Monday, April 20, 2009

The Boy From Ipanema

ipanemic Ipanemic getting all Greta Garbo on my ass. And no, he didn't drink all those beers.

In case you haven't heard, my friend Ipanemic has embarked on a colossal cross-country road trip from Miami to Los Angeles on his scooter. Word has it, what with his backpack and saddlebags, he can still burn rubber at 40 MPH.

Ipanemic is one of the most interesting guys I've ever had the pleasure to meet. When I first crossed paths with this slim, demure dude, I don't think he even owned a camera. And in less than two years, he owned his camera and not just in the financial sense -- he became quite the photographer. He explored the erotic, the boudoir, the playful, the nude, soft porn and sometimes even crossed the line to the point where even I got tired of seeing so much tits, ass and vagina on his Flickr stream. But the subject matter of his photography is not the point here: his tenacity, passion and commitment to the craft was impressive.

And it wasn't just about the babes. He also took some amazing street photography that captured some very real, painfully hard to observe scenes on South Beach. He was a pair of eyes for me on the reality prowl when I had already become too jaded to look.

Click, click, click ... in between lighting a cigarette and taking a drag -- he could barely sit down for brunch on Lincoln Road. That's how madly, madly in love he was with the camera and what he was capturing. And always, absolutely always, he was humble about his talent.

He's like that in many ways. One day, he invited me over for dinner and cooked me noodles with chicken, oriental style. He apologized for the dish not being perfect, but, in fact, it was perfect -- perfect for that shared meal among two friends. Besides, it really was quite tasty! You can whip up magic in those small South Beach studio kitchens.

Ipanemic and I are vastly different; yet somehow, I think I get him. He's into caffeine and I haven't had coffee since July 2007. He's into (or was into) photographing women and I'm just a straight girl trying to make sense of it all. He somehow thrived on South Beach, just as I made my departure, although he would make an exit not too long after me. Whenever I hung out with him, I knew I was in the presence of someone who was also trying to make sense of it all; I knew I was talking to someone with a limitless amount of whatever wonderfulness he could contribute to this world.

And so, even though I didn't hang out with Ipanemic day in and day out, and even if his craft took a different bent from mine, I feel like his road trip brings yet another South Beach chapter to a close. It really does -- I've seen so many people come and go from this town and Ipanemic's case is particularly poignant.

You get burned. Or maybe burned isn't the right word. He has his own metaphor for it, something about circles and a rhombus. But somehow, no matter how you dissect it, no matter how you draw it, no matter how you cut it up, eat it, spew it out and put it back together again, you just have to get away from the island. I completely understand.

Ipanemic is on a mission now and I'm happy for him, because I think -- no, I sense it intuitively -- that he's somehow following his heart. These journeys outward are always a journey within. He may be looking for the fabled girl of Ipanema, but what he passes by and doesn't see is that he is a treasure unto himself.

God speed, my friend.

You know you'll always have friends here in Miami.

Visit for posts or keep up with South Florida Daily Blog for "Where the Hell is Ipanemic?" updates. You can also join the discussion about the trip at Miami Beach 411's forums.

Carlos Miller put together a great video of Ipanemic's farewell. The road trip is sponsored, in part, by Miami Tour Company.


pod_bs said...

One of the tricks to "longevity" in this area, is to not live on the island, to be honest. Very few people who do live there manage to stay for an appreciable amount of time. I've always lived "close enough", but never on.

Going on year twelve.

Scott said...

Thanks for the kind words, Maria. I didn't get burned out so much, though, as just feeling that I need to go on this trip. It's a beautiful place, the beach, and I hope to come back soon. But I don't know what lies ahead.