A Miami based contemporary art newsletter / blog

Jet Set Saturdays: Sleigh Run at Miami Art Space


Justin H. Long and Meatball’s X-Mas Seligh Run as seen by would-be Santas.

In keeping with our coverage of holiday high jinks that began last Saturday evening with Spinello Gallery’s toy drive, last night we went to the Miami New Times Christmas Party at Miami Art Space (MAS) where Justin Long and Meatball had orchestrated a sleigh run.

For many people, including ourselves, the ride (sans neige) was the only reason to attend. Its not that the party itself was bad, the food despite looking a little like snot was actually very tasty, but the sleigh run was by far the most animated and captivating feature of the evening – apart from maybe the gyrations of the Blue Moon and Red Bull girls, although admittedly we didn’t linger inside longer than to grab a drink (Velvet Elvis or something) and left early.


Dashing through the snow.

For those that haven’t yet had the pleasure, Long, Meatball, and associated goons have become the quintessential accompaniment to any vaguely artsy event in Miami. Far and above mere spectacle, their many contraptions and themed rides, borne of insuppressible wit and a desire to exact with mechanical dexterity a playful equilibrium in the arts, are novel for more reasons than the obvious. While all many might derive is a mindless excuse to ‘hoot,’ the group are elegantly filling a hitherto unnoticed hole in the universe and ironically, regardless of how chaotic their creations might be, they provide unexpected harmony through incongruity.


Silhouetted, the iconic image of Santa against the moon gets an ET style makeover.

Long and Meatball’s ability to unwittingly become the center of attention, regardless of the event or their intention to simply provide a peripheral escape, exemplifies their practice; an as yet unclassified animal evolving here in the swamp; perhaps the illegitimate spawn of Bert Rodriguez’ “Service Aesthetics” and the Avant Garde.

Much like how Chris Burden and Vito Acconci came to epitomize a masochistic branch of performance art, Long and Meatball, their names alone adequate to spearhead a movement, are creating with their cavorting subculture appropriations an anthology of outwardly machismo yet softhearted and essentially harmless experiential deathtraps. Incorporating bikes, ramps, revolving platforms and an innate love of mechanics to educe from everyday instruments a diverse range of bastardized paraphernalia, their oeuvre, sort of Death Race 2000 meets Noddy in Toyland, never fails to amuse the crowds to the point of distraction whilst simultaneously providing a steadily awesome back drop to Miami’s fecund arts community.


Bridging all age and culture boundaries, though failing to impress inflatable flamingos, the ride (sober or not) was a big hit.

“You never know what they will do” said one onlooker “but they always make you laugh your ass off.”


Mindful of the urgency to deliver all presents before sunrise, Rudolph picks up the pace. Whoosh.

For the most part, Long stood by grinning through a dirty gray Santa beard as Meatball, wearing brown tights, an alpaca cardigan, and a rubber horses head accessorized with an antlers towed party goers around at various speeds, working himself into a festive sweat.


Imagine that nibbling on your carrot!

There’s really not much else to say about the event other than that despite Meatball’s lack of a bright red nose, the ride was a shining, guiding light. More please!

This post was contributed by Thomas Hollingworth.

1 Comment

  • Mister Arrow

    If you enjoyed this you would have loved the weekly book burnings and croquet matches at the “wet paint house” in the edge water section of Miami circa 1988.
    Davis Murphy had keen engineering skills, his most infamous contribution was a vacuum cleaner and propane gas flame thrower. The final eviction event party culminated with a large group demolition of the house with sledge hammers, chains and trucks. Everyone motivated by alcohol and mushroom tea. Very dangerous and very fun.
    I have photos.

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Jet Set Saturdays: Sleigh Run at Miami Art Space