It was a dream come true to actually hang out with my hero and (for better or worse) early role model for the filming of the Miami episode of Parts Unknown. Now some grumpy **** is going to point out, “Wait a minute. Iggy’s not from Miami! He wasn’t born here! What the ****?”
True enough. But who in Miami WAS born in Miami? Believe me, we explore that exact issue in this episode, with people who proudly WERE born here.
But Iggy, like so many Miamians, came here to live after having lived a previous life — or in Iggy’s case many previous lives. Miami has always been both refuge and reward for people from somewhere else lured by a long-standing dream, the promise of some kind of peace of mind on a beach.
We look at the origins of Miami and the Miami that millions of Cubans, Nicaraguans, Venezuelans, and Americans see as the place — if things go right or things go wrong — to go. The place that will always, hopefully, be waiting for them.
Stylistically, we were thinking of the great Italian film La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty). Our intention was to portray the unique architecture of Miami and Coral Gables in the same symmetrical, classical way that that film’s director portrayed Rome. Also, we lifted the film’s glorious early party sequence, which took some doing.
To Uncle Luke (aka “Luke Skywalker”), Mac of Mac’s Club Deuce, the amazing Questlove, Miami’s own chef Michelle Bernstein, and all the people who helped us make pretty pictures in this incredible town — and of course to James Osterberg of Ann Arbor, Michigan (aka Iggy Pop )— thank you.
A version of this field note was originally posted on Bourdain’s Tumblr feed on May 2, 2015.