Category Archives: Events

The Black Eyed Peas Debut New Sound at Miami's Ultra Music Festival

Miami got its first taste of the new Black Eyed Peas Friday night at Ultra Music Festival.  After a three-year absence, Fergie, will.i.am, apl.de.ap, and Taboo reunited on the main stage, kicking off their set with a remixed version of their hit “Let’s Get It Started” that featured an electronic dance beat.

The Black Eyed PeasIt was a preview of the group’s new sound — a mix of their traditional hip-hop and pop vibe with a decidedly more electronic feel. While it may seem like a departure to fans of 2005’s Monkey Business, the upcoming album entitled The E.N.D is really an evolution of the group’s sound that follows their own appreciation of DJ-driven music.

“The DJ is the most important thing in music right now,” said will.i.am, who describes the group’s new sound as ‘electro-hop.’  It’s music that honors and celebrates the electronic sound that is hugely popular all over the world.

“In no way were we trying to invade the scene and claim it or anything,” he said.  “Electronic dance music really has this new inspirational energy.  It reminds me of what hip-hop was in the 1980s.”

“The music that we do is pretty much a fusion, so this album is adding one more tool to that fusion,” said Fergie.  “It’s still just the Black Eyed Peas with an international fusion, which means an electro feel to it.”

The Black Eyed Peas’ first single called “Boom Boom Pow” has a banging dance club energy with some robotic-sounding Auto-Tune effects thrown in.  It’s modeled on what a DJ would spin at a club.

“I really wanted to experiment with the dance floor, treating the song as if it was actually mixed,” said will.i.am who also produced the song.  “By the time you got to the middle of the song there’s a whole different beat which inspires the DJ to play more of it.”

Miami was an ideal spot for The Black Eyed Peas to debut their new material because of the city’s international feel.

“In America, Miami is an equivalent of Europe,” said will.i.am.  “It’s great to be here at the Winter Music Conference playing at Ultra Fest, just to see the melting pot of all the inspiration from around the world.”

“We also have a special love for Miami, we’ve been coming here for many years.  It’s always been a place to appreciate, to love, to always show respect to.”

Of course you can’t leave Miami without eating Cuban food.  I asked the group about their favorite places to eat.  Fergie lit up when talking about her favorite restaurant across from the Delano Hotel whose name she couldn’t remember.  “It’s a 24 hour Cuban joint,” she said.  “The reason I love it is because no matter what time I’m flying in or flying out I can get food and it’s amazing.”

Said will.i.am, “I usually ask the chongas to take me to their favorite place.”

The Black Eyed Peas with LMFAOThe E.N.D., coming out June 9th, is the group’s first album of new material since 2005.  It’s still a work in progress, with the group selecting from around 60 different tracks they recorded.

Despite pursuing their own solo projects over the past few years, the group says it was easy to return to the recording studio.

“It’s so natural,” said Fergie.  “It’s just like one of those old friends you go to school with and nothing ever changes.  It’s just so organic.”

“Our individual talents only make us stronger,” said will.i.am.  “We care about each other as people and support each other’s dreams and aspirations.”

The E.N.D. it seems is all about bringing things together – the group members’ individual talents, different genres of music, and most importantly, music fans.

“There’s two ways of bringing people together,” said will.i.am.  “You can write a song about it or you can just actually make music that brings people together.  This record is making music to bring people together.”

Highlights from Ultra Music Festival

Looking for Ultra 2010?  Click Here

I’ve been sick with a sore throat the past couple of days.  Perhaps it was from all the cheering at Ultra or trying to shout over the music.  Either way, it’s a small price to pay for getting to check out two days of performances by some of the biggest DJs and producers in the dance and electronic music scene.

Ultra Music FestivalWhat I enjoy about this genre of music (besides the music itself), is that it brings all sorts of people together.  Between 50,000 and 60,000 people attended Ultra each day, united by a love of dance and electronic music.  The fashion ranged from preppy to sporty, from hipster to raver.  A guy in a polo shirt would be enjoying the same music as a girl wearing a neon-colored tutu and black fuzzy boots with bead bracelets halfway up to her elbows.  It was truly an international event — music fans from approximately 80 countries made up the crowd and waved flags in beat to the music.  Maybe all they need at the G20 summit is a little dance music.

Even hip-hop artists are getting into the electronic scene.  The Black Eyed Peas chose Ultra as the venue to unveil the first song from their upcoming album.  Their performance Friday night (their first performance as a group in three years), kicked off with the hits “Let’s Get It Started” and “My Humps” before the debut of the beat-driven “Boom Boom Pow.”  If the audience’s reaction to the group’s high energy performance is any indication, The Black Eyed Peas will have huge success with their new album, due out June 9th.

Black Eyed Peas and LMFAOThis being Miami, the audience cheered loudly anytime The Black Eyed Peas mentioned the city by name.  And they went insane when the duo from LMFAO came on stage and joined them for an extended version of “I’m in Miami, B—-,” their song that’s huge right now in Miami clubs.

Ultra seemed to have several surprise appearances.  My favorite was during David Guetta’s set on Friday when he was joined by Kelly Rowland (of Destiny’s Child fame) to perform their new song “Love Takes Over.”  And wow, this woman can really belt it out!  The song has a great melody and you’ll want to sing along.  It’s definitely going to be a huge club hit this summer.

On Saturday music producer Timbaland tried his hand at DJing.  He mixed together beats from his hit songs like “The Way I Are” and “SexyBack.”  It seemed like he was a little unsure of his DJing abilities at times, relying on a hype man for encouragement and to pump up the audience.  Maybe he’s practicing for a new career?

Paul van DykTiësto and Paul van Dyk didn’t disappoint, headlining Friday and Saturday respectively with their brand of techno and electronic music that brought them to the top of the dance music scene.  It was incredible looking around at the massive audience during their sets; performing to a crowd of around 50,000 must be an incredible rush.

During his performance Saturday night Paul van Dyk debuted his latest single “Home.”  It has a warm mix of house music and pop vocals, but seems to rely too much on the same formula as his other popular singles.

Ultra Music Festival is loaded with so many different performances at a number of different stages that it makes it tough to choose where to go.  I found myself running from stage to stage, trying to get in as many performances as possible.

Roni Size and GoldieI’m a big fan of drum & bass so I made sure to be right up front for Roni Size (who performed in the U.S. for the first time in seven years with Reprazent), and Goldie.  Years ago it was music from these two who piqued my interest in drum & bass.  If you’re not familiar with this kind of music, I’d describe it as a heart-pumping frenzy of beats and bass that would make the heads of many parents (mine included) explode.

A big disappointment was the Prodigy, who started their set 20 minutes late and then proceeded to spew out a string of epithets to get the crowd going.  The cursing got old after a few minutes and I ended up leaving to check out the other stages.

Deadmau5Another disappointment was the no-show by Kaskade, whose song “Move for Me” with Deadmau5 is currently one of the most played songs on my iPod.  I did enjoy seeing two sets by Deadmau5, who took the stage wearing a helmet that was one part Mickey Mouse and another part Takashi Murakami.

Ultra Music FestivalIn between the main stage performances I spent a lot of time in the Carl Cox and Friends tent.  With friends like Moby, Pete Tong and Eric Morillo, there was a great mix of songs and beats.  I always made sure to return for Carl Cox, who is great at manipulating the energy of the crowd through his music.

Ultra Music FestivalIn the middle of all the action was the international food market, which tempted me with delicious smells even when I wasn’t hungry.  There was pizza, burgers, gyros, fried chicken, crepes, frog legs, gator bites, pasta and more.  My favorite was the stir-fried noodles, which were among the cheaper food items at $7 (my slice of pizza Friday night cost $10).  I did go a little overboard on eating but I figured I’d work off all the calories while dancing!

With non-stop, electrifying performances, Ultra Music Festival is the highlight of the Winter Music Conference.  Now that my ears have finally stopped ringing I’m ready for Ultra 2010!

Deering Seafood Festival

If there’s a food festival going on, I’m there!

Deering Seafood FestivalYesterday I had the chance to check out the 5th Annual Deering Seafood Festival on the Bay at the Deering Estate at Cutler.  It was my first time at both the seafood festival and the Deering Estate and I had a great time.

Grey skies and occasional drops of rain didn’t frighten away the crowds.  The appropriately named Seafood Alley was packed with people lining up to try the fresh offerings from local restaurants and catering companies.

crawfishGolden Rule Seafood‘s raw bar was my first stop.  Their oysters were some of the biggest I’ve seen and had a great creamy and meaty taste.  I normally eat raw oysters with cocktail or hot sauce but these were so good I ate them on their own.  I really wish I had saved room for Golden Rule Seafood’s cajun crawfish which looked and smelled delicious.

Next I tried a pair of dishes from Black Point Ocean Grill.  Their jambalaya was rich and well spiced, with large pieces of shrimp, chicken and andouille sausage.  Their grilled shrimp gazpacho was light and refreshing with a great kick to it — perfect for the hot and muggy afternoon.  Black Point Ocean Grill’s location in Homestead is a bit of a drive for me but after yesterday’s tasting I’ll be making a special trip.

I’m not sure if alligator actually qualifies as seafood but I knew I couldn’t leave the festival without trying some.  I’ve only had alligator fried beyond recognition so I was excited to try the smoked gator kabobs from the Les Seafood Express.  The gator meat was moist and tender, with a slightly more chewy texture than chicken.  The smoky taste suited the alligator meat really well.

garlic crabsMy eyes are always bigger than my stomach and I wish I could have eaten much more — especially the surf and turf nachos, lobster sliders and frog legs.  I should have gotten the seafood paella from Paellas R Us to go, I don’t know what I was thinking by passing that up!

The Bahamian Junkanoo enhanced the seafood celebration with an energetic and entertaining performance.  You couldn’t miss the brass band marching around in their bright neon uniforms.

I left the festival happy and very full — a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  I’ll definitely be back next year!

Sights, Sounds and Tastes at Ultra Music Festival

Paul van Dyk, Tiësto, Kaskade, Carl Cox, Moby and more — the biggest names in dance and electronic music are in Miami this weekend for Ultra Music Festival, part of the Winter Music Conference.

Ultra Music FestivalMore than 70,000 people are expected to attend the 11th edition of the festival to watch performances by more than 100 DJs, bands and producers over two days and two nights.

While checking out the action at all sixteen stages, festival goers are bound to work up an appetite.  At the international food market you can sample dishes from around the world.  From pizza to burgers to gyros, there’s anything a music fan could need to be able to dance all night.

Coming in the next few days: more about the music and food at Ultra, plus the Black Eyed Peas talk about their new album and their favorite places to eat in Miami.

Miami Style on the Runway

SoBe chic was on full display Thursday night at Miami Fashion Week.

Sabrina BarnettSabrina BarnettThe evening kicked off on a positive note with the international launch of Sabrina Barnett’s “Empowering Women” collection.  The former supermodel of Haitian, Cuban and Italian descent presented an array of shirts, pants and dresses, all with positive messages of self love.  Models of all ages walked the runway to a mix of upbeat songs, ending with the Beatles’ “All You Need is Love.”

Caribbean showcaseSKANext came a taste of the islands at the St. Vincent & the Grenadines Caribbean Designers Showcase.  Brightly-colored bikinis and light, flowing tops and dresses were the reoccurring theme.

Looks from the SKA fashion line featured ruffled tops and skirts, and a white dress with cloth flowers cascading down from the waist.  Designer Deb E. Barbour closed out the showcase with bright colored gowns and wedding dresses.

ECO Sustainable CollectionECO Sustainable CollectionThe Miami Style Showcase kicked off with the ECO Sustainable Collection, a stunning assortment of dresses created by students from the Design & Architect Senior High School.  Among the highlights were a long dress in neutral colors that had bunches of gathered fabric and a gown with a bodice of exotic feathers.

Francisos QuadrosFinalists in the Emerging Designer competition presented a variety of looks.  I especially liked the bright colors from Romina Heighes’ collection, the silver and striped dresses of Zula Khramov and a gorgeous flowing gown by Francisos Quadros.

A definite crowd-pleaser was the matching mother-daughter line of MamaOm Organics.  You couldn’t help but smile when seeing the little girls dressed in cute bathing suits and dresses beam as they walked down the runway.

MamaOmNicolas FelizolaThe Miami Style Showcase ended with the elaborate fashions of designer Nicolas Felizola.  Using bright colors and a variety of materials, Felizola created beautiful dresses that accentuated and complemented the female form.

Chef Elgin WoodmanChef Elgin Woodman of A Joy Wallace Catering paired the fashion with three dishes at the International Culinary Arts Pavillion.  The braised short rib served on a manchego flatbread was tender and well-spiced.  In a twist on “fish and chips,” quinoa crusted snapper had a great crunchy outside and yucca sticks were great with a sour orange mojo.  Savory and salty were balanced out with a sweet finish of rich and creamy dulce de leche panna cotta.

Photos by Gemetti Stefano/Model Work Style Press — www.fotocalendario.ch
Except for photos of dress by Francisos Quadros, feather dress by student designers and food by Chef Elgin Woodman.

Miami Fashion Week

One of the most fashionable cities in the world is getting even more stylish for Miami Fashion Week!

fashion weekThe annual event held in the trendy Wynwood Art District runs through Sunday, March 22nd.  It’s the largest Hispanic and international fashion event in the United States, featuring designers, entertainers and celebrities from around the world.

Go for the fashion and stay for the food!  New this year is the International Culinary Arts Pavilion.  Each evening a chef will prepare a tasting menu based on the countries featured in that evening’s shows.

Serving international flavors on Thursday will be Elgin Woodman, Chef de Cuisine of A Joy Wallace Catering and Production.  On Friday the chef will be Edgar Leal, Executive Chef of Cacao Restaurant in Coral Gables.  On Saturday it’s Irina Korneeva-Hogle of Tantra Restaurant and Lounge in South Beach.  Closing out Fashion Week on Sunday will be Nate Martin, Executive Chef of Andú Restaurant & Lounge in Brickell.

All shows for Miami Fashion Week will be held at SOHO Studios, located at 2136 NW 1st Avenue in Miami’s Wynwood Art District.  Tickets to each show are $25 except for the Agatha Ruiz de la Prada show and Miami Moda & Music Awards on Sunday which costs $100.

For a full list of shows and to purchase tickets visit www.miamifashionweek.com.