Into Miami

While I have complete confidence in the durability of the American Airlines Arena — the basement of which I am currently writing you from — in the face of the descending tropical storm, of the red carpet, white tents and fresh sod just outside the door… well, I’m not so sure.

Yes, it’s that time of year, and I am here in Miami — sweating — again. The 2005 MTV Video Music Awards are nearly upon us. As is Katrina.

So I’m doing my little morning stretching routine (I know, I sound like I’m an 80-year-old, but it’s the back, ok?) in my hotel room (The Hyatt, if you must know, and yes — it’s pretty f’in’ ghetto) watching the Today Show (I know, I sound like I’m an 80-year-old, but…) when Channel 6 breaks in with a storm warning.

Bear in mind that the title of the two-hour pre-show for which my team is responsible is “The Pre-Show By The Shore.” Our red carpet is about fifteen feet from Biscayne Bay. Heck, out red carpet is Biscayne Bay. Half a dozen artists are showing up in yachts.

I arrived, by contrast, via shuttle van. I walked right past my colleague, Jonathan, after baggage claim, such was the tranquility of my Tuesday morning flight. We are staying, as I mentioned, at The Hyatt located in beautiful downtown Miami. It is an area, I imagine, much like New York’s South Street Seaport, or Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. That is, locals never see it. And they’re not missing much. The hulking Moby Dick of a structure known as The American Airlines Arena does not, I’m betting, see action well beyond The Miami Heat. Likewise, the surrounding environs don’t see much action. Clearly, the city is doing its best to revitalize the area. Still, it’s little more than highways, parking lots, and half-constructed buildings.

South Beach, by contrast, where much of the MTV talent (Diddy, Ludacris, Ashlee, Jessica, etc) will be partying well into the wee hours, is off across the bay in the distance. I don’t expect I’ll make it that far afield this year. Instead, were I a gambling man, I’d bet we’ll find ourselves huddled around warm Miller Lights at the Hyatt sports bar, Currents, just as we did last night. What our hotel watering hole lacks in star power, however, my colleagues will make up for in wit.

I’m currently hunkered down in the MTV News offices in basement of the Triple A with my co-workers. We’re all watching The Weather Channel. A Broward County official just said, “Start thinking what you need in the house for the next 36 hours.” Accordingly, we’re reviewing our rain contingency plans. In a nutshell? Grab a raincoat, and hold onto something rooted in the earth.

There’s another storm gathering here, Katrina notwithstanding. The buzz is building as the sets come together, and my colleagues arrive. We’ve accomplished quite a bit — most of which I’d lose my job if I wrote about.

Suffice to say that you ought to tune into The MTV on Sunday night at 6 p.m. And for Heaven’s sake, if you value me, my web site, my music, please click early, and click often at The MTV Dot Com.

Meanwhile, I’ll be here, hustling through a melancholy turpor, listening to Counting Crows on repeat…

Make a circle in the sand
Make a halo with your hand
I’ll make a place for you to land

See you when you gete here…

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