Better Know A Blogger: Jordan Melnick of Beached Miami
When journalist and Miami native Jordan Melnick found himself “back in Miami unexpectedly for an indefinite amount of time,” he embarked on an exploration to see his hometown through a pair of fresh eyes. With that, his blog Beached Miami washed ashore. Founded with lifelong friend and photographer Robby Campbell in August 2010, it’s become a touchstone for Miami culture with a focus on music, art, and other creative endeavors. It’s a platform, not only for Melnick, but for multiple voices — more than 50 contributors over the last two years— to find a home where there might not have been one before.
Music is a hallmark of Beached Miami, and coverage ranges from articles and reviews to photography and videos, along with the comprehensive Miami Music Guide edited by William Alton. The blog's reach goes beyond the social web and into the community by hosting concerts and events at venues like The Stage and The Electric Pickle. They also host a wildly popular scavenger bike hunt whose hashtag (#bikehunt305) and photo attachments recently overwhelmed Twitter’s server.
With Art Basel and Miami Art Week on the horizon, we caught up with the arbiter of Miami culture to learn more about Beached Miami’s rising tide and to find out what we can expect from its coverage of Miami Art Week.
Where did the idea for Beached Miami come from?
Jordan Melnick: We wanted to start exploring the city fresh and give it its due in terms of looking at it through new eyes because we had a lot of assumptions about Miami having grown up here, a lot of experiences, and a lot of stereotypes. I wanted to see what was going on culturally, musically, and artistically, so we just started exploring. That was our guiding light in the beginning, to sort of show a different view of Miami that isn’t necessarily out there on a postcard or on “Deco Drive.” I try not to box it in too much. Almost anything, for me, is a potential subject matter to be covered on Beached.
For a new reader, what three blog posts would you point them to?
Our Art Basel Photo Roundup from last year. An interview with author Junot Diaz who just spoke at the Miami Book Fair International. And Nevermind Miami, a collaboration with local bands to cover every song on Nirvana's iconic album to commemorate its 20th anniversary.
How did you come up with the name for the blog?
The concept was basically being natives who found ourselves back in Miami unexpectedly for an indefinite amount of time, and looking ahead. We were “beached.” We wanted to make the most out of that. I know it sort of has the negative connotation, but I thought it would eventually be developed into a new meaning, that this would be a good place to be stuck. That’s what it means to me. Not that I feel stuck here. I’m happily stuck here, if I am stuck — for the moment, anyway.
What are some of your favorite things about Art Basel and Miami Art Week?
I’m not in the art world, so my observation is of an outsider and it also comes from conversations with people who are in the art world. There’s usually a mixed reaction to Basel and its effect on the city. Most people agree, they wouldn’t get rid of it. It shines a super bright spotlight on the city and it brings Miami into the conversation of art. It’s a question of how much of an impact it has on local artists. It can be hit or miss for gallerists every year. Some end up doing well. Some are disappointed.
On a personal level, I think it’s a blast. I try to experience as much of it as possible. You’ve got people coming into the city from everywhere else in the world. The city becomes a giant fashion show. There’s a party every second. I’m on two years running getting the flu after Basel because I just sort of go full on. And of course, I try to cover it, so it just ends up being crazy. I think it’s interesting, I think it’s fun, and I’d like to see it impact Miami artists more. Miami sets its calendar by Basel.
What art fairs and events are already on your radar?
I’m scared to start looking at everything that’s going on because it’s so overwhelming. There’s always a lot of good music. There’s this UR1 festival that has a really crazy lineup. Lou Reed is going to be here, so I’d really love to see that. Generally, I love the satellite fairs. I like to find the smaller things. I thought last year, the breakfast at the Rubell Collection was really nice. I like some of the more offbeat fairs, like Seven Art Fair. I try to move quickly and go with the flow.
What can your readers expect from your Miami Art Week coverage?
We’ll be putting out a Basel Guide focused on art-related events, and one focused on music-related events. That will come out within the next week, or so.
What are some of your other favorite events throughout the year?
Sweat Records’ annual music fest, Sweatstock. It’s free, very local, and brings out a diverse crowd. I also look forward to that time of year for the Miami Heat to be in the finals again. I’m a literature nerd, so I really look forward to the Miami Book Fair every year.