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It doesn’t take a climatologist to figure out that this summer is hotter than last. It has been this way for as long as I can remember and yet every year we are verklempt at how hot it is. Despite the somewhat unbearable temps, the bad blockbuster movie fare at the multiplexes, the aggressive mosquito guerrilla that prevails, and the deteriorating quality of slurpees or any other slushy drinks for that matter, the summer is my favorite time of the year. Perhaps the reason for this is that summer always takes me back to fond memories of my youth or maybe it’s the fact that I’m a Miamian and summer is a nine month season here and by now we should all be well acclimated. Whatever the case may be while most are suffering from summertime blues, I’m wearing shorts and a cut off t-shirt and couldn’t be more at ease (assuming the air conditioning is operating well at home and my car).
Summertime in Miami is synonymous with playa (the beach for those culturally deficient). The sun, sand and water should serve as an elixir to all of your hot weather hassles albeit now a trip Miami Beach can be quite pricey. How I miss the parking meters at the Eden Roc. There is nothing better than pondering life and all of its riddles while sitting on a chair on the shoreline taking in the ocean breeze, staring at the crashing waves and sipping a cold drink, preferably of the adult variety. I enjoy the beach early mornings during the work week—not just because the older I get the more antisocial I become but it is also easier access to and from the beach and you have more room to spread your cooler, chair and thoughts. There are also less reggaeton blaring boom boxes which is always a plus.
While I’m on the subject of summertime, music and Miami Beach, the 1984 July 4th Beach Boys concert is a mainstay on my Miami highlight reel. What I thought would be a lightly attended flashback show turned into a packed, historic performance that foreshadowed the hoopla South Beach would eventually garner. I remember Ringo Starr filled in for the recently departed Beach Boy drummer Dennis Wilson. I also recall the patriotic set beginning with the Beatles’ Back in the USSR. I recently discovered my friend and fellow Miamian, Scott Ross was one of the folks that put together that momentous show. Clearly Scott and his partners saw the potential most of us didn’t. At that time South Beach and Lummus Park in particular was a haven for stragglers, homeless Marielitos and retirees living on fixed incomes. The thought of a full-fledged rock show succeeding amidst the Beach’s decay and crime was at best insane. I guess what Scott and others knew and counted on was the allure of music.
Music mattered to people last century. It carried weight and was valued. Music was the leading indicator of culture and many times, it served as a catalyst for groundbreaking events like the Beach Boys’ July 4th concert. Very different from the millennial perspective on music. Millennial playlists consist of 12 twelve solemn, suicidal rock songs or the gleeful alternative would be nine “Guetta-esque” dance tracks with no beginning, middle or end. The importance of music to the newer generations has been reduced to background tunes for their gaming. It’s no wonder 30 is the new 10.
So as we meander through summer here in the M.I.A., lessen your bellyaching about the infernal temperatures and get hip to the fact that many folks around the world pay a premium price to come here on vacation. The notion that the locals (that means you and me) are not here in the summer, is a total 1950’s/Leave it to Beaver unfounded axiom. Summer is still a blast here regardless of the soulless Millennial culture, the reggaeton blaring radios and yes, the heat.
Filmmaker, Radio Host, Community Activist and last, but not least, a café drinker