Through Art Fuzz, Collective America Exposes South Florida to Bands, Art, and Museums

Milk Spot
Milk Spot
Taylor M. Cohen

Musicians Pino and Taylor M. Cohen are a legitimately cool pair. Though each is separately involved in different sorts of musical endeavors, the two young women come together with other exciting musical acts to raise arts awareness in Fort Lauderdale. They're doing these good deeds through different projects that unite music, video, alternative art spaces, museums, local stores, and the visual arts.

The two "lady friends" met at drag rendition of the '80s sitcom about boarding school teens, The Facts of Life. The show took place in Fort Lauderdale at Empire Stage, a small place run by a few guys who play all the roles. Pino and Cohen joked that they also caught a version of Silence of the Clams there.

Pino plays bass for Fort Lauderdale-based band Milk Spot, but she's also attending FAU with plans of becoming a teacher. Cohen, originally from Colorado, is a singer, rapper, and songwriter. Though she went to hairstylist school, she's currently the lone female in African hip-hop coalition Space Boy. Her main focus right now, though, is her project with Pino: Collective America.

See also: Milk Spot's Rob Kingsley: "A Fun Band Made Up of Whimsical People"

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Formed in 2014, Cohen says its goal is to "connect the community through arts and culture... We realize that everyone in the community has different traits, and we formed a haven for people to share those traits with the community." And they do this largely through music.

Pino is apparently the lady with all the concepts. The first of her visions they manifested into reality was an art show last May at a now-closed warehouse space, Oakland Unity 88. "Idiot Boys" was all about empowering women (naturally). They worked with eight female artists -- including Kazilla, Lorelai Atrea, Renata Rojo, and Melissa Snyder -- five bands, and a local DJ. Half the profits from the event's silent auction went to Strong Women Strong Girls, a Boston-based multigenerational mentoring program that no longer has a Fort Lauderdale office.

Through Art Fuzz, Collective America Exposes South Florida to Bands, Art, and Museums
Taylor M. Cohen

Their newest venture, Art Fuzz, is kind of complex. It was inspired when Miami duo Pocket of Lollipops recorded live at an unconventional space, Delray Beach's Kismet Vintage. Kismet's had plenty of in-store live music shows and, in a stroke of brilliance, began recording them. After Milk Spot recorded there too, Pino started thinking bigger.

They had an opportunity to explore ideas at coworking creative space General Provisions in FAT Village, but ended up taking the fun idea to Young at Art Museum through a connection and collaboration with another arts collective, Bedlam Lorenz Assembly.

Artist Christopher Ian MacFarlane had an exhibition there -- a livable, walkable house made out of cardboard. They picked a room and gathered eight bands to play there in two closed sessions. As it turns out, Pino is also a video editor. "She always has a camera in her hand," Cohen explained. So they filmed and recorded the music front of the installation.

"It's a small room," Pino said. "We had these bands, some two-piece bands and five-piece bands, packed into this cardboard room. Each room was themed around something. It was interesting to work with different challenges, soundwise."

 

Rob Kingsley of Killmama, Milk Spot, and ReelTone Recordings dealt with those trials doing the sound at these sessions. "He's the man. He's amazing," said Pino of her bandmate.

Killmama
Killmama
Taylor M. Cohen

Cohen called the acts they picked "the sickest bands in South Florida." The only nonlocal was Kat C.H.R., who actually has a band here but travels back and forth from Kingston, Jamaica, to play. "What was so cool about it was they were all so excited about each other," she continued. Pocket of Lollipops performed first and just hung around for hours to watch all the other acts. "Everyone was really stoked on each other," Cohen assured.

They keep "everything really low budget," Pino said of the financial aspects of working with this many people. The money, she explained, "It recycles itself." Whatever they make, they then use it for the next event. As Collective America, they want Art Fuzz to travel to museums or art spaces, to repeat it, or do another series in front of another work of art. "It's made to drive people to museums... in form of exposure." So people will see the videos and see the artwork and want to experience it firsthand.

Through Art Fuzz, Collective America Exposes South Florida to Bands, Art, and Museums
Taylor M. Cohen

Art Fuzz, as a completed project, is going to include a compilation album as well as three recorded songs and videos from each band. These include Milk Spot, Killmama, Kat C.H.R., Pocket of Lollipops, the Grey 8s, Plastic Pinks, Wastelands, and Bleeth. Cohen adds, "One video for each of the bands will include custom animation by local cartoonist Rolby Perez of NeitherZine."

The videos are going to be screened February 6 with live bands at Jump the Shark in Flagler Village. There will be, Pino says, "a night about the art that was there and the bands that played."

Art Fuzz, with Wastelands, Milk Spot, Killmama, the Grey 8s, Pocket of Lollipops, the Plastic Pinks, Bleeth, and Kat C.H.R., 6 p.m. to midnight, February 6, at Jump the Shark, 810 NE Fourth Ave., Fort Lauderdale.

Visit Collective America's Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube channel.

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