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This vanishing culture and importance of the work of these two young photographers was recently revived in the critically acclaimed documentary, The Last Resort. In stunning images, the people and their lives in South Beach at that time were captured with sincere interest, empathy, and honesty through the eyes of two photographers working in two distinctively different styles – Monroe in dramatic black and white using a Leica, Sweet in vivid color using a Hasselblad; Sweet more casual and spontaneous in style versus Monroe, more meticulous and structured.
“We photographed everyday life in South Beach. There was no need (or interest) in staging pictures; life there was rich and did not need coaxing,” Monroe explained. “We observed and our photographs described want we valued. Somehow, as isolated as South Beach was and as much as we worked together, we wound up describing what appears to be two different places.”
Sweet’s sister, Ellen Sweet Moss, accidentally discovered 30 boxes of his work in a family storage unit many years following his untimely death. Stan Hughes, Moss’ partner and photographer spent the next 10 years working to restore these precious prints. An opening reception and presentation by Photographer Gary Monroe with special guests Stan Hughes and Ellen Sweet Moss will take place at the Levis JCC Sandler Center on Sunday, January 5, 2020, from 2 – 4 pm in which they will share insights into this moment of time and the photographs that so vividly represent it. This reception is free and open to the public.
“Immediately after seeing the Documentary film my goal was to make this Side-by-Side duo exhibition a reality,” said Terri Berns, Exhibition Curator and Director of the Judi & Allan Schuman Museum Gallery. “Gary Monroe and the late Andy Sweet so beautifully captured a time and place familiar to me with their extraordinary images that are both immensely powerful and remarkably intimate – a true testament and sense of humanity for their subjects and their skills as photographers.”
Side-By-Side in Old South Beach: Photographs by Gary Monroe and Andy Sweet runs through February 16, 2020, and is free and open to the public.
Florida Fresh Miami Beach Retrospective programs and lectures are $18 unless otherwise noted.
Film: “The Last Resort”
Monday, January 6, 1 pm
The critically acclaimed documentary followed by a discussion with photographer Gary Monroe and special guests. Suggested Donation: $10
Vintage Miami Beach Glamour with Deborah C. Pollack
Friday, January 10, 1 pm
A rare chance to hear the untold stories of the elite crowd of socialites who inhabited the exclusive colony of Miami Beach from 1930 through 1960. Go inside the private clubs of America’s “winter playground” for a bird’s eye view of the scandals of the rich and famous during the “heyday of chic.”
Memorable Miami Beach “Characters” with Joann Biondi
Tuesday, January 14, 2:30 pm
Miami Beach was a collage of memorable characters through the decades: Desi Arnaz strumming his first guitar; The Rat Pack’s all-night carousing; and Muhammed Ali snagging the heavyweight championship of the world. Joann Biondi, author of “Miami Beach Memories” shares her nostalgic portraits and poignant anecdotes of days gone by.
South Beach Renaissance with Charles J. Kropke and Eleanor Goldstein
Wednesday, January 15, 7:30 pm
Today South Beach is an urban gem and international playground, but in the early 1980’s it faced the wrecking ball. Take a fascinating visual tour of South Beach— including the Gianni Versace mansion, Joe’s Stone Crab, the Jewish Museum and Lincoln Road, to appreciate the renaissance of the iconic resort.
And Away We Go: Jackie Gleason’s Impact on Miami Beach with Rabbi Paul Offenkrantz
Thursday, January 23, 7:30 pm
Gleason gave Miami Beach six years of high-visibility showbiz glamour when he moved his hit TV variety show from New York to the Miami Beach Auditorium in 1964. This presentation will be an overview of Gleason’s career from his early rise to fame, to “The Honeymooners,” and his final chapter on Miami Beach.
Tropical Diaspora: How the Jews of Cuba Changed Miami moderated by Debbie Reed Fischer Monday, January 27, 2:30 pm
Some of the fascinating topics to be discussed will include the difference between the lifestyles of the Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews in Cuba, how the “Jewbans” were influential in building downtown Miami, how they settled Miami Beach, and the synagogues they founded. Debbie Reed Fischer assisted with research and writing for the book Tropical Diaspora: The Jewish Experience in Cuba, which was the first study ever conducted on the Cuban-Jewish community.
The Last Jewish Gangster with Myron Sugerman
Wednesday, January 29, 7:30 pm
Myron Sugerman’s memoir, “The Chronicles of the Last Jewish Gangster: From Meyer to Myron,” is an enthralling account of the author’s six-decade career as an international outlaw in the field of slot machines, jukeboxes, gambling machines and casinos, as part of the Jewish mob. He rubbed shoulders with such legendary mob figures as Meyer Lansky, Lucky Luciano, and Tony Bananas Caponigro. Sugerman tells the Mob story from the Jewish viewpoint. He is an expert on a bygone era of old-school gangsters, their ethics, morality, and sense of right and wrong.
The History of Discrimination in South Florida with Seth Bramson
Monday, February 3, 7:30 pm
You may have heard some of the myths and stories dealing with the history of discrimination in South Florida, including signs that said “No Jews/No Dogs” in front of the famous hotels. But what are the facts? Professor Seth Bramson, America’s single-most published Florida history book author, will tell the real and true story about Jim Crow, segregation and restricted clientele.
The Vice of Miami during the 80’s with Pedro Medina León
Wednesday, February 5, 7:30 pm
It was the first half of the 1980’s and Miami was the city with the highest murder rate in the
United States and the center of operations of the drug cartels. It was no longer the tourist
destination it once was. Then in 1984, “Miami Vice” debuted on television. León will discuss how this iconic show redefined the style of the city and saved it from further downfall.
Miami Beach Comedy: A Cavalcade of Stars with Ira Epstein
Friday, February 7, 1 pm
Join us as we sample some classic routines by comedy stars Myron Cohen, Jack Carter, Alan Sherman, Jerry Seinfeld and others who find humor in the sunshine state.
The Art Deco Architecture of Miami Beach with Sharon Koskoff
Monday, February 10, 2:30 pm
During the 1930’s, almost 200 hotels and 500 apartment buildings were built on Miami Beach in the “deco” style. Uncover these architectural treasures and the influence the past makes on the future.
For more information or tickets, call the Sandler Center at 561-558-2520 or visit levisjcc.org/boxoffice.
Side-By Side in Old South Beach and Florida Fresh Miami Beach Retrospective are just part of the Levis JCC Sandler Center’s wide-ranging and noteworthy 2019-2020 Arts, Culture and Learning season.
About the Levis JCC Sandler Center
The Levis JCC’s Phyllis & Harvey Sandler Center, which highlights renowned talent from artists and actors to authors and so much more, gives adults of all ages and faiths an opportunity to connect with others who share similar interests in continuing education, travel and social events. Learn more at levisjcc.org/culture. The Levis JCC Sandler Center is located at 21050 95th Avenue S., Boca Raton.