Miami Life: YoungArts, New Restaurant, Literary Life, Dateline

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The next time you are in Miami make sure you visit one of the art installations created by Germane Barnes, a local-based architect and artist. Miami Beach’s Historic Paris Theater Is now a luxurious Japanese restaurant. I think I am one of thousands, maybe millions, of people, who listen to “The Literary Life with Mitchell Kaplan” a weekly podcast for book lovers. I can’t believe I know someone involved in a murder case that was just featured on Dateline.

YoungArts Miami 

The next time you are in Miami make sure you visit one of the art installations created by Germane Barnes, a local-based architect and artist. He is on a fast track to become one of the most influential young talents in both fields on a worldwide basis. I was introduced to him last Saturday night when he won the prestigious Arison Award at the YoungArts Miami Gala.

Established in 1981 by Lin and Ted Arison, YoungArts identifies exceptional young artists, amplifies their potential, and invests in their lifelong creative freedom. Ted Arison (February 1924 – October 1999) was an Israeli businessman who co-founded Norwegian Cruise Lines in 1966 with Knut Kloster and soon left to form Carnival Cruise Lines in 1972. Eliot and I were invited to the Young Arts Gala by our friend Maurice Zarmati, who began his cruise career as a regional sales manager at Carnival Cruise Lines in 1973, worked his way up to be CEO of Costa Cruises North America.

In the last 10 years Barnes has received numerous accolades, awards, and grants while working as an assistant professor at the University of Miami. His work explores the connection between architecture, race and identity. His work has been featured in international venues and publications, most notably The Museum of Modern Art NY, SF MoMA, MAS Context, The Graham Foundation, The New York Times, DesignMIAMI/ Art Basel, Metropolis, Domus, and The National Museum of African American History.

A Luxurious Japanese Restaurant is Now Open 


I used to feel so sad that the famous Paris Theater on Washington Avenue in Miami Beach was abandoned for years. It was built in 1945 by Henry Hohauser, a well-known Art Deco architect. The place was so well designed that many music companies would use the theater as the background for album covers and videos. Everyone; agent, producer or artistic director, used the Paris theater for staging performances and lectures. It was so Miami.

It’s a thrill that someone with great vision turned the theater into a super high-end restaurant. It reminds me of Studio 54 in NYC transformation from dance hall into two theaters. Either way, these glorious spaces are no longer vacant and have returned as major attractions.

The Paris Theater is now Queen Miami Beach. That makes an elaborate statement. Restaurateur Mathieu Massa, Queen’s owner has restored the space to its glamorous past and now it’s the ultimate dining experience. The restaurant serves Japanese cuisine and strives to present world-class hospitality mixed with oh-wow glamour.

Massa believes the timing is perfect. “Every day more and more accomplished folks are moving to Miami. This restaurant is perfect for that demographic.” The Miami Herald quoted Massa by saying, “We wanted to create the most beautiful, interesting, diverse, and fun mix of people possible, on every given night.”

He was born in the South of France and has lived in Miami for many years. He owns Massa Investment, a real estate development company, Massa Construction, and a hospitality management company called Mr. Hospitality Group.


Where: 550 Washington Ave., Miami Beach

Opens: Feb. 2, 2023

Being Present No Matter Where You Are 

I think I am one of thousands, maybe millions, of people, who listen to “The Literary Life with Mitchell Kaplan” a weekly podcast.  Mitchell owns Books & Books, an independent bookstore chain in Miami, and is probably one of the best-known personalities in all of Miami. Some folks say he is best known for the creation of the Miami Book Fair International, the largest community book festival in the United States, but I want to change all that.

I want the world to know if they want more meaning to their lives, they should set aside an hour each week to listen to Mitchell interview book authors about themselves, the books they write, the books they want to write and the books others have written. I have been listening to the 188 episodes Mitchell has published since August 25, 2018.

Even if I am in the worse mood, feeling defeated, unfulfilled and lost, I quickly recover 10 minutes into one of Mitchell’s discussions. All of a sudden, I feel energetic, hopeful and ambitious to do all of the things I have entered on my life’s bucket list.

There’s a good reason for my transformation. The people Mitchell interviews are folks who have something to say. By the way, some of them are not only authors. There are the occasional publishers, agents, and customers. The common thread is that they are all deep literary thinkers who talk about life in ways that are always uplifting and insightful. They tell you the truth, the behind the scenes scenarios of their successes and failures. They talk personal and business. Writers have a knack of telling stories that you can relate to. They help you see the larger picture that is filled with many opportunities.

The one major gift of The Literary Life podcast is that you start to read books you never would gave selected before. Mitchell has the gift of describing a book in such a  way that you immediately have to read it. He doesn’t give away the plot of the book but he does talk about the subject that makes you want to know more.

A case in point. This week he interviewed Emma Straub, the New York Times-bestselling author of four other novels–All Adults Here, Modern Lovers, The Vacationers, and Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures–and the short story collection Other People We Married. Her books have been published in twenty countries. She and her husband own Books Are Magic, an independent bookstore in Brooklyn, New York.

Her fifth book, This Time Tomorrow, is about time travel.

Never in my life would I want to read a novel about this subject. Yet, after listening to the interview which mentions that the book takes place on the upper west side of Manhattan, it talks about private school and childhood friends, I was hooked.

In fact, I am very much considering s time travel journey to my 16th year, starting a diet and sticking to it, getting a tutor for every class I didn’t like (there are many) and perhaps spending more time with my father who died young.

Thank you, Mitchell, for introducing me to a phenomenon I never thought possible. Listen on Apple Podcasts

Dateline Episode Trailer: The Bad Man | Dateline NBC

I can’t believe that I actually know a woman who was involved in a murder mystery case. My neighbor, Gloria Winkowski, told me about the murder that took place years ago soon after she moved from Rochester, New York, to Miami. We were having breakfast in Joe’s Take Away, the self service restaurant owned by Joe’s Stone Crab, (exactly next door) when she spilled the beans to me.

It all sounded so unreal that I almost couldn’t absorb most of the story. After all, how often does a person tell you that they have a friend who was murdered with an ax. When her friend was discovered by the police, the ax was still stuck in her head. Ouch!

The second most upsetting part of the story was that the murderer was still not convicted 30 years later. Gloria, and other neighbors and friends, had been interviewed by the police countless times yet the cops didn’t feel they had the proper evidence to arrest the husband.

The murder took place across the street from the Winkowski’s. I just can’t imagine how Gloria and her husband felt staring at that house for so many years. Most of the time it was empty. I know this doesn’t seem plausible, but the husband took his three-year-old daughter and moved back home to Minnesota a few days after his wife was murdered. The police had a very difficult time reaching him for interviews. He managed to stay free for three decades.

Dateline, one of the most popular TV shows on the air, just released an episode on the case. Of course, Gloria was interviewed. She says the show didn’t tell the whole story. She promised she would reveal everything to me over the next few weeks. Stay tuned. The plot thickens.



  • 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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