Kendrick Lamar, Dec. 1 at Faena Hotel Miami Beach
Near the end of his sold-out Miami Art Week concert Thursday night at Faena Hotel Miami Beach, rapper Kendrick Lamar interrupted a performance of his single "Alright" with a threat. "Hey, hey, we got a private plane," Lamar hollered to his bandmates, wiping his brow with a black T-shirt. "Let's go back to L.A."
Lamar motioned to leave, to exit the white dome under which he had been performing for the past hour, and an expected chorus of boos erupted from the densely packed audience. Lamar, of course, was only joking, and the Grammy-winning singer behind 2015's boldly confrontational album "To Pimp a Butterfly" charged back to the stage apron as the bass dropped, swung his arm down like an ax splitting firewood, and finished his lyric: "But we gon' be all right!"
Drenched in perspiration but never waning in energy or charisma, Lamar delivered a hot, loud and intimate set under a beachside structural dome that was barely larger than a yurtand had been erected behind the Faena Hotel Miami Beach. Never mind that Lamar, stifled by the dome's heat, peeled off one of his shirts two songs in. And never mind that speakers encircling the dome reduced the acoustics of Lamar's music and vocals to an eardrum-punishing thrum not unlike the adult voices from "Peanuts" cartoons.
None of it mattered Thursday night for Lamar's concert, a last-minute affair announced Monday as on sale only to American Express cardholders. More than once, Lamar acknowledged the venue's saunalike conditions: "Y'all are going to lose some weight in this bitch," he said with a laugh, wiping his forehead. "Thank y'all for not caring that you're gonna mess up your pretty new Art Basel cardigans and dresses."
Lamar frequently took advantage of the intimate setting. After a spirited performance of "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe," the chart-topping single from his 2012 album "Good Kid, M.A.A.D City," Lamar stopped to sign autographs. "Throw anything you want up here. I'll sign that s---," he said, as audiences passed T-shirts, ticket stubs and a pair of Chuck Taylors to the stage. On another occasion, just before he launched into the bouncy, racially charged single "King Kunta," Lamar grew personal. Noticing a fan's shirt in the front row at stage left, he said it reminded him of a song he was writing. He rapped a few lines: "From a Swisher Sweet to a hotel suite/Was it everything you dreamed?"
Throughout the night, projected videos of Prince danced across the dome's ceiling, interspersed with footage of President Barack Obama dancing with Ellen DeGeneres and of Bill O'Reilly's infamous tirade on "Inside Edition." While Lamar rapped indoors, British artist Shantell Martin sketched a large mural behind the dome, a canvas of freestyle black lines influenced by the beats, hooks and lyrics of the show.
Scott Campbell's "Whole Glory" at Juxtapoz Clubhouse
Ricky Valderrama shoved his right arm through the hole in the wall, and felt the soothing coolness of rubbing alcohol sterilize his arm, followed by a tattoo gun's needle brushing his skin. His girlfriend Jezebel Terzado, sitting nearby in a pink sweater, winced. She asked if it hurt.
"No, it's throbbing, like after you scrape yourself real bad," Valderrama, of North Miami, said.
One hour and fifteen minutes later, the tattoo artist tapped Valderrama's arm from behind the wall at Juxtapoz Clubhouse, a Wynwood gallery pop-up that opened Thursday for Miami Art Week. He was done.
Valderrama withdrew his arm: There, beneath the reddened skin, glossy under the art gallery's fluorescent light, was a skeleton cradling the word "Amor" between its arms. It was the first time he'd seen the tattoo.
"I love it, such clean lines. And it's night next to my girlfriend's name," Valderrama said, pointing at the word "Jezebel" tattooed in manuscript nearby.
For eight hours on Thursday, inside a black, rectangular box adorned with Day of the Dead-style skulls, tattoo artist Scott Campbell inked free tattoos on five people who didn't see them until they were finished. For his two-day marathon tattooing project "Whole Glory," which ends Friday, Campbell, 39, anonymously tattooed the arms of complete strangers through an arm-size hole.
Campbell, on a break between arms that afternoon, said he never meets his subjects beforehand.
"The one big difference between tattooing and fine art is that your tattoo's canvas has an opinion," said Campbell, a licensed tattoo artist for 20 years who has inked Heath Ledger, Marc Jacobs and Penelope Cruz. "You can't be spontaneous in what you make, because you're asking for permission, and so the freedom to tattoo whatever I wanted was interesting to me."
To participate in "Whole Glory," which began in November 2015 at New York's Milk Gallery and has since traveled to London, gallery visitors entered a lottery drawing Thursday morning. After their name was randomly drawn, participants signed a waiver indemnifying Campbell in case they disliked their tattoos, said Song Chong, director of Milk Gallery. Names were called every 90 minutes.
Valderrama, who had lingered in the gallery for five hours before Chong drew his name, said the skeleton is his seventh tattoo and "a good story to tell Hailey," his 4-year-old daughter, when she grows up.
"I'm actually a fun, open-minded person," Valderrama said. "My aunt called me up a couple hours ago and asked what it felt like putting my arm in the 'glory hole.' And I laughed, I told her, "Well, it's not like touching a penis. It's not sexual. It's art.' "
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