“The Stage” is a formidable title for a spatially and conceptually capable venue. As of Jan. 7, Miami’s live music scene officially has a new outlet, a boldly adapted space to play host to the city’s musical vibe. Andrea Mejia, designer of the grounds, took cues from the syncopated past of historic New Orleans, perhaps the country’s most consistently bizarre and innovative musical hearth.
Cultural mixing and stimulation was the name of New Orleans’s artistic game, boasting cultivation of jazz and funk, brass and beats. The city’s musical prowess is forever endowed with names such as Louis Armstrong, Henry “Red” Allen, King Oliver and Fats Domino. In the same flavor, the Stage — thought up, out and into existence by Carlos F. Garcia and Sasha Torres — is looking to capitalize on Miami’s resounding cultural flux so as to give locally, internationally prominent artists a consistent venue for live performances.
What makes the Stage a potentially pivotal player and fertile hotbed for diverse talent is the venue’s multifariously hospitable aims. Conceptualized to account for the dialectical dynamic between artist and community, the Stage is intended to host everything entertaining, from art shows to films, music to theater. Garcia and Torres explained their chief motivation: “How [to] create a place where different people could have multiple experiences in the same venue at the same time.” Quite an entrepreneurial mouthful. The Design District instantly aligned with the duo’s ambitious expectations.
“The Stage” — a common, self-oriented name to complement an uncommon cultural core. But what is the place beyond its palatial specifications? Andrea Mejia honed in on two words, two ideals: charm and sophistication. They fit the Big Easy to a “T.” The staff, the décor and the menu are extensions of the performance-aura that The Stage emanates. Each of the former three accouterments is retrofitted with booming, ragtime New Orleans cues. The staff is outfitted in starched white button-ups under black vests, the décor is classic-jazz cool and comfortable and the menu features bourbon milk punch and mint julep, among other such Big Easy sips.
Dismiss, for a moment, the number of musical acts that The Stage has hosted already (a list that includes a three-day portion of the Miami Music Festival and various local popular acts such as the Jacuzzi Boys). The Stage includes a 200-square-foot gem of a stage (naturally), situated amid the tactfully appointed indoors, bordered by a capacious outdoors. But what the venue truly offers has little to do with feasibility and plenty to do with willingness. Garcia and Torres have stationed the setting upon the premise of flexibility. It functions as rehearsal space for local artists during the day and as peak-performance space come nighttime. A place as versatile and refined as The Stage has an obligation to promote city-wide talents in all their international rhythm, artistic charisma and community sway. Lucky for the Design District, plans for The Stage are grand enough to accommodate.
This weekend at the Stage
Friday night includes The Lee Boys on Sound Theory Live from 7 to 8 p.m., The Big Tasty from 8 to 10 p.m. and The Lee Boys from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Saturday features Robbie Hunter from 7 to 8 p.m., Don Sha from 9 to 11 p.m. and Ketchy Shuby from midnight to 2 a.m. DJ Manuvers & Sire ESQ perform throughout the night.
On Sunday, start off with family-style Sundays with Itagui (Locos Por Juana) featuring a kid-friendly farmer’s market with live music and activities brought to you by Soula Booking from noon to 6 p.m. Kids of all ages welcome. Rare Grooves by The Brass King plays from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.