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If you’re a bookworm in Miami, then you probably know Mitch Kaplan, the founder of Books & Books and one of the founders of the Miami International Book Fair. He has two other titles that you’re probably less aware of: producer and co-founder of the film production company Mazur Kaplan.
Mazur Kaplan focuses exclusively on films based on or adapted from books – and their latest, a film adaption of the novel The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, is now streaming in the U.S. as a Netflix Original. The scenery is gorgeous, the British accents are accurately sometimes hard to understand, and you might even cry a little.
Although Mazur Kaplan has produced other films, this novel is actually the one that started it all, 10 years ago, when Mitch first read the book. “As a bookseller, I didn’t know what to do with it,” Mitch said. “I knew it would make a great film.”
Between then and the Netflix debut on Aug. 10, they also produced films like The Man Who Invented Christmas. Soon they’ll be working on a film with Nicole Kidman. We figured the release of his latest movie was a good chance to catch up with Mitch.
If you were awarded a $500,000 grant to support your work in Miami, what would you spend it on?
“I would try to do everything I could to make books more accessible and bring books into communities. I’ve always wanted to do a… first-rate bookmobile that could travel to different communities in Miami. [I would also] fund a grant to a young writer who could live and work in Miami for a period of time or [instead of] the book mobile, use that money to help others open small indie bookshops in the communities they live in.”
Your friend is visiting from out of town and you’re planning a day to explore Miami together. Where do you take them?
“I would take them sailing on Biscayne Bay, I would then go to Fairchild Tropical Gardens, I would then take them for a driving tour of various neighborhoods that are really interesting…. take them on a bit of an architecture tour of Art Deco and the Gables. I would then head north and show them some of the neighborhoods there. I find people coming in from out of town… they just think of Miami as Miami Beach and they don’t really understand the complexity of Miami.”
What are three literary experiences in Miami every local should have?
“The Miami Book Fair, every single one of Books & Books’ stores, and… a reading at any venue to go see an author make a presentation.”
What’s it like to be bitten by a snake? Scott Mullin from the Venom Response Unit says snake bite victims have reported that, “They can’t see, but they can hear everything. It’s kind of like being trapped under ice. They can’t move.”
That sounds only slightly frightening.
We talked to the producers of CroFab, the only antivenom approved by the FDA to treat bites by all species of North American pit vipers, to learn more about the production of snake antivenom (check out our video).
Spoiler alert: The process involves a medical lab in Wales and sheep in Australia, but you can leave your passport at home and learn all about it at Frost Science’s Power of Poison exhibition. But get there quick. It closes Sept. 3.
Grab a fellow yogi to sign up for the Yoga Scavenger Hunt. Prizes include Athleta gift cards. As if we needed another excuse for more athleisure wear. Learn More ».
The Wynwood Office District? Wynwood has steadily evolved from a haven for artists and creatives to a major destination for tourists and developers. And in the next few years more multi-story buildings, offices and parking garages will be coming to the arts district. Some see the change as natural and similar to how nabes like Coconut Grove developed in the 1990s, while others worry that the new offices and high rises will drive up rents and push smaller businesses out completely. (Miami Herald)
Some good news. A local teen from Kendall has been found safe in France after he went missing last week on a family vacation. French authorities joined in the search efforts to find Tariq Shabazz, a Coral Reef High School student, who left his family’s hotel room in Paris last week and didn’t come back for days. His mother posted steady updates on social media and said Sen. Marco Rubio’s office and the U.S. Embassy in Paris also offered support. (CBS Miami, Instagram)
Back to the books. Yesterday was the first day of school in Miami-Dade, and it included not just lots of pictures of cute kids, but also a boosted police presence as a result of a new state law passed after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. A new school year also meant plenty of out-of-pocket expenses for teachers who, according to a survey of more 4,000 educators, are now spending about $740 of their own money on classroom materials – a 23 percent increase from 2015. We’d suggest asking your kids’ teachers how you can help out. (Miami Herald)
All in the family. The BLCK Family has blown up in the last year or so in Miami, so it’s no surprise it got the star treatment in this podcast. The collective brings together creatives from Miami’s many communities of color every month at events ranging from family-style dinners to art installations and poetry performances, and their next event is going down tonight. (Fresh Art International)
Environmentally-friendly football. The Miami Hurricanes football team made major waves last year as one of the best teams in college football, and this year they’re looking to reduce their carbon footprint. The team and Adidas partnered with Parley for the Oceans to create uniforms made primarily out of upcycled and repurposed materials. The team also plans to auction off some of the uniforms to benefit UM’s school of marine and atmospheric science. (Miami Herald)
What’s in a name?… Florida International University may have to answer that question soon. The board of trustees voted to recommend removing Modesto Maidique’s name from the school’s main campus in West Miami-Dade. The former school president received the honor in 2009 but since then, Maidique’s relationship with the school hasn’t been so rosy. He’s criticized how FIU dealt with the pedestrian bridge collapse saga and back in 2016 he wrote an op-ed in the Miami Herald shaking his finger at the board for letting the university’s rise in prominence stall out. (Miami Herald)
The Marlins are hosting a Downtown Miami night at Marlins Park on Saturday, August 25th. Tickets start at $12 for all residents! Learn More ».
🌞 Time For A New Day: Vote Matt Haggman for Congress Why should you vote for Matt? He runs a people-powered campaign and does not accept PAC money of any kind. (Paid for by Matt Haggman For Congress)
🗣️ Thursday: Remember your first? Let’s talk about it. (Wynwood)
🕉 Saturday: Do a yoga scavenger hunt with Athleta on Lincoln Road – (South Beach)
🍽️Monday, Aug. 27: Learn more about Miami’s only wellness-focused food hall (Allapattah)
🍳Wednesday, Aug. 29: Whip up nature-inspired food with Chef Ilde Ferrer (Wynwood)
🎥Friday, Aug. 31: Catch the horror classic “Santa Sangre” (Wynwood)
Want to partner with us? Here’s how that works.
🗣️ Join the BLCK Family and jam with James Klynn (Downtown)
🍺 Shred with Concrete Beach Brewery and the Surfrider Foundation (Wynwood)
🎶 Expand your music horizons at World Music Tuesdays (Wynwood)
🍽️Celebrate Miami’s culinary scene with tastings from top restaurants (Design District)
🎷Gather round for Jazz at the Yard (Wynwood)
🍴Grab some bites from all of the food trucks (North Bay Village)
🎙️Check out Emeryld and Yoli Mayor at The Listening Den (Little River)
🎸Watch local artists vie for their spots on the III Points stage (Downtown)
🍺Drink some beer and get crafty at The Butcher Shop (Wynwood)
🕵️Learn about Miami’s crime history over lunch (Downtown)
🎨Take a tour and learn some art-making techniques at Downtown Doral Park (Doral)
🛏️Have a sleepover and learn about science at the Frost (Downtown)
😂Get some laughs in (and free croquetas) at Backroom Sessions’ comedy night (Westchester)
🗣️Catch comedian Hasan Minhaj at the Olympia (Downtown)
👗Discuss and learn all about fashion – through Saturday (Design District)
✍️Sketch some of Miami’s historic Downtown architecture (Downtown)
💪Learn how to disrupt your city (Downtown)
🤤Taste the best flan and croquetas in the 305 (Flagami)
📚Celebrate the 6th anniversary of the Bookleggers library (Wynwood)
🎶Catch an end-of-summer cabaret concert (Palmetto Bay)
🖼️Check out some art and music at the Laundromat Art Space (Little Haiti)
😎Splash around at the Secret Garden pool party (Upper East Side)
🕺Dance to some funk and soul music at Las Rosas (Allapattah)
Going to one of these? Take us with you! Email a pic to [email protected] or tag @thenewtropic on Instagram. See more upcoming events on our events page, and add your own events with a New Tropic membership.
Andrew Gillum could become Florida's 1st black Governor. We have the votes, we can win. Find out where to vote (Paid for by New FL Vision) Learn More ».
And if you’re already missing summer vacation, you’re not alone. This crocodile in Key Largo who took a swim with a pool noodle knows exactly how you feel.
We’ll catch you tomorrow.
– The New Tropic
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