Eleven Best Things to Do in Miami This Week
Out and about
Photo by Monica McGivern
This week looks bright and sunny, with plenty of things to keep you busy. From music to museums, Mouseketeers, Princess Mia, and the return of Supercon, Miami is your oyster. Get out there and enjoy your city.
Fred Wilson's Addiction and Display
Courtesy of PAMM
Conceptual artist Fred Wilson has spent a long and successful career teasing out the interrelationships of hierarchy, race, and museums. Early works such as Mining the Museum: An Installation by Fred Wilson (1992-93) radically re-envisioned the display spaces of the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore. History museums are filled with the junk of the incredibly wealthy: antique silver, jewels, and expensive books. But in Mining the Museum, the artist showed how such displays erase the ugly truths that underpin the wealth and history of the nation. He rearranged the museum's collection, placing slave shackles inside cases normally reserved for silver and stuffing KKK flags into cases of silk gloves.
Wilson has continued working in that vein — creating works that challenge easy narratives — and, in 1999, was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship for his work. Pérez Art Museum Miami (1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami) was lucky enough to acquire one of his works, Addiction Display (1991), that has since become one of the gems of PAMM's permanent collection.
Wilson will be reunited with the work when he delivers a lecture at the museum this Thursday. The lecture is free to attend, but space is limited to first come, first seated. The lecture begins at 7 p.m., and seating begins at 6:45. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit pamm.org.
Don your best geek gear at this year's Supercon
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Comics conventions make gods out of geeks. Fans meet their idols, budding artists earn cred, and horny teens bond over their most-detailed cosplay efforts. For local nerds, the most badass event of the year is Florida Supercon 2015, the largest comic book, anime, animation, videogame, fantasy, sci-fi, and pop culture convention in Miami.
This year, fans across all genres will find something to squeal over at the four-day convention, which will feature celebrity guests, comic book creators, voice actors, industry guests, cosplayers, artists, writers, panels, Q&As, films and shorts, costume and cosplay contests, vendors, parties, anime, workshops, videogaming, and more. Participants will hear from stars and creators of shows such as The Walking Dead, Star Trek, and Arrow and enjoy appearances by Kevin Smith, Joey Lauren Adams, Agent Carter's Hayley Atwell, and Doctor Who's Karen Gillan. Amid all the design workshops, art discussions, and film showings will be hands-on fun sessions such as nonstop karaoke and EDM dance parties — tailor-made for Miami. When it comes down to it, where else can you mingle with WWE superstars, take a giant-origami workshop, and attend a Doctor Who ball? The answer: nowhere else on Planet Earth.
Florida Supercon 2015 runs this Thursday through Sunday at the Miami Beach Convention Center (1901 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach). Single-day admission tickets start at $30, and multiday passes start at $58. Call 954-399-1330 or visit floridasupercon.com.
Writing is a craft, and creative writing departments at many universities employ and nurture contemporary talents in numerous writing fields. Though school curricula are fairly comprehensive, workshops and residencies usually offer much-needed support and variation. VONA/Voices (Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation) is one such entity that provides a change of scenery for burgeoning writers.
The only multigenre workshop for writers of color in the United States, VONA/Voices has a mission of demarginalizing literature that's committed to "excellence, social justice, and empowering the community of writers of color" by engaging emerging writers with established writers of color who support, teach, and empower from their unique perspectives gained in the world of publishing. Founded in 1999 by Elmaz Abinader, Junot Díaz, Victor Díaz, and Diem Jones, VONA/Voices now makes its home at the University of Miami and offers residencies as well as workshops in fiction, poetry, memoir, political content, LGBTQ narrative, and playwriting.
Join faculty members Elmaz Abinader, Staceyann Chin, Junot Díaz, Kim Euell, Ruth Forman, Marjorie M. Liu, and David Mura as they read from their works at 7 p.m. this Thursday Coral Gables Congregational Church (3010 De Soto Blvd., Coral Gables). Admission is free, but RSVP is required. Call 305-442-4408 or visit booksandbooks.com.
Tim Griffin, EIC of Artforum
Courtesy of ICA
Any chance to learn more about art is a chance to up your street cred for Art Basel, which is a mere six months away. With that in mind, you'll definitely want to partake of the wisdom of Tim Griffin, who'll pop into the Institute for Contemporary Art, Miami (4040 NE Second Ave., Miami) this Thursday for a chat.
Executive director and chief curator of the NYC experimental performance space the Kitchen, Griffin was also editor in chief of Artforum, where his curriculum vitae was pretty astounding. Among other things, he organized issues on the legacies of minimalism and land art, the philosophy of Jacques Rancière, and the museum as a radically different concept.
Griffin knows his stuff — more than enough to set you up with conversation starters for an entire season of art fairs. He'll visit Miami to preview his contribution to ICA's forthcoming catalogue for Ryan Sullivan, and he'll take the time to talk about contemporary art with a roomful of eager locals.
The talk kicks off at 7 p.m. Admission is free with RSVP. Call 305-444-9293 or visit icamiami.org.
Few theater patrons grasp the complexity of creating good plays, beginning with the story. Providing playwrights with some much-needed support, City Theatre once again presents its groundbreaking symposium, CityWrights Professional Weekend in Miami.
For five years, City Theatre's CityWrights has welcomed industry professionals to guide others in the art, business, development, training, inspiration, and mentorship of dramatists and the development of new work. This year's keynote speaker is Marsha Norman, who wrote the 1983 Pulitzer Prize-winning play 'Night, Mother, the 1992 Tony Award-winning musical The Secret Garden, the libretto for The Color Purple, the book for The Bridges of Madison County, and the book for the forthcoming Broadway musical King Kong. Norman's speech will address the 2015 Weekend theme "Building a Bridge Across the Gender Divide." In addition to enjoying Norman's presentation, participants will hear from industry greats such as Susan Bernfield, Suzanne Miller, Kelly Younger, and Leslie Ayvazian Anderson. Branching out from solely playwriting, the CityWrights Professional Weekend will also feature experts from the play publishing field, award-winning theater managers, and a performance from City Theatre's Summer Shorts series.
CityWrights Professional Weekend runs this Thursday through Sunday at the Epic Hotel (270 Biscayne Blvd. Way, Miami). All-access passes cost $299, with single passes starting at $125. Call 305-755-9401, ext. 10, or visit citytheatre.com.
Ever since the Beat Generation became popular in the 1950s, white kids from well-off families have left their protective nests in search of dirtier streets, cheaper rent, and self-professed "freer" lifestyles. Back then, the movement was quaint and weird and looked down upon. Today, gentrification is an unstoppable reality. As millennials grow, so do their budgets and their market share. From New York to San Francisco and from Wynwood to Little Havana and Little Haiti, once-ghetto streets are cropping up with more succulents, more roots-oriented art galleries, and more adorable, rustic-themed coffee shops.
Modern movers in their 20s and 30s are not defined by the social lines of old. Yuppies are now hipsters. Hipsters are now yuppies. A new generation of well-dressed, culturally learned economic invaders is here, but they are also self-aware. This well-meaning push-out is tough and morally dubious, which means it's the perfect fodder for contemporary "folk" artists — artists such as Eddie Arroyo of the Bakehouse Art Complex (561 NW 32nd St., Wynwood). His latest exhibition, "Developers Survey," tackles the growing restructuring of Miami neighborhoods in a series of paintings. You can't stop the beast, but you can comment on it, and perhaps realization is the first step to harmony. Hey, it beats doing nothing.
Admission to "Developers Survey" is free this Thursday and Friday from noon to 5 p.m. Call 305-576-2828 or visit bacfl.org.
Asia Samson brings the art of poetry slams to Lip Service
Photo by Jace Caparas
There may be ten months to go before O, Miami comes around again, but that's no excuse to abandon your love for the spoken word in the meantime. The Asia Project, an award-winning show featuring writer and poet Asia Samson, will wow you with its emotionally charged content.
Samson's poetry/music mashups have been heard at more than 450 colleges, where he and his brother-in-law, Jollan, combine words and tunes to create remarkably powerful performances. Samson has been featured on HBO's Def Poetry Jam, has spoken at TEDx talks, and boasts the highest-booked poetry act in the college market.
Having survived cancer, faced the death of his sister, and suffered through two miscarriages with his wife, he has a personal perspective that's highly relatable. His appearance in Miami is in partnership with the local storytelling series Lip Service, and it's all to celebrate the launch of his new album, The Asia Project: Touch, dedicated to his late sister.
The show isn't called Touch for nothing. "We are all living in this moment together," Samson says, "so I think it's our responsibility to touch one another, because sometimes all it takes is a simple touch to heal our deepest wounds."
The event kicks off at 8 p.m. Friday at the Miracle Theatre (280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables). Tickets cost $25 each. Visit theasiaproject.com or call 305-444-9293.
Blood, Sweat & Mouseketears
Photo courtesy of Lindsay Allen
Happily ever after isn't always what it seems. Neither are Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, and Britney Spears. At least not through the eyes of Lindsey Alley, who was one of only three cast members to appear in Disney Channel's Mickey Mouse Club pilot episode and all seven seasons of the show alongside a slew of now-grown-up celebrities and heartthrobs (Ryan Gosling, anybody?).
Being a Mouseketeer and earning fame in early childhood inevitably brought Alley an unrealistic sense of happily ever after and what her happy ending would be. So, like all good artists, she channeled that into a comedic musical journey that puts her Disney image on the shelf and lets it all hang out.
Her touring show, Blood, Sweat & Mouseketears, puts a modern-day and risqué twist on Disney classics with the help of local writer and artist David Sexton and musical director Rick Leonard. Think Robin Williams' classic "Friend Like Me" from Aladdin, only Alley has made it "Never Been a Mouseketeer Like Me." In other words, this is not your childhood Disney show.
To catch the saucy performance, head to Cabaret South Beach (233 12th St., Miami Beach) this Friday at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $25 via brownpapertickets.com.
With the abundance of fine-art displays in Miami, a focus on digital art forms can be a breath of fresh air. Vibrant digital depictions of all things Magic City are even more intriguing. Dedicated to spotlighting innovation in art, the third-annual FIU Media Arts Festival will showcase some of the most promising new visual media from Miami's artistic pool, from students and faculty to community members. Rather than stroll through gallery mazes, guests will experience works through audio, video, and mixed-media methods, each one reflecting the festival's theme, "Fresh From Miami."
Submissions run less than five minutes each and illustrate the festival theme through digital storytelling and digital media projects, ranging from fictional videos and mobile applications to websites, multimedia news stories, and animation.
The most compelling works will be shown for the Media Arts Festival this Saturday from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at the Lab Miami (400 NW 26th St., Miami). Admission is free. Visit sjmc-med.fiu.edu/maff.
Photo courtesy of Capital Cities
Even if you've never heard of Capital Cities, there's a good chance you sing along to the duo's hit song "Safe and Sound" every time it comes on the radio or plays in that Mazda 3 TV commercial. This Saturday, you'll be able to sing along with the American indie-pop act in person when the two take over LIV as part of the BleauLive music series at the iconic Fontainebleau (4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach). Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian — the vocal and instrumental masters who make up Capital Cities — have quite the modern-day musical backstory, meeting from an ad posted on Craigslist and composing music for commercial ad campaigns and writing jingles together for three years prior to forming Capital Cities. Their debut studio album, In a Tidal Wave of Mystery, was released in 2013. Since then, the pair has headlined festivals such as Coachella and even performed at Ultra's live stage in 2013. So if you missed them then, now is your chance to enjoy them in an intimate setting.
Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $70. Visit fontainebleau.com.
Meg Cabot's Princess Mia plans her wedding
Photo courtesy of Meg Cabot
The Princess Diaries was so loved as a book series that it was adapted for the silver screen and became a hit among young adults. Known for her New York Times bestselling series, author Meg Cabot is introducing the first adult book of the series.
Royal Wedding: A Princess Diaries Novel, which will be available this summer, follows the beloved Princess Mia and her Prince Charming as they plan their perfect wedding. However, what should be a joyous journey toward their magical event takes some unexpected turns that threaten to interrupt the wedding.
Join Cabot as she discusses the book this Wednesday at 8 p.m. at Books & Books (265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables). Admission is free. Visit booksandbooks.com.
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