On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I woke up late in a hotel in L.A., where I was on assignment, turned on the TV, and saw the World Trade Center imploding. I looked down and I was on the floor. My legs literally gave way beneath me. I have no memory of how it happened physically; just that, for an instant, everything collapsed.

Wednesday’s riot against American democracy felt far worse, as if the earth was dissolving. Watching a raging, violent mob break into the massive edifice of the U.S. Capitol, trying to tear down our democracy, seeing an…

Women lead an immigrant rights march in Miami. Photo by Jordan Levin.

There doesn’t seem to be much to celebrate this 4th of July, or about being American these days. Stupidity at the top and selfishness all over has left us sinking deeper into a pandemic swamp while more competent countries are climbing out, startled at how pathetic we’ve become. The wave of protests propelled by the killing of George Floyd has revealed racism as a toxic rot that has hollowed out our system and mocks our belief in fairness. Our so-called president keeps blasting a flamethrower at our values. His allies cheer, or cower in fear; his supporters salivate. It’s easy…

8BC opening night invite

8BC. It sounds ancient, like a marker of a bygone civilization, doesn’t it? And walking into 8BC was like descending into an archeological site. You entered at street level into another world; a cavelike room with towering walls of pitted concrete, where the floor dropped away in front of you and you descended rough wood stairs to a dirt pit filled with people, the ceiling vaulting high above. The stage, also at street level, floated on the other side. …

Walled off. Photo by Jordan Levin

Not knowing is the scariest part. We’re waiting for a disaster whose dimensions, whose limits you can’t see. How long will the coronavirus plague us? Weeks? Months? And the economic fallout? Will it change life forever? Anything seems possible.

Living in Miami for over 30 years, I’ve gotten used to preparing for one kind of disaster — hurricanes. The terrifying possibilities of these monster storms were something I knew. …

Everybody knows — or should — that hip hop came out of the Bronx. Not so many people know that hip hop passed from uptown to the rest of the world via the downtown scene, most essentially via the Roxy, a gigantic former roller skating rink on the far West Side of New York that two hipster Brits turned into a roiling vortex of movement and music every Friday night, a transformational explosion that changed everything.

I’m not here to give you the history of hip hop at the beginning of the 80s (for that, read Jeff Chang’s Can’t Stop…

Dancing in the Snow, in the Sky, in the Streets, in Gold

The notice was just a small square in the Village Voice, and would have been easy to miss without the line drawing of an airplane. “Audition for Tim Miller’s next piece,” it said. “You must be willing to jump out of an airplane.”

I idolized Tim Miller. But it was the possibility of leaping into space that ensured I would go. What did he mean, exactly, jump out of an airplane? Would there be a parachute?

Slam. Splat. Boom. Dancing downtown in the early 80’s was thuddingly, grottily…

Michael Stewart

Whenever I tell people the story of what happened to Michael Stewart lately I start to cry. Even though he was killed over 36 years ago. In fact, sometimes his death seems worse to me now than when it happened. I’m not sure why. Is it because, at the time, his death was so frightening that I couldn’t bear to imagine the light disappearing from his eyes, his consciousness evaporating into darkness as a cop pulled a nightstick tighter and tighter against his neck? A bunch of burly cops and skinny, shy, friendly, pretty Michael, closed in the impenetrable metal…

Dancing on the bar at the Pyramid Club was a semi-regular gig for me for a while in the mid-80’s. Since I bartended at 8BC, another East Village club, on Fridays, Brian Butterick, one of the people who ran the Pyramid then, would usually call and ask if I could dance on Saturday night. I’d almost always say yes — it was a good gig, $50 for three hours. You had to be on at midnight, so around 10:30pm, I’d pack up my gear — corset or pointy black lace bra, black rubber mini-skirt, spikey black high-heeled ankle boots or…

My mother’s doctor called around noon, just a couple hours after the MRI. It had shown what he suspected, that my 88-year-old mother had an infection in her spine. He urged me to get her to the hospital in Burlington, an hour’s drive, right away. How soon can you get going, you don’t want to run into traffic, he said. Traffic. His voice was calm, but that he was worried about a delay of maybe half an hour alarmed me.

On the other side of the closed bedroom door, my mother was overseeing my 14-year-old daughter as she made cookies…

They’re planning another mega project two blocks up the street. Towers with thousands of apartments shooting into the sky, great swathes of stores. It sounds like the one they want to build another two blocks up. They included plans for a park (or “open space”) in the second one, pretty pictures of green spaces with white people in them. Like anyone besides the people who can afford the apartments that will sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars will feel like they could go to that “park” amidst the antiseptic moonspires that were also in the pictures. Oh, and there’s…

jordanglevinmia

Writer, journalist, arts lover, mother of a teen daughter, veteran Miamian, bi-lingual, culturally fluid, former dancer, community rooted.

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