Arts & Eats Guide 2009

A year-round feast of food and culture in the Magic City.

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January

The Miami City Ballet blazes into 2010 with a torrid tale of a hoofer who falls for a dancehall vamp who gets mowed down by her jealous beau. Opening at the Arsht Center January 8, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue is taken from the hit Rodgers and Hart Broadway musical On Your Toes. It weaves an arresting story of gangsters, strippers, and attempted murder — with unusual elements including talking parts and tap dancing. The fast-paced and wildly entertaining Balanchine classic is performed to one of Richard Rodgers's most infectious scores.

Al Jarreau, as part of Jazz Roots: Jazz and Soul, February at the Arsht Center
Al Jarreau, as part of Jazz Roots: Jazz and Soul, February at the Arsht Center
Lang Lang, March at the Arsht Center
Lang Lang, March at the Arsht Center

On January 9, Emeril Lagasse — restaurateur, TV star, best-selling author, James Beard Award winner, and creator of the "New New Orleans" Cajun and Creole cuisine — will close the Arsht Center's Celebrity Chef Series with a bam! Lagasse, whose growing empire of media, products, and restaurants generates an estimated $150 million annually in revenue, will demonstrate some of his favorite recipes featuring South Florida ingredients to kick it up a notch for the crowd.

The Actors' Playhouse will celebrate a uniquely American tradition with The Great American Trailer Park Musical, opening January 13. This ribald production is a song-and-dance extravaganza (music and lyrics by David Nehls and book by Betsy Kelso) described as South Park meets Desperate Housewives. The campy, sexy, bawdy R-rated musical fable is seasoned with murderous ex-boyfriends, Costco, the Ice Capades, and a stripper on the run who comes between a Dr. Phil-loving agoraphobic housewife and her tollbooth collector husband. With a chorus of trailer-park divas in Armadillo Acres, an exclusive Florida mobile home community, this escapist musical ranges across the American radio dial from country, blues, and rock to disco, bump 'n' grind, and R&B.

Art Deco Weekend will return January 15 to South Beach along Ocean Drive from 5th and 15th streets. Step back in time and celebrate on the Broadway stage with live music, art and antiques dealers, walking tours, films, lectures, classic cars, street theater, and more.

Those with a hankering for a homespun hootenanny to go with their Stetsons can kick up their heels during the Homestead Championship Rodeo, running January 29 through 31 at the Doc DeMilly Rodeo Arena. The exciting seven-event shindig will include bull riding, saddle-bronc riding, bareback-bronc riding, calf roping, team roping, steer wrestling, and women's barrel racing. The fun also includes cowboy poetry performances, a parade, live music, and dancing.

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February

This month opens with a focus on Cuba, featuring a duet of theater works and contemporary art from the island. On February 4, the Miami Light Project will bring us The Closest Farthest Away at the Byron Carlyle Theater in North Beach. Filmmakers, theater artists, and musicians from the United States and Cuba have created the experimental multimedia theater piece. Participants will use cinema and live performance to cross the impossible boundaries that keep the States and Cuba apart. All Cuban characters and locations are projected via a multi-channel video installation. An American actor interacts with the projections from Cuba, creating a dramatic metaphor for the impossibility of exchange between our two countries.

On February 6, the Lowe Art Museum will debut "Cuban Avant Garde: Contemporary Cuban Art from the Farber Collection." The exhibit will feature large-scale paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, and mixed-media works by 40 Cuban artists living both on and off the island.

Tigertail Productions presents an evening of Mississippi Delta blues by 94-year-old Grammy Award-winning blues guitarist David "Honeyboy" Edwards at the Colony Theatre February 20. Edwards, a member of the Blues Hall of Fame, is one of two remaining original Delta blues players in the world.

Also on the 20th, GableStage will premiere Sarah Kane's Blasted, a controversial adults-only production that opened to rave reviews last year in New York. It unfolds the story of a racist, foulmouthed journalist who tries to seduce and then later rapes a simple-minded young woman. The play's startling imagery and bleak humor forge a potent theatrical vision of destruction, collapse, and, ultimately, redemption and love.

The Big Orange will become the epicenter of epicurean delight during the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, running February 25 through 28. It draws the most innovative, interesting, and experimental chefs, winemakers, sommeliers, and cocktail artists working in the field today, including Nobu Matsuhisa, Ming Tsai, Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay, Anthony Bourdain, Tyler Florence, and Rachael Ray, among others. The BubbleQ barbecue, Best of the Best, and the Grand Tasting Village are a few of the more popular events during the weekend.

The Arsht Center will celebrate Black History Month February 26 during Jazz Roots: Jazz and Soul, an evening of music borne out of the African-American experience. The evening will feature Grammy winners Al Jarreau and Ramsey Lewis. They will honor the blend of jazz, blues, gospel, and R&B that, along with cultural, political, and stylistic elements from American history, create the music we call soul.

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March

Springs rolls in with a fertile abundance of edgy museum offerings, stellar Broadway hits, a bounty of films, and classical music to satisfy even the most jaded culture vulture.

On March 3, the Bass Museum of Art will bring the work of Mika Tajima to South Florida in an exhibit connecting modernist geometric abstraction to the shape of our built environment. The artist will construct a phantom performance space and workplace, referencing sources ranging from Herman Miller's conflicted 1960s office furniture system to the 1970 cult film Performance.

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