Year in Review


2017 is fast becoming memories. Time to highlight some memorable Salons, and alliances that advanced our commitment to help foster a downtown neighborhood identity, and rediscover the art of conversation over a glass of wine, or two. 

Humanities / History Science Media 

History and Fiction. We kicked off the year with Dr. Paul George, Miami’s de facto official historian. Drawing on a vast body of work, Dr. George engaged Raúl Guerrero in one hilarious duel. Raul Guerrero is the author of the novel Women Loved Dr. Böll, set in downtown Miami. Who won? The audience. The Salon took place at NEUSHOP, a boutique and cultural center anchored in the historical Ingraham Building. For the occasion, NEWSHOP’s owner, architect Nicolas Delgado, curated the exhibit Historical Architectural Drawings. 

State of Human Evolution. Then we took over Books & Books, at the Arsht Center, to commemorate Charles Darwin’s birthday. Dr. Debra Lieberman, noted evolutionary psychologist, led a provocative conversation on the evolution of emotions and how they influence the promulgation of laws.

Dr. Lieberman’s book Objection, on the relationship between the emotion of disgust, morality and the law, will be published in 2018 by Oxford University Press.

Media Salon. Closing the Spring Semester, DASS presented a discussion on the media’s impact on downtown’s transformation from a mere business center to a full-fledged community of over 40 thousand permanent residents. (Greater Downtown, including Brickell, accounts for some 90 thousand residents.) Held at Miami Dade College, the Wolfson Campus, the Media Salon was organized in partnership with the Downtown Neighbors Alliance and the Brickell Homeowners Association. Panelists included Francis Suarez, Miami’s newly elected mayor, and Nancy Ancrum, director of the Opinion Pages for the Miami Herald.

Media Salon panelists, left to right, DASS Director Raúl Guerrero, MDC

Virtual Reality Professor Martin Mittner, David Smiley, Miami Herald’s urban correspondent, Mayor Francis Suarez and Nancy Ancrum.

Bohemia / Drama Poetry Opera Jazz

Literary Salon with Jazz.  Four local writers, an experimental jazz quintet, and two actors’ dramatic interpretations found the perfect stage at the iconic Olympia Theater for a magical evening.  Featuring Martha Otis, Raúl Guerrero, Timothy Schmand and Patricia Engel. 

The New York Times commented on Patricia Engel: “To immerse oneself in her prose is to surrender to a seductive embrace, a hypnotic beauty that mingles submersion with submission.” She remarked about the Literary Salon: "It was a beautiful experience to watch such talented actors and musicians bring our stories to life in a new way.” Hats off to actors Islara Souto, Terrell Fritz and MDC Music Professor Gary Thomas. Presented in partnership with the Olympia Theater. 

Opera Master Class for Audiences. Magic City Opera’s Director, Graham Fandrei, led us through 500 years of opera in two hours. The world’s greatest arias illustrated the journey. Great performance by the coolest social opera in town.

NERUDA: Poetry and Jazz. Every November, the Miami Book Fair frees our collective literary appetite, and we gathered actress Islara Souto and University of Miami Literature Professor Martha Otis for bilingual readings of all-time favorites by the Nobel Laureate. Intermixed the piano jazz of Jim Gasior, music professor at downtown’s New World School for the Arts, and the band MAKAI’s renditions of Latin American Nueva Canción classics.