Sept 8th: Opera, Theater, Scrub Jays

Nerd Nite Miami
Presentations begin at 7:30pm sharp at Gramps Bar, Wynwood

“Opera: What it takes, how it started, and how it’s going”
by Amanda Crider
Mezzo-soprano Amanda Crider has performed leading roles with Los Angeles Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Florida Grand Opera, and Glimmerglass Opera, among others. She has been a soloist with organizations such as Calgary Philharmonic, Apollo’s Fire, International Contemporary Ensemble, New World Symphony and is a core member of the GRAMMY® nominated ensemble Seraphic Fire. Amanda is also the Artistic Director of the Miami based concert series, IlluminArts.
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“If You Build It They Will Come”
by Gaby Fernandez
Gaby Fernandez, founder of the “Front Yard Theater Collective,” shares the story of how she and her posse created an innovative alternative to traditional theater.
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“The Other Blue Jay”
by Elizabeth Lago
Elizabeth A. Lago is a Biological Science Technician working on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station working with Florida Scrub-jays, sea turtles, gopher tortoises, and southeastern beach mice. She has worked on land and sea with protected species for more than 10 years. She will be presenting “The Other Blue Jay” to discuss the history and current status of the Florida Scrub-jay. Audiences will get to learn about the scrub-jay’s cooperative strategy and decide whether they have millennial or Hispanic tendencies.

Aug 11th: Enjoying a sublime landscape, while knitting, at the Underdeck

Join us August 11th at Gramps for more thinking and drinking.
This month’s speakers and topics:

“How Knitters Saved the World”
by Francesca Mamlin and Jessidee Valdes

To many, knitting seems like simply a hobby associated mostly with old ladies and the importance of knitting is lost on many in a world where clothing is mass-produced in factories. But if you ask a soldier from the trenches of WWI, you may hear how hand-knit socks meant everything as soldiers were dying in the thousands from trench-foot. Settlers heading to the unpopulated American West were hard at work to clothe themselves and their families in a new, wild world. The Daughters of the Revolution in France knit at the base of the guillotine, and women in the colonial United States knit hand-spun wool to support a boycott of British textiles. The spirit of hand-makers lives on today as knitters create blankets for refugees, clothes for premie babies, and caps for people undergoing chemo. Knitters clothe the homeless, bring communities together, and disrupt the obsession with fast-fashion. Making things by hand has been and always will bring empowerment to a community. This talk is about how it has happened in the past, and how it can happen in the future.

Bio: Francesca Mamlin decided to call Miami her home last year after many years backpacking around the world and living abroad. In January, she created the Knitters of Miami Meetup group so she could connect with fellow fiber-enthusiasts. She learned how to knit from a neighbor when she was a child, but it was just in the past few years that she discovered her passion for the hobby. During the day, she works as a podcast producer and she knits just about every moment her hands are free.

Bio: Jessidee Valdes was raised in Miami and has been crocheting & knitting ever since her Great Grandmother taught her when she was five, but still considers herself an advanced beginner knitter. During the week she works from home as an IT Project Manager and on the weekends at Biscayne National Park as a Naturalist on Snorkeling Tours. The best part is that in both jobs she gets to knit while working, either during zoom meeting or when people are snorkeling the Florida Reef.

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“American Sublime: a partial history of landscape images that define our identity”
by Pete Wintersteen

The sublime as an aesthetic and philosophical concept has been studied and debated since ancient times, but its evolution in relation to the American Landscape evolved after the Industrial Revolution. From 19th century oil paint masterpieces to the latest Instagram #sunset, there is more behind every image than you may know.

Bio: From US Marine to wildlife researcher to artist and conservationist, Pete Wintersteen has spent his life traversing many landscapes in many facets. While pursuing his MFA in visual art, he sought (often surreptitiously) to find the aesthetic side of uranium mines and prospects in the American West, which are sprinkled among some of the oldest records of human culture and presence in North America.

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by Lisa Martinez

“The Underdeck” is a 33-acre public space that will be developed, under a reconstructed I-395, as a part of the “Signature Bridge” project. The Signature Bridge project is a partnership between the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the City of Miami. The Underdeck originates in Overtown and extends to Biscayne Bay near the Perez Art Museum Miami. Upon completion, the space will have a significant amount of green space and will also contain community based programming such as a heritage trail, legacy wall, pedestrian bridge, water fountains, plazas, recreation spaces, installations and concessions, among other features. 

July 14th: Community Art, Sound Waves, Conservation

Come join us for a beer, learn something new, and meet fellow nerds.
Every second Thursday of the month at Gramps!

This month’s speakers are:

“The Making of Awesome: Participatory Public Art at Vizcaya” by Rebecca Peterson (nerd boss)
At Vizcaya, being a community resource means including the community in the creation of Awesome. Awesome art, awesome stories, awesome experiences. We all know where it starts, but the community decides where it ends. It means handing over the story, handing over the control, handing over agency to the community. The result: the art becomes the community’s; the story becomes the community’s; Vizcaya becomes the community’s. And it’s awesome.
Bio: Rebecca Peterson is the Community Programs Manager at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens and a Boss of Nerd Nite Miami.

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“Sound Visualization” by Matt Laskowski
The “Professor” (Matt Laskowski) developed a fondness for twiddling synthesizers knobs. Thursday you will *see* sound and get a feel for what happens when waves crash together. Drink ticket prizes if you do well on the “Quiz”!

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MORAES” by TJ Morrell

MORAES is a nonprofit organization started here in Miami by some environmental nerds. TJ will dive into their project, some of the research they’re doing here in South Florida, and how people can get involved. But more importantly MORAES has been an example of going after something you want, and realizing the hardest part of any goal, project, or ambition is truly the first step.
Bio: TJ Morrell has been working in the marine science field here in South Florida for the past ten years. From working as a fisheries observer on commercial longline boats, to tagging Great White sharks in South Africa, to monitoring sea turtle nests on Virginia Key, to now working as the Science and Education Specialist for The Billfish Foundation, my passions have been focused on the ocean, the environment, and conservation and doing it all with a smile.

May 12th: Drugs – Micronations – Pelicans

Join us May 12, 2022 *in person* at Gramps Bar, Wynwood.
Be there AND be square.

Check out this line up!
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Caribbean Micronationalism: A Look Into Brazen Failures of the Past & Future
by Jason Katz

Recently, a group of investors purchased a small island off of the coast of Belize and declared it a country called the Principality of Islandia. Your presenter, Jason Katz---the publisher of a periodical called Islandia Journal---clearly took interest. They joke their efforts are tongue-in-cheek but the President of Belize thinks this is no laughing matter. Will they succeed? History says no. Join Jason Katz on a journey to other dubious, hair-brained nationalist schemes. It goes back to a fellow named Gregor Macgregor and even includes a member of the Hemingway family who - drumroll please - lived in Miami. 

Bio: Jason Katz was born and raised in Miami. He's the publisher of Islandia Journal, a quarterly (sub)tropical periodical of myth, folklore, history, ecology, cryptozoology, and the paranormal. He is a contributing editor for Burnaway Magazine. 
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Pelicans, Pesticides and You
by Samantha Martinez

A discussion about the most prevalent chemicals present in Miami’s Biscayne Bay, how they affect the birds in surrounding ecosystem and how we can help mitigate these effects.

Samantha was raised in the Redlands of South Dade and always wondered about the root of the illnesses she saw infecting wildlife in the area. Samantha went on to study Environmental Toxicology and Zoology to hopefully help with the continuing problem. She now helps teach others about the dangers that not only face the local environment but also ourselves as the Environmental Educator with Pelican Harbor Seabird Station.

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by Leiona Noah, Shaun Lenihan, and Ashley Lago

Three passionate law students will discuss US drug policies and the different legal areas involved.  Drug-related policies touch on many legal considerations (healthcare, constitutional, patents, land use, product liability, labor, etc.) and shouldn't just be about criminal laws.   Join us as they discuss a comprehensive perspective of effective regulation.

About the speakers:
Leiona Noah, Shaun Lenihan, and Ashley Lago are all second-year law students with various professional backgrounds.  Leiona has worked in the business development aspects of clinical research.  Shaun's experience includes working as a paralegal, with a focus in labor and employment law.  Ashley's experience includes marketing, event planning, and hospitality.