By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Daniel Reskin
Family dysfunction takes center stage in a rollicking romp direct from the acclaimed Edinburgh Festival Fringe and off-Broadway runs. Opening at the Arsht Center November 4, The Walworth Farce teeters between gut-busting hilarity and shocking realism. It's the tale of one Irish clan's personal mythology and incorporates rapid costume changes, cross-dressing, and mistaken identities. Enda Walsh's rampaging riot combines a ripping portrait of warped blood kin with plenty of skeletons in the closet and white-knuckle suspense.
On November 7, the irrepressible Julie Dossavi will bring her high-wattage act to the Colony Theatre, where she will infuse African dance forms with jolts of high fashion and street culture. Presented by the Miami Light Project, this Paris-based, Benin-born dancer and choreographer draws on diverse sources such as electronic dance music, club culture, gymnastics, and tribal ritual. Her distinctive works are modern, ethnic, expressive, and abstract.
November 8 through 15 will see the return of Miami Book Fair International, the nation's oldest and largest collection of authors. The streets of downtown Miami will transform into a weeklong bonanza for bibliophiles of all stripes. Margaret Atwood, Al Gore, Sanjay Gupta, Allegra Huston, Dennis Lehane, Jill McCorkle, Ana Menendez, Ralph Nader, Elizabeth Nuñez, Todd Oldham and Jeannette Walls are just a few of the more than 300 authors from the United States and abroad scheduled to gather at Miami Dade College's Wolfson Campus to read from their works in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Haitian Kreyol.
On November 13, peripatetic wag and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, host of the Travel Channel's popular culinary and cultural adventure series bearing his name, will make a curtain call at the Arsht Center, where he will be joined by master chefs Jacques Pépin and Eric Ripert. One of the world's best-known French chefs, Emmy-winning Pépin has been honored with France's Légion d'honneur; he is also author of La Technique, widely considered the Bible of the fundamentals of French cuisine. A chef and co-owner of New York's acclaimed Michelin three-star-winning Le Bernardin, Ripert is a frequent guest judge on Bravo's Top Chef. He is also the brain behind a series of online cooking videos called Get Toasted, focusing on easy and quick meals that can be prepared in minutes with a toaster oven. Bourdain will surprise Pépin and Ripert with a basket of mystery ingredients in a simultaneous cooking demonstration guaranteed to turn up the heat.
The first week of the month will greet the Magic City with a fresh coat of paint, a dust of Euro-trash glitter, and an influx of cultural honchos for the sprawling Art Basel Miami Beach confab. Billed as the most prestigious art show on the planet, the event has become the undisputed highlight of our cultural season, transforming Miami into a citywide installation boasting everything from museum-caliber works at the Miami Beach Convention Center to fresh graffiti on urban walls and cheeky ephemeral projects tucked into Wynwood's every nook and cranny.
At the convention center, more than 250 top-drawer art galleries from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa will exhibit 20th- and 21st-century artworks by more than 2,000 artists. Art Basel will also include special exhibition sections featuring rising young galleries, performance art, public art projects, and video art. Inoculate yourself against Baselphrenia and make sure to visit Wynwood's gallery scene, which will boast local talent, late-night bashes, and the ubiquitous Grolsch- or Bacardi-sponsored open bar. Don't forget to check out Miami's museums, most of which will turn out their best shows of the year. At the Myrna and Sheldon Palley Pavilion for Contemporary Glass and Studio Arts at the University of Miami's Lowe Art Museum, Ricky Bernstein's "Kitchen Dreams" pokes fun at and commiserates with characters wrapped up in the dramas of daily life. He captures moments of frustration in oversize, vibrantly colored glass cartoon wall reliefs. Bernstein's blown sheet glass of painted commercial glass combines aluminum, wood, plastic, acrylic paints, color pencils, and other mixed materials to create assemblages that are social satires with a distinct pop-art flavor. At the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami, "The Reach of Realism" examines the contradiction between the increasing distrust of information and the strong desire to isolate the authentic. Artists in the exhibit employ performance photography, video, and film to explore themes of redemption and transformation as they inspire alternative views.
December 8 through 13, Billy Crystal will bring his Tony- and Drama Desk-winning solo show, 700 Sundays, to the Arsht Center, where one of America's A-list funnymen recalls the hilarious travails of his youth. Crystal combines recollections of his parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles — growing up in the bebop world of Manhattan jazz, his love of sports, Sunday-night jam sessions, back-yard barbecues, and silent home movies — with moving remembrances of the roads he traveled on the way to becoming one of Hollywood's favorite stars.
The year 2009 will howl to a close with 101 Dalmatians: The Musical, a delightful canine spectacular for the entire family. Presented December 30 at the Arsht Center, the furry fantasy unfolds the story of a four-legged family banding together to overcome tough times in a snappy production that promises to leave one and all cheering and wagging their rumps.