So how is it we ended up here”, I wondered. Apparently, someone from the OMB staff went to CouchSurfing.com, found the profile of someone who seemed “normal” and voilà. I could have done this myself, I suppose.

It turned out Jesus was Venezuelan, and we switched to talking in Spanish. He tells us about a hand-gliding accident and his slow recovery, his boring work as a programmer, his love of music, etc. So whatever. We’re here, this guy seems normal, and all is good, let’s get some sleep. Yes…? No.

No, no and no. Something is very, very wrong here… not in my world, but in the narrative that’s been playing out in Janette’s head from the second she heard “Couch surfing”. A horror movie is unraveling within her brain and the plot thickens with every word that comes out of his mouth. Does anybody know this guy? This man was going to kill us and nobody knows we’re here. Did he put something in our beers? Woah, that’s weird, why would he say that? This entire time her casual conversation had been the proxy tip of a terror iceberg. She’d been planning escape routes, locating objects she could use as weapons and it’s getting worse. He shows us the bathroom. He warns us that the inside doorknob had fallen off earlier that day. Closing the door fully would lock us inside. How convenient. We stayed in a small, messy room that he uses as an office when not hosting a couch surfer. The slated thin accordion doors on the far wall seemed to be to a large closet but with the lights off it presented her with a more sinister revelation. It was his bedroom. This explained why we could hear him breathing, as if he were standing at the foot of the bed. We could see him moving around in there through the gaps in these flimsy doors. Had he been watching us? Were there cameras set up? Had we walked onto the set of a snuff film?

I slept like a baby. Janette stayed up all night with her iPhone in hand. The mans address followed by the word “Help!” was typed into her Facebook status box with her finger stiff over the send button. He had gotten up to use the bathroom twice that night and Janette was on high alert. She heard every detail of his morning routine. She recalls hearing a zipper that seemed to go on forever. Was that a body bag? No backpack is that big. When he finally left for work the nightmare was over… for now. We had time to escape before he returned. She woke me up. “We gotta get out of here.”

As the day progressed I tried convincing Janette that Jesus was not a serial killer, and that we should stay there the extra night like we first planned. We’ll invite him to this next round of OMB shows and get to know him a little more. In the sunlight and in the security of our carriage she seemed more at ease.

Day 2 of One-Man Band Festival

Our plans for the night were to check out guitar virtuoso and fellow looper, Emanuel Paquetteat l’Escrogriffe, who we had met at the bar the night before. Emanuel had flown in from a beautiful island off the coast of Portugal to be at this drizzly fest. Then we’d shoot over to Barfly to catch Shake it Like a Caveman from Tennessee. He was of the modern old school variety. A what…?

Ok, lets break down the different types of one-man bands:

  1. The Old School Variety: When one hears one-man band they usually picture something like Dick Van Dyke in Marry Poppins. These individuals still exist and there were a few of these at the festival, one of which, Washboard Hank, we caught at l’Escrogriffe … Awesome.
  2. The Modern Old School Variety: These individuals usually sit behind a minimal drum kit played by their feet while they play guitar or some other hand held instrument and sing. I say old school because it’s pretty stripped down with no technology needed. Shake it Like a Caveman or Florida’s own Ben Prestige are good examples of this.
  3. The Looper Variety: These folks, myself included, rely on a loop or delay pedal to keep things going, usually building layers upon layers to create a song. There are a lot of beat boxers in this category.
  4. The Laptop Variety: Here, the musician uses samplers and midi devises to trigger off and loop sounds on their laptops. Most of these people don’t realize they are OMB’s because they are more akin to the cooler electronic artist title, unless, of course, they show up to this festival.
  5. People who play every instrument on their album (Prince, Trent Reznor, Billy Corgan, etc.) can also be referred to as OMB’s but I have no category for them, they just are.


    Emanuel Paquette (Old School Variety)

Jesus showed up during Emanuel’s set with a lovely young lady whose name I don’t recall. They seemed to be getting a kick out of the performances. Two rounds of Canadian beers later we decide it’s to far to try to make it out to Barfly to catch Shake It… Apparently, I had misjudged the distances on those over simplified festival maps. Instead, we ride out the rest of the l’Escrogriffe lineup, and head to a Jesus-endorsed bar afterwards. His friend does not join us. As we approach the bar, and I misstep into a giant pothole of rainwater, I realize I left my card and ID at l’Escrogriffe. This sucks AND may also be a good opportunity for Janette to get to know Jesus while I go get my card.

When I returned I was happy to see the two are hitting it off, and talking about something we can all relate to, relationships. The woman he was with earlier turned out to be his ex-wife who he hadn’t seen in a while but were starting to be friendly again. They had moved to Montreal together from Venezuela and had broken up shortly after the move. After another round of beers I started to piece together a more accurate narrative of this man. His ex wife seemed to be the free spirited type. She looked loose in that other bar, like she was of the city, fully integrated, reacting with the casual vibe of the place. He seemed awkward but introspective. He must have been uptight and rigid when he arrived to Canada. He spoke poorly of his nerdy coworkers, how they were no fun, rejecting his own kind, preferring the company of artists and vagabonds. Maybe he was controlling a few years back in their relationship but was now trying not to be, forcing himself to loosen up. What better way to break out of his rigid tendencies than to open his doors to complete strangers, to put himself in awkward situations, let an unknown situation sit on his impeccable couch, sift through his fridge, rummage through his cabinets for a new roll of toilet paper. Every couple months or so he would probably invite her out again to show her his new skin, a fluid gesture, and how he could laugh a little more. And she may be happy for him but equally sad because she knows that the only thing meant to be was her arrival to this city by some means necessary. And maybe he was meant to go back. But he was trying, maybe learning a valuable lesson for later on in life or maybe setting up for an irrevocable backlash.

Before we hit the hay, I thanked Jesus for his hospitality, and gave him 3 bottles of wine that I brought from Florida as gifts, one of which he opened to toast with. He served himself and I a glass of Malbec and served Janette, who didn’t want wine, a rock glass of some rare top shelf Venezuelan rum accompanied by a brand ambassador’s history and description. After a long-winded toast he excuses himself to use the bathroom. As soon as he is out of sight, Janette pours the fine rum into the sink. She had pretended to drink it. The terror continues. He has one last chance to kill us but not if we are vigilant.

Heading Back South

The next morning, sure enough, we wake up alive. Before we leave, and as my driver loads our luggage into our carriage, I shoot Jesus with my musket… just in case. Besides, we were crossing the border in a short while so it didn’t really matter what I did.

Our next destination was New York City. I was playing at a bar in Brooklyn called Bar4 in a few hours. I was more nervous about seeing my old friends and family, most of which have never seen me do this one-man loop pedal business. I hadn’t been back to NY in years, and I was happy to see the bar packed with familiar faces, many of whom I was not expecting to see. The show went great, and I think this is where the story telling reaches its end.Bar4_Boxwood

One More One-Man Band

On our way back to Florida we stopped at Richmond, VA, Raleigh, NC, and Charleston, SC out of curiosity and spur of the moment decisions, a lax return to make up for our speedy ride up. I must mention this: in Raleigh, we caught Lighting Bolts drummer, Brian Chippendale’s solo project, Black Pus at Kings Barcade which further hammered this one-man band theme into our travels. Black Pus is of the looper variety via rapid-fire drums, fuzzed out vocals, sounds by drum sensors and three Line 6 delays, a ridiculous experience and a fitting way to end this one-man band centered road trip.

If you want to check out more of Boxwood on FTL Collective, stream his song Sarah on our post about Block X Blog Festival in downtown Fort Lauderdale. If you’re a South Florida band with stories from the road to share, email mig@ftlcollective.com

The Keg On 6th Opens In Newly-Named Airport District

Fort Lauderdale’s latest craft beer bar and restaurant The Keg On 6th opened up last week in the Airport District (more on this later), and although we weren’t invited to the soft opening, we were excited to check out the new spot as soon as possible, which ended up being The Keg’s second night in business. Before we talk about the new bar though, let’s talk about the new district we just named…

The Airport District

Fort Lauderdale Airport District

I don’t think the Keg On 6th intended on completing the triangle that is now The Airport District, but it has (at least according to us). With porn-laden Bimini Bay Bar (funny blog post found here here) and rockabilly venue Monterrey Club about a quarter mile away, FTL has an area of 3 bars that are all different and all walk-able. And when LauderAle opens up soon(?), we’ll happily lump that in too.

[Click To Tweet] A new nightlife district in Fort Lauderdale has emerged, and it’scalled The Airport District #AirportDistrict

Back to The Keg though…

The Keg On 6th

Let us start by writing that we believe The Keg is in the “working out the kinks” stage, and to be honest, it wouldn’t be fair to give a final grade right now. We saw a lot of potential in this place, and we wanted to help get the word out so locals can decide for themselves.

To help you envision what it looks like inside (because our pictures came out horrible), it’s an intimate-sized, darkly lit square building, half full of dinner tables, with the other half dedicated to the bar.  The walls are laden with conservative graffiti and beer logo art. The bar itself has double digit taps (correct me if I’m wrong), a fridge full of craft beer, and a clearly-written chalkboard menu with all the selections.

What We Liked

  • The beer menu — Pretty extensive craft beer menu with lots of room for additions (scroll to the bottom for a snapshot of the menu). Fair prices too, all craft beers generally $5 to $7.
  • Cheap beer too — Among the craft beers, they had the option for a $3 Narragansett. We love that.
  • The bartenders — We spoke to 2 of the bartenders, and both were personable and helpful. Pro tip: talk to the male bartender about Washington DC sports and you’ll get on his good side immediately.
  • The music — Playing music in a bar is tough because you have to appeal to a wide array of patrons, but we feel their selection of mindie music– think Two Door Cinema Club, Joy Formidable, Passion Pit, Empire Of The Sun, etc. — was a good/ safe choice for the crowd they’ll probably attract. Also, glad it’s not a jukebox.
  • Food menu — I didn’t order food, but Fat Hand ordered the grilled fish tacos. Fat Hand, care to comment?
  • The proximity – Bimini Bay is across the street, Monterrey is .3 miles away, and LauderAle is probably a 10 minute walk– a one stop shop of vintage pinups, vintage money shots, and craft beer.
  • Outside seating — There were a couple picnic tables outside.

Where They Could Improve

  • Marketing – We were surprised at the lack of people for a new bar on the second night. The only reason we knew it was open was because New Times wrote about the soft opening. We’re sure they’re working on this though.
  • The bathroom – Bathrooms are one of the more underrated aspects of a bar. A memorable bathroom can put a bar over the edge, if you ask me. Also, the paper towels were resting on top of the toilet, a big no-no for selective germaphobes like myself.
  • Local art — Maybe the graffiti inside was done locally, but we’d like to see some more art to help shape the bar’s personality.

What We’re Excited About

  • Happy hour — The bartender informed us that they are still deciding on the happy hour specials. We can see this as a good after work spot for those seeking something a little less crowded (for now) than Tap 42.
  • More local beers — They had Funky Buddha Floridian on tap and Cigar City; we’d like to see even more from those brewers, plus some Wynwood, Due South, Miami Brewing, Holy Mackerel, LauderdAle, etc.
  • The personality — Right now, it feels very Tap 42-ish. We look forward to The Keg coming into it’s own.

Check out the bar for yourself. It’s located on 3218 SE 6th ave, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316. If you think you’re lost, you probably aren’t. Follow them on Facebook for updates: The Keg on Facebook

If you like crappy iPhone photos, check out a couple bonus photos below:

Fort Basel – The 4th Annual 1:1 Super 8 Soirée

the 4th Annual Super 8 Cinema Soiree is back at The Bubble

Remember last year’s April Fools Day joke that Art Basel was moving to Fort Lauderdale. Little did author Victor Gonzalez and the commenters know, but FTL already has its own art week called Fort Basel and it’s free of invite-only parties (shame on you Spotify and Ricochet Lounge) or super exclusive Susan Sarandon ping pong parties (it’s not what you think).

Tonight, we strongly encourage Fort Basel revelers to check out the 4th Annual 1:1 Super 8 Soirée, a night that celebrates the raw nature of filmmaking. If you hadn’t guessed by the event title, all entries into this non-contest (no winners or losers, just fun) film fest are made using Super 8 mm film. There’s a lot more to the event which is being held at FTLC favorite The Bubble; the official Facebook page does an excellent job detailing all the rules and things to expect (or unexpect). So…

Straight from the Facebook page:

Established in 2006, the 1:1 Super 8 Cinema Soirée is an annual South Florida event celebrating the use of super 8 film. Local filmmakers and artists gleefully take part in this distinct event, loading their cameras with 3m20s of film, nervously creating their masterpieces.

The 1:1 Super 8 Cinema Soirée is distinct in that none of the films are viewed by the filmmakers before the screening. Participants are not allowed to preview or edit their films. No matter what imperfections, happy accidents, or planned technical attributes occur, what’s shot in-camera is what’s shown. There is no opportunity to make changes. Each participant gets one chance, one reel, and one take, premiering the films at a one night collective screening.

Sound is done separately, most often designed, edited, and mixed after filming. It’s then played back live at the screening as a type of dual sync system. Other sound options for participants include projecting the film silent or adding live audio, which in-turn, adds a performative element. “

It’s $5 to get in. The event runs from 6:30-10ish, first screening starts at 7:30. The Bubble is located at 810 NE 4th Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304. The official after party is at Poor House w/ live performances by Bonnet People, Suede Dudes, and Dooms De Pop.

6 Tips for Surviving Christmas on Las Olas

by K47It's that time again for Xmas on Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale

It’s that time of year again, and FTL residents will be coming out in masses to kick-off the holiday season. On Tuesday November 29th, our famous boulevard will be closed down to traffic and filled with Christmas Spirit. Here are our tips for making the best of it:

  1. Walk, bike, or teleport to this event because parking anywhere near Las Olas will be a bitch.
  2. Wear close-toed shoes. Trust us on this one. There will be more strollers than you have ever seen in your life and they WILL run you over.
  3. Dress up your dog (or cat). You don’t want him/her to feel left out and naked. Animals who attend Christmas on Las Olas are known for their keen Christmas fashion sense.
  4. Bring cash. Various vendors will have food and drink carts/tables set-up but, not credit card machines. ATM’s can be hard to come by in the crowd.
  5. Brush up on your Tanya Harding skills. No, not clubbing people in the knee….ice skating! Skate Las Olas, an artificial ice rink, is up and running in the lawn next to the Riverside Hotel. Rent some skates for $6 and get working on that triple axel.
  6. Pack a thermos of your favorite holiday themed beverage. A recent favorite of ours is Mulled Wine:
  • 1 bottle of red wine (really any will do)
  • ¼ cup Brandy
  • 1 package of cider spice (or a combination of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger)
  • Simmer these ingredients on the stove-top for 10-20 minutes and enjoy.

Christmas On Las Olas
On Las Olas Boulevard in downtown Fort Lauderdale
Between Southeast 6th Avenue and Southeast 10th Avenue
Around 5 PM – 10 PM
Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Small Business Saturday

by Fat Hand

While Black Friday is supposedly the biggest shopping day of the year, the day following the day following Thanksgiving has been declared a day to shop at small businesses. Saturday, November 26 is Small Business Saturday, sponsored by American Express (I can’t decide if that sponsorship is ironic or not).

As we begin our holiday shopping, Small Business Saturday is a reminder that although the BestBuys and Targets of the world offer convenience, many of us would rather purchase our gifts at small, locally owned businesses. So here are a number of gift ideas from some of the region’s locally owned businesses:

1. Check out Discount Train & Hobby on Oakland Park Blvd. for an unbelievable selection of models and trains (211 E. Oakland Park Boulevard).

2. Buy your favorite blogger a record album from Radioactive Records, now located just south of Searstown (845 N. Federal Highway).

3. Quirky and artsy gifts geared toward girls at the funky Jezebel (1980 E. Sunrise Boulevard, in Gateway Plaza).

4. Give the gift of transportation by picking up a bike at George’s Cycle Shop (1029 S.E. 17th Street).

5. For that friend of yours that needs to relax, pick up a gift certificate for yoga classes or massage at Red Pearl Yoga (918 N.E. 20th Avenue).

6. If you must give a gift to a co-worker, pick up a bottle of wine at the wonderful and helpful 7th Street Wine Company (701 S. Federal Highway).

7. Be locally and globally conscious in one fell swoop by checking out the fair trade products of all kinds at Mission Gifts (1200 E. Las Olas Boulevard).

This list is just a starter of course, as there are many wonderful small and local businesses in our medium-sized city. So as you are out there looking for the perfect retail items to show your loved ones how you feel, give a small business a shot.

23 Local DJs at Dancegiving (That We Know About)

Say what you will about this Saturday’s 2nd annual Dancegiving Festival, a tri-venue smorgasbord of some of the world’s top DJs held at Revolution Live, but some FTLC staffers are pretty excited about this year’s festivities. With the cancellation of Identity Festival for a bogus hurricane, this event couldn’t come at a better time. After this weekend’s party, we’ll have nearly 4 months to recover until Miami gets invaded by WMC and Ultra in mid-March. Upping the ante, this year’s version of the fest expands to 5 stages total, which includes 2 new outdoor stages.

We’d be kidding ourselves if we said we weren’t looking forward the most to catching the bigger national headliners (hello MSTRKRFT), but it’s worth noting that there are 35 Florida DJs on the lineup. For FTLC blogging purposes we’re only concerned with the DJs with 954, 754, 305, 786, & 561 area codes. We found 23, but I’m sure we missed a few because A) half the names are hard to Google (looking at you Elements), and B) a handful of potentially local DJs decided that they’d rather rep a fake city (“Schwagville”, really?). That being said, this is what I was able to round up (all my favorites are in the first 7, after that it’s random order). Check the festival schedule set times.

Afrobeta – Play House (Brass Knuckles Remix)

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/10430454″]

Phoenix – Fences (GTA Bootleg)

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/15877395″]

Renegades Of Funk – Dancegiving Promo Mix

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/23644982″]

Jay Z & Kanye West – NI**AS In Paris (Caligula Remix)

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/22168665″]

Juan Basshead – Live from Get Low WMC ’11

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/12419364″]

Arias – Bass Invaders

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/13863415″]

Modest Mouse – Float On (Landis Remix)

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/21216192″]


FTL Art Scavenger Hunt This Weekend

Do you like art? How about a real-deal scavenger hunt? What if it’s all free, too?  This Saturday, you can partake in that trifecta of awesomeness by participating in the annual Art Scavenger Huntin Downtown FTL.  How does it work? On Saturday, November 26th, arrive at Laser Wolf at 8pm sharp to pick up your map, then head out on your quest, and return to the same location to get any pieces you find signed by the artist(s). It’s 100% free and 100% fun and local. 

There’s quite a bit of history behind the hunt dating back to the old Chili Peper (now Revolution) where Hunt founder and organizer Steve Sticht (yes, the same guy behind the blue bikes) began anonymously leaving art around the venue. When friend and fellow artist Jeff Holmes found out Sticht was behind thes street art after telling him about the mysterious art that was beginning to spook the owners, the two thought of the idea of a “pirate art show”. After it’s success and the eventual departure of Holmes, that show evolved into what the Art Scavenger Hunt is today and is said to get “bigger and better each year”.

Last year, 21 artists participated and an estimated 160 maps were distributed (some of which were shared). The trail has even had to be changed because people were arriving early and grabbing the art before the official start of the Hunt (there is a 2 piece maximum to make sure everyone has a fair chance at getting something- Sticht makes a good portion of the art to ensure there’s enough to go around). See why we say get there at 8pm sharp?

Last year, the hunt was dedicated to Brad Stewart (Gidget Gein of Marilyn Manson), who despite living in California the past three years, would ship art for the Hunt every year. This year the Hunt will be dedicated to Peter Giovenco, one of the earliest artists and participants, who passed away a few months ago.

Check out this album from last year’s hunt: Art Scavenger Hunt 2010.

Some pieces you might find at this year's hunt

A piece from the 2010 Hunt that was never found

Art Scavenger Hunt is Saturday, November 26th, 2011, starting point at Laser Wolf at 8pm. Check out the Facebook page here.

FTLC reviews Ft Lauderdale’s newest spot Tap 42

Tap 42's soft opening in Ft Lauderdale

by Fat Hand

I’d like to apologize for the FTLC’s blogging hiatus: we were stuck in traffic. But like the Beatles in the USSR, we’re back.

This past Wednesday was opening night for Tap 42, the new beer bar south of downtown Fort Lauderdale (located on S. Andrews Avenue two blocks north of 17th Street). I, along with what seemed like everybody else in Fort Lauderdale between the ages of 25-40, wanted to be first to check it out.  It was crowded on opening night my friends. Actually, I didn’t arrive until 9:30 and people said it was way more crowded earlier in the evening, which hardly seems possible.

As the name suggests, Tap 42 has 42 beers on tap. Plus it has another 103 bottled choices. But if that does not satisfy you, there are also 50 different bourbons to enjoy. One interesting thing I noted about Tap 42’s menu is that it does not list prices of the beers or bourbons. For beer that’s probably not a big deal, as most are in the $5-$6 dollar range that one would expect (although a bartender told me a few are priced as high as $11), but if you are ordering bourbon, choose wisely. A friend of mine was all excited about his $17 glass of the outstanding Pappy Van Winkle, which is great as long as you know what you are ordering. Just saying, be careful.

Tap 42 has what appears to be a good menu with a variety of appetizers, a few salads, some tacos, and a promising list of burgers. I enjoyed the mole chicken tacos and I heard raves about the burgers and sweet potato fries.

Tap 42 took over the spot of the old Brownie’s, which hosted legends such as Louie Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald way back in the day. Sadly I never visited Brownie’s before it closed, but from what I have heard it had gone downhill a bit, and was not the sparkling swinging spot it had been in its heyday. But the new place looks wonderful, from the reclaimed parquet wall running the length of the room, to the copper colored background behind the taps (which on closer inspection is a bunch of pennies glued to the wall), to the concrete flooring installed by local green-friendly hardware and construction company Eco Simplista. The décor is classy and the bar feels very comfortable.

Outside is a huge patio with plenty of tables and space to enjoy the fresh air of Andrews Ave., plus tons of free parking. No bands played while I was on scene, but supposedly Tap 42 will have live music.

The bar has about 5 flat-screens but this is not a sports bar. This is a place to drink good beer and great bourbon and to hunker down with your friends to plan your shady real estate deals or your PIP scams or whatever it is you are doing in this shitty economy. This is a bar to drunkenly describe your next great conquest, and to even more drunkenly find yourself in a good old-timey duel. Indeed, the parking lot outside of Tap 42 is sure to become the official dueling spot of Fort Lauderdale, which is ok because Broward General is only a block away.

The FTLC raises its collective glass to the new and exciting Tap 42.

Some more photos, after the jump…