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On February 25, 1964, Cassius Clay (soon to be Muhammad Ali) defeated World Heavyweight Champion Sonny Liston on Miami Beach. It changed not just Miami, but the civil rights movement across the U.S.
But few Miamians know the story, or what happened when Clay headed to the Hampton House Motel in Brownsville to spend the night (back then Miami was still segregated, and African-Americans weren’t allowed to stay in hotels in Miami Beach). His friends Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown (yep, it was quite the crew) were all gathered there to celebrate Clay’s win.
Miami New Drama’s latest play, “One Night in Miami,” imagines what happened at the Hampton House that night. We talked with Artistic Director Michel Hausman about what this play means in 2018, and how to #livelikeyoulivehere in the local arts scene.
P.S. On Sunday, our director, Ariel, will be moderating a post-show convo with Michel, the playwright, and the director about the making of the play. It will follow the Sunday matinee. Get the details on that here.
On what’s so special about the night depicted in the play:
“This is the night that changed the lives of Cassius Clay, Sam Cooke, Jim Brown, and Malcolm X,” Michel says.
Cassius Clay changed his name to Cassius X and then to Muhammad Ali within a few weeks. Malcolm X left the Nation of Islam shortly after that night and was killed about a year later. Sam Cooke’s album “Ain’t that Good News” was released the next month with his iconic hit “A Change is Gonna Come.” And Jim Brown retired from the NFL just a few years later to focus on social activism and an acting career.
On producing this play five years after it was written:
“I’m actually very thankful that it took until 2018 for us to produce it. In 2013, you saw this play and it really was a historical piece [because the race issues depicted really seemed to be in the past]. … but suddenly producing it in 2018, where we have a bigot who’s the president, Black Lives Matter became a movement, Colin Kaepernick… history is repeating itself. It feels like this is the moment for the play to be produced,” Michel said.
On what three arts and cultural experiences every local should have (Other than attending a show at Miami New Drama!):
Gather around #MiamiTech entrepreneurs. Consider this your much-needed pep talk. That wall you keep hitting on the startup you’re working on? Today is the day to get over it.
Here’s how: The team at The Idea Center at Miami Dade College is looking for idea-stage to very early-stage entrepreneurs who are tackling social and environmental challenges. Impact Miami is a Business Model Validation Lab that will help you figure out things like how much customers will actually pay for your Totally Cool Idea. Plus their team of mentors and facilitators will give you practical advice and helpful feedback to level up your idea.
You’ll learn from program facilitators like Rebecca Willett, General Manager at BUILDING.CO, who will help guide you in figuring out who your customer actually is. “In any business, the most important thing is to make sure you’re actually solving a problem for someone. It’s very easy for us to think of lots of solutions and go find the problem for it. But, that’s not really how a business is going to be successful. You need to really understand what their day-to-day looks like. What are their problems? How are they solving them now? And you create a solution based on that,” she said.
If your friends and family are tired of hearing you talk about your Next Big Idea, today is the day to actually do something. Apply today for a spot at Impact Miami.
Pass go. Florida state law bans municipal governments from making their own gun laws, but since the Parkland shooting in February, more than 30 municipalities have defied the state. They banded together and sued, claiming that the state law – which threatens violators with actions like removal from office – is unconstitutional. A circuit court judge just gave those cities the thumbs up by refusing Attorney General Pam Bondi’s request to dismiss the lawsuit. TBD where this will go next. (News Service of Florida)
Sugar rush. Max Santiago transformed how Miamians think about doughnuts when he helped launch Salty Donuts. Then, last year, he dipped. But, recognizing that what all Miamians need is MOAR DONUTS, he’s partnering with Pincho Factory to launch Mad Max Doughnuts in locations across Miami-Dade because he doesn’t “want people to have to drive across town to have my doughnuts.” #blessed (Miami New Times)
One step forward. It’s now federal law to build a reservoir to hold discharges from Lake Okeechobee, a big step toward addressing one of the major causes of this summer’s algae crisis. Right now engineers have to periodically release water from Lake O into canals that carry it to the ocean, where the phosphorous-filled water causes algae blooms. The reservoir will provide a place to store that water instead of releasing it. Only one snag: the law President Trump signed doesn’t allocate any federal funds for the project. (TC Palm)
Mystery solved. If you live in the Upper East Side, you might have noticed a different kind of invasive species hanging around: black plastic cylinders, sitting on sidewalks, hanging from trees, and attached to light poles, just hanging out for the last couple years. They’re protecting AT&T’s cable connections, and the company has no answer on when they’re going away. And homeowners are not happy about the way they clash with their landscaping. (Miami Herald)
Scary times. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was one of six high-profile Democrats who received suspected pipe bombs at their offices on Wednesday. Some others on the list: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. CNN got one at their New York offices, too. The FBI is still investigating who was behind the scare, and DWS’s is particularly shady – the package only came to her office because it couldn’t be sent to the original recipient, former Attorney General Eric Holder, and DWS’s office was listed as the return address. (Miami Herald)
It all comes back to Florida. The fate of the Trump administration’s plans to redefine what “sex” means, effectively eliminating the designation “transgender,” somewhat hinges on a Miami man: Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta, who has been asked to adopt the new definition in his department. He hasn’t taken a public position yet, but back in 2000 he served on the anti-gay Family Research Council, which gives trans advocates plenty of reasons to be worried about what he’ll decide. (Miami New Times)
🧘Through Sunday, Nov. 11: Check out the Cushion Crawl challenge (it’s like a Pub Crawl, but for 21 days of Mindfulness) (Multiple Locations)
🗳️ Friday, Nov. 2: Join the voting celebration, it’s a matter of life or muerte (Downtown)
Want to partner with us? Here’s how that works.
🎶Hanson (yes, that Hanson) performs with a live orchestra (South Beach)
🗳️Learn more about Amendment 4, which would restore felons’ voting rights (Overtown)
💊Learn all about Miami’s early medical pioneers (Brickell)
👻Go to a haunted ballet – through Sunday (Coconut Grove)
🌱Help keep Vizcaya flowery and green (Coconut Grove)
📚Answer Miami’s “deep, existential questions” at a communal storytelling event (Allapattah)
🎶Catch the Tal Cohen Jazz Ensemble on the MOCA Plaza (North Miami)
🌕Explore the night sky (Homestead)
👠Get weird at a screening of Rocky Horror Picture Show (Design District)
🇨🇺Celebrate Little Havana at Viernes Culturales (Little Havana)
😂Catch an “authentically queer and authentically funny” improv show (Little Haiti)
📱View a pop-up exhibit of Trump’s most notorious tweets – through Sunday (South Beach)
🍜Dine on tasty ramen from Temple Street Eatery (Wynwood)
🎤See Talib Kweli and other local rappers and DJs at a voting music fest (Liberty City)
🍺Bar crawl through Brickell (Brickell)
📿Make art-inspired jewelry at MOCA (North Miami)
🧘Get lit at blacklight aerial yoga (Upper East Side)
🎶Browse thousands of records with Terrestrial Funk (Wynwood)
🗳️Make voting a party at the Little Haiti Cultural Center (Little Haiti)
🎞️Catch “Psycho” on the big screen (Coral Gables)
🥊Catch “One Night in Miami,” the story of the night Cassius Clay beat Sonny Liston – through Nov. 18 (South Beach)
🎶Dance salsa at Ball & Chain (Little Havana)
🎭Catch a live stream of King Lear performed on stage in London (Coral Gables)
🌊Learn what the candidates plan to do about sea level rise (Coconut Grove)
🎞️Catch a screening of “Scream” at Nite Owl Theater (Design District)
🎨Draw some spooky creatures in time for Halloween (South Beach)
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.