A lot of crazy things happen in Miami. And a lot of them happen to Julian Yuri Rodriguez.
Which is why the filmmaker and artist — a Miami native — is such an excellent subject for MTV Other’s hilarious new web series No Seasons. Each of the eight episodes features the Cuban-American Rodriguez telling a story about one of the many bizarre events that befall him — a drunken brawl in an art gallery, a trip with his best friend to Space Camp, a kids’ birthday party that culminated in a grotesque surprise (“I feel like a lot of kids lost their innocence that day,” he says in voiceover, deadpan).
The tales, delivered with pure Miami style and humor, show a different, less glitzy city from what you’ll see in most movies or TV shows, one that actually looks like the place you live.
As for the stories, they come naturally, says Rodriguez, who has lived on Lake Mahar near the airport his entire life.
“Since I was a child, I was always dropping a vase in my mother’s house and saying the wildest excuse to get away from getting in trouble,” he says. “Once I got into filmmaking and writing, I really enjoyed telling stories even more. ... I have a weird energy that attracts this weird nonsense.”
Jillian Mayer and Lucas Levya of The Borscht Corp. — a collection of artists and filmmakers in Miami — came up with the idea for the show after meeting Rodriguez through a friend of Levya’s. Rodriguez had been studying printmaking at Miami Dade College but had his fill of school and was interested in working with Borscht.
Once Rodriguez launched into a wild tale about his boat being stolen from the lake behind his house, Levya was itching for his videocamera.
“I was like, ‘Dude, would it be OK if I came over to your house and filmed you telling the story?’” Levya recalls. “We shot it in an hour.”
The rough cut became the popular opening night film for the Borscht Film Festival in 2011 and, later, when MTV approached Levya and Mayer at South by Southwest looking for content, they offered it up. It eventually became the first episode of No Seasons, entitled Pirates.
Rodriguez’s appeal is a huge part of what makes the series work, Levya says.
“He’s very vulnerable, even though he’s kind of brash and confident,” he says. “He’s not embarrassed to say anything. He’s very magnetic. Everyone is drawn to him. ... There are so many weird characters in Miami, and Julian encounters them. Wherever he goes, somehow the weirdest people start talking to him.”
Rodriguez says that his friends and family are all proud of his work, and most of them are happy to be featured in the show. A neighbor plays a pivotal role in Pirates. His grandmother appears in episode three. The only person who doesn’t want to be on camera is his mom (who does make him a sandwich from afar in the first episode).
His only worry? His grandmother hasn’t yet seen the scenes in which he takes off his shirt and shows his tattoos.
“She doesn’t know I have tattoos all over my body,” he says, laughing. “I’m gonna get a phone call when she does. She’s very open-minded, but she hates tattoos.”
Rodriguez, who is also an accomplished director of music videos and short films (including C#CKFIGHT, a twisted take on Fight Club he directed for Borscht), says he’d love to do more episodes of No Seasons. At the moment he’s writing a feature film and planning to shoot it next year.
“It was a fun show to work on,” Rodriguez says. “I was happy I got to represent Miami the way I think Miami really is. Every time I see anything about Miami it’s always glamorized and mostly about South Beach. It’s cool to do something that really represents Miami.”
Watch the episodes at http://noseasons.mtv.com