Miami Life: Exclusive, Sound Healing, Air & Sea Show, Riverbridge

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I am excited to be the first writer to review the work of artist Magdalene Perez. Her story is inspiring. Are you stressed? Then chill out with a two hour, “Full Moon Sound Healing” ceremony on the beach. I’ll be there! It’s going to be a super exciting weekend as the Hyundai Air & Sea Show is back in Miami Beach this Memorial Day weekend. Here’s another scoop. A supertall redevelopment project is being planned by the Hyatt Regency in downtown Miami. Enjoy the holiday weekend!

Exclusive Review of the Work of Artist Magdalene Perez

They say art follows life; this time love gave birth to an artist. Magdalena Perez is living proof that television personality Bob Ross was a master painting teacher.  Just three years ago Magda, my Miami neighbor, had never picked up a paint brush. Today, she is as good as artists who have been painting their whole lives. Her series of 15 lakeside scenes will be on exhibit at the VynnArt Gallery in Meredith, New Hampshire, June 29th to July 16th.

Eliot and I immediately bought one of her paintings when we previewed her collection before they got shipped off to the New England gallery. Her talent to capture still life is so unreal you almost feel like you are looking at photographs. It’s completely uncanny.

I must have asked Magda a dozen times during our interview how it was possible that she lived 40 years without knowing she had this inner talent. Her life partner, John Rutherford, said her dexterity skills have always been super special. “You should see her do a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle. She completes them in record breaking time. She can even do them upside down.”

Magda, a Colombian native,claims she learned everything she needed to know to get started from Ross. She adds that she now takes an occasional art class to learn new techniques like how to mix colors. When she is in New York she attends the Art Students League. You can tell she was meant to be an artist when she talks about the New York art school. Her whole face lights up when she tells you about the teachers, students, and history of the institution. She loves going there for the inspiration.

Magda’s studio in Miami is in one of the bedrooms of the condo she shares with John.  You have never seen anything so neat in your life. She is meticulous about her surroundings. No splatters, no sprays, no spots anywhere. You think you are entering someone’s lavish office. Every brush, every paint, every canvas is lined up like it’s in a retail showcase. Magda’s a neat freak.

She’s been that way ever since she walked into a Michael’s art store in Miami a few years ago asking the clerks to help her stock up with everything she would need to paint her way through the pandemic. She and John escaped to a private island in lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire to stay safe during Covid. Magda spent most of her time painting and experimenting with acrylics, oils and charcoal. Her imagination was running wild while she painted many of the surrounding lake front sights. She wanted to capture the beauty of this unspoiled area. It was amazing that she was capable of painting pictures with such rich, vibrant colors.  I’m no art connoisseur but I can honestly say Magna’s paintings all contain some sort of magnetism that makes you stare at them for long periods of time.

That has been the reaction of many of our neighbors in the South Pointe area of South Beach. We have been amazed that we knew Magda before she ever picked up a paint brush to the masterpieces she is producing now. To many of us who can’t draw a straight line, this is a miracle in the making.

Magda moved in with John a number of years ago after meeting him in Columbia when he traveled to the country to perfect his ability to speak Spanish. He met Magna, the owner of a well-established hair salon in Medellin through a friend. She and others escorted John around the city only speaking to him in Spanish. While communications between Magda and John were limited at first, they soon discovered that they enjoyed each others company. I would guess that one of the attractions was that they were both looking for uncomplicated lives. By that I mean, less drama and more fun.

John was a transplant from New Zealand who spent most of his life deep in business and Magda was a country girl who moved to the big city to be self supporting and build a career. They both had their fair share of hardships and successes and now wanted to bring more joy into their lives. The only trouble was that they didn’t know how to communicate that to each other because of the language barrier.

John explained that the problem resolved itself in the strangest possible way. This story is one for the books. He wanted a more serious relationship with Magda but had no way of actually explaining that to her.  He decided to take her to dinner one last time to see if there was any chemistry between them. Magda tends to be on the shy side so she was not going to necessarily show any signs of affection without cause.

John made the restaurant reservation in his broken Spanish. He was asked a bunch of questions which he felt he answered properly. When the couple arrived at the restaurant, they were directed to a table that looked like it was decorated for Valentine’s Day. There were hearts and rose petals on the table and all kinds of flowers framed their cozy little area. Both John and Magda were embarrassed at first but quickly adapted to the mood that was set up for them. John still insists he doesn’t know what he said to the reservationist but whatever he communicated did the trick to cement the relationship.

I am just guessing, but I believe that Magda’s new life in America has brought out the artistic gift in her. She recently did a painting of the boathouse area of Central Park that I swear looks like it was created by one of the masters. How is it possible that someone who never drew a picture in her life can produce such an image? Wait till she unveils her series of portraits. They are outstanding.

I am the first writer to feature and review Magda’s work. What a privilege. Maybe I will become famous just for that. I’m hoping that Magda’s work moves into abstracts. I am very anxious to see what her mind creates. I will be the first to report on that as well.

June 4.  A Fun, Stress-Free Night at the Faena Hotel

Remember when you used to ask someone, “How are you?” and they would say “Fine, and how are you?”  Those pleasantries seem to be long gone. Now everyone is so stressed out with personal and worldly concerns. The minute you inquire about their wellbeing, many folks will stand and deliver a 20-minute, self-absorbed, one-way discussion on how stressed out they are. To that I say, “Chill out folks. I may have a solution.” A growing number of my friends are joining all kinds of therapeutic retreats that last a few hours, a full day, or a weeklong trip to secluded, far away locations. The basic idea is to free their minds of the toxic subjects that occupy their thoughts on a continuous basis.

With that in mind, I want you to join Eliot and me in a two hour, “Full Moon Sound Healing” ceremony on Sunday, June 4, from 7 – 9pm, at the Faena Hotel, 3201 Collins Avenue Miami Beach. The event is $45 per person. Valet parking is available at the Faena Hotel, or there is a municipal lot 1 block north of the hotel. You will be barefoot on the sand with maybe 50 to 100 others along with “The South Beach Sound Healing Orchestra and The Tierra Santa Healing House & Modern ŌM group. The community will create a massive Human Heart Mandala as part of a powerful ceremony that will include movement, breathwork, drum and dance.

Please watch this YouTube video for the full experience:

Get details and your tickets.

This Weekend. The Hyundai Air & Sea Show

It’s going to be a super exciting weekend as the Hyundai Air & Sea Show is back in Miami Beach this Memorial Day weekend. Everyone who has a sizable balcony will be hosting parties so that Miamians can pay tribute to the men and women of the armed forces and military.  The show starts Saturday, May 29 through Sunday, May 30 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Beach Club gates open at 11 a.m. The exact location is Ocean Drive from 11th Street to 14th Street. There are continuous activities in the sky as well as on the ground. The free-to-the-public Display Village and Action Zones are located between 11th and 14th Street, which includes interactive displays from military service branches and corporate partners.

We can see all of the excitement from our condo which looks directly down to the beach. Construction staffs have been busy building stages, seating and massive tent areas right on the sand.  The event features extreme water sports, an action zone, a military display village, and more.

Men and women of the armed forces will be on hand to greet all visitors. There will also be a Kids Fun Zone between 12th and 13th Streets from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with kids’ yoga, arts and crafts, face painting, relay races, scavenger hunts, and more. This is a true family weekend. Miami Beach needs more of them. GET ALL THE DETAILS.

Miami Is Getting Taller and Taller

I’m really starting to believe that real estate developers are playing the size game in Miami. They have been playing this game in New York since the beginning of time. My building is taller than yours. You know how men are. Hahaha. Anyway, you are among the first to know that the Hyatt Regency is planning a supertall redevelopment in downtown Miami. It’s called Riverbridge.

The area is super crowded already so I don’t know how this new project is going to squeeze in. Developers always know how to do it.  Everyone wants a piece of Miami so here we go again. The $1.7B redevelopment will feature three towers. The tallest tower will be 95 stories, that translates to 1,049 feet. Look at the renderings. That tower looks like a spaceship about to take off. I heard there will be approximately 1,806 apartments, a 615-room Hyatt Regency hotel, and 190,000 square feet of meeting space. There will be approximately 1,806 apartments, a 615-room Hyatt Regency hotel, and 190,000 square feet of meeting space. Read more.



  • Lois Whitman-Hess

    As Co-Founder and President of HWH PR, Lois Whitman-Hess has been actively involved in public relations for a vast array of business sectors including technology, Internet-based companies, entertainment, law, publishing, fashion, beauty and art. For the last eight years, Lois has authored a daily blog called “Digidame.” It mostly covers her personal journeys as well as tech innovations, art, travel, and entertainment. In addition, Lois co-hosts a weekly podcast called “Lying on the Beach” with TV personality Steve Greenberg who is a contributor on NBC's Today Show. They interview luminaries who discuss their expertise and views on current events.

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