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.
One the nicest areas to go for a walk in Fort Lauderdale is Riverwalk in downtown. A typical stroll down along the New River produces lots of sights: a good view of the skyline, the Jungle Queen, the massive yacht of the owner of the New Orleans Hornets, the Urban Market, Old Fort Lauderdale, the well dressed homeless guy who feeds the stray cats, the Jimmy Buffet crowd at Briny’s, high schoolers filming skateboarding videos at Huizenga Park, the Venice-style gondola, and our tallest building (a condo, go figure). Chances are, most people aren’t staring at the ground while they walk along this visually stimulating area of downtown. Luckily for you, S Jam and myself spent a portion of an afternoon with our eyes glued to the red rectangular slabs of concrete beneath our feet, searching for the best bricks in the city. The signature bricks can be found as far east as the Cheesecake Factory, but we decided to focus on the portion of bricks from The Symphony Condos to the SW 4th Avenue circle. Unsurprisingly, the majority of the bricks are boring and unimaginitive; we did manage to find some a few good ones though, and we’ve included the photos below. If you’re interested in having your own custom brick, buy one online at goriverwalk.com . Prices start at price$50.
What kind of thought process goes into creating an official nickname or motto? Personally, I would choose something edgy and city-specific (think Austin’s motto “Keep Austin Weird”). Interestingly enough, most of Broward County’s larger municipalities have chosen to go with cliche phrases or ambigious terminology that could apply to a multitude cities (if you don’t already know, you’ll never guess what city is dubbed “the Heart Of Broward County). To help make the work day go a little quicker, the FTL Collective has developed a quiz to test your knowledge of your county’s various alternative monikers and official catchphrases. Based on my research, only 22 of the 31 municipalities have a nickname or motto. Places like the village of Lazy Lake which has a two digit population (38 people lived there in 2000) or Sea Ranch Lakes (yeah, I never heard of it either) have chosen not to describe their city with a slogan or alias.
The game is simple. Match the municipality with it’s nickname or motto. Jot the answers on your own piece of paper (EX: A3, B7, C9, etc) or print out the quiz and check the answers here. If anyone scores a legitimate 100%, I heard Fat Hand will shave FTLC in the side of his head. Good luck.
FTLCollective presents: The Broward Nicknames & Mottos Impossible Matching Quiz…..
Say what you will about Dania, but that city keeps it real. While the rest of the county has updated itself over the years, Broward’s first city remains retro. Just drive a mile down US-1, south of Griffin Road, and you’ll pass the neon sign for Tropical Acres (established in 1949), a couple of Bates Motel replicas, ice cream juggernaut Jaxons (est. 1956), an endless row of antique shops, and an establishment known as Alex’s Flamingo Groves & Gift Shop (established in 1963) that looks like it belongs in Key Largo. For years, I have driven past Alex’s tropical mural and window display of dead sea life, wondering what kind of tacky junk I could buy to fill up the remaining empty space in my cluttered apartment. Finally, last week I walked inside this treasure trove of useless items. Dear Santa, I know it’s kind of early, but here is my wish list of items that I want from Alex’s Gift Shop (in no particular order).
The Transvestite Fantasy Creature Collection
These contemporary statues are a little pricey ($129 for the fairy man), but I’ll settle for just one of them. I think it would fit nicely in my bathroom, across from the toilet, facing the person taking a dump.
Big Foot was real
Before and after photos (how do you type out the sound of a drummer playing the ‘joke’ beat… pata-puh?). In all seriousness, who comes to Florida and buys a replica of Big Foot’s head as a souvenir (besides someone like me).
NSFW Coffee Mugs
No Florida gift store would be complete without its array of everyday items turned sensual. I know it’s a bit cliche, but I was thinking of sending this to my mom for her birthday? What do you guys think? Why are you looking at me like I’m weird or something?
UPDATE 3-8-14: Since writing this blog post in 2010, I’ve now seen a bunch of places that sell this mug. This entry has lost its luster.
These postcards never get old
In the same vein as erotic mugs, these typical, cheesy postcards are a must in any souvenir shop. Alex’s truly has one of the better collections of these classic photos. Nothing screams South Florida more than plus size women, homoerotic men, and the Hyatt in Ft Lauderdale.
I call this….wait for it, wait for it… The World SEA-ries of Poker.
Next time you’re on your way to or from Dania Jai Alai or Liggett Pharmacy, drop by Alex’s Gift Shop. Even if you’re not planning on buying anything, it’ll make you chuckle. While you’re in the neighborhood, check out ABC Thrift Shop, one of Broward’s better second hand stores.
And 2 more photos.
by Adelina Ridicolo
Yesterday FTLC showcased the opinion of one man’s distaste with the popular hangout spot, America’s Backyard. Today, we have a rebuttal.
An undifferentiated glob of lameness? Sounds like somebody’s bartender forgot the pillow talk. As a native South Floridian and a loyal FTL downtowner, I especially despise the naïve amateurs rolling in for Spring Break congesting up our beaches and over-crowding our watering holes. But maybe if we weren’t the prime location for these college girls to experiment and for the “Guido’s” to show off their muscles, then FTL wouldn’t have evolved into what it is today. I’d like to take this time to reference back to the 1987 movie Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise, which is based on a college break trip made to our very own Ft. Lauderdale. Not to veer off subject, but my point is it’s not all THAT bad.
As far as Guido’s being a constant clientele at AB, I disagree that this demographic is typical outside of Spring Break Season. I don’t know what the author of the previous article meant by AB “exploiting Latin-Guido culture”, but yes — people of Latin heritage come to AB. We live in South Florida, Latin and Guido are two different classifications, which someone who lives in South Florida surely can tell the difference.
by Guest Writer Andres
Not long ago it was my distinct privilege, on the eve of my birthday, to venture out into the infamous Ft. Lauderdale downtown scene. I was escorted by two pseudo-legendary FTL natives, who shall be named Striker and Strikeforce (a homage to the renowned Strikers Club of the late 70s). What I discovered was mostly sweet and occasionally putrid, but the focus of this article will be the latter. To be more specific, there was only one establishment contributing to my distaste. What establishment do I speak of, you ask (please ignore the large, unavoidable title)? Well let me give you some clues…
It is a cesspool of horny locals and hopeful, young tourists forcefully searching for that quintessential Spring Break experience. Aspects of this experience are as follows:
- Dancing suggestively on a bar with “girlfriends”
- Having shots poured into one’s mouth by an attractive bartender
- Kissing a same-sex friend (generally female)
- Wearing a g-string bikini to a club
- Showering with muscled up Guido’s in the center of the club
- Subsequently making out with those same Guido’s…etc.
- Waiting 25 minutes for a drink, then reveling in the fact that the bartender called you “baby”
- Finding that one homeless looking guy that wandered in, dancing with him long enough to snap a photo, then giggling with friends after
Okay, that last one was a bit of a stretch, but it happens. Now if you’re thinking, hey that doesn’t sound so bad. Hot bartenders, random hook-ups, free showers, homeless guys…I understand. But let me give you just one more clue that might sway you against this mystery locale…
Only here can you grind up on a stranger while listening to the timeless, melodic beats of novelty acts such as The Spice Girls, LFO, Chumbawumba, Blink 182, most outdated rap groups, Sugar Ray, Britney Spears, and all other lame songs easily sung by lamer people.
Firstly, the name America’s Backyard is evocative of Americana nostalgia.. I’m not totally sure if dance floor dry-humping, exploitative Latin Guido culture, heavy petting, and Kids-Bop sing alongs qualify. At one point, I raised my sights to the DJ booth and saw all three DJs bobbing heads to Miley Cyrus. To feel as if most iPod owning middle-schoolers could select this club playlist is the epitome of amateurism. I enjoy a good time out as much as the next person, but to frequent America’s Backyard means one of two things: a) you are not someone I would enjoy spending time with, or b) you have compromised your dignity and some aspects of your humanity.
I know this seems a rather harsh indictment, but ABY is systematically transforming FTL’s downtown scene into an undifferentiated glob of lameness. I do tip my hat to the owner; the business model is genius. He saw a populous, vulnerable demographic and exploited the hell out of them until he was wiping his ass with hundred dollar bills (their slogan is “Grillin’ & Chillin’” – enough said.)
My assertion of opinion on this matter will inevitably lend itself to accusations of snobbishness and conceit. I’m okay with that. And I understand this article will surely be divisive. I can only hope that you fall on the light side and see just as I have, that America’s Backyard means the annihilation of the human spirit.
Make sure to check out the rebuttal post.