Lets face it; the realities of our world are harsh. With the media throwing problems at us from every direction, staying positive can be a daunting task. Fortunately there is way to take a break from it all!
The Miami Design and Preservation League (MDPL) not only offers people ways to relax and escape to a happier place, but its programs also provide fascinating insight into the historical and cultural significance of our beloved Miami Beach and Art Deco district.
Founded in 1976, the MDPL is the oldest Art Deco society in the world. It is a non-profit organization that creates events to educate people on the history of the district and to glorify Miami Beach’s colorful and exciting culture.
Perfect for college students on a budget, MDPL features some free events such as walking and rollerblading tours, lecturers and film series’ that feature old and contemporary movies in which the city of Miami plays a major role.
The current film series is called “Made in Miami Beach.” This series includes movies in which the Art Deco district is more than just a setting, but practically a character in the film.
“The purpose of this series is to introduce people to the district as it appeared through the eyes of Hollywood,” Scott Timm, MDPL’s Director of Programs and Outreach said.
“Made in Miami” is divided into two parts. Part one entitled “Star Turns” consists of films that were breakthroughs for their stars and that showcase each one’s monumental talents. The films in this series are “A Hole in the Head” with Frank Sinatra, “The Bellboy” with Jerry Lewis, and the infamous “Scarface” with Al Pacino. Part two of the series is entitled “Square Pegs in Round Holes” because its movies are built around characters that have difficulty fitting in with others. This part includes “The Birdcage” with Robin Williams and Nathan Lane and “Miami Rhapsody” with Sarah Jessica Parker.
“Because many of these films were coming out of the Depression era, they were a means of escapism,” Timm said. “The movies were always shot on glamorous ocean liners and in glamorous penthouses. There was a glamour and elegance that for most people was not part of their day-to-day life. People dreamed of these lifestyles. People still head to Miami for that dreamy elegance. There’s still that element of whom you will see in clubs or dining at the next table. That part of Miami Beach has remained the same.”
Students can view these classic films for free and not only have a relaxing experience away from the hectic state of campus, but also learn about the popular destination that is practically in our backyard (if our backyard included a highway and a few bridges).
“I think this is such a unique opportunity to take advantage of. How many college students can say they that major motion pictures are filmed on their own stomping grounds?” Heather McKay, majoring in Motion Pictures, said. “It also gives us a chance to partake in a community event and learn more about the amazing city we live in. I get excited seeing places I have been to up on the big screen.”
While many students could probably describe the Art Deco district in terms of their favorite clubs, shops and restaurants, the film series would offer students an interesting retrospective that would make any future trip to Miami Beach more meaningful.
“It brings the old Miami back to life in a way,” junior Alyson Bruno said. “Miami is so alive with beautiful structures and city lights, but its fascinating to see what it was like in the past compared to contemporary Miami, especially considering the building and rebuilding the city has gone through after natural disasters like Hurricane Andrew.”
So if you’re in need of a break from the stressors of daily life and wish to escape to an era of glamour and elegance set amongst a familiar locale, the Miami Design Preservation League provides the perfect, cheap solution.
Erin Schlissel can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.