Arts & Eats Guide 2009

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

Also on March 3, Actors' Playhouse will open Broadway sensation Miss Saigon, a classic love story, scathing indictment of the tragedies of war, and moving testament to the human spirit.

That same night, another blockbuster, Wicked, will return to the Arsht Center by popular demand. When the spellbinding musical opened locally last year, it sold out in record time. Here's your chance to catch the winner of 15 major awards, including a Grammy and three Tonys, before the beguiling production blows out of town.

The Miami International Film Festival will open its run at various locations across South Florida beginning March 5. Delivering the world of cinema to our doorstep, the festival has presented films from more than 50 countries, including 125 East Coast, U.S., and world premieres; scores of Oscar winners and nominees; and many international prizewinners in recent years.

The Color Purple, October at the Arsht Center
The Color Purple, October at the Arsht Center

North Miami's Museum of Contemporary Art will corral two international art stars — Ceal Floyer and Cory Arcangel — for their first solo museum shows in the United States March 11. Floyer uses ordinary objects to create tableaux that challenge the viewer's perception and assumptions. Her minimal constructions are precise, visual translations of verbal expression. This mid-career survey will include multimedia works from the late 1990s to the present and will premiere a new site-specific work. Arcangel, a pioneer in the use of digital technologies in contemporary art, often combines music, humor, and computer and videogame software to create works that examine the aesthetics and uses of technology. This exhibition will bring together a selection of older works, such as video installations, photographs, and other media. A number of these works include collaborations with other artists and musicians; some have never been exhibited before.

Miami Dade College will deliver its own one-two punch via a pair of unusual exhibits making the trip from Europe. "The History of Torture" will open at the Freedom Tower March 25 and feature rare, hair-raising artifacts on loan from the Museo Medieval in Italy, some dating back to the 16th Century. Also on view will be "Etruscans in Latium," assembled from many of the treasure houses of Etruscan art, including the Museum of Villa Giulia, the Museum and Necropolis of Cerveteri, and the Museum and Necropolis of Tarquinia. Under the auspices of Anna Maria Moretti, director of Etruscan archaeological sites of the Latium region and the Italian government, the fantastic, wonderful, yet mysterious artworks of Etruscan culture will be on view for the first time in Florida. There will be terra cotta and bronze sculptures as well as jewelry and other artifacts from this great but esoteric civilization that existed well before the rise of the Roman Empire.

Lang Lang, described as "the hottest artist on the classical music planet" by the New York Times, will arrive at the Arsht Center March 29 with the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival Orchestra, which was founded a little more than two decades ago by Leonard Bernstein and comprises the world's finest musicians under the age of 27. Leading the youthful players is the veteran and widely acclaimed German conductor Christoph Eschenbach. The 26-year-old Lang, who has arguably become the leading pianist of his generation, was viewed by more than 5 billion people in August 2008 during the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.

The month will end with the ultimate feel-good show at the Arsht when Mamma Mia! combines Abba's greatest hits — including "Dancing Queen," "S.O.S.," "Super Trouper," "Take a Chance on Me," and "The Winner Takes It All" — with an enchanting tale of love, laughter, and friendship in a run opening March 30.

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April

Scorching-hot dance from Barcelona arrives when Tigertail Productions opens Alta Realitat — Ölelés as part of its exciting new series about Catalan culture. Gripping, physically intense, and genuinely lyrical, this award-winning extended evening-length duet for two men marks the first collaboration between acclaimed Catalan choreographers and performers Jordi Cortés and Damián Muñoz, two of Spain's most innovative young artists. It will open April 9 at the Colony Theatre.

A pair of the greatest living Latin jazz pianists performing today will be featured in Piano Latino, a tribute to the rhythmic backbone of the genre at the Arsht Center April 16. Eddie Palmieri boasts a discography with 36 titles and a career garnering nine Grammys. The legendary pianist thrills audiences throughout the world with his unique style, charismatic power, and bold, innovative drive. Michel Camilo, the Dominican-born Grammy winner for Best Latin Jazz Album, is a virtuoso pianist with technique to spare, who flavors his tunes with the spice of Caribbean rhythms and jazz harmonies.

The Quarrel, a sensitive and haunting production by David Brandes and Joseph Telushkin, will open at GableStage April 17. Based on the Yiddish short story "My Quarrel with Hersh Rasseyner" by Chaim Grade, this play tells the tale of two friends, an Orthodox rabbi and a Jewish poet who has lost his faith — both Holocaust survivors from Bialystok. When they meet unexpectedly, years later, it sparks a fierce battle of wits and a raw test of friendship, faith, and tolerance.

From April 23 through May 2, the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival will return to various venues across town. The festival aims to enrich and encourage a sense of community through international and culturally diverse film, video, and other media presentations about the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender experience.

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