By Carlos Suarez De Jesus | Miami New Times
The plaintive wail of a bolero crooner echoes across a dusty sidewalk baked by a merciless sun. Soon the ringing chords of a Spanish guitar erupt from a Little Havana souvenir shop. Dominoes clack as they are shoved about by elderly men smoking cigars, and throngs of Midwestern, European, and Asian tourists scramble out of a double-decker bus.
It’s a scene that takes place several times a day along a stretch of Calle Ocho between 17th and 13th avenues, where a collection of artists’ studios, fine art galleries, cigar shops, dollar stores, botanicas, and restaurants draws people eager to immerse themselves in the historic neighborhood’s exotic vibe. They weave in and out of local shops for a shot of café cubano, a box of freshly hand-rolled stogies, or an occasional work of art.
Inside the new Futurama Building, at 1637 SW Eighth St., business is booming because of Viernes Culturales (the cultural block party held in the area the last Friday of each month) and the bustling tourist trade, says local artist Katey Penner.
Futurama is a cool shelter from the blistering heat, where a soaring glass waterfall greets visitors next to a curling staircase and a cascade of glistening lights.
1637 SW 8th St.
Miami, FL 33135
Viernes Culturales is from 7 to 11 pm this Friday, August 31.
The next events are scheduled for September 28, October 26, November 30 and December 28