If you've ever wanted to get behind the minds and hear the stories of spectacularly creative and successful artists, the YoungArts Salon series is a great - and little known - way to do that. Most Miamians know the National YoungArts Foundation, at its startling Bacardi Building campus on Biscayne Boulevard, for its gatherings of the cream of the nation's teen artistic talent, and more recently, for its Outside the Box outdoor performances (like Tarell Alvin McCraney's transformative version of "Romeo and Juliet.")
The Salon series is very different, putting one or two artists together with a moderator to talk about their work and life, and then opening up for questions. Sessions are held in Ted's, the small cabaret room at the top of the main tower, where a wall of windows makes it seem as if you're floating over the city, in a sunset-streaked fishbowl cradling a conversation with some amazing people. They've included actor/director Robert Redford, hiphop legend Fab 5 Freddy, musician Ben Folds, visual artist Daniel Arsham, and jookin dance master Lil' Buck.
This Wednesday, the salon hosts producer Arthur Baker, the architect of early 80's electro-funk touchstone Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock" and Brit New Wave godfathers New Order's "Confusion" - bedrock sounds for EDM. Baker (whose underground bonafides are matched by work with stars like Mick Jagger and Cyndi Lauper) will be joined by Bruno Del Granado, one of those behind-the-scenes music industry linchpins, who's worked with Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias, launching MTV Latin America, and more. They'll be talking about spotting talent, development, and making it. These are standard music industry subjects, but Baker and Granado, who've made it through a gift for hearing and spotting what's fresh, should make it real. Their interlocutor and youth translator will be 2015 YoungArts finalist Victoria Canal.
Tickets now (they’ve gotten cheaper) cost just $10, and include cocktails (usually just wine, but less than you'd pay for a single drink in South Beach, where you'd probably never be able to approach people of this caliber.) Whether you're a musician longing to break in or just someone who wants to know how smart, ahead-of-the-curve musicmakers think, this should be a helluva evening.
If you go
What: YoungArts Salon with Arthur Baker and Bruno del Granado
When: 6:30pm cocktails, 7 p.m. talk Wednesday
Where: Ted's at YoungArts, 2100 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
Info: $10 at YoungArts.org/salon-series