This fall and winter, the recession and immense cuts to arts funding threaten to short-circuit Miami's recent extraordinary progress in art, theater, and music. But the city is not surrendering.
This year's Miami New Times expanded fall arts guide proves not only the theater, arts, dance, and literary scenes but also the booming culinary community have cooked up a new stew. Culture vultures will find plenty to slaver over. This season is stocked with Broadway smashes — including Wicked, Mamma Mia!, and Miss Saigon — scintillating museum and gallery exhibits, world music offerings simmering with flamenco, jazz, blues and marquee pop names, and a heavy dash of classical and experimental dance.
Miami Book Fair International will return in November, hosting more than 300 authors and plenty of lectures to keep bibliophiles abuzz. A smorgasbord of the visual arts and edgy performances will be served at dozens of galleries in the Wynwood Art District, open from 7 to 10 p.m. the second Saturday of every month.
Miami local culture and food
In December, Art Basel will provide a centerpiece as the international art-world elite rubs its hands collectively over a feast of hundreds of galleries and thousands of artists' work whipped together masterfully for what's become America's most hotly anticipated art event.
It's this fusion of multiculti ingredients that truly makes our home a flavorful melting pot. The arts guide includes short profiles of local chefs such as Norman Van Aken, Michael Schwartz, and Michelle Bernstein, who offer their distinct takes on Miami's restaurant scene. There's also a mention of the Adrienne Arsht Center's Celebrity Chefs Series, which begins this month; it will bring names such as Ingrid Hoffmann, Daisy Martinez, Anthony Bourdain, Jacques Pépin, Eric Ripert, and Emeril Lagasse to the stage.
Ah, and don't forget the South Beach Wine & Food Festival in February, when the Big Orange becomes the epicenter of epicurean delight, drawing the most innovative chefs, winemakers, sommeliers, and cocktail artists working in the field today.
The table is set; the diet of food, art, music, theater, and dance is steady. Peruse these pages and discover a year-round menu of food and culture.
Since winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, Tenzin Gyatso, better known as the 14th Dalai Lama, has arguably become the most famous spiritual leader in popular culture. He has been featured in numerous films, such as Seven Years in Tibet and Kundun, and has become a favorite subject for many artists. The Frost Art Museum reminds us of the principles he embodies, during "The Missing Peace: Artists Consider the Dalai Lama," an exhibit including works from more than 80 artists across the planet. Each one offers a personal interpretation of the holy man upon the altar of creativity. Organized by the Committee of 100 for Tibet and the Dalai Lama Foundation, the sprawling, multimedia show seeks to engage viewers in exploring art as a catalyst for peace.
At the Miami Art Museum (MAM), catch the most comprehensive survey of Guillermo Kuitca's work assembled under two roofs in North America. Spanning nearly 30 years of the Argentine superstar's oeuvre, "Guillermo Kuitca: Everything, Paintings, and Works on Paper, 1980-2008" and "Guillermo Kuitca: Everything (Else)" will be displayed at MAM and the Freedom Tower, respectively. Kuitca explores the intersection of public and private spaces through works ranging from early paintings of theatrical scenes to complex abstractions that reference maps and architectural plans.
Speed demons will likely get revved up over the Wolfsonian's ode to the motorcar, opening October 16. "Styled for the Road: The Art of Automobile Design, 1908 to 1948" examines jalopies in America from the early 1900s through the 1940s and how they helped shape American culture. The Wolf's jamboree will also convey a sense of the social, political, and economic context of this volatile period from the roaring '20s and the Great Depression through World War II.
The same evening, Ingrid Hoffmann and Daisy Martinez will arrive at the Arsht Center to add their savory Latin spice to the local culinary scene as part of the wildly popular Celebrity Chef Series. The Colombian-born Hoffmann stars on the Food Network series Simply Delicioso (also the title of her best-selling cookbook). Martinez, a New Yorker of Puerto Rican heritage, wrote the multi-award-winning Daisy Cooks! Latin Flavors That Will Rock Your World and is the star of the Food Network's Viva Daisy! The pair will tantalize the taste buds with their piquant approach to Latin-inspired dishes and secrets to success. If you are craving to learn how to prepare a delectable arroz con pollo or sancocho con aji, now is the time.
On October 18, the Rhythm Foundation will bring together genre-bending musicians Béla Fleck, Zakir, and Edgar Meyer for a sizzling collaboration at the Gusman Center. Hailed as the leading virtuosos on their respective instruments — banjo, tabla, and double bass — the three move with ease among the worlds of rock, jazz, classical, bluegrass, and world music, promising to conjure a magical evening.
On October 27 at the Arsht Center, Oprah Winfrey will present The Color Purple, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker and the Oscar-nominated film by Steven Spielberg. The soul-stirring musical tells the inspiring story of a woman named Celie who triumphs against all odds to discover her inner beauty. Nominated for 11 Tony Awards, the production boasts an ebullient score featuring jazz, gospel, and blues.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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Beginning May 7, the Bass Museum will inaugurate "The Mummy Project," an ongoing exhibit containing a rare Egyptian painted wood sarcophagus and mummy from the Late Period, Dynasty XXV-XXVI, 712-525 B.C. Edward Bleiberg, curator of Egyptian art at the Brooklyn Museum, has been hired to consult on translation, interpretative materials, installation design, and installing objects borrowed from that museum.
On May 12, the Actors' Playhouse will launch the world premiere of South Florida playwright Michael McKeever's Unreasonable Doubt, a new play that offers a penetrating look at the American justice system and how it sometimes fails the society it is meant to protect. Revenge and redemption intersect in this thought-provoking drama. Unable to touch the man who savagely raped and murdered his daughter, Ty Bosworth does the next best thing: He kidnaps and tortures the defense lawyer who put the killer back on the street.
May 20 will see the debut of "Asia Pacific Exhibition" at Miami Dade College's InterAmerican Art Gallery in Little Havana. The show is part of the annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Month celebration, which will also include an Asian fashion show, an origami and chopsticks workshop, and the story of anime, among other events.